Episode 140: You Don’t Need Business School To Start A Business Says Omar Zenhom

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Omar Zenhom 100MBA.netOmar Zenhom believes you don’t need to get an MBA to become a successful entrepreneur. He’s  one of the co-founders of The $100 MBA, offering online courses and resources to help people learn about business for just $100!

We talked to him about why most people starting a business probably don’t need to go to school to learn about business, and how you can acquire the same knowledge without the price tag.

Omar spent 13 years working in field of education before becoming an entrepreneur. During that time he started a side business and as he became interested in learning more about business he decided to pursue his MBA.

In his first year at Wharton, he decided to drop out to give others an alternative to learning about business for a lot less money than traditional options.

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Key UnStuckable Takeaway

You don’t have to pay thousands of dollars to learn about business!

If you want to start your own business or work for yourself, Omar believes attending a business school is probably not the best way to learn about business.

The web has made learning the basic fundamentals of business cheaper than ever before. Working on your own business also provides you with regular practical applications and real-life problems to solve than will be available to you at a business school.

Get started at the $100MBA.net and seek out mentors to guide the development of your first business. Even if you invest $10,000 into a business, work on it for two years and then fail, you’ll learn more about business than those graduating with an MBA and won’t be stuck with $100,000+ in debt!

(Side note: I went to business school and at the time it was the best option for me, but I honestly believe I learned more about business by starting, building and selling my first company.)

Quick Action to Get Unstuck

Start blogging about your idea or the change you want to make.

Developing a writing habit has been mentioned several times by our guests as a method for getting unstuck and Omar agrees. He suggests blogging instead of just keeping a journal for yourself, so you can generate reaction from others about your thoughts and ideas.

Omar believes blogging forces you to work on your written communication skills, along with finding your own voice. He advises to just write for your own purposes, rather than trying to write for a specific audience.

He also says don’t feel like you have to be an expert to blog about a particular subject. It’s about sharing your journey and your experience for those who are a few steps behind you.

UnStuckable Quotes From Omar

“I got thrown in the deep end of the pool, and I had to learn how to swim quickly.”

“I learned how not to create a product.”

“Creativity is confiscated at the door when you become a teacher.”

“You can do this (learn about business) without spending thousands and thousands of dollars.”

“One of the biggest mistakes people can make is falling in love with an idea in their head.”

“I really believe in alternative education.”

“You need to become a different person to produce different results.”

More Habits & Actions

  • Read a lot. Omar reads everything he can on a subject, so he can learn as much as he can about it. He has read more than 200 books on business, marketing, self-improvement, etc.
  • Start writing. Omar started a blog to work on his communication skills and to build an audience. He wrote about topics he wanted to learn about when he began his journey 10 years prior.
  • Make a change. Once Omar realized he wanted to get out of education, he made the change. He knew that if he didn’t, he would just be stalling. Don’t put things off until the “right time” because there is no perfect time.
  • Surround yourself with like-minded people. Omar found someone who was leaving the education field at the same time as him and they were able to talk about their next ventures and the emotions that went along with it. Eventually the relationship turned into a business partnership and now they are even engaged!

Omar’s UnStuckable Lesson

In this week’s lesson, Omar provides recommendations on learning about business without spending money on an MBA.

1. You don’t need an MBA to be an entrepreneur.

If you want to start your own business, Omar advises not spending the money on an MBA. If you are interested in management opportunities within large corporations, then consider getting an MBA.

2. Treat your self-guide business education like you are pursuing MBA.

If you were paying thousands of dollars for an MBA, you would carve out the necessary time to attend classes and to work on related projects. Acquiring the education on your own or starting your own business is no different. Make it a priority and set aside time for it each week.

3. Start small.

You may have a grandiose picture in your mind of what your business will look like, but that version of your business will take some time to realize. Right now, take baby steps that will eventually lead you to your grand vision. Start with actions like blogging, giving away free information/products and building up an audience. These are crucial actions that can’t be ignored as you begin to build your business.

4. Get involved in your community and be knowledgeable about your chosen area of interest.

Don’t just talk about what you want to build, live it. You need to know the needs of your potential customers inside and out. Talk with other people who are interested in the same field. Building a community around your idea is a great way to learn more about the needs of your customers, develop ideas for your business and find potential partners.

5. Take advantage of the resources that are available to you.

All of the business information taught by MBA programs is available elsewhere and for a lot less.  Universities don’t have proprietary access to this information and you can often find it online, in podcasts, or in books. Get started by doing some simple online searches about subjects you want to learn more about. Of course, check out the $100 MBA!




Omar Zenhom on LinkedIn

Omar Zenhom on Twitter

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