ETA 101 Maven Course

Answering Frequently Asked Questions

This newsletter is a departure from the typical format where I talk about Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition or my experience doing a search fund. Instead, I’m writing about a live, cohort-based course I’ll be teaching in November 2023 on Maven.

When I started poking around the ETA world in November 2022, I was overwhelmed by all the options. People were talking about self funded search, search funds, holding companies, independent sponsors, and more. It was tough to wrap my mind around 1) what do I need to participate in these options? and 2) what would it mean if I did? How would I spend my time? What’s the potential upside?

It took me about six months to digest all the options, including a two month break from work in February / March of 2023. I ended up doing a search fund, but only after I clarified what was important to me and digested all the options. This course compresses that six months of learning into three weeks.

Course Overview

What will you get from taking this course?
  1. Clarify your entrepreneurial values and vision - I struggled to find the right ETA method for me because I hadn’t put in the hard work of figuring out what I wanted. Once I was clear on my vision, it was easy to make the right choice for me.

  2. Understand the basics of buying a business - Walk through the steps of the journey that are common to all business buyers. Get your hands dirty with financial analysis and reaching out to business brokers.

  3. Learn the different ETA “methods” - We’ll cover self funded search, franchises, search funds, holding companies and more. You’ll understand the skills & resources needed to participate in each method and potential financial payoffs.

  4. Develop next steps & accountability plan - by doing this course live with a cohort, you’ll have a peer group to stay in touch with and keep you on track.

Who is this course for?

Busy professionals who are interested in entrepreneurship but don’t want to start a company. They’re looking to understand what it would take to do Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition and what their life would be like if they did.

Frequently Asked Questions

I’ve had a few conversations with prospective students and am answering some common questions below.

Why are you doing this?

For the last few years I’ve been interested in doing an online course, but offering a course in Product Management didn’t feel exciting. Now I’m doing something that’s both interesting and not well understood, and the idea of creating a course is appealing. I also find myself sharing a lot of the information from the course in ad hoc 1:1 calls with friends and former colleagues, and I want to put all this information together in a more structured way.

I’m doing the first few iterations of the course on Maven because (in the words of the Maven founder) “cohort based courses don’t offer you anywhere to hide.” In other words, I’m going to be close to the people I’m teaching and will get feedback on whether the content is resonating. Eventually I might make the content video-based and asynchronous, but for now it’s just a fun side project.

Finally, I’d like to use the course as a platform to get a more diverse set of people involved in Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition. The ETA community is overwhelmingly white, male, and young, and I’m trying to get this information to a broader audience.

Why is the price so high?

Courses on Maven are expensive - they recommend $500 as the floor. This is because you get a lot of time with the instructor, and the quality of learning is higher in a live, cohort-based course. Down the road I might do a cheaper, video-only version - it will depend how these first few cohorts go.

Do I need to put my own money in when buying a business?

It depends on how you search for a business to buy. Most people will end up funding their own search for the business, and that’s dollars out of your pocket.

However, it’s possible to buy the business without putting out any of your own money. In recent years there have been more and more investor money pouring in to finance small business acquisitions.

How’s it going for you? Are you glad you made the jump?

Yes - I’ve been having a blast. It has been strange to be a beginner again - I was in Product Management for 14 years and was pretty comfortable. Now I’m constantly doing things for the first time, and that’s really refreshing. I’m working a lot (my hours are similar to Meta hours, which were awful), but it doesn’t bother me - it’s like burning a different type of fuel. It feels good to be working for myself.

Interested in learning more? You can use the button below to book 15 min with me to talk about the course.

If you’d like to sign up, use the button below to register on Maven.

Future Newsletters

Thanks to those of you who have written with suggestions on future topics. If there’s anything in the ETA world you’d like to see covered in more depth, drop me a line and let me know.

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