Smart From Scratch

Part of the All-Access Pass course library. Learn how to find a winning business idea and land your first customer.

Will your business idea work?

These questions keep aspiring business owners up at night: “Will my idea work? Are there enough customers? How do I know there isn’t a better idea out there?”

Smart From Scratch® is a hands-on, comprehensive course that enables you to develop a business idea, validate it, and determine if that idea is viable to pursue. You’ll learn how to test whether or not there’s an audience for your business idea before you invest countless hours in it.

All business ideas need validation, even this online course. That’s why we launched Smart from Scratch® to a select number of founding students in late 2016. The founding students helped shape the course content with their amazing feedback. Now, thanks to them, Smart From Scratch® is tested, validated, and ready to help you find your business idea!

Learn the three steps to validating your idea

Idea and Market Visibility

Learn how to find an idea that works for you, even if you don’t know where to start. Then we’ll walk you through the process of determining whether or not there is a sufficient market to support your potential idea.

Adjust and Refine

You’ll expand upon your idea to make sure you have a very clear sense of what your idea is, who it’s for, and precisely what problem it solves. Then you’ll create a simple prototype that you can share with potential customers for feedback.


You’ll learn product validation, or how to collect pre-orders so that you can determine the viability of your idea. Then you’ll learn what to do if you do — or if you don’t — make any sales.

Pat Flynn standing outside

Meet your course instructor

Hi, I’m Pat Flynn.

I run several successful businesses, including Smart Passive Income, Switchpod, and Green Business Academy. Over the last decade, I’ve conceived of and developed dozens of products and new businesses. I’ve both succeeded and failed, and all the while I’ve charted my progress to find what works and what doesn’t. My interviews with hundreds of other business owners for The Smart Passive Income Podcast have also taught me valuable lessons about business longevity.

Aspiring entrepreneurs share the same struggles with me time and again: “I don’t know how to find a business idea,” “I don’t know if my idea will work,” or the biggest one, “I’m afraid I will fail.”

I want you to learn from my successes and failures. I’ve poured these experiences into the Smart From Scratch® course to give you insight into the business strategies that truly work from start to finish. I’m here to help you find your idea, figure out if it will work, and teach you how to fail early rather than down the road after investing countless hours in your idea. I’m here to help you — let’s get started!

Smart From Scratch Course Outline

Welcome, Students!
  • Welcome! Watch This First
  • Office Hours
  • Course Downloads
Stage 1: Idea and Market Visibility
  • Lesson 01: Setting Expectations
  • Lesson 02: Focusing On Real Business
  • Lesson 03: Figuring Out Your Top Idea
  • Lesson 04: Discovering Your Niche
  • Lesson 05: Researching Your Customers
  • Lesson 06: Positioning Your Business Idea
  • Lesson 07: Reaching Out for First Reaction
  • Lesson 08: Reflecting on Your Plan
  • Lesson 09: What’s Coming Up in Stage 2!
Stage 2: Adjust and Refine
  • Lesson 01: Creating Goals
  • Lesson 02: Building Your Mind Map
  • Lesson 03: Making Sense of Your Mind Map
  • Lesson 04: Prototyping Your Idea
  • Lesson 05: Connecting for Feedback
  • Lesson 06: Checking Your Excitement Levels
Stage 3: Testing
  • Lesson 01: Finding Your Direction
  • Lesson 02: Selling before You Build
  • Lesson 03: Developing Your Pitch
  • Lesson 04: Collecting Payments
  • Lesson 05: The Fortune Is in the Follow-Up
  • Lesson 06: Maintaining Your Smart Business
  • What’s Next? How about a Free Course on Website Building!

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You have an online business that’s up, running, and generating revenue. You’ve figured out a lot but are unsure where to focus next. And the growing pains are real.

Everything in the All-Access Pass community, plus:

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Curated member masterminds

Exclusive access to in-house experts

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“I love logging into Pro because I don’t feel like I’m alone anymore. To see so many other people out there working towards the same thing and supporting each other is amazing. And the community administration is amazing — the checking-in, the answers, the connecting — it’s brilliant. I hope that my community has some of the genie in the bottle that Pro has.”

Ange Wilson

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