Taking control of your life and cultivating happiness now (not decades from now, after multiple big milestones) is challenging, no matter how smart or savvy you are. And it takes more than meditation and positive thinking to make it happen. It takes an entirely different way of approaching your life, decisions, and relationships.
In the Startup Your Life video course, I’m going to work with you to live your life like a startup — regardless of your age, occupation, or current position in life — and start thriving today. I did it, and now I want to show you how.
Why did I create Startup Your Life?
In 2008, I finished my PhD in sociology and entered the “real world” — at the exact same time as our most epic financial meltdown. Ouch. Talk about bad timing. And while I had decades of schooling under my belt, it was clear I wasn’t an expert at life (yet). I was accustomed to hard work – but nowhere in my lengthy education did anyone lay out the practical guidelines that would make my life suck a little bit less while I established myself professionally. No one taught me how to be happier along the way. I quickly realized hard work alone wouldn’t cut it. I needed a strategy.
I had a hunch that the entrepreneurial business approach that worked for millions of people and companies — the same ideas I’d already used professionally for years — could also work as a foundation for transforming my personal happiness and well-being. Being better at life became my obsession. I experimented on myself, year after year, distilling my years of research and experience and applying the philosophies and tactics I developed into a replicable, action-oriented, results-driven approach to living a richer life — starting today, not after you get that promotion or meet the mate of your dreams.
While it took me the better part of a decade to refine this process, the Startup Your Life program allows you to learn and integrate these lessons in a matter of weeks. Because despite the diversity in our individual life circumstances, we have, at our core, the same sets of issues with the same perplexing questions. And it’s time to take back control.
What You'll Learn
This program is the guide I needed but couldn’t find when I was a recent graduate living in a tiny apartment with an equally tiny budget, full of intellectual promise, yet with a lot of unanswered questions -- and completely overwhelmed by how to begin and where to seek guidance.
So let me tell you a little about what we’re going to cover in this series:
- Part 1, “The Imperfect Prototype: Become an MVP”: Learn the value of reframing your life as a work in progress rather than a final product. You’ll learn tactics for testing ideas and actions that allow you to operate with greater confidence and efficacy, and you’ll see the value of stripping away inessentials. You’ll stump yourself with some hard questions, become your own guru, get comfortable with imperfection, and trim the fat to live a leaner existence (less really is more, and you’ll put that into action).
- Part 2, “Get Your Mind Right: Optimize Your Mental State": You’ll start to retrain your brain and ensure that your thought processes are working for, not against, you. You’ll interrogate your passions and rewrite your own rule book.
- Part 3, “Out-Smart Dumb Luck: Experiment-Driven Decision Making”: Take back power and start making your own luck through thoughtful experimentation. Nothing is too small or insignificant to test, and in this section you’ll learn to approach your life like a science experiment — no matter your age or stage in life.
- Part 4, “Everything I Need to Know I Unlearned: Disrupt Your Assumptions”: Conventional wisdom gets the boot and you begin the process of unlearning. You’ll get out of your habitual ruts by putting your personal assumptions to the test and learning what you’re taking for granted. You will start to lose sight of dry land, clear up how you view and perceive the world around you, and upgrade your internal hardware.
- Part 5, “Win Every Room: Establish Product-Market Fit”: You’ll find the intersection of what matters to you and what resonates with your audience—in all facets of life. You’ll learn to impart happiness onto yourself and those around you by focusing on not just what you’re doing, but on how you’re doing it. You’ll learn to practice radical empathy, gamify your life, and up your street cred.
- In Part 6, “Work It: The Runway of Your Life": The way you deliver your goods matters—whether you’re seeking a job or a life mate. You'll learn to make the world pay attention. You’ll also redefine authenticity and clarify its connection to happiness. I’ll teach you how to hack your image for maximum power potential by playing strategic dress up and creating a uniform.
- Part 7, “Go Virtual: Life, Mediated”: Our lives are increasingly mediated by technology, and you’ll learn to expertly manage your digital identity. You’ll better understand the value of your online existence, and you’ll learn to reap the digital ROI of your online presence, curb reputation-damaging recklessness, and generally pimp your profiles.
- Part 8, “Hustle and Grow: Bootstrap Your Way to Happiness”: We dissect your relationship with money and you learn to live lean—not by pinching pennies but through fiscal maximization and rethinking the notion of “wealth.” You’ll learn how to invest in happiness, maximize human capital, and get your hustle on (cause hustling trumps pedigree).
- Part 9, “The Partnership Puzzle: Be Your Own Matchmaker": Partnerships are hard, but the qualities of a good relationship—in business and romance alike—are more similar than you might imagine. You’ll learn how to harness the power of partnerships to fuel happiness and success. I’ll teach you why you shouldn’t go it alone, help you cultivate your soft skills and confidently make partnership choices.
- Part 10, “Bellyflop with Grace: The Art of Failure”: We explore why giving yourself permission to fall down can be a win. You’ll redefine what it means to fail, and we’ll look at how you can transform failures into opportunities for growth. You’ll learn to make space for failure, transcribe adversity, and know your own limits.
- Part 11, “Peace Out and Level Up: Make Your Exit: Letting go is hard, so we often linger a little too long, unsure of when to move forward. ” You’ll learn how and when to move on. I’ll teach you to take charge of your relationship with change and live a life in transition by training your brain for change, surfing fear, and ritualizing closure.
- Part 12, “Hitting Refresh: The Life Pivot: How many times have you daydreamed of starting over? I'll teach you to flip the mental switch that gives you a fresh start—on whatever scale you need. You'll learn to keep life spicy and diverse, rediscover how to prioritize play, and seize “good enough.” You ARE the serial reinventor of your own life -- and I’m going to show you how.
The good news is you don’t need to win the lottery to be happy and fulfilled. Nor do you need to be a genius. Life is a business. And like most startups, we experience a series of failures along the way. But if you apply a scientific approach to creating and managing the life you want, you take control of the process, before you even know what exactly you’re aiming for.
I know that unbridled optimism alone didn’t deliver the results I was looking for -- and it likely won’t for you, either. Chances are you’ve experienced similarly distressing uncertainty during your post-college/pre-settling down phase -- or perhaps during a mid-career slump, or even as you transition into retirement.
Living your life like a startup is about maximizing flexibility and measuring on-going results, not avoiding failure or reaching one particular end goal. It’s about embracing defeat, analyzing it, and failing up. Using the Startup Your Life approach, you actively create the life you want, regardless of the stage you’re in or the hurdles you face. It’s not about “happiness someday,” but now.
And let me assure you: this program is not just a bunch of philosophical fluff. It offers realistic, actionable strategies that allow you to implement and live each of the lessons from day one.
What You Get
- Lifetime access to the Startup Your Life video series to follow along at your own pace and revisit over time
- Proprietary exercises that accompany each of the 12 sections and to help you actively apply the principles to your life and start feeling the difference immediately
- LIMITED TIME BONUS: For a limited time only, get the first chapter of Startup Your Life FREE.
Praise For Startup Your Life
"Budding entrepreneurs should benefit greatly from Akbari's sound advice"
-- Publisher's Weekly
"Akbari has created self-help for the millenials."
“You can be the startup CEO of your own life, and Anna Akbari teaches you how in this indispensable guide. Her personal tales and time-tested advice inspire and motivate -- it’s the extra push you need for living your best life.”
-- Alexa von Tobel, founder and CEO of LearnVest and New York Times bestselling author of Financially Fearless
"Anna Akbari gets right down to business to help you hack your life using the same strategies I used to create products as a CTO in Silicon Valley. It’s the opposite of personal development platitudes, and it works because you can measure it. These are real tools you can use to biohack your performance."
—Dave Asprey, New York Times Bestselling Author, The Bulletproof Diet
"As a client of Anna’s, I am ecstatic that her brilliant strategies for happiness are written down for all to share, and most of all, for me to reference and carry with me everywhere! Anna has created a fascinating guide, applying the paradigm shifting, tried and true organizing principles of Silicon Valley Start-Ups to well-being. As one of the lucky few who has had the chance to work with Anna one-on-one, I can say with total sincerity that her insights will guide you through the ebb and flow of life’s failures and successes, time and time again."
— Bryce Dallas Howard, Actress
"If you're looking for a reset -- professional or personal -- Anna Akbari is the guru for you. Embracing the revise-as-you-go ethos of the tech world, she'll help you find the right fit, even if it means a misfire or two first. Even better, you'll enjoy the ride."
-- Amanda Steinberg, founder of DailyWorth
"Finally, a book that shows how to make that Silicon Valley magic work – outside of work. Anna Akbari is the perfect guide through our sometimes dizzying present, where the paths to health, wealth, and happiness no longer run straight, and improvisation and iteration rule the day."
— Fran Hauser, Angel Investor and Former President, Digital at Time Inc.
“For those who want more than fluff, this no-nonsense approach to happiness enlightens as much as it entertains. Startup Your Life is a craftily delivered kick in the pants many people need to make real, sustainable change in their lives."
— Mandy Stadtmiller, columnist, New York Magazine
“Living your life like a startup — what a refreshing approach to upgrading how you live, love, and work. An entrepreneurial mindset is such an asset; it’s great to finally see a fun, practical guide that applies this way of operating to everyone."
— John Lee Dumas, founder and host of Entrepreneur On Fire
"In a world that seems to demand constant reinvention, it can be hard to keep up. Luckily, Startup Your Life reminds us that everyone is a work in progress -- and that there are many paths to a great finished product."
— Soraya Darabi, co-founder of Zady
Personal fulfillment is created, not inherited or earned. And outside forces feel a lot less overwhelming when tackled systematically, with a little guidance. Let me help you game the system as you hustle and hack your way to happiness.
So let’s get going and Startup Your Life!
Anna Akbari, PhD is a sociologist, entrepreneur, life coach, and author. She is the founder of Sociology of Style, an image and life coaching company, and a partner in HVCK, a Silicon Valley innovation consultancy. A former instructor at New York University and Parsons School of Design, she is a frequent public speaker at conferences and for corporations and has written for and been featured by Forbes, CNN, The Atlantic, The Economist, Financial Times, TED, Bulletproof Executive, and dozens more.
StartBecome an MVP
StartOptimize your mental state
StartExperiment-driven Decision Making
StartDisrupt Your Assumptions
StartProduct Market Fit
StartThe Runway of Your Life
StartBootstrap Your Way to Happiness
StartBe Your Own Matchmaker
StartThe Art of Failure
StartMake Your Exit
StartThe Life Pivot