Alan Donegan, Co-founder – Helping Start Business Without Debt

Alan Donegan is an entrepreneur and education thought leader. Alan Donegan founded PopUp in 2012 with Simon Paine after they thought there must be a better way to start a business, without debt and without formal business plans. Alan decided he wanted to start PopUp to make sure that no one else went through the pain he went through starting up his business.

Alan Donegan Interview Questions

1. An introduction from you – background, overview, education…
2. Can you tell us about your personal background?
3. Can you tell about us PopUp Business School?
4. You are focused on debt as a critical element for business. Can you tell us about that?
5. You highlighted the importance of sales and this is indeed critical. How do you focus on sales?
6. How do you manage the challenges of energy, independence and responsibility to deal with entrepreneurship and the challenges of work multiple disruptions / changes?
7. Education is in a big crossroad. How do we solve this? Special with Covid and all the changes we are going through?
8. Can you tell us some practicalities how people listening can learn and have some steps on how to face the present challenges we are facing now?

Alan Donegan Interview Notes

About Alan Donegan’s background. Coming from an entrepreneurial family, I spent my youth pursuing jobs that didn’t suit me, so after a while I decided to create my own business and thought it was the best way to help others.  I wanted to teach other people the skills that had made such a huge difference in my life

About founding PopUp Business School. I wanted to start a business, a business focused on training, so I went to the British government for help and they provided training in marketing, business operations, etc. But I found the workshops were very limited, not enough help to encourage people to start their own businesses and survive. So I thought about what I could do to close that gap.

That was the foundation of the PopUp Business School. What we strive at PopUp Business School is to provide the very best training and support on entrepreneurship; Financial independence and, ultimately, making dreams come true. At my company, we always seek to improve everything we do and make the biggest possible impact.

Key advice for entrepreneurs. The key to starting a business is sales. But the problem is when you start running a business the last thing you think about is sales because you feel overwhelmed. Business is selling something. Most people believe that running a business is about creating a logo, a business card… but that isn’t what creates revenue or brings in money. So the first advice I would give to newcomers is to focus on sales. Once you close your first sale you can scale rapidly: you’ve set the first foot in the market.

People get the “selling” concept wrong. They think that selling is about telling but it is actually about asking. That is the only way to understand the person or audience you are trying to sell something to.  Go to a potential customer and ask them about their problems, ask them what they struggle with and then tell them about your service or product.  Ask first; tell second.

The entrepreneurial path is a tough one. We need to overcome many challenges, stress, dealing with potential failure, working extra hours, rejection, uncertainty, etc. And we are not well valued for all the risks we take. So what I would say is that follow your vocation, your ideas, get help, collaborate and keep going.

Entrepreneurs have to be flexible and adapt quickly to bad moments because things can go wrong when you are running a business, especially regarding things that you can’t control like a financial crisis, new government regulations, being unable to adapt to consumer’s behaviour, etc.

There is a good analogy I would like to share here. We need to see businesses for the seasons they go through. There is always a spring where you plant, then the harvest season when you grow and get profit from it and then there is autumn and winter. We are now in the winter season and if we have had a good prevision we can navigate this time.

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Alan Donegan Biography

Alan Donegan is an entrepreneur and education thought leader. Alan Donegan founded PopUp in 2012 with Simon Paine after they thought there must be a better way to start a business, without debt and without formal business plans. Alan decided he wanted to start PopUp to make sure that no one else went through the pain he went through starting up his business.

As Alan Donegan has repeatedly said: “Nothing is more rewarding than seeing other people flourish”. Alan’s past experience in business has given him the drive to enable anyone no matter their circumstances to live the life they want in personal and financial freedom.

Alan is a regular speaker for the “Financial Independence, Retire Early” (FIRE) movement, which has given him the freedom to enact lifelong ambitions of writing movie scripts and travelling the world with his wife Katie as part of nomadic lifestyle.

Alan has recently launched his own personal blog, where he speaks around the world about Financial Independence, grass roots entrepreneurship, the negative effect of start-up loans, etc. and now speaks around the world teaching the PopUp and FIRE methodologies and combines the two with “The Rebel Entrepreneur” Podcast which launches Season 2 in February 2021.

Alan’s main mission in life is to help people build their own businesses and make money doing what they love. He does this at PopUp Business School by raising the money to pay for his workshops and then giving them all away for free.   No-one has ever paid to go on a PopUp Business School course.

Alan also runs Financial Independent retreats around the world called Chautauquas

About PopUp Business School

PopUp Business School’s ethos is to help entrepreneurs start their own businesses without the burden of debts and without business plans. Founded in 2012 by Alan Donegan and Simon Paine, PopUp has gone on to help over 7000 entrepreneurs in 4 continents to do more of what they love.

Pop-Up Business School has run courses in Namibia, Colorado, New Zealand and hundreds of  events all across the UK. They are an alternative business start up services that deliver workshops with huge energy and care that helps people make progress in their lives.

PopUpBusiness offers the following:

· understand writing a business plan is not for everyone

· believe you don’t need money to make money

· excite and inspire people to want to start a business

· deliver the latest online business models where people can make money from home

· Fun and passion are at the core of everything we do

· complement traditional business by engaging people they would never reach

· build the businesses with people in the workshops so they believe they can do it

· create a community that support each other long after we leave

Alan Donegan Links and Sources

FI Chautauqua – FI Chautauqua

Rebel Entrepreneur Podcast | ChooseFI