Biggest Lessons We Learned This Year!

OMG, What a year, right?

Since Day 1 (when we started brainstorming in the living room of my tiny apartment) our culture at the Academy of Entrepreneurs has always been about Emotional Intelligence, Positivity, Disruption, and Resilience  – so when the world started to #panic in March 2020 we super focused on staying true to our values – and WOW – 2020 has been our BIGGEST Year Ever!


We grew from 48 nationalities to 68 nationalities.

And we went from face-to-face classes for a couple of hundreds of students, to online classes to almost half a million students around the globe!!!

YES!!!!! #Amazing!

But you are probably wondering;

Did we make mistakes along the way? 

Hell Yeah…. But each and every single one of them made us fail forward. And step by step forward we #grew more than we could’ve ever imagined.

So, Nico and I decided to write this blog. So we can share with you our biggest lessons and tips – because as we know 2021 is just around the corner and we wanted to empower you with our 2020 lessons and mindset – and prepare YOU for an amazing  2021!

Here are the top 7 lessons that we had this 2020 and would like to share with you 🙂

Our customers are our best friends

On Monday (after the Australian Prime Minister announced the shutdown on Sunday night), 100% of our team 100% focused on calling our legends, listening to their needs/fears and 100% showing that we truly cared and we are 100% there for them. We called every legend 2x a week for the first 2 weeks, then we started calling them once a week from week 3 onwards.

Our win? We retained 100% of students and gained 100% of their loyalty. And via our mentoring calls 100% of our legends’ businesses survived and also grew in 2020! Yey!

Teamwork Makes the Dreamwork

We didn’t want to have salary reductions, as we knew how hard our full-time staff had worked over the past years. So we asked the team to cut out 100% of all costs possible. We saved every single cent.

Our win? Our team super collaborated to make sure all costs could be cut, and they all had 100% of their salaries paid all year round.

Invest in Growth

During a crisis prices are lower, so we heavily invested in new projects and grew our team in Australia, in South East Asia and Latin America.

Our win? We created new revenue streams, and now 40% of our revenue comes from our new offshore #growth projects.

Invest in Self-Awareness and Sales Training

We hired some of the best business coaches to train & upskill us. We offered the training to everyone in the organization and encouraged everyone to join. 100% joined! The group training ended up turning into Team Bonding Activities, bonuses and promotions.

Our win? The team became even closer, boosted their strengths and together we hit 100% of our targets (and more)

Technology is not as easy (or cheap) – but B2B is 🙂

Everyone was talking about Paid Ads as the easiest way to grow during a pandemic , “as everyone was online”.

So, we hired an external agency. They asked us to build online courses and give them a big Paid Ad budget.

They promised us the world. After 3 months and not delivering even  1% of their promised targets, we terminated their contract.

We had an internal meeting and decided that we didn’t want the project to die (as we had created 300 short online courses in 3 months for them to sell online).

We decided to try it out ourselves (in-house). We bootstrapped, changed the Paid Ad strategy to B2B strategy and voilà; we enrolled hundreds of thousands of students

Our win? We did What We Love, which is building meaningful relationships with our Overseas Partners that care about Social Impact and Entrepreneurship.

Via Design Thinking and Agile projects we tested-pivoted-tested-pivoted every day and launched Blended Self-Paced Program with exclusive Live Master Classes to empower First Time Entrepreneurs.

We grew our monthly revenue by  10% and created 4 new roles  🙂

Network. Network. Network.

“As everyone was online”, we reconnected via LinkedIn and Whatsapp with everyone we had ever had an interesting conversation with.

One person connected us to another and before we knew we were signing deals with Leading Companies, Award Winning Institutions, as well as Ambassadors, Trade Ministers, Ministers of Education and Ministers of Tourism all around the world

Our win? We educated over 500,000 legends via our courses, webinars and conferences.

Laugh at Your Competition

Every business has competitors, and so do we.

But at AE we have a culture where we are inspired and empowered  by the Unicorns (Airbnb, Xero, Amazon etc) and Zebras (ThankYou, Grameen, Toms etc) – and we laugh at the competition that tries to copy us, as they are always (many) steps behind.

It was funny when our partner agencies called us to say that a couple of colleges in Sydney were copying our social media posts, course names and even event titles. We just laughed, because while they were busy copying us – we were busy disrupting  the industry and growing every day.

Our win? By being inspired, mentored and coached by leaders, we launched new projects and kept the recognition of market leaders.

2020 has made us humble and reminded us the importance of staying true to our mission, values and PURPOSE!!!!

We lived day – by – day true to our IKIGAI and boosted everyday our Emotional Intelligence, Resilience, Positivity and Disruptive Attitude.

We’re not going to lie, we had little challenges literally every day, but it is in our organisation’s DNA to always go above and beyond – work as a team – collaborate with industry, stay positive and SHINE everyday so we can continue to create a positive impact around the world.

How was your 2020?

What are your 2021 goals?

What is YOUR life purpose? ARE YOU DOING WHAT YOU LOVE?

If you’d like 2021 to be your best year ever, we suggest you to take some time to connect with yourself 🙂

We created this 3hr course to help you SHINE in 2021 and beyond!

Click here to sign up:

And use promo code: LEGEND to get 30% off  🙂

#BossYourFuture and Have an Amazing 2021

Big Happy Hugs,

Paula Mills, Nico Luciano and the AE Team


Written by Paula Mills and Nico Luciano




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I would like to address you, on the occasion of greeting you and at the same time informing you that we are always here to serve you with all the support you need, for us as a country (Panama) and the Ministry of Education it was an honor and we thank you for choosing us for the prestigious Course of Entrepreneurs for the benefit of teachers and students nationwide.

Lic. Nayla Valdespino

Analista de Cooperación Internacional, Comisión Nacional UNESCO, Ministry of Education in Panana

“Engaging, encouraging, and simply unforgettable! The Academy of Entrepreneurs’ sessions with our community is always full of practical information that can easily be emulated by our partner social enterprises, as AE delivers it with full positivity and enthusiasm. Thank you!”

Samantha Chico

United Nations via the Phildev Foundation

I recognised that I need to make my business as efficient as possible, so I wanted to learn about all the aspects of being an entrepreneur. Academy of Entrepreneurs have opened doors for me to network and have grown my business much quicker than I would have otherwise done.

Sophia Tremenheere

So Tremendous

It was an honor and a privilege to have Paula Mills as our ISIP Visiting Professor at the Technological Institute of the Philippines.  Her experience, as well as her passion and enthusiasm for social entrepreneurship and creating impact, were impressive and contagious.  Her lessons and insights on Social Entrepreneurship, Technopreneurship, Partnerships and Community, and Mentor Management were incredible and valuable. Thank you so much for generously sharing your time and expertise with us.

Shearyl Arenas


We left everything we had behind with one mission, follow our dreams and make them come true. This is why we created GiveMeCocos, we want to inspire you to live a more conscious life, to be happier and make healthier and sustainable lifestyle choices, bringing tropical vibes into everyone’s life. 

Agustin Eli

Give Me Cocos

I found that networking and surrounding yourself with fellow soon to be entrepreneurs is a key element of the entrepreneurial journey, and AE delivers on this. A great community is formed, offering constant support and ongoing motivation!

This business that I have started would not have been the same without Academy of Entrepreneurs!

Felicitas Lavenas

Wanaco Collaboration

There is a lot of YouTube videos that give tips on marketing, finance, pitching to investors etc but there is no school program that teaches you how to build and run a company, how to behave in real life and boss your future. AE has helped me when I got stuck and gave me motivation and confidence to succeed

Francois Dujardin-Rey

Crepe Franchise

Academy of Entrepreneurs provided me the network and the tools to transform my ideas into a real business. They have an amazing team which is always in contact with me, helping me solve any problem that I could have. AE is also a very modern organization, because they use a lot of apps and tools that make the overall experience more efficient.

Hatim Alattar

Co-founder and Partner of Hatim Sweets

Academy of Entrepreneurs helped me with many things! They helped me to organise my ideas and establish a way to achieve my goals, step by step.

I also get  a lot of inspiration from entrepreneurs who speak during the Tuesday talks and also from the teachers and mentors during classes.

Martin Rodriguez

Founder of RockNDog