As an entrepreneur, you might not have much time to watch TV series, but you’re always looking for ways to keep your creativity flowing. A TV series might be one source of inspiration, as it can be watched in succinct short episodes and get your creativity flowing for a longer period of time than just a movie.
Fictional or real characters can give you wacky ideas you had never considered before, inspire you with their entrepreneurial perseverance, and offer a way to test out scenarios or conversations in an alternate universe. From self-made millionaires, to family business dynamics, to balancing work and kids, there are lots of themes to choose from.
With that in mind, here are 8 eye-opening series for your quarantine watch list.
This four-part Netflix series traces the inspiring story of successful African American entrepreneur Madam C.J. Walker who built a hair care empire that made her America’s first female self-made millionaire. An extraordinary tale of a woman driven to succeed despite everyone around telling her to stop. Although her struggles seem never-ending, it is her creativity, tenacity, determination and innovation that made her stand out. Madam C.J. Walker will long serve as an inspiration for any women innovator and entrepreneur out there.
Main takeaway: Business is built through persistence, grit and perseverance.
Family Business follows the ups and downs of a Parisian Jewish family after the downfall of their family butcher shop. This French series is a one-of-a-kind comedy about a family and the hilarious adventure they embark on – building the first-ever marijuana cafe. However, it’s the family, and not the business, that’s at the heart of Family Business. Family dynamics change once sisters and uncles become business associates. But despite all the drama, ‘family is family’, a synonym for unconditional love and support.
Main takeaway: Think twice before bringing your family into your business.
3. Dirty Money
This Netflix original TV series is a docu-series focused on corruption and capitalism gone awry. The series features six hour-long episodes, each episode focusing on one example of corporate corruption, ranging from the deception of otherwise trusted brands like Volkswagen, to ploys by companies in despised industries – whether it’s payday loan companies or big pharma. Dirty money is a dire warning that the systems meant to protect us might be too broken to do anything to stop us from tumbling over.
Main takeaway: Money rules everything around you.
4. Workin’ Moms
To all the mum entrepreneurs out there: You rock! Life gets complicated after kids are thrown in the mix and this is the rationale of the series. Workin’ Moms explores motherhood through the lens of four mothers, who are going back to work after becoming parents and are faced with challenges in their fast-paced and competitive workplaces. The show gives an excellent uncensored insight into the realities of balancing professional and personal success. As if hormonal, body, mental and personal changes are not enough.
Main takeaways: It is an understatement that balancing home life, parenting and professional goals is difficult. Thumbs up to all working moms!
Inspired by Sophia Amoruso, the CEO and founder of Nasty Girl, this series follows the rise of her multi-million dollar fashion empire. Amoruso started selling vintage clothes on eBay from her bedroom at the age of 22 and it took her only five years to attract several big venture capital rounds and reach a reported valuation of +€180 million. The series demonstrates the empowering spirit when you finally figure out what you want to do in life. In a nutshell: it’s about a full-grown woman who figures out a way to work for herself.
Main takeaways: Sometimes you need to hit rock bottom to start over, but if you follow your passion success will find its way.
6. Mad Men
There’s a reason why Mad Men became one of the most popular series on television. The 92-episode marketing series offers audiences authentic and valuable lessons about communication, leadership and human nature that still ring true in today’s business environment. But the highest point of the series lies in how you sell yourself. It doesn’t really matter who you are or what you want, but rather what you show about yourself to people.
Main takeaways: Creativity can be the ultimate competitive differentiator. And most importantly: Look for hidden talents in your staff.
Four investigative episodes of Broken explore the harmful and fraudulent ways in which manufacturers create cheap products, often at the expense of public health and safety. Through the lens of counterfeit makeup, e-cigarettes, cheap furniture, and plastic, this series empowers you to understand globalism, consumer culture, brand desire, mass production and marketing. By the end of the series you are left shocked enough to want to take action.
Main takeaway: Be a smart consumer, and invest both carefully and consciously in your purchases. On the other hand, be a smart business owner – deception will not work in the long run.
Netflix transformed Marie Kondo’s book, ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up’ into a national phenomenon. But going beyond the TV show, you can use Marie Kondo’s de-cluttering principles To ‘Tidy Up’ your business. By having an attitude of minimalism and getting the most value and enjoyment out of every client relationship and every facet of your business, you can create a simpler, better-performing business that will hopefully “spark joy” and generate big profits for many years to come.
Main takeaways: Never discard anything without saying thank you and good-bye.
Which series will you start with first? If you enjoyed this list, you might also like our recent article ’10 Netflix documentaries every entrepreneur should see’, which is chockablock with inspiring real-life entrepreneurship stories.