In recent years, a flurry of new TV shows have explored the world of start-ups and entrepreneurship, giving prospective business owners an idea of some of the issues they may face on their journey to success. If being your own boss is something you aspire to, why not use your TV time productively by watching these shows and boosting your business knowledge?

Here are the top 10 shows for budding entrepreneurs:

1. Billions

A fictional drama, Billions takes a look at the world of high finance by tracking the ongoing struggle between hedge fund king Bobby Axelrod and District Attorney Chuck Rhoades. The show explores the themes of morality, wit and wealth, and demonstrates the truth in the phrase “absolute power corrupts absolutely”.

Watch it because while you may dream of becoming a self-made billionaire, Bobby Axelrod’s struggles with being in the public eye and becoming a target for everyone from greedy acquaintances to the justice system will help you to appreciate your ordinary, more modest lifestyle (as much as you may covet his super-cars and mansions and mega-yachts). 

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2. Silicon Valley

Loosely based on real-life personalities and companies, this series offers insight into the tech industry and gives viewers a chance to chuckle at eccentric entrepreneurs, while providing a look at the frenetic, high-stakes, cut-throat reality of the start-up world.

Watch it because it’s a good lesson in what it takes to turn a good idea into a profitable business - all the things that computer programmer Richard lacks, such as a level head, excellent negotiation skills, a supportive professional network and a trustworthy mentor. 

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3. The Deuce

Take a look at life in New York City during the 1970s and 80s when prostitution was legalised and the US porn industry was booming. The Deuce examines the impact of this growing market on real estate prices and how entrepreneurs made the most of unexplored opportunities at the time.

Watch it because it proves that opportunities do not come gift wrapped - to have a stab at success, you need to keep a close eye on trends in the market and investigate whether any big external changes and fluctuations could work in your favour. 

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4. House of Lies

Starring Don Cheadle and Kristen Bell, House of Lies takes a hilarious look at the world of management consultants and the various ways they take their smug, corporate fat-cat clients for a ride.

Watch it because it makes you realise that the decision to outsource services rather than bringing them in-house can make or break your business, and the fact that that high-profile firm you spend a fortune on to improve your profitability may, in fact, be playing you.

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5. Power

Delve into the world of James “Ghost” St Patrick, a wealthy New York nightclub owner who lives a double life as the kingpin of the most lucrative drug network in the Big Apple. Power shows the ruthless nature of the business world and how creating a Fortune 500 company often comes at a price.

Watch it because it drives home the message that while having a dodgy illegal gig on the side may seem like a good idea while you’re raking in the cash, it can cost you your family, your “real” business and even your life if you ever try to get out of it.

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6. Mr Robot

Follow Elliot, a young programmer by day and vigilante hacker by night, who finds himself conflicted when he gets recruited to destroy the firm he is paid to protect. This show explores the struggle of decision-making and is ripe with examples of how a single individual can change the trajectory of a business.

Watch it because it’s brilliant and clever and critically acclaimed, and also because it’s a great outlet for anyone who secretly wishes they could cause the downfall of the “evil” corporation that employs them without ever being found out.

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7. Suits

Set at a fictional law firm in New York City, Suits follows a talented college dropout who works as a law associate despite never having attended law school. The show’s two main characters, Harvey and Mike, provide lessons in confidence and bravado and show how far you can go if someone just believes in you. 

Watch it because it offers the message that, sometimes, going completely off-book and making what may seem like a crazy decision can give your career the boost it needs - for a while, anyway.

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8. HBO’s High Maintenance

Providing a glimpse into the lives of eccentric New Yorkers, this comedy series about a marijuana dealer explores the ins and outs of owning a business that relies mostly on your people skills and discretion.

Watch it because it shows how client loyalty can be bought with attention to customer service, and that you don’t have to like the people you do business with. Also, if this particular field is something you’re interested in, it’s a reminder to never get high off your own supply. 

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9. Keeping Up with the Kardashians

Yes, the Kardashians have made their way onto this list! Before you dismiss this show entirely, ask yourself how a leaked sex tape turned into a multi-million-dollar franchise… Worth watching now, don’t you think? 

Watch it because as flighty and shallow as they may seem, the Kardashians are a prime example of savvy business minds. Though all the DASH stores recently closed, the family’s dedication to the business shows that when you run a company, there’s no such thing as work-life balance - the business is your life.

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10. Boardwalk Empire

Set in the Prohibition era of the 1920s, Boardwalk Empire explores the story of a New Jersey politician who plays both sides of the law as bootlegging booms. Boardwalk Empire offers lessons in negotiation skills, influence and the power of openness when navigating your position within different groups of people.

Watch it because it proves that, if your head’s in the game, even a political climate that may seem hostile to your business could be your greatest opportunity yet.

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Watch all these shows and much more on Showmax. Get a free 14-day trial if you are a first-time user when you sign up for Showmax, and if you’re a DStv Premium subscriber, get Showmax at no extra cost. DStv Compact subscribers get Showmax for R49.

This content is sponsored by Showmax and co-created with Brandstudio24 for Business Insider SA.