Every successful female entrepreneur started somewhere.
There’s no “magic pill” that effortlessly launches you out of your cubicle confinement and into the free world of entrepreneurship. For some, the dream to be your own boss grows for a long time, even years, before it finally comes to fruition.
The truth is, great success in business grows from just one, tiny seed.
We asked some of our favorite women entrepreneurs to share how they got their start in business. Their answers revealed the deep motivators and personal qualities that drove them to make their big idea a reality.
By reading about how they grew their businesses over the years, our goal is that you’ll identify a similar entrepreneurial seed, within yourself.
Here’s what these women had to share about getting their start as entrepreneurs.
“I was never an entrepreneurial kid, but I was always a dreamer and a rule breaker.”
“After graduating college with a French degree in 2009 during the middle of the recession, I quickly realized that I was ‘unemployable’ and decided to start finding ways to make money for myself. A few business ideas later, I started my copy writing business, and have never looked back.”
“Don’t give up, don’t take anything personally, and don’t take no for an answer,” Sophia advises.
Since founding Nasty Gal as an eBay store in 2006, selling vintage clothing, Sophia has transformed the business into a multi-million dollar empire with their own clothing line that was named the “Fastest Growing Retailer” in 2012. Recently, the New York Times Bestseller of #GIRLBOSS has stepped out of her role as the CEO of Nasty Gal, to become the Executive Chairman and shift her focus to overseeing just the creative and brand marketing functions of the business.
Without any fashion or business experience before starting Nasty Gal, Sophia credits much of her hard-earned success to her inability to accept failure as an option. “The people who told me no, were the people who eventually told me yes,” she adds.
“The year following my graduation from Cornell, my mom died suddenly of a brain aneurysm. It took me the ensuing 5 years to understand the lesson in her passing. Life is too short to do something you don’t love. She had been a maverick in her field, an Oscar winning actress who knew at age 7 what she wanted. It took me a bit longer.”
“I decided to pursue my dream of interior design, and went back to school full-time, while picking up full-time work in the field. However, I was still frustrated that I was not in charge of my day and my decisions.”
“Ultimately, my headstrong nature was both my undoing and my new beginning…”
“I’d planned to launch my startup in September 1994. When I asked my manager for time off, she said I didn’t have it. I said I did, and dug my heels in. Arguing with your manager when you need your job is never wise. I walked out.”
“I was unemployed, in debt, and 6 months premature to my planned launch. I launched immediately while taking up side jobs supervising a catering kitchen and teaching busy professionals (aka potential clients for my interior design practice) during evening education programs.”
“It was that magical place you hear about where fear meets breath and becomes unstoppable exhilaration. I worked 15 hour days, 6 days a week, because I wanted to. I couldn’t wait to get up, and hated to go to bed at night. I was totally on fire. I went from $70K in debt to rocking six figures and debt free in 18 months and that doubled every year for 5 years. Today, I design both home and business environments, while also advising the business and lifestyles that go on inside of them.”
“My advice is to find what lights you up, and do whatever it takes to make it happen. You will meet with unexpected success.”