Editor’s Note: We have (unofficially) declared September to be the Boss Month — this is YOUR time to make all your dreams a reality. In honor of Boss School and our #30Days30Women campaign, we’re upping the ante once again to feature prominent women who have conquered the road to boss-dom.
BY Amber Robbin
What She’s Known For: Sophia Amoruso is the incredibly young, whip-smart entrepreneur who started Nasty Gal, named the “Fastest Growing Retailer” in 2012 by INC Magazine. Her vintage designer clothing company started as a small Ebay store, and through persistence, a whole lotta hard work, and ingenious social media marketing via Myspace, Amoruso quickly built up a following of 60,000 fans. The company has since expanded to 110 employees and roughly $24 million in revenue! Her best-selling book, #GIRLBOSS, tells it all about her unique journey from dumpster diver and petty thief to CEO of a multi-million-dollar business.
Why She’s So Fearless: Amoruso is a self-taught entrepreneur who is not afraid to get her hands dirty. She started Nasty Gal by doing 100% of the work BY HERSELF: the styling, site upkeep, photography, shipping, everything! It’s no wonder she makes such a good CEO; she knows how every role in her company works.
“No matter where you are in life, you’ll save a lot of time by not worrying too much about what other people think about you. The earlier in your life that you can learn that, the easier the rest of it will be.”
– Sophia Amoruso, #GIRLBOSS
What She’s Known For: Elizabeth was working as one of Coldwater Creek’s most successful executives when the recession hit, and she was laid off. She realized she never again wanted to find herself in that position, so she committed wholeheartedly to becoming her own boss and starting a business. She combined her love of sports with her passion and experience in fashion, creating what is now an $8-million-dollar-business with her daughter as her partner. Meesh & Mia sells stylish fan-wear for women, with their designs at 160 colleges across the country and an official NFL SuperBowl collection. Her experience has moved her to start a foundation that helps other entrepreneurs go the distance.
Why She’s So Fearless: She risked it all, taking a credit line against her house and reaching deep into her savings. But she didn’t just max out her own resources. She found investors and a business incubator, building a community of supportive advisors around her that made it possible to turn her dream into a reality.
“I was lucky enough to find the right people. Every step along the way, there was someone who said, ‘I can help you.’ If you have a passion, you have to follow it. And you have to believe there will always be someone who will help you.”
– Elizabeth Turley
What She’s Known For: OH MY GOD, SO MUCH…The Oprah Winfrey Show, an Emmy Award-winning favorite of daytime television for 25 seasons, her Golden Globe-nominated performance in The Color Purple, Harpo Productions, Inc., The Oprah Magazine, her television network OWN, and the list goes on! She is the first African American woman to become a billionaire, and she’s used her various platforms tirelessly to promote people she believes in and share their gifts with the world, including Toni Morrison, Maya Angelou, Barack Obama, and Nelson Mandela, to name a few.
Why She’s So Fearless: This many accomplishments would be an incredible feat for anyone, but Oprah overcame poverty, sexual abuse, and teenage pregnancy to become one of the most powerful and influential media moguls in history. That is truly remarkable.
“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”
– Oprah Winfrey
What She’s Known For: Rowling and her incomparable imagination are responsible for creating one of the most successful (and beloved) book and film franchises in history. She sold over 35 million copies of her first three books in 35 different languages, garnering over $480 million in just 3 years! She’s risen to become one of the richest women in Britain, and she certainly deserves it. Rowling has a work ethic rivalled by none, and as a result, she’s the only person to have ever made such an enormous profit from book-writing.
Why She’s So Fearless: She found the courage and inspiration to start writing about the magical world of Harry Potter when she was recently divorced and struggling to support herself and her young daughter on welfare. And despite multiple rejections from publishers, Rowling never gave up, eventually selling the first book in the series for a mere $4,000. It certainly paid off in the end!
“Anything’s possible if you’ve got enough nerve.”
– J.K. Rowling
What She’s Known For: There’s a reason they call her “Jenny from the block.” She grew up in a small apartment in The Bronx to hard-working, Puerto Rican parents. A singer and dancer from a young age, she eventually landed her big break as a Fly Girl on In Living Color. A slew of Hollywood roles were to follow, her starring role in Selena being the catalyst for her record-breaking crossover into pop music. The megastar has grossed $2 billion from her work in film and 80 million in record sales.
Why She’s So Fearless: J. Lo had to overcome great adversity to get to where she is. She broke through many racial barriers in the film and music industries, becoming one of the most successful Latina entertainers of all time, and paving the way for generations of Latino performers to come.
“I only do what my gut tells me to. I think it’s smart to listen to other people’s advice, but at the end of the day, you’re the only one who can tell you what’s right for you.”
– Jennifer Lopez
>>Amber is a freelance writer with a love of salsa dancing, romance languages, and international travel. Thanks to Hello Fearless, she embraces entrepreneurship as the path to her perfectly unconventional and adventurous life. You can read more about her journey and “the missteps and conquests of 20-somethings in the workforce” at tumbleweeddiaries.com.