Women help women. In this edition, we have collected tips from famous entrepreneurs and celebrities as they share knowledge (and wit) in surviving life's biggest trials.
"You've got to have fun, or else life is like one long dental appointment."
When Debbie Fields started out her cookie business, she took on the challenge optimistically. “Here I am armed with all this belief that it's going to be great, it's going to be wonderful and I'm going to have a lot of fun – and I didn't have a single customer,” she disclosed in a women's business conference in LA. Today, her brand Mrs. Fields soared among the cookie companies and have gained the love and affection from long-following patrons.
"[Your business] should fill a need and stand out from the competition."
"I created a line for what I wanted to wear, and what I saw there was a lack of in the market," revealed Rebecca Minkoff, when asked to share tips for launching a business. Piggybacking on existing products won't get your brand noticed, she emphasized.
"Don’t give up, don’t take anything personally, and don’t take no for an answer."
Sophia Amoruso's Nasty Gal started out in eBay in 2006 and now has become one of the world's fastest growing retailer. Her vintage clothing business grew into an empire and it opened more doors, giving Sophia the chance to write the bestseller #GIRLBOSS. Even though she had no fashion or business background, Sophia credits her success to her inability to accept failure. “The people who told me ‘no’, were the people who eventually told me ‘yes.’”
"Design in the white space. What I want to see is a solution to a problem that no one has solved, what makes you different and why the customer needs you."
SPANX's founder Sara Blakely found her way in the business world with her shapewear that matches the needs of real women, not the standard mannequin. Since then, she has expanded her garment line to various hosieries, bring back confidence to women who were not at ease with their bodies.
"Don't waste your time on conflicts."
In her book Bossypants, actress and comedienne Tina Fey alludes to facing conflicts on work environments. Being a good leader, she says, is knowing when to let go and when to stand your ground. “Don't waste your energy trying to educate or change opinions,” Fey added lastly. This hinders the progress of the discussion; instead, learn to meet halfway, and find your way around.
"Make your life about something that can make a difference in the world. Put the spotlight on what is working."
Arriana Huffington, co-founder of Huffington Post and author of several business books, wrapped up an interview with this statement. Her multi-million-dollar news company only started out as a blog and has unexpectedly blossomed into a new media platform. “Don't be defined by the press,” she says. In addition to that, women should also lose that “obnoxious roommate” – the fear of being identified with successes and failures, which constantly puts one down.
"Create the highest, grandest vision possible for your life, because you become what you believe."
Perhaps at the pinnacle of her career, media queen Oprah knows what it was like to be the underdog. This empathy is reflected in her TV show where she showcases her compassion to and for her audience (so many gifts!). But more than that, Oprah has inspired many in her strongly-anchored hope and optimism. With her life story, she has stirred many women to pursue a vision that is bigger than their dreams.
These women did not start on top; rather, they planned, worked their way up, made mistakes, and learned their lessons. The best part: they tried again. May these tips be an inspiration to you as you build your own business empire. Take your experiences to heart, and may these be lessons you can share for the next generation of entrepreneurs to come.