Sophia Amoruso — Business & Life Lessons From a #GirlBoss
Although Sophia Amoruso does not want to be idolized, she is a good role model for young girls and women to follow. At age 23, Sophia started her online business in a tiny San Francisco apartment stacked with killer vintage, a single laptop, and an eBay account. Today, her brand NastyGal carries new clothing, shoes and accessories under their label, all for gals who’ve got the confidence to just be themselves. Here are some business & life lessons learnt from Sophia Amoruso, the GirlBoss.
Sophia Amoruso’s success stemmed from her finding her passion and purpose in life and eventually turning it into a multi-million-dollar company.
In case you don’t recognize Amoruso’s name, this might jog your memory: She’s also the author of the 2014 New York Times bestseller #GirlBoss, host of a popular podcast and executive producer of a Netflix TV show in development, all bearing the same brand: GirlBoss. The fact that she turned her love for vintage clothing into a continuous stream of income for herself is very inspiring.
Sophia Amoruso is a fearless brand — a woman of passion, purpose, and persistence.
She’s created meteoric success — and experienced devastating loss. Through it all, Amoruso has remained true to herself and true to her beliefs. What many refer to as failures, Sophia Amoruso sees as learning. What would stop others in their tracks has only spurred her to seek new levels of success and to use her experience to help others succeed.
The thing that stood out above all was her attitude.
Sophia knew she was different, and she owned it. She was proud of everything that made her unique, and knew how to play to her strengths. She’s so motivating, because you can tell she worked hard and did whatever she could to figure it out along the way.
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Through his GirlBoss experience, Sophia Amoruso teaches us great business & life lessons. Love her or hate her, her personal journey has more than a few insightful moments and so I wanted to share those with you in a post! So, here are the five lessons learned from #GIRLBOSS!
GirlBoss Lesson #1: Ask for What You Want
Sophia Amoruso always believed that she was capable of something bigger. That big thing turned out to be Nasty Gal. But she didn’t find it, she created it. If there’s no perfect job for you, create it. Learn to create your own opportunities because life is all about creating yourself!
You don’t get what you don’t ask for. This is a powerful one, especially for women to learn and really understand.
I think ladies have a tendency to shy away from asking for things because we don’t want to come off one way or another, but when you boil it down for your business you won’t make any money or get any customers if you don’t ask for the sale or ask for the business. Sophia seemed to get everything she asked for, and while that may not be a fool proof strategy for your business, sometimes asking is the first step to getting what you want.
It pays to chase after what you really want in life, instead of settling for less.
When you take control of your life, you have the opportunity to turn almost everything in your favor. Sure, you won’t be able to control everything that happens in your life. But at least you will see that the energy you put out into the world will closely affect the outcome you will receive in return. Entrepreneurs, especially women, will hear the word NO more than they care to. Many are derailed by these closed doors’ Embrace NO is Sophia Amoruso’s advice to people, who want to make it, as she did, through hard work and determination. As she stated: “Hearing the word ‘no’ starts the conversation, ‘no’ is not no. ‘No’ is … watch me!”
As a rule of thumb, keep up asking and you shall (most likely) receive.
When Harvard Business school grads Katia Beauchamp and Hayley Barna were trying to launch their new, unknown company Birchbox, they needed help from established makeup brands to get their sample subscription business off the ground. So they asked. Katia cold emailed CEOs of brands she admired, pitched them the business idea and asked if they wanted to be part of it. And the makeup brands said… yes. It goes to show, you’ll never get what you want if you don’t ask for it.
The best entrepreneurs never take “no” for an answer — they take it as a challenge to show what they can do.
Where 90 percent of startups eventually fail, being discouraged by denial is a fast track to the startup graveyard. Where there once was a problem, find an appropriate solution to achieve your goal — whatever that is. Think of no as a river that you’re trying to cross. Your hard work is the bridge to make across the river safely. Practice patience and persistence. In business, sometimes the answer isn’t final and how you react can determine a potential relationship with a client down the road. Take time to refine your pitch, build a broad network of opportunities, and learn more about what your ideal client needs.
GirlBoss Lesson #2: Confidence Is The New Black
Sophia Amoruso brings up what she calls “The Red String Theory“, which is where she talks about how she convinced other kids on the playground when she was five-that the red string she ran with trailing behind her was a kite. Not only did she believe this to be true, but so did her peers, and they ended up wanting “kites” of their own. Repeatedly working on her confidence has been crucial to her success.
If you believe and are confident in yourself, others will believe the same. Confidence in yourself and your passion is key.
There is an everyday kind of magic that we create for ourselves and that is not magical at all. It’s just recognizing the fact that we are in control of our thoughts and our thoughts control our lives. This is an extremely simple, totally straight forward concept, but for a lot of people it’s so alien it might as well be magic. You get back what you put in, so you might as well think positively. Focus on visualizing what you want instead of getting distracted by what you don’t have.
One of the biggest struggles women face is the ability to be truly confident in their work.
Sadly, society screams focuses on how a woman should act and what they should be. I meet with so many female youth and the lack of self-confidence scares me. What I want to focus on with this blog post is easy ways to exude self confidence without trying to be someone you were never meant t be in the first place. Confidence cares about itself and demands the respect it knows it deserves. Remember that you teach people how to treat you. If there is something going on that you don’t like — say so. People aren’t mind readers. Practice speaking up!
You become what you think and if you don’t believe in yourself first and the most, then who will?
Insecure people tend to make excuses or cover up mistakes. If you’re confident, you know that a mistake or error is not the defining factor of your life. Work on taking responsibility for your decisions, both good and bad. This will make you read as more confident to those around you. Remember, you are the only person who can make things happen for yourself. You have the power to direct your life, for better or for worse. If you make a mistake, don’t minimize it. Instead, think to yourself, “That was a mistake. It was poor judgment on my part. I should try to do better next time.”
There is no force more powerful than a woman determined to rise.
One of the many things that make a woman sexy is when she exudes confidence and stands up for things that she believes in. The girl boss does not stay silent about the things she thinks is right. Her opinion is always right there on the table for people to consider. Women have been battling equality for decades and the only time they are heard is through their collective voices, fighting for their rights and setting things right. Don’t be afraid to have a voice. Let it be heard.
GirlBoss Lesson #3: Focus on The Positive
Sometimes you wonder why you haven’t improved as a person or why you’re stuck in the same position in life. The fact of the matter is that every situation you deal with in your life presents the opportunity for you to learn something from it in order to elevate your life for the better. God puts you through things to teach you a valuable lesson. And you won’t be able to move on from it until you do. So, it pays to focus on the positive, even if your situation isn’t the greatest.
When focusing too much on the negative, more negative things could be conjured up as a result.
The more Sophia Amoruso obsessed over a woman who copied her every business move, the more energy she put into something she didn’t want to have weight in her life. The valuable lesson to be learned from this experience was that she needed to focus on the positive things in her own life, and not give any energy to anything that disrupted the peace. At the age of 22, Sophia had over 30,000 followers on eBay and was the envy of many. Had she let those things go to her head, she likely would not have achieved the success that she has — and continues to enjoy. Her advice is simple: “Don’t act like you’ve arrived when you’re just receiving the invitation.”
When you approach everything as if it’s a big, fun experiment, then it won’t be a big deal if things don’t work out.
Focus on what you are good at and find a place where you can flourish. With the intention and determination to achieve your goals, you also have to leave room for the universe to have its way. Don’t get too focused on one opportunity that you get blind to other ones that might come up. And if something’s not working out, you can always go for something else for a while. It’s not giving up. If the plan changes, that can even be better.
Failure is normal. You just have to fail better each time.
People often think failure is something that only affects them, but it’s actually important to engage with failure and be ready for it. For many people, it’s a new way of seeing the world but it really is the case and not a cliché that nothing brings you forward like defeat and everything you learn from it! You learn nothing from success. Failure is your invention. Sophia Amoruso was a shoplifter, hitchhiker, dropout… she hasn’t let one of these things hold her back. Instead, she’s taken those life experiences and found opportunities to grow. Choose to define pitfalls as learning tools rather than failures, and you’ll be on the right path to becoming your own GirlBoss.
GirlBoss Lesson #4: Details Matter
From her photography to her copy to how perfectly straight the shipping label on the package was, Sophia Amoruso understands that in order to build a solid brand and business, you have to pay attention to all the details. Each detail of your brand/business should be intentionally crafted. She knows images are the most important for her business, so she makes sure that her thumbnails still POP even when you shrink them down really small.
Thinking, “Oh, it doesn’t really matter,” is a slippery slope. Take pride in your work, and do it — all of it — well.
We don’t all have the luxury of time on our hands, so obsessing over every little thing may not be very efficient, but when you do things with care, you’ll please your customers, your boss, and you’ll save a lot of time having to fix any errors later on. Attention to detail can make or break a company and its product. From the beginning of the process to the final shipment of the good, every aspect should be perfect.
Some of the best and most successful companies have mastered the art of paying close attention to every single detail of their business and their product.
Scuff marks are sanded and smoothed. Employees are always kind and helpful. No question goes unanswered and no complaint goes unnoticed. Everything from carefully affixed shipping labels to ruminating over the perfect words for a product description helped Sophia Amoruso build a strong and credible reputation for Nasty Gal. If you’re considering giving your money to a business who then shows you they don’t care, you’re not going to do it, are you?
A big part of paying attention to detail is going the extra mile.
Let’s be honest, when it comes to running a company, you need your clients to feel like you care about them. And the best way to illustrate this is to go that extra mile all the time. Work on trying to impress your audience during your business presentations. And make sure every product and service you offer is of the highest quality. Also, really go all out to help ensure they get a memorable and personal experience that they will enjoy.
Details matter to customers and clients. Paying attention to those details can keep your company up and running.
Whether you’re just starting your own small business or you’ve been in the game for a while, it’s easy to focus on big picture scenarios and keeping your business afloat by developing large marketing strategies. But, if you’re only thinking about the big picture, you could be missing out on the small-yet-important details that will increase customer retention. In particular, consumers are itching for businesses with personable traits, so showing that your company is listening and cares about its customers can make a big difference.
GirlBoss Lesson #5: Cash Is King
An entire chapter of her bestseller book #GIRLBOSS is dedicated to Nasty Gal’s pretty amazing accomplishment — the company has never had debt, because Sophia Amoruso lives by the mantra that “Cash is King.” In just three years running her business this way, in 2010, she had almost a million bucks in the bank!
According to this rule, when your income increases, don’t automatically increase your spending accordingly.
How will you grow your business (or if you’re reading this as professional female rather than business owner — how do you expect your savings to increase) this way? If you make smart decisions and put the business first, you will prosper, and eventually, yes, you can have luxury headquarters.
For some people, money means access to material things, while for others money means access to freedom.
It all comes down to how well you manage and save your money. Money reaches another level of importance when you have to spend your own money. Sophia Amoruso built Nasty Gal from the ground up debt-free without the option to take out a business loan. Also, when she had a steady job, she chose to be responsible with her money. If you do choose to spend your hard-earned money on material things, still try to find a good balance between splurging on yourself and saving or investing your money.
Things from food to luxury goods are thrown in your face and to be honest, I often find myself wanting everything I see, but that is no way to live.
While she was building her business, Sophia Amoruso was very frugal and almost refused to spend money. Although she doesn’t really analyze this decision much, I believe it had something to do with her previous freegan lifestyle, mixed with a sense of apprehension that at any moment the rug could be pulled from under her and her business could fall apart. At any rate, this is a great lesson for young women (all women, and men too) to learn! You can’t spend money you don’t have, and you shouldn’t spend all the money you earn either.
Increasing cash is the absolute measure of a successful company.
Apple, Berkshire Hathaway and Google have well published cash mountains, and these continue to grow. These businesses have world dominating business models and their cash mountains are a result of this success. You can buy things with cash: invest in the next marketing campaign, hire a new employee, invest in future growth. Cash has a lot of value. Profit is just an accounting measure and pretty worthless in isolation.
Her strong work ethic was evident by the time Sophia Amoruso was fifteen, making sandwiches at a Subway store, where she fully embraced her father’s teaching: “Show up. Don’t stop moving. Sweep the floor even when they don’t ask you to.” That tenacious work ethic would remain at full throttle through all of the ups and downs that Sophia Amoruso would face.
The time is now. You need to find your purpose in life, but make sure that you also enjoy life along the way.
Life should be lived to the fullest. Put your energy into things that make you happy and careers or passions that leave you fulfilled. Turn your life into the one you’ve always wanted. Figure out what you love doing and don’t suck at, then try to figure out how to make a living doing that! Don’t be scared. We’re all going to die, it’s just a question of when and how — so be brave!
Let’s face it; There is no one path to the top.
You don’t always have to follow the conventional route to success. In fact, Sophia Amoruso thought she was going to end up stuck in loser lane when the obvious route of hourly jobs and community college didn’t work for her. But she always suspected that she was destined for, and that she was capable of, something bigger. That something turned out to be Nasty Gal, but you know what? She didn’t find Nasty Gal. She created it.
BTW, every failure or setback should be seen as a new opportunity to learn a life lesson and be provided with more motivation to succeed.
Her rollercoaster of life is a perfect representation of how an individual’s current situation can be turned around as long as they never give up and always choose to see the bright side of every situation. A key to Amoruso’s continued triumph in business can be attributed to how she handled, and learned from, this failure. Even when the darkest days come and life puts obstacles in your path, there’s always something you can be grateful for.
There’s a chance for you, #GIRLBOSS. So take it.
Like it? Ready to start your journey to becoming a #GirlBoss? Share this post so your friends can also rekindle (or get introduced to) the inspirational story of Sophia Amoruso! Thank you for reading. Here’s a virtual donut as a token of my appreciation:
Digital Dandy. Hacker From Heart. Workaholic. Coding Artist. Self-made.