I finished reading the bestselling book #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso last month and I can’t stop thinking about it! Amoruso describes a #Girlboss as “someone who is in charge of her own life. She gets what she wants because she works hard for it.” If you’re currently reading this book or it’s sitting on your night stand waiting to be read and you don’t want any spoilers…now is the time to stop reading this post. If you’re interested in picking up a few tips from the original #Girlboss, I’ve got you covered.
Sophia Amoruso is the founder, CEO, and creative director of a multi-million dollar company called Nasty Gal. But get this, only eight years ago she was unemployed, dumpster diving for bagels, and shoplifting her way through life. Amoruso has the ultimate rags-to-riches success story, she’s the Alpha Female who created her own empire from absolutely nothing. Best of all, she never had a penny of debt along the way. This is one of the most inspirational business stories the world has heard!
So you want to be a #Girlboss? Yeah, me too. Let’s start by getting one thing straight.
“#GIRLBOSS is a feminist book, and Nasty Gal is a feminist company in the sense that I encourage you, as a girl, to be who you want and do what you want. But I’m not here calling us ‘womyn’ and blaming men for any of my struggles along the way. I consider myself a feminist…but I think the most feminist thing to do is just to show up and be a Girl Boss. Maybe Girl Boss is a new word for feminism.” With that in mind, here are a few of Amoruso’s top tips:
1. Do the dirty work (as though you’re nose-deep in pine sol).
When Amoruso began her business, she was a one-woman merchandising, photographing, copywriting, and shipping machine. She got up at the crack of dawn to make 6 a.m. estate sales, she bargained with thrift stores down to the cent, she spent hours shooting and editing the images she styled herself (with models she recruited herself), and even ensured that the shipping and packaging of every parcel was up to standards. She relied on no one but herself.
“Many companies were spending millions of dollars trying to nail social media, but I just went with my instincts and treated my customers like they were my friends. Even with no manager watching to give me a gold star, it was important to do my best. Who cares if a tree falls in a forest and no one hears it? The tree still falls. When you hold yourself to the same standard in your work as you do as a friend, girlfriend, student, or otherwise, it pays off.”
2. Abandon anything about your life and habits that might be holding you back. Learn to create your own opportunities.
We’ve all had that friend that doesn’t support us or that job that leaves us feeling miserable at the end of the day. As soon as you start to let these things go and really focus your time on people and practices that support and propel you forward, things start happening.
“A Girl Boss is someone who has big dreams and is willing to work hard for them. So being a Girl Boss is really about being the boss of your own life. You don’t have to be the boss of anyone else to be a Girl Boss. So it’s about keeping personal responsibility for your future, being comfortable taking risks, and understanding that failure is the byproduct of your own invention. There are secret opportunities hidden inside every failure.”
3. Money looks better in the bank than on your feet.
Amoruso lives by this quote from Calvin Coolidge, “There is no dignity quite so impressive, and no independence quite so important, as living within your means.” Simply put, cash is king. This is such a simple fact, yet it’s so difficult for a lot of people to understand (myself included). Don’t spend more money than you have.
“Sadly, this is the norm for a lot of people, and also a signifier of success. Growing up in the suburbs, I saw it all the time: the flaunted backyard pool or new monster truck. These things often weren’t a sign of what these people could afford, but only of what they could borrow. When Nasty Gal first opened, I had little to no overhead aside from my sweat (daily) and tears (regularly). In 2010, after Nasty Gal moved off eBay and was a full-fledged business, I had almost $1 million cash in the bank. I took a screenshot because I never knew if I’d see more money than that in one place, at one time, ever again. Another big no-no is increasing your spending as soon as your income increases. When your time spent making money is significantly greater than your time spent spending money, you will be amazed at how much you can save without even really thinking about it.”
4. Take care of your business.
“Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.” -Abraham Lincoln. Although Amoruso works in the fashion industry, I feel as though her business models can apply to each and every one of us. I won’t go into too much detail, but I really like the way she considers everyone to be their own entrepreneur.
“I never started a business. I started an eBay store, and ended up with a business. I never would have done it had I known it was going to become this big. I was twenty-two and, like most twenty-two-year-olds, I was looking for a way to pay my rent and buy my Starbucks chai. The name of the company alone should clue you in to this fact. I sure as shit never intended to be saying those two words all day, every day, seven years later.
There are two different types of entrepreneurs. There are the ones who start a business because they’re educated and choose to, and the ones who do it because it is really the only option. I definitely fell into the latter category. Nasty Gal would have surely failed had it been my goal to grow a business to the size that I have today. When you begin with the finish line in mind, you miss all the fun stuff along the way.”
5. Stay creative, always.
Amoruso shares a wonderful quote by Pablo Picasso: “Every child is an artist. The problem is staying an artist when you grow up.” Being creative comes in an endless number of forms. Find what you love and do it as often as you can.
“Own your style like you own your used car. Wear what you like and what makes you feel good. Get dressed for yourself — not your boyfriend, not your friends, not your parents. Here’s one thing the fashion industry probably won’t tell you: Confidence is more attractive than anything you could put on your body. Own your style.”
6. Believe in yourself.
“Great entrepreneurs are like Indiana Jones: They take leaps before seeing the bridge because they know that if they don’t, someone else will get the Holy Grail. That holy grail is yours for the taking. Bad bitches are taking over the world. When I walk into the Nasty Gal offices, it’s clear: Busting your butt isn’t just for the wallflowers anymore. We’ve arrived, and we’re killing it. There’s a chance for you, #GIRLBOSS. So take it.”
This was only a small glimpse into the incredible story of Nasty Gal and how Sophia Amoruso created this empire from the ground up. I highly recommended reading her book #GIRLBOSS if you get the chance.