Women have always been known as the “weaker sex,” and there has definitely been this misconception that women cannot handle big jobs and that they need to be rescued. Well, some of this may be true, but in today’s world, we are moving further and further away from a sexist mentality into a world where we want to believe that we can all be equal.
If you are a woman in college, or in any other stage of your life, you need to know that there are so many opportunities out there for you, and in actual sense, there is absolutely nothing that you cannot do. You can be a contractor, an architect, a doctor, etc.
Many incredible women are making waves in the world of business and some of them are even getting featured in the Times Magazine as some of the most influential people in the world.
These are women that took a simple idea and turned it into a multi-billion-dollar business. We are all aware of the wonder that is “Kylie Jenner.” I mean, at the age of 21, this is a young woman that has made herself into a billionaire simply through selling make up, which she sells from the comfort of her own home.
Here are some other women that are doing great with simple ideas;
Ellen Latham, 60, is a partner and the founder of Orangetheory Fitness, a million-dollar company, and she also owns Ellen’s Ultimate Workout, a gym in Florida. She founded the company in 1996 after she was laid off from her dream job. At the time, she was a single mother of a 9-year old boy.
Drawing inspiration from her father, Arthur Calandrelli, who is very popular in Niagara Falls, NY as a Physical Education teacher, she began teaching one-on-one Pilates classes in her spare room at Pembroke Pines. At the time, she had no idea that her business would evolve into a multi-million-dollar company known as Orangetheory Fitness.
As of 2015, her company Orangetheory Fitness was worth $48 million.
Ellen is extremely passionate about health and fitness. She holds a Master’s Degree in Exercise Physiology, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Physical Education.
She has been training and motivating her clients for the last 35 years.
With an initial capital of only $500 she designed some jewelry in her bedroom and began selling them to the local boutiques.
On the first day, she walked from store to store selling the jewelry, and in the last boutique, she was forced to sell all of the samples that she had carried, so as to be able to buy materials for making more jewelry for all the orders she had received.
Her business grew rapidly, and in 2005, her jewelry was featured in Oscar de la Renta’s 2006, Spring Runway Show.
As of 2014, the company had 75 retail stores in addition to the e-commerce platform, was retailed in over 600 boutiques in the US and had also expanded into London’s Nordstrom, Selfridges, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdales, and Von Maur stores.
The company is valued at $1 billion.
Koel Thomae is the Co-Founder of Noosa Yoghurt, LLC. She was born and raised in Australia but had a passion for food and the United States. Her mother was American, and so, she had visited the country many times before.
After college, she set out for the US and visited many different states before finally settling in Boulder in 1999. She desired to break into boulder’s natural foods industry and applied to every position that was available. Her diverse work history in office work, IT, Copy editing and restaurants did not help much.
She finally found a job in a small startup company called Izze. She was in operations but was able to convince the company to allow her to sit in on meetings so as to understand all facets of the business.
In 2005, she traveled with her husband to Australia, and while at the beach, she stumbled on to a deliciously flavored, creamy, full-fat yogurt that had fresh passion fruit puree. She could not believe how tasty it was and talked about it for days. Finally, she decided to call the company and congratulate them on their delicious yogurt.
When she got back to Boulder, she could not stop talking about the delicious new yogurt she had discovered in Australia, and her co-workers at Izze convinced her to do something about it. Her mom made a call to the yogurt making company in Australia and Thomae explained to them that she wanted to bring their yogurt to America.
She was given the yogurt recipe.
Thomae, with the help of two of her friends, worked on the design, look, and voice of the new company. She then embarked on a search for the perfect container, which she wanted to be clear, in order to show the yogurt’s freshness.
The containers she sought could not be found in the size she wanted and hence she settled for a squat 8-ounce container that ended up becoming a big part of Noosa’s brand identity.
Noosa was launched in 2010, with four flavors and eight employees. Currently, it has 18 flavors and 240 employees.
Their 25,000 retailers have doubled their sales in the last two years alone. It is now worth $170 million.
Michelle Mone, 43, is a lingerie tycoon. She is one of the UK’s most successful business entrepreneurs and the founder of Ultimo, a lingerie company. She has one of the most inspirational and heart-breaking stories of all time.
Mone lives a glamorous life today, but it wasn’t always like that. She was born in 1971 in Glasgow’s East End and was raised as an only child. She had a younger brother, whom she lost to spina bifida – a birth defect.
Her family became poor after her father was diagnosed with a rare and degenerative spinal disorder that left him unable to work and on a wheelchair. At 15, she dropped out of school and became a model to help make ends meet.
At 18 years old, Mone became pregnant and married Michael Mone at 19. She was a stay at home mom, as her husband went out to work. She desired more from life, and so she looked for work and got a job with Brewer Labatt, where she rose in the ranks to become the head of marketing.
She lost this job at 24 years old.
So, there she was a 24-year-old, jobless mother of 2, with a hunger for more in life. This is when inspiration hit her literally in the chest!
While she was out one night with her husband dancing, she suddenly realized how uncomfortable her bra felt, and she was fed up with the feeling.
She set out to design the perfect bra that would provide comfort and give her a killer shape. MJM’s international Ultimo was born and blew up in a super big way.
She was recently named by the price of wales as Britain’s Entrepreneurship tsar, and her company is now worth £20 million ($30 million)
Sara Blakely, 47, is the founder of Spanx, a company that deals with leggings and pants, located in Atlanta, Georgia.
Blakely was born in 1971 in Clearwater, Florida. She attended Florida State University and acquired a communications degree.
Her initial plan was to go to law school and become an attorney, but she scored very low on the law school admission test, so she took a job at Walt Disney instead, and worked there for 3 years. During this time, she would occasionally work as a stand-up comic.
After Disney, she worked in office supplies for a company called Danka and sold fax machines from door-to-door. She was very successful in sales, which saw her promoted to national sales trainer at only 25.
She first discovered how great a pantyhose made her feel while working as a fax machine sales girl, and noted that they eliminated panty lines, while also making her body appear firm. She, however, disliked their appearance while wearing open-toed shoes.
While getting ready for a party one evening, she discovered that she didn’t have the right underwear to provide a great and smooth look for her white pants. She took some scissors, and cut off the legs from her pantyhose and voila! An idea was born.
Blakely relocated to Atlanta Georgia at 27 years old, and while still working with Danka, she spent 2 years and her savings of $5,000 to do research for a pantyhose without leggings, that she would later call Spanx.
Armed with her new golden idea, she traveled to North Carolina and visited every single American Hosiery Mills company, but she was turned away by almost all, who were used to dealing with big shot corporations and could not understand her idea.
Luckily, a few weeks later, she received a call from one of the Mills companies, who offered to support her.
Within a year, she had completed her first prototype, and her journey to becoming one of America’s greatest Entrepreneurs had begun.
Blakely then went ahead to establish her brand, where she came up with a brand name, applied for a patent and trademark, and also worked on the brand’s packaging.
During this same time, she arranged a meeting with a representative from Neiman Marcus Group. At the meeting, she changed into her new product in the restroom in front of the Neiman Marcus buyer, to clearly showcase the genius of her new invention.
As a result of the meeting, her product was sold to 7 of Neiman Marcus stores and the rest, as they say, is history.
In November 2,000 Oprah named her Spanx as one of her favorite things, which led to a significant rise in sales. She made $4 million the first year, and $10 million the second year.
Today, her company is worth more than $1.14 billion.
Sarah Kauss is a businesswoman. She is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of S’well. S’well is a company that manufactures stainless-steel water bottles. Kauss was born in Florida, where she had an entrepreneurship spirit since she was young. Her parents owned a few businesses and her first job was selling ice cream for customers at their small shop.
She went to the University of Colorado in Boulder, where she attained an Accounting degree. She then worked at Ernst and Young as a CPA.
She received an MBA from Harvard University and worked in consulting and commercial real estate. At this time, she was anxious for an idea on which to start and build a business.
In 2009, while hiking in Arizona with her mother, inspiration struck her, and she decided to create a water bottle that was fashionable, upscale and re-usable.
S’well was founded in 2010. Her first customer was Harvard Business School, who bought the bottles to give to their students. Kauss then partnered with Jeff Peck, her boyfriend in 2012 to launch a boutique on Worth Avenue in Palm Beach.
Shortly after launching her company, Oprah magazine became interested in the bottles, which inspired her to expand further and add more colors to the collection. She re-invested all her income from the initial sales into more inventories. She was confident this was going to succeed.
By 2016, bottles sold by S’well had reached 4 million and the company is worth $180 million as at the end of 2017.
Kauss was number 49 in 2015, on the Business Insider’s 100 list, the creators. She was also recognized as the “Most Impressive Women Entrepreneurs of 2016” by Inc’s.
Shan-Lyn Ma, 42, is the CEO and Founder of Zola Inc., which is a wedding planning and registry hub. It is headquartered in New York, New York.
She was born in Singapore but grew up in Sydney, Australia. As a young girl, Shan always dreamt of coming to America and was fascinated by the internet and Jerry Yang.
Just like her role model Jerry Yang, Shan dreamt of attending Stanford Business school, and lucky enough she was accepted and went on to graduate with an MBA in General Management and Entrepreneurship from the University. She also holds a B-Commerce degree with First Class Honors from The University of New South Wales.
Today, Zola Inc. is one of 25 companies featured in Forbes’ – Next Billion-Dollar Startups list. The company has a workforce of 70 employees and in 2016; it had raised $120 million in Venture capital.
Zola Inc. has more than 500,000 users.
Jamie Kern Lima
Jamie Kern Lima, 40, is the CEO and co-founder of It Cosmetics. She is also a former big brother contestant, a former Miss USA pageant competitor and also a former news reporter. She has truly done it all. But she is now one of the most successful women entrepreneurs in the US.
Lima was given up by her mother at birth and was adopted as a newborn. She grew up in Seattle and started working at the age of 15. She bagged groceries at the local store, and also coached and taught gymnastics at night.
She was the first of her family to go to college. She worked at Denny’s as a waitress to pay for Washington State University, where she graduated as Valedictorian.
After University, she worked many jobs that were quite stressful and they led to a flare-up of her hereditary skin condition known as rosacea. This is a disease that affects at least 16 million Americans and it starts at the age of 30.
She tried using foundation in order to cover it up, but this only made things worse and she got quite frustrated and fed up with the whole situation, which made her look for an alternative solution to the problem.
She went to Brazil with her fiancé and met with many different surgeons who helped her set up a board of specialists that included dermatologists as well. Together they came up with a solution for this type of disease.
She called her company It Cosmetics and their first products were bronzers, highlighting creams and concealers. She pitched the product to QVC who were not interested.
A few months later, the HSN shopping channel featured her concealer on-air, where she tried selling her products to no avail. She made no sales and was not asked back when her contract came to a close. Shopping channel Canada, however, did see her segment and a year later, they gave her a chance.
This was the success she was looking for, her products sold out in a few minutes, and QVC did, in fact, call her back and her sales topped $1 million.
By 2014, sales for It cosmetics had hit $117 million.
In 2016, L’Oréal paid $1.2 billion for a part of It Cosmetics shares.
These are just a few of the many women that have been able to turn a simple idea into a big idea.
How can you become your own boss?
There’s nothing better in this world than being your own boss. The ability to pick your working hours, to control yourself and what you do is incredibly amazing, as compared to working a 9-5 job full of stressful situations and annoying bosses with unattainable targets.
So, how can you do it? How can you be your own boss? How can you be an entrepreneur?
Here are a few points you should consider before setting up your own business.
First step is to look deep within, at your strengths and weaknesses. This will involve analyzing what you are good at. A good way is to stick to your line of expertise or career because you have mastered the skill and you are comfortable in that particular area. Another way is to try and identify the problem at hand. If you can solve a problem you can create a business.
Once you identify what you want to do, make a plan on how to achieve results. This is now your entrepreneurial task. A plan does not need to be complicated, just write down what you wish to achieve at the end of a certain time span, then, go through it step by step. Moderation is the key here, if you do too much too soon, it can lead to frustration. Be realistic in your plans in order to achieve your goals. Don’t set goals that are too high to achieve, because as such you shall be back to square one, in your old job that had unrealistic goals which frustrated you in the first place.
Don’t be afraid. ‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step’- Lao Tzu. Start somewhere. Get an office building, get a secretary, do something to show that you are serious about branching out on your own. The reason for this point is because most people say, “I’m going to start my own company.” They say this year, after year, after year, and before long, it’s too late. So, if you are serious, start somewhere.
Your attitude will set the tone for your business. Making mistakes is common in any new venture, do not let this discourage you, learn from the mistakes and keep moving forward. Don’t give up! They say that Thomas Edison failed over 10,000 times to invent a commercially the viable electric bulb but he did not give up.
Finally, manage yourself wisely on all aspects; money, employees, customers… etc. This will guarantee a successful business.
Here are some business ideas that you can consider setting up
With the introduction of YouTube, Insta stories and even Facebook, you can be able to make videos and post them online. This is known as Vlogging.
The intention of these videos that you make and post is for you to receive a response from your viewers. There are many millionaires that have been made from vlogging.
One of the main ways you can make money from vlogging is ensuring that you provide your viewers with great content that will lead to endorsements from different companies.
If you are a great cook, you could set up a cooking channel, where you cook and display some great recipes online, or if you are an exercise guru, you could design some exercise tutorial online for people to watch and follow you.
This can lead to endorsements from big food companies and even get you a job with the food network.
This is extremely lucrative and the beauty of it is that you can actually be able to this from the comfort of your own home.
There are many celebrities today, whose careers were launched on YouTube such as the feuding – Tati Westbrook and James Charles. These people have literally become millionaires by giving people makeup tutorials online.
This is a simple job, but only if you are a great writer and have the ability to captivate people with interesting and unique stories. The actual number of people online per day is so huge, that you are assured of an audience regardless of your genre and niche.
There are very many famous bloggers today with numerous followers who started by having a thought. These are people that have gone on to become quite famous and whose blogs are read by many people.
Becoming a blogger can truly elevate your status if you are a good writer and can be able to expose you to great opportunities.
Did you know candles are a multi-billion-dollar company? Yes. Millions of people buy candles each year for birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, and for personal use. If you learn how to make beautiful and scented candles, you can easily become the next best thing.
If you are good with planning parties and other types of events, then you can consider making it a business. It’s very easy to start, simply ask your friends if they are having a party any time soon and then offer to plan it for them.
This is a niche that has become extremely popular of late, but you are never too late. The beauty of it is that you can start small, with your immediate family members and then slowly expand as you become more well-known.
Becoming a party planner will require you to be very good at what you do so that you can have people recommend you to their friends.
It’s not a secret that most women love decorating their homes. Some are so good that you may think that they had professional help. If you find yourself always planning how to re-arrange your home with new ideas each time, then it may be time for you to consider doing this formally.
Becoming an interior designer means that you must have a keen creative eye. You should be able to turn a dull looking room into a modern, exciting and beautiful room by simply changing a few things or adding one or two accessories.
It can start small, by decorating your home and having people come and see and asking them to give you a try.
Have you ever wanted to send someone a gift basket but you do not want to go all the way to the market and buy each and every item individually? Plus, you do not really want to prepare the basket and decorate it.
Trust me, most people feel the same way, and what you can do is come up with a solution to this problem.
Have a gift basket business, where you prepare the gift baskets and deliver either to the person who is receiving it, or the one making it. It is not a very difficult job, and given that most women love to look at beautiful things, it can be an easy business to do.
This is a great job for someone who has been in marketing before and would love to branch out on themselves. It will surprise you to learn that most companies actually outsource their marketing needs.
If you have never been a marketer, do not worry, you can still do this job perfectly, but you may need to first enroll in a marketing course in order to understand the basics of marketing and how it is done so that you can be able to deliver to your clients.
Marketing simply entails helping a company achieve its sales goals by giving them practical strategies for doing this. You may need to have a few support staff that can go into the market mostly for research purposes in order to find out what people are looking for.
Travel agencies can be set up at home and they can make you extremely successful. If you have been an agent before, this would be a great job, but if you have never worked as a travel consultant, then it would be a great idea to go through a crash course on what it entails.
Once you have all of the information necessary, you can actually set up your very own travel agency at home and serve your clients directly.
This is a job that has the potential of bringing in almost $100,000 a year, so, it is quite profitable.
I have talked about a number of women above that have become extremely successful in their careers as jewelry makers.
Some of these women actually just stayed at home moms who hit it big with their business ideas. So, if you are good at making simple or sophisticated jewelry, you could be sitting on a gold mine.
When we read about women who have made it and look at how great their lives are, we tend to think that we can all make it and become millionaires, but it’s not that easy.
Starting your own business and maintaining it is not easy at all, and it requires lots of patience and sacrifice. You must also ensure that you are extremely hard working in order to succeed in the business world.
Also, be original and unique at what you do. What people are looking for is a solution to a specific problem and if you have the answer, then you will have a clientele.