Recently there have been several publications that have profiled the story of Sara Blakely, who became one of the youngest self-made billionaire women in the world due to the success of her Spanx products.
Starting with less than $5,000 in savings, it took her just 14 years to cross the billion dollar threshold. And yet, her strategy that she used to accomplish this was rather simple:
- Don’t feel as though you need to follow anyone else’s rules. There is no “right way” to find success as an entrepreneur. The moment you find yourself strictly adhering to some set of guidelines is the moment you need to step back and take a serious look at whether you’re truly exploring all of your options. You need to stay innovative and open-minded.
- Don’t get discouraged. This is easier said than done, of course. There are going to be plenty of failures along the way. In Blakely’s case, she had to work an extra job selling fax machines door-to-door while she worked to get her Spanx brand off the ground. But if you have a good product for which there is a need, one that you truly believe in, you can’t give up when things get difficult. It takes time to build a successful company from the ground up.
- Make in-person pitches. Never underestimate the power of face-to-face interaction in the business world. In Blakely’s case, she says that she had difficulty getting manufacturers to take her seriously when having discussions over the phone, so she went and visited them in person instead. Taking the effort to meet in person shows you are a true believer in your idea and that you’re willing to go the extra mile to make it a success.
- Show that you care. You need to be the advocate for your idea, especially in the early stages. You are the person that cares the most about your idea, so you need to show it. Go above and beyond what people would typically do to ensure your idea becomes a hit.
- Take time to appreciate your accomplishments. Blakely emphasizes the importance of stepping back and analyzing how far you’ve come every now and then, because the road you take while building a business can quickly become exhausting. Most of all, she says that you should try to enjoy the ride as much as you can, because it’s a time period you’ll often look back on once you’ve achieved your goals.
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