Thinking about starting your own business? Here are some great 'origin stories' that will definitely inspire you.
One thing we can all agree on is that female entrepreneurs don't get enough press -- even the successful ones.
So let's take a step toward changing that.
Here's a guest post from Mary Fernandez, a visibility strategist who helps entrepreneurs stand out online. (She's also created a handy guide that will help you discover how to skyrocket your online presence.)
Every successful entrepreneur started somewhere.
There's no "magic pill" that effortlessly launches you out of your cubicle confinement and into the free world of entrepreneurship. For some, the dream to be your own boss grows for a long time, even years, before it finally comes to fruition.
The truth is, great success in business grows from just one, tiny seed.
We asked some of our favorite women entrepreneurs to share how they got their start in business. Their answers revealed the deep motivators and personal qualities that drove them to make their big idea a reality.
By reading about how they grew their businesses over the years, our goal is that you'll identify a similar entrepreneurial seed, within yourself.
Here's what these women had to share about getting their start as entrepreneurs.
1. Sue Bryce"My path to self employment seemed to me, a natural evolution.
"But, it wasn't based on a great desire to build a business. Rather, it was borne out of necessity. After 13 years mastering my craft, I was still an employee and I simply had reached a ceiling of how much money I could earn in my career.
"After the initial fear and hurdles, the learning curve is so great I came very close to failure. Instead of giving up, I started to develop a deep sense of passion for motivating and educating myself to reach greater heights in business and income. It became a challenge for me, and I don't know any other way now. After 13 years of self-employment, I still challenge myself to create on a larger and larger scale every year.
"My desire to build, create, and learn, surpasses my fear. Every challenge I'm faced with now, becomes a greater experience of learning my true power."
Now, Sue's teamed up with Tiffany Angeles to break down their biggest business lessons, and teach a class on how to Make More Money and Discover Your Worth.
2. Sophia Amoruso"Don't give up, don't take anything personally, and don't take no for an answer," Sophia advises.
Since founding Nasty Gal as an eBay store in 2006, selling vintage clothing, Sophia has transformed the business into a multimillion-dollar empire with its own clothing line that was named the "Fastest Growing Retailer" in 2012. Recently, The New York Times Bestseller of #GIRLBOSS has stepped out of her role as the CEO of Nasty Gal to become the executive chairman and shift her focus to overseeing just the creative and brand marketing functions of the business.
Without any fashion or business experience before starting Nasty Gal, Sophia credits much of her hard-earned success to her inability to accept failure as an option. "The people who told me no, were the people who eventually told me yes," she adds.
3. Pamela Slim"In addition to working full-time as an employee for 10 years, I had also been the volunteer executive director for a non-profit martial arts school in San Francisco.
"My typical day was about 15 hours straight. Work, jump on the metro over to the studio, train capoeira for 3-4 hours, then do administrative work before bed. Weekends were filled with classes, performances, and putting up fliers around the city to attract new students to the school.
"The tipping point came right before my 30th birthday. I got pneumonia from the non-stop grueling pace, and realized I needed to make a career move. So, contrary to how I advise my clients, I leapt with no plan, just the desire to get off the merry-go-round and find a more sustainable path.
"After a few months of recovery and half-hearted job search, I contacted my old manager who had moved to Hewlett-Packard and asked her if she needed a little help. I started working as a consultant, and I felt like a huge fire was lit inside of me. I loved being a consultant. My problem had never been about the work, it was more about the right work mode.
"I realized that the 10 years I had volunteered as an executive director had prepared me for entrepreneurial life. I knew how to create and fund big programs. I knew how to build a network and mobilize people to a cause. I knew how to sell and market. So, now that I had my own shingle out, I took off and built a thriving and fulfilling practice.
"This year, I celebrate 20 years in business for myself. It hasn't always been easy, but it continues to bring me great joy and satisfaction."
4. Tara Gentile"I decided to become a business owner after I was looked over for a promotion while nine months pregnant.
"Six months after my daughter was born, I started a little niche website and community. I then purchased an existing blog business, and almost overnight, started making more money than I had in my previous job.
"My business has evolved significantly since then, but I'm so grateful for the way I started!"
Tara, one of our most successful business instructors here at CreativeLive, has successfully gone from selling her services, to packaging them into digital products for her clients. It's helped her significantly scale her business, and now she teaches a class about how to turn your services into a product.
5. Melissa Galt"The year following my graduation from Cornell, my mom died suddenly of a brain aneurysm. It took me the ensuing five years to understand the lesson in her passing. Life is too short to do something you don't love. She had been a maverick in her field, an Oscar winning actress who knew at age 7 what she wanted. It took me a bit longer.
"I decided to pursue my dream of interior design, and went back to school full-time, while picking up full-time work in the field. However, I was still frustrated that I was not in charge of my day and my decisions.
"Ultimately, my headstrong nature was both my undoing and my new beginning...
"I'd planned to launch my startup in September 1994. When I asked my manager for time off, she said I didn't have it. I said I did, and dug my heels in. Arguing with your manager when you need your job is never wise. I walked out.
"I was unemployed, in debt, and six months premature to my planned launch. I launched immediately while taking up side jobs supervising a catering kitchen and teaching busy professionals (aka potential clients for my interior design practice) during evening education programs.
"It was that magical place you hear about where fear meets breath and becomes unstoppable exhilaration. I worked 15 hour days, 6 days a week, because I wanted to. I couldn't wait to get up, and hated to go to bed at night. I was totally on fire. I went from $70K in debt to rocking six figures and debt free in 18 months and that doubled every year for five years. Today, I design both home and business environments, while also advising the business and lifestyles that go on inside of them.
"My advice is to find what lights you up, and do whatever it takes to make it happen. You will meet with unexpected success."
6. Beate Chelette"Remember those huge posters of beautiful places that decorated kid's rooms in the '80s? When I was young, I wanted them but couldn't afford them. Then I realized, if I ordered them for my friends and became a distributor, I could get mine for free. So at the age of 12, I started a poster distribution business out of my bedroom.
"Later in life, I worked at Elle Magazine as a photo editor. I had a lot of freedom to express my ideas (after all, ideas are what a magazine thrives on). But still... something was always missing. Upon further examination, I arrived at three facts: