Sunday's Power Woman featuring Sara Blakely

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"Perseverance is the key to starting a successful business."  Sara Blakely

Sundays for me are resting, rejuvenating, getting organized and daydreaming. 
It's a new kind of way to relax!

Every Sunday in 2018 we are featuring power women. 
Some women are in my life and inside my circle. 
Some outside. 
I have been digging further into strong women, leaders and learning about power people right in front of us.  

I have always loved Sara Blakely. She's a mom of many, does carpool and playdates in Atlanta while also running her billion dollar company Spanx.  

I have read and read and read and read everything I could about her... below is more of her story in her very own words.

THE POWER SQUAD PROJECT

Who & What

Sara Blakely founded Spanx in her late 20s. The company made $4 million in sales in its first year and $10 million in its second year. In 2012, Forbes named Blakely the youngest self-made woman billionaire in the world.

I'm just like so many women - I was frustrated, I had these white pants that I had spent a lot of money on, and you get home and you think, 'What am I really supposed to wear under this?' So it was a frustrated consumer moment. 

I cut the feet off of a pair of pantyhose and it allowed me to wear a pair of great strappy sandals. I didn't see lines but the hose rolled up at my feet - and that's how Spanx born.
 

The first year...

I'd get kicked out of buildings all day long, people would rip up my business card in my face. It's a humbling business to be in. But I knew I could sell and I knew I wanted to sell something I had created. I cut the feet out of those pantyhose and I knew I was on to something. This was it.

My first account was Neiman Marcus. I cold-called them just like I had cold-called businesses when I was selling fax machines for seven years.

My revenue was $4 million my first year in business, off of one $20 item.

And then...

I got a call from the Oprah Winfrey Show. Oprah had chosen Spanx as one of her favorite products in 2000. I had boxes of product in my apartment and I had two weeks notice that she was going to say she loved it on TV and I had no shipping department.
 

Her Dad...

When I was a child, my father used to encourage my brother and me to fail. At the dinner table, instead of asking about the best part of our day, he would ask us what we failed at that week. If we didn’t have something to tell him, he would be disappointed. When we shared whatever failure we’d endured, he’d high-five us and say, ‘Way to go!’ The gift my father gave us by doing this was redefining what failure truly meant.
It changed my mindset at an early age that failure is not the outcome, failure is not trying. Don't be afraid to fail.

I think failure is nothing more than life's way of nudging you that you are off course. My attitude to failure is not attached to an outcome, but in not trying at all.” 


On building your business...

Don't solicit feedback on your product, idea or your business just for validation purposes. You want to tell the people who can help move your idea forward, but if you're just looking to your friend, co-worker, husband or wife for validation, be careful. It can stop a lot of multimillion-dollar ideas in their tracks in the beginning.


The power of a brand...

The word 'Spanx' was funny. It made people laugh. No one ever forgot it.

It's the power of the brand. We've never formally advertised.
 

What to do...

"You've got to visualize where you're headed and be very clear about it. Take a Polaroid picture of where you're going to be in a few years."

"If somebody can do something 80 percent as good as you think you would have done it yourself, then you've got to let it go."


This is soo me.

Eminem's 'Lose Yourself' is my go-to song to pump myself up if I'm having a tough time or if I get really nervous right before a speech.

Quick side note from Ashleigh.  Here are my most favorite tools ever.

  • For audio motivation - Relentless by Tim Grover. I listen to him as I was in the mornings.  My walk always becomes a power walk after listening. 
  • To focus during the day I love to focus@will.  They say music helps you focus and for me it surely does.  I blare the classical music.  I am not sure how many people my age choose that over techno but either way I love it.
  • Rosemarie Groner (from the Busy Budgeter) is a friend and I just LOVE how much she gives everything away.  She tells you and anyone she can her detailed way to making money!  Start with her Pinterest Strategy Guide that is worth every penny.  Not. going. to. lie.

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