25 Amazingly Successful Women Who Worked Their Way From Rags to Riches

If you think that you can’t succeed in their world and you’ll never have the money or life that you might wish for yourself, think again. Here’s some great information for you to ponder…

women rages to richesThe USA has been ranked the top place in the world for female entrepreneurs.(1)

Many women have decided that working for someone else just isn’t right for them. The fast paced office environment can cause early burnout so women choose to focus their efforts on their own businesses. 

Here are 25 amazingly successful women who have worked their way from rags to riches. 

  1. Jennifer Hyman—Rent the Runway. She saw an opportunity to build a company based around renting designer clothing to brides and the bridal party, in New York City. Jennifer feels that it’s important to love what you do as you spend most of your time at work. She recommends that you have passion for what you do and to not focus on negativity.
  2. Julia Hu—Lark Industries. Julia saw a need for a silent vibrating alarm when her partner’s erratic schedule and alarms would wake her up. Today her company offers a band-like alarm clock and various wellness apps for the smart phone. Julia says that failure is normal and expected, and to keep pushing yourself to keep going.
  3. Alexa von Tobel—LearnVest. Alexa came from a family of entrepreneurs so it was normal for her to take that route too. She realized that there was no online resource to help people with basic financial help. She recommends that women begin with an idea that they love, as that’s what they’re going to have to devote the rest of their lives in doing.
  4. Lauren Bush Lauren—Feed. Lauren started a company where they have  a line of bags, and a portion of the sales go to feed one child in a poor country for a year. The other portion goes toward profits. Her company has expanded to a wide range of accessories, and today she works with Disney, Gap, and Whole Foods.
  5. Ooshma Garg—Gobble. Ooshma created the Gobble company to link up busy but hungry people with personal chefs. Her company began in San Francisco but she plans to expand into other cities. She says that if you want to learn to be an entrepreneur, you should start by being one.
  6. Hayley Barna—Birchbox. Hayley thought it would be fun for women to receive beauty samples in the mail. The first roadblock was securing that initial funding, so she had to rely on family and friends. She recommends that you be open to feedback from everyone and that you may not have a perfect idea in the beginning.
  7. rags to riches womenOprah Winfrey—Harpo Productions. Oprah is one of the most well-known names today. She started from a poor family and won a scholarship to Tennessee State University. She became the first African American TV correspondent in her state. She moved to Chicago and the Oprah Winfrey Show began. Today she is a multi-billionaire.
  8. J.K. Rowling—Author, Pottermore. JK started as a single mother on welfare who would write her first Harry Potter novel at the local coffee shop. She received over fifty rejections before someone said yes. She insisted that she retain electronic rights to the Harry Potter books, making her wealthier than Queen Elizabeth II.
  9. Celine Dion—Musical artist. Celine is one of the world’s richest entertainers. She started as the 14th and last child of a very poor home in Quebec. She began singing at 12 and was discovered. Later she met her husband who became producer and manager and made her the star she is today.
  10. Jane Park—Julep Beauty Inc. Jane recognized a need for salon workers to use safe, naturally based nail polish. She opened up nail salons and then began a monthly subscription-based company where women receive nail polish every month, free of the top 5 toxic ingredients that are contained in common nail polish brands. Today the company has a large range of beauty products.
  11. Shania Twain—Musical artist. Like Celine, Shania grew up in a household that was too poor to have heat and often they had no food. At eight years old Shania began singing in bars to make her first $20. She continued her singing career through high school. She’s now considered one of the highest selling female musicians today.
  12. Taylor Swift—Musical artist. Taylor Swift started when she was eleven years old in Nashville, Tennessee. She went so far as to take a sample CD around to as many record labels as she could find. She repeatedly heard that her music was too common, but she worked at it and became a success in the country and pop music scenes.
  13. Hilary Devey—Pall-Ex. Hilary’s family lost everything during a bankruptcy. There was no money for Christmas presents and she had to make do with three dresses. She left school at 16 to earn money and would work overtime to make extra cash. She had two failed marriages but then decided to sell the family home to finance Pall-Ex.
  14. Indra Noovi—PepsiCo CEO. Indra grew up in middle-class India. She moved to the US without any money and in pursuit of a management degree. She worked as a receptionist to pay her college fees and buy an interview suit. She started at Johnson & Johnson and Motorola. She says that you must work twice as hard as a man to earn your way up the ladder.
  15. Michelle Mone—MJM Ltd. Michelle started out naive and didn’t realize how much work it would take to start a company. She grew up in a poor home which only had one bedroom. At 12 she started working in a fruit shop. At age 16 she had to leave school to look after her disabled dad. She worked as a model and then lied on her resume to get a job at Labatts. She realized the need for a comfortable bra and became cofounder of MJM.
  16. Ursula Burns—Xerox CEO. Ursula lived in the bad part of NYC. Despite living with a single mom, her mom raised enough cash to send her to college. Ursula became a summer intern at Xerox and never left. She’s now chairman and CEO.
  17. Jenna Lyons—J Crew Creative Director. She started working for J Crew at age 21 as an assistant. She says that you must start at the bottom and never expect that you’ll immediately be handed a platter. She worked for what she became. It took some really long hours to become a Creative Director, and today she still works those long hours.
  18. Christiane Amanpour—CNN Journalist. Christianne also had to start from the bottom and work her way up. She had almost nothing when she first joined CNN as a foreign desk assistant. She had a bike, a suitcase, and $100. She began in 1983 and today she is a CNN journalist.
  19. Cindi Leive—Glamour, Editor-in-Chief. Cindi was lucky enough to find a job as an editorial assistant for Glamour magazine in the 1990s. She left to work at Self for a while, and then in 2001 she returned to Glamour. Today she is their editor-in-chief.
  20. Donna Karan—DKNY. Donna Karan is the fashion designer who started DKNY and Donna Karan New York. She began as an assistant to Anne Klein. Her humor has kept her energized through the years.
  21. Ursula Burns—Xerox CEO. Ursula started out as an intern and then worked as a personal assistant. She worked her way up to the first African-American women CEO to head a Fortune 500 company in 2009.
  22. Debbie Wasserman Schultz—Congresswoman. Debbie started as a aide to Congressman Peter Deutsh. Her hard work has paid off and today she is the Florida Congresswoman and DNC Chair.
  23. Cindy Gallop—Website Advertising Executive. Cindy has worked every hour of every day in theater, even though it earned her peanuts. She now manages the advertising for two entertainment websites.
  24. Ruth Bader Ginsburg—Supreme Court Justice. Ruth studied law in school while caring for a child and her sick husband. She was denied a clerkship because of her gender, but that didn’t stop her. She went on to research, professorship, and then the Supreme Court.
  25. Helen Gurley Brown—Cosmopolitan Advertising Executive. Helen started as a secretary at an advertising agency. Her talent was recognized and she went into copyrighting. From there she began a successful career in magazine advertising. 

Even though there is an increasing percentage of female entrepreneurs each year, there is still plenty room for growth and for you to join the ranks!

From 2013 census data, 7.8 million women were entrepreneurs, as compared to 27.1 million men. Women aged under 35 are also starting businesses at a more rapid pace then women over 35. In the upcoming years it will be exciting to see the percentages balance out, as more women decide to become their own bosses. 

If you’re ready to join the ranks, the first thing you need to learn is personal finance and happily, you’re in a great place to start! How can we help?

Schedule a free 30 minute consultation with Elisabeth and get started today. Just click the popup on the bottom right and let’s get started!

Source:

1. http://thegedi.org/2015-female-entrepreneurship-index-press-release/

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