James Brown once sang that “this is a man’s world” but that certainly doesn’t ring true for the world of entrepreneurship, as there are plenty of women who have achieved extraordinary corporate success and become self-made millionaires or even billionaires. While most of the world’s most famous and identifiable entrepreneurs are male, it would be remiss of someone to think that the concept of a globally successful businesswoman is a myth.
Some of the best-known brands on the planet have a sizeable female influence driving them. The Huffington Post, for example, was the brainchild of Arianna Huffington, who started the site in 2005 before selling it to AOL six years later for $315 million. If you own a HTC phone, you have Cher Wang to thank for building that company from the ground up to become one of the major players in the global smartphone market. Remember in 2007 when Google made the lucrative acquisition of YouTube? That was managed by Susan Wojcicki, the search engine’s marketing manager and current YouTube CEO. It was in her garage that the now-ubiquitous Google was formed 20 years ago.
As female entrepreneurial role models go, it’s hard to top Sara Blakely. In her 20s, she took on the unenviable task of selling fax machines door-to-door while also working as a greeter at Walt Disney World just to earn an income. At 29, she poured her life savings of $5,000 into starting a shaping underwear business named Spanx. Almost two decades later, the company takes in $250 million a year and makes a net annual profit of 20%, with Blakely now a billionaire. There is a prime example of what you can achieve when you back yourself and give everything of yourself to turning a dream into a rewarding reality.