The role of an entrepreneur can be fraught with challenges, and for a woman, it can be particularly difficult. The best advice you can get is from those that have walked the path before you. Inspirational quotes come in all forms, but when you’re looking to do business, these 10 female entrepreneurs can show you how it’s done.
Advice and Inspiration from Female Entrepreneurs
#1) “My philosophy is that not only are you responsible for your life, but doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment.” – Oprah Winfrey
You can’t have a list of inspirational female entrepreneurs without featuring Oprah Winfrey. Growing up poor, the media entrepreneur has created an empire which has made her one of the world’s richest women. Perhaps more notably, she spends her time finding ways to inspire and move other people. For entrepreneurs, the takeaway is simple: businesses – and empires – are built one day at a time.
#2) “Aerodynamically the bumblebee shouldn’t be able to fly, but the bumblebee doesn’t know that so it goes on flying anyway.” – Mary Kay Ash
Mary Kay Ash founded Mary Kay Cosmetics in 1963. Her career began in the 1930’s as a successful saleswoman when she was left to raise three kids alone. To this day, her words are truly an inspiration to every female businesswoman (and perhaps, single mom) who thinks they’re attempting something outside their wheelhouse. For entrepreneurs, these words suggest that it’s better to focus on your vision rather than fixating on what you’re afraid you may not be able to accomplish.
#3) “Dear optimist, pessimist, and realist — while you guys were busy arguing about the glass of wine, I drank it! Sincerely, the opportunist!” – Lori Greiner
Otherwise known as the “Queen of QVC,” Lori also stars on the hit TV show Shark Tank. The billionaire investor has been hawking products since 1998 on the channel and also runs a product development company. Entrepreneurs can take Greiner’s message to mean that some days, strategy and planning need to give way to action – and an action orientation can give you an advantage in even the most competitive markets.
#4) “Men selectively listen. When that happened, I’d stop the conversation and say, ‘Do you realize I said that 10 minutes ago?’ Women have to take responsibility for the dynamic around them. You can’t just say, ‘Woe is me.’” – Maggie Wilderotter
As the CEO of Frontier Communications, Maggie Wilderotter also ran the Worldwide Public Sector for Microsoft – so she has considerable experience thinking about business. Don’t let the dynamics around you suppress your contributions. Stand up and take credit for your ideas, suggestions and wins.
#5) “A woman with a voice is by definition a strong woman. But the search to find that voice can be remarkably difficult.” – Melinda Gates
She’s not just the wife of Bill Gates, she’s so much more, and it’s easy to understand how this quote came about. Melinda started at Microsoft as a Project Manager, and she highlights an important question. As entrepreneurs, finding your voice – whether that’s your niche, your focus or the impact you want to have in the world – can take time and experimentation.
#6) “Don’t be intimidated by what you don’t know. That can be your greatest strength and ensure that you do things differently from everyone else.” – Sarah Blakely
Blakely founded Spanx and at the age of 44, she sits on a fortune of over $1 billion dollars. Don’t take your lack of knowledge of a market as a disadvantage. If something interests you – or you see a problem in the market that no one else is solving – set out to understand it better than anyone else. Your research and passion can help you develop insights that lead to products that redefine industries in the way that Blakely’s innovations changed the lingerie market.
#7) “Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence.” – Sheryl Sandberg
COO of Facebook, activist and author, Sheryl Sandberg has seen the growth of the social media conglomerate since 2007 when she was handpicked by Zuckerberg. She released her first book Lean In, focusing on business development, in March of 2013, and continues to be a thought leader in her community, as well as an advocate for women. Think about the impact that you want to have as both a leader and as a business – and build that into your business model.
#8) “If we can learn to deal with our discomfort and just relax into it we’ll have a better life.” – Mellody Hobson
Mellody serves as the president for Ariel Investments and chairwoman on the board of directors for DreamWorks Animation. She advocates inviting people into your life that don’t look or think like you, and is a true proponent of diversity.
#9) “The most important factor in determining whether you will succeed isn’t your gender, it’s you. Be open to opportunity and take risks. In fact, take the worst, the messiest, the most challenging assignment that you can find, and then take control.” – Angela Braly
CEO of Wellpoint, a large U.S. healthcare company, Angela knows how to manage people. Starting out as a partner in a St. Louis law firm, she was recognized by Forbes as one of the most powerful women in the world in 2007.
#10) “The difference between successful people and others is how long they spend time feeling sorry for themselves.” – Barbara Corcoran
Starting out as a “D” student in high school, Barbara quickly became famous through her insightful investments in real estate. In 1973, the Corcoran group received $1,000 in seed money – which she turned into an empire, and now stars on ABC’s Shark Tank along with Lori Greiner.
As an entrepreneur, it is up to you to decide the pace of your success. You can never go wrong, however, when you consult the women who have paved the path and have experience in all the places you wish to tread. What quotes do you find inspiring from today’s leading female entrepreneurs and beyond? Join the conversation in Kabbage’s social channels.