Gender does not define a person’s likelihood or ability to success, but women don’t always get the same level of recognition as men do despite their many successes and accomplishments – especially in the business world.
Here are seven of the most successful women entrepreneurs of all time. You will have at least heard of every single one of their companies, if you do not recognize their names. All are worth over a million dollars each as a result of their great success.
1. Debbie Fields
Debbie Fields is the founder of Mrs. Fields Bakeries, one of the largest fresh cookie retailers in the United States. The company has expanded to include bakeries in 10 different countries around the world.
When it comes to success, Fields believes that if you’re going to do any kind of work, you had best enjoy that work. Would Fields have managed to run such a successful company if she did not enjoy making chocolate chip cookies? Probably not. Invest in a business experience that brings joy to you, and you will be able to bring joy to the whole world.
“If you’re going to be at a job environment, you should love it. You shouldn’t do it just for money. You should do it because you love it. And the money comes naturally.”
2. Sara Blakely
Sara Blakely is the founder of the famous brand Spanx. She is one of the most well known female entrepreneurs because she had very little in way of funds to start her own company, yet has managed to consistently create and sell a variety of products people actually want to buy.
Blakely’s best advice for success is to embrace the unknown. What makes a business successful is that it stands out from the crowd, and that requires bravery … and a willingness to learn as you go, something that might stop a potential competitor from standing in your way when your time to shine has finally come.
“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.”
3. Susan Wojcicki
Susan Wojcicki was indirectly involved in the initial launch of Google in 1998 and became the company’s first marketing manager. She is now the CEO of YouTube, the video publishing platform with millions of daily creators and viewers.
Success begins with an idea, but it doesn’t stop there. The thrill of transforming an idea into something that can change the world, Wojcicki says, is enough to motivate any aspiring entrepreneur to give every idea a chance.
“I love taking an idea… to a prototype and then to a product that millions of people use.”
4. Cher Wang
Cher Wang is the co-founder of HTC, one of the top technology companies competing with Apple and Microsoft. HTC produces smart phones, fitness trackers, tablets and, most notably, the Vive headset, one of the leading virtual reality technology products currently available to the public.
According to Wang, there is no such thing as an idea not worth trying out. As an entrepreneur, you will never know what might work and what might not work until you actually put in the time and effort to see it in action. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. If it does, you’ll be glad you didn’t give up on it before it proved its worth.
“Within HTC, hundreds of ideas are tested and discarded to find those rare ideas that define the HTC user experience.”
5. Arianna Huffington
Arianna Huffington is best known for founding The Huffington Post. She has remained heavily involved in the company even after selling to AOL for millions. Huffington is also an accomplished author.
Huffington is a major advocate for embracing the ‘fear factor’ of entrepreneurship. There are going to be moments in your journey toward starting your own business that are going to scare you more than anything ever has before. You have to learn to get along with fear, or it will hold you back from success for the rest of your life.
“Fearlessness is like a muscle. I know from my own life that the more I exercise it the more natural it becomes to not let my fears run me.”
6. Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey hosted one of the longest running daytime talk shows, The Oprah Winfrey Show, which lasted a total of 25 seasons. Winfrey is also an author, producer and actress. At a net worth of around $3 billion, she is one of the richest and most successful female entrepreneurs in the world.
When it comes to success, greed is the downfall of every entrepreneur before they even launch their business. Winfrey reminds us that focusing too much on everything you want, and neglecting appreciation of the things you have already accomplished, will destroy not only your business, but it will destroy you, too.
“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”
7. Sheryl Sandberg
Sheryl Sandberg is currently the COO of Facebook. She is a board member for companies such as The Walt Disney Company, Women for Women International and the Center for Global Development.
According to Sandberg, it is a lack of confidence that holds many would-be successful entrepreneurs from breaking into the business world. If you do not take chances, if you run from risk and don’t ever speak up for what you believe in, you won’t make it. Those with louder voices will drown you out, and the world will never get the chance to experience what you and your business could have offered the world.
“We hold ourselves back in ways both big and small, by lacking self-confidence, by not raising our hands, and by pulling back when we should be leaning in.”
If you are an aspiring woman entrepreneur, take notes. If these women can build empires and create products and services that change lives forever, you can, too.