5 career lessons millennials can take from Sophia Amoruso’s #GirlBoss
Sophia Amoruso is no Sheryl Sandberg and she is quite okay with that. Her path to being the founder of the now billion dollar fashion retailer, Nasty Gal, was anything but traditional. Though she is most definitely a business titan, she did not follow any set out path. After all, this is the woman who hitchhiked, shoplifted and dropped out of community college before finding success. Amoruso also worked at Subway and various mall chains before starting her vintage shop in 2006 (in which she did a variety of unglamorous jobs for a long time) at just 24 years-old.
“There’s no chutes and ladders in life,” explains Amoruso. “Everything can be creative…I took a lot of pride in slapping shipping labels on packages and in editing photos and in pulling dirty Kleenexes out of vintage clothing, and all of those things were as important as what I’m doing today, it’s just a different job.” The company now has over 550,000 customers in over 60 countries. The company was named “Fastest Growing Retailer” in 2012 by INC Magazine.
In her new book #GIRLBOSS (available in stores now) Amoruso talks about her unconventional journey to being a business mogul and her best tips for millennials in the workforce (so pay attention new college grads!) #GIRLBOSS targets women and men who feel like they don’t fit with the typical definition of success. She shares her story and hopes readers learn from her mistakes and her outlook on life. “A #GIRLBOSS is someone who’s in charge of her own life,” Amoruso writes. “She gets what she wants because she works for it.” She added, “For the girls who have never bought a business book, I think this can be the gateway drug.”
1. Don’t expect a raise after three months
“A lot of young people who I employ expect a raise after three months or expect not to have to put in more work than what’s in their job description,” she says. “It takes a lot of hard work and once you get there it takes even more hard work to stay there.”
2. Do not write off your cover letter as unimportant
Cover letters are so important so do not be careless. This could be a major opportunity for you. She wrote, “Cover letters seperate the #GIRLBOSSes from the girls. That said, few people seem to know how to make a cover letter sing. It’s incredible how low the bar is.”
3. Take the entry-level job
Amoruso attributes a lot of her business education to working a lot of entry level jobs and going through various training programs. These jobs really helped her learn the value of customer service. She writes in #GIRLBOSS, “just apologize to people. Even if it’s not your fault, they’ve been disappointed by the company you work for and its your job to empathize with them.” This would help her company create its great customer service model.
4. Save your money
If you are a person that doesn’t have to pay off student loans after graduation then you are extremely lucky, but do not start spending money the minute you make it, even if you have a generous salary. Amoruso amazingly didn’t go into any debt when she started her company, which is incredible. She writes, “when your time spent making money is significantly greater than your time spent spending money, you will be amazed at how much you can save without even really thinking about it.”
5. Hire people better than you
It sounds odd, but this is so important. Amoruso learned her lesson when her company was just starting to take off and instead of hiring more people to deal with the growth she waited and hoped a senior manager would grow into the role. No such luck. The senior manager was so overwhelmed with the workload that they quit on Black Friday (the most important shopping day of the year!) and basically it was really bad. Today she tries to hire people who are better than her so they can help be a better leader. Pretty good philosophy, right?