Women in business have come a long way over the years. We have had to stand up for our place in what was once considered a “man’s world”, proving that we can have a thriving career and raise a family at the same time.
When I started my career in Forever, I was a single mum with two little children, never in my dreams did I think I would be where I am today — I surpassed my goal of being financially free and showed myself just how limitless my potential really is.
This article is in honour of some badass women in business that every mum with a dream for more can learn from.
My story may be different from yours, but I’m not more special than you and the same goes for these women — if you want something, go out there and get it!
My aim is to get you feeling inspired and show you that you too can have and be whatever it is you want in life no matter where you might be on your journey.
Without further adieu and in no particular order let’s meet these badass businesswomen.
Inspiring Women in Business From Around the World
#1 Bella Weems, Origami Owl
Bella is the perfect example of never being too young to have an entrepreneurial spirit. Origami Owl was already inspired from when she was 14 years old.
For her 16th birthday, Bella wanted a car like every other 16 year old, so she found a way to make this happen herself.
She began to sell lockets to friends and family after school and with the enormous and delighted response from her customers, Bella knew that she had found her niche.
She began her company with only $350 and it has now grown into a very successful international business.
Bella used her influence as a young entrepreneur and in just a short few years Origami Owl expanded substantially and is now a multi-level marketing company with over 60,000 Independent Distributors.
Her company is built on jewellery as her product focus, but helping others achieve their dreams is her passion.
Read more about Bella Weems here.
#2 Mary Kay Ash, Founder Mary Kay Cosmetics
Mary Kay Ash, founder of Mary Kay Inc. was a true pioneer in helping countless women throughout the world find success on their own terms and be their own bosses.
She can be widely recognised today as one of America’s greatest woman entrepreneurs.
Stepping out into a man’s world in 1963 she forged a new path for many women and grew her multi-million dollar company based not on the rules of competition but on The Golden Rule — by “praising people to success”.
She initially worked for Stanley Home Products and throughout her career, she won numerous awards but was passed up on a promotion which was instead given to a man.
Later upon retirement, she intended to write a book to assist women in business, but this soon turned into a business plan for her “dream business” and she went on to change the lives of millions of women.
It was no easy road for Mary Kay Ash, her husband died unexpectedly one month before the company launch but her philosophy remained, “If you think you can, you can. And if you think you can’t, you’re right.”
Read more about Mary Kay Ash here.
#3 Indra Nooyi, Former CEO of PepsiCo
Indra Nooyi was named the 5th CEO of PepsiCo in 2006. In 2007 and 2008, she was listed as one of the Wall Street Journal’s 50 Women to Watch and in October 2010 she was ranked by Fortune magazine at 6th place on their list for the Most Powerful Women in the World. By 2015, she climbed to 2nd place.
This woman is a force to be reckoned with. Growing up in Madras, India, Indra was encouraged heavily by her family to pursue academics and this paved the way for her incredibly successful career.
Indra is a beautiful example of where hard work can get you.
Read more about Indra Nooyi here.
#4 Oprah Winfrey, Founder of Harpo, Inc.
Photo credit: PRNewsFoto/Oxmoor House/AP Images
Oprah doesn’t need much of an introduction, she is the quintessential example of a woman who overcame extreme adversity in her life and went on to become one of the most sought after woman in the world.
She started out as a news anchor and in 1984 she moved to Chicago to host a struggling talk show AM Chicago.
Oprah’s authentic and honest personality quickly turned the program into a success, and in 1985 it was renamed The Oprah Winfrey Show – talk about a success story!
Syndicated nationally in 1986, the program became the highest-rated television talk show in the United States and earned several Emmy Awards.
Oprah then went on to start multiple businesses. As Oprah says “what I know is, is that if you do work that you love, and the work fulfils you, the rest will come.”
Oprah really shows us the value of women in business.
Read more about Oprah’s story here.
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#5 Martha Stewart, Founder of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia
Image source: Sterling Munksgard / Shutterstock.com
Martha Stewart came from humble beginnings, she started out with a small home-based catering business which became very successful and later bought out her partner’s equity stake.
From there, she managed to meet the right people and soon wrote a number of popular cookbooks. Martha turned into somewhat of a celebrity chef and appeared on a handful of popular tv shows such as Larry King Tonight and The Oprah Winfrey Show.
In 1997, this powerhouse of a woman centralised all her ventures with the creation of her media company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia which became a multi-million dollar empire.
Talk about cooking up a dream!
Read more about Martha Stewart here.
You too can build an empire!
#6 Sophia Amoruso, Founder and CEO of Girlboss
Photo Credit: Chad Pittman
Sophia went from being a community college dropout to a CEO of a company worth close to $300 Million Dollars!
Her is story is one that faced much resilience getting to where she is today. She could have easily given up but chose to forge on and become one of the most well-known businesswomen in the world.
Her first business Nasty Gal was started from her bedroom at the age of 22 — this was an eBay store called “Nasty Gal Vintage,” which sold old clothes she’d found from local thrift stores and estate sales while working as a receptionist at an art school in San Francisco.
She initially just wanted to earn some extra money to pay the bills, but her little eBay shop became a wild success to her surprise. Soon after Sophia took it off eBay, set up a website and made Nasty Gal a standalone brand.
Nasty Gal made millions and then sadly lost millions and went into bankruptcy, the company was sold off.
Sophia chose to not let this failure keep her down and she went on to write her book GIRLBOSS, the success of this book took off and the title soon became its own brand.
Failure is part of the road to success. If you want something enough, nothing will get in your way!
Read more about Sophia Amoruso here.
#7 Arianna Huffington, Co-founder and former editor-in-chief of HuffPost
This elite businesswoman started out as a conservative commentator before switching to liberal politics and in 2005 she started the website The Huffington Post.
The site was purchased by AOL in 2011 and went on to become a popular and powerful online news platform recognised internationally.
She is also the author of more than a dozen books on topics ranging from feminism to corporate America to politics.
In 2016, Arianna announced her resignation from The Huffington Post to launch Thrive Global, a start-up company dedicated to health and wellness.
She is a prime example of a woman who took the opportunities she was given and ran with it.
Read more about Arianna Huffington here.
#8 JK Rowling, Author of the Harry Potter novels
Photo credit: Samir Hussein / WireImage/Getty Images
I’m sure you are well acquainted with this prolific British novelist, who is also a film producer, television producer, screenwriter, and philanthropist.
Before her wide success, there was a period in her life where she struggled to support her daughter and herself on welfare. During this time she worked on her first book in the Harry Potter series.
JK Rowling experienced her fair share of obstacles and rejection when she was trying to publish this first book of hers, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
Once she finally managed to find a publisher that believed in the book’s potential, it became a huge success selling 500 million copies worldwide, the book series later turned into blockbuster films and then merchandise and even adventure parks.
JK Rowling’s story has always inspired me, a true tale of what it means to be resilient when you believe in your dream.
Read more about JK Rowling’s story here.
Your story doesn’t have to be a struggle of starting a business with no support, I’m here to help you every step of the way.
#9 Cath Kidston, Fashion designer and businesswomen
Photo credit: Alice Whitby
This British self-starter had a career in furniture design, in 1993 she decided to branch out and open her own store that as she puts it was a “glorified junk shop”. It basically sold her classic British, vintage designs.
When vintage came back into fashion again a few years later, the store took off and soon became a huge success and is now a household name on the British high streets.
Read more about Cath Kidston here.
#10 Angie Hicks, Founder and Chief Marketing Officer, Angie’s List
Angie came from an academic background, but it was her entrepreneurial spirit that did her well when saw a huge gap in the market, forming a service that no one else had provided before.
Her business, Angie’s List helps you find the ideal household service that is right for you, all managed online!
Angie is a wonderful influence on the world of women in business and sets an example that a seemingly simple idea can make you millions.
Read more about Angie Hicks here.
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#11 Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Founder of Biocon India
Coming from one of the poorest countries in the world, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw is known for being India’s first female entrepreneur, who as it stands is a billionaire. Can I get an “Amen sister”!
She spent a brief period as a trainee manager at Biocon Biochemicals Limited, of Cork, Ireland, learning more about the business, she then returned to India where she started Biocon India in 1978 in the garage of her rented house in Bengaluru with a seed capital of Rs. 10,000.
The business focuses on biopharmaceuticals which are sold in over 120 countries across the globe.
She is a golden example for women in business showing that it doesn’t matter where you come from, your dream can turn into reality.
Read more about Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw here.
#12 Jenn Scalia, Visibility Strategist and Business Mentor
Jenn was laid off twice in two years before finally realising she had to create her own financial security she could actually rely on.
While staying home as a full-time mom she began looking for opportunities where she could use her skills to make money.
She soon discovered that she could be an online coach and decided to pursue this path with everything she had.
“Entrepreneurship was something I was always destined for. But until a few years ago, I had always adhered to the status quo of having a ‘real’ job.”
Read more about Jenn Scalia here.
#13 Cindy Mi, Founder and CEO of VIPKid
Cindy Mi started out as an English teacher in China, after having self-taught the language to herself by using any English magazines and cassette tapes she could find.
She found that there was an untapped demand for English language tutors and so her journey began as she went on to create an accessible educational tool that could help students access helpful resources and learn the language.
Her idea nailed the market and she founded VIPKid, which is the biggest K-12 online English language platform in the world, giving over 200,000 students access to English instructors from across the world.
Dream bigger than where you are now and the world is your oyster!
Read more about Cindy Mi here.
#14 Denise Coates, Founder of Bet365
Photo credit: Felix Clay/Guardian
Denise Coates is a British billionaire businesswoman and owner of the betting site Bet365, which originally developed from her family business run by her father.
Her father offered her the opportunity to run Provincial Racing of which she eagerly accepted, even though the chain had been struggling in recent years.
She became the Managing Director in 1995 and under her management, the poor fortunes of Provincial took a turn for the better.
Denise later secured a sizeable loan from Barclays bank and added a neighbouring chain of betting parlours to her family’s now-growing empire.
This loan helped turn the business into one of the world’s largest online gambling sites to date.
Women in business who mean business, go Denise!
Read more about Denise Coates here.
#15 Samantha Fawdry – Jeffries, Soaring Manager Forever Living
Last, but definitely not least on this list is my dear sister Sam, who has been building a Forever Living business for the past 6 years.
She was previously a bridal shop owner, but when she had her children she had to pay for someone to manage the shop to be at home and work part-time but this left her with zero profits left at the end of the day.
So she started with Forever and overtook her shop income in less than 12 months and now she earns more than what would have been possible as a bridal shop owner and she is able to work flexibly around her children.
A true inspiration to many!
It doesn’t matter where you come from or what background you have, you too can live a life of purpose, freedom and financial security!
If you are keen to join our group of badass women in business, drop me a message here and let’s chat!
Now that we’ve covered these amazing women, I want to leave you with some extra motivation from some of my favourite motivational women in business quotes.
#7 of My Favourite Motivational Women In Business Quotes
“Do one thing every day that scares you.” – Eleanor Roosevelt, Former First Lady of the United States, Diplomat, Activist
“We must develop a thick skin. With an unshakeable sense of self – and a commitment to being compassionate – nothing will faze you.” – Mari Smith, Social Media Marketer Known as the “Facebook Queen”
“I attribute my success to this: I never gave or took any excuse.” – Florence Nightingale, Nurse
“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case, you fail by default.” – JK Rowling, Author
“If you follow your heart, if you listen to your gut, and if you extend your hand to help another, not for any agenda, but for the sake of humanity, you are going to find the truth.” – Erin Brockovich, Environmental Activist
The price of inaction is far greater than the cost of a mistake.” – Meg Whitman, CEO of Quibi
“You create opportunities by performing, not complaining.” – Muriel Siebert, First Female Member of the New York Stock Exchange
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Come Back To This List Of Badass Women in Business Whenever you Need A Reminder That YOU Can Do It Too!
Becoming an entrepreneur and forging your own path is no easy feat, but these inspiring women in business prove that, with the right amount of passion, hard work and dedication, you too can build your own empire (however that may look for you).
Which badass woman inspires you the most? Let me know in the comments section below!
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