gambling-header

gold-divi

Taking Risks is About More Than the Thrill. 
Here’s Why Women Entrepreneurs

Can’t Afford to Play it Safe

If you’re like me, then maybe you’ve been taught to play it safe in life. Speaking as a long-time good girl, I can tell you that I regret so much more of what I did not do than what I did do.

Today the idea of playing it safe bores me, however it took me a long-time to embrace my inner badass.cromwell
I remember once sitting in my therapist’s office and having her look at me and say: “You’re really a risk taker.” Which I immediately found surprising.

I was in my early thirties and had never thought of myself this way. Now firmly established as an entrepreneur, it’s a bit more obvious! You have to be a risk-taker to start your own company. The statistic that goes around is that 4 out of 5 businesses fail in the first 5 years.

For those of us who start small on our own, it’s not like we have a CFO, a board, a financial team, or even a
P&L for that matter! But we put our money and our time on the line and roll the dice anyway. Many people might think we’re reckless to gamble with our success, but to us it’s about much more than numbers.

When we have our intuition intact and are spiritually-guided, we have a deeper connection to possibility than other people might think. We’re excited about what we know is possible, and we’re pushing our own edges to see what we can make happen on behalf of our dreams. We’re taking a risk.

Often the risk itself requires you to face a challenge, step outside your comfort zone and endure the possibility of embarrassment and failure. When you embrace the fear, take the leap and actually start and scale your own company, more and more of the bold, independent spirit that’s always been within you comes to the surface. Taking risks becomes more comfortable—even thrilling! Today I find that risks totally delight me, which is key to my continued success and expansion.

gamble-quoteThat’s not to say that every move has unfolded as I had imagined. Often when you take a risk, you have to course-correct, shimmy and shake a bit, maybe try again differently. The point is that you’re always growing, and if you have faith in the process, there’s really nothing to gamble and nothing to lose.

I would venture to say that nearly anybody in the world who we are truly inspired by, or has been a guiding light in our lives, has taken tremendous risks. The interesting, successful, impactful people of the world have all gone out on a limb to reach for the fruit.

Well I’m here to tell you that what we are lit up by in them is actually in us as well. Always ask yourself, where am I playing it safe in life? What might I do to reach my next level? Give yourself permission to be bold, step out, and take a risk on you.

To inspire your next big move, here are 3 fabulous entrepreneurs who’ve rolled the dice on behalf of their dreams, earning major wins for themselves and their communities at large.

gold-divi

elizabeth-holmes

You might say that dropping out of college is a huge risk. At the very least few would call it a safe move to step out into the world without that diploma.

When Elizabeth Holmes was 19-years-old at Stanford University, she made the bold decision to drop out and use the rest of her tuition money to start her own company.
 

She had a clear vision to revolutionize healthcare, and knew what she was capable of accomplishing. Her chemical engineering professor was at first concerned, but saw the fire in her eyes and ultimately encouraged her to go for it.

For years Elizabeth quietly worked to develop a technology that could conduct a full blood test with the single prick of a finger, delivering test results more accurately, cheaply, and quickly than ever thought possible.

 
She succeeded, and after unveiling the technology, she quickly became the youngest woman self-made billionaire in history. She owns 50% of her company Theranos, worth $9 billion, and is poised to make a major impact on the world by making life-saving tests more affordable and available.

theranos.com
@theranosinc on twitter

elizabeth-holmes

You might say that dropping out of college is a huge risk. At the very least few would call it a safe move to step out into the world without that diploma.

When Elizabeth Holmes was 19-years-old at Stanford University, she made the bold decision to drop out and use the rest of her tuition money to start her own company.
 

She had a clear vision to revolutionize healthcare, and knew what she was capable of accomplishing. Her chemical engineering professor was at first concerned, but saw the fire in her eyes and ultimately encouraged her to go for it.

 
For years Elizabeth quietly worked to develop a technology that could conduct a full blood test with the single prick of a finger, delivering test results more accurately, cheaply, and quickly than ever thought possible.

She succeeded, and after unveiling the technology, she quickly became the youngest woman self-made billionaire in history. She owns 50% of her company Theranos, worth $9 billion, and is poised to make a major impact on the world by making life-saving tests more affordable and available.

theranos.com
@theranosinc on twitter

caterina-fake

When Caterina Fake started the photo-sharing app Flickr, it was a huge deviation from her original plan. Caterina and a team had for two years been working on developing a different app, more of a social networking game site.

Six months into the plan, the start-up was struggling. Funding was difficult to come by, they were far behind deadline, and Caterina was selling her furniture to make payroll.
 

After two years of this struggle, they came up with the idea of a photo-sharing site: Flickr. The new concept was wildly exciting, but they hardly had money for one last shot. At that point they were in dire straits—almost no one was was being paid, and Caterina herself had not received a paycheck in two years.

Taking a big risk, Caterina and her husband mortgaged their home to put money back into the

company and make Flickr real. Two years later, Yahoo! acquired them for $35 million dollars.

Since this major win, Fake has committed to never resting on her laurels or taking a full time, high-salaried position, but to continuing to innovate and build new companies, creating more jobs and new ways for people around the world to connect with each other. Even with a toddler at home, she understands the value of putting your chips on the line.

caterina.net
@cefake on instagram

caterina-fake

When Caterina Fake started the photo-sharing app Flickr, it was a huge deviation from her original plan. Caterina and a team had for two years been working on developing a different app, more of a social networking game site.

 

Six months into the plan, the start-up was struggling. Funding was difficult to come by, they were far behind deadline, and Caterina was selling her furniture to make payroll.

After two years of this struggle, they came up with the idea of a photo-sharing site: Flickr. The new concept was wildly exciting, but they hardly had money for one last shot. At that point they were in dire straits—almost no one was was being paid, and Caterina herself had not received a paycheck in two years.


 
Taking a big risk, Caterina and her husband mortgaged their home to put money back into the company and make Flickr real. Two years later, Yahoo! acquired them for $35 million dollars.

Since this major win, Fake has committed to never resting on her laurels or taking a full time, high-salaried position, but to continuing to innovate and build new companies, creating more jobs and new ways for people around the world to connect with each other. Even with a toddler at home, she understands the value of putting your chips on the line.

caterina.net
@cefake on instagram

sara-blakely-a

Sara Blakely had dropped out of Law School and was working as a door-to-door fax machine salesman when she came up with the idea for Spanx. She was doing well at her job and had been promoted to national sales trainer—but she knew there was something bigger for her and dreamed of the day she’d run her own company.
 
As the story goes, Blakely could not find the right underwear to work with a certain pair of white pants. Nothing at the department store was remotely sexy, comfortable, functional, or appealing. She tried cutting the legs off her stockings, and was still disappointed. Blakey quickly discovered that the hosiery manufacturing industry was mostly run by men, and decided to step in and change that.

Blakey spent two years developing and testing her prototype for Spanx. She envisioned herself on

Oprah, and it was just a matter of filling in the blanks until she got there.
 
Blakely’s big risk? The name. She chose “Spanx” after a careful study of classic brands and a flash of inspiration, yet many people were initially offended by it. She was frequently hung up on at the sound of it, or laughed off.
Despite the nay-sayers, she stuck with her gut, understanding that she was introducing a revolution in underwear and that she needed a fresh, bold, and memorable brand name.

The gamble paid off. Since appearing on Oprah in 2000, a few years after the first prototype, Spanx has become a billion dollar business. Aside from being able to create so many useful, high-quality products that women absolutely love, Blakely has channeled her abundance into starting a foundation for women’s education, and has become the first woman to join Bill Gates and Warren Buffet’s “Giving Pledge,” whereby the world’s richest people donate half their wealth to charity.

spanx.com
@spanx on instagram

sara-blakely

Sara Blakely had dropped out of Law School and was working as a door-to-door fax machine salesman when she came up with the idea for Spanx. She was doing well at her job and had been promoted to national sales trainer—but she knew there was something bigger for her and dreamed of the day she’d run her own company.
 
As the story goes, Blakely could not find the right underwear to work with a certain pair of white pants. Nothing at the department store was remotely sexy, comfortable, functional, or appealing. She tried cutting the legs off her stockings, and was still disappointed. Blakey quickly discovered that the hosiery manufacturing industry was mostly run by men, and decided to step in and change that.

 
Blakey spent two years developing and testing her prototype for Spanx. She envisioned herself on Oprah, and it was just a matter of filling in the blanks until she got there.

Blakely’s big risk? The name. She chose “Spanx” after a careful study of classic brands and a flash of inspiration, yet many people were initially offended by it. She was frequently hung up on at the sound of it, or laughed off.
Despite the nay-sayers, she stuck with her gut, understanding that she was introducing a revolution in underwear and that she needed a fresh, bold, and memorable brand name.

The gamble paid off. Since appearing on Oprah in 2000, a few years after the first prototype, Spanx has become a billion dollar business. Aside from being able to create so many useful, high-quality products that women absolutely love, Blakely has channeled her abundance into starting a foundation for women’s education, and has become the first woman to join Bill Gates and Warren Buffet’s “Giving Pledge,” whereby the world’s richest people donate half their wealth to charity.

spanx.com
@spanx on instagram

The World’s Youngest Woman Billionaire
Elizabeth Holmes, Founder of Theranos

fortune

You might say that dropping out of college is a huge risk. At the very least few would call it a safe move to step out into the world without that diploma.

When Elizabeth Holmes was 19-years-old at Stanford University, she made the bold decision to drop out and use the rest of her tuition money to start her own company.

She had a clear vision to revolutionize healthcare, and knew what she was capable of accomplishing. Her chemical engineering professor was at first concerned, but saw the fire in her eyes and ultimately encouraged her to go for it.
For years Elizabeth quietly worked to develop a technology that could conduct a full blood test with the single prick of a finger, delivering test results more accurately, cheaply, and quickly than ever thought possible.

She succeeded, and after unveiling the technology, she quickly became the youngest woman self-made billionaire in history. She owns 50% of her company Theranos, worth $9 billion, and is poised to make a major impact on the world by making life-saving tests more affordable and available.

theranos.com
@theranosinc on instagram

The Fearless Start-Up Queen
Caterina Fake, Founder of Flickr and Hunch

inc

When Caterina Fake started the photo-sharing app Flickr, it was a huge deviation from her original plan. Caterina and a team had for two years been working on developing a different app, more of a social networking game site.

Six months into the plan, the start-up was struggling. Funding was difficult to come by, they were far behind deadline, and Caterina was selling her furniture to make payroll.

After two years of this struggle, they came up with the idea of a photo-sharing site: Flickr. The new concept was wildly exciting, but they hardly had money for one last shot. At that point they were in dire straits—almost no one was was being paid, and Caterina herself had not received a paycheck in two years.

Taking a big risk, Caterina and her husband mortgaged their home to put money back into the company and make Flickr real. Two years later, Yahoo! acquired them for $35 million dollars.

Since this major win, Fake has committed to never resting on her laurels or taking a full time, high-salaried position, but to continuing to innovate and build new companies, creating more jobs and new ways for people around the world to connect with each other. Even with a toddler at home, she understands the value of putting your chips on the line.

caterina.net
@cefake on instagram

The Bold Branding Genius
Sara Blakely, Founder of Spanx

forbes

Sara Blakely had dropped out of Law School was working as a door-to-door fax machine salesman when she came up with the idea for Spanx. She was doing well at her job and had been promoted to national sales trainer—but she knew there was something bigger for her and dreamed of the day she’d run her own company.

As the story goes, Blakely could not find the right underwear to work with a certain pair of white pants. Nothing at the department store was remotely sexy, comfortable, functional, or appealing. She tried cutting the legs off her stockings, and was still disappointed. Blakey quickly discovered that the hosiery manufacturing industry was mostly run by men, and decided to step in and change that.

Blakey spent two years developing and testing her prototype for Spanx. She envisioned herself
on Oprah, and it was just a matter of filling in the blanks until she got there.

Blakely’s big risk? The name. She chose “Spanx” after a careful study of classic brands and a flash of inspiration, yet many people were initially offended by it. She was frequently hung up on at the sound of it, or laughed off.
Despite the nay-sayers, she stuck with her gut, understanding that she was introducing a revolution in underwear and that she needed a fresh, bold, and memorable brand name.

The gamble paid off. Since appearing on Oprah in 2000, a few years after the first prototype, Spanx has become a billion dollar business. Aside from being able to create so many useful, high-quality products that women absolutely love, Blakely has channeled her abundance into starting a foundation for women’s education, and has become the first woman to join Bill Gates and Warren Buffet’s “Giving Pledge,” whereby the world’s richest people donate half their wealth to charity.

spanx.com
@spanx on instagram

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