'Don't ever grow up. Don't become a bore. Don't ever let the Man get to you.' - Sophia Amoruso
If there's anything I can say about this book after reading it, it's that it's a refreshingly honest perspective of what it's like to succeed in this start-up world, run your own business, and do your thing unabashedly. She's blunt, and frightfully honest about her ordeals, including revealing experiences about how she's been caught shoplifting... Amongst many other stories. If you are a #GIRLBOSS or #DUDEBOSS then you probably already have stacks of books you want to read but haven’t had the time. We think there are so many important takeaways in this book, that we thought we would condense it for you and make it a quick read! If by the end of this blog you still want MORE then we strongly recommend you buy the book.
About her: She's the founder, CEO and creative director of Nasty Gal, a $100 million plus online fashion retailer with more than 350 employees. What might intrigue you is that Nasty Gal was founded by Sophia in her ex-boyfriend's apartment back in 2006 with a laptop, an eBay account, and a passion for hoarding vintage! With 402k followers on her Instagram, this girl packs a punch and sure knows how to deliver a kick-ass story on the trials and tribulations of her business endeavours and how she got there.
The Book: #GIRLBOSS
This is the book she wrote that spent 20 weeks on the New York Times Best Sellers List. They call it the 'Millenial Alternative to Lean In' - in reference to the career advice book by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. #GIRLBOSS is Sophia's story filled with wake-up calls, frank observations and behind-the-scenes stories from Nasty Gal's meteoric rise. She wrote about trusting your instincts and following your gut, knowing which rules to follow and which to break. It's about taking charge of your own future - owning your choices as much as your mistakes, and knowing that life starts at the end of your comfort zone.
So what does it mean to be a #GIRLBOSS?
Someone who's in charge of her own life, she gets what she wants because she works for it. As a #GIRLBOSS, you're a fighter. You know where you're going, but can't do it without having some fun along the way. You value honesty over perfection. You ask questions. You take your life seriously, but you don't take yourself too seriously. You're going to take over the world and change it in the process.
The Best Takeaways
1. The shitty jobs make the good ones more meaningful.
"Most people don't land their dream job right out of the gate, which means we all have to start somewhere. You'll appreciate your amazing career so much more when you look back at your not-so-amazing jobs in the past, and hopefully realise that you learned something from all of them."
2. When working customer service, always apologise!
On instinct, I was going to disagree with this because truthfully, sometimes it's just not your fault. But think about it this way:
"Even if it's not your fault, they've been disappointed by the company you work for and it's your job to empathise with them. Though you may be paid minimum wage, to the customers you are the face of the entire company. It's this kind of accountability that gets people raises, promotions, and eventually careers."
3. Nothing is universally boring.
Heard the saying 'what's not your cup of tea could well be somebody's else's?' This is exactly that. Work is where you spend the majority of your time outside of your house, so it should be something you enjoy!
"What's boring to you could be totally engaging to someone else. If you're bored and hating it, it's a big sign that you're most likely just in the wrong place."
4. Money looks better in the bank than on your feet.
"For a long time I was so focused on growing the business that spending money on myself didn't even cross my mind. Even if I had wanted to drop $500 on a pair of shoes, I was just too busy. 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. Be as unemotional as possible when asking for a raise.
That of course means first of all making sure that you deserve the raise that you're asking for. Don't assume that you deserve one just because you've worked somewhere else for long enough. But if you can articulate the reasons why you deserve one, then arrange to discuss it. And when you do meet to discuss it, skip the personal sob stories.
"All she needs to know is that you're kicking ass, like a #GIRLBOSS should."
6. Ask for what you want.
"If you're frustrated because you're not getting what you want, stop for a second: Have you actually flat-out asked for it? If you haven't, stop complaining. You can't expect the world to read your mind. You have to put it out there, and sometimes putting it out there is as simple as just saying, 'Hey, can I have that?'"
7. Use magical thinking to visualise and project yourself into the professional and personal life that you want.
"I am talking about visualisation that works when we actually get off our asses and do stuff. Each time you make a good decision or do something nice or take care of yourself; each time you show up to work and work hard and do your best at everything you can do, you're planting seeds for a life that you can only hope will grow beyond your wildest dreams. Take care of the little things [...] Fortune favours the bold who get shit done."
8. Don't give constructive criticism - without being asked.
So many people (including myself) have fallen into the trap of assuming that employers love hearing about what you think can be improved about their company in your cover letter. Wrong. Detailing it in a cover letter is considered by Sophia as "distasteful" and will only set you back that much further! Scrap the two lines, and perhaps bring it up in an interview instead.
9. Write a thank you email or note after an interview.
How many of us actually send out a thank you note? Seems like something many people gloss over, but you'd be surprised at what sticks in the minds of employers after they've just seen twenty other people for the same role you're vying for. As Sophia reiterates,
"Someone who knows how to have good manners knows how to get what she wants in this world."
10. Be open-minded.
Take on roles that go beyond what is required of your job scope. Never ever say these 4 words...
"You want to know what four words I probably hate the most? 'That's not my job'. Nasty Gal is not a place where these four words fly. At the end of the day, we're all here for one reason and one reason only - to make the company succeed."
11. Be nice to everyone - and I mean everyone.
"...the worst kind of mean is selective mean - people who are nice to their boss and superiors but completely rude to their peers or subordinates. If you are a habitual bitch to the front desk girl, the security guard, or even the Starbucks staff downstairs, the news will eventually make its way up the chain, and the top of the chain ain't gonna like it."
12. Understand the Nasty Gal Philosophy.
The Nasty Gal Philosophy is defined by these 6 things:
Nasty Gal Obsessed: keep the customer centre of everything.
Own it: Make smart decisions, put the business first, do more with less.
People are important: Reach out, make friends, build trust.
No Assholes: Leave your ego at the door. Be respectful, collaborative, curious, open-minded.
Learn: The future is ours to write. Learn grom our mistakes, take intelligent risks.
Have fun and keep it weird.
13. You create the world, blink by blink. It is entirely yours to discover and yours to create.
"Regardless of what your dreams are, if you listen only to those around you, the chances of your dreams coming true are very small."
14. You can't have it all and nothing comes easy.
One of my favourite quotes of all time is that "Nothing worth having ever comes easy". Sophia emphasises that in this paragraph where she talks about sacrifices and compromises.
"You will make sacrifices and compromises, get let down and let other people down, fail and start over, break some hearts, take some names, and learn to pick up and continue when your own heart gets broken. But difficult doesn't mean impossible, and out of the bajillions of things in this universe that you can't control, what you can control is how hard you try, and if or when to pack it in."
15. Believe in yourself.
Sometimes it's all about the spirit and the positivity that you channel from within. Some call it being far too naive, but as Sophia writes,
"An advantage of being naive is being able to believe in oneself when no one else will [...] If you start listening, you should find that your heart has known what's up all along.
Hopefully this post has given you some perspective on what it takes to be a #GIRLBOSS and the best lessons you can take away with you! If you're looking to run your own business, read this for the things you want to nail when running a start-up!
So whether you're kick-starting tomorrow with an awesome adventure or finding an experience to make today extraordinary, go on,