Gain insights from Rihanna and Whitney Wolfe Herd.
4 min read
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Today, in more than 80 countries around the world, women make up at least 40% of the workforce. They control over $20 trillion in yearly spending. This number is expected to go up by another $28 trillion inside the next few years.
Here are some lessons you can learn from some of the highest-earning female entrepreneurs in the world — including Rihanna and Gwynne Shotwell, the COO of SpaceX (Elon Musk’s company), Witney Wolfe Herd (the founder of Bumble) and more.
1. Beauty entrepreneur Rihanna: Keep going, success will find you down the road
Take it from Rihanna. You might not make your fortune from a breakout music career — you might actually make it from co-owning a beauty brand. This is exactly what she did.
Rihanna didn’t make the bulk of her wealth from music. Instead, she made it from Fenty Beauty, the makeup brand she co-owned for two years with luxury goods group LVMH. The idea of Fenty Beauty, Rihanna says, was “so that women everywhere would be included.” She focused on matching a range of traditionally difficult-to-match skin tones.
If you have a passion for what you do as an entrepreneur, and solutions are crafted with your audience’s pain points at heart, success will find you. Keep going.
2. SpaceX COO Gwynne Shotwell: Embrace the challenge and the risk
In 2002, Gwynne’s friend Hans Koenigsmann took her on a tour of his job at SpaceX. “Come meet Elon,” he encouraged her. She did, and she was immediately impressed by Elon’s knowledge. Apparently he was also impressed by her, because later that same day, he created a position for a vice president and asked her to apply. Gwynne had been working for three years at Microcosm, and at first, she declined the offer, because of everything going on in her life—a divorce at 40, two young children, a house to renovate.
Eventually, however, she accepted, and today, Gwynne Shotwell is SpaceX’s president and COO, managing the operations of the commercial space exploration company founded by Elon Musk. She owns 1% of SpaceX and is worth $290M, so her risk and challenge paid off in a big way.
3. Bumble Founder Whitney Wolfe Herd: Don’t justify yourself, go get the dream
Whitney was tired of justifying herself. “Women are always cleaning up someone else’s mess,” she said to the press when Bumble stock jumped up 63% on its IPO launch day.
Today, Whitney is worth $1.3 billion and is the cofounder and CEO of Bumble Inc., which owns two online dating apps: Bumble and Badoo. She is the youngest self-made woman billionaire. Her history of toxic relationships and the misogyny she encountered among men tech is the very reason Bumble exists. Whitney’s experiences are why she created the feature of women sending the first message when users match on the platform. This made Bumble unique and an instant hit in the marketplace.
Stop justifying. Start chasing. It’s what Whitney did, and her success is beyond incredible.
4. Burton Owner and Former CEO Donna Carpenter: Don’t be afraid to start small and grow from there
Donna Carpenter started her company in 1977 with her late husband Jake Burton, known simply as Burton. This company is credited with launching the modern snowboard and transforming a fairly unknown hobby into what is now a mainstream sport.
But she started in her basement and her living room, creating the prototype of the snowboard with husband Jake. Neighbors complained of the smell of polyurethane, but they kept going, ending in massive success.
Don’t be afraid to start small and stay focused on the dream.
5. Zoom CFO Kelly Steckelberg: Walk the fine line to manage growth
Kelly Steckelberg is worth $255M, most of which comes from her Zoom stock options; Zoom shares quintupled in the first eight months into 2020.
She’s a strategy-minded CFO, and has said growth is a fine line to walk as a finance person to truly support it, and manage it without slowing it down. Investing in the right areas is key, and not over-investing so that other areas can’t keep up.
Walking the fine line and knowing where to call it quits or where to ramp up investment is critical for massive growth moves.