As CEO origin stories go, Nasty Gal founder Sophia Amoruso has a pretty good one. As she proudly recounts in her forthcoming memoir/business guide, #GIRLBOSS, she outgrew her shoplifting, dumpster-diving youth to become a successful eBay vintage vendor and then, seemingly overnight, the CEO of a $100 million e-commerce company.
Amoruso, who at this stage has attracted as much attention from TechCrunch as she has from Vogue, is well aware of the marketability of her tale. (Tomorrow morning, she’ll host a book event that invites her acolytes to dumpster dive for free bagels in Union Square.) And with her ultrareadable book, she deploys her story as evidence that you don’t have to have a pedigree, an Ivy League degree, or an MBA to get where you want to go.
The business advice is mostly familiar — new to the youngs, a nice reminder to the olds. She takes the wisdom of CEOs before her (including Sandberg) and wraps it up with her biography, personal philosophy, and practical advice (e.g., don’t slander former employees on social media), all delivered with the same voice and attitude that has made her site so successful.
Is the Amoruso recipe for success viable for all? That remains to be seen — but as we’ve been leaning in for over a year now, we’re surely due for a new businesswoman manifesto. So, in the spirit of her gratuitously hashtagged book title, we’ve summarized the top #GIRLBOSS lessons into social-media-ready mantras:
1. #OCDBLT: Amoruso will never forget her Subway-sandwich-artist origins (and we won’t either), because the care she took while making a BLT in a sandwich-assembly line translated to every stage of building her multi-million-dollar company.
2. #MagicMan: Amoruso applies the power of magical thinking to success: “You get back what you put out, so you might as well think positively, focus on visualizing what you want instead of getting distracted by what you don’t want, and send the universe your good intentions so that it can send them right back.”
3. #BanSpecial: Even a wunderkind like Amoruso admits that we’re not all unique, butterfly-shaped snowflakes who are exempt from hard work. Forget millennial entitlement and accept that a career takes time.
4. #NoNewHeroes: She writes, “For most of my life I didn’t even believe in the concept of a role model. I don’t want to be put on a pedestal. I don’t want you to look up, #GIRLBOSS, because all that looking up can keep you down. The energy you’ll expend focusing on someone else’s life is better spent just working on your own. Just be your own Idol.”
5. #Not2Legit2Quit: Amoruso bounced from gigs at Subway to Borders to a hydroponic lawn store — she never wasted away in a dead-end job just to say she had a job. Quit when it’s time to quit. She writes: “If you’re bored and hating it, it’s a big sign you’re most likely just in the wrong place.” But remember that bad jobs are like bad relationships — there’s an important takeaway.
6. #DoYou: A self-described anti-fashion fashionista, introvert, hitchhiker, and so on, Amoruso checks all the boxes of an iconoclast, which certainly helps when you’re the poster child for a DGAF clothing company. Maybe you aren’t a rebel — but whatever it is you are, self-professed weirdo Amoruso recommends just being yourself, and putting that freak flag on your résumé.
7. #OwnIt: What’s refreshing about Amoruso is she doesn’t indulge in “Aw shucks, can you believe I made it?” faux bashfulness — but she acknowledges that she’s been lucky while knowing she worked incredibly hard to get where she’s gotten. Don’t be afraid to pat yourself on the back.
#GIRLBOSS hits shelves tomorrow.