Photo credit: Drew Escriva
Sophie amoruso – has two large companies under his belt at Nasty Gal and patroness – and she’s about to do it again. The serial entrepreneur and New York Times the bestselling author is preparing for his next adventure, Business class, an in-depth course on digital entrepreneurship that explains from A to Z how to start a business… and how to succeed. In the span of eight weeks, Sophia will cover all aspects of the business, including best practices in staff development, diversity and inclusion training, how to cultivate brand identity, understand the role of legal and financial management, how to build customer loyalty and much more. .
It makes sense that she is playing the role of the teacher – not only does she have the experience, but she wants to see her female colleagues, especially succeed. After all, that was the intention behind starting GirlBoss, a community for ambitious women, in 2017 (which was acquired by Attention Capital in 2019).
As such, she will also be showcasing the Business Class Scholarship Program as a way to put business class in the hands of as many entrepreneurs and small business owners as possible, including those who are part of. under-represented communities – especially students of color and LGBTIA + communities. Sophia personally devotes at least $ 200,000 (100 students) in scholarships to this effort.
We spoke with Amoruso about his career, got some of our own business advice, and really found out why getting on business class is the most rewarding thing you can do for yourself this year.
Photo credit: Drew Escriva
Let’s talk about business class. How did you get the idea? Why did you decide that this should be your next goal?
I’ve been there for so many years. This is my 15e year in business, this is my third business. I work a lot but it doesn’t seem to work. I give everything I know to this new generation of entrepreneurs. I learned it the hard way, I earned it. I made some really big mistakes and did some things really really well. I would have liked to have had the advice provided by the business class, because it really is the loneliness of starting a business. The information is really fragmented. You can do stuff on google, but who gives [the information] for you? What is their experience? Even with colleges, entrepreneurship is taught [sometimes] by people who have never worked there or who have never set up a business. Ever since I gathered all of this in my head, I figured I might as well make something out of it in a really complete way. I haven’t really shared what I know this way. I cover everything I think people really need to know; it covers the gamut from branding and identity to legal property to intellectual property to LLCs versus corporations to payroll to hiring and firing. Everything is in there, from boring stuff to the hottest stuff. I can’t wait to see the results. That’s all that matters to me. it’s not the number of people taking it, it’s the work I did to change someone’s life and did it change their bank account? Are they building something that they are happy with and are they able to be a little more themselves?
Do you think it’s important for entrepreneurs to fail?
Honestly, I wish I had failed earlier. It’s not like I haven’t had adversity, but my adversity in business came later than I would have liked because the stakes were so much higher. If you make mistakes, you should make them early, before hundreds of people are affected by your learning. I didn’t succeed overnight, but my first business worked and I didn’t learn the hardest or most valuable things until things got tough. I don’t wish anyone pure success cause it makes you lazy. When everything is going well, the champagne is ringing and everyone is celebrating, you aren’t really looking around for what there is to learn or what could go wrong. There’s always something going on. Success can really cloud that.
With Business Class, is the intention to equip young entrepreneurs with the tools they need to be successful?
It’s my knowledge, it’s my experiences, some of the methods I use for things like naming companies, there’s a lot of reverse engineering, and then stuff that’s just good business practice. Some of the things I teach are things that are taught in business schools and that end up in investor pitch decks. I didn’t go to business school, but learned how to introduce myself to investors, things like SWAT analysis which is really not glamorous, but really good to know.
What things would you like to do in the future outside of your usual area of expertise?
In fact, I have searched for hobbies on Google before. It’s really sad when you google for hobbies. I want to start a family at some point, I really like to hike, I like the interiors, I want to build another house or an office next door because I filled 3000 square feet with way too much furniture . I miss travel so much. There is not much that I am missing. I like it here; I really love being here, but I miss traveling, not for business. I went to Bhutan just before the pandemic hits. My bucket list just got back there. It is so magical. Bhutan, having a child, seeing my family, having more space to work at home and solar panels. I don’t want a lot.
What are the secrets of your success?
The biggest secret is the secret that everyone has access to, which is curiosity. I am infinitely curious. When you’re curious, you treat life like an educational video game. Curiosity generates self-improvement. It is the basis of ingenuity, creativity and the root of what great entrepreneurs have and need.
Do you think it’s harder as a woman to be successful in business, or has that changed? Does that still change?
I think it’s changing very slowly. It is absolutely more difficult. The problems are deep and systemic.
Why is now – during the pandemic – the best time to start a new business?
We’re all pivoting right now. Anyone who hasn’t been forced to think about their values and what they want to spend their life doing [aren’t looking deep enough]. Everyone I know changes industries, starts a new business or moves, and this new environment, just being at home, gives us the opportunity to try new things. There are so many tools for starting online businesses that weren’t there when I started, and people’s needs are changing. Now is the time for experimentation. We don’t have to do everything. We are all at home and can take a few extra minutes a day to bring something into the world and see if anyone likes it. It’s starting a business. Starting a business doesn’t mean you have a brand identity, it means I’ve done something, some people like it and maybe more people might like it. The opportunity to test and try small things to see if they can get big – this is an amazing time for that.
What do you think is the greatest luxury in life and why?
Have something to be generous with. Have enough to be able to provide for the needs of others. Being able to share. What are you gonna do with all your shit if you’re all alone? I took some friends on an amazing vacation. It’s luxury, being with the people you love and being able to afford what you want to do.