While Sara Blakely quotes may not be the first that come to mind when thinking about the female business mogul, fellow entrepreneurs could learn a fair bit from the Spanx founder.
In a recent guesting on Salesforce Stories of Resilience, the businesswoman and philanthropist shared her journey, as well as answered questions form small business owners from around the world.
There were quite a few Sara Blakely quotes from the nearly hour-long web event. After all, Sara has an outstanding resume. She became the youngest self-made female billionaire in 2012, according to Forbes. The publication has also included her in its list of World’s 100 Most Powerful Women list in several years. Also in 2012, TIME named her one of the World’s Most Influential People. And as Salesforce’s Marie Rosecrans said during their conversation, Sara is also a mother of four kids.
What stuck with us here at Smart Hustle while watching the whole web event is how important persistence has been in her journey. It’s been quite a ride, but she is living proof that never giving up pays off, as one of the Sara Blakely quotes below says. Here are six quotes from the Spanx founder that fellow entrepreneurs need to read:
I did cut the feet off my pantyhose but there was so much intention set behind that moment in time.
The soundbite people often hear is: “Sara cut the feet out of her pantyhose and voilà!” But Spanx, though it can trace it’s beginning in that moment, was long in the works even before that, Sara says. She remembers one particular day seven years into being a door-to-door fax machine saleswoman. Suddenly pulling off the road, she cried in her car. She could not believe that this was her life. That night she wrote down what she was good at, and that was sales and marketing. She also wrote in her journal that she will invent something that she can sell to millions of people that will make them feel good.
Sara also says that the moment Spanx was born came because she prepared herself for it. “I was so purposeful about it and I asked the universe very specifically for that idea,” she says. “When it came to me, I only cut the feet off my pantyhose one time because I had my antenna up for an idea that I could use that might serve a lot of people.”
Resilience is like a muscle. The more you gut through something and not let it get you down or defeat you, the stronger your resilience muscle becomes.
Sara says that so much of her success is because she just chooses to pick herself back up and move forward. She’s always taking that next step, even if she had experienced failure of disappointment.
I ended up persevering through roadblocks by just not giving up. I used a lot of persistence balanced with humor balanced with vulnerability and I asked people to help.
Her journey has seen so many roadblocks. She says that she had a really hard time at first convincing manufacturers to even consider making Spanx. However, roadblocks like that haven’t stopped her from launching a whole category with Spanx. She has also maintained its market lead, because she knows when to show vulnerability and ask people for help.
You have to go through things with levity.
Speaking of balancing persistence with humor, Sara knows that laughs and smiles go a long way. She says there was this one time a whole product line’s launch was derailed by the shipment catching fire at sea. “Panties on fire” became an inside joke at the company. Sara also says that for her, self-deprecating humor is the safest. It puts people at ease. People let their walls down, and it can be the difference between getting the sale or not. “You don’t have to act serious to be taken seriously,” Sara says.
People feed off of your passion and your confidence.
While Sara had a hard time convincing her first manufacturer, one lesson stood out to her. She always made a conscious effort to be steadfast. She always made sure the words she uses inspire confidence. In tough situations and in negotiations, she says her passion and her confidence has carried her through. Nonetheless, Sara has advice about being authentic in her journey. At first, she heard a lot of “fake it until you make it” advice from people around her. She just made sure that she was still true to herself through it all.
When you’re doing something and your purpose is greater than yourself, it will give you courage you never knew you had.
Sara says that what motivates her are the women in her life who didn’t have the same opportunities. There’s a lot for the taking and the pace of progress is fast, she says. Her mom had her when she was 22. In just a span of a lifetime, Sara has had so much more opportunities than her mom. She feels like she almost has to take every chance she can get, because others aren’t as lucky. This is why elevating other women is a higher calling for her, she explains.
Work on your mindset daily because it is really going to be what differentiates you between other entrepreneurs.
Last on our collection of Sara Blakely quotes is a reminder that what may differentiate the successful entrepreneur and those that reach new heights is the mindset. This is why the Spanx founder says that working on mindset every single day is crucial. She began her mindfulness and leadership journey quite young. When she was 16, her dad gave her a cassette tape series about personal development. Since then – and more importantly, until now – she’s been working on herself and her mindset. You deserve that kind of dedication and attention, too.