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A 'Lean In' for the 99%? Sophia Amoruso's #GIRLBOSS

Nicole Goodkind
Nicole Goodkind
Daily Ticker

Sophia Amoruso, the 30-year-old founder and CEO of Nasty Gal (an online retailer that did more than  $100 million in revenue last year), is sharing her story and tips for success with her new book #GIRLBOSS.

Many are already calling the book a "Lean In" for the millennial set, but “my story is different," she says. "I didn’t have the resources [Sheryl Sandberg] did growing up, I think a lot of us didn’t."

Instead Amoruso tries to appeal to women (and men) who feel like they don’t fit within the typical definitions of success or who feel pent up working a minimum-wage job.

“There’s no chutes and ladders in life,” explains Amoruso. “Everything can be creative…I took a lot of pride in slapping shipping labels on packages and in editing photos and in pulling dirty Kleenexes out of vintage clothing, and all of those things were as important as what I’m doing today, it’s just a different job.”

Related: Ban Bossy: When bad ideas happen to smart people

Amoruso also worked at Subway and various mall chains before starting her vintage shop in 2006 at just 24 years-old. She believes it was working at these menial jobs that trained her as a successful businesswoman. “I talk about getting OCD on the BLT in ‘#GIRLBOSS’ and how my dad always said ‘when you’re out of work sweep the floors and then sweep the floors again’ and I think there’s something to learn from that.”  

Amoruso’s story is certainly unique -- she spent much of her late-teens and early 20s hitchhiking across the Pacific Northwest, shoplifting and taking minimum-wage jobs before buying an "eBay for Dummies" guide and beginning her own store. “I knew where to find vintage, I knew how to take decent photos, I had a laptop and the rest of it is history," she says. She was a college drop-out who seemed to be aimlessly wandering until she found a way to make her talents click together.

Eventually she expanded past the perimeters of eBay and began her own online store. “At 22 I was directionless, frustrated with the world, sure that college education and a regular job weren’t for me and I didn’t know that starting an eBay store would lead me here today, but I was open,” she says.

Related: Are Millennials a “Lost Generation”?

Her advice to young people starting out in the job market is to follow your own path and not to let other people tell you how to live your life...but at the same time work hard and not expect handouts.

"A lot of young people who I employ expect a raise after three months or expect not to have to put in more work than what’s in their job description," she says. "It takes a lot of hard work and once you get there it takes even more hard work to stay there.”  

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