5 lessons you can learn from some of the best business women in the world

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Get insights from Rihanna and Whitney Wolfe Herd.

June 18, 2021

Read for 4 minutes

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur Contributors are their own.


Today women make up at least 40% of the workforce in more than 80 countries around the world. You control over $ 20 trillion in annual spending. That number is expected to grow by an additional $ 28 trillion over the next few years.

Here are some lessons you can learn from some of the world’s highest paid women entrepreneurs – including Rihanna and Gwynne Shotwell, the COO of SpaceX (Elon Musk’s company), Witney Wolfe Herd (the founders of Bumble), and more.

1. Beauty Entrepreneur Rihanna: Keep it up, success will find you later

Take it from Rihanna. Maybe you’re not making your fortune with a breakout music career – you could actually make it through co-owner of a beauty brand. That’s exactly what she did.

Rihanna didn’t make most of her fortune from music. Instead, she got it from Fenty Beauty, the makeup brand she co-owned with luxury goods company LVMH for two years. The idea of ​​Fenty Beauty, says Rihanna, was “to include women everywhere”. 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 centered around your audience’s pain points, success will find you. Keep going.

2. SpaceX COO Gwynne Shotwell: Take the challenge and the risk

In 2002, Gwynne’s friend Hans Koenigsmann took her on a tour of his job at SpaceX. “Come and meet Elon,” he encouraged her. She did, and she was immediately impressed by Elon’s knowledge. Apparently he was impressed by her too, because that same day he created a position for a vice president and asked her to apply. Gwynne had worked at Microcosm for three years and initially turned the offer down because everything happened in her life – a divorce at 40, two young children, a house to renovate.

Eventually she accepted, however, and today Gwynne Shotwell is President and COO of SpaceX and directs the operations of the commercial space exploration company founded by Elon Musk. She owns 1% of SpaceX and is worth $ 290 million so her risk and challenge have paid off.

3. Bumble Founder Whitney Wolfe Herd: Don’t Justify Yourself, Get the Dream

Whitney was tired of justifying herself. “Women always clean up other people’s mess,” she told the press as Bumble stock rose 63% on the day it went public.

Today, Whitney is worth $ 1.3 billion and is co-founder and CEO of Bumble Inc., which owns two online dating apps: Bumble and Badoo. She is the youngest self-made billionaire. Her history of toxic relationships and the misogyny she has encountered in men is why Bumble exists. Whitney’s experiences are why she created the feature where women send the first message when users match on the platform. This made Bumble unique and an instant hit in the market.

Stop justifying. Start hunting. Whitney did it, and her success is incredible.

4. Burton Owner and Former CEO Donna Carpenter: Don’t be afraid to start small and grow from there

Donna Carpenter started her business in 1977 with her late husband, Jake Burton, or Burton for short. This company is credited with bringing the modern day snowboard to market and turning a fairly unknown hobby into a mainstream sport.

But she started in her basement and living room and created the prototype of the snowboard with husband Jake. Neighbors complained about the odor of polyurethane, but they carried on and ended with great success.

Don’t be afraid to start small and focus on the dream.

5. Zoom CFO Kelly Steckelberg: Walk the fine line to manage growth

Kelly Steckelberg is worth $ 255 million, most of which comes from her Zoom stock options; Zoom shares increased fivefold in the first eight months to 2020.

She is a strategy-driven CFO and has said that growth is a fine line to really support and manage as a financial professional without slowing it down. It is important to invest in the right areas and not over-invest so that other areas cannot keep up.

For massive growth steps it is crucial to walk the fine line and know where to stop or where to stimulate investments.



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