Additional editing by Kerry A. Dolan
Reporting by: Grace Chung, Zack Greenburg, Clare O’Connor, Natalie Robehmed, Katia Savchuk, Chloe Sorvino, Katie Taylor, Michela Tindera, Jennifer Wang, Kate Vinton; Additional reporting by: Joann Muller, Chase Peterson-Withorn
Forbes’ third annual tally of America’s 60 most successful self-made women has a new number one, two new billionaires, a transgender woman who climbed back into the ranks after a one year absence and five newcomers. It’s a diverse group of entrepreneurs, executives and entertainers who made their fortunes in everything from makeup and music to fashion, food and finance and range in age from 27 to 90. Many of these women started out trying to come up with better products to use themselves – including Spanx, Vera Bradley and IT Cosmetics, to name a few -- and ended up building successful companies. All of them, who together are worth a record $61.5 billion, share a passion for their products and how they can help their customers.
Leading the way at no. 1 is the cofounder of Little Caesars Pizza, Marian Ilitch. Known as Mrs. I, Ilitch’s fortune grew by $3 billion since last year and she moves up five spots. That’s largely because her husband Mike, with whom she started and ran the business for decades, passed away in February. Forbes now credits her with his portion of Little Caesars, plus her own holdings in the Detroit Red Wings hockey team and MotorCity Casino Hotel. Not included in her fortune: the value of Mike’s Detroit Tigers, which is now in a family trust.
Among the list’s record 18 billionaires are two newly appointed ones including No. 18 Carolyn Rafaelian, the founder of popular bangle brand Alex and Ani, now America’s richest jeweler, and No. 16 Eren Ozmen, cofounder of aerospace and defense contractor Sierra Nevada, whose sales rose 15% in 2016; its Dream Chaser spacecraft now has a partnership with the United Nations and a contract with NASA.
They join better known billionaires in the ranks such as Oprah Winfrey (No. 3) and Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg (No. 12), who are actively influencing politics and culture. While Oprah returns to her reporting roots this fall as a special contributor to 60 Minutes. Sandberg has been speaking out against gender pay gaps and criticize President Trump’s travel ban and anti-abortion measures. “Every woman deserves to be paid what she’s worth,” Sandberg wrote in a Facebook post in honor of April’s Equal Pay Day, “When women are paid less than men, it doesn’t just hurt women. It hurts our families, our businesses and our communities.”
The richest newcomer is Anne Dinning, whose net worth is an estimated $600 million. Trained as a computer scientist, she has helped run one of the most successful quantitative hedge fund firms on Wall Street, D. E. Shaw, for nearly two decades. She is one of five financiers in the ranks, including another newcomer, Victoria Zoellner, chairman of $1.7 billion (assets) hedge fund Alpine Associates Management.
Another new face is Kendra Scott, founder of her eponymous jewelry brand known for customizable earrings, bracelets and necklaces. She debuts following a private equity investment valuing the company at over $1 billion; she is worth $500 million. Makeup maven Jamie Kern Lima also makes the cut after selling her IT Cosmetics to L’Oreal for $1.2 billion in cash in August; she pocketed an estimated $410 million.
Newcomer Jessica Iclisoy literally grabs the last spot in the ranks, coming in tied with real estate maven Dottie Herman at No. 59 with a net worth of $260 million, the minimum needed to make the 2017 list. (That is $10 million more than the $250 million minimum in 2016). Iclisoy launched California Baby in 1995. Today it sells $80 million worth of 90 nontoxic, organic baby care products at stores like Whole Foods and Target. Iclisoy, who owns 100% of the company, never brought in outside investors, has her own manufacturing facility and grows some ingredients on her own farm.
Founder of Sirius Satellite Radio and biotech firm United Therapeutics, Martine Rothblatt rejoins the ranks after a one year absence, as stock rose and Forbes got new information on some stock sales. Rothblatt, who underwent gender reassignment surgery in 1994 but has remained married to the same woman, Bina, for more than three decades, started United after her daughter Jenesis developed pulmonary arterial hypertension; Rothblatt is the only transgender in the ranks.
The youngest person on the list is once again Taylor Swift, now 27, worth $280 million. The oldest is Alice Schwartz, 90. California is home to 23 self-made women, more than any other state by a wide margin. New York comes in second with nine, but New York City, where all of them live, has bragging rights as the top city.
Six women dropped out of the 2017 ranks including Sophia Amoruso, whose online fashion retailer NastyGal filed for bankruptcy protection in November, and Jessica Alba, whose Honest Co. was valued by 2016 potential suitor Unilever at a discount to its last venture capital fundraising round. The four others who fell off this year’s list are model-turned-merchandiser Kathy Ireland, Vera Bradley’s cofounder Barbara Bradley Baekgaard, biotech Opko Health’s Jane Hsiao and financier Lynn Tilton.
To compile net worths, we valued individuals’ assets, including the value of stakes in public companies, using April 28, 2017 stock prices. We valued private companies by speaking with an array of outside experts and conservatively comparing the companies with publicly-traded competitors. To be eligible for this list, women had to have substantially made their own fortunes and be U.S. citizens or permanent U.S. residents. In cases where they started businesses with and still share with their husbands, we’ve assigned them half of that combined wealth. We attempted to vet these numbers with all list entrants. Some cooperated; others didn’t.
Acknowledgments: Euromonitor International; FactSet; LW Hospitality Advisors; Pitchbook; Privco; Simeon A. Siegel, Nomura Instinet; Timothy Landhuis, Staffing Industry Analysts; Lars Topholm, Carnegie Investment Bank.
Every day is #InternationalWomensDay thanks to the founders of these incredible women-centric companies
By Nina Ojeda
Founder and CEO, The Avenue West@ninaojeda
After the launch of my latest company, (PRÊTE, a membership to blowouts) I've become more acutely aware of companies who have changed products and services specifically for women. I typically hate the term "female founder" or "female CEO," but today, when there is so much change happening for womens rights and equality, I want to call attention to some incredible founders who have changed their industries for the better.
They are all women and they are all fearless; however, not all are startups. I want to shine a light on these women as they will teach our future generations (and current aspiring startup founders) to be that much stronger, innovate more freely and think outside of the box because #thefutureisfemale!
Health & Wellness1. LOLA
The feminine hygiene space has always been a bit taboo, especially in mainstream media, but LOLA, the tampon subscription service changed that. The beautifully designed feminine care startup got the attention of major VC's raising over $11M in funding last year. HBO's Girls stars, Lena Dunham & Allison Williams are also investors.
2. Sakara Life
Using the power of social media, Sakara Life skyrocketed to success with their organic meal delivery and healthy lifestyle coaching service. Founders Whitney Tingle & Danielle DuBoise profiles on Instagram created the baseline for their very loyal female following and by the looks of it, it's only getting stronger.
Similar to LOLA, Flex provides an alternative to tampons which can be quite unhealthy. The "Sex Tech" company graduated from Y Combinator and attracted investments from heavy hitters like Ellen Pao.
According to founder and CEO Moj Mahdara, "Beautycon Media is THE global community of content creators, celebrities, fans, and brands that come together to celebrate all things fashion, beauty, style and the passion points of the Gen Z and Millennial lifestyle." The company recently launched a subscription box and from the looks of it, their growth will not be slowing down any time soon.
The Millennial beauty company by Emily Weiss came second to her incredibly successful media company, Into The Gloss where beauty editors would review beauty trends and report on products they love. Glossier uses their deep connection with customer insights to design their products which is what has made them such an unstoppable force in cosmetics.
For the blowout fanatic (ahem, like yours truly) SHHHOWERCAP is your best friend. The SHHHOWERCAP is a uniquely designed waterproof cap that looks like something you'd wear outside - and not just in the shower. The line went viral in 2016 which led to the company selling out product multiple times. I'm sure the marketing genius came from their founder who was an advertising executive in another life.
The line of menstruation underwear made big waves this year garnering the attention of celebrities and major news outlets alike. The conversation about womens health is only growing, and these founders gave talking about "period panties" the spark it needed to be discussed openly.
A personal inspiration to many women, founder Sara Blakely launched this line for womens shapewear catapulting her to becoming one of the youngest self-made billionaires. Blakely not only runs Spanx, she also gives back to aspiring female entrepreneurs with grants and investments.
3. Yasmin Joseph
Like Spanx, Yasmin Joseph is a collection of lingerie specifically for busy and active women. Ask any woman if she likes wearing a bra, and I'll bet at least 90% say no. Founder Yasmin Wong - coming from a family of lingerie manufacturers - launched this line of comfortable (yes, REALLY comfortable) bras that women don't feel like burning at the end of every day. While it may not sound that innovative to some, it's because they haven't tried it.
Services & SaaS1. Kango*
Because Children & Uber aren't exactly a match made in heaven (especially now), and kids of working parents need to get to after-school activities, this SF founder launched Kango, a care and ride service for kids. Their CEO, Sara Schaer is a mother herself, so safety is a huge focus. Kango has the most heavily vetted caregivers and drivers in their space, and are the only ride service for kids able to drive kids under the age of 6. Expect to see Kango make major strides in the coming year.
This SaaS company helps doctors (Ob/Gyn specifically) determine whether a pregnancy is possible, and if so, when the right time would be for their patient. Celmatix recently announced their ability to provide genetic testing to continue building on their proactive approach to fertility management.
*Kango is a company represented by The Avenue West where I currently serve as strategic advisor; however, their inclusion is based purely on merit.
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.
PUBLISHED ON: MAR 8, 2017
Today more women are starting home based businesses than men, and studies are showing that female-led businesses are more successful than male-led organizations. It’s not certain why this is true, but there are some theories. One of these is that women need to continue to embrace their feminine side as they lead businesses to success. Here are some tips on how to succeed as a female entrepreneur.
Do Not Ask Permission. One thing women need to stop doing is asking permission to succeed, either from their husband or other men. You can succeed on your own without their permission. Remember that throughout history women have been leaders, and successful too. It’s only due to outside pressures that women have a history of giving up their power. Stop asking for permission and take what is your right.
Throw Out the Rule Book. Honestly, there never really was a rule book. It’s just that you’ve probably used someone else’s rule book to live your life by. Of course, you want to be kind, generous, and helpful to others, but none of those rules prevent you from running a hugely successful female-run organization.
Think Outside the Box. Women can be successful in all types of businesses, including technical or so-called traditional business models such as crafts and makeup. There isn’t any business that either a man or woman can’t start and lead to success.
Know That Women Are Technical. The first coders were women; that’s a fact. Women are also natural mathematicians. It’s only outside influences that have taken that ability away from women by eroding their belief in themselves. You can take all that back by learning about history and realizing that women are just as capable as men.
Take Your Power Back. If you’ve lost your power due to the way you’ve lived your life up until this day, realize that you can take your power back right now. Accept that you’re just as capable as the next person to be successful, lead and manage a business as a female. There is nothing innate about women that makes them less capable from men.
Over Deliver Every Single Time. It is true that there are perceptions you’ll have to overcome in business as a woman, which makes it even more imperative that you seek to over deliver to your customers every single time. As you show what you can do, people will start trusting you and believing in you - no matter in which field you ultimately choose to start your business.
Success Breeds Success. Each time you experience success it leads to your next success. Embrace your success, thank those who have helped you achieve it, and also thank yourself. Realize that you are in charge of your future more than anyone else, and that your choices and ideas are what are creating the success.
The Rules of the Past Are Gone. While you don’t need to reinvent the wheel, you do need to let go of any rules and limiting beliefs that will hold you back in your entrepreneurial, leadership and management skills. Embrace your abilities, and keep practicing taking charge and you will succeed.
The fact is, women have never really been worse than men at building businesses. Unnatural forces have held women back and pushed them down, and women are learning that they are powerful and are able to make key decisions that are making waves in the business world.
This is your time! What are you going to implement today to make sure that you're moving forward in your business. Let me know how I can help and support you. Now go and create!
Networking Events...Do I Really Need To Go?!
As a home based business owner, networking events are wonderful ways to learn more about your industry, get to know movers and shakers, and even become a mover and a shaker yourself . There are many reasons to attend networking events that you should consider. But, if any one event doesn’t fulfill at least a couple of the following factors, then there is no need to go. Attend as many events as you can afford and so that you can research to see if at least a couple reason for you to attend.
As a home based business owner, attending networking events is a really great way to build your business, learn more about your business, and make the right connections. If the events you’re choosing from fulfill some of the reasons to attend and it’s within your budget to attend, yI highly recommend you go.
Believe it or not, growing a business takes more thought than just making more sales. You could end up in a bad situation where you’re making more sales than your business can support. It can cause a serious problem with trust from the consumer, and can actually totally ruin your entire business. Better to be ready for future growth.
* Create Standard Operating Procedures. Every single business from a fast food restaurant to a service provider can improve their business by creating standard operating procedures. When you have procedures in place that are repeatable, you’ll experience smoother growing pains and even encourage growth.
* Save Money for Higher Expenses. When your business grows, expenses go up. Whether it’s marketing and advertising, materials, costs for contractors and so forth, you’ll spend a little more on expenses. But, if you’re ready for the higher costs (which can sometimes kick in prior to experiencing the revenue), it’ll go smoother.
* Set Up the Right Software. There are numerous types of cloud-based software that you’re going to need in your home based business. Whether it’s shopping cart software or a website, you need to ensure that what you’ve chosen is scalable. You don’t want to pay for more than you use, and you want to make sure it scales easily.
* Use Automation Carefully. Today you can automate so much, from social media to even accounting. But, it’s important to choose which things should be automated and which should not. Generally anything to do with engagement should not be automated, and anything that keeps you from having to do data entry should be.
* Put an Accounting System in Place. If you’re currently doing your accounting by hand and you want to grow, it’s going to be best to create an accounting system that is automated and done by a professional. You can do this with many programs, from Go Daddy Bookkeeping to QuickBooks to Quicken.
* Identify Holes in Skills. Sometimes when you want to expand there is a problem when it comes to skills. For example, if you have a service-based business such as a website building business, you’re going to have to hire people like yourself in order to scale up.
* Improve Social Media Accounts. As you seek growth, focus more on your social media accounts. Upgrade them, ensure there is a branding match across networks, and then hire someone to keep your accounts up to date and create a social media marketing strategy.
* Make Contact with Appropriate Contractors. You’re going to have to hire contractors or employees as you ramp up your business and plan for future growth. It depends on the type of business you have, but if you make contact now and get to know people now, you’ll be ready.
If you’re not ready for growth, you can actually end up losing your business. The reason is that you could end up making promises you can’t keep, or having to turn away people due to lack of supply. This can be really hard to take. But, if you prepare in advance you’ll be ready for future business growth.
When it comes to becoming a home based entrepreneur, women seem to have more challenges than men. However, these challenges can easily be overcome with some education and perseverance. Let’s go over these challenges and learn how to deal with them.
1. Being Perceived as Bossy. Sometimes in our society women who are strong are seen as bossy while a male who does the same thing is seen as strong. But, instead of worrying about that perception, women should learn to take charge and not worry about other peoples ideas. When someone calls you out on being bossy stand up for yourself and point out examples of males doing the same thing. When people are exposed to their underlying sexism they will change.
2. Building Networks. Because of the perception that most people who are business owners are men, most groups seem to be male centric. However, today there are many groups that are available for women to join. You can even start your own group like I did with Women Empowering Women Mastermind Group. www.wewmg.com But, don’t wait around for women-centered groups; join the groups that are male dominated and take a leadership position. Don’t be afraid to be a leader.
3. Making Strong Decisions. Because of the perception that women are bossy, some women have a hard time making decisive choices about their lives and careers. But, that’t the worst thing you can do. If you’ve done the research, be sure of your choices and make the decision, knowing that you’re just as smart as anyone else.
4. Being Balanced. It seems that as women we are expected to do everything. We are expected to take care of our spouses, the kids, the house, the animals and our business as well! It’s not really a fair thing for women to have to take all that onto by ourselves. Reality is we can’t or something along the way is going to breakdown. Ask for help. Ask your partner, your kids, your family or even hire someone to take care of those things that you don’t have time for. Hire a housecleaner, lawn service, babysitter (for when you are home and need to work), dog walker. If your really good at building your business then you can spend some money to hire key people in your life to help you be balanced.
5. Fear of Success. This is a problem for a lot of home based women entrepreneurs. Success carries a lot of responsibility and it can be overwhelming at times. Treat yourself the way you want others to treat you. If you want to be a successful home based business owner, you have to see yourself as one first before anyone else will.
6. Finding a mentor/coach. In the USA, women own 10.6 billion businesses and are the fastest growing segment of business owners in the world. The majority of the very successful women business owners have a mentor or a coach or even both! You need to have someone or a group like a mastermind to bounce ideas off, let off steam, and hold you accountable.
1. Do What You Love. Start a business that you are passionate about, instead of one that just makes money. Often times people get involved in something because of the money, and then realize how much they dislike it. But when you are doing something you love and that is also in demand, the money will come and it will also feel good.
2. Know Where to Place Your Focus. Remember the 80/20 rule? This states that 20 percent of the work you do produces 80 percent of the results. Use metrics to identify what part of the work you’re doing is getting the results, and then do more of that and less of what is not producing results.
3. Identify Your Strengths and Weaknesses. It’s important to be honest about what you know and what you don’t know. You want to work from a position of strength. Do what you do very well and do a lot of it. When you do too much of the things you’re weak at doing, you will lose the joy of your business as well as suffer as a result.
4. Outsourcing. As you note your weaknesses, it’s also important to find a way to fill those gaps. You may use outsourcing help, technology, or even take a course if necessary to shore up your weaknesses so that they become strengths.
5. Be Accountable to Yourself. Honesty is very important, including self-honesty. If you can’t tell yourself the truth, look yourself in the eye, and move forward with your goals, then you’ll fail at being a business owner. To help get yourself a coach or get into a mastermind group such as Women Empowering Women Mastermind Group. www.wewmg.com
6. Set Realistic Goals. Learn about SMART goal setting, which stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time bound. This means that you want goals that are realistic within a particular timetable and deadline.
7. Surround Yourself with the Right Team. The right team for you may not be what’s right for someone else. Learn to trust yourself as you choose a team to work with, whether employees or contractors. Skill matters, but so does personality. If you mesh with your team, you’ll have a more pleasant and successful environment.
8. Don’t Apologize. Men never apologize for success, and women should learn not to. You’re not bossy; you’re the boss. You’re not arrogant; you’re in charge. It’s okay to be successful; you don’t need to say I’m sorry about anything.
9. Get Help When Needed. The most successful people know that they need to ask for help when it’s important. Consider that throughout history men have been successful in business - not alone, but with the help of others around them.
10. Have fun! Don’t forget the reason why you started a home based business in the first place. Remember to enjoy and love what you do so you can have a successful home based business and lifestyle.
Who Uses Pinterest?
According to Pinterest demographic data, almost 70 percent of their users are women between the ages of 25 and 34, and about half of them have children. Pinterest users spend about 15 minutes using the service every single day. Pinterest users share a variety of "pins" and create pin boards or collections to share with others. The pins that get the most shares are visually pleasing and often shopping related.
How Do They Use Pinterest?
Men and women use Pinterest for the same reasons - to get ideas, to make wish lists or "vision boards", and to keep track of resources they might want to look at later. But, women tend to wish more than men, who actually tend to buy more due to a pin. In other words, men generally pin things they will buy, while women pin things they want to buy or wish they could buy.
Why Do People Use Pinterest?
Why Should I Use Pinterest?
Go to Pinterest and find out if your audience is using it and set up a Pinterest for Business account. It's free.
When you’re trying to get clients it can be a frustrating journey. Sometimes you’ll talk to someone who seems perfect but they either don’t get back with you, or they tell you they picked someone else. After all the work you do to qualify your clients, it can be a big let-down. But, there are ways you can get to yes that you may not have thought about.
Understand What “No” Really Means
Most of the time, when someone raises objections, they are really asking a question - not saying no. It’s your job to know what type of objections your audience may have in advance and come up with answers and education that explain away these objections. Your sales pages, email marketing messages, and other marketing material should answer most of these objections up front to avoid them later.
Be Committed to Getting to Yes
Most people just need time to get to yes. If you have someone sign up for your email list, and they are at least opening the emails, you’re part of the way there. If they’re not opening the emails, it’s up to you to figure out why (perhaps your freebie is targeted to the wrong audience) and then move them to a new list so that you can market to them more aggressively. Perseverance wins over a lot of doubters if you keep delivering high quality education.
Host a Webinar
Even service professionals can host webinars to discuss something they do for their clients. If you, for example, set up shopping carts for your clients, and keep them running smoothly, you can host a webinar about “making your products stand out” or “100 reasons you should use 1ShoppingCart” if that happens to be your specialty. Then end with an offer they can’t refuse.
Spend More Time on Client Screening
If you are getting to the discovery call phase and getting a lot of “no” answers, it may be time to re-evaluate your client screening process. Potential clients that get to the call should be ready and willing to buy. The way you accomplish this is by building up an email list of leads who may become prospects, who will then be more likely to become clients based on the actions they take as you lead them through your product funnel.
Yes - You Need a Product Funnel
You read the words product funnel above and maybe cringed. You don’t have one? Well you need to create one. A product funnel for a service-based business is not much different from a product funnel for other types of business. You put the least expensive item you have at the widest part of the funnel, and the most expensive item at the narrowest part. In between you develop educational materials that lead the prospect through the funnel.
Stop Treating Each Prospect the Same
Every prospect you have is unique. You need to personalize your efforts for each prospect that gets to the discovery call stage. Learn all you can about them via a client questionnaire that you send to them prior to the call. This will help you narrow down what to talk to them about, as well as help you identify potential issues. Don’t worry about if you find out they are not right for you in the process. You saying no is acceptable.
Hone Your Marketing Messages
If you are sending a lot of people to the discovery call phase and still getting a lot of no’s, then you may need to improve your marketing messages. As the person creating the message, you’re responsible for how your prospects hear them. If they’re not hearing what you thought they were, then it’s your job to go through every single message and fix the problems.
Tell Your Story Better
When you look at high-priced items compared to lower priced items, they are essentially the same thing. What is it that differentiates the perceived value of the items? Is it really the ingredients? Sometimes, sure, but often it’s all based on perception. It’s your job to tell your story in such a way that your audience perceives your work as worth more than the work someone else does.
Getting to yes, and being the chosen one, doesn’t come from luck. It doesn’t come from waiting around. It comes from proactively creating a system that helps pull in your ideal client. The clients who want to say yes, the clients who really want to work with you and is ready to do what it takes to do so.
How do you get clients? I love your feedback! I have had so many people contacting me and I truly appreciate it! Please keep them coming. My direct email is email@example.com. Wishing you a productive day!
About the Author: Doreen Dilger – Certified Manifest Method Coach. Tagline: Master Motivator, Excuse Eliminator & Goal-get-her.