Sara Blakely is a billionaire.
Of course she hasn’t always been a billionaire. In fact, she wanted to be an attorney but scored too low on the LSAT. So she took a job at Walt Disney World in Orlando and occasionally did stand-up comedy.
Eventually she moved on to selling fax machines door-to-door in the often sweltering Florida heat. In keeping with company policy, Sara wore pantyhose while on the job.
She didn’t mind the pantyhose policy much. She wasn’t a big fan of how the seamed foot looked while wearing open-toed shoes, but she “liked how the control-top model eliminated panty lines and made her body appear firmer.” (From Wikipedia)
So here’s what she did. Before attending a private party, she cut the feet off of a pair of her pantyhose and wore them under her new slacks.
Yeah, the hose kept rolling up her legs but she LOOKED GREAT!
And that’s how Spanx was born.
At just 27 years old, the once-aspiring attorney moved to Atlanta to pursue a different dream. Over the next 2 years, she spent her entire $5000 savings on researching and developing her idea.
Problem was, since she went through all of her money she couldn’t afford a patent attorney. So she bought a book on filing patents at Barnes & Noble and did it her darn self. Then she drove to North Carolina, the hosiery capital of the world, to reveal what she’d created.
They didn’t like it…
Turns out the hosiery biz was run by a bunch of dudes who couldn’t give two shits about visible panty lines. They couldn’t connect with the problem Sara’s idea was solving.
BUT anyone who sells fax machines door-to-door knows a little something about rejection. Sara knew she’d have to go through plenty of no’s to get to the yeses.
Two weeks after returning home from North Carolina, a mill operator, whose three daughters loved her idea, contacted Sara and offered his support.
The rest is history.
In 2000, Spanx was named Oprah’s Favorite Product. The next year she signed a contract with QVC and sold 8,000 pairs of Spanx in her first 6 minutes. She now has a net worth of $1.18 billion.
That’s billion with a B.
A mother of four, her Sara Blakely Foundation funds scholarships for women, supporting education and entrepreneurial training. She is also the first female billionaire to join the Giving Pledge to donate at least half of her wealth to charity.
And it all began with a single idea and a pair of scissors.
Everyone has ideas. But as Mel Robbins says, our problem is we don’t act on them. Sara acted. She had a burning desire to solve a problem. She believed in her idea. She believed in herself. And she didn’t let rejection get in her way.
I mean, seriously, let’s really think about this…
Sara Blakely cut the feet off a pair of pantyhose, figured out a way to keep them from rolling up, changed the waistband, made them more comfortable, and turned the typically-drab hosiery packaging into something bold and feminine.
And she’s a buh-buh-buh-billionaire!
The point is, everything is an idea. Everything begins in someone’s mind and, if acted upon with persistence, becomes a reality.
There’s nothing “special” about Sara Blakely. She didn’t come into this world with the good idea gene. Or the billionaire gene. She simply found a solution for a common problem. And while on her journey to bring her idea to life, she discovered her greatness.
We all have greatness within us. As I wrote about on Wednesday, we bury it under our own limiting beliefs, societal/parental expectations, and accepted opinions of people who don’t know what the f*ck they’re talking about.
Pardon my asterisk.
What’s your Creative Urge? What idea have you been sitting on and refusing to bring to life? And how pissed are you gonna be with yourself when you’re watching QVC at 1am and see someone else selling 8,000 units of your idea in six minutes?
Who needs your philanthropic support but isn’t receiving it because you’re so caught up with yourself that you’ve forgotten about what you and your idea can do for others? Or because you don’t how to do something but can find all the info you need in a $19 book at B&N?
Anyway, this post is getting long. I blame the chai latte. Iced. With almond milk.
Today on The Quote of The Day Show, Richard St. John reveals how you can tap into your creative mind with his 4 Simple Ways to Have Super Ideas. Tap the PLAY button above to listen in.