Career Tips From Our Favourite Girl Bosses

Whether you’re a budding entrepreneur or working your way up the corporate ladder, there’s no better place to turn for advice than the women who’ve made it big. So if you’re feeling stuck, or simply need a bit of a boost, read on for some pearls of wisdom from a few of our favourite girl bosses…

Otegha Uwagba, Founder of Women Who

Ask For What You Want

“Don’t assume people are going to read your mind. All too often women are conditioned to think that if they put their head down and work hard then the fruits of their labour will come. This especially applies when it comes to asking for more money.”

Recognise & Call Out Sexism

“We think of sexism as the big things – being slapped on the bum or instances of sexual assault – but sexism in the workplace can often be much subtler and insidious. It’s things like being asked to take notes for your male colleagues because you’re a woman and your default position is the secretary. So question whether you’re being treated differently because of your gender. If you are, then call people out.”

Emily Weiss, Founder of Into The Gloss & Glossier

Question Everything

“Successful entrepreneurs question anything and everything. I don’t like using the word ‘disrupt’, but if you’re really going to change the way people think about beauty, mattresses, or eyeglasses, you have to reimagine the entire experience.”

Remember, Nobody Cares

“I always come back to the ‘Nobody Cares’ chapter of Ben Horowitz’s book The Hard Thing About Hard Things. He talks about failure and excuses, mainly that the former never justifies the latter. There will always be reasons why something didn’t go well, but the bottom line is that energy is better spent being a solutions person. Nobody cares, just do your job.”

Georgie Coleridge Cole, Founder & Editor of SheerLuxe

Work Seriously Hard

"I firmly believe you make your own luck and if you work hard enough, good will prevail. If you’re starting a business, be prepared to work far harder than you think you’ll have to – becoming your own boss isn’t the easy option and it takes longer than you think."

Less Talk, More Action

“Jonathan Taplin wrote the book: Move Fast & Break Things and it's a saying I always have at the forefront of my mind. If you have a great idea, get on and do it. Create the minimum viable product, launch it, learn and evolve.”

Sharmadean Reid, Founder of WAH Nails

Know Your Shit

“Know your shit has almost become my life mantra. When we think about why women have such big barriers to entry in the workplace (and, well, in life), confidence is always listed as the number one reason. But I believe women are perfectly capable of thinking highly of themselves, it’s just that they think they don’t know enough. This undermines their self-worth, and in turn erodes their confidence.”

Give Yourself A Year             

“You need to develop an unwavering self-belief. You’re going to smash it – and you should say that to yourself every day. But don’t imagine that you can just stroll into your new life. Give the transition a year. That’s what it takes to swot up in your chosen field, feel confident in your skills and start to change people’s perceptions.”

Maria Hatzistefanis, Founder of Rodial

Find Your Motivation

“Daily motivation takes work – identify the people you admire, find out how they’ve succeeded and follow them on social media. I also love books reading about people who started from nothing and have grown to be the most amazing businesswomen and public figures.”

Don't Be Afraid To Ask For Advice

“Asking for other people’s opinions is a positive thing – it is not a weakness and doesn’t mean you don’t know what you’re doing. Whether it’s having a chat with your girlfriends or industry experts, people on the outside will often highlight things you hadn’t noticed yourself. You need to build up your knowledge and look to others as you can’t be an expert on absolutely everything.”

Alex Brownsell, Founder of Bleach London

Stick With Your Peer Group

“One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever been given in a work capacity is to always stick with your peer group. I think it’s essential. It’s really important to stick with the people who have a similar mindset to you.”

Always Take Risks

“The defining moments in my career have been when I’ve decided to take a risk. They nearly always work out, and even if they don’t, the lessons learnt from failing teach you so much more than succeeding.”

Sara Blakely, Founder of Spanx

Don’t Be Afraid To Fail
“I used to sit at the dining room table as a kid and my dad would ask me what I failed at that week, and he would high-five me. He always encouraged me to fail. I didn’t realise at the time how much this advice would define not only my future, but my definition of failure – so many people don’t pursue their idea because they were scared or afraid of what could happen.”

Keep Going Until You Succeed
“Believe in your idea and trust your instincts. It took me two years from the time I had the idea for Spanx until the time I had a product in hand ready to sell into stores. I must have heard the word ‘no’ a thousand times. If you believe in your idea 100%, don’t let anyone stop you.”

Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook

Find Work You Love
“When you believe in what you are doing, you can combine passion with contribution – and that is a true gift. Keep trying and you will find what you love to do, and once you do, you will crush it.”

Remember, There’s No Straight Path
“There is no straight path to where you are going. If you try to draw that line you will not just get it wrong, but you will miss big opportunities. As Pattie Sellers of Fortune Magazine says, careers are not ladders but jungle gyms.  You don't have to have it all figured out. I recommend adopting two concurrent goals: a long-term dream and an 18-month plan.

Arianna Huffington, Co-Founder of The Huffington Post

Don’t Have A Thick Skin
“Have a permeable skin so you can get hurt but, like a child, it’s soon over – you move on with a smile and appreciate the good. I don’t have regrets either. Some things have been very hurtful – like when Bernard Levin [the political columnist] didn’t want to marry me and have children – but have opened doors for amazing things.”

Invest In An Alarm Clock
“Getting seven hours’ sleep is a big priority. I have a device-free bedroom so if I wake in the night I’m not tempted to check anything. People say they need phones for their alarms – rubbish! I bought my friends great alarm clocks from Pottery Barn.”

Anna Wintour, Editor-in-Chief of American Vogue

Get Fired At Least Once
“I think everyone should get sacked at least once. It forces you to look at yourself. It didn't feel it at the time, but it was definitely a good thing for what it taught me. It is important to have setbacks, because that is the reality of life. Perfection doesn't exist.”

Take Care Of Your Presentation
“In today’s world you have to interact. You can’t really be some difficult, shy person who is not able to look somebody in the face. You have to present yourself. You have to know how to talk about your vision, your focus, and what you believe in. If you can’t be passionate about who you are and what you are doing: how can they [your audience] be?”

Melinda Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Just Do It
“Go for it. Go for it right out of school. Go for it at every moment that you have. And know that there are trailblazing women who are there to support you. Look for a mentor, a sponsor, or some role models in your career, because I think they make a huge difference.”

Stick It Out Through The Bad Days
“Even in a dream job, there are bad days as well as good ones. As much as I loved Microsoft, there was a brief time when I considered quitting. Fortunately, I made a deal with myself that before I could leave, I would try being myself and managing in a way that felt true to me. And that was the moment everything changed.”

Oprah Winfrey, media proprietor, actress, producer & philanthropist

Follow Your Intuition
"You cannot hear the still, small voice of your instinct, your intuition, what some people call God, if you allow the noise of the world to drown it out. So, shut out the haters and the well-wishers and the sales clerk who thinks that dress is ‘so versatile’.”

Don’t Let Challenges Overwhelm You
"The way through the challenge is to get still and ask yourself, 'What is the next right move?' Not think about, 'Ooh, I got all of this to figure out.' What is the next right move? And then from that space, make the next right move and the next right move ... then you won't be overwhelmed by it, because you know your life is bigger than that one moment."

Karren Brady, sporting executive, politician & TV personality

Have Confidence
“I’m confident, and it has helped me at many points in my career. I know that lack of confidence can be an issue for a lot of women. But remember – practice builds confidence. The best advice if you feel you don’t have the confidence to do something is to ask yourself, what have I got to lose?”

Embrace Ambition
“‘Ambition’ can be a bit of a dirty word. People think there’s a very fine line between ambition and ruthlessness. I don’t. I think if you’re ambitious, don’t be afraid of it. Ambition is simply the spark that drives you on to be, and keep being, successful.”

Diane von Furstenberg, fashion designer

Take The Chances You’re Given
“The chances are when you begin your life, you don’t know what you want to do. I certainly didn’t know. Then you have doors to meet people and they are doors that come in front of you. I want to remind people that it is not always the most glamorous door that will be your door. I certainly had no idea that working for a man in a factory in Italy was going to be my door. Yet I owe that man everything.”

Visualise The Life You Want
“Be the woman you want to be. When you go to bed, think about the woman you want to be because if you think it, you will be it.”

Fashion. Beauty. Culture. Life. Home
Delivered to your inbox, daily