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December 12, 2013

Be A Badass Boss

Sophia Amoruso, 29, built an eBay shop peddling vintage castoffs into Nasty Gal, a $240 million fashion empire. Here, her tips for getting ahead.

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Photo Credit: Courtesy of Marc Royce/Corbis Outline

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BE OPEN TO SCUT WORK. When I was 22, I wasn't too proud to do anything. I was taking out trash, buying stinky vintage clothes, and pulling gross Kleenex out of the pockets. I don't hire people who aren't willing to do heavy lifting.

GET EDUCATED BY GOOGLE. I researched on YouTube what venture capital was, what VCs look for in entrepreneurs. Even if you can't afford tickets to big conferences or you're not a natural networker, there's so much information online for you to assimilate.

IT'S OK TO REJECT ADVICE. Learn from other people's mistakes, but learn from your own, too. People told me I'd never outgrow our warehouse space. And I was like, "You watch." [Nasty Gal just opened a 500,000-square-foot fulfillment center in Kentucky.]

EVEN FREE SPIRITS NEED A STRATEGY. The first couple of months after I launched Nasty Gal, I was making more money than I had ever made working crappy retail jobs. I was having fun. But there was also a lot of problem-solving. I still follow my nose, but you can't lead an organization with 300 employees and not have a plan. My job now is to institutionalize the magic.

KNOW THAT BEING THE BOSS IS STRESSFUL. I started the business so I could be by myself, behind a computer. But I have 300 people who show up for work every morning. That's way more intense than dealing with a customer for 30 minutes. Nasty Gal has taught me about sharing and collaborating—sometimes the hard way. I guess the best part is also the most confusing: I can't quit and I can't be fired.

Sophia Amoruso's first book, #GIRLBOSS, will be published by Portfolio/Putnam in May.


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