Sophia Amoruso’s #GIRLBOSS Ideology And What It Can Still Teach Us Today

After a weekend of binge watching Netflix’s original series Girlboss, which ‘loosely’ narrates the events leading to the creation of the Nasty Gal brand in 2006, I wondered how relevant the ideas behind #GIRLBOSS remain.

After ten years since the creation and expansion, what does #GIRLBOSS have to teach this generation of self-made women?

The series received criticism from the media due to the poor portrayal and ‘unlikable’ qualities of the fictionalized young version of former Nasty Gal’s CEO Sophia Amoruso.

The memoir #GIRLBOSS, which inspired the series, jumped to the New York Times Bestseller list since its publication in 2014.

Since making its Forbes debut, the Nasty Gal brand has had its share of controversy, lawsuits, layoffs, and low employer ratings. The company began the downward spiral after Amoruso stepped down as CEO in 2015. Nasty Gal filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2016, and online British retailer Boohoo bought the brand for $20 million dollars.

But it wasn’t always bad; Amoruso’s rags to riches story became a sensation putting her on the Forbes List of Richest Self-Made Women.

Amoruso is still a sensation with over 525K Instagram followers, and Nasty Gal in the lead with 2.4 million.

Given the controversy surrounding the Nasty Gal brand, Amoruso’s media portrayal, and heavily criticized Netflix series, I picked up an abandoned copy of #GIRLBOSS from my coffee table and read it with even more curiosity.

Aside from following her journey as a lifelong outcast, shoplifter, and self-made businesswoman, Amoruso’s memoir provides helpful tips that are useful to this generation of women.

While we can’t all start our own vintage eBay store, everyone should focus on their passion. We learn that it’s about applying entrepreneurship skills, hard-work ethic, creativity, and a #girlboss mentality- and having one hell of a time on the journey.

Cash is king

Amoruso’s key factors to success were her bank account (which hit $1 million after she left eBay) and the fact that she was debt free.

Having no loans or creditors gave her the freedom to own most aspects of the business. Maybe some of us aren’t blessed enough to start debt free, but what matters is that we find a way to understand and take control of our finances.

Remember snoozing through the math lesson on percentages and never looking up the definition of APR? Now is the perfect time to do your financial homework. Your first step should be to cut ties with the plastic, maybe cut up those cards, and make educated decisions.

Increasing your spending as soon as your income increases

Show of hands? I’m guilty of this crime. The moment I get the job or the promotion I start to look the part, dressing better, buying higher quality products, indulging in celebratory dinners, etc. There are so many other smart way to put that money to work.

Before starting Nasty Gal, Amoruso came across the book, The Richest Man in Babylonwhich offers financial advice through a collection of parables. She mentions her ex-boyfriend reading it and changing him so much he got himself out of debt and went on to save a lot of money.

Speaking of savings, it’s daunting that the average person saves only 6.5 percent of their paycheck, instead of a minimum of ten percent. I know this could be difficult if you’re still living paycheck-to-paycheck or pretty close.

Treat your savings, not just treat “yo-self.” If you treat your savings like another bill, it’ll give you more accountability to save. I adopted this technique a while back, and after a year, I felt more motivated to keep saving.

Don’t live like a CEO when you’re still a sandwich artist

I know many of us would love to have a fancy apartment, those designer shoes with the red soles, and the monogrammed LV bag. But if you try living beyond your means, it could take years to clean up the mess.   

Hiring, Firing, and Staying Employed

First cover letter mistake is making it all about what the company wants.

In your cover letter it should read about what can you do for the company, not what the company can do for you.

Cover letter mistake two: When nothing you’ve done is applicable, not making that clear from the get-go.

If you were light on extracurricular activities during college because you were working forty-hours to pay for it, make sure it shows.

In the job market it might be a challenge compete with the person who did five internships, but there’s no shame in showing you worked at the sandwich shop or waited tables to pay for college.

Amoruso view is the opposite; it shows you can balance hard work.

Mistake number three: Not reading your cover letter. I remember the time I applied for a job I really wanted and I never got a call. After a few weeks of silence, I went back to look at my resume/cover letter and discovered I had left out the “t” in Microsoft. Whenever I write a cover letter, that detail haunts me.

The simplicity of a resume, using words that sound realistic, talk about real positions and real jobs.

Cut off all of the flowery language and make it clear and to the point, if you were a marketing manager make sure it reads as such.

That’s not my job

Never mutter those words, specially if you’re trying to get ahead. At some point or another we wished we could have said this to our boss. Although it might not be your job, it never hurts to take the extra step.

God and a promotion is in the details

Forty percent of people of this generation believe they should be promoted every two years regardless of performance. Whenever these thoughts cross your mind, ask if your performance is worthy of it.

Everyone makes mistakes, if you make one at work, be honest about it and learn from it.

Careful how you treat people at the “bottom of the food chain,” word travels fast in the workplace. If you mistreat the person at the front desk, it could only be a matter of time before your boss hears about it.

Don’t be embarrassed to ask for help if you bit off more than you could chew.

Keep healthy boundaries. This I know from experience, when I was a manager for a well-known clothing company, I made the mistake of befriending several of my co-workers. When the time came for me to have serious conversations, they took it as a direct offense to our friendship.

Be an Entrepreneur

Harvard Business School professor Howard Stevenson defines “entrepreneurship” as, “The pursuit of opportunity without regard to resources currently controlled.”

You don’t need to be chasing a business deal to execute this philosophy. “You can be entrepreneurial without being an entrepreneur,” which means being passionate about what you do and being comfortable taking risks, and moving forward after failures.

While the creation of Nasty Gal might seem like so far in the past – ten years is a long time in the business world, while #Girlboss‘ ideology- a woman in the process of self-discovering her inner businesswoman– remains relevant.

Aside from following her journey as a lifelong outcast, shoplifter and self-made businesswoman, Amoruso’s memoir gives inspiration to this generation of women.

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Mayra Orduno

Chicagoan at heart and world explorer, Mayra fell in love with writing at the age of seven, and travel at the age of twenty-five. Mayra is a hopeless romantic, who can always find a quote or lyric for every occasion. Her favorite book is A Moveable Feast because she believes she belongs in Paris in the 1920s. Cheap wine, street food and live music are some of the hobbies she holds dearest.