11 Nov 5 things you didn’t know about Spanx founder Sara Blakely
He decorated the covers of Forbes, Inc. and our own SUCCESS. He appeared in 60 Minutes, Shark Tank and The View. In 2012, at the age of 41, she became the first woman in the world to become a billionaire without the help of an inheritance or a spouse. She is Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx toning company.
But before that, he was a hopeful lawyer, a squirrel character from Walt Disney World and a door-to-door fax shop. Then he came up with an idea that changed everything. It’s an inspiring story that has been told a hundred times.
“The media bite for 20 years is that‘ Sara cut her leg out of her pantyhose and then here’s the Spanx, ’” Blakely says, “but it always starts before that.
Related: 21-bit wit and wisdom from Sara Blakely, the woman behind the billion-dollar brand
In a vulnerable interview with The Tony Robbins Podcast, Blakely shares some of his greatest lessons during construction with presenter of the same name, number one life and business strategist, number one New York Times top author, entrepreneur, and human friend. The Spanx, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. We learned the following:
1. Death was his first lesson, but not his last.
When Blakley was 16, his friend was hit and killed while riding a vehicle. Shortly afterwards, his parents decided to separate, and his father moved out of the family home. Prior to his departure, his father gave a collection of cassettes from Wayne Dyer How How Dyer to an unlimited man.
It can become a spark that has embarked on a lifelong journey to better understand yourself and capture every moment, knowing that life is transient. Physical, emotional, or mental loss can either paralyze someone or push them forward. For Blakely, loss became a catalyst.
2. He got to know people through door-to-door sales.
For seven years, Blakely knocked on the sale of faxes. Anyone with cold sales knows it’s a tiring industry. He learned that people generally fall into four categories: socializers, relativists, directors, and thinkers. Director and socializer struggled with selling thinkers. They wanted to provide all the information before making a decision, regardless of whether it was relevant to them. For him, it was a waste of time.
Blakely had to learn how to adapt to other personality types, especially when it came to sales. This lesson has led Spanx to obsessively focus on customers as it builds, growing and adapting to its business, relying on customer feedback and word-of-mouth advertising. Well, we know how this story unfolds.
3. Failure is bound at an early age.
Blakely’s father played an important role in fostering the development of entrepreneurship. Not only did he believe in the value of failure, but he actively celebrated. Every day after school, he asked him what had failed that week.
“If it weren’t for [failure], you’re really going to be disappointed,” Blakely says. “I didn’t notice it then, but he was just changing the definition of failure…. Not about the result, but about not trying. ”
4. He learned positive self-talk from Tony Robbins.
As any entrepreneur knows, doubt is part of the process. This life comes with risks and the second becomes difficult, the self-preserving brain quickly saves us from further failure, frustration and confusion. Acquiring positive self-discourse will help you overcome the negative that can cripple a start-up business more quickly than a shrinking profit margin.
– How did you handle [negative self-talk]? Robbins asks during the interview. “You,” Blakely says.
Robbins was a key element for Blakely in learning that fear and discomfort and lack of self-confidence are things that can be overcome by thinking and talking about ourselves.
5. Not knowing “how to do it” is a gift.
Blakely never went to business school. He never attended a business master class. He never wore business shoes. And yet, Spanx saw its first store shelf inside the doors of the retail behemoth Neiman Marcus. How? He picked up the phone and called. Then he flew to Dallas, Texas, where the brand’s customer office is located, and tossed his product up in the office bathroom. The typical journey involves extensive marketing, hundreds of weekend exhibits, and a “schedule” before someone, like a Neiman Marcus customer, approaches your booth.
“When you don’t know how to do this, you’re going to do it differently,” Blakely says.
A lot of prospective entrepreneurs have great ideas, and even great businesses that never come up because they “do it” the traditional way. According to Blakely, this must be trusted in the absence of knowledge and experience.
“If you do it like everyone else, it doesn’t change; it is not an innovation, ”he says.