How to build a 9-figure empire
Updated: Nov 11, 2022
Hi everyone! Doone here - your host and hype girl. Thank you for tuning in to my solo episode this week.
Today is all about diving into the learnings of some of the highest rev-generating business founders that we’ve had on the show, those producing around the 9-figure mark. For those counting numbers in their heads right now, that’s revenue of 100 mil and above. Don’t worry, it took me a quick google search myself. This is an impressive and particularly interesting milestone for a business because of many reasons. It’s often said that in order to be considered as a potential investment by VCs, you should tell a convincing story which could catapult your startup to forecasts in the $100M annual rev mark. In other words, should a $100M revenue look realistic some point in your future, you’ll be catching some serious VC eyeballs. The funny thing is that when we look at the numbers, only 0.04% of companies ever reach that mark. And I can imagine that when we look at women-founded companies we can look to add another load of zero’s in front of that number. These are pretty slim chances of success, giving all the more praise to the female founders we’ve had on the show that are actively breaking through this glass ceiling.
On that note, I’m a bit hesitant to call these founders the most successful founders we’ve had on the show. Success in business isn’t just down to the level of revenue you’re creating. Whilst it’s important to audit what success looks like to you, there def isn’t a one size fits all approach here. You can aim for growth. You can aim for building an amazing community. You can aim for fame. You can aim for a sense of fulfillment. You can aim for happiness.
So, let’s get listening to the key learnings from the highest revenue generating business owners we’ve had on the show. Keep a pen and notepad at the ready, there is a LOT of food for thought here. Thank you so much for listening in. These are five women and conversations that have resonated with me enormously over the life-time of Female Startup Club, and I hope you’re able to get as much out of their journeys as I have. I’ll link each of their episodes in the show-notes if you want to dive deeper into each of their journeys.
And as always if you’re on your phone listening to this episode take a quick screenshot of the podcast and share it to your Instagram stories or leave us a review in your podcast app to help other ears find us. And of course… You’re always welcome to slide into DMs or my inbox bc you know how much I love to chat. Feel free to ask me any questions or share what you’re thinking. You can reach me directly at @dooneroisin in all the usual places.
So let’s get into it, here’s how to build a 9-figure empire.
Please note, this transcript has been copy pasted without the lovely touch of a human editor. Please expect some typos!
Hi, it's dune here, your host and hype girl. Thank you so much for tuning into this week's solo episode. Today is all about diving into the learnings of some of the highest revenue generating business founders that we've had on the show so far those who are producing around the nine figure mark for those counting in their heads right now that's revenue of $100 million and above don't worry, it took me a quick google search myself. This is an impressive and particularly interesting milestone for a business because of many, many reasons. It's often said that in order to be considered as a potential investment by Vcs, you should be telling a convincing story which could catapult your startup to forecast in the $100 million annual revenue mark. In other words, should $100 million revenue look realistic, some point in your future, you'll be catching some serious VC eyeballs and attention. The funny thing is that when we look at the numbers, only 0.04% of companies ever reach that mark and I can imagine that when we look at women founded companies, we can look to add another load of zeros in front of that number. These are really slim chances of success giving all the more praise to the female founders we've had on the show that are actively breaking through this glass ceiling and on that note, I'm actually a bit hesitant to call these founders the most successful founders we've had on the show because success in business isn't just down to the level of revenue you're creating whilst it's important to audit what success looks like to you. There isn't a one size fits all approach here, you can aim for growth, you can aim for building an amazing community, you can aim for fame, you can aim for a sense of fulfillment, you can aim for happiness, you can aim for whatever you want, Success is up to you. But here are the key learnings from the highest revenue generating businesses we've had on the show to date and I want you to keep a pen and notepad at the ready because there is so much gold here, have you heard about Norby? It's a marketing platform specifically built for creative entrepreneurs. I started using them last year so I could have a totally customized link in my bio that looks super on brand and has all the functionality that I need as a small business owner since using them, we've seen our click through rates to our website, shoot through the roof and have been able to engage more without audience. They also have things like event registration, cross platform messaging, Crm and analytics, all in one integrated platform at an insanely affordable price. It's a platform that provides creative entrepreneurs like you and me, a holistic solution for community driven growth that works in tandem with your social media. So anyone who's working to build a modern, multi channel community or monetize their skill set and creativity online can benefit from using Norby to access a free one month trial. Go to nor be dot live, which is N O R B Y dot live and use the code F S C at checkout. Or click the link in show notes just a couple of months ago I had Rowena Bird on the show, she is the co creator of your favorite bath bomb brand and an absolute joy to speak to over 27 years. She and her co founders have built a household name globally. They now run over 700 stores and currently bring in more than a billion dollars in annual revenue. Let that sink in for a second, a billion dollars. What the heck I'm speaking about lush. Of course we chatted about everything from innovating in the early days to their ever inspiring social impact across the world. But the thing that we kept coming back to is just how important it is to surround yourself with the right people when you're on this journey in everything from your co founders to your investor relations and the people you hire business continues to be all about relationships and people, when it comes to the people you're building this with, the people you're facing every single day, it's important to genuinely like and respect them, not just for your sake, but for everyone involved at the end of the day, if you're not looking forward to talking to someone, you might not be opening up to them about issues in the business and that's obviously an issue in Rohingyas eyes, if you like who you're working with, it simply makes life much easier and much more fun. It feels a lot less like work and you're enjoying that day to day, you're always supporting each other. There's a lot to be said for that because business is such a challenge and you need to be prepared to be challenged when it comes to hiring the right people are often the people that are better than you and some might find this a difficult pill to swallow. But hiring a copy of yourself isn't going to be any good for the business you're building. You need to hire based on your weaknesses and you'll still be the founder, you'll still call the shots, but you need to surround yourself with those people who can, you know, educate you in different areas and lift you up, keeping this in mind. It's also important to know when to cut ties with relationships that are no longer serving the business. If a partner isn't right, don't ignore it. If something isn't working, don't wait to sort it out. The longer it goes on, the worse the situation will get. I also had the chance to talk to the co founder of your company. So earlier this year, Amanda claimed dove into the journey to building a business that does hundreds of millions of dollars in annual revenue and she had a lot of great insight to share. For Amanda, the key thing her success comes down to is not getting complacent with your product. That means evolving with the times, keeping a pulse on the trends and meeting the customer where they want to be met. The trick lies in not getting too attached to what you created at the beginning, but evolving it to make sure your product can be the best it can for that particular moment in time. 13 years on ASOS recipe is still being tweaked regularly, especially when it comes to food and bev because the place is so bloody crowded. You want to make sure you're consistently creating something that's feeling a customer need so get out there, talk to your customers and continue to iterate Next. I want to dive into the story of a founder we had as a guest on the show back in the early days of female startup Club juju launched here at cosmetics back in 2017 and now boasts selling a product every three seconds. That means she's already sold multiple products in the time. It just took me to give her an introduction. Can you imagine? That is so nuts to me, It comes as no surprise she hit the $100 million mark in annual revenue just last year for do the key reason to this insane growth really comes down to the power of bootstrapping a quote that stuck in my head ever since our chat is that bootstrapping puts focus on profitability and she's totally right together with her two co founders. Each partner put personal capital into a dedicated bank account to get the business going. Many startup entrepreneurs find that having limited capital can prove to be a blessing in disguise. And because having a tight budget forces you to think twice about every move you make and be resourceful and creative further down the line, showing an investor that you've gone through this process and made it through the other side can be seen as a big plus for credibility and ultimately sets you a high evaluation for the business. Bootstrapping in the beginning was good because it forced them to really focus on being profitable from the very beginning. They couldn't pay themselves fancy salaries or spend too much on pr firms and all that kind of stuff. So it was Boots to the ground, which means they were always really resourceful, which in turn makes them more attractive as a business to investors. And I think this is such a key insight focus on bootstrapping your business in the beginning until you've proven traction and figured out the foundations and then you might need to find that you either don't need to raise or you might only need to raise a fraction of what you needed to raise before. If you're an e commerce brand owner, you've probably thought about whether your product suits being subscription based, Maybe you've got a beverage brand or a beauty product that has a high repeat purchase rate, join fast growing Shopify brands like athletic greens and rise coffee that are growing their commerce subscription and retention businesses on up scribe scribe gives you the out of the box tools that you need to build, grow or scale your Shopify subscription and retention business deploy a beautiful customer experience in minutes that treats subscribers like royalty and drives brand loyalty. Additionally, scribes knew reorder product makes it frictionless to capture reorders in a single click to help you increase your business's profitability and customer lifetime value. Give your e commerce business the charge that it needs today by visiting up scribe dot iO slash female startup club to learn more and you'll also receive your first month free. That's up Scribd dot iO forward slash female startup club as you gear up for fall. You need to find the right people on your team to help your small business fire on all cylinders linkedin jobs is here to make it easier to find the right people you want to talk to faster and for free. If you follow me on linkedin or you're a subscriber to our newsletter, you already know how often we're sharing jobs that are coming directly through linkedin. It is so powerful, you can create a free job, post in minutes on linkedin jobs to tap into the world's largest professional network with over 30 million people in the UK alone. It's why small businesses rate linkedin jobs number one for delivering quality hires versus their leading competitors. Then add your job and the purple hiring frame to your linkedin profile. So your network can help you find the right people to hire simple tools like screening questions, make it easy to focus on candidates with just the right skills and experience. So you can quickly prioritize who you'd like to interview and hire linkedin jobs, helps you find the candidates you want to talk to faster and you can post a job for free. Just visit linkedin dot com slash f S C. Again, that's linkedin dot com slash F S C to post your job for free today. T and CS apply Now, let's get into the journey from the elusive world of fashion fashion veteran, Elise Aaron's spent more than a decade building kate spade and now she's gone on to do it all again with Frances valentine In building a fashion empire the second time around, she's been able to take all of her learnings from almost 30 years in the space. And I am absolutely obsessed with her blueprint this time around her blueprint to building a nine figure brand is creating things that you love. It's that simple when you have that passion for what you're creating, it really makes it all the more fun and achievable. You need to enjoy what you're doing to really love the process of it all. If you have a really great product that you truly believe in and you have other people around you who believe in you, then you can totally get it done. But if your heart and your passion aren't really in it definitely do not do it. Keep true to what you started it out with, you're never too big to hold on to your ethics while the passion is there, stay with it when it's not move on and with that advice, nothing is insurmountable. We all started somewhere, we all started with an idea literally every single founder out there. Most of us were broke when we started and we still make it through, it's a matter of grit and perseverance and it's also a matter of loving what you do and loving what you're creating And last but not least, I want to get into the story of Leila Halmosi, you've probably heard of her, she bootstrapped an empire that generated $100 million in revenue all before turning 28 alongside her partner Alex. If that's not wildly inspiring, I don't know what it is. To be honest. Today, Layla is an american entrepreneur, she's an investor speaker and a consultant and if there's one person you should take business advice from its this woman right here, she's telling you that when you see an opportunity, take it as quick as possible with a business idea, the big piece is just being fast enough to take it and not letting anyone catch up with you. That's where a lot of people make a mistake, they don't move fast enough, they don't build the team, they don't build the infrastructure and they can't grow fast enough. There's a reason companies want conservative growth, it's much more sustainable, but in order to capitalize on opportunities like the ones we're seeing now that the internet is a thing, you have to go about it all differently, How you do things now is completely different than with traditional businesses. Yet a lot of people take traditional business infrastructure ideas from how they ran things 5 to 10 years ago and try to apply that to the age we have now, but it doesn't make sense. We've got the internet now, the ones that thrive are the ones that break the rules of the norm and have that go go go attitude Actually smart suites, founder Tara Bosch mentioned on the show last month that you should always imagine that 10 other people are doing exactly what you're doing in this moment and think to yourself, who's going to be the one that makes it them or you alrighty, that's all for today. I am so grateful to get the chance to speak to so many brilliant minds and that I get to share these conversations with you. These are five women and conversations that have really resonated with me enormously over the lifetime of female startup club and I hope that you're able to get as much out of their journey as I have. I'm gonna link every one of their episodes in the show notes. If you want to dive deeper into each of their journeys and remember that this week and next I'm giving away signed copies of my book to anyone who makes a Tiktok video about the female startup club podcast. All you need to do is post the video and send it to me on email at hello at female startup club dot com. I hope you have the absolute best day ever and see you soon. Bye