In the podcast Masters of Scale with Reid Hoffman, who is the co-founder of LinkedIn and a partner at Greylock, Hoffman explains his perspective on entrepreneurship and how he believes “there’s only one way to find your big idea… look for it, look for it, look for it and then act.”
Hoffman says people think that there’s that “aha” moment. When in reality, Hoffman explains, it’s hard to find a successful entrepreneur who wasn’t on the hunt already. You can’t expect ideas to just appear and become a billionaire overnight. You must be ready to act and pursue on a big idea when the time comes.
Sara Blakely, who invented Spanx in her 20s from cutting off the bottom of her pantyhose with no background in fashion, failed the LSAT twice and didn’t get into law school. She didn’t know what she wanted to do and started selling door to door fax machines until she finally had a moment where she realized that she wanted something more.
Sara said she was going to a party and didn’t have any undergarments to wear, so she cut the feet of her pantyhose. Sara thought, “this should exist for women.” Hoffman says that the moment when you can say, “this should exist” is key in finding a good idea.
Sara had clarity that sparked her big idea. She wanted to invent a product that would make people feel good all over the world and there it was all of a sudden right in front of her. She described it as her asking the universe for an idea and the universe giving it to her.
Hoffman admires Sara’s “willingness to act and persistence to follow through.” Hoffman also said, “Sara was prepared to go with whatever presented itself.”
Sara said she thought of the name for her brand, Spanx, in the car because that’s when she gets most of her ideas… while driving. I thought it was neat that she leaves her house an hour early in the morning before work to drive “aimlessly around Atlanta” to get her day started. I find myself doing the same thing and having most of my ideas while driving as well.
Another female entrepreneur, Tory Burch, who also realized she wasn’t living her life to her full potential, started a billion dollar fashion brand from her kitchen.
Tory Burch, now owner of her brand of clothing, accessories, shoes and more, called Tory Burch, started as a fashion copywriter working for companies such as Harper’s Bazaar and Vera Wang. She began designing clothes in her kitchen and launched a small boutique in NYC in 2004. One year later, she launched her website.
Burch then had a little help from someone special who endorsed her, calling Burch “the next big thing in fashion.” Oprah.
Due to Tory Burch’s creativity and innovation as a designer, such as her famous ballet flat, she has had major success as a female entrepreneur and was named Accessory Designer Of The Year by the Council of Fashion Designers of America in 2008. Her first appearance in New York Fashion Week was in 2011.
To read more on Tory Burch’s success story, read the Business Insider.