Sophie Amoruso, female on a mountain top with her hands in the air

Know Your Limits – Sophie Amoruso – Nasty Gal.

We all need a little inspiration in life and what better way then by reading about someone who has not just walked in similar shoes to you but who has then slipped them off, switched them for trainers and without warning just started running down the yellow brick road to the promised land of success.

There will be a fair few of you who already know who I am referring to when I say the words #Girlboss but for those who don’t, the well-deserving star of today’s story is Sophie Amoruso.

Born in California, in 1984, during her early teens Amoruso was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and depression, which led to her dropping out of high school and being home-schooled for the remainder of her teenage years.

Just like many teenagers, Amoruso worked a few odd jobs starting at a Subway restaurant followed by some time at a book store and a record shop. By the time she had reached adolescence, Amoruso had moved away from the standard teenage path and begun to live a nomadic lifestyle, hitchhiking and dumpster diving to get by.

Following a brief run-in with the ‘loss prevention’ department of a store, a small fine, and an unrelated requirement for health insurance, Sophie finally abandoned her nomadic way of life and moved to Portland, where she attended community college to take a photography class and worked at the Academy of Arts University checking student IDs in the lobby.

It was while working in this role that a 22-year-old Sophie stumbled upon the side-hustle that was destined to not only make her a millionaire but also see her named by Forbes as one of the richest self-made women in the world. 

It was in 2006, before the boom of online shopping that we know today, that Sophie opened an eBay store, named it Nasty Gal (a nod to the funk singer and style icon Betty Davis) and began to re-sell vintage designer clothing and other items that she had purchased in thrift stores. Working alone, Sophie would seek out a bargain and find interesting ways to style them before taking photographs, (thanks to the community college course) writing captions and descriptions, placing them in her store then shipping the items upon sale.

Unbelievably, without the support of a major marketing team or operations department the Nasty Gal shop developed a devoted online following of young women, including on social media, and grew at an unprecedented rate with revenues increasing from $223,000 in 2008 to almost $23 million just three years later!

By 2014, Sophie had released her autobiography #Girlboss, and by 2016 Netflix had picked it up and turned it into a TV series, inspiring men and women across the globe who dare to dream that millionaires really can be made online from nothing but a good idea and a willingness to get stuck in.

What came next was a surprise to the many people who had followed her seemingly effortless rise to fame and fortune. In January 2015 Amoruso announced that she would be stepping down as CEO of Nasty Gal.  In an interview she confided that she felt incompatible with the demands of being a CEO and by 2016 after filing for corporate bankruptcy Nasty Gal was purchased by the Boohoo Group for $20 million. 

That admission of incompatibility is for me the most inspiring part of this story, it takes a very brave person to admit when you are in over your head, or even doing a job that you don’t feel comfortable with. I know people who stay in a job they hate just because they don’t want their mum to be disappointed in them, let alone making a decision like that when the eyes of the world are on you and when your story has been broadcast as a beacon of inspiration to so many.

Perhaps Sophie Amoruso doesn’t quite fit with the usual inspiring celebrity stories of a struggling actress who worked the odd temp job before getting her big break, but has there ever been a more relatable success story than a person who worked their butt off to make it, just to end up being true to themselves and recognising their own limitations? Isn’t that the one piece of advice that we could all use at least once in our lives?

While Sophie Amoruso didn’t quite come full circle and end up back where she started, hitchhiking and dumpster diving, I do hope that she has found happiness and peace of mind in her newest endeavours at Girlboss Media.

I am interested to know if you have ever felt like you are in over your head or if you have perhaps stayed in a job you dislike for reasons you can’t explain, if so, what did you do?

If this story tells us anything, it is that there is always another way, job opportunities are plentiful. So, if you are looking for a change don’t put it off, take a deep breath and start searching for a new job today that will really make you happy.

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