Who inspires you? Can you find a person, place, or experience to incite business inspiration? While many entrepreneurs can be hailed for their vision, ambition, perseverance, struggles and sheer force of will – there are some, unconventional entrepreneurs, that make you want to do more, create something more and catalyze your life’s potential.
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If you are looking for a fresh injection of entrepreneurial inspiration, look no further than these seven change agents who break the mold. Their stories will inspire and empower you to keep moving, keep reaching and keep building an epic business to share with the world.
1. Blake Mycoskie, Founder and CEO of TOMS Shoes“Who is Tom? There is no Tom. If we sell a pair of shoes today, we give away a pair of shoes tomorrow. Originally we thought of ‘Tomorrow’s Shoes,’ but I could only fit ‘TOMS’ on the label. I had no idea everybody would want to meet him … it’s an idea for a better tomorrow.” — Blake Mycoskie Serial entrepreneur Blake Mycoskie, the founder and Chief Shoe Giver of TOMS, is leading a global movement. It represents a social giving shift that even Mycoskie couldn’t have seen coming in 1997 when the SMU student co-founded his first business, EZ Laundry.
Today the 37-year-old social entrepreneur is behind one of the world’s most well-known social giving brands — Santa Monica-based TOMS Shoes, a shoe and eyewear company he founded in 2006 while vacationing in South America.
In 2006 Mycoskie discovered the Alpargata, a traditional rope-soled shoe that has been worn by Argentina farmers for centuries. At the same time, he witnessed the devastating poverty of children too poor to afford shoes, who would then develop cuts on their feet that led to disease.
Since the company’s inception in 2006, TOMS has given over two million pairs of new shoes to children in need. To further his vision, Mycoskie has literally turned his sights towards eyewear. A percentage of the company’s profit, selling eyewear, is used to save or restore the eyesight of people in developing countries.
To culminate his journey, in 2011, Mycoskie released his first book, “Start Something That Matters,” offering his personal story of inspiration, and the power of giving in business. Connect with Blake on Twitter.
2. Sophia Amoruso, Founder and CEO of Nasty Gal“What do you do when you’re living in a hut for $500 a month and subsisting on Boston Market and Subway? You just keep doing what you’re doing…” – Sophia Amoruso (Source: PandoDaily)Sophia Amoruso is the ultimate accidental entrepreneur. The 29-year-old eBay-turned-online entrepreneur started an eBay store in order to work for herself, not thinking she would sell nearly $100 million dollars worth of clothing and accessories — profitably — seven years later.
In 2006, at 22-years-old Amoruso started on eBay while working in the lobby of an art school, checking student IDs for $13 per hour. As a community college dropout, living in her step-aunt’s home, she found her passion selling women’s vintage clothing online. Two years later, in 2008, Amoruso launched the Nasty Gal website, hired her first employee and quit her job to pursue the startup full-time.
In 2011, Nasty Gal made $28 million in revenue. A year later the company released the first issue of its free, semiannual lifestyle magazine entitled “Super Nasty,” which focuses on fashion, music and culture. To-date Nasty Gal has raised $49 million in venture capital, according to reports. Connect with Sophia on Twitter.