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Asking Female Entrepreneurs HOW they made $1,000,000+

I chatted with 4 successful business women that I know, and got their stories on how they made their first $1,000,000. We need more successful women in the world, so if you learn something from any of these women, share this post with the women in your lives.

You ready?

Let’s dive in.

Asking Successful Women HOW they made $1,000,000+

Successful Business Woman #1: Cathryn Lavery – Co-Founder & CEO at BestSelf Co.

How did she make her first million dollars?

She solved people’s problems on their journey to success.

Cathryn Lavery is the co-founder and CEO of BestSelf Co. — a company that creates tools centered around productivity, being efficient, and improving different areas of your life.

When her and their team started the brand, it was focused exclusively on helping people reach their business goals (with products like productivity planners) but as the business grew, Cathryn realized that there’s more to life than just focusing on business goals, so they expanded their product range to include products like relationship journals and question decks that people can use with their friends, partners, and family.

To get their first customers, they launched on Kickstarter.

That helped them sell 10,000 copies of their first journal. They went in with a goal of raising $15,000 and actually ended up raising over $320,000! That successful launch got the business of the ground, and from there, they focused on creating a tribe around that product.

What was genius about their first product is that it was only supposed to last people 3 months. It was a 3-month journal designed for people to track their goals for 90 days, which lead people to come back after the 3 months to purchase another journal!

So not only did they set their business up for success with their big Kickstarted launch, but they also set their business up for success by making a product that would encourage repeat sales.

As the saying goes, it’s “cheaper to keep ‘er” when it comes to acquiring customers, so remember that for your own businesses.

Another thing that really worked out for them was creating a tribe around their product.

They were super active in their community groups to really help people get into using their product consistently, which made them consume their product so they ended up buying more.

Plus, their customers were experiencing success in their own lives because of their product!

So it was a win-win.

What’s Cathryn’s Biggest Takeaway?

Figure out your “freedom vehicle” first.

Cathryn was working as an architect when she started Best Self Co. and she was looking for a way to get out of her job. Something that would give her morer freedom and time to herself, and then she could figure out what she wanted to do long term.

Figure out how you can get paid to support your basic needs, and then you can figure out what you actually want to do.

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Successful Business Woman #2: Vanessa Van Edwards – Author of Captivate

How did she make her first million dollars?

By trying things out to find a gap in market.

For Vanessa, becoming a millionaire was very, very slow… And then it happened all at once.

In the beginning, she was trying everything:

  • Failed published books
  • Kindle Singles
  • Ads on her website
  • YouTube videos
  • Selling her own course
  • Selling other people’s courses
  • Corporate speaking

You know, everything.

Until she had an idea…

She figured that that engineers and computer scientists, anyone who’s really technical, probably wants to learn people skills like they learn technical skills.

It was a hypothesis.

​​She thought that if she was an engineer who is very into “hard skills,” she would like to learn “soft skills” in a “hard skills” way.

So she thought… Where are all the engineers?

Where are they?

At the time, they were all learning coding on places like Udemy.

And on Udemy, was a ton of coding courses. So she thought, what if ​​she puts a people skills course amidst all the programming courses? Maybe they’ll take her course during lunch.
Maybe her course will be the “fun” course.

So she made a people-skills course!

She used her iPhone and kitchen lighting to put together a two-hour couse on body language, uploaded it to Udemy and, bam!


She kept scrolling through her inbox.

More sales.

Pages and pages and pages of sales.

And now she has over 390,000 students who have taken that course.

After that course did so well, she doubled-down on what worked and made even more courses.

What’s Vanessa’s Biggest Takeaway?

Vanessa’s attrirbutes her success to the Blue Ocean Strategy.

She says you always want to go to a clear ocean where the waters aren’t so bloody from the sharks eating everything.

She noticed the “red ocean” was engineers trying to learn to code — and there were LOTS courses on coding. So she went to the red ocean where all the engineers were, but instead of putting up another coding course, the blue ocean wasto give them a fun course. A break from all their coding programs that would complement their engineering skills

Look at something that’s working really well and create a compliment to it.

Successful Business Woman #3: Gina Bianchini – Founder & CEO at Mighty Networks

How did she make her first million dollars?

She leveraged the power of networks.

Gina made her first million dollars when she took an investment on Ning, her first company, and was able to sell some of her stock.

She says that seeing the million dollars in the bank was life-changing

She had never had that much money in her bank account before and it made her feel like so much more was possible in her life. She could make things happen, versus feeling like the world was happening to her.

She says now that she wishes it didn’t take her looking at that bank balance to really understand that.

After she sold Ning, she stated Mighty Networks, a platform where people and brands can build and grow communities.

What’s Gina’s Biggest Takeaway?

She says that we’ve moved from a world where you have to build a product to make a million dollars, to actually be able to do that by bringing people together in a community or with online courses.

The tools to do this have never been better. The desire people have to want be a part of communities that are mastering something interesting or important has never been higher.

And if your products ever go away, your network and the relationships that you’re helping create between people will never go away.

The communities and relationships you can build with networks are more valuable than anything else you can build and sell on the internet.

And it’s never been easier to do.

So get out there and create a course, a community, or a membership!

Successful Business Woman #4: Lisa Song Sutton – Entrepreneur and Real Estate Investor

How did she make her first million dollars?

She diversified and created multiple income streams.

Lisa started her career in law. She was working for a law firm does business litigation and bankruptcy, and decided to start a cupcake business as a side hustle.

But not just any cupcake business — she made and sold boozy cupcakes.

She was already making six figures as a lawyer, but instead of spending her income on shoes or vacations, she pumped it into Sin City Cupcakes.

It ended up taking off, and Sin City Cupcakes evolved into a super popular business.

She stayed working as a lawyer for the first 18 months that Sin City Cupcakes was up and running, working five and a half days a week at the law firm and then nights and weekends she would bake cupcakes, run deliveries, and help set up events.

Her operations partner Danielle was running the business full-time while Lisa worked at the firm, so she was able to continue being the funding partner to help the business grow.

Eventually, she went to working part-time at the firm, then on a much more casual basis so she could focus more on Sin City cupcakes while also making sure all her bills were getting paid.

And now, she makes more running Sin City Cupcakes than she did as a lawyer.

Plus, she now also invests in real estate.

She grew up around that — both of her parents invested in commercial and residential real estate — so she never really paird attention to it. But as she got older, she realized the value of having income come in from different sources and being a diversified entrepreneur.

What’s Gina’s Biggest Takeaway?

To this day, her mom has a hair salon and still services clients that she’s had for over 20 years, and her dad was in the Air Force for 20 years and the Department of Defense for another 20 — and they both have extensive commercial and residential real estate portfolios.

This showed Lisa that you can have different streams of revenue coming in from different sources, and you can use that to continue to build more income.

So, be like Lisa: Keep your day job until your side hustle is earning even more, then use your income to build more income and make investments that help diversify your earnings even more.

Share this with the women in your life

Have a woman in your life you want to see succeed?

Share this post with them.

And let us know of any other successful women-run businesses in the comments down below.


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