Office Hours: I’m Sophia Amoruso. I’m the founder and CEO of Business Class, investor at Trust Fund, and the author of the New York Times bestseller #GIRLBOSS. AMA!Featured

Hello Elphas!

I’m Sophia Amoruso and I’m the founder and CEO of Business Class, a comprehensive 10-week digital course for entrepreneurs, creatives, and freelancers, which has built a community of over 1500 founders across the globe.

When I was 22, I started a little eBay store selling vintage clothing out of the back of an ‘87 Volvo and named it Nasty Gal. Over the years, I scaled the business to $100,000,000 in revenue and wrote a New York Times Bestselling book about the whole thing and named it #GIRLBOSS. So they put me on the cover of Forbes and made a Netflix series based on my life. Needless to say, it’s been a pretty wild ride.

Over the past 14 years, I’ve built big companies – both bootstrapped and investor-backed – and both won big and failed hard on the grand public stage. Today, I’m dedicated to helping entrepreneurs, side-hustlers and founders-to-be build their dream businesses.

I’m a total introvert and riddled with impostor syndrome every day – but I get up and keep getting up because I’m driven to share my learnings with the next generation of entrepreneurs.

I’ve also been featured on the cover of Forbes magazine's 2016 America's Richest Self Made Women issue and featured in the Fortune 40 under 40, Forbes 30 under 30, Inc. 30 under 30, Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business lists, and named one of Forbes’ Richest Self-Made Women.

A Northern California girl at heart, I live in Los Angeles, am a dog mom to three poodles, and prefer hikes over happy hours.

Ask me anything about side-hustles, vintage fashion, podcasts, dealing with impostor syndrome, building a profitable business, or anything else!

Thanks so much for joining us @sophiaamoruso!Elphas – please ask @sophiaamoruso your questions before Friday, March 18th. @sophiaamoruso may not have time to answer every questions, so emoji upvote your favorites 🔥👍🏾➕
Hey I just joined a new company and dealing with imposter syndrome. This is the first time I am dealing with this. What steps to take to overcome this?
Hi there! Just remember that nobody is qualified to do what they’re doing. We are all a bunch of imposters and there’s nothing to belong to!
As a founder, I have made the very mistakes I thought were too obvious to make. You know the "mistakes entrepreneurs need to avoid" kind of mistakes. It took a hit on my confidence level and I felt impostor syndrome because I thought I should have known better. How do you deal with what feels like failure at the time, fast?
Remember that nobody is paying as much attention to you as you think they are. Lick your wounds for a second, remind yourself that it’s par for the course, and find excitement in knowing that you just gained an opportunity to do better next time.
Sophia! Come in come in come in 🥳I just rewatched the Girl Boss movie the other night and will always be a huge fan of it and you!❤️ Looking back on your journey, what has been the biggest lesson that you have learned so far about what it truly takes to build a meaningful/successful career in life? What words of encouragement can you give to other women now who is trying to do the same despite some of the challenges they may be facing within these times of a pandemic.
Thank you so much! It’s a pretty crazy thing to have a Netflix series made about your life. The pandemic has been challenging for all of us and I think the people who are coming out on top are the ones who aren’t precious about what they’re building, are willing to pivot when things aren’t working, and curious enough to ask questions without feeling like they come off like a dummy. I think curiosity is the number one trait that great entrepreneurs possess! Remember that the only difference between you and the people that are doing what you want to be doing is that they’re doing it!
That’s so true! Thank you so much for responding to my questions and sharing your wisdom. Keep up the amazing work! ❤️
Hey @sophiaamoruso! You're an absolute legend and I love your story - thanks for blazing the trail. In the past few years being a Founder of an early stage company while trying to fundraise has had a few obstacles with Covid and now a war in the EU. How can you prepare for events that are far beyond your control? Do you have any tips around fundraising in the face of uncertain economic times?
Hey Sophia! Business class student here from last cohort. I can’t wait to dig in to class again soon! I’m getting ready to host a launch event on April 9th and I would love your advice on what a successful launch looks like (what metrics I should be keeping), and any tips you have on how to pull the damn thing off!
Hi Sophia! Thanks for joining us here. I've heard so much about you over the years and was excited to see your AMA. I suppose after all these years and trying out my own hand in my life as a fully responsible adult, my biggest question and curiosity for someone who has had the experiences like you is what would you say is the mentality or paradigm shift that would take you from being a small shop in the back of your car trunk to scaling it to something that big? I have understood it in the context of the tech development a previous company I worked for had success with, but I struggle to understand what would set apart people who do work with such huge figures (and I mean this in general too, not necessarily from selling clothes) in a designated field; what are the intentions they have since there are many people I know who have lofty goals but you just kind of know this might not be it for them either. Is it something you can realistically plan for and how much of it is down to luck as well? Thank you so much!
Hi ! how do you deal with raising funds as a solo-founder?
Great to see you on Elpha @sophiaamoruso. 👋🏽 I was an early listener and admirer of your GirlBoss Podcast. You kept me motivated and inspired. 👑 What has kept you motivated to keep reinventing yourself?
Aw thanks! I love creating things that other people love! I love building community and at this stage in my life I really love giving back. After 16 years of entrepreneurship, I’m now able to harvest what I’ve learned for a new generation of entrepreneurs and it feels really good. However, to a certain extent I’ve kept going because I’m running from something. Maybe loss, or maybe I’m chasing relevance. I don’t know. I always question myself. But I do know that I would get bored if I stopped building things!
You have tremendous amounts of knowledge to share for aspiring entrepreneurial women. What an amazing gift to share! 💕👑🙌🏾
Hi @sophiaamoruso 👋 so fun to see you on here! You mentioned you "failed hard on the grand public stage". What lesson(s) did you take away from this experience? Appreciate you sharing so openly, Robin (a fellow introverted entrepreneur)
I learned that failure comes with the equation. We are all going to fail — I just failed on a larger stage. And people think I’m more resilient because it was public, but everyone’s failure is equally devastating, so I don’t think I’m special in any way.While not everything that was said about me is completely accurate, I do know that my intentions were always good and that I did my best with the experience and guidance that I had. There is always a lot to learn from other peoples complaints and what they say about you even if it’s painful to hear. The entire concept of not giving a fuck about what people think of you I think is really flawed — we should take into consideration what other people have to say, because where there’s smoke there’s fire even when it comes to ourselves.
This is so valuable to hear. Thank you for sharing, Sophia. Founding a company is already such a solitary journey and I can imagine it feels even more isolating when you're in the public eye. If you have any resources (books, podcasts, other mindset boosters) that have helped you stay resilient during these times, I would love to hear your recs.Audible walks are keeping me sane at the moment. :)
Hi Sophia! As a “total introvert” myself and an aspiring entrepreneur, how do you create the right balance for “me” time amidst all the things vying for your attention. Are there any tactical strategies you’ve used that make the difference? Thanks so much!
Hi Sohia, SO excited to see you here and welcome. I've been a fan since waaaaaay back and have read, seen and listened to you for many years. Thanks for being here.Q: What would you say are the most overlooked and important milestones that lead to the longterm success in the starting of a new business. What would you say are the biggest mistakes to watch for and how do these relate to sustainable business practices?
Hey there @sophiaamoruso 👋 Thank you so much for being here! You've definitely been an inspiration throughout my entrepreneurial journey and I'm stoked ot hear from your experience.What's your best advice for pushing through imposter syndrome, especially as a young entrepreneur? And do you have any advice for balancing business growth with mental health?
Hi there! Imposter syndrome is real. I still deal with it. Like, who am I to teach anybody about entrepreneurship? There will always be people who think you’re not qualified but the fact is that neither are they. Nobody’s qualified. Regardless of pedigree. There is a little bit of a fake it till you make it level of confidence that you need to have to hold yourself in a room and gain the respect that you need. Don’t be afraid to ask questions even if you think they may sound dumb because every moment is an opportunity to learn some thing. So maybe balance faking it till you make it with being curious enough to expose what you don’t know .
You’re a f’in bad ass. 🙌
Thank you!
Hi Sophia! You mentioned that you've grown bootstrapped as well as investor-backed businesses. I'm currently growing a bootstrapped, profitable SaaS business and in a early hiring phase where we're doubling our small team this year. What were the most impactful things you did to hire great talent quickly?
Honestly having press and great investors was a huge draw for talent. People want to join companies that have been anointed by the powers that be, as shitty as it sounds. So if you don’t wanna find investors, maybe find ways to evangelize what you’re doing or get others to cosign on your progress. Go on a podcast, get a publicist, get some press, start a blog on Medium! Position yourself as a thought leader so that even if you’re not ready to pitch yourself to media, people can see what your vision is, your expertise, and the kind of leader that you are.
Hi Sophia -- What is your approach to sustainability for the future of your company? How is your company addressing the issues around fast fashion including production strains on the workforce, supply chain emissions (and increased cost), and quality/longevity of material?
Hi there! I haven’t been involved with Nasty Gal since 2016.
Hi Sophia! I’m in the very early phase of building a circular economy kids clothing business and am curious to know what your advice is on getting your first 100 enthusiastic customers! What’s the craziest growth hacking thing you’ve ever done? And when growth is slow to take off, how do you know whether it’s a failure of concept or marketing effort?
Oh my Lord! Everything I’ve done has been growth hacking. And when I stopped, things got really expensive. Even today with the ads we are running for Business Class, my digital entrepreneurship program, I go in and comment on every comment on the ad. I also visit peoples profiles who like the ads and like their photos. So I try to engage with everyone who’s engaging with me. I guess you could call that a circular economy in some way.In terms of getting your first hundred customers, think about building a community first. Look at people who are really engaged with Instagram profiles that you admire or are in your space. Reach out to them and tell them what you’re doing and ask for their feedback. Include them in your product development so they feel a sense of ownership and are invested in building it with you. People get really excited about exclusivity and being one of the first on the ground to get involved with something.
It’s good to hear that growth is hard work even for the most successful businesses! I guess there is no way around putting in the man hours.
hi @sophiaamoruso and thank you for joining the discussion. Questions are:1. What is your current strategy for handling the impostor syndrome2. Did other **female** founders opened up to you about their experience with impostor syndrome?3. Did other **male** founders opened up to you about their experience with impostor syndrome?4. Would you say experiences are the same across all genders or should women be aware of some patterns. Thank you and congrats on all that you've built
Great to see you here!
It’s great to be here!
@sophiaamoruso I am such a FAN. I have been kind of stalking your social lately because my personal brand needs help and I’m trying to learn from you. So happy you are doing this AMA and would love to know how you think about your personal brand/presence. How do you decide how much to share of yourself, what to wear - you make it look so easy, yet relatable. And fashionable. And professional. And weird in a cute way. How do you do that??I haven’t really put myself out there before as I’m a bit of a behind the scenes person. I’m planning to start doing this more, but I want to have a plan or direction so it aligns with or helps my business in a way that doesn’t look cheese. Any advice would be great 🙏Thank you for your time and being such an inspiration to so many women!
Thank you!. Honestly, weird is the biggest compliment I could get. The personal brand thing is really challenging. In a perfect world I would disappear and just be who I am without thinking about what other people want or need to hear from me or satisfying an algorithm by jumping around on video like I have been lately. But the fact is that social media is where people are discovering brands and products and following leaders. Because people follow people. But with a SaaS company, you’re building some thing that’s business to business which may not require you to have any kind of personal brand. It’s really up to you, but building something on its own merit under the radar is still very possible but it really depends on your business. Also you can just take Business Class!
Thank you so much for your response @sophiaamoruso! I am totally with you about social. I think I’m the only person left without a personal Instagram account 🤫Love what you are doing with Business Class and am definitely considering joining.Thanks again and wish you all the best ♥️