SPANX founder Sara Blakely began her body-shaping hosiery company while working full time selling fax machines. (USA Today)
ATLANTA -- By now, what woman doesn't know the name Spanx? Heck, most men even know what they are. And this month, creator Sara Blakely will grace the cover of Forbes Magazine as the youngest female self-made billionaire.
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Blakely launched the company 12 years ago from her one-bedroom apartment in Atlanta. Selling fax machines by day, she spent nights, weekends and vacations developing and selling Spanx. Soon, her product landed on Oprah's "Favorite Things" list and business took off.
Her success story is proof that it's not impossible to build a billion-dollar enterprise if you've got the right skills. Here are the top three tips (and resources) for the budding entrepreneur:
1. Know what you're going to sell. Is it a product or a service? Is it marketable? What makes it different from anything else currently available? Most importantly - are you passionate about it?
2. Have a plan. The Small Business Administration has established the SCORE Program: a team of retired business executives to give you free advice on getting started.
3. Get your funding together. The SBA helps you secure guaranteed loans for starting costs.
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Another important bit of advice: don't quit your day job. If you already have steady employment, keep it! You'll want a reliable source of income while you're working to get your business off the ground.
Here are a few more resources for the budding entrepreneur:
Urban League of Greater Atlanta - Entrepreneurship Center
Loans and Grants from the Small Business Administration