Monday, July 21, 2014
#GIRLBOSS: Introvert Creates Job to Avoid Dealing with People—and Ends Up with $100 Million Business
By Susan Pines, Shy Job Seeker Blog
“Though it may not seem like it from the outside, I’m actually an introvert.” This quote is by entrepreneur Sophia Amoruso, and it appears in her new book, #GIRLBOSS.
How many of you have said this same thing? I sure have. As introverts and shy people, we can take on extroverted traits in varying degrees, depending on the people involved and the situation. For example, I can easily talk with several co-workers whom I know well. I can have an enjoyable dinner with several friends. People can mistake us for extroverts. But at the end of the day (literally), I need quiet time alone to think, get organized, and regroup.
Amoruso is founder and CEO of Nasty Gal, a $100 million online fashion retailer with more than 350 employees. I read Amoruso’s book for her advice to women entrepreneurs. But I found myself taking notes for Shy Job Seeker Blog as she discussed her introversion and also gave advice to job seekers from the point of view of an employee (a lazy one, by her own admission) and an employer.
Throughout the book, Amoruso uses the term, #GIRLBOSS, in all caps with a hashtag, so that’s how I’ll use it in this post. A #GIRLBOSS, as defined by Amoruso, is a woman who is in charge of her life, knows what she wants, works for it, and accepts responsibility for herself. Amoruso tells the story of how she developed her business, plus she dispenses advice on how to succeed in your own way.
I’ve never heard of or read a story like hers. Amoruso went from a dumpster-diving, anti-establishment dropout and shoplifter to the creator and creative force of Nasty Gal, the “fastest growing retailer,” according to Inc. magazine.
I was surprised when she began talking about her introversion in the book, because I’ve always thought introverts and shy people try not to stand out. But Amoruso, with vintage persimmon-red disco pants, hairy legs, and “crust punk” hygiene—mostly during her pre-entrepreneurship days—certainly must have stood out. Amoruso discusses the difference between shyness and introversion. She writes that she’s not shy. But she is introverted and as an introvert is drained by large groups and needs time alone to recharge. In fact, she started Nasty Gal so she could have a job that would let her be alone and not deal with people. In a point I can relate to, she describes how she can be the “queen of customer service” over electronic communication but not so much if over the phone or in person. I liked this statement in her book: “Psychologists now believe social media is a really valuable tool for introverts, because it allows them to communicate and even network on their own terms.” I also like this comment, “No way does being an introvert doom you into a life in the shadows.” Amoruso in #GIRLBOSS points out an introvert’s strengths in business, including being persistent in the face of tough problems, being very creative, and making fewer risky financial choices.
Amoruso offers a chapter on getting and keeping a job. She talks about cover letters and how she loves ones that “sing.” She discusses four cover letter mistakes. The mistakes are making the cover letter all about what you want, not explaining how your background is relevant to the job, criticizing the company, and writing poorly. Her resume advice includes being very specific about your past work to show you can navigate problems and execute ideas.
Amoruso also provides interview “no-no’s that may doom you to unemployment.” This list includes standard interview advice about dressing and acting professionally and being prepared to answer and ask questions. Unfortunately, many people do not follow this standard advice and remain jobless.
If you’re looking for an unusual, entertaining, surprising, and literal rags-to-riches story by an introvert—complete with job search and career tips—take a skim through #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso.