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Success Stories

How Women Do That: 20 Inspirational Stories With Women Entrepreneurs Starring

by Artemis K. | | 13 min read

In the world of entrepreneurship and business, we often hear stories of rags to riches or of individuals who faced unimaginable odds and yet emerged victorious. Among these tales, some of the most remarkable ones are of women who have shifted from “zero” to “hero”. Here’s a closer look at 20 inspirational stories with women entrepreneurs starring — their journeys inspire us to believe in our own potential!

1. Oprah Winfrey: from Mississippi to global mogul!

women entrepreneurs with their inspirational story

Born in rural Mississippi to an unmarried teenage mother, Oprah faced countless adversities. She endured a childhood filled with poverty, sexual abuse, and numerous other challenges. However, her early love for the spoken word and her relentless ambition drove her. Oprah began her media career in radio, transitioning to television, and soon hosting her renowned talk show. Through grit and tenacity, she expanded her brand, establishing the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) and engaging in various philanthropic endeavors, becoming the first Black multi-billionaire in North America.

2. Indra Nooyi: from Chennai to PepsiCo’s peak!

women entrepreneurs

Born in Chennai, India, Indra faced societal expectations and norms that could have deterred her aspirations. However, she pursued her education, eventually attending Yale School of Management. Nooyi joined PepsiCo in 1994 and after various leadership roles, she became its CEO in 2006. During her tenure, she shifted the company’s focus towards healthier products, demonstrating her visionary leadership. Her journey is a testament to overcoming cultural barriers and shattering corporate glass ceilings.

3. Sara Blakely: $5,000 to Spanx billionaire!

women entrepreneurs

Sara’s journey to becoming the youngest self-made female billionaire began with $5,000 and an innovative idea. Working as a door-to-door fax machine salesperson, she had the idea for Spanx after cutting the feet off her pantyhose to create a smoother silhouette under white slacks. This simple concept, combined with her persistence, led her to revolutionize the intimate apparel industry.

4. Jessica Alba: actress to business tycoon!

a picture of Jessica Alba who is not only an actress, but a billionaire

Initially known for her acting roles, Jessica’s venture into entrepreneurship was driven by personal experience. After giving birth and facing challenges finding non-toxic, eco-friendly products for her baby, she identified a market gap. This realization birthed The Honest Company, emphasizing transparency and safety in baby and household products. Despite facing skepticism, Alba’s commitment turned the company into a multi-million-dollar enterprise.

5. Folorunso Alakija: fashionista to oil magnate!

a picture of a woman entrepreneur with her inspirational story

Folorunso began her career as a secretary in Nigeria. Her entrepreneurial spirit led her to study fashion design in England, eventually establishing a premier Nigerian fashion label. In the 1990s, her focus shifted to oil. Procuring an oil prospecting license, she founded Famfa Oil, which became one of Nigeria’s most significant oil assets. Her story exemplifies adaptability and the ability to seize diverse opportunities.

6. JK Rowling: welfare to wizardry magic!

a picture showing JK Rowling with her inspirational story

J.K. Rowling’s journey from living on state benefits to becoming the world’s first billionaire author is awe-inspiring. The idea for “Harry Potter” was conceived during a train journey. However, before her success, Rowling grappled with depression, a short-lived marriage, and raising her daughter as a single parent. Facing multiple rejections from publishers didn’t deter her, and once published, her series became a global phenomenon.

7. Madam C.J. Walker: from struggle to empire!

a picture for the article on most inpirational stories with women entrepreneurs

Born to formerly enslaved parents, Sarah Breedlove faced hardships from the outset. An early marriage, widowed by 20, and grappling with hair loss due to scalp issues, she developed her haircare formula. This was the inception of her business empire. Establishing the Madam C.J. Walker Manufacturing Company, she offered beauty and haircare products for Black women, becoming an icon in both business and social activism.

8. Liz Murray: homeless to Harvard!

inspirational stories with women entrepreneurs starring

Growing up with drug-addicted parents, Liz faced adversities like homelessness. After her mother’s death and her father moving to a homeless shelter, Liz decided to return to high school. Completing it in just two years, her academic excellence secured her a New York Times scholarship to Harvard. Her journey is a poignant example of triumph over circumstances.

9. Malala Yousafzai: defying the Taliban for education!

a picture of a hero of inspirational stories with women entrepreneurs

Born in Pakistan’s Swat Valley, Malala’s advocacy for girls’ education was seen as defiant against the oppressive Taliban regime. At just 15, she was shot in an assassination attempt. Surviving this attack, her resolve only strengthened. Malala became the face of girls’ rights to education globally, co-authoring “I Am Malala” and becoming the youngest Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

10. Sylvia Acevedo: from girl scouts to NASA!

a picture of Sylvia acevedo with inspirational story of woman entrepreneur

Raised near Las Cruces, New Mexico, Sylvia’s early exposure to the Girl Scouts instilled a love for science and learning. Overcoming the socio-economic barriers faced by many in her community, she pursued engineering, eventually working as a rocket scientist for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Later, her leadership journey came full circle when she became the CEO of the Girl Scouts of the USA.

Real stories, real success of women entrepreneurs: the Sellvia journey

a picture showing a girl selling on Amazon with her business from home

In a world captivated by overnight successes and the allure of celebrity stories, it’s easy to forget the tales of ordinary women entrepreneurs who carve out their own success. Behind every headline, there are countless stories of people just like you and me, who with passion, dedication, and the right resources, transform their dreams into reality.

From mothers on maternity leave to professionals seeking a second stream of income, these stories shine a light on the transformative power of ecommerce. Using Sellvia, they embarked on their entrepreneurial journeys and achieved more than they ever imagined.

Don’t believe in the glitz and glamour of celebrity tales? Dive in and discover how these real-life women entrepreneurs moved from zero to hero, proving that success is within everyone’s reach.

11. How Cleopatra found a source of extra income

a picture of Cleopatra who realized her dreams with ecommerce

A tenacious lawyer hailing from London, Cleopatra sought to create a second stream of income. In 2021, she embarked on an ecommerce journey, launching an online store catered to Babies & Parents, powered by Sellvia. Cleopatra has smartly diversified her product range and relies on Facebook ads to propel her business. Her dedication to her side hustle has rewarded her with an impressive $4,140.24 in just 7 months.

a picture of Cleopatra's store track record

Discover Cleopatra’s complete journey and watch her interview!

12. How Ksenia makes money on a maternity leave

a picture of Ksenia with her inspirational story in ecommerce

Residing in Los Angeles, this former hairdresser found herself with a new role: a mother. On maternity leave and caring for her infant, Ksenia ventured into ecommerce. Her store, rooted in the Family niche, emphasizes products she loves and uses. Relying on a mix of Facebook, Google ads, and automated social media posts, Ksenia amassed $2,520.24 within a short span of 3 months.

a picture of Ksenia's store track record

Dive deeper into Ksenia’s experiences and business insights!

13. How Nilla transformed her sick leave into an opportunity

a picture of Nilla with her inspirational story of woman entrepreneur

Nilla’s journey to entrepreneurship started unexpectedly. Located in Finland and working as a preschool teacher, she found herself on a prolonged sick leave after a serious injury. With determination and time at hand, she delved into ecommerce, focusing on Health & Beauty products. Her strategy of selling trending USA products and leveraging paid ads helped her create a successful business model with Sellvia.

Explore Nilla’s inspiring transformation from a setback to success!

14. How Rena balances personal challenges with opportunities

a picture of Rena who dived into ecommerce and made a fortune

Based in the U.S. and working as a physician, Rena faced challenges balancing her career with her son’s medical needs. Eager to find more flexibility, she initiated her online venture in the Family niche. Using diverse promotional methods, including social media and content creation, Rena sees her growing ecommerce platform as a foundation for further meaningful endeavors.

a picture of Rena's store track record

Learn more about Rena’s journey and her perspective on balancing personal challenges with business.

15. How Maria moved from full-time job to her own business

a picture of Maria with her kids

From the vibrant city of Miami, Maria, a dedicated special needs therapist, took the ecommerce plunge. She successfully manages her online store in the Outdoors, Sports & Fitness niche. Frequently updating her product list and utilizing unique video content for promotions, Maria experienced the thrill of her first sale within a week. Convinced that ecommerce is the way forward, she envisions shifting to a part-time role in therapy and dedicating more time to her flourishing online business.

a picture of Maria's store track record

Learn more about how Maria joined women entrepreneurs by shifting from zero experience in ecommerce to making her dreams come true.

16. How Amy rekindled her business dreams during the pandemic


When the pandemic suddenly stopped Amy’s busy cosmetology center in Costa Rica, she looked for new ways to keep her business dream alive. She turned to ecommerce and started an online store with Sellvia. Initially, she offered 50 products, and gradually, she increased her inventory to over 500 popular items, choosing each one carefully to meet her customers’ needs.

Amy faced some early challenges, particularly with advertising. However, she didn’t give up. Instead, she began using Sellvia’s marketing tools, which made a big difference. This decision helped her business grow quickly, bringing in $4,364.72 in just 12 days. This success in ecommerce not only helped her financially during tough times but also prepared her to return to her cosmetology career with new energy.


Amy’s story shows us how being adaptable and using the right digital tools can overcome business challenges. By using Sellvia’s platform, which doesn’t charge extra fees, and their quick delivery and strong marketing support, she turned a difficult situation into a thriving online business. Her journey is a great lesson for anyone starting in ecommerce, highlighting the need for persistence and good partnerships in the digital world.

Discover how Amy successfully found her way back to professional success through ecommerce!

17. How Tammy’s dropshipping journey sparked a family business


Tammy, who worked part-time at a liquor store and loved video games and art, never thought she would become an entrepreneur. However, the possibility of earning extra money drew her into the world of ecommerce, where she discovered dropshipping as a promising option. With no background in business or marketing, she launched her dropshipping business in early 2020. Using the Sellvia plugin, she carefully set up her online store and chose products that matched her interests. Her hard work paid off quickly, as she began to see success within the first month, marking the beginning of an exciting business adventure.

Now, Tammy’s online store not only boosts her income but has also motivated her mother to start her own ecommerce business. Officially a business owner, Tammy balances her time between her job and managing her store, dedicating 1-3 hours each day to ensure her customers receive excellent service, which has become a key feature of her brand. Tammy’s advice for other entrepreneurs is straightforward: stay persistent, know your audience, and maintain a themed, well-organized product range.

Discover Tammy’s journey to becoming an ecommerce whiz!

18. How Hannah Perry turned life’s challenges into a thriving ecommerce business


Hannah Perry’s entry into ecommerce came at a challenging time in her life. After losing her job and going through a divorce during the pandemic, Hannah, a single mother, found herself rethinking her life and future aspirations. She reignited her long-time dream of starting her own business and launched Floof Cotton Candy in 2020. Her unique business idea—turning cotton candy into attractive “cakes”—was initially a practical choice to fit around her children’s schedules. She began selling her creations at local events using a jogging stroller cart, and her products quickly became popular.

Her venture into TikTok took her brand to the next level, attracting viral attention and significantly increasing demand. Hannah’s creativity and determination not only helped her business grow but also demonstrated how personal challenges can be converted into business success.

However, Hannah’s journey wasn’t smooth. She managed all aspects of her expanding business by herself, learning the ropes of entrepreneurship on the fly. From making products to managing finances and responding to customer inquiries, evolving her creative idea into a profitable business was challenging yet fulfilling. Hannah’s story is a testament to the power of persistence and innovation in ecommerce. It highlights that with passion and resilience, even newcomers can navigate significant challenges and achieve success in the online business world.

19. From coffee shop barista to millionaire: Margarita Schneider’s ecommerce success story


Margarita Schneider’s remarkable journey from coffee shop barista to millionaire entrepreneur began at just 25 years old. Tired of the daily grind, she made a bold decision to leave her job and dive into the world of online business. With her partner Leonardo, she embarked on a dropshipping venture—a business model that requires minimal startup capital. Leveraging her marketing skills, Margarita chose products that resonated with consumers and promoted them effectively on social media. Rather than splurging on luxuries, she reinvested in her business, rapidly driving it towards profitability.

Today, Margarita enjoys a luxurious lifestyle, splitting her time between Tampa, Florida, and Dubai. She encountered typical challenges along the way, such as sourcing reliable suppliers, but her determination led her to overcome these hurdles. Now, alongside Leonardo, Margarita shares her insights and tips on social media, inspiring others to embark on their entrepreneurial journeys. Her story is a testament to how strategic decisions and hard work can transform a modest beginning into tremendous online business success.

20. Elle’s $50 craigslist find into a million-dollar business


Elle’s entry into ecommerce showcases how a simple concept can blossom into immense success. In 2009, as a new mother, Elle identified a market need for stylish yet practical baby wraps. She started by purchasing basic fabrics and crafting the wraps herself. While her initial attempts were far from perfect, they laid the foundation for what would become a significant venture. Using the wraps with her own child, Elle experienced a deep sense of connection and confidence, which she believed would resonate with other parents.

From her home, Elle launched an online shop to sell these homemade baby wraps. Sales were slow at first, but the positive feedback from her initial customers fueled her persistence. To manage finances early on, she implemented a pre-payment system for orders, which supported further production. When her husband joined the business, their combined efforts propelled the company forward, eventually reaching $1 million in sales. Today, her company, Solly Baby, generates up to $20 million annually. Elle’s story underscores not just a financial triumph but the creation of a product that enhances the bond between parents and their children. Elle’s journey demonstrates that with a compelling idea, dedication, and strategic use of resources like Sellvia, anyone can achieve remarkable success in online business.

These inspirational stories of women entrepreneurs, along with the ones we’ve shared previously, showcase the extraordinary resilience and tenacity of women from various walks of life. Their shared message is clear: ordinary women managed to move from zero to hero, and with dedication and the right tools, so can you. Are you ready to take your chance and make your dreams come true? Start your ecommerce journey with Sellvia now – it’s absolutely free!

by Artemis K.
Artemis isn't just a senior copywriter at Sellvia, he's an ecommerce storyteller. With his BA in International Communication and MA in Advertising, he journeyed from the petrochemical industry to a purpose-driven role at Sellvia. Today, he crafts content that doesn’t just guide people to start successful ventures but helps them amplify their dreams, tap into their full potential, and see that success is much closer than it appears.
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