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1. Adi Tatarko, Houzz

Adi Tatarko probably wouldn’t have made a whopping $300 million if Pinterest had been around when she was looking for ideas to remodel her house, back in 2009. Frustrated at not being able to find great ideas online, this self-made woman co-founded Houzz with her husband. The Israeli-born Tatarko worked in the financial industry and raised two children before diving into the internet-based startup economy that earned her millions, proving it’s never too late to come up with a great idea.

2. Mariah Coz, Femtrepreneur

20-something entrepreneur Mariah Coz grew her website, Femtrepreneur, from earning nothing to over $100,000 per month. Through online courses, Coz lays out actionable strategies women can use to make money online. Her advice is geared toward mobile Millennials who want to stay connected to their passions while helping others.

3. Sophia Amoruso, Nasty Gal

Sophia Amoruso started at age 22 with a side hustle that paid off big: Selling street-style and vintage clothes on eBay. Thousands of jackets, jeans, and crop tops are the basis of Amoruso’s staggering $100 million earned (in 2012) via her Nasty Gal label. Fast forward to last year, when Amoruso was nominated to Forbes’ list of Richest Self-Made Women, with a net worth of $280 million, and her company shot to the top of the Internet Retailer’s annual e-commerce roundup. At 32, Amoruso is now setting her sights on launching a line of brick and mortar stores that will make it even easier for “nasty women” to purchase her glam-goth version of fast fashion.

4. Jessica Alba, The Honest Company

Jessica Alba may be a movie star, but her wealth comes from her business rather than her acting career. The 35-year old celebrity has a net worth of $340 million after The Honest Company received a $1.7 billion valuation. Alba’s company sells chemical-free, hormone-free, all-natural personal care and cleaning products. From diapers and tampons to dish soap and sunscreen, Alba’s company targets parents who want the peace of mind of all-natural products when it comes to their children and her decision to found the company was quite personal: she had skin sensitivities due to chemicals in care products, and didn’t want her child to suffer the way she had. Founded with partner Brian Lee in 2011, Honest Company continues to be a beacon among the chemical-free personal care product companies.

5. Toni Ko, NYX Cosmetics

At age 25, community college dropout Toni Ko founded NYX Cosmetics. Ko is a Korean immigrant who came to the U.S. at age 13, without any English language skills. Ko felt there was a gap between the super-pricey cosmetics and drugstore brands. The child of a beauty supply business owner, Ko had the insider knowledge on how to get started and the vision to see a need and address it. With a single product — eye pencils — she generated $2 million her first year. Ko always loved wearing makeup, and believes that women not only feel more confident when they look good but act more positively. At the age of 42, Ko sold her company to L’Oreal and is currently looking for her next big adventure.

These enterprising women may have different areas of expertise, but they share one thing–
they took a risk and they reaped the rewards. As each of these self-made women demonstrates, a good idea and a lot of hard work can pay off big, whether you’re interested in technology, design, beauty, or teaching others.


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