Nearly one in every two young women wants to launch her own company--not to mention write her own paycheck. These winners of Glamour's second annual Glamstarter Awards for female entrepreneurs all did it before age 35! Steal their make-it-happen secrets here.
It's an incredible moment for women who want to do their own thing: Female-owned companies are growing faster than any other type of privately held enterprise, and young women ages 18 to 34 list launching their won business as their number-one career goal. Even our cover star, Jessica Alba, has embraced the entrepreneurial spirit--she founded The Honest Company after having a hard time finding natural, nontoxic products for her newborn daughter. It's in this same spirit that Glamour launched our Glamstarter Awards last year, an annual celebration of young women who are creating the most game-changing new ventures in America. These are woman who redefine everything. "The word disruptive is used so much in business now it's almost a cliche, says Alba. "But if you're going to be more of the same, you're pointless. Be different. Be innovative. Do something cool. There are a lot of people who want to invest in the next great idea. So if you have it, this is the time to go for it!" Motivating, right? Wait till you meet these five winners.
"BUILD AN INCREDIBLE STAFF"
--Elizabeth Iorns, Ph.D., 33
Her start-up: Science Exchange, the first online marketplace to connect scientists with labs and specialists that can carry out their sutdies.
How she got the idea: "I was researching breast cancer at the University of Miami School of Medicine in 2011, and one of my studies require a technique that would have taken me a year to learn. I wanted to pay somebody to do it, but science isn't set up that way. To fix that, I launched Science Exchange with my husband, Dan Knox."
When she knew she'd made it: "NASA had been working for five years on a special material for satellites. Through our site they found a lab in Australia that helped make it happen in two months for $3,000. It was incredible for them and super exciting for us. Now we've had thousands of breakthroughs like that."
Why she's a winner: "Her idea has world-changing potential," says judge Lauren Bush Lauren, cofounder of the hunger-fighting fashion company FEED. "Who knows what new vaccine or cure for cancer will start here?"
"STAY OPEN TO FEEDBACK"
--Nahema Mehta, 28
Her start-up: Art Remba, a site that lets subscribers rent museum-quality paintings and drawings to eventually buy or trade in for other pieces.
The original idea: "I wanted to connect gallery owners, who have hundreds of pictures in storage, with people like my friends who have blank walls they don't know how to decorate."
Lesson learned: "A good business idea can come from any part of your life. Growing up, I lovedart, but I never thought about going into it professionally. I built Art Remba while working in private equity and getting my M.B.A"
Why She's a winner: "Art Remba is a new, great way to introduce people to the fine-art world, which can be very intimidating if you aren't involved in it," says our judge Alwxandra Wilkis Wilson, cofounder of the designer flash-sale site Gilt.
"DREAM BIG ENOUGH TO BE SCARED"
--Sarah Paiji, 30
Her Start-up: Snapette, an app that tells shoppers which nearby stores have what they're looking for and lets them compare prices.
The first hurdle: "My cofounder, Jinhee Ahn Kim, and I were stuck in a chicken-and-egg situation. We didn't have a lot of users, so retailers didn't want to invest--and the users didn't come, because we didn't have the brands! We just stuck with it. Now we have more than 500 brands and 2 million users."
Best Advice: "Don't wait for the perfect idea. You've just go to jump in. That's how you'll figure out how it's all going to work."
Why she's a winner: "She's done our homework," says judge Carla Hall, cohost of The Chew. "If I'd had this when I was just in New York looking for a bra, it would've been a beautiful thing."
"BE AMAZING ON EMAIL"
--Jilliene Helman, 27
Her start-up: Realty Mogul, a website that lets you invest in shares of buildings and commercial properties for as little as $5,000.It's like crowdfunding for real estate.
Her "eureka!" moment: "I was mulling over rows in Excel as a vice president at Union Bank, and I saw it:
Real estate is a great way to get rich, so how do you open up the market to more people? Since I launched a year ago with my friend Justin Hughes, we've had $15 million in transactions. And we're just getting started!"
Why she replies to every email: " I get at least 1,00 a day. It's 10:04 A.M., and I'm already at 702!
Because I read them all, we've won several real estate transactions."
Why she's a winner: "Realty Mogul is such a unique and powerful concept," says our judge Mary Grove, director of Google for Entrepreneurs. "It gives access that has never been available to the ordinary consumer."
"DON'T SEE PROBLEMS; SEE OPPORTUNITIES"
--Maxine Bedat, 31, far left, and Sorava Darabi, 30
Their start-up: Zady, a site for "ethical shopping"--every item includes the story of its creators, its materials, and its eco-impact; 5 percent of proceeds go to struggling artisans. "It's been a roller coaster!"
The perks of being lady bosses: "to save time, we have manicure meetings with each other and with other female founders," says Bedat.
How not to get overwhelmed: "Break down your goals," says Bedat. "Make to-do lists. Meet daily deadlines. As my mother used to say, 'how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.' "
Why they're winners: "Zady's storytelling is perfect for today's market, when folks want to know about what they're buying," says judge Lauren Bush Lauren.