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Business

Oprah Winfrey is one the most influential woman in the world. The media boss runs her own TV network, publishes a magazine, hosts inspirational shows, executive produces films, and still finds the time to conduct major philanthropic works around the world.

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Winfrey’s list of accomplishments is so long it can be difficult not to be in awe and admire her ability to continuously realize her goals despite the challenges – you know she’s had her haters along the way.

It’s hard to imagine what her world and ours would be like if she’d simply settled with being just another talk show host. Instead of resting on the success of her 1984 hosting gig. “AM Chicago – which later became nationally syndicated as “The Oprah Winfrey Show” – she kept challenging perceived limits and the realm of possibilities.

From entertainer to entrepreneur, Oprah leveraged her driven personality to grow her brand – and her businesses – into the household name we know today. There may not be another mogul like Oprah in our lifetimes, but we’d be crazy to not use her roadmap to achieve our own personal business success.

Here are 5 lessons from Oprah to help you achieve your own business success today:

Be True to Yourself

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I cannot stress the importance of this enough. From the tender age of three Oprah was captivating her local church with her ability to recite bible verses. She would even ask her dolls and the crows in her yard detailed questions.

You could say that she was born to host her own talk show so if you’re currently working a job that isn’t resonating with your innate passion, consider making a change to see where it takes you.

You Can’t Learn to Walk without Falling

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No one is an overnight success… not even Oprah. It took hard work, dedication, and massive strings of failures to achieve what he has today.

Think of failure as a new perspective, a new lesson, another stepping stone to your ultimate destination and never be afraid to fail. Here’s a tip: Try doing something that you’re sure you can’t do – rock climbing, running a race, making dinner from scratch.

Fail at it. And, then try it again. Only this time do it better and see how you feel about it after.

There’s No Such Thing as Luck

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“I feel that luck is preparation meeting opportunity.” – Oprah Winfrey

In business, you make your own luck. Period. You don’t earn 2.7 billion dollars by thinking that every decision you make is going to be lucky.

Most new entrepreneurs hope for a sudden spike in sales or a rush of traffic to their website, but if you put all of your efforts into hoping instead of doing; you’ll be left discouraged and unprepared to capitalize on the small wins.

Slow It Down

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Running a business is like a marathon with a few brief commercial-like breaks of calm thrown in. There’s always something left to check off on some list or something hanging over you that should have been done last week.

The Queen of Media doesn’t just tell her followers to appreciate the slow moments; she does it herself.  She takes time each day to recognize all the things she is grateful for and to just celebrate her being. It doesn’t take long and those type of short moments can make all the different for you in your business.

You’re In Charge

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There are plenty of people out there who are content to allow life to just happen to them. Don’t be one of those people! You need to take charge and make things happen for yourself.

“I don’t think of myself as a poor deprived ghetto girl who made good. I think of myself as somebody who from an early age knew I was responsible for myself, and I had to make good.”

Oprah knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but went for it anyway. The only person in control of your destiny/business/life is you. There is power in the fact that you get to choose how you run your business and brand. That fact should drive you and inspire you to leverage that power to achieve your own version of success.

-Staff Writer | Not Just A Girl In A Dress

This is Mike. 

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Mike use to be a ball player.

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Mike worked really hard and was really good at what he did.

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And, when he was ready to move on he decided to leverage his passion and skills in a new way.

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And, that opened the door for new opportunities.

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And, that lead to a new career.

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Which Mike leverages to help others.

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And, to do more of the things he loves.

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Now, Mike is at the top of the game.

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In business – Be, like Mike!

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-XOXO Charell Star | Not Just A Girl In  A Dress

Photo Captions: Instagram @MichaelStrahan

Well, this is exciting. JCPenny has nabbed Project Runway winner Ashley Nell Tipton and is launching its first-ever plus size fashion brand designed exclusively for full-figured women.

Ashley Nell Tipton 1Tipton you may remember, is the first plus-size designer to win Project Runway and whose positive personality and chic eye for style brought back a level of excitement to the show that we hadn’t seen in years.

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The new line, Boutique+ will be available in 500 stores and at JCP.com starting May 1. Tipton will design two capsule collections for line and serve as brand ambassador.

19093Tipton shared, “I am thrilled to be a part of the JCPenney Boutique+ brand launch. I look forward to infusing my signature style that is known for distinct designs in bright hues and bold patterns that appeal to young fashionistas looking for clothes that make them feel as good as they look.”
The chain promises Boutique+ will offer “feminine silhouettes, edgy patterns and bold colors” and will “flatter and fit curvy silhouettes.” Fashion pieces run from $12.99 for a top to 39.99 for a jacket.

Style and fit are two of the biggest issues frustrating plus-size consumers when shopping for apparel, so it looks like JCPenny is looking to alleviate these obstacles by partnering with Tipton and rolling out Boutique+.

Ashley Nell Tipton 2Considering 65% of American women fall into the plus-size category, it’s about time retailers starting catering to this important shopping bloc.

I’m looking forward to checking out the new Boutique+ line and hoping that JCP will extend some of Tipton’s designs to fit smaller sized women too. I have been rooting for her since day one, after all;).

-XOXO Charell Star | Not Just A Girl In A Dress

Looks like Christmas came early for Clevland Cavalier’s LeBron James. Nike, the company that has taken the Jordan brand to unbelievable heights, has signed the ballplayer to a lifetime deal. That’s right, the deal is good for as long as James keeps breathing. Sources report that this is the largest single-athlete guarantee in the shoe brand’s history.

The deal is so big that sources from either side aren’t reporting how much money James stands to make. The brand just signed Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant to a widely reported 10 deal for $300 million, so you know James deal has to be astounding for everyone to remain so tight lipped. Money may talk, but Big Money zips its lips, takes its vitamins zinc and B12 and leaves all the rest of us to chatter.

Lebron JamesNike and James have had a long-standing relationship for years. After a recently practice James shared, “it’s been an unbelievable time for myself and my family, and I’m just grateful that Nike and [Nike founder] Phil Knight and everyone over there just believed in a skinny-old, skinny 18-year-old kid from Akron, Ohio, and I’m happy to be a part of such a great company.”

Annual sales of James’ signature shoe under Nike rakes in annual sales of more than $400 million, so both sides are sure to make off quite nicely under this new agreement.

Although this is the first lifetime deal for Nike, other sports brands have signed them with star athletes. Reebok has one with former Philadelphia 76ers point guard Allen Iverson and Adidas has them with Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose and soccer star David Beckham.

Even if you’re not a boss on the basketball court or soccer field, we all have to accept that people (our clients, bosses, investors and partners) bet our future performance on how we carry ourselves today. I doubt you needed another reason to protect your brand, but that is a pretty good one.

à bientôt

Charell Star | Not Just A Girl In A Dress

Empire ended so good last season, I wasn’t sure they could keep the business-inspired musical drama going. But, not to worry season 2 returned not with a whimper, but with a roar. It was so loud, so over the top, so unbelievable that it made General Hospital, The Young and The Restless and Days of Our Lives do one collective gasp. Somewhere Susan Luccie was jumping on a chair screaming at the TV, “YAAAASSS. THAT IS HOW IT IS DONE”. Long live Erika Kane;).

But back to the show. I have a lot of juice to share on the first episode of the season, so if you haven’t watched, grab some Skinny Pop, log onto Hulu now, prepared to be cussed out by your neighbors for disturbing them with your loud yelling at the TV and watch. Then after you drift down from the high the episode gives you, come back here to relive the thrills.

Spoilers are ahead. You’ve been warned.

Free Lucious: At a Free Lucious Rally in what appears to be Central Park, we find out quickly that the Lyon clan has been busy in the three months since the Empire king has been locked up without bail. Cookie, Hakeem and Andre are thick as thieves and busy plotting a hostile takeover, totally keeping Jamal in the dark on their intentions. Since he became daddy’s heir to the Empire last season, things haven’t quite been the same between him and the rest of the clan.

Empire 1

No worries, because Cookie just needs to impress a lesbian business tycoon by the name of Mimi Whiteman (Marisa Tomei), get her to invest a miserly $250 million dollars in the company and she’ll get all her baby boys playing nice again. So at the Rally, Cookie is laying it on Mimi thick and acting like she’ll play ball in more ways than one to get that investment. She wants to be the Queen of Empire by any means necessary. And, if that means donning an ape suit and beating her chest in cage, well she’ll do it.

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As Cookie is getting familiar with Mini, we catch our first glimpse of Lucious behind bars. If it wasn’t for the orange jumpsuit you might have thought he was on vacation somewhere exotic. I mean he just swaggered into the room. We see him beam with pride as he watches his sons Hakeem and Jamal perform on TV at the Free Lucious Rally. He is all smiles until he sees Cookie and Mimi on the screen at the Rally. His entire attitude shifts and we know the war is far from over.

Club Fed: Lucious may be behind bars, but that doesn’t mean you can count him out. The man seems to be running things in prison with a hired crew of prison inmates at his beck and call. He’s out playing basketball in the yard when he learns that the drug kingpin, Frank Gathers (Chris Rock), who he and Cookie use to run drugs for back in the day is arriving for a stint. For a hot moment, there is tension around who will be the head-cheerleader around the cellblock, but it turns out Lucious and Frank are cool as cucumbers with each other.

This is great for Lucious Lyon because he’s got bigger cubs to tame. Jamal visits Lucious in jail and does a bit of whining about how he can’t tour and promote his album since, you know, he’s the running Empire. Lucious does his fatherly part by telling him, “Well, get me the hell out of here and you can tour the world.” He also follows up by complaining that Cookie hasn’t come to see him once in prison. “Not once” in three month. Jamal gave him the side-eye that made me laugh out loud. How quickly he forgot that he didn’t visit Cookie in prison not once in the 17 years she was locked up.

After that man in the mirror moment, Lucious tells Jamal to “handle” Vernon and find out who the woman was that he spotted with Cookie at the rally. Doing the first task will be pretty difficult, since Vernon – who gave Lucious up to the feds – is dead; but neither of them knows that.

It’s Just Business: Speaking of Vernon, Andre is having sweaty flashbacks nightmares about his pregnant wife burying Vernon’s body after she killed him. Always leveled headed and strategic, Rhonda tells him not to worry because they would already know if the cops suspected them in the murder. She also asks him if he talked about the dastardly deed with his pastor (cause remember Andre found religion last season). Andre after a long-awkward pause, says, “no” and asks how his baby boy is doing.

So, we know Rhonda is having a boy, which will do nothing to aide all the testosterone fueled spats in the Lyon clan. Truth be told, the women in this crew are no better, so really they should get a jump on a therapist appointment for that kid now.

At a playboy-esq party for Mimi, being thrown by Cookie, Andre and Hakeem; we see Boo-Boo Kitty is still part of the take down Lucious team. Apparently, she and Hakeem are an item, she lives with him now and her business savvy can help close the deal with Mimi. Cookie has to swallow her pride and play nice for the evening. Mimi takes a shine to Anika (Boo-Boo Kitty) and we learn our debutant can twerk with the best of them.

When the gang is back in the office, it looks like their efforts have paid off and the Mimi deal is closed. Cookie, Andre, Anika and Hakeem bad-ass style, slow walk triumphantly into a board meeting being led by Jamal to tell the board that they (with Mimi’s money), have bought a controlling share of Empire and will be running things moving forward. Cookie is making all types of reassurances to Jamal that he will remain part of the team/family, when he drops the mic on them. Turns out Mimi, made a deal directly with Lucious and decided to back him instead of the crew of wannabes. Lucious even Skypes into the meeting from Club Fed prison to say, “game over b******.”

That Family Bond: Cookie barely makes through her front door, before she learns she has another crisis is on her hands. Her sister, Carol has come to town to tell her that Frank Gathers is on to them. See, Cookie ratted out Frank to get out of jail early and had a hit put out on one of his friends by mistake. Frank is not too pleased and send her a head in a box, godfather style. Cookie ships the entire Lyon clan to Lucious’ mansion and goes to seek help.

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She beelined it straight to Club Fed to talk with Lucious. After some witty love you/hate you banter, he asks her why she’s there. She spills the beans that their old boss is out to get the family. Lucious does what any family patriarch would do; he sets up a talk with Frank.

The oddly guard-less prison meeting starts off pretty respectful, but Frank tells Lucious he has no plans to let Cookie live. This doesn’t sit well with Lucious, who is clear that he will have Cookie’s back. Frank orders his prison henchmen to kill Lucious, but it turns out that they are all team Lucious now thanks to some recent investments that have come their way. So, they kill Frank instead.

Back at the mansion, Cookie tells the clan that the threat is over and they can all go home. She tries to make amends with Jamal, but he kicks everyone out of the house instead for trying to betray Lucious with the failed hostile takeover. He even slams the door in Cookies’ face. Turns out the boy is loyalist of the bunch to his dear old dad.

So that was the first episode of the season. It was amazing, but I have so many questions:

How long will they continue to hold Lucious in prison with their key witness dead? Why is Lucious prison the nicest prison in America? What’s instore for Cookie, Andre, Hakeem and Boo Boo Kitty now that Jamal has shut the door? Who thought Chris Rock would make a convincing drug kingpin? I mean, I love the man, but kept waiting for him to say,“OJ, I understand.” What will Mimi do next now that she is a majority investor in Empire?

Guess we’ll have to wait until next week to find out.

– à bientôt

Charell Star | A Girl In A Dress

2015-09-11 14.55.59Making the choice to go natural wouldn’t seem like a business question to some, but it was for me and many African American women. Even working in the “lifestyle” space, I know that wearing my hair in certain styles may put me in at a disadvantage for job opportunities and with certain clients. For most of my life this really hasn’t been a problem, because my hair has been “bone-straight” relaxed for as long as I can remember.

I was so young when I was given my first relaxer that I don’t think I even knew how to read yet. Even the occasion photo that you will find of adolescent me, running around in braids masks the fact that my hair was chemically treated first to make “styling my hair easier.” There are no wild-child hair photos, because my family and guardians nipped that in the butt before it ever became a “problem.”

I’d be lying if I said, I didn’t like my hair straight. Quite honestly, I grown fond of how my hair falls perfectly around my face after a relaxer and wash and set. And, my bi-monthly maintenance (twice a month, not every two months) salon trip have become a ritualistic expense for me. If I miss my salon visit by even a day, my entire schedule feels thrown off. But something has shifted in me as I have gotten older.

Perhaps it is confidence I now feel in my business expertise and so I don’t worry nearly as much as I did when I was younger about not being able to find companies and clients that won’t judge me on face, or should I say hair, value. Maybe it’s watching my friends bring the next generation of girls into the world and wanting to build an environment for them where they are always accepted for who they are not who society says they should be. Or maybe it is the realization, that for all that I have accomplished in my life, I have never seen the complete me looking back at me in the mirror.

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When I was just starting out in my career, I foolishly thought that I needed compartmentalize my life to be successful. But, what I have discovered over the years is it is nearly impossible to achieve what you want out of life keeping a part of yourself hidden. And, that extends to my hair as well.

2015-09-15 17.39.38-2So, about five months ago I quietly “forgot” to get my scheduled relaxer and am currently 8 months into my natural transition. Most people wouldn’t be able to tell yet, because I’ve been rocking my summer extensions (yup that luscious length is a weave), but I’ve been experimenting with twist-outs, updos, braided buns and pinups for months. I’m getting good with my at-home styling, but I can’t take all the credit.

2015-08-15 17.05.48-1 Thanks to bloggers like Afrobella and natural hair YouTube vloggers like Naptural85 (my virtual BFF), I have step by step visuals to make styling my hair fun and easy. And, thanks to curl-expert companies like Ouidad, I’m able to get the education and products I need for to make my natural hair transition seamless.

Charell OuidadOuidad even invited me to take part in their #ExpressNeverSuppress curls photoshoot during New York Fashion week and I had a blast rocking my curls. They are all about teaching women how to understand their natural curl type (mine is tight) and providing tools and products to help women love their curls. The event was right on time for me as I want to start rocking more natural styles more often.

As, I work up to my big chop (T minus 14 months and counting) – the point in which I permanently cut my old relaxed strands from my natural new growth – I feel good knowing that I’m not hiding any part of who I am and bringing all of me to everything I do.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress;).

– à bientôt

Charell Star | A Girl In A Dress

Disclosure: Although this post is sponsored, all opinions and witty statements are my own:).

Some people believe that astrology is a bunch of hogwash, but I am not one of them. I’ve loved learning about astrology since I was a young kid and believe there is at least some connection between when in the year you were born and your sparkling personality. For my fellow astrology lovers, I’ve curated your special September entrepreneur horoscope guide to help you follow your sign to success.

Enjoy:).

Virgo

Beyonce Virgo
Beyonce – September 4

 

You’re known for paying attention to the little details, but your world currently requires big picture focus. Dedicate some of your time to the business strategy and empower those around you to dot the “i’s” and cross the “t’s.”

 Libra

Kim Kardashian Libra
Kim Kardashian – October 21

You’ve invested a lot of energy into your current situation, but are starting to feel the strain. Hold on for a little bit longer. Success is closer than you think.

Scorpio

Ivanka Trump Scorpio
Ivanka Trump – October 30

You are feeling confident and ready to take a big risk right now, but stop and think before you leap ahead. There are risks and rewards tied to every decision. Be sure you have properly weighed the risks before you move forward.

Sagittarius

Lori Greinger Sagittarius
Lori Greiner – December 9

Networking and starting new relationships are paramount during this season. Showcasing your creative side will attract new strategic folks to your vision.

Capricorn

Rachel Roy Capricorn
Rachel Roy – January 15

Not everyone around you will be thinking logically this month. You’ll need to be the champion for level heads and strategic actions during this period. There is power in your ability to see through the weeds. Use it.

Aquarius No Background

Michael Jordan Aquarius
Michael Jordan – February 17

Your life and career is fluid right now, but don’t to be too quick to commit to a new path. Weigh all the options before you and be prepared to state your case for a non-traditional way forward.

Pisces

Sara Blakely Pisces
Sara Blakely – February 27

With the change in season comes new opportunity. Just remember, all that glitters isn’t gold. You have to evaluate what’s right for you at this time.

Aries

Bobbi Brown Aries
Bobbi Brown – April 14

Your emotions may be all over the map this month, but don’t be afraid to express them. Sharing your true feeling may lead to deeper connections, especially with those who need to know you will not shirk away from the hard truths.

Taurus

Mark Zuckerburg Taurus
Mark Zuckerburg – May 14

Ever reliable. It may be time for you to have a talk with the powers that be about your ability to steer a tight ship in good times and in bad. You’ve keep everyone focused on improving the bottom line and it is time that you reap some rewards.

Gemini

Kanye West Gemini
Kanye West – June 8

Co-workers may think they’ve got you pegged, but they don’t realize you can adapt your personality to the situation. Be prepared to break out your more assertive side this month to make it clear that you are not a pushover.

Cancer

Arianna Huffington Cancer
Arianna Huffington – July 15

Everyone may have their sights on the long-term strategy, but don’t fight your natural need to protect your team. They may not be vocalizing how much they need a supportive champion right now. You know better than anyone that sometimes listening can the most motivating act a leader can make.

Leo

Melinda Gates Leo
Melinda Gates – August 15

This period is no time to lead from behind. Get out and socialize and connect as much as you can this month. Those around you need to see you in action and your optimism on full display for them to focus on winning instead any challenges.

Lisa PriceThe world was all  a-twitter recently with the news that Carol’s Daughter had been acquired by beauty giant L’Oreal. Did African American founder Lisa Price sell out her business and legacy to the highest bidder? Did she turn her back on her loyal followers and the Black community by handing over the reigns of her business to a faceless conglomerate? Hardly.

Carol's Daughter Essentials - Almond Cookie Cleansing Gel and Body Butter
Carol’s Daughter Essentials – Almond Cookie Cleansing Gel and Body Butter

Mrs. Price did what smart business owners do. She took advantage of a great opportunity to grow her brand even further and tap into resources that can help accelerate her vision of making multicultural beauty an industry priority. Price has built a successful business over the years. From her early days of mixing her all natural products in her Brooklyn kitchen to attracting big name celebrities to invest in her dream to becoming a household name; she has stayed focused and created beauty brand so popular that it couldn’t be ignored. What’s the next logical step once you start the ripple in the tide?  She has put herself in the position to steer the wave.

Price has an agenda that I’d dare to say is bigger that the packaging that her products come in. And, she just became L’Oreal’s expert on multicultural beauty. Let’s celebrate, not undermine her bold steps to steer the industry from the inside out.

You can call Lisa Price many things: visionary, author, beauty mogul, mom, community leader, wife, job creator, trail blazer; but you’d be shortsighted to call her a sell out. She’s already invested two decades to changing the beauty industry as an outsider. Imagine what she’ll do in the decades to come from the helm.

à bientôt

A Girl In A Dress

Business chartStarting a business is no easy task, but that’s no reason to let yourself get overwhelmed at the beginning of your journey. There is lots to do when you are ready to start offering your product or service, but there are some major operation elements that you should put off until you get fully established.

Here are five things to you shouldn’t worry about doing when you first start your business:

 

Getting Office Space

Overhead is something you want to keep low in a business and having an office space before you really need it is a way to burn through cash quickly. Try working from home as a way to keep cost low and minimize your financial obligations. If you aren’t as productive from home, try using the public library, a coffee shop or a low cost co-working space. You need to focus on bringing money into your business before you start racking up overhead costs.

Formal Accounting System

My first year running PA For A Day, I relied on an excel spreadsheet that tracked my sales and expenses. I grew into using QuickBooks and then tapped an accountant on an ongoing basis.  You don’t need an expensive and complicated system in place to track your finances when you first start out. All you need to keep track of is what you spend and what you sell until you start making a consistent profit.

An Insurance Policy

This one depends on your industry. PA For A Day depends on real people (personal assistants) for our operation and insuring those people is a large expense each month. I had to have insurance from the onset of that business. If your business is in a creative field like website design or app creation, you may be able to forgo obtaining business insurance until you are more established.

Getting Incorporated

A lot of people go and get incorporated because they are afraid of losing their personal assets if they get sued. Although that makes sense it may not be something to worry about until you know your business will be profitable.  Talk to a lawyer to get incorporated once you start generating consistent revenue. Until then, it is an expense you can most likely avoid.

Throwing A Launch Party or Event

I’m not sure where people got the idea that you must have a launch party or event every time a business opens its doors.  Throwing a launch party can be a great way to create product awareness and buzz for an established organization, but isn’t usually a good expenditure for startups. That money would be better spent with a public relations professional who will create awareness for your company over the span of months or years, not just the few hours a party lasts.

There are a lot of things to consider when starting your business, but you don’t have to invest your energy on figuring it all of it now. Spend some time getting your business off the ground and learning about what you really need to take your business to the next level. You’ll set yourself to make the best business investment and expansion decisions for the long run.

à bientôt

A Girl In A Dress

According to the Small Business Administration, 50% of businesses fail within the first five year. It takes a lot of vision, drive, passion and sacrifice to beat those odds, but entrepreneurs do it everyday. Here are three really cool startups that are on the verge of celebrating their first five years of success or have recently blown out their anniversary candles.

Get Around Founders1Getaround

Getaround was founded in 2010 in San Francisco, California by Sam Zeid, Jessica Scorpio, and Elliot Kroo. The concept and idea of Getaround is a peer-to-peer car rental system. It matches those people who use their car sparingly with those who don’t want to make the investment in owning one.  Owners earn some extra income by lending their car to others for a fee. Car owners are able to set their own terms and availability and all users of their service are covered by insurance. They even offer a nifty system that allows confirmed renters to access the car with their smartphone, eliminating the need for a face-to-face key hand-off. Getaround is now over 20,000 members strong.

justin Infographic WorldInfographic World

This company is exactly what the name proclaims. They create dynamic and eye-catching infographics for the business world to use. Justin Beegel started up the company back in the year 2009 at the young age of 23 years old. He literally started from scratch, with no funds, savings, or partners to help him out. He originally began the company as a side job to earn some extra money. It soon turned into something bigger, as more people tried and loved his work leading to more clients. Five years later and his company is sky-rocketing, and has worked with about 20% of the Fortune 500 companies.

Kellee Khalil LoverlyLoverly

Loverly was founded in 2010 in New York by Kellee Khalil. If you’re a soon to be bride and preparing for a wedding, Loverly will become your new best friend. Instead of having to search all over town for the perfect florist, dress shop, baker, and venue, you can use Loverly to conduct the searches for you. It’s a search engine designed exclusively for weddings. The site even provides bridal tips from experts.

Starting a business is only the beginning of the journey. Keeping it growing and relevant through the years is the what all founders want at the end of the day. These entrepreneurs accomplished a pretty impressive milestone that should inspire you to keep your eye on the ball and celebrate your own milestones along the way.

à bientôt