For many entrepreneurs who own a small business, the ultimate goal is to take their brand to national and even global levels. Below is a list of 4 of Atlanta’s most prolific entrepreneurs, and the businesses that launched them into the stratosphere.
In the early 2000s, Florida State University grad Sara Blakely, launched her incredibly popular shapewear brand Spanx, by investing her life savings of only $5,000. 20 years later, Spanx generates roughly $400 million in sales each year with Blakely still an active part of the company’s day-to-day operations. The 47-year-old, mother of four, says she came up with the idea and name for Spanx in the car during her daily commute. Having a quiet space where she can take her time, allows for the most productive and efficient thinking. Being a successful businesswoman, Sara is always coming up with innovative products and merchandise, and it’s easy to see why this Atlanta transplant is now worth over $1 billion.
Her greatest piece of business advice? Your negative self-talk is the number one barrier to success. You can follow Spanx on Twitter here, for more advice and inspiration.
Ben Chestnut was born and raised three hours east of Atlanta in Augusta, Georgia. After studying physics at the University of Georgia, and industrial design at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Ben and his partner Dan developed the wildly successful marketing automation platform, Mailchimp.
Mailchimp’s email marketing software for small businesses now serves millions of customers in over 175 different countries around the world and employs nearly 1,000 workers. According to Mailchimp’s website, when utilizing their platform, business owners can create their own ad campaigns, automate busywork, and optimize data to make sure their ads are as smart as they can possibly be.
When asked by Lifehacker how he works, Ben has this to say, “‘Why.’ I’m always asking why, and making sure people understand the why behind decisions and strategies.”
To keep up with Ben and Mailchimp be sure to follow him on Twitter here.
Marc Gorlin is a serial entrepreneur in the Atlanta area perhaps best known as the founder of Roadie, and co-founder of Kabbage, two high-profile tech startups in the metro area. After graduating Magna Cum Laude from the University of Georgia with degrees in Journalism and Mass Communication, Marc began creating innovative tech companies and never stopped.
Along with two partners, Marc began his popular financial services data and technology platform Kabbage, Inc. which was first established in 2009. Kabbage supports small businesses around the country by providing lines of credit up to $250,000 (with amounts depending on several factors) and gives them the means to realize their vision with reasonable and fair terms.
When interviewed by the Atlanta Business Chronicle, Marc gave us these wise words, “I can’t do everything for everyone every day. But no matter how busy I get, I can always make time to do for one.”
For more information about Marc, check out his Twitter here.
It’s no secret that Atlanta’s FinTech sector is booming in an unprecedented way. Financial tech guru David Zalik certainly took advantage of this market by co-founding GreenSky. GreenSky is a FinTech company that provides technology to banks and credit merchants so that they can, in turn, make loans to consumers for various needs and projects.
With over 900 employees and $325 million in revenue, David took GreenSky public in May 2018. According to Forbes, The Atlanta-based company so far has overseen $13 billion in loans for home improvement projects via a network of banks and 13,000 contractors. GreenSky has also begun to branch into financing for doctor, dentist, and veterinary visits.
As for his advice to aspiring entrepreneurs, “Recognize that finding your passion is a journey. And understanding your passion is the first step in finding the career path you want to go down. It is the most important thing,” Zalik told CNBC.
Notoriously private, David does not have his own Twitter account, but you can keep up with GreenSky here.
So what do these incredibly impressive Atlanta business people have in common besides monumental resumes? They all have explosive passion and confidence in what they do. Sara advises us to have faith in ourselves and our visions, while Ben looks to always improve operations at his company. Marc and David both demonstrate their unwavering commitment to their projects and everyone involved with them. These are the indefinable qualities of successful entrepreneurs.
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