Odds are you've heard that Sophia Amoruso, the founder and CEO of Nasty Gal, was coming out with a book, a digitally optimized title called #GIRLBOSS. Well, it's nearly here — it'll be available on May 6 — and we grabbed an advance copy to see what the fuss was about. Framed as a history of her life as a working girl (the kind who works at Subway, that is), Amoruso gets into the nitty gritty of starting her own company, learning how to hire and fire people and figuring out how to hold her own in meetings with venture capitalists, all while slinging straightforward advice that applies to any job you might hold in your lifetime.
It's practical guidance. You've probably heard some of it before. But that doesn't mean it's not effective when delivered by someone in Amoruso's position. In fact, I'm probably going to pre-order my little sister in college a copy right after I finish this article.
Here are the most salient pointers Amoruso has to offer, right in time for summer internship season.
Work your butt off.
This book is one giant kick in the pants. Amoruso writes in the introduction it is intended to have you screaming, "Where is some work!?! I want some work and I want to do it now!" She delivers on that. However glamorous working in fashion is, you're going to have to put in blood, sweat and tears to get anywhere. Embrace the hustle, and always ask yourself, "What more can I be doing right now?" Then go do that.
Traditional career paths aren't for everyone.
Amoruso describes starting and quitting low-paying jobs like it was her job. She didn't like school, didn't go to college, dumpster dove, took up with anarchists and spent a significant chunk of time as a semi-professional shoplifter. While Amoruso isn't suggesting that you have to check all of these boxes to become a true #GIRLBOSS, her point is a good one: A 4.0 grade average and top-notch college education isn't requisite for success. As long as you're learning along the way and using crap experiences to figure out where you do want to be, you're on the right track.
You don't get what you don't ask for.
This one comes up a lot, so I'll go out on a limb and say that Amoruso means it. She describes approaching a rep for Jeffrey Campbell at her first trade show in Las Vegas six months into launching Nasty Gal Vintage. After being told that the company wasn't interested in doing business, she rallied, showed the team her website and inked a deal. Conclusion: Good things only come to those who stick their necks out.
Do the details right.
Amoruso is clearly a detail-oriented person, and that's a big part of her success narrative. When Nasty Gal was a one-woman Ebay operation, that meant packaging each vintage garment nicely and taking the time to write product descriptions that sang. Today it means Snapchatting Nasty Gal fans herself and looking at all of the comments that come in. When you've taken care with each minor detail along the way, the end product is going to be rock solid. Not so when you've cut corners.
You aren't special.
This one is for the millennials out there. Maybe you think you're ready for a raise four months into a new job. Maybe you think you could (or should) be doing your boss's job. Amoruso's advice is clear: Slow your roll. You have to work your way up. You're awesome, but nobody is too awesome to do the job she was hired to do.
It's always your job.
Amoruso writes that the four words she hates to hear most are, "That's not my job." It's always your job, because serving the company is your job. Taking up the slack wherever is needed — even if that duty isn't in your job description, or heaven forbid, below your rank — will make you indispensable your boss, and it shows that you're a team player. And as Amoruso points out, it's not only about doing menial work as needed. If your superior is out sick, taking on some of her responsibilities helps you stand out, too.