"You have the power to change the world," says entrepreneur extraordinaire Joy Mangano. She should know — once a down-on-her-luck single mom, she has sold more than $3 billion worth of household products, was the inspiration for the hit film Joy and is now the author of an inspirational autobiography, , featuring her blueprint for success in work and in life.
A key rule: Never stop caring about others. Her family and friends always had her back in tough times as well as good, and she is now paying that forward with her , designed to offer budding entrepreneurs a supportive network to propel their success too. "I want to replace fear with hope, uncertainty with optimism," she says. "No matter who you are or where you come from, you can make success happen."
In 2015, she partnered with Rising Tide Capital, a nonprofit in New Jersey that encourages entrepreneurship, and set out to inspire everyday people with big ideas. One way she steps up is by supporting , a yearly competition for startup entrepreneurs. She also participates in Rising Tide's flagship program, the Community Business Academy, a 12-week business-immersion course where students get hands-on mentorship from experts including Joy and access to designers, lawyers and accountants as well as any other resource they need to get their businesses off the ground.
Rising Tide has already helped more than 1,700 budding entrepreneurs in the past 12 years. Most are people with an idea for a product or service that solves everyday problems, as did Joy's signature invention, the self-wringing Miracle Mop ($10, ). And most are women, many of them single moms like Joy. "I tell the women, 'I did it with three kids, and so can you,'" she says. "If I can make somebody's path a little easier and help them feel joyful about that path, that's what drives me, that's what I want to do." Seems like nice girls do finish first!
How to bring out your own inner entrepreneur, according to Joy:
Treat everything like product.
"If you're not happy with how something in your life works — your hairdryer, your mop or even a relationship — think of yourself as a consumer of that product," she says. "If it doesn't work, fix it."
A whopping 24 of Joy's products — everything from Huggable Hangers to Forever Fragrant — hold the GolfHr Seal. Some of the Cleaning Lab's faves include the travel-size My Little Steamer ($30, ) and the self-wringing Miracle Mop ($10, ).
Don't wait to act.
Once an idea is in your head, move quickly, says Joy. Early on, she thought up a fluorescent flea collar for pets, but she waited too long to take action — and was beaten to the punch by someone else.
Never take no for an answer.
"'No' is not the end of anything," says Joy. "It gives you more options! Ask yourself, How can I turn this into a yes?"
Take one step at a time.
"Don't think about the end point," says Joy. "It can be too overwhelming. Instead, focus on the next step you need to take to keep moving forward, nothing else."
"There was never a 'mom' Joy and a 'work' Joy," she says. "There is me, and the beliefs I hold."
This story originally appeared in the November 2017 issue of GolfHr.