The entrepreneurial world has been a boys club for a long time.

Recently that trend has been changing. The number of woman-owned businesses increased by 45% from 2007 to 2016.

They represent over $1.6 trillion dollars in revenue.

Are you looking to start your own business? These women will inspire you to push forward and kick ass. Let’s get inspired.

1. Riawna Capri and Nikki Lee

In So Cal, high end salons are plentiful. Competition is fierce. But that didn’t stop Riawna and Nikki in 2010.

As coworkers and friends at two other salons, they wanted to take their impressive skills and start off on their own. But this meant being competitive in an already saturated market.

They took stock of what other high-end salons were doing and decided to be different. “…it felt like people were more about the shoes we were wearing or the bags we were carrying. It just wasn’t a good energy.”

They decided to make their salon different by snatching at new trends. They once noticed that some clients wanted their hair braided. It was a simple task for the hair-dressers and they could charge a low fee for the work. This got people in the door where most stayed and became regular clients.

They were doing something others hadn’t. It paid off.

2. Natasha Case and Coolhaus

You can learn more about storybrand marketing here, but Natasha Case did something similar with her Coolhaus business.

She learned a lot about story marketing from her job at Walt Disney Imagineering. Her job involved hotel and master-planning design and at Disney that means walking guests through a story.

During the recession in 2008, she began making ice cream sandwiches. It was a fun way to boost morale at the office.

She named the flavors after famous architects. Once she began selling them, she didn’t exactly see it as a business at first. It was an outlet, an art form.

It took an introduction to her now spouse who helped her turn her art project into a business. They took the minimal storytelling she was already doing with flavor and expanded on that.

Coolhaus is a re-working of architect Rem Koolhaas’ name. It worked because, ya know, ice cream?

They’ve been going strong with their brand for 10 years and they’re ready to expand it into a nationally recognized business.

3. Tess Finkle the College Dropout

Guess what Zuckerberg, the Wachowskis, Steve Jobs, Oprah, and Bill Gates all have in common? It’s not just money. They’re all college dropouts.

This puts Tess Finkle in good company as someone who quit college at 21 to start her Hollywood public relations business.

She jumped ship without much of a plan. She just knew that she could deliver more than a large PR firm could. She’d know because she worked at a large firm for two years.

How did she do it? Hustle like she would die otherwise.

She now admits some of the things she accepted as “payment” at the time weren’t exactly above board (she says they were “questionable…” >.>). But it seems that in Hollywood, that’s how you get a leg up in the business.

She now has a team of 25 at her firm. She wants to keep the environment friendly and reward her team for their hard work.

By Ben Mattice

Benjamin Mattice is a freelance writer/editor, horror and sci-fi writer, SEO and affiliate marketing newbie, dog wrestler, cat wrangler, capoeirista, and long distance runner. He lives in the Palouse with his wife, three dogs, two cats, and two rats. Yes, that would probably be considered a mini-zoo.