Spanx founder Sara Blakely’s mother on raising a successful CEO

Sara Blakely, founder and CEO of Spanx, turned simply $5,000 into a billion-dollar enterprise after hustling to carry her shapewear model to market. And in response to Blakely, a lot of her success is because of her upbringing and her mother, Ellen Blakely.

In truth, Ellen raised two successful entrepreneurs: Sara, 49, and likewise Ford Blakely, Sara's 45-year-old brother, who created messaging platform Zingle, which was acquired by Medallia for $42 million in 2019, in response to a firm press launch.

So how did Ellen do it?

"It was important for me to give them freedom to explore what they wanted to do with their lives," Ellen instructed Megan Reilly, host of the "Who Is Your Momma" podcast, on Dec. 14. "They had a lot of free time, which I don't think kids today do. I think creative free time is so important."

"Things are so programmed now with sports and activities that their parents drive them to constantly. We didn't do that."

Ellen stated she allowed her youngsters to be bored and recommends mother and father do the identical for his or her youngsters.

"Sara would say, 'Mom, I haven't got nothing to do.' She would be bored. And I would say, 'You've got a lot of toys. Figure it out.' I didn't really entertain her," Ellen instructed Reilly. "It's about creativity and free time and learning to entertain themselves."

And "Sara was a master at that," Ellen stated.

In elementary college, "she started doing these drawings, putting them in her little red wagon and selling them to neighbors," Ellen stated. "She also did lemonade stands.

"She was at all times doing one thing like that."

Like charging the neighborhood kids to play minigolf at her house.

"Her dad and I had been golfers so we had further putters and balls and issues. So she would lay out a course with seashore towels with constructing blocks for obstacles and toys and every kind of issues. The children simply beloved it. All the neighborhood children would line up in our storage," Ellen told Reilly.

As a teen, Sara started an impromptu babysitting service at the Hilton Hotel in her hometown of Clearwater Beach, Florida, her mother said. She convinced a pool-boy to let her use an unoccupied room and hung up flyers to get parents' attention.

"The humorous half is, the administration on the lodge didn’t know that she was doing that," Ellen said. "She would come house together with her wads of greenback payments, but it surely wasn't in regards to the cash, it was about doing one thing. It was so enjoyable for her."

But none of Sara's antics ever surprised her mom. "It was simply the best way Sara was," she said.

Ellen said her relaxed parenting style gave her children the freedom to "discover and check out issues," which led to the growth of their entrepreneurial spirit.

(It's the same sentiment Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has expressed about parenting to raise successful kids: "Let them discover," he said in 2018. "Be a little lose, allow them to discover and check out their very own issues….")

"Let [kids] discover their ardour," Ellen told Reilly. "Pay cautious consideration to the issues that they actually like and encourage that. Go together with your intestine, your instincts. Do one of the best you’ll be able to. It's very tough being a mum or dad."

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Check out: 

  • Spanx founder Sara Blakely hid her billion-dollar enterprise concept from family and friends for a yr
  • Spanx CEO: People who 'obtain their desires' have this trait–it's not 'brains, cash or expertise'
  • Spanx founder Sara Blakely: The two fears 'I'm consistently working on' to be successful

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