International Women’s Day!
Did you ever meet someone who seems to effortlessly juggle SO much in life, and you think to yourself, “How in the world does she do it?” That’s the question I still ask myself when I see the very special and inspiring Co-Founder and President of LTK, Amber Venz Box. On International Women’s Day, I am honored to share more about Amber and her amazing rise as a woman in the male-dominated tech industry.
Amber Venz Box
There are bada*s female entrepreneurs creating cool businesses, and then there are next, next, next level entrepreneurs creating entire industries…that’s Amber! She is the co-founder and President of LTK (formerly RewardStyle). Amber is leading a multi-billion dollar business (yep, with a “B”), all while raising 4 young children, supporting other female entrepreneurs and looking gorgeous while doing it! Plus, she’s only 34! If you are not familiar with LTK, it’s the tech company that enables influencers like me (150,000+ influencers) to monetize their blog and social media content. I literally would not have a business if it were not for Amber.
Q&A with Amber Venz Box
Before we dive into the interview, I wanted to share that I’ve had the opportunity to meet Amber several times as well as hear her speak at conferences. Not only is she such an aspirational woman in so many ways, she is quite frankly one of the main reasons I am here… and have been able to grow this exciting business and community of awesome women like you.
What advice would you give young women looking to succeed in the primarily male-dominated tech industry?
- Lean into your strengths.
- Perform the role that you want to have, don’t wait for permission or for someone to ask.
- Ultimately, every industry and every business will be a technology business, and the sooner you can gain exposure to the way that technology companies operate and their strategies for growth and user experience, the better!
What advice would you give women who are looking to reinvent themselves, start a business, or just try something new?
- I love the quote that says “the idea is free, hustle sold separately” because you can never succeed if you don’t launch
- Do not try to launch with a fully perfected product. Launch the minimum viable product and then learn – sharpen – learn – sharpen – rinse – repeat.
- Statistics show that businesses with co-founders are more likely to succeed than those with a single founder. Who is the yin to your yang? Find your complement and work as a team.
How can we encourage more women to pursue entrepreneurship or senior leadership roles in their careers?
Encouraging them to learn practical business skills and strategies; to start working as soon as possible; to always do more than is asked or expected and to never stop learning about business and strategy. Work alongside people that elevate you, that you can learn from.
Tell us about a woman that has inspired you either personally or professionally.
Three women stand out to me – and beyond my personal relationship with them, they have all also leaned in to share with and inspire the LTK community at our conferences over the years.
- Kendra Scott – like Kendra, I had a jewelry business and identify with her store-to-store approach to get the line launched. Kendra grew her business as a single mother and created a brand that resonates with women everywhere. She maintains large majority ownership of her business today and is generous in sharing her wisdom and resources with other women.
- Whitney Wolfe Herd – I met Whitney in college and we connected over our shared passion for building businesses. (Whitney was one of the first “girl of the moment” features on my blog in 2010!) She understands what motivates people, is a strategic thinker and dreams BIG. Her understanding of people and networks is beyond her years and she set the bar for female founders in this generation.
- Charlotte Jones – Charlotte runs marketing for the most valuable sports franchise in the world – the Dallas Cowboys. In a boys’ world, and despite her team’s shortcomings on the field, she has created a brand that people love and buy into. Charlotte is inspirational and I love her advice – “if they love the brand, you don’t have to sell them the jersey.”
What is the primary obstacle you had to overcome as a female entrepreneur/businesswoman? Do you think that obstacle will be the same for our daughters and their daughters?
In school, I focused on the arts and did not take a single business class. Meanwhile, my male peers were 100% focused on business and our trajectories were therefore quite different. I did not leave college with a business vocabulary or even an understanding of business strategy and that disadvantaged me. I will encourage my daughters to take the business classes!
What do you consider your greatest accomplishment to be?
Creating a platform that empowers creatives to achieve economic success far beyond what was previously possible. More than 150 women have become millionaires on the LTK platform and thousands more are supporting themselves and their families by sharing what they love and helping other people navigate life online.
What do you know now that you wish the 10-year-old version of you knew back then?
- In lower school – don’t get so caught up in the social dynamics and pressures of these chapters – they will pass. Focus on developing your gifts and interests.
- In college – Get the business degree and take all of the strategy courses you can.
What do you consider to be the biggest challenges or threats to your industry and how do you work to avoid and/or address them?
Time tells us that the popularity of publishing platforms will come and go and that their revenue models are increasingly misaligned to the creators who use them to reach audiences. We work to address the challenge of attracting and retaining audiences through the LTK app and shopping platform. Watch this space – more “onramps” for shoppers are coming this year!
What motivates and drives you?
I always wanted to be an entrepreneur and I had several businesses before LTK. When I met Baxter, my husband and business partner, together we were able to create something that both empowered me and also all of my friends. I say that LTK is the Baxter to every Amber. I am motivated by the creative entrepreneurs who are achieving incredible success on the LTK platform.
And, one of the things that motivates me? Amber. Sometimes when I’m not sure I can do something, I think about Amber juggling her 4 kids, while creating a resort in West Texas (Yes, she created a resort), and building a billion dollar tech empire and then I think… I got this. I’m so grateful there are women like her taking massive risks and paving the way for the rest of us to achieve success and fulfill our dreams.
To get blog posts delivered directly to your inbox and gain access to our exclusive resources for woman over 40, be sure to sing up for my newsletter here. Thanks for stopping by!