Maria Sharapova is not only one of world’s top tennis players – with five Grand Slam titles under her belt – but she is also a savvy businesswomen.
In less than six years, she has turned her $500,000 investment into her candy startup Sugarpova into a $20 million international business.
The 31-year-old admits there was a steep learning curve for her in the business world when she first entered as she wasn’t well-versed in the food industry. But despite some mishaps, it helped her succeed in the end.
“I feel that I bring a lot of fresh perspective and maybe I don’t make the conventional decisions that some expert from the food business would make, but I think my expertise in traveling the world and seeing lots of things [works],” Sharapova tells FOX Business.
That is one of the reasons why the Russian-born star decided to partner with the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) to help other female entrepreneurs launch their ideas.
“I had a platform of fans that I could speak to and I had a voice and I realized that there are a lot of female entrepreneurs that start with an amazing idea but don’t have the opportunity to force it into something big,” she says, adding that she “wanted to help them.”
Sharapova says her biggest piece of advice to the women she mentors through the program is to urge them not to be shy and ask questions.
“There’s never a wrong answer. You don’t always have to be perfect in the way you approach things.”
She says that finding the good in failures is the key trait to have when starting a business.
“It’s so incredibly important to make mistakes and you don’t know you’re making them maybe until later but you learn so much more. And, I learned that from my own sport. I’ve always learned more from losing matches than when you win them and you think you’re on top of the world.”
Losing those matches or making big business mistakes forces you to go back to the drawing board, sit down and take a good look at yourself.
“Don’t shy away from anything and believe in yourself,” Sharapova says.