Joy Mangano, The Inspiration Behind The Movie 'Joy,' Shares How To Turn Your Idea Into Dollars

“Once it (your idea) is in the air you had better start moving. If you don’t at least start the path, and take the first step in the direction of where you want to go, what you have is a 100% chance of getting nowhere. You will always say - for your entire life - ‘I had this great idea,’” says Joy Mangano, President and Founder of Ingenious Designs.

Mangano is best known as the inspiration behind the movie Joy, in which Jennifer Lawrence portrays Mangano’s life from single mother to inventor and entrepreneur.

In her recent book Inventing Joy: Dare to Build a Brave and Creative Life,Mangano shares how she achieved her success, which began with the invention of the Miracle Mop and follows with the launch of more than one hundred products and patents.

Mangano says the secret to her success is that she never gives up. “No is never a no. I still get told no. I view a no as a new beginning for me. It is a starting point. If you want to keep moving forward you have to figure out how to turn that no into a yes,” she says.

In this interview Mangano shares the challenges women entrepreneurs face and how to get an idea off the ground but more importantly how to stick with it.

Michelle King: You are widely known for inventing the Miracle Mop, but you have actually invented over one hundred other products. Can you share what it means to you to be an innovator?

Joy Mangano: The Miracle Mop was successful because it was the first product that I actually followed through with in terms of sales - in a very big, prominent way. I think innovation and creativity is something we all possess but the difference is in the execution.

I get hundreds of emails a week, with people saying, ‘I have the greatest idea,’ and they do, because everybody is creative, but you have to be in the mindset of saying, ‘I am going to follow through, I am going to execute this idea.’ It is in our DNA to be creative, but it is a matter of how we execute that.

King: Why don’t people ‘get started’ and how does a focus on execution separate innovations that make it from those that don’t?

Mangano: People don’t get started because they think it has to be perfect before they do. I knew nothing about the mop industry really or the hanger industry, but you learn along the way.

Most women do not get started because of the fear of getting started. Whether it is your husband saying, ‘No you have to stay home with the kids,’ or whether it is you saying, ‘I don’t know if I have the ability to do this’ or anything else that might be an excuse. It is that notion that something has to be perfect or you have to be good at something in order to get started.

My lessons were learnt along the way - almost every time. That is very important – for people to realize that you discover things along the way. More importantly, with that discovery you must discover in yourself if this is something that really ignites you. You really have to believe in it and have a passion for it in order to keep going. Otherwise, you will get to that point where you say, ‘Well, I hit this obstacle so I am going to stop, I can’t do it.’

King: Given the challenge of getting started what is your advice for women entrepreneurs?

Mangano: Women entrepreneurs today have access to so many opportunities to build their businesses compared with 30 years ago when I was starting out. The key is in the execution. There are huge opportunities out there. If a woman is being held back because she doesn’t think she has as much of an opportunity, I say void that from your brain because it is about who you are and what you bring to the table. Just move forward and follow through.

King: What are some of the unique challenges women entrepreneurs face and what is your advice to help them advance?

ManganoYou don’t have to do it all. I run a business, and I have a lot of people that work for me - particularly young mothers. They will come in and do this amazing presentation I will say, ‘What did you do this morning?’ They will say, ‘Well I got up at 4am this morning, I got the kids dressed, took one to my mothers, one to Gymboree, one to school and made breakfast. Then I prepared the presentation. Then we have a full day of meetings. Tonight, I have to cook dinner, go food shopping and then to a soccer game.’ And to this I say, ‘You don’t have to do it all! You don’t have to check every box every day!’ The challenges and disciplines that women place on themselves is unbelievable.

King: Is this important because it creates a mental load, which takes away from the creative side?

Mangano: Totally. It is that guilt that you are not a total mom in every way and buttoned up in business in all ways. There is too much of a stretch every day. I have actually lived through it and I got sick from trying to do it all. That was when I decided I am not going to be that box checker every day. If I miss a dance recital or a soccer game, well I can only do what I can do. And this is bigger than you think.