Canada Markets close in 17 mins

Skinnygirl CEO Bethenny Frankel, who built a brand worth $100 million, has some tough advice for college grads who feel underemployed

Myelle Lansat
bethenny frankel

Jamie Cody


  • Before starring in "The Real Housewives of New York City," Bethenny Frankel worked as a chef. And before that, she sold shawls and assisted celebrities.
  • Frankel said she didn't know what she wanted to do in life until her late 30s, around the same time she was cast in the reality franchise's New York show.
  • To be successful, Frankel said, you have to take every opportunity handed to you, because you never know where it will lead. 

If you want a career as successful as that of Bethenny Frankel, the millionaire brand mogul and "Real Housewife," you can't be afraid to take every opportunity that comes your way.

A graduate of New York University, Frankel didn't know what she was going to do in life until her late 30s — "and I still don't even know," she said on an episode of Business Insider's podcast "This Is Success."

In 2008, the year she turned 38, she was cast in "The Real Housewives of New York City." But before starring on TV, Frankel worked in restaurants and as a personal chef to celebrities like Mariska Hargitay and the Hiltons. She also dived into the pashmina market and sold shawls to celebrities like Julia Roberts. Frankel made her first reality-TV appearance on "The Apprentice: Martha Stewart."

The biggest factor that makes or breaks success for Frankel, she said, is a willingness to do a job.

"Do the job. Just do the job. Do whatever job it is," she said. "Because I've done every single job — you never know when it's going to help you and you get to the next job."

Frankel said that to have a career like hers, you have to overcome obstacles and just keep trying to find your passion.

"I would say to be on the road, start the journey, and get dirty, and clean yourself off, and take another path," she said. "Get locked out, and find a way to climb in another way. You've got to get on the road and figure out what it is that you want to do, what value you add, what clicks, what doesn't."

It's a matter of always evolving and learning from both failures and successes rather than dwelling on either. "You can't be stuck in your plan," Frankel said. "You can't be stuck in your story. You can't be stuck in how good you think your idea is, because everybody will tell you what you want to hear."

At first, she told Business Insider, she didn't want to be on "Real Housewives," but she ended up profiting from it. During her time on the show, Frankel created Skinnygirl Cocktails, which she sold to Beam Global for a reported $100 million in 2011.

Frankel said her unusual career path taught her to "hone in and find out what your real passion is and what you're really great at." To get there, she said, you have to put everything you have into what you're working on, whether it's delivering newspapers or making coffee.

"Those people are the people who are successful, not the people that are sitting there making $24,000 a year, complaining that they shouldn't be making coffee, that they shouldn't be doing this, they didn't go to school for this. It's called tough s---. Tough s---."

NOW WATCH: I woke up at 4:30 a.m. for a week like a Navy SEAL

See Also:

SEE ALSO: Skinnygirl CEO Bethenny Frankel explains how she used 'Real Housewives' to build a brand worth $100 million

DON'T MISS: An author who's sold 12 million copies of his books says he doesn't consider himself more successful than someone who hasn't sold one