The Definitive Guide to Business

Inventor Joy Mangano has sold over $3 billion in products by following this advice

When Jennifer Lawrence stars in a major motion picture depicting your personal rise to success, it's safe to say you're not an average entrepreneur.

That's the case for Joy Mangano, the inventor and marketer who has sold more than $3 billion worth of home products and whose life is the basis of the 2015 movie "Joy."

CNBC sat down with Mangano to discuss how she went from selling inventions nobody knew about to building a business empire.

Joy Mangano
Source: Sunshine Sachs
Joy Mangano

"I am of the philosophy that if you work really hard and focus on things, you will get there in some form or fashion," Mangano told CNBC.

Mangano's popular products include Huggable Hangers (of which she's sold over 700 million), My Little Steamer and the Miracle Mop, which she began selling in store parking lots in the 1990s. All of her products aim to make life simpler.

One time she sold $2 million worth of products in an hour on HSN, the shopping channel where Mangano has made most of her business so far. Her products are now also in major retailers like Bed Bath & Beyond, The Container Store, Macy's and Target.

"My umbrella advice is go for it," Mangano said. "Because if you don't go for it, you'll never know if you have success in anything, right?"

It is that mentality that launched her career in inventing products to solve life's little problems, like clothes falling off of hangers or steamers that aren't light enough to take on trips.

"I'll see somebody struggling with something, and it doesn't matter if it's ironing or mopping or traveling, my brain just starts to percolate," she said.

Her latest invention is a line of luggage called TuffTech. It has wheels made of the material car bumpers are made out of and the fabric that's used in bulletproof vests.

Joy Mangano with a recent invention, durable luggage made of bulletproof material and car-bumper rubber.
Source: Sunshine Sachs
Joy Mangano with a recent invention, durable luggage made of bulletproof material and car-bumper rubber.

While many people think up great inventions, Mangano turned her ideas into marketable products.

Identifying your audience and their needs is crucial, Mangano said. After that, it comes down to making a plan.

"You sit back and you look at the long-term goal and you think of the short-term steps," she said.

"If you don't do it, you can't get there." -Joy Mangano, entrepreneur and inventor

Mangano recommends asking yourself the following questions: Can you support those steps to get to the long-term goal? What do you have to give up in your life in order to do that? What are the financial endeavors that are involved with it? What is the risk? What is the reward?

"If your instincts have worked in your life, then go with your instincts if you feel secure," she said.

"If you don't do it, you can't get there."

Video by Brandon Ancil.