BSmart Guide

Julia Pimsleur is on a mission to help one million women entrepreneurs reach $1 million in revenues by 2020.  Currently, only 3% of all women entrepreneurs make over $1 million, with the majority generating less than $200,000.  After raising $26 million in nonprofit and for profit dollars, including for her own business, Little Pim, Julia is paying forward her advice as author of ‘Million Dollar Women: The Essential Guide for Female Entrepreneurs Who Want to Go Big’ and founder of the Million Dollar Women movement.  Little Pim is one of the few women-run businesses backed by venture capital in the country, has won 25 awards for its proprietary Entertainment Immersion Method®, and its products are sold in 22 countries.  Learn how to transition from the doer to the leader of your company, what you need to know to raise capital, and how you can have the million dollar mindset too.

Learn more at juliapimsleur.com.

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​Our mission is to help one million women reach one million in revenues by 2020.

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Million Dollar Mindset

Why do so few women-owned businesses reach $1 million in revenue? 

The reason so few women are not making a million in revenue is often a matter of confidence, not competence, and sometimes it's a matter of capital.  Women often don’t know where to access the resources (skills, role models, and capital) to help them go from launch to success. 

Keep in mind, a million in revenue isn't the end goal​, that's just a starting point in the business world.  One of my advisors once told me, 'If you don't think you're going to hit a million - why bother?'  That was a real wake-up call for me.  Those are some of the things we're working on with the Million Dollar Women movement.

What are the typical limiting beliefs preventing women from going BIG?

​For women to go really big, they have to have the right mindset, skill set, and network.  The mindset is the confidence piece.  Part of the reason so few women reach a million in revenue is that often they're not dreaming big enough to see that as a reality for them.  

The second piece, skill set, is about being trained in the things you're not good at or getting guidance from your advisors, coaches, or mentors to fill in the gaps.  It’s important to own what you're good at and find people to help you or train you with the rest.  

The last piece is having the right network.  You can have the right mindset and skill set, but if you're not in the right room, with the right people, you'll never take your business to the next level.  As women, we sometimes fall down on the networking piece.  That's why at Million Dollar Women, we teach intentional networking.

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So few women reach a million in revenue because often they're not dreaming big enough.

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When should we bootstrap versus raise capital for our businesses?

Every business is different and if you have a product business, capital can really help you go further faster.  I needed to raise significant funding for my company, Little Pim, because it was a product company and we were competing with Fisher-Price and Disney.  There wasn't a way to capture market share without having real capital for marketing.  So, I raised money from friends and family, crowdfunding, angel investors, and venture capital investors.  

There are a few things you want to have in place before you raise money.  First, are you building a scalable company?  Investors want to invest in a business that brings them 5 - 10 times return, not two times return.  The second question is, are you addressing a large enough market?  Are there enough people who would want to buy what you’re selling and if so,would you reach millions in revenue?

The third question is, are you coachable or someone investors would want to work with?  Investors are going on a journey with you, and you want to make sure you both want to go on that journey with each other.  There's a saying that investors invest in the jockey, not the horse.  You can have the best company in the world, but if your investors don't think you'll listen to their advice and be flexible when the market shifts (such as pivoting the product), you won't get that investment.    

What are some of the biggest challenges working with venture capital firms?

​When I set out to raise venture capital, I knew nothing about how that worked.  It took me about 10 months to figure it out.  Because the venture capital ecosystem has been operating for many years with a certain set of guidelines, you have to learn those guidelines if you want to raise venture capital.  

The main thing you have to know, at the very least, is the vocabulary.  You have to be conversational in VC, especially if you're in a meeting and someone asks you about your gross margins, liquidation preferences, caps and warrants.  You can't look like a deer in the headlights.  It's their language and if you want to raise money in that world, you have to speak that language.  

Also, how you reach out to a VC is important.  You have to know someone who knows them.  Their attitude is that if you can't find someone who knows me, then I don't need to know you.  It might not sound right, but that's how it works.  I've created lots of online courses to help women figure out how to fundraise on juliapimsleur.com.

What is your vision for the future of Million Dollar Women?

Our mission at Million Dollar Women is to help one million women reach one million in revenues by 2020.  When we do that, 13% of all women entrepreneurs will be making a million in revenues, not the current 3% of women entrepreneurs.  

We're doing that through partnerships with corporations like Microsoft and Morgan Stanley, government organizations like the National Women’s Business Council, and working with nonprofits around the country.  It's actually a great time to be a woman entrepreneur with so many support systems available.  

Our sweet spot is working with women who are scaling their business and ready to go big, versus women who are just launching or still trying to decide whether to leave their day job.  We created Million Dollar Women to give women the resources they need to succeed through our online coaching program, Million Dollar Women Masterclass, annual summit, and a lot of great free resources at juliapimsleur.com.

Watch Juila's bSmart interview here!

For women to go really big, they have to have the right mindset, skill set, and network.

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Skilled CEO

What was your biggest challenge as an entrepreneur scaling Little Pim?

​When I started my company, Little Pim, I knew I wanted more than a lifestyle business, but I didn't know how big I could take it.  After a few years working so hard all of the time (six days a week and back at the computer after my kids went to bed), I was exhausted, burned out, and I couldn't even think of taking my company to the next level.  I found the Entrepreneurs’ Organization, coaches, and mentors who helped me overcome my burn out and learn how to work smarter, not harder.  

One of the things we work on with women is making that mindset shift to get off of the entrepreneurial hamster wheel.  You start off working so hard to get your business off the ground, but eventually you have to get off that wheel to get a bit of perspective and see what you need to do to scale up.

In my case, I had two really big challenges to overcome.  The first one was that I didn't see myself as the CEO of a multi-million dollar company because I didn't have a finance background and I didn't go to business school.  My parents were academics, so I felt very comfortable as the language teaching expert at a language teaching company, but I didn't think I was CEO material.  That's something I really had to get over and that's why skill set mastery is so important.  

The second thing I had to figure out was how to get the capital I needed to grow the company.  For me, fundraising was the solution, but it's not always the right answer for everyone.  If you know what you would do with the capital and you can see how it grows your business two to five times larger, then fundraising might be right for you.  

How is the skill-set unique for being an effective CEO?

​When women are transitioning from being the doers in their company to being the leaders, they need to learn how to manage people rather than do things themselves.  Delegating is a real challenge for women in corporate culture and in entrepreneurship.  

Often, we got to where we are because we're successful doers and we've been rewarded for being great doers.​  But, at a certain point, that's actually going to hold your company or your career back.  If you're the one doing everything, you'll never make it to that million dollar mark.  You have to bring in other people, train them, and delegate if you want to scale up.

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You have to bring in other people, train them, and delegate if you want to scale up.

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What are the characteristics of women who have reached $1 million?

​When I wrote Million Dollar Women, it gave me an opportunity to think about what kind of women get to a million in revenues and beyond.  What I learned is what Henry Ford observed, 'Whether you think you can, or you think you can't – you're right.'  The women who made it to the million dollar mark had this mindset mastery.  Whenever obstacles came up, they were like water moving around rocks and never let it stop them.  Was it easy?  No.  Did they have a bunch of failures and at times want to quit?  Yes.  But they persevered.  

Some of the women I interviewed were very strategic in surrounding themselves with people who could see the things they couldn't always see.  That's a big game changer for women when they have the right people around them.  You have to find your mentors and people to help you do your best work if you want to go big.

How can founders embrace and learn from failure as a means to growth?

​I don't think anyone has ever built a multi-million dollar business without failing a bunch of times.  I love the quote by Winston Churchill, 'Success is going from failure to failure without any loss of enthusiasm.'  I love that because when you fail, you're tempted to think, 'I wasn't good enough,' or 'I must be doing the wrong thing.'  Failure is valuable information and the successful entrepreneurs are the ones who use that information to make their business even better.  

As women, we haven't had a lot of socialization on receiving failure as valuable information.  I ran a business in my early 20s that utterly failed.  It was the best thing that happened to me, because I separated who I was from my business failure at an early age.  That's part of what gave me courage to take risks later in life.

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It's a big game changer for women when they have the right people around them.

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How can we be smart running our businesses and balancing family like you?

​As someone who has built several businesses, raised $26 million in capital for profit and nonprofit companies, and raised two boys who are now nine and twelve, I often get asked about balance.  The key is to figure out what's most important to you, do that well, and let go of the rest.  That applies to both business and your personal life.  

For instance, at Little Pim, I was the language teaching expert.  I have more to say about the best ways to teach kids a second language than anyone would ever give me the time.  I'm truly an expert in that field and I delegated a lot of the tasks for the rest of the company.  

Similarly, at home I read to my kids every single night, we go on great vacations together, and I'm highly involved in their educational life.  But, do I pick them up from school every day? Absolutely not.  Do I go to every soccer game? Absolutely not.  I have to pick the things that really matter to me and make sure those are going well.  

If I had one piece of advice to give myself when I was younger, it would be to lose the guilt.  So many women spend a lot of time feeling bad about not being able to do it all when in fact no one can do it all.  No man, woman, or child can do it all.  The sooner you let go of that notion (and stop beating yourself up about what you're not doing), the more you can enjoy what you are doing, let go of the rest, and let it work itself out.

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You have to find your mentors and people to help you do your best work if you want to go big.

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Spotlight on Julia Pimsleur

Occupation: Scaling coach, author, entrepreneur

Twitter: @JuliaPimsleur

Instagram: @juilapimslseur

Best Advice: 'Whether you think you can, or you think you can't – you're right.' - Henry Ford

University: Yale University

 

Comments (4)

  1. Elizabeth

Very inspiring feature!

 
  1. Julia Pimsleur

It was my pleasure - thanks for the feature and I look forward to connecting with your readers here and on social. YOU are so impressive Meagan! I love how you are helping women "go big" with bSmart. Stay brave and keep bringing us the great...

It was my pleasure - thanks for the feature and I look forward to connecting with your readers here and on social. YOU are so impressive Meagan! I love how you are helping women "go big" with bSmart. Stay brave and keep bringing us the great stories of women who dare. -- Julia

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  1. Meagan Hooper    Julia Pimsleur

Thank you! Can't wait to add this feature to our bSmart Mentor Group curriculum for our members to study!

 
  1. Meagan Hooper

So much great advice for our bSmart ladies who run their own business! Thank you, Julia!

 

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