You may know by now that I’m an avid reader and podcast listener. Occasionally, I find a book or podcast episode particularly insightful. This post centers around one of each.
Million Dollar Women by Julia Pimsleur
I first became acquainted with Julia Pimsleur through her company Little Pim. When my oldest son (now 7) was a baby, I got the crazy idea to teach him Spanish. My husband and I have about every heritage covered EXCEPT Spanish, so raising our son in a bilingual household wasn’t an option. We turned to Little Pim, an educational language-learning series geared towards babies and children (up to age 6).
Pimsleur’s father, Dr. Paul Pimsleur, developed a language-learning method still widely used today; he passed away when Julia was eight. Julia easily learned new languages through her father’s method and birthed the idea of Little Pim while on maternity leave with her first son. Julia’s words capture it well:
“What really happened was this: while breast-feeding, going back to my full-time job, and being semi-delirious from lack of sleep, I couldn’t get the idea out of my head that someone should create a better way for kids to learn languages. It should be a video series specifically designed for young children, with a toddler-friendly character and rich content. Someone who cared about languages. Someone who could make high-quality videos. It took a full three months to realizes that someone was me.”
In other words, Julia stumbled upon entrepreneurship. She looked at her history as a lover of languages and documentary film maker and found a way to pursue her dream. Julia started Little Pim on the side and consulted family members and friends for help.
The road wasn’t easy, though. In the early days, Julia went through four rounds of meetings over the course of six months with a publishing company that didn’t provide a real yes or no. To launch and scale the business, Julia realized she needed financial support (aka funding). Initial outside investors consisted of friends and family – enough to make the first three DVDs. However, Julia needed around $1 million to pay herself a proper salary, make the next set of DVDs, and pursue online marketing initiatives. After dozens of meetings and pitches arranged by a friend in the hedge fund industry, Julia raised $500,000. The remaining $500,000 trickled in slowly, over the next 10 months.
Julia’s book Million Dollar Women is phenomenal in many respects:
1) She shares the real struggles of female entrepreneurs.
These struggles include: self-limiting beliefs and access to venture capital (a male-dominated industry). In Julia’s words, many women sit on the sidelines because we like to be 99% sure we have the right answer before we respond to a question. We also tend to dwell on failures rather than using them as growth opportunities.
2) Her company survived the 2008 recession.
During this difficult time, Julia cut both company and personal costs. She focused on the positives: top talent was available for less, and investor expectations were lower.
3) Julia understands the importance of community and teamwork.
To take Little Pim to the next level, Julia fundraised so she could build a team of superstars. Her mentors, advisors, and senior company leaders were an excellent sounding board for strategy changes. She also learned that a big part of leadership involved delegation.
I can’t say enough good things about Julia Pimsleur’s book. If you are a female entrepreneur looking for inspiration and tangible techniques to hit the $1M revenue mark, you’ve got to read her book Million Dollar Women.
Shifting gears, I recently listened to episode 21 of the Entrepreneurially Thinking podcast. The topic? Social entrepreneurship, particularly in Saint Louis, Missouri.
The cohosts interviewed Dr. Heather Cameron, the inaugural professor of Social Entrepreneurship at the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University. Dr. Cameron’s global perspective to create lasting social change is so interesting. She bridges academic resources to commercial and non-profit entrepreneurs. The Social Enterprise and Innovation Community holds a Minimum Viable Product competition annually. These efforts are aimed at driving social innovation.
If social entrepreneurship interests you, think about some concrete ways you can get involved. I’m going through this process personally and would love to brainstorm with you!
Are you passionate about environmental concerns like pollution, land, and access to clean water? Then check out 1%ForThePlanet.
Or are you more interested in global women's initiatives? Consider Womensphere Foundation.
The opportunities for positive social change are endless.
I’m curious. Did you like this post? Please give me some honest feedback. I promise to read your responses!
Deb Meyer, CPA, CFP®
P.S. I’m not a traditional blogger with affiliates or hidden income streams. Each book or podcast recommendation I make doesn’t benefit me financially. As a fee-only financial planner, my ONLY source of revenue is directly from clients. Just thought you’d like to know :-)