Million Dollar Women

Are you a female entrepreneur looking to take your business to the next level?  Then please read on for my review of:

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.

All the best,

Deb Meyer, CPA, CFP®