You may recognize the last name of author Julia Pimsleur. Her late father Dr. Paul Pimsleur created a method to learn foreign languages that is still widely used. I’ve seen his kits on the shelves of my small, hometown library. For her to follow in his footsteps and start a company to teach languages to toddlers by using videos was pretty much a no-brainer. But having a great idea and knowing about languages and film making wasn’t quite enough. To grow a business, you need money.
Ms. Pimsleur has written a book called Million Dollar Women to explain how women can take their businesses beyond the kitchen table. Much of the material doesn’t apply to me. After all, I’m not the CEO of a large company or looking for investors. But there are plenty of suggestions here that even I can use.
Pimsleur points out that women often won’t attempt something unless they are 99% sure they won’t fail. Self-limiting beliefs like that have got to go. She uses the metaphor of putting them in a storage locker if you can’t part with them altogether. She also advises to add “yet” to the end of such a belief. For example, “I can’t understand financial statements…yet.”
It’s also important to surround yourself with like-minded people who will offer support. This is the principle behind Weight Watchers. The flip side is also true. You may have to distance yourself from people who turn out to be “frenemies.”
Pimsleur gives some tips on where to find those supporters, what she calls “flying buttresses” after the architectural features of Notre Dame. One is to join a professional association or a shared work space. Another is to start your own accountability group. The U.S. Small Business Administration can provide resources too.
Pimsleur quotes Carla Harris, Chair of the National Women’s Business Council, that while how well you do your job matters is your twenties and thirties, as you progress in your career or in your business, your ability to network becomes more important. Networking should be strategic and deliberate. Know why you are going to an event and whom you intend to meet. Then don’t drop the ball. Plan how you will follow up to keep your new contacts engaged.
Remember, you don’t have to do everything yourself. Learn to delegate. Pimsleur has an assistant, a virtual assistant, and is already delegating small home tasks to her young children.
It is not at all necessary to give up your personal life to be a million dollar woman or attain whatever your version of success is, but you have to prioritize and get into motion.
Pimsleur offers quite a few resources and exercises from the book on her website.