Million Dollar Monday

Create Your Go Big Mindset, Part 1 - Advice from Julia Pimsleur

August 16, 2021 Greg Muzzillo /Julie Pimsleur
Million Dollar Monday
Create Your Go Big Mindset, Part 1 - Advice from Julia Pimsleur
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Julia Pimsleur has dedicated her career to breaking norms and revolutionizing the entrepreneurial world for women. After building her own multi-million dollar company and raising $6 million in angel and venture capital, Pimsleur launched Million Dollar Women, a social venture committed to empowering women to reach $1 million in revenues. Pimsleur shares her insights and expert advice with Host Greg Muzzillo in this episode of Million Dollar Monday.

Chapter Summaries

Key Takeaways

  •  I came up with the idea of a language-teaching program for kids since there was no one doing it. 
  • Women own 40% of the small businesses in this country. So there are about 13 million small business owners that are women and that we generate about 1.7 trillion for the economy. But if you look at these businesses, they tend to stay small. So 90% of women run businesses make under $100,000 and zero employees only two to 3% of women entrepreneurs ever get to 1 million in revenues.
  • I tell people there's only three phases of getting really rich. Number one is fear. You start something, you’re scared, and you work to some level of getting to pay off the credit card debt. Then you get too comfortable where you're not worried anymore that you're going to lose your house or have your cars towed out of your driveway. And you have to keep changing and growing to get too wealthy. And some people just either don't dream big enough or they don't act on those dreams.
  • I created Million Dollar Women, a social venture helping thousands of women across the country, scale up their businesses and get to a million in revenues.

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Speaker 1:

Well, funny enough, the skills you need to launch a business are completely different from the skills you need to scale a business. So where I see a lot of women getting stuck is, you know, they're, they're very diligent and hard working and good at multitasking , and they'd been praised for that their whole life. So they start a business and that helps them to get to their first, you know , a hundred thousand 500,000 of revenues. But once you're looking to scale, you need a different set of skills. You need to be able to outsource and delegate and manage teams and raise money. In some cases, not all businesses need to raise capital, but some do. And that's where I see a lot of women getting stuck.

Speaker 2:

Hello, and welcome to million dollar Monday. I'm your host, Greg. Muzzillo bringing you real successful people with real useful advice for people with big dreams. I understand big dreams. I turned an investment of $200 and a lot of great advice from some really successful people into my big dream proforma . That today is a half billion dollar company.

Speaker 3:

Hello and welcome million dollar Monday. I am excited to introduce my guest today. Julia Pimsleur is a very successful entrepreneur who has built her own multi-million dollar company to run. She is also a scaling coach, a mindset expert, and a speaker. She is the founder of million dollar women, a New York city-based social venture, which has helped thousands of women entrepreneurs scale up their businesses. Julia is also the best-selling author of many books, including million dollar women, which is what we're going to be talking about today. And million dollar women is so chock full of great advice. We're going to break this interview into two parts. The first part is Julia's story along with some unique stuff about women in business. And part two is advice for you, whether you're a man or a woman about starting scaling and funding your business. Julia welcome,

Speaker 1:

Greg. It's great to be here. I'm so excited for this conversation.

Speaker 3:

Well, I am too, and I have to tell you, and I've already said this, I love the book. We're going to go through it. Like we've already discussed in two parts. And I do think that this book is not only great. If we've, as we've already discussed for women who are thinking about getting into business or scaling a business, it's great for men who may have women in their life that are thinking about or already running a business to really understand their unique perspective , uh , along with the great advice for anybody to scale a business, select start at the beginning, tell us your story. You know, a little bit about the background that led you to starting your business and then some of the other stuff about growing that business.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I, this was actually my second business little PIM is the business we're talking about. And that story I shared in million dollar women, it's a language teaching business for young children to learn a second language at the age, they learn best French, Spanish, Chinese. But before that I had a documentary film production company. I was a film major in college and worked as a documentary film producer for years until I had my first child and realized I didn't want to be running all around the world and the country going to Sundance in Berlin, which was very exciting, but not great for a new mom. So on maternity leave, I actually came up with the idea for little PIM , this language teaching program, mainly because I grew up Gregg bilingual in French and English. And I always just thought that was the best gift my parents ever gave me. It opened so many doors. I got scholarships. I lived and worked in France for seven years after college. And there was no doubt. I wanted to give my children that same amazing headstart in life of being bilingual. You know, little kids learn a language so easily. They can learn up to three languages with zero accent and total fluency up until the age of six. And then there's kind of a , a steep decline.

Speaker 3:

Yeah , yeah. Yeah. Well, I'm 60 and I've been trying to learn Italian and I know there's a steep decline

Speaker 1:

If you don't, they learn at age four, it would have been easy. So yeah, I decided, well, I'll go buy some cool language teaching program for my son, like older son. I met my first born to learn French and there was nothing on the market. I was shocked. There were so many language teaching programs for adults, including the one my father had created. I do come from a language teaching family. And my father was Dr. Paul Pimsleur. He created the Pimsleur method, which is one of the best-selling methods for adults. So I already had in the back of my mind, you know, okay, you could create something that could then become a big successful company Pimsleur method. Sadly, my father died long time ago. He was only 48 and he died very suddenly when I was a child. But the method, thank you . The method has lived on and is owned by Simon and Schuster and has been enjoyed by millions. So when I came up with this idea of a language teaching program for kids, since there was no one doing it , um, you know, I just started while still keeping my other job. I did it on the side. I drew on my filmmaking background and started making videos of little kids and overlaid some animation and some immersion language, teaching methods and little by little created. What became little PIM, the number one language teaching method for young children

Speaker 3:

Share with us that journey because it is full of the ups and downs entrepreneurs experience. And you've got some real rollercoaster rides it going from an idea where everything started with an idea to building this multi-million dollar business.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. I always say that if you have an idea for a business, you know, it's sort of like a stray cat that keeps coming around and you keep feeding it and then it becomes yours, right? Like a lot of people think about a business idea for weeks or months or years sometimes. And if you can't get that cat to go away, you need to adopt it. So for me, it was like that I kept doodling things and drawing things and thinking, oh, this would be so cool. And so I finally started filming and I just did it in my friend's basement, you know, borrowed kids from friends and my own children were in it. Um, I had a second son, so both my kids were in these videos. And once I had a little pilot video, like a five minute video that showed what this method would look like, I was able to go start fundraising. And I did understand right from the beginning as a filmmaker, Wade raised a lot of funds for my documentary. And then also looking at the children's space and who are the big players in that space? Right. Fisher-Price Disney leapfrog . I was like, this is not something I can finance out of our bank account. This is going to need major funding. So I did start organizing right from the beginning. And I think that was one of the game changers in being able to build, build up a little pit .

Speaker 3:

Yeah. There's no doubt. So you had several different rounds of fundraising that almost kind of goes through the history of, of the list or the list of different methods of fundraising. Tell us just a little bit about like family and friends and then expanding a little bit more to eventually getting into the whole venture capital

Speaker 1:

World. Yeah, we did every kind of fundraising. I mean, my ex-husband and I put in our own money. That was the first fundraising, right. I , I left my job after about a year and a half and, you know , cut slashed all of our budgets so that we could save as much as we could and put it into the business. And then I did raise around the family and friends about 460,000 that got us off the ground to create the first series and start building out flash cards and books and things like that. And then when raised another 1.1 million, another 1.2 million, we did angel at first at about 35 angel investors who helped us build out the initial platform and , and distribution. Uh, we did get up to 13 languages and we're in 22 countries. So that was pretty exciting. And once we had some of that traction and got into, you know, Barnes and noble nationwide babies R us toys R us , uh, then we're able to go raise venture capital. When we hit about a million in revenues was when venture capital started to be a possibility for us. But you and I both know Greg, not very many women have raised venture capital. When I set out to raise venture capital one, I was terrified to , I didn't know anybody in that space. And three, I had read and heard that you less than 4% of venture capital goes to women, run businesses. Some studies say it's less than 2%, whatever it is, it's a very small number. And I knew that was going to be my biggest challenge was getting access to kind of real money as we call it in the business world.

Speaker 3:

Yeah. I found it fascinating that the number of women who start a business is actually very large, but the number of women who achieve million dollars or more in sales is about half that as men. Yeah. I mean, gosh,

Speaker 1:

Just to level set a minute, we own women own 40% of the small businesses in this country. So there are about 13 million small business owners own, you know , that are women and that we generate about 1.7 trillion for the economy. But if you look at these businesses, they tend to stay small. So 90% of women run businesses make under $100,000 and have zero employees. Only two to 3% of women entrepreneurs ever get to 1 million in revenues. And 1 million in revenues is not even massive success. Like a lot of people just getting off go. Right? So that became kind of a mission for me. I mean, we'll get to that part of the story, but I know that when we hit a million at little PIM, I got a call from a journalist who wanted to feature me in a story. And I remember saying to her like, why am I getting this call? You know, I'm sure there are tons of people you could profile. And she was like, well, actually at the time it was 1.8% of women were getting to 1 million. So just the fact that I hit it, made it worth reporting. And that really shocked me at the time. That was the first time I've heard those steps ,

Speaker 3:

The stats about the difference in the disparities between women in business and men in business, which was very surprising to me. As I read your book, now you made it just sound like it w it was just a straight trajectory, right? You put in some, your own money, family and friends and angels. However, along the way, I know you had some ups and downs. Um, but one of the stories I , I would love for you to share with us is how you were supposed to be in those early days where money wasn't as abundant as I'm sure it is now, or it became over the years, you were supposed to be on the today's show and the high, high, and the low lows of that stuff .

Speaker 1:

Oh yes. I mean, any entrepreneur has their version of this, right? Where you get so built up about something and that it really falls through. And in our case, it was early on when we did raise venture capital, we had a board and we were invited to share our product on the today show, which was so exciting. And it was supposed to be right around the holiday time. So even better because we had a product for young children that was very giftable. We did about 40% of our revenues at the holidays. And so in order to prepare for this incredible opportunity, we had $80,000 worth of stock created. We didn't want to run out right when we were on the today's show. So we wouldn't demand production. It was DVDs at the time, all these DVD, French , and , and Chinese. And then we got a call from the producers . They bumped the show, and actually we were never on the today show. It never even happened probably rather than sitting there with our $80,000 worth of product . Oh no , thank God. It's not a food product, right. It didn't have a shelf life

Speaker 3:

We were able to. And in that story is the true roller coaster ride of an entrepreneur, the high highs of thinking, you're going to be on the today , show spending the money and getting ready for all the sales that are going to come and then having it not happen.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely. Look , years later, I was on QVC and I was reminded of that moment and the good girl, well , I finally got on national TV here. You know, I can sell my products by then. We had sold out the $80,000 worth. But you know, we did touch on the million dollar and you and I both, you know, share this , uh , fascination with this million dollar mark mainly for me, because that is the beginning of being able to really scale. Once you get to a million, you kind of know the business of your business. And look, it's hard for anyone to get to a million. That's why, you know, it's great to have people like us who are sharing some of the secrets. I didn't have that when I was trying to get to a million. And it's one of the reasons I became a coach, but even for men, Greg , only four to 6% of men ever get to a million. So when you were saying earlier, you know, twice as many is twice, as many men are getting to a million as women.

Speaker 3:

And we're going to talk a little bit more about this in part two , but to a certain degree, I think some people get comfortable. Like I tell people there's only three phases of getting really rich. Number one is fear. You start something and you're scared and you work to some level of getting to pay off the credit card debt. Then you get to comfortable where you're not worried anymore that you're going to lose your house or have your cars towed out of your driveway. But a lot of people get stuck at comfortable and never keep taking the risks and making the changes to get to really wealthy. And you have to keep changing and growing to get to wealth . And some people just either they don't dream big enough or they don't act on those dreams. And I know you talk about how women in particular are kind of like perfectionist and maybe sometimes that gets in their way of growing their success.

Speaker 1:

Well, funny enough, the skills you need to launch a business are completely different from the skills you need to scale a business. So where I see a lot of women getting stuck is, you know, they're, they're very diligent and hardworking and good at multitasking , and they've been praised for that their whole life. So they start a business and that helps them to get to their first, you know , a hundred thousand 500,000 of revenues. But once you're looking to scale, you need a different set of skills. You need to be able to outsource and delegate and manage teams and raise money. In some cases, not all businesses need to raise capital, but some do. And that's where I see a lot of women getting stuck.

Speaker 3:

Yeah. There's no doubt. There's no doubt. And I think

Speaker 1:

Not everybody is like really great at saying, Hey, even though I could do this, I'm going to hire someone else to do it. So I can be freed up to do the things that only I can do.

Speaker 3:

Oh, well for sure. Um, there's a difference between we teach our folks , uh, there's a difference between wealth building activities and everything else, right? Uh, or we call it the $500 an hour work and the $20 an hour work. And if you could hire somebody to do it, and I know you've figured this out in spades. In fact, I think you found your, your first employee on Craigslist. If you can find somebody to do some of what needs to get done for $20 an hour, delegate that stuff to other people. So you can continue to do that wealth building stuff, the $500 an hour work. And I think some people think everything on their to do list is equal.

Speaker 1:

Well, you know, there's all does come down to mindset though, because if you don't have the right mindset about your own worth or what your business could do, then you're going to keep trying to do everything yourself. Right. But if you can get into the go big mindset, and that is my new book, I just wrote go big now is about, you know , getting into that go big mindset, then you realize, okay, I can't be the one doing all this. And as we like to say in my community, if you don't have an assistant, you are the assistant.

Speaker 3:

Amen, amen.

Speaker 1:

And sometimes that's a wake up call. People need, right? Like , oh wait a minute. Somebody could be doing this for 20 bucks an hour. I even go a step further, Greg. And I say to my women, you're cheating your company. You are cheating your company, right. You are worth way more than 20 an hour. And if you're sitting there entering names into an Excel spreadsheet, you're cheating your company.

Speaker 3:

You know, back in the day when I couldn't afford anybody right back when we just first started and you don't have down at the bottom of a letter where you sign the person's name, but the assistant writes , like my initials would be GPM, but the assistant would write like slash whatever her initials are. You know what I'm saying? So in the beginning, why couldn't afford anybody, but I knew I wanted to have somebody, but I would put GPM slash lowercase MMI. And nobody ever asked me that

Speaker 1:

Me, myself and I it's all I can afford. Well, you created a placeholder . Right? See , that is part of the , with mindset is like I had that assistant

Speaker 3:

One day. Yeah , that's right. Well , one of the things I love that you did, and I think people need to hear as well before you could afford it. You decided to hire like a 10th . I think it was $10,000 coach to help, to help you move yourself along .

Speaker 1:

That's right. Well, this mindset piece is really the key as far as I'm concerned, because look, we all know people, Greg who are working super hard, incredibly diligent, multitasking , all those things that you were raised to do, and they're not reaching success. So why is , you know , why is that? It's because of mindset. You know, you have your mindset once you've decided, okay, don't want to stay small. I want to go big. That's a whole different mindset. And so in case I met someone right at the time I was ready to go big, who was a mindset coach. She was using a method I wasn't familiar with at the time, but I'm now trained in it called NLP neuro-linguistic programming, which is a rapid change method. And so she worked with me for two days and you're right. I invested $10,000. It was a huge amount, but I sort of knew what was at stake. Like I knew there was so much more potential in my company and I couldn't unlock it on my own. I was really stuck in my story of like, I'm a hard worker, you know, scarcity. I grew up with a mom and a single mom after my dad died, who was working super hard. That was my role model. You just worked super hard, but that's not the path to success. So

Speaker 3:

Speaking of not being able to do it on your own , um, you're the owner of still a little PIM, a very successful multi-million dollar business. But along the way, you realized that many people might need help. So tell us about million dollar women and tell us about this organization that you've created.

Speaker 1:

Once I found out how few women were reaching 1 million in revenues, I was a women's studies minor in college. I've always had very strong female friendships. I decided to start helping other women to grow their businesses. So while running the language teaching company, which by now was in the multi-millions, I had a great team. We hired people away from Disney. Like the company was home. I started teaching women in my conference room on weekends, how to raise capital and grow their businesses. So over the course of a couple of years, I helped 15 women raise a collective $20 million for them . And that felt incredible to see them grow their companies. And that led to my writing the book million dollar women, because I couldn't keep teaching every weekend. I had, you know , kids at home, I was running the business. So I wrote million dollar women. And that sold about 25,000 copies. It was assignment Schuster publication. And then women started contacting me from all over the country saying, you know what? I'm like you, I started a business. I love my business, but I don't know how to grow it. I didn't go to business school. I don't have a finance background. That's like 99% of women business owners. Right. They didn't go to business school. They started a business because they saw a gap in the market and they want it , but they couldn't find. So they went out and created it much like I did. And so then I decided to , to shift gears and make this my full-time career. We hired a new CEO for little PIM . She's still running it and doing great. I'm on the board, still a founder, but no day-to-day role. And I'm a partial owner. We do have investors. So we all own it together. And I went and created million dollar women, which is the social venture. I run now where we're helping thousands of women across the country, scale up their businesses and get to a million in revenues.

Speaker 3:

So I'm imagining there are some women listening to this that would love to learn more. How could somebody learn more about million dollar women and accessing some that help?

Speaker 1:

We have a website they can go to that explains our program, the million dollar roadmap that we teach women. And they can learn more about our community. It's simply million women.com million women.com. So they can go there and check it out and meet some of our graduates and learn about joining our community.

Speaker 3:

So million dollar women, a great organization, million women.com is the way to learn more. And , uh , I really appreciated being able to learn more about women in business. Uh, you know, I never really realized the emotional roller coaster right . Of women compared to men. And one of the things that you wrote , um, in the book about the emotional rollercoaster is how men feel like they're twice the dad being the provider. And when they start their own business, they're twice the father, because twice the father that their father was, but half the mom that the women feel like maybe half the mom, their mom was because of the time they're taking away to build their business.

Speaker 1:

Well, I'm glad you pointed that out, Greg, because you know, my generation is the pioneers of women who want to have a big career and a big family. You know, I'm so invested in my boys were incredibly close. They're now 13 and almost 17. And that they were like a number one priority for me. But the generations before us, the women who came before me, they had jobs. The very few of them had big careers. So we are creating a whole new normal for all the women who come behind us. What that means though, when you're the pioneer, is that you have to kind of redefine what everything means. And so when I became a mother, I still felt like I had to do all the things, the generations before me did, right. The PTA and the brownies for the bake sale and all that, which is not possible. If you're a CEO, you cannot do all that. Whereas my husband was twice as active as a dad, as his dad was, I don't know about you, Greg, but like my father was not even in the delivery room when I was born. It was still a time of the dads , like paced around, outside smoking a cigar.

Speaker 3:

Yeah , yeah, yeah. I'd say same with my dad. Yeah . Yeah. Okay.

Speaker 1:

So think how much has changed, right? It's unthinkable. Now that a father wouldn't be in the delivering room, you know, as watching a child be born. So I just think there's a lot of role shifting happening and that women entrepreneurs have a huge part to play in normalizing what it means to be a CEO mom. And by the way, women, moms over-index as entrepreneur , tons of entrepreneurs are mothers because we want that flexibility. And that ability to, you know, go to our child's field day or doctor's appointment,

Speaker 3:

Oh, it's a beautiful life owning your own successful business and really being able to be in full control of your life. It says somebody else, but listen, I really appreciate Julia. You're joining me and sharing your story of not only being a trailblazer in the language learning industry for children, but also a trailblazer in now helping in showing other women the way with million dollar women. And , uh , I really appreciate your time. And I'm super proud and thankful that you spent some time with us.

Speaker 1:

I loved it. Thank you. And if anybody listening wants help scaling up, just reach out to us million women.com. We'd be happy to jump on a call with you and help you figure out your next steps.

Speaker 3:

Absolutely. Thanks again.

Introducing Julia Pimsluer
Little PIM
Game Changer
Raising Venture Capital
The Roller Coaster Ride of Entrepreneurship
Scaling a Business VS Growing a Business
The Power of Your Mindset
Million Dollar Women
Role of CEO and Mom