Million Dollar Monday

Starting, Scaling & Funding Your Business – Part 2, Advice from Julie Pimsleur

August 23, 2021 Greg Muzzillo / Julie Pimsleur
Million Dollar Monday
Starting, Scaling & Funding Your Business – Part 2, Advice from Julie Pimsleur
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Are you looking to grow your business to $1 million and beyond? In part 2 of this interview with Julia Pimsleur she dives deeper into the secrets of starting, scaling and funding your business venture. Pimsleur founded Little Pim, the #1 language learning system for young children, and raised more than $6 million in angel and venture capital. She also launched Million Dollar Women, a social venture that empowers thousands of women entrepreneurs to scale up their business. Tune in to Million Dollar Monday to hear more.
 
Check out Part 1 Here

Chapter Summaries

Key Takeaways 

  • So many people start a business out of passion or wanting to create something that they couldn't find on the market, but they don't always have the right coaching or business skills to figure out if it’s scalable.
  • Sometimes people have ideas for a business and with a slight tweak or with a slight pivot, they can dream bigger and have something that can scale.
  • Investors care less about where you are today than where you're going. They want to see that you have a clear vision, marketing plan and how you would use the funds. 
  • A really successful business person should spend 80% of their time out of the office, networking, meeting, new people, growing all of that knowledge and relationships.
  • It's almost like the tango - Very maneuvered steps. You can't make it up, you can't ad lib – fundraising is the same way. So before you go network, before you go meet people, read a couple books on fundraising. 
  • People only remember 7% of what you say, 15% of what they remember is your body language. And then the bulk of it is just your tone, how you present your presence.

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Julia Pimsleur:

Sometimes people think, well, I don't want to fundraise because it's too hard. Or I don't know how, or, you know, nobody I know has ever raised money, but if they sit down and map out, what if I have another $500,000 or another million dollars, right. Could I go into these new markets? Could I be the dominant player in my space? Could I start something way more scalable, maybe, you know, an online community or building out products. And often it gets people into a whole different head space where they realize, oh, I do have a big enough vision that I should go raise capital. And make that vision possible,

Greg Muzzillo :

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. All right. Hello everybody. And welcome to Million Dollar Monday, part two with my special guest today, Julia Pimsleur. If you remember from last week, we introduced Julia, a very successful entrepreneur who built her own multi million dollar business along with being now a scaling coach, a mindset expert, a great speaker. And she's also the founder of million dollar women, a New York city-based social venture that helps thousands of women entrepreneurs scale up their business. Julia is the author of many books, including Million Dollar women, which is a book that is just so chock-full of great advice, not only about her story, but about women in business, but how everyone, whether you're a man or a woman should start, fund and grow your business. So let's talk about some of that advice, Julia that's in this book Million Dollar Women about what, what is the process you recommend for ID aiding a business and then making sure it's something that can scale and fund?

Julia Pimsleur:

Well was great to be back with you, Greg and I love talking about how businesses can scale, because I think so many people start a business out of passion or wanting to create something that they couldn't find on the market, but they don't always have the right coaching or business skills to figure out is it scalable? Right? I wish someone sat me down to have that conversation early on in my business. I did eventually figure it out, but just to go personal a minute, when I came up with the idea of little PIM, my language teaching program for young children at first, I was considering doing schools like language teaching schools, which would mean hiring lots of staff and having to figure out the real estate. And you know, there are a lot of restrictions around where you can have young children go learn and I quickly realized, wait a minute, this is going to cost a lot to get going and have a very heavy infrastructure. So I quickly pivoted to making video program, which is way more scalable, not a word I knew at the time, by the way, not a word I ever used. I don't think I even called myself an entrepreneur. I just wanted to start a business. And the reason the language teaching video is more scalable is that while we did spend close to a million dollars to create all these different videos, it was what's called a sunk cost, which if you are not familiar with that, it's one big cost that you spend, but then it pays off for years and years. So we created this video series over 10 years ago and we're still selling it. And it's still being watched on screens every size, everywhere, all around the world. That's a way more scalable model.

Greg Muzzillo :

Yes. And , uh, and I love it. And I love that you use the word pivot. Now that's almost an overused word here, post COVID, right. Everybody sort of learned last year through COVID that we all needed to pivot, but I think sometimes people have ideas for a business and with a SWOT , slight tweak or with a slight pivot as you used it , they can dream bigger and have something that can scale. And I know that you talk about the three critical questions you need to ask yourself about a business that starts with, are you dreaming big enough?

Julia Pimsleur:

That's right. Sometimes we put limiters or blinders on ourselves, you know, conscious or unconscious either. We're afraid of going big because we think, well then, you know , one , what if I fail right? Or two , what if then I have to give up other things. Like, I won't be a good enough parent or a spouse or, you know , sister or friend that some people think it's one or the other. Where in fact, when you scale up, you can hire a team. You actually have more time for yourself. And it's, it's really quite the opposite, but I've seen a lot of people afraid to dream big. And you know, I work mainly with women. I do think women have this problem more than men because we have fewer role models. Frankly, we have a phone ringing. Do you want me to go turn that off? And we can cut This out. You're a busy person

Greg Muzzillo :

Looking for advice right now. It's usually a sales call on that its own phone. It's usually a sales . Oh, Somebody just trying to sell you a car warranty. Exactly. So I , and I do think I love what you're saying about worrying that you're not going to be a good enough parent mother or father where rather than thinking through when I'm successful, think of how much of a mother or really father, I could be owning my own business, controlling my own hours. Being able to be there for every event my kid has in school.

Julia Pimsleur:

Yea you dont have to ask anyone's permission. Right . Right. The other piece of the puzzle is being a role model for pursuing your passion and creating wealth and a business you love. I mean, what child wouldn't want to have that as a role model, seeing their parents create something from scratch into a successful business.

Greg Muzzillo :

Yeah. And I do think it's interesting. I never really realized this, that women don't have very many role models. I mean that at the end of the day, yeah. I had a hard fake hard and you pointed out there's Oprah. Right. And then there's Martha Stewart. And then there's the lady that founded spanx.

Julia Pimsleur:

Right. Sara Blakely and Tory Burch. Right. But, but if you ask someone who are the top women entrepreneurs, you know, they usually run out after five or six people whereas, we can sit here and talk about, you know, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates and Elon Musk and name them all day long, Richard Branson. So, you know, we're just catching up as women. We've been starting companies at twice, the rate that men have over the last two decades, women entrepreneurs is a really fast growing population. There's 13 million of us. We own 40% of all the small businesses, but few of us are going big. And that's what we set out to change, you know, a million dollar Women.

Greg Muzzillo :

Correct. And the three questions that I love them were, of course, are you dreaming big enough? Number two, is your business scalable? And if it's not, what tweak could you do to make it scalable? Right. And then the most important question. And I think a lot of people don't think about this one, what would more money do for your business?

Julia Pimsleur:

Yes. Sometimes people think, well, I don't want to fundraise because it's too hard. Or I don't know how, or, you know, nobody I know has ever raised money, but if they sit down and map out, what if I had another $500,000 or another million dollars, right. Could I go into these new markets? Could I be the dominant player in my space? Could I start something way more scalable, maybe, you know, an online community or building out products. And often it gets people into a whole different head space where they realize, oh, I do have a big enough vision that I should go raise capital and make that vision possible.

Greg Muzzillo :

Yeah and I do think that women, especially, you should read this book and I'm going to tell you why. I think I am I saying this correctly, that you, your business, because you went through different rounds of fundraising. And we're going to talk about what are all those different rounds or different levels of fundraising. But I think by the time you were really producing videos that your business had a valuation of $3 million before you had very much in revenue, is that right?

Julia Pimsleur:

Well, valuations and interesting thing. And for people listening, who aren't quite sure what that means, it's just what your company is worth is considered to be worth on the market. So when you go raise money, you have to pin down a number. My company is worth X and different industries have different norms about what companies are worth. But in my industry, which was ed tech, right education technology, we came out of the gate with a proprietary method our entertainment, immersion method, teaching young children, how to learn a language. I was a member of the Pimsleur family, which has, you know , a reputation for language teaching. Since my father created the Pimsleur method, which is widely used around the world. And we already had great traction, we'd sold $150,000 worth of product. We were in magazines. Angelina Jolie was teaching her kids to learn French with our method. You know, it was written up in various magazines. So we had a valuation of 3 million, which basically means that your first investor believes you're worth that much. And then other people then invested that same amount.

Greg Muzzillo :

Correct and if achieving begins with believing, it's just critical for people to understand it's you don't have to go be big to raise big money. There are ways in which you can create value in your business through lots of other methods. And so what you're saying is if you had a valuation of 3 million and then you wanted to raise $300,000, approximately 10% of your businesses were $300,000. Of course, we're not talking about control necessarily or stock, but, but it's possible to raise a lot of money without being a lot of a success yet. And I think it's important f for all entrepreneurs to understand that if they have a scale

Julia Pimsleur:

Yes. Because you know, one thing I wish I had learned earlier when I was raising money is that the investors care less about where you are today than they care about where you're going. So you have a really clear vision and you could see getting your company there. And you can map that out with your marketing plan, how you would use the funds. You have a really good chance of raising that money. Now, if you're a woman or a person of color, the odds are not in your favor, right? I want to be really clear about that, that it's changing slowly. But right now it's about 2% of venture capital goes to women run businesses. And for women of color raising money, Greg, you won't believe this, but it's only about a hundred women to date who have black women who have raised over a million in venture capital, not, not 10%, a hundred women. So that needs to change really quickly. And it is a big new focus in the investing world to get more people of color funded businesses. But it's going to take time.

Greg Muzzillo :

I know there's a push throughout corporate America. And for more diversity, I know there is in our business for more diversity and I'm sure in yours to set also find its way into the investing community to want to have more diversity in their investments

Julia Pimsleur:

Right now is a great time to raise money. If you are a BIPOC woman, person of color, lesbian, transgender, is a great time to go raise money because there's been a lot of awareness and attention to how do we get money into the hands of people who don't usually have access, right? And that's about leveling the playing field. So absolutely a good time to go. Right.

Greg Muzzillo :

All right . So I we have lots of listeners now that I, I hope they're excited to say, wow, maybe I could raise money. Tell, tell our listeners about all of the different places where we find money, of course, starting like you did in our own pockets, if you will. But what are all of those different steps or possible ways of finding money along the way?

Julia Pimsleur:

Well, traditionally entrepreneurs have funded their businesses through credit cards, very simply, right. You can have credit cards and try to get the best rates. And I know two or three businesses, who got to a million that way you can take out a loan, you can apply for grants. You can do online fundraising, whether it's through a site like Kickstarter or Indiegogo, those are benefits oriented online fundraising, where you give people the benefits, or you can actually get investors. There is equity fundraising online now as well through circle and some of the other equity fundraising sites online. But the more traditional way that I did was going to individuals called angel investors and pitching your business idea and showing them where you're going to go and how big you're going to take it. And they write individual checks. So my first big round of 1.1 million was all angel investors. And then we moved on to venture capital after that. So that's the bigger dollars venture capital. It can start around 500,000 and go up to, you know , 5 million, 10 million, depending on the kind of company you have. You know, some industries like biotech need a ton of capital. Whereas if you have a product company, you know, it was like I did with little PIM. It was more like a few million that I needed.

Greg Muzzillo :

So a lot of people don't have a network you in , in you and I didn't when we got started and we knew very little, but we met people along the way. I like one of the things you said in your book that, that a really successful business person should spend 80% of their time out of the office, networking, meeting new people, growing all of that knowledge and relationships , where could people find those kinds of folks that are angel investors?

Julia Pimsleur:

Well, there's a whole ecosystem of investors. I mean, one thing we don't want to forget as entrepreneurs is that they need us as much as we need them. I mean, what are the rates of the bank right now? Right? If you go put your money in a bank, you're going to get what 1% and the stock market is really volatile. But if you are an angel investor, you have the potential to get a 50 or a hundred percent return on your money. So they're out looking for us, just like we're out, looking for them. You can go pitch at angel investor networks, like I'm in New York city. So of course, a lot of angel investors here. Sometimes people do have to go to the nearest big city to pitch those angels, but it's sort of a small world. So once you start meeting people, you can say, well, who else do you think I should be talking to and you can call up fellow CEOs who've raised money. I certainly did that. I sat down with every CEO I knew who had raised money and got their war stories, certainly. And some of their warnings about what to do what not to do, but also ask, you know , who can I talk to? And some of those investors became my investors.

Greg Muzzillo :

Yeah. Networking is huge. And thank goodness there's things like Google and ways to find those sorts of people. And like you said, there is as hungry to find great deals. As , as business owners, are hungry to find the money. So don't be afraid to reach out and just ask because they're also starving for some great ideas.

Julia Pimsleur:

The one caveat, if I may, and I talked about this in the book, which is that I like to liken raising capital to a, kind of a dance, because it's a dance that's been danced for, you know, a couple of hundred years now between people investing in companies and entrepreneurs looking for money. And it has very codified steps. It's almost like the tango you ever seen the tango Greg, right? Very minute steps. You can't make it up. You can't ad lib fundraising is the same way. So before you got to network, and before you go meet people, read a couple books on fundraising. You could start with mine. There are others, you know, Million Dollar Women. I described in detail how I went out to raise money. I defined all the terms because there are a lot of terms. It's got its own language. And then once you feel like, okay, I really get how this world works and I'm ready to dance this dance. I spent nine months doing that before I tried to raise one dime, then go in because you only get one shot at it. Right. So you don't want to be like learning all that while on the phone with someone who could write you a 100,00 check.

Greg Muzzillo :

I agree. And I imagine you would also tell somebody, you should sort of have an understanding of what's the size of the market you're in and how are you going to capture a big part of it, or how are you going to scale and be worth investing in somebody should have some sort of an understanding about how they might be able to do t hat. Yeah.

Julia Pimsleur:

That's part of the dance and part of the dance of how you approach an investor and what you should talk about during your pitch meeting. I coach a lot of women on doing a successful pitch. You know, yesterday on one of my live shows, I have a woman who raised $500,000 after we changed her deck and had her tell her story in a way that was more compelling. So that's, you know, part of the dance

Greg Muzzillo :

And , to remind our folks who maybe didn't see the you know, last week's video and I encourage you to go back and see it. You can see it on YouTube here. Julia is also the founder of Million Dollar Women, as I've said in the introduction, tell us a little bit more about million dollar women and what you can do to help people, even people that are listening right now.

Julia Pimsleur:

Well, Million Dollar Women was set up to help 1 million women get to 1 million in revenues . Women are so smart and driven and capable, but we tend to not have as many role models of successful women entrepreneurs. And many of us haven't gone to business school or don't have a finance background. So a t Million Dollar Women, we fill in those gaps for women. We help them think big and figure out what is the more scalable version of my business. And we surround them with mentors and coaches and other high growth women entrepreneurs, as we like to call them because not everybody's looking to build a big business, right. But the women who are, have so much in common with each other and yet have a hard time finding each other, Greg. So we brought everyone together and it's just simply at millionwomen. c om We have a membership program. Women can join at three different levels and be part of this community of women going big.

Greg Muzzillo :

Yeah. One of the things you mentioned in the book is having an outreach chart , tell our listeners what that is and how you use it.

Julia Pimsleur:

I have always had an outreach chart in my business. I should have one it's a Google spreadsheet or an Excel doc. Or if you use a CRM, right, a customer relations management system, you could keep it in there, but it's simply keeping track of everybody you meet, who could help you grow the business with different tabs, right? Maybe one tab is potential investors. Maybe one tab has potential partners. I always like to say, if you can keep in your head, all the people you're meeting, you're not meeting enough people. And this is part of what you brought up earlier, right. Of spending 80% of your time out of the office, which I want to credit Verne Harnish, the founder of entrepreneur's organization and of scaling up, who taught me that. And I remember when I first heard it, thank you. Well, how could I possibly spend 80% of my time out of the office? Right? We got to get the work done, but it's a great challenge. If you're listening, how could you set up your team to be functional without you, because that is what's going to help your company scale and for you up to either raise money or go make the big deals or create the partnerships that are going to truly drive your business forward. So if you don't think you can be out 80% of the time, then it's time to take a look at how the business is running and think about how to make it more scalable.

Greg Muzzillo :

Yeah. And I think maybe a lot of people hearing, making a pitch, making a presentation might scare them. And I love one of the things that you wrote in the book. And I think it was advice you got from somebody else about not worrying over worrying about it. I think it was called like the 5 -55- 80 rule or something like that.

Julia Pimsleur:

Oh yes, absolutely. Well, I've hired so many coaches. One of whom is my mindset coach. We talked about on the last episode, but I've also had public speaking coaches, business coaches, and one of my public speaking coaches, Bill Smart, who was so fantastic, helped me understand that people only remember 7% of what you say its these. And I can't remember the exact proportions, but it's something like the 7, 18 55 rule. And they remember 7% what you say, 15% of what they remember is your body language. And then the bulk of it is just your tone, how you present your presence. So if you haven't done work, if you're listening and you're thinking, wow , going out to pitch, how would I prepare for that? You would want to work with someone who understands public speaking, whether it's a coach or just someone, you know, in your network who can help you with that because how you show up matters so much more than what you say.

Greg Muzzillo :

Yeah, absolutely. I think, I think in general, investors are looking for people and there's only two kinds of people, right? There's people that are making things happen and people who are wondering what's happening. And I think if somebody out there, somebody that can make things happen that will come through in how you present yourself, that and people, people can believe you're going to do it. And that's what people are going to invest in any house, the belief that it can get done. If you can tell your story well enough, 100%

Julia Pimsleur:

And look, no one's ever going to believe in you more than you believe in you. So the very first thing to do, if you're going to go out and raise money is really build up that belief. Like I can do this. I'm excited about it. It's going to happen no matter what. And investors can feel that excitement and determination to want to get on board with that.

Greg Muzzillo :

Julia , it's been great spending time with you. Maybe we'll get a chance to come back someday and talk about your other book, Go Big Now. But for now, if you're thinking about starting your own business women or men, if you know a woman that's in her own business or thinking about starting her own business or looking for great advice yourself, this book is chock- full. Almost half of the book is really advice about how to start scale and fund a business. Julia, thank you again. And thank you. Most of all for what you're doing with Million Dollar Women funding, a million women to reach more than a million dollars in sales. It's very admirable proud of you,

Julia Pimsleur:

Greg Thank You. And thanks for having me on and giving me this opportunity to share what we're up to. And I love what you're doing with Million - Dollar Mondays. So yeah, let's keep the conversation going.

Speaker 4:

So thanks for being a part of it. Thank you.

Introducing Julia
Scalable Model
Three Critical Questions
Finding Money to Start a Business
Mission of Million Dollar Women
How to Prepare for Your Pitch