Book Review: Million Dollar Women by Julia Pimsleur

When Julia Pimsleur’s company, Little Pim, passed the $1 million dollar mark, she got a call from a journalist who wanted to profile her along with other women whose businesses were making “high revenues”, this prompted her to ask herself “Why are so few women running business that make bank?” so she decided to find out and to help push the 3% of female business owners who ever make north of $1 million in revenues, into double digits.

The year after she got that call, she was able to raise 2.1 million in VC funding, exceed her prior year sales by 85%, and use her weekends to start teaching other female entrepreneurs on how to raise angel and venture capital.

The goal of Million Dollar Women is to “provide a mirror to look at your own mindset and skills and help you accelerate the process of taking your business past the million-dollar milestone.”

The book provides actionable advice and tips, showcases interviews with female entrepreneurs who have broken the $1 million glass ceiling, and has a fantastic resource section that includes worksheets and a bibliography listing all the books Julia references as sources throughout her book (which has provided me with inspiration for future book reviews).

Given that I love all things FinanciElle, and this is a blog about financial literacy, I appreciate the references in this book about knowing your numbers, the chapter “Turn Moxie into Money” provides insight on 4 main questions:

  1. What forms of Capital should I consider? (hint: Venture capital (VC) funding comes with high growth expectations and they want their money back in a relatively short time frame which can result in having to be acquired or go public, if you want to grow your business on your own terms, pass it on to family, or create a company for the long-term , VC funding is likely not for you)
  2. When is the right time to raise money?
  3. Where do I learn the fundraising dance?
  4. How much equity and control will I have to give up?

 

There’s a diagram in this chapter that shows the stages of raising capital, while the focus is on getting to VC funding, I do think there should be two branches that split off that show your options for if you choose not to go the VC route and I think certain sources of funding can be re-visited, even after your established.

There’s one interview in the book that specifically touched on what I feel is key about financial literacy so I’m going to set the context and then quote the response to one of the questions.

There’s an interview with Sharon Hadary, the founding and former executive director of the Center for Women’s Business Research and co-author of the book How Women Lead (I see a book review in the future). Sharon is a leading expert in the field of women and entrepreneurship. Her response to the question, what kind of Self-limiting beliefs do you hear from women? Was:

I was just talking with a woman getting an MBA and she was fretting about how she felt she was not comfortable with math. This is a fear many women express. The most successful business women tell me it’s not about knowing how to add numbers. It’s about what numbers tell you about trends, the health of the business, and where you need to make corrections. It’s learning what story your numbers tell. I remember one woman business owner who often gave expert testimony about financials. One day the judge said to her, “What makes you an expert? Anybody can add numbers,” and she said, “Yes, but I know which numbers to add.”

Overall, I think this is a must read. To find additional resources you can visit Julia Pimsleur’s site.

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