#38 Confessions and Reflections – Building a Million Dollar Business Part Time
This is the first time since I started this blog that I actually BELIEVE I will be able to build a million dollar business while working part-time. The below summary of posts serves as a table of contents over the past year. It will help explain how I got to this point.
The next year will be key to see if I can really pull this off.
What is this, where I am, who are you? If this is your first time here, this is the insider’s blog for The Hot Mommas Project. We are a women’s leadership project housed at the George Washington University School of Business (where I teach) and have an audacious goal of becoming a million dollar venture…while being led by a mom working part time. Since I started this blog, we have become the world’s largest women’s case study library. We showcase the stories of the women in your life in a TEACHABLE format, and they are published in major textbooks and used by educators. Click here to nominate someone. Click here for about page. Click here to check out our classes which are producing stunning increases in self-confidence for women and girls.
MAC DADDY SUMMARY:
The major learnings for me have been:
- Persistence: Keep pressing, pushing, and smushing on the idea until it “clicks.”
- Mentors: Share with mentors, it will amplify your idea and impact.
- Operationalize: The idea is part one, part two is creating the “machine” behind it.
- Delegation – The Org Chart in Your Head: The machine includes people, who you meet by actually talking…at events, via coffees, over the phone. That is when the TRUE connection happens. They will fall into place in the “org chart in your head.”
- Get Your Affairs in Order: Have the talk with your spouse/partner. Tell them about your dream. Tell them what it will mean for your life you’re successful. See if they are up for it. GO THERE mentally. If those closest to you are not on board, and your idea takes off, you will still be a failure. Home ALWAYS wins. If you won’t think big, and dream, and make it real by discussing it with people….you’ve lost before you’ve even started.
Read more below….
POST SUMMARIES #28 – #37
Topics: Promotional/launch strategies, effective use of deadlines
Post summary: In this post, I use the excuse of “Black Friday” to launch the 2010 Hot Mommas Project case study competition. It kind of didn’t work. Major lessons:
- Lesson in Failure: SEO – While, in theory, the concept of leveraging searches for “Black Friday” sounds good, it resulted in ZIPPO nominations of women to tell their stories on HotMommasProject.org.
- Win/Failure? – A lot of the promotion we do, especially in traditional media, leads people to say “I’ve heard of you” but does not produce actual nominations of women – directly. How far is the jump between what you’re asking someone to do (e.g. take an action, nominate a woman in their life) and the medium where they’re being approached (e.g., sitting on their butts watching TV). Twitter and other internet mediums = best for nominations. TV, radio, newspaper = good for awareness / credibility.
- Win: Deadlines - I used the excuse to develop some great content tools that tell our story (listed in blog).
Topics: Organization, time management, sanity for the entrepreneur.
Post Summary: Being organized, and having methods for detoxing are CRITICAL for successful entrepreneurs. There are tips in here on those topics. Lesson:
- Win: Great tools to find/re-claim time and sanity for a busy entrepreneur, mom, person.
Topics: New Sisterhood of Success, Book Outline, the “CLICK”
Post Summary: This was major. It’s my first stab at a book outline. I had been talking about it for years, drafting proposals for months, and finally – in a blip – it came pouring out. Lesson:
- Win: Let your freak flag fly. I keep a lot of what goes on in my head to myself so as not to overwhelm others . On this occasion, I let some big/deep thoughts fly. After a heart-to-heart with my hubby on meaning-of-life type stuff, my brain was clear and the book outline was inserted.
- CLICK: Every now and then, I feel/hear/sense what I can only describe as a “CLICK.” It’s like pieces of a universal seat belt coming together. This was one of those moments. Always be on the lookout for these times. This one instance led to important stuff later, like meeting with a famous book agent.
Topics: Entrepreneurial obsession
Post Summary: The Hot Mommas Project 2010 Case Study Competition is over. We are officially the world’s largest women’s case study library. I start to think I am officially insane as I send the team emails about fixes and tweaks for next year, instead of taking some downtime. Lesson:
- Win/Failure? – you decide: Entrepreneurs are obsessed freaks.
Topics: Communication in business, social media vs “traditional” communications
Post Summary: As the popularity and visibility of the Hot Mommas Project grows, I start to get more and more emails/requests. I also give more talks. I notice a trend: There are a shocking amount of questions about how to relate/connect socially with others. Example:
Me: “You need mentors.”
Audience members: “How do I talk to these people?”
I start to hypothesize that certain social skills are degenerating. This post provides helpful tips I then took back and used with my students at the George Washington University School of Business. Lesson:
- Win: Winners of the future will master both social media AND traditional communication (talking to actual people on the phone/in person.)
- Mini-CLICK: The mounting confusion around social skills really stood out to me. It is, I believe, going to be a significant teaching point in the Hot Mommas Project /New Sisterhood of Success future book.
Topics: Delegation for women/business people
Post Summary: As the amount of communications, and appointments, and other dreck mounts…I know it is time for reinforcements. Thus began the real and serious thinking about additional staff at work, and home. Lesson:
- Win: Many women say, “I want help, but struggle with delegating.” There will be a point at which it’s so painful, it’s more of a struggle if you DON’T delegate. All women who want to be successful must practice and employ delegation. MUST.
- Win: Home culture. The focus. The safe place. Treat it that way.
- Win/Failure: I was also, with this post, testing a partnership with HelaSpa wherein they acknowledged our 2010 winning case authors via a Mother’s Day marketing campaign. The win was treatments for our deserving case authors. The failure was no additional spike in nominations. Maybe awareness increased? It’s hard to know. We don’t have any great measures in place which is why we now have Amber Wason heading up our marketing.
Topics: Failure, learning from failure
Post Summary: This post expresses my disappointment, and resolution strategies, around trying to get a teleclass off the ground. I changed the title, and the price, resulting in a more successful result. Lessons:
- Win: Capitalizing on failure is a MAJOR skill, but, it takes a really strong person to say “Wow, I screwed this up.” I seriously think 99% of the population can’t do this. So, if you can, consider it a strength.
- mini-Click: Accepting the failure, instead of beating my head against the wall (a fav of Type-As) resulted in a teleseminar 2.0 which taught me something CRITICAL about word usage and messaging around the Hot Mommas Project concept. This knowledge paid off BIG TIME in my later meetings with an angel investor/mentor and literary agent.
Topics: Success, learning from success
Post Summary: This was the big “CLICK.” I was able to focus on the ONE THING I think is MOST IMPORTANT for women and girls to do to reach their potential. It’s my “it.”
- Win: Figure out the pattern that produces top notch results for you. In this case, it was – just as in post #30 – having a heart-to-heart with a mentor, then waiting for the “epiphany” or outpouring of good stuff/ideas/content. This is my pattern. I think everyone has one.
- Failure: I realized I was onto something, and then kind of freaked out and didn’t know what to do about it. What about “do nothing?” what about, “Sit back and enjoy?” Somehow, neither of these options occurred to me.
- Win: I met with the mentor/angel investor discussed in this post, then did a plan, assembled a team, did a book proposal, and met with a book agent – all within one and one-half months of writing this post! Like the picture up top says, it CAN be done…but, it will just need to be your way…a different way…that you create.
- CLICK: This presentation worked. It represented my long-time-accumulating thoughts on what I considered to be THE most important thing for women. The underlying message was: ”The New Sisterhood of Success” is what will propel us to our potential. And I have the research to prove it, and the how-to manual to do it.
“The New Sisterhood of Success” is what will propel us to our potential. And I have the research to prove it, and the how-to manual to do it.
Topics: Literary agent meetings, spreading self thin
Post Summary: I set a meeting with a book agent, then scramble. The person with whom I met is a major book agent at a large agency who is constantly rejecting people. Had I known this going in, I might have been nervous. This is one of those ignorance-is-bliss cases.
- Win: I asked around and asked around and shared my book outline with advisors and mentors. Guess who set me up with the book agent? One of my mentors. So, here – EXACTLY - is the point of the New Sisterhood of Success: Put yourself out there, ask for help, and the power of two, or three, or four will always exceed the power of one.
- Failure: I was so exhausted from pushing myself to get the book proposal done, the presentation at MasterCard, and the meeting with broadway producer Ken Waissman (both later that day) that I literally I barfed on a ferry out to see my former b-school professor and mentor @RosabethKanter. Immune system = gone. So when I’m running gunning in the future with wherever the New Sisterhood of Success and Hot Mommas Project takes me, I think I’m going to have to do the OPPOSITE of what Emeril says, and “Kick it DOWN a notch.”
Topics: Women underselling, humor in business, writing style
Good news: She loves my writing style (the literary agent)
Bad news: There is a time and a place for funny. The place is NOT my bio. She pretty much told me this straight-up.
I decided to turn this experience into a post and discussion about the appropriate and inappropriate use of humor in business. ”Discussion” is a generous terms since no one cares about this topic, and there are no comments… Well, except for this one:
Мы поможем Вам решить квартирный вопрос – у нас Вы найдете объявления, новости рынка недвижимости, все о квартирах, о ремонте, о ЖКХ, о текущих ценах и многое другое
- Failure: Women….don’t undersell yourself! Bad bad bad. I did that in my book proposal.
- Win: If you listen for the “CLICKS” you can get meetings with famous literary agents, angel investors, and do what it takes to move your idea forward.