#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.



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….


(Summary of Posts 1 / Summary of Posts 2 / Summary of Posts 3)

#28 – Free Black Friday Gifts: The Gift of Mentorship

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).

#29 Free Online Business Tools for Which I am Thankful

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.

#30 Would You Read This? My Book Outline for Women and The New Sisterhood of Success

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.

#31 Are Entrepreneurs Really Crazy? Escaping: The Vortex.

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.

#32a How to Not Look Like a Tool in Your Business Communications

#32b How to Not Look Like a Tool in Business Communications Part Deux

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.

#33 Giving Myself a Wife for Mother’s Day

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.

#34 How Entrepreneurs Deal With Failure

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.

#35 Letter to a mentor: I’m kind of freaking out right now

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.

#36 Meeting with Book Agents

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.”

#37 Is Business Un-FUNNY?

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

Lessons include:

  • 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.

With a business model, book interest, message focus, fans, and the discussion with the spouse of “Hey, this could be successful” under my belt, I’m looking forward to the next year.  And, no, I have not written about the business model yet. That is going to have to be my little secret pending further testing….stay tuned, and wish me luck.

#27 Confessions and Reflections – Building a Million Dollar Business Part Time

Stop SignDo you ever just stop? Stop to think. Stop to reflect. Stop to realize how far you’ve come? Stop to think about where you want to go? I’m not much of a stopper. But, today, I stop. This post is like a table of contents of the past year, as well as some inside scoop as to what was REALLY going on when I wrote these posts. Just a few  months ago, the Hot Mommas Project was just an idea and a couple of stories.  Today we are the world’s largest collection of teachable role models for women and girls. Learn more at www.HotMommasProject.org.

 P.s. If you want to read last years’ summary posts, here they are: One and Two




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. Our big thing right now is the Hot Mommas Project Case Study competition. Click here to nominate someone.  Click here for about page.


 #15a: The Press Release Back-story In the Summer of 2008 I hired FMS Inc to built a first-of-its-kind “case wizard” software so that women from around the world can be walked through the process of telling their story, so that teachable lessons can be communicated to readers. Talk about women everywhere paying it forward! It also filled a gaping void in the world of women’s leadership. Girls and women need role models for many documented and common-sense reasons. We wanted to be part of the solution.  This post represented our coming-out party. It was the day we announced the judges for the first annual Hot Mommas Project case competition. I sat at my computer, at my house, having done my first online press release, having no idea whether anyone cared or whether this would be successful. I was experiencing Entrepreneur Mania:  Feeling very crazed and looking at every detail as if it would be the make or break for us.

 #15b: Announcing Our Judges Here are our 2009 Judges. I was not sure all of these judges would say “yes.” They are impressive people, and I continue to look back and gasp that they not only said “yes,” but are incredible supporters, advocates, and mentors. It really does impact my view of the world and give me faith that people at the top get it.

 #16: How to do a Mass/Blast Email Campaign – This was a last ditch attempt to get people to write their cases at www.HotMommasProject.org. I had some “issues” with blast emails. It may sound weird, but it’s true. I feared looking cheesy. I feared making people who were important to me seem unimportant by blasting an email. Behind the scenes, I suspected my weird “issues” were actually getting in the way of the business’s reach.

 #17 How to Bring Red Carpet Cache to Your Event  – What a fun event. I think I’d forgotten I could have fun. It also connected me with my deep appreciation of the arts. This was in stark contrast to my very business-focused life with all the creativity sucked out of it. I decided creativity must be a part of the Hot Mommas Project. I met celebrities and agents and creative people. Going up to this premiere was like a celebration. It had been a tough year, and this was just FUN! I also give the scoop about red carpet events.

 #18 Top 5 Tips for Getting Media Coverage – This was Entrepreneurial Mania wave two. We started getting lots of press coverage. I should have been happy, but, it uncovered more of my “issues.” I didn’t like being in front of a camera. I call this the Wedding Theory: At your wedding, do you LOVE being the center of attention or are you secretly cringing waiting for the spotlight to be off you? I am the latter. Most people think I am the former, but I’m not. I went to many people for pep talks, and – FINALLY – now realize that press is actually an incredibly efficient way for reaching mass quantities of people in a short period of time (critical for a busy mom), and it helps establish credibility (our cornerstone). I parlayed what I learned into this post.

 #19 How We Hired an Intern on Twitter (yes..Found, Interviewed, Hired) – This was a fun experiment. It was one of those “Hey, let’s see if this idea will work” moments. And, it did. The Twitter sisterhood really came through for us here.  

 #20 – Nine important questions for entrepreneurs trying to balance – Many people (press, interns on Twitter, fabulous women and the men who support them) liked the idea of the Hot Mommas Project. I started getting requests, lots of requests, to speak on panels and at various events. This is one to which I said “yes” – The Washington Working Women’s Forum. In advance of the panel the organizers had the panelists answer some questions which got me thinking. I asked others to think along with me in this post.

 #21 Get Happy, or Get Out – AKA “Making a Deal With Your Entrepreneurial Spouse” – This was a conversation 10-plus years in coming. No matter how successful my husband’s business became, he never seemed happy. I didn’t write about this but had just spent the entire summer meeting with mentors and listening to their ideas about the Hot Mommas Project. I felt very supported and focused, and wanted to pass that mojo along. Being content is an acquired skill. This post was about beginning the conversation. It’s a bit tangential to a blog about entrepreneurship –but at the same time, it’s not.

 #22 – Reclaiming Your Energy from Emotional Vampires – Moving up in the world comes with some downsides. One of those is lawyers (sorry Dad – who is a lawyer – you guys stress me out). So, I was stressed out about some legal wranglings having to do with the Hot Mommas Project. I was spending a lot of time worrying about it. I’m very, very good at worrying. I ran myself through an exercise basically saying, ‘Hmmmm….what could get me to stop worrying.” It semi-worked so I decided to share it. Our really talented and loyal attorney  Tenley Carp also taught me a good mantra: “Trust but verify.” Coping mechanisms are key in life and I guess in business too. P.s. Everything I was stressed about wound up working out beyond what I could have even imagined. So, all the time I spent worrying was completely worthless. A good lesson.

 #23 How to Build a Killer Network Without Going to Harvard Business SchoolThis was a continuation of my learning, listening and networking summer. I decided to write about this particular series of meetings because I was in San Francisco meeting with the amazing Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz and Women’s Funding Network. When a network actually results in not only insight and inspiration, but also with partnerships that make your business go vroom, it’s worth writing about. I’m convinced this is how we’re going to be successful. It’s not going to be alone. Just as the Hot Mommas Project gives you a room full of people as supporters and mentors because we know it will lead to women’s success, so too will we succeed with that philosophy.

CONTENT SERIES – All of the 24 and 25 posts continued my summer of learning. And as much as I complain about having to focus and write curriculum, this series showed me what a TON of content I can produce in a short period of time, so I should probably stop whining.

 #24a Techniques for Learning to Improve Your Business – The GrowSmartBiz Conference – This was the first post from the #GrowSmartBiz conference sponsored by Network Solutions. It was fun, and kind of a massive drinking from the firehose of learning – as I’d been doing all summer with mentors. One of the top traits of the most successful Hot Mommas from our survey is a true passion for learning. Also, I really like Network Solutions and wanted to see who they’re targeting and their business motivations with the goal of getting them more involved with The Hot Mommas Project. There are some good nuggets in here to help small businesses survive and thrive.

 #24b Techniques for Learning to Improve Your Business – “Mr. Anderson” Chris Anderson – The concept of “Freemium” is described here based on a talk by keynoter Chris Anderson of WIRED magazine. This was very eye-opening. All businesses need to understand this concept. I couldn’t stop thinking about “Mr. Anderson” from the Matrix during his presentation.

 #25 A Woman’s Business View – The World Business Forum #WBF09 – This was an interesting experience. I was invited up as “one of the nation’s leading business bloggers” to cover the HSM World Business Forum. I am actually NOT one of the nation’s leading business bloggers; at least, I don’t think I am. But, anywhoo – it continued my learning and listening tour. This is a women’s business fact sheet which I would use to translate/filter the conference learning points.

 #25a – Leading in a Time of Crisis by Bill George, The Women’s View – Bill George is THE MAN. He is a great person, a great leader, and great family guy, and a great way to open the conference. I felt inspired.

 #25b – Pat Lencioni Trust and Conflict Exercises for Teams, Women in Business – Pat is – pardon the language here – ADORABLE. Not something you typically think when you see the caliber of speakers here. But, he was such a breath of fresh air. Funny, authentic, real. These are the kinds of speakers I like.

 #25c – David Rubenstein’s Top 10 Chicken Soup for the Economy? Women in Business Get Your Game On – Interesting talk. David Rubenstein kind of barked out his points. I liked it. However, I begin to see by this time in the conference that women are NOT on the agenda. My women’s business fact sheet (#25) clearly shows that women SHOULD be on the agenda. I begin to feel like 1) I’m learning a lot 2) But that I am visiting an alien planet. I used to “roll” with this crowd. It was interesting to feel like they didn’t get it.

 #25d – Will Business Celebrate, or Tolerate, Our Daughters? – Bill Clinton is the ONLY speaker who mentioned women as a specific point that the business leaders in the room should take seriously. As said on a panel the other day, “It was like the world’s worst drinking game. The word ‘woman’ was only said ONCE the entire two days.” This post is a call to action. I plan for the Hot Mommas Project to be a part of the revolution. It’s not about “anti other-people,” it’s about “pro-us/women” which will wind up benefiting all. Research shows that women’s definition of success is largely community based. If our community is successful, we feel successful . So this generation of women – I’m convinced – will give back exponentially what it gets. And if we don’t, then someone should give us a good klonk on the head.

 #26 Top 5 on How to Package Content and Be an Expert  – If we are going to be part of the revolution, we better have our act together. Here I share some lessons learned about packaging content and being an expert.


Know a dynamic woman over the age of 18? Nominate her to be a role model and tell her story at www.HotMommasProject.org. Emailsupport@hotmommasproject.org with your nomination.

Want to let someone know you believe in them? Sponsor a case writer with your nomination. Every $25 allows a case to be permanently archived on our educational site. Mention your nominees name and email in the PayPal note.

Building a Million Dollar Business Part Time #14b: Confessions and Reflections

This is the second of two posts reflecting on what has worked, and what hasn’t, since conceiving and implementing the Hot Mommas Project case study competition. See first Confessions and Reflections post.

It ain't pretty. Computer + Face Mask = Fake Relaxation

It ain't pretty. Computer + Face Mask = Fake Relaxation

Pictured here, I am “relaxing” with my computer open.  Quite unsightly on a number of levels. First confession: I may be a part time working mom physically, but I am full time-plus mentally. I am constantly thinking about the project. I’m freaking exhausted. I seriously think I have carpal tunnel in my shoulder. Continue reading

Building a Million Dollar Business Part Time #14a: Confessions and Reflections


Helping me fight the fight every day: Starbucks

Here is a little review of what held true and what didn’t for the Hot Mommas Project journey since March (when this insider’s blog was started). Things that turned out not to be true – that was not by design.  I think I was just hopeful. You know, like, “Here’s how we’re going to do this. YEAH!” Then, reality unfolds. Continue reading