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

Starbucks

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

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Q and A: Venture Capital Resources; My Mom

For whatever reason I cannot post a comment to my own blog, which I find highly annoying – so, I am making a Q&A post. Here are two questions people have asked me in emails/tweets/and posts.

1. Is your mom okay?  (From many).

I was really touched by this question. Thanks, so much. Yes. She is a new woman. (As some of you may have seen, my mom had a near-death experience due to truly weird complications after knee surgery.)

2. Any ideas on VC resources? (From Brent in Hawaii)

First of all, your site www.greencollartech.com is cool. Okay, re VC resources… 

Brent, Without knowing more detail on what kinds of VC resources you’re looking for (e.g., finding avenues for deal flow, etc.) I make the following assumption:  You’re LOOKING for financing.

 

Below are some general links for learning about and connecting with VCs. Pardon the “square 1” discussion if you already know all this. Of course, the #1 thing is usually a connection into the firm, so asking around is key. The #2 thing is understanding what stage they invest in, as well as their “personality” to make sure you all will play well together. If you are the CEO, prepare to get ousted and lose control if you bring in a VC. That is the worst case scenario aside from failure. (Is that very doomsday? Sorry if so. But, gotta put on your big boy/big girl Underoos to play with VCs.) I would go to a VC for two things:

 

 A. Money (a lot) to get big fast, and

 B. Expertise and connections.

 

 If you have B, you could go to an angel. Most entrepreneurs start with FFF first (friends, family, fool hearty). RE: debt – this is a tough market for debt, as many know. 

 

 Here are some places I would start for VC info:

 1. Guy Kawasaki (since you got to us via his Twitter stream) http://blog.guykawasaki.com/2006/09/venture_capital.html (good link from his blog, there are many others).

 

 2. The people at Angel Soft: http://www.angelsoft.net/ “The ecosystem for early stage investing”

 

 3. The people at NCVA (National Venture Capital Association) http://www.nvca.org/

 

 4. The people at EMPEA (if you’re into emerging markets) http://www.empea.net/

 

 5. The MIT Enterprise forum – http://enterpriseforum.mit.edu/. Don’t see one in Hawaii, but, if you know a motivated MIT alum, maybe you could start one there. Otherwise, just try to get in on the CA ones (if they’re any good). Here in DC, they seem to be one of the most visible entities for bringing investors and entrepreneurs together.

 

 6. TAG (The Accelration Group) – http://www.acceleration-group.com/.

Connecting angels and entrepreneurs when I last spoke with them, always looking for deal flow.

 

 EXTRA BONUS RESOURCE for WOMEN: Springboard Enterprises

http://www.springboardenterprises.org/

 

 7. UNIVERSITIES – always a good locus for VC activity. E.g., Any local business plan contests at universities near you in which VCs are involved. For instance, when I search for “Hawaii University Venture Capital” many relevant links come up, particularly the following:

 

http://www.bizjournals.com/pacific/stories/2008/01/21/daily45.html?jst=s_cn_hl

http://www.hawaii.edu/cgi-bin/uhnews?20080811105425

http://www.hvca.org/

 

You will also be in an interesting situation due to your location because my guess is:

 

A. Lots of pretty well-off VCs and Angels have homes/retire in Hawaii

B. They didn’t get rich by sitting on their tush, and are probably looking for an occasional venture or cause with which to involve themselves part time, even if they are “retired.”

 

 Hope this helps!

 

 P.s. Here is my basis for answering your question (about VCs, not my mom):

1. Hanging out with entrepreneurs

2. Hanging out with VCs

3. Raising $8 from New York Life with a sr. mgt team (of which I was a part) for an aging/health venture (after speaking w/ many VCs)

4. Teaching

5. Being taught (e.g. going to these forums – and even back to my MBA – and getting the scoop from VCs…which, theoretically, is #2).

 

P.s.s. And, BTW, just when you think $2 or $5 or $8 million is a lot, talk to someone who invests tens or hundreds of millions in ventures. In a strange way, it can make things less intimidating. We know someone who invests only $50 to $500 million! Ha! Asking for $5k or $20k sponsorships seemed less intimidating after learning that.

 

P.s.s.s. Feel free, everyone, to comment on your favorite resources or push back on my assessment. This is just a quick and dirty.

 

Building a Million Dollar Business Part Time #5: Emergency Broadcast

Emergency BroadcastThis week I did absolutely nothing to build a million dollar enterprise part time.  Full time, I spent the week in ICU with my mom.  Very, very scary.

I also started thinking, “Why the hell am I doing this blog?” Putting all my stuff out there.  Horrible old boyfriends could be reading this. (If you are a horrible old boyfriend or stalker, please click here and never come back). Considered 86-ing the whole thing. Still considering it.

Trying not to make any major decisions now. More next week (maybe).

 

5.01 pm update

In a sort of paradoxical twist, two of my mom’s ICU nurses are massive Caps fans (Washington Capitals Hockey). The Caps are majority owned by Ted Leonsis, of whom I am a massive fan, and about whom I wrote a “Cool Daddies” case that was just published in a business textbook. I emailed Ted and he arranged for the nurses to meet the team next season. Ted is so cool that way.  So, is this the “sign”? “Don’t give up…keep going with Hot Mommas and Cool Daddies Project. You can’t avoid it…even when your mom is in ICU?” 

Parting thought: Thinking I will probably continue now and that is is fairly wimpy of me to consider anything else.  Hellooo? Am I learning anything from the Hot Mommas I’ve surveyed? Persistence is one of the top 3 traits.

Building a Million Dollar Business Part Time #4:The Productive Amoeba

This week sucked. I would like to blame all of my problems on Quicken.
I. WHATs WORKING?Lets start on a positive note. Doing my goals is working. I am accomplishing them, mainly due to the fact that they are hovering over me like a school marm tapping her watch. It prevents them from eking out into the abyss of 100%.  Dennis Hightower, former big-time Disney exec, advised “Good general managers must be able to make decisions with between 40 and 70% information.” So, there you go. Lodged firmly in between 40% and 70%, I listed Hot Mommas Project internships online at GWU (George Washington University), talked with a tech guru, forged ahead with my research, all the while taking care of my mom and being totally ill myself (now, having intense love affair with the z-pack).Playdate at Starbucks. Okay, back to work!

 Every blog needs a creepy doll picture.  Here is my loyal non-mammalian business partner (yes, a Starbucks coffee) on a playdate with my daughters doll. Okay, funs over, back to work. 

II. WHATs NOT WORKING.

1. SOMETHING – Its always something. If its not me being sick, its my kids…if its not my kids, its a friend…etc. etc. So, there were a lot of “somethings” this week. Something doesnt seem to be going away.

 2. FAMILY WITHDRAWL – Because of the “somethings” I barely saw my kids and husband this week. Need to do a bit more schedule triage (below). (See first post on schedule triage).

 3. BURN OUT – After many “somethings” and subsequent worrying about “somethings,” I was left with I the brain capacity of an amoeba, except crankier.

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 III. THE PLAN – WHAT DID I ACCOMPLISH?

 A. On the Hot Mommas Project PLAN (and granted, this is very tactical in nature) here is what I wanted to accomplish this past week:

 04/08/09 – Research (idea = research release to correspond with marketing of competition)

·     Accomplished this. On track.

 04/10/08 – Develop intern/staff listings and post.

·     Accomplished this. On track. (Even have first resume in!)

 04/10/08 – Research – Draft report 75% complete.

·     Accomplished this. On track. (This is a crock, however, as the remaining 25% of questions are a complete nightmare to analyze).

 B. This week – What I need to do:

04/17/08 – Conversation with software developer to sketch out scope and costs.

·     Confidence level: High. Need to develop priorities list and get to tech partner on 4/15.

 04/17/08 – Develop budget.

·     Confidence level: medium. Not sure how long it takes tech partner to develop budget. Will let him know about my deadline.

 04/17/08 – Develop sponsorship kit final + target list.

·     Confidence level – high. Can have draft and initial target list, even if budget is not ready.

 04/17/08 – Research – Draft report 100% complete. Submit to GW advisors for comment.

·     Confidence level – low. Have many open ended answers to code and not sure how this is going to happen.

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 IV. SCHEDULE TRIAGE RIDES AGAIN!

 A. The assessment

Hours available to me to work: 29. How I spent these hours:

 

12.5 –  Hot Mommas Project – accomplishing objectives

  6.0 –  Teaching / GW-related stuff

  4.5 – Client work

  6.0 –  Personal (sick/squeezing in time with kids /hubby due to “somethings”).

29.0 – TOTAL

 

Conclusion: An additional 6-8 additional hours will free up this and next week, and maybe another 6 to 8 the week after that. No G*d Knows What time suckers (see original triage post). Good.

 

 B. Going forward – the personal pledge

Personal Pledge to RESTORE BALANCE IN THE FREY UNIVERSE

 

In addition to my Hot Mommas Project goals, this week I promise to:

 

 1. Be outside of the house 1 night only (last week was 4 nights 3 with mom at hospital, one at my forum*).

2. Work out 4x during the week, one time at home or on walk with kids/hubby.

3. Plan 3 fun/nice things (each) for kids and for hubby.

4. Multi-task and work at my moms house now that she is out of hospital.

5. Plan time with my best friend Julie.

 

*Definition of Forum = group of mentors. Meets 1x per month. Amazing. Changed my life. Click here for book on forum (“Forum: The Secret Advantage of Successful Leaders”) by one of the worlds leading forum facilitators, Mo Fathelbab

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V. Inspiration/Resources:

Found this interesting time management site: Mindtools. (This is in no way affiliated with “Mind Head” from the movie Bowfinger with Eddie Murphy and Steve Martin.) I like the approach – specifically adding a “stress diary” to a daily time log. I am not sure what I would actually do once I realize something is stressful, but, is fun to think about nonetheless. The major topics are:

 1. Introduction to time management.

2. Beating procrastination.

3. Activity Logs.

4. Action Plans.

5. Prioritized to do lists.

6. Scheduling skills.

7. Personal goal setting.

 

As pathetic as it may sound, three of the most helpful things Ive been doing to get through my tasks are:

·     NOT LOOKING AT OUTLOOK,

·     NOT LOOKING AT MY BLACKBERRY (a la leaving it in another room), and

·     CLOSING ALL NON-RELEVANT DOCUMENTS ON MY COMPUTER.

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Parting Thoughts:

Things are getting done. This is good. Goals are good. Still have not completed action plan for writing “How to Be a Hot Momma” book. Need to balance a teensy big more prior to getting another plate spinning. Dont want to degenerate back into a cranky amoeba.  What is the #1 trait Hot Mommas (in our survey) are saying has helped them professionally? Perseverance. So, I am marching on.

Thanks – again – to all of you who have posted offering comments and encouragement. Feel free to post your own goals here, too. 

 

 

 

Building a Million Dollar Business Part Time #2: Triage

I spent two nights at the hospital this week with my mom who is getting a bionic  knee.  Triage in the literal sense there. In the figurative sense, my schedule and prioritization process needs major help.  Plate clearing MUST happen NOW for me to be able to act on the plans below.  Otherwise, I’m just rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

 

Pictured here is my daughter Delilah (aka Lilah) at my mom’s house where I am playing nurse.  She is under the Jim Jones-like trance of “Cory in the House.”

 

 

 

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I. SCHEDULE TRIAGE:

 

Why is my plan (to which I committed in the last post) not complete already? This is not a great start folks. I was busy doing the following instead of my plan: Playing nurse, playing mom, other people’s work (client projects), and teaching. There’s always some reason, right? Here is how my week went with 28 hours available to me to work:

 

12 hrs- Other people’s projects

 6 hrs – Hot Mommas Project

 6 hrs – Teaching

 1 hr  – Alzheimer’s Association board call.

 3 hrs – G*d knows what – I logged my hours, distractions, and accomplishments one day when I was working at home. Here is an excerpt:

 

“It is now 11.03. I am supposed to be doing my client work. Instead, I have done the following:

  • Printed the outline for the client work – good. On task.
  • Started cleaning my email in-box – bad.
  • Respond to an email from our lawyer – bad.
  • Look at a text from my best friend right under the email from our lawyer – bad.
  • Installed the latest version of Quicken – okay, this is getting ridiculous.”

There is a management crisis in America today outlined in a book called A Bias to Action by Heike Bruch and Sumantra Ghoshal.  Apparently, many, many, many workers out there are confusing effort with results. I definitely think I am contributing to this management crisis right now. Time to overhaul my schedule:

 

1. G*d knows what time – don’t have this to spare.

Action: Log time and be accountable through this log.  Reel yourself back in woman. Don’t give into the time-sucker tasks. It’s like task crack.

Time gain: 3 hours.

 

2. Teaching

Action: This will go away in a couple of weeks when the semester is over.

Time gain: 6 hours.

 

3. Other people’s work

Action: No other projects until I magically develop more time.

Time gain: 12 hours!

 

4. Alzheimer’s Association

Action: None. I am the chair of the management committee and like to stay tied to the aging community so am not giving this up.

Time gain: 0 (but, is not every week, so – can use this hour for some “ongoing roles” in plan).

 

NET NET: I will gain back 21 hours per week.

 

Parting Thoughts: Holy moly. No wonder I haven’t been getting anything done.