#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.

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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.

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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

(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.

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

It’s that time again. Time to stop messing around and throw down the gauntlet for myself, much as I did in the first post in March, 2008. At that time, I could not see what lay ahead. All I saw was fear, no money, and a bunch of to-do lists and ideas that never seemed to get done. Piece by piece – and while being incredibly cheap aka “resourceful” – I recruited help, enlisted partners, built the Hot Mommas Project story-telling software, and then…the clincher: THE WOMEN. Women came from everywhere…from Twitter…from HARO queries…from mail blasts…from blog posts….from media appearances…from the George Washington University School of Business newsletter! They showed up, ready to fight. They said:

“We are here to fight to make the next generation better, and more prepared, and self-confident. I am here to share what I have learned, good and bad, so that we may have options in life, instead of being told what our options are.”

They told their stories, and the ripple effect never stopped. Stay-at-home moms inspired corporate execs. Victims of abuse inspired start-up entrepreneurs.  Entrepreneurs who lost, and then found, their way inspired students. Cancer survivors inspired everyone. I didn’t grow up with sisters, but, I got over 100 sisters last year. These incredible women who told their stories to help the next generation, and each other, are my Everyday Revolutionaries.

But, I STILL remember that feeling…sitting there in my office, writing my first blog post, and not seeing ANY of that. It’s sort of how I feel now. I should be writing a book, I should be getting more nominations for the Hot Mommas Project 2010 case competition, I should, I should, I should. So, once again, I humbly turn to my invisible…yet not so invisble…audience. Here is my idea for my book. I have lots of people ready to run with this and help me when I finish my outline, which I never seem to be able to do. (Who is helping me? Aside from friends’ connections to book agents, I have to give MASSIVE shout outs to pitch and media experts Sam Horn, and Marc Silverstein).

Book concept/Title:

How to be a Hot Momma

The New Sisterhood of Success

Enduring message: Here is HOW to do it based on how Hot Mommas do it (life, career, etc.). Hear it straight from the mouths of your sisters, friends, mothers, and aunts…because we care. Oh, yeah, and we also want you to rule the world.

Why you should listen: This will be the Belly Laughs mixed with Four Hour Work Week of business/life books. Not only will this be immensely fun to read, and possibly contain some profanity depending on the author’s coffee levels and general level of crankiness, but – also – there are actual FACTS and HOW TOs based on:

  • The largest library of teachable role models in the world (they taught, we listened, and now we bring those lessons to you).
  • Cutting-edge, inside-look research detailing the practices of hundreds of driven AND happy women.
  • Highlights from the award-winning Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership class at the George Washington University School of Business.

[This part makes me cringe, but, I’ve been told by my husband and others I need to go ahead and pimp myself out]

Author: It is I, your humble So-You-Think-You-Can-Dance-watching, kid-chasing, husband-raising, coffee-drinking author who also happens to have a Harvard MBA, teach college students, and have an illustrious career (entrepreneur and former corporate wheeler and dealer and nonprofit executive in the aging sector). In the “for what it’s worth” category I am a DC Twitter Elite, write for Maria Shriver Women’s Conference site, and have been dubbed “one of the nation’s top business bloggers” by HSM’s World Business Forum.  Bio link.

If you choose to believe the above, please read on … we’re almost to the good part.

The following has been said about “How to Be a Hot Momma” author, Kathy Korman Frey:

“You have something in your teeth.”

Oh, wait, wrong quote …this is it:

“Kathy is like a modern day guardian angel, without a God complex.  She navigates us through stories and helps women apply them to their own lives.”

Mysterious and Powerful Entertainment Industry Corporate Communications Executive

Now that I’ve paid the nice lady five, crisp, $100 dollar bills…here’s the outline:

Chapters:

Foreward…Hopefully by one of the Hot Mommas extremely impressive judges from 2009 or 2010.

Intro: Who is a Hot Momma? Hot Mommas think being perfect is boring.  Hot Mommas are entrepreneurs of life: Making their own rules, and finding their own way, and having the self-confidence to do that. And the number one trait of a Hot Momma that distinguishes her from all others? A Hot Momma helps her sisters. She learns, and doesn’t stop there; she pays it forward so that others may learn.

Major steps in becoming a Hot Momma (in the book, I plan to use Sam Horn’s IDEA framework: I = Idea, D = Detail, E = Example, A = Application).

1. Self confidence – First, a Hot Momma must believe she can do it. Tips for building life-long self-confidence are discussed in this section.

  • “Grey boxes” (fun stats) will include research showing the self-confidence differential between women and girls, and our male counterparts.
  • Resources: Examples of Hot Mommas who have been through the self-confidence building process, how they did it, and links to templates and tools.

2. Idea generation – A Hot Momma’s GPS is constantly on the lookout for the intersection of “Passion Ln.” and “Idea Ave.” When those two meet, BINGO. But, the Hot Momma also knows that the journey is part of the trip.

  • Grey boxes: Stats on idea creation, and neurological information on women.
  • Resources: Examples of Hot Mommas who have been through the idea generation process and how they did it. Mind Mapping, Opportunity Recognition, and Passion Inventory exercises used in GWSB’s award-winning Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership class are included.

3. Okay, that was too many ideas – Focus, implementation – Sometimes, the brain of a Hot Momma is in overdrive. There can be ideas, then too many ideas. There can be to-dos, but then too many to dos. This chapter focuses on how to reign in the brain of the Hot Momma, and use its power for good…using…”The F Word” (FOCUS).

  • Grey Boxes: Stats from Hot Mommas Project mentor survey on traits for success, including focus.
  • Resources: Examples of “master focuser “(is that a word?) Hot Mommas, their tips and tricks, and a daily action-plan template.

4. Stocking the toolkit – Key tips for women only, communication, negotiation, and more. Did you know that women engage in certain behaviors (by accident) in communicating and negotiating with people, bosses, roommates, etc? This chapter deals with the most important things Hot Mommas try to improve on to get out there and take on the world.

  • Grey Boxes: Statistics on communication, negotiation, resulting salary differentials, and other key facts.
  • Resources: We draw from outside the Hot Mommas Project data pool for this section as most women don’t even KNOW they are engaging in these behaviors which impact their success.

5. Be a game changer – Hot Mommas are entrepreneurs because they have to be, they are miserable where they are, or they hear the distant call of “Passion Ln.” and “Idea Ave.” However they became entrepreneurial, Hot Mommas just ARE. At home, at work, in their communities. They take the pieces of the puzzle and don’t just put them together WELL, they put them together DIFFERENTLY.

  • Grey Boxes: The Hot Mommas Project literally created the data set on women as game changers. We reveal our previously unpublished data, and compare it to existing “traditional” data which shove women into traditional categories (part-time, full-time, etc.).
  • Resources: Case studies on game changers from the Hot Mommas Project survey and case library will be highlighted. Tools and templates on “how to be a game changer” will be included.

6. Balance – This is high on the radar screen of women and families everywhere.  We take on the concept of balance with three critical topics: Perspective, Organization, and Delegation.  Many women treat balance as if it is an end in and of itself.  The evolved Hot Momma treats balance as a MEANS to an end. Something to achieve, and move on, so that they can get onto number 7, back to number 3, or go rogue with some other activity like bathing. The topic of managing expectations (self, and others) is also addressed.

  • Grey Boxes: Former Harvard Business School Professor and Assistant Secretary of Commerce Dennis Hightower states: “A good manager can make decisions with between 40 and 70 percent information.”  We apply this statistic to balance, encouraging women make sure that achieving balance is a hurdle, not a brick wall. We validate womens’ concerns about balance by revealing data on dual income couples, and common responses and attitudes about balance from our Hot Mommas Project survey and previously unpublished “Balance Snapshot” database.
  • Resources: Tips from Hot Mommas Project “Master Balancers” – the top 10 percent of our survey-takers who are highly driven, and highly balanced both personally and professionally. If they can do it, we can do it.

7. Mentoring and support systems. Hot Mommas not only HAVE mentors, they ARE mentors. Hot Mommas have an internal call to action that leads them to pass on their learnings to others both formally (through the Hot Mommas Project and other outlets) and informally. They mentor, because they have been mentored. Hot Mommas have a large support network, and are more successful because of it.

  • Grey Boxes: Hot Mommas Project research on the hierarchy and scale of support networks will be shared.
  • Resources: A Five Minute Mentor template will be shared that can be used with mentees, mentors, and at work or at home. Did you know your whole family could serve as a mentor? Learn how in this chapter.

Thank you for reading. The last step is to fill out this poll (I’ll use it in my book proposal!). Thank you, again.

Want to get involved with the project? Go to www.HotMommasProject.org and NOMINATE a dynamic woman you know to share her story, and help the next generation. Winners of our annual case study competition will be published in a major Prentice Hall Textbook.  Here is our 2010 press release.

#25c – David Rubenstein’s Top 10 Chicken Soup for the Economy? Women in Business Get Your Game On

David Rubenstein, Co-founder Carlyle Group

David Rubenstein, Co-founder Carlyle Group

  • The US unemployment rate is currently 9.8%. It’s the highest in 36 years.
  • Americans are unwilling to take risks or trust big companies. Young people are uncertain of  their career paths.
  • After World War II, the US constituted were 48 percent of the world’s GDP. Now we’re about 20 percent of the world’s GDP.

From the women’s perspective, here is a women’s factoid I tweeted the other day to add to the bad news:

@ChiefHotMomma: Economy &Women: 19% of senior exec women lost jobs vs 6% of men http://ad.vu/m7j8 [Huff Post Blog / Catalyst Rsch]

The bleak picture painted by David Rubenstein of the Carlyle Group has a silver lining. As Bill George said earlier: Is there an opportunity for you during this crisis? Women and their families are thinking more entrepreneurially during this slow economic time (see links below). Is this the time you’ll look back on as your most brilliant because – when forced – you rose to the occasion, sold the big deal, came up with the new idea, or took a risk you thought you never could? If this is, or could be you, David Rubenstein had some great, quick lessons learned: Continue reading