Julia Pimsleur's Million Dollar Women Calls on Female Founders to Think Big by Jenna Abdou


If you’ve ever fallen in love with a business idea, you’ll understand how well this lyric from Coldplay’s song Fix You describes the irresistible high of entrepreneurship. 

“When you're too in love to let it go

But if you never try you'll never know

Just what you're worth.” 

The band’s sentiment is the core of Julia Pimsleur’s mission to empower women entrepreneurs to think big. 

After scaling her company Little Pim to be the leading platform for children to learn foreign languages, she’s made it her goal to help one million women generate one million in revenue by 2020. 

The first step in achieving that is her new book Million Dollar Women: A comprehensive, how-to guide for female founders to scale their businesses. 

From launching and fundraising to delegating and networking, Julia meets her readers as an ally sharing a step-by-step narrative of her journey launching Little Pim. The book also features anecdotes from founders and investors and boasts an extensive list of resources for entrepreneurs. 

These are a few of my favorite strategies Julia shares about taking the leap. 

Stop worrying about being number one. You can’t win the game if you don’t start playing.

Despite sounding blissfully simple when Chris Martin sings, “If you never try, you’ll never know,” becoming comfortable with failure is a universal challenge.

While we all struggle with uncertainty, women are especially adept to defaulting to what they know. 

“If we can’t be really good at something we don’t want to play at all…We haven’t been socialized to play in situations where we have to fall down and get back up,” Julia explained. 

The risk aversive mentality drastically inhibits women from scaling their businesses. 

Currently, 97% of women-led companies have zero employees and make less than $250,000 in annual revenue.

This largely stems from women working as solo-entrepreneurs, focusing on organic growth, and not raising capital. 

“Women start businesses with less than 6% of the capital that men do and they make only 27% of the revenue that men do,” Julia shared. 

“Clearly there’s a connection between having the right amount of capital and being able to go big.” 

Despite being initially apprehensive about raising outside capital, Julia’s decision to fundraise was the turning point for Little Pim. 

Seven years after raising her seed round of funding, Little Pim’s learning program is offered in 12 languages, sold in 22 countries, and has won 25 awards. 

“No one is going to tell you ‘It’s time!’ You have to make that decision by yourself,” she shared.

Silence the voice that you aren’t ready for primetime.

Whether you’re publicly sharing your business idea or meeting with your first investors, it’s important to remember that your heart palpitations and sweaty palms aren’t unique to you.

“Everyone who has done something big and ambitious heard all of those same voices. They just found a way of silencing them.” 

Have the fear and do it anyways.

“It’s okay to be afraid, just don’t let it stop you from taking action.”

Say goodbye to your limiting beliefs.

Recognizing the invalidity of our limiting beliefs is my favorite insight from Million Dollar Women

A few weeks after reading the book, I found myself feeling uncertain and decided to try Julia’s technique of writing down my thoughts. 

Within seconds I centered myself, felt motivated to complete my task, and start a new one.

Whether you’re writing down “I’m not smart enough” or “I can’t raise capital” seeing the statements on paper not only diminishes their validity, it encourages you to prove yourself wrong.

Think bigger. 

The most important question Julia asks in Million Dollar Women is “Where could your business go if you had twice the resources?” 

The sentiment makes you think - it certainly impacted me - and is a valid one for every entrepreneur to consider. 

Once you paint your big picture vision you can take actionable steps - no matter how small - to make it a reality. 

If you’d like to gain deeper insight into how Julia did it at Little Pim tune into her Beyond the Headline podcast where we discuss confidence, fundraising, public speaking, and more. 

You can also purchase Million Dollar Women on Julia’s website, enroll in her online fundraising classes, and stay up to date with her on Twitter and Facebook



Further Reading
  • How MeUndies Made Merchandising Their Competitive Advantage — When MeUndies thinks about their underwear subscription service they compare themselves to Netflix. What the streaming pioneer did for TV, the Los Angeles startup wants to do to your underwear drawer. The goal is to provide monthly subscribers with the staples they love while delivering elements of surprise - Think briefs with donuts and dinosaurs - right to your doorstep.
  • Seedling Relies on Childhood Curiosity to Inspire a Creative Team — On a recent flight home, I spent over an hour browsing a children’s play website, completely enamored by sets like Design Your Own Superhero Cape and Invent Your Own Insects. After sharing Seedling with everyone I know, despite few of my friends having children, I wondered why the brand struck a such a meaningful chord with me.
  • eero Designs Wi-Fi for the Smart Home Era — Nikhil Basu Trivedi, Principal at Shasta Ventures, recently distinguished exceptional founders by their ability to prioritize. “It all comes back to prioritization, speed, paranoia, and knowing that if you don’t iterate, even after finding product market fit, you can be disrupted by the next product,” he says.


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