A few years back, I interviewed Julia Pimsleur for an article I was writing about women who hit the million dollar mark in their businesses. She had launched an early childhood education business and was a member of Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO), a group that offers peer-to-peer learning, experiences, and connections.
Today, Julia runs workshops to share her “secret sauce” and is the author of Million Dollar Women: The Essential Guide for Female Entrepreneurs Who Want to Go Big.
Julia talks about “going big” as a placeholder for a set of aspirations. When a woman gets to $1 million in revenue, three things happen. Getting funds to take your venture to the next level becomes easier. Hitting that mark also means that you’ve figured out “the business of your business” (i.e., what you need to do to make more money). You usually have employees by that point and hopefully are not working 24/7. Interesting fact: Only 10% of women-owned businesses have employees!
Jim D’Arcangelo, VP of When I Work has worked with many women-owned service businesses over the years and has seen rapid growth come from three main sources:
- Getting into a new trending line of business that’s been un-served or under-served like cryotherapy, gluten-free snacks, elder care, technology that streamlines business operations, pet grooming, or lash extensions. (But be sure to do your research on market size and competition, rather than just following a fad.)
- Opening multiple locations and/or developing a line of products in addition to services. For example, Doody Girls also sells probiotics online — enabling the company to reach a national buyer base and boost revenue.
- Freeing-up management time by automating and streamlining various aspects of operations. That way, business owners can focus on growing and innovating rather than just on day-to-day management.
“Be sure you hire the right team too,” says D’Arcangelo. “Great leaders surround themselves with people who add to their skill set, have common goals, and contribute to growth. Everyone should share in that million dollar dream and rewards need to be pegged to achieving that vision.”
You may have just launched your business. Or, you’ve been running it for a while and can’t begin to imagine how you’ll ever hit that first million. “Going big” doesn’t happen overnight.
Need a little motivation and inspiration?
- Check out these great true stories of ten women who now run booming businesses.
- Find a mentor (or many!). Various women-run organizations are now dedicated to helping other women up the entrepreneurial ladder. In addition to Count Me In and Pimsleur’s program, you can find lots of resources in your community simply by Googling “entrepreneur workshops for women.” Be sure to investigate options and check references of “graduates” before investing. Beware of programs that guarantee instant results or are geared just to motivation rather than brass-tacks business management.
- Watch your bottom line…not just the top line. And we’re not just talking about doing squats at the gym! You may be raking in the big bucks, but managing your expenses is also critical. A million dollars is meaningless if you’re only putting pocket change in your own wallet
Finding Our Voices
Womens’ appetites for entrepreneurship is at all all-time high – more than 10 million businesses are owned by women and are growing four times as rapidly as businesses started by men. This comprehensive report from the National Women’s Business Council is packed with statistics, insights, and trends.
Yet, men-owned businesses are 3.5 times as likely to hit the million dollar mark and only 2% women owned businesses ever generate $1 million in revenue, according to Forbes. Why is that? Among the many possible reasons are lack of funding, training gaps, work/life balance conflicts, and types of businesses women start. We can change that! And we are getting the help we need to succeed.
Nell Merlino, the originator of Take Our Daughters to Work Day and founder of Count Me In (an organization committed to helping women achieve economic independence) is now committed to helping this group have a louder voice in policy-making. She recently launched WE Decide2016, an online community that provides feedback to political candidates. Issues like overtime pay, labor laws, and tax policy can have a huge impact on small business success and failure. Now that we’re 10 million strong, we need to speak-up about how we’ll move from millionaires to billionaires!
Are you a sheMILLIONAIRE? We’d love to hear YOUR story too! Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll share your tips in an upcoming post.