Author Julia Pimsleur: Why You Need To Focus On Relationships

By Debra Wallace

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Focus on relationships. Meaning, pull your circle, your drifting circle closer to you. Reach out to people, create opportunities for people to interact with each other, and try to build authentic relationships with people in your network.

Because I think all the artifice, and whatever pretenses were there have fallen away. This is a time when people are acting very genuine and vulnerable, and people are seeking a genuine connection right now.

And so, I think that’s where we should focus, and it’s not a time to have flashy marketing and things that are tone-deaf that don’t acknowledge where we are. It’s a time to be very real and very vulnerable with your customers, and I think they will appreciate that and feel more connected to you that way.

When the business climate and economy become difficult to manage, the secret to not only surviving — but truly thriving — is to understand how to pivot.

While the news is filled reports about more than 100,000 small American businesses — and many reports revealing that we are in a current economic crisis — that have permanently closed their doors since March, Julia Pimsleur has helped ease the anxiety and fear of many business owners in her Million Dollar Women community.

What is remarkable is that these inspiring and innovative business owners have figured out how to positively change their business models. As ahighlysuccessful business leader, entrepreneur, author, and coach, she has many tools in her toolbox to help business owners far and wide.

[Million Dollar Women Coach, Business Leader, and Author, Julia Pimsleur — Photo by Mike Edmonds]

As the author of Million Dollar Women: The Essential Guide for Female Entrepreneurs Who Want to Go Big (Simon and Schuster) and the creator of the Million Dollar Summit, along with other platforms to help women achieve financial success, Julia Pimsleur frequently ponders difficult questions about why women succeed as well as why women fail in business.

One of the ways that Pimsleur was able to successfully pivot was to hold her annual Million Dollar Women Summit virtually this year, including a pitch competition, coaching from successful founders, interactive workshops, and more.

So, why does this expert believe that some women meet their goals and become successful while others get in their own way and stop themselves in their tracks? “It is all about one word — mindset,” explains Pimsleur, a trained mindset coach.

“When I wrote Million Dollar Women, I interviewed women around the country who had built multimillion-dollar businesses from scratch in the same way that I did,” Pimsleur explained. “We all agreed you need three things to make it big in business — the right mindset, the right skill set, and the right network.”

Pimsleur said that “women are smart, capable and driven,” so what is the issue? “It’s a question of confidence, not competence.”

She teaches women in her Million Dollar Women Masterclass program that “you can’t build a mansion on quicksand. There is no point in my teaching all of these skills to grow your business if you are not in the right mindset to learn them.”

So, what is mindset all about? “It means that if you truly believe you deserve to have success, you will have success, that no matter what obstacles come up, you will find a way around them,” explains Pimsleur.

She encourages everyone to join a professional organization “to meet people who are one step ahead of you so that you can always be pulled and inspired to the next level. Decide what professional skills you need to hone, and then make a plan to do so. Sign up for a course or hire a coach.”

Especially when you are starting out to grow a business or a brand, Pimsleur says you “have to be ready to take massive action. A big mistake people make is that they set a goal and try one or two things, and when those attempts don’t work, they say it wasn’t meant to be. When in fact, successful people have tried 20, 40, or even 100 methods until they find the one that works.”

This topic is of vital importance as the Coronavirus pandemic has entered its 6th month with state and local government restrictions constantly changing. Pimsleur was eager to talk to Medium about current business trends and how entrepreneurs can stay relevant to their customers and clients, even during a climate that includes unpredictable and choppy waters.

What are the current business trends that are you seeing?

Julia Pimsleur: The number one thing we’ve been advising the members of the Million Dollar Women community is to go back to first principles, which is that we are all problem solvers as entrepreneurs. So, this is an extremely important time to ask yourself, is the problem I solve in my business still a problem for my customers? And if it is, then you still have a business. But if it’s not, if you were doing live dancing and you can’t do that anymore, then you have to find a new problem to solve. And sometimes it’s an adjacent problem, but sometimes it’s a brand-new problem.

What is the next step?

A lot of our women have reached out to their customers just to check in on them, which is a good practice. But they also knew that they had to go beyond that and ask, ‘Hey, what’s keeping you awake right now?’ ‘What’s the toughest thing for you right now?’ So, by making 5 or 10 phone calls to customers, many of them have found new business ideas that weren’t necessarily that different from what they were doing before, but they discovered a new way of delivering their products or services or providing additional services. We will always be able to support ourselves and our families if we focus on that.

Can you give me additional examples?

I have a woman who has an ice cream shop in the San Francisco Bay Area, and she just sold ice cream. For six years or so she was one of the best ice cream shops in the area, but everyone was stuck at home, they weren’t coming out to get ice cream. So, she started selling essentials; bread, and coffee, and all kinds of essentials. And she wound up making a lot of money during the quarantine and acquired a lot of new customers. They had a new problem, right? They didn’t want to drive to Walmart. They didn’t want to go outside of their little neighborhood. Plus, they needed to take a walk anyway, so they could come to her shop and buy all of these essential items.

What are some other examples of women pivoting their businesses during COVID-19?

We have a woman in our community located in Texas who sells essential oils, and her market was spas, hotels, and large B & B clients. But she quickly pivoted her business to selling to consumers because with everyone stuck at home people became more interested in having beautiful essential oils to make their home more pleasant and comforting. Also, everyone’s on top of each other, so here are beautiful essential oils to comfort yourself, to create a nice scent in your home, calming effect, etcetera? So, she has done really well in direct to consumer sales and has added a whole new way of selling to her business model.

Is there anyone else that you want to mention?

A third example is a woman who teaches other women how to repair items at home — such as how to do your own plumbing, how to install a ceiling fan, and how to set up your own electrical wiring in your house. She taught these locally in the Philadelphia area, so her customers were all local women who would drive to come to her workshops. Well, that went away during the pandemic, and so she went to Zoom and started teaching the workshops online. She had minimal technical background so at first, it was very daunting for her to figure out how to turn these live classes into Zoom classes, with the help of other women in our community.

No one wanted to have repair people in their homes and certainly, they didn’t want to let their plumbing go. So, it was an ideal time to learn how to do it yourself. And the silver lining there is now is that she’s national, where she was only local before. So, she’s got women participating from all over the country, and the business is growing at a fast pace.

I know that 100,00 small businesses have closed and at least 100 restaurants just in Philadelphia are not reopening. It’s such a tough time for business in general.

Yes. But when it comes to restaurants, some of them did figure out how to do takeout. So, almost any business or industry you look at, some people figured it out and some people didn’t, which is not to lay blame or discount the challenges to anybody who wasn’t able to figure it out. Especially if you’re dealing with young children at home, there are all kinds of reasons to not be able to make these pivots.

Please tell me more.

There are 12.8 million women business owners and I don’t know yet what percentage went out of business. But I can say in our community of several thousand, we have very few who didn’t make the pivot and figure out how to, maybe not make quite as much money, but certainly stay in business. And for some of them, they’re making more money with their new business model.

Do you have additional examples for me?

We also have a stylist who was doing at home visits, and now she launched a little series called Sip and Style. Where she brings together powerful women, like executives and business leaders to talk about fashion and get guidance from her in a little online series that she created. She also has packages that she launched so that people can easily buy her services. So now she can work with women all over the country, as opposed to just going to their homes in New York.

Focus on relationships. Meaning, pull your circle, your drifting circle closer to you. Reach out to people, create opportunities for people to interact with each other, and try to build authentic relationships with people in your network.

Because I think all the artifice, and whatever pretenses were there have fallen away. This is a time when people are acting very genuine and vulnerable, and people are seeking a genuine connection right now.

[Women’s Business Leadership Coach Julia Pimsleur]

What do you think helped women in your community — having the right mindset, tenacity? Something else?

Well, mindset is critical in business. Whether you look at setbacks as defining who you are and what your business is or as speedbumps. This pandemic is understandably a big speed bump, but at the end of the day, all problems are solvable if you have the right mindset. So, in our program we start with mindset, that’s the very first thing we teach. Because you can’t build a mansion on quicksand. You can’t build a mansion on a shaky foundation. You have to be in a place where you’re ready to take on all the challenges, overcome every obstacle, find a way no matter what. And so that’s something that we work on really proactively in our community, and so we have that as the base.

Maybe the old problems they were solving were not relevant anymore, but there are always problems that need solving, and that’s what we do as entrepreneurs. At the end of the day, we are problem solvers and we will always be able to support ourselves and our families if we focus on that.

What else is key to your Million Dollar Women Community?

We have a strong network of women entrepreneurs who are all there to support each other. So, a lot of women in our community helped each other by sharing what was working, by encouraging each other, by creating partnerships. And even just the morale boost of knowing that you’re in it with all these other women have the same problems and challenges as you do is beneficial. I think that was a big piece of it.

What did you do personally that you think helped your business community?

I went Live on Instagram three times a week for about eight weeks and taught four free webinars, just so that I could be there for any woman in our community who was having challenges. It was a place for women to ask questions to get their problems solved. In fact, it wasn’t just for my community. There was a nurse from Portland, Oregon, who was starting her own business and I was able to help her and many others. Eventually, I dropped it down to twice a week and I’m still doing it, it’s called CEO Check-In. It’s on my YouTube channel and you can get there by searching Julia Pimsleur Coach on YouTube.

What else do you think was involved?

I’ve done a lot of mindset work and I’ve lived through a recession so I was able to share that with my community, too. I built my first business in a recession, so I have run a business during a big downturn. I know some of the specific things you have to do during a big downturn, like how to manage expenses and how to do damage control. And then the community piece of them all helping each other, and then really encourage them to look for problems that they could solve now.

Has any of your previous advice changed because of COVID-19? I mean, everything changes in a global health pandemic so it can’t be business as usual.

We’re definitely recommending that women pay a lot more attention to their finances. We don’t know how long this is going to last, so you really be on top of your numbers and know what your expenses are, and see where you can cut, see where you can defer paying. Get hold of your bank and ask if they can waive the interest payments on any loans or lines of credit.

Also, apply for the funds that the government is providing, whether it’s PPP or the small loans such as from the SBA.

Stay Proactive About Networking — Especially During Tough Times. I would advise business owners to be really proactive about networking because we used to just meet people by going out, happenstance, or intentionally. But now we have to be really intentional about expanding our networks and strengthening our networks. So, we’re recommending that women join pre-vetted networks because no one wants to be on Zoom calls all day long, that’s exhausting. But if you can be intentional, do what we call ‘intentional networking’, and I have a free e-book about that on my website, it’s called Power Networking for Female Founders.

What have you personally and professionally learned about yourself, and your business, and everything that you’ve been working on because of or during COIVD-19?

Well, I’ve always known that I’m a recovering perfectionist, and it kept me from doing live coaching because what if someone asked me a question I couldn’t answer? What if I couldn’t feel good about my presence? What if there was something that they didn’t like about it? But in the pandemic, I decided to just focus on what the women in my community needed.

So, right now we don’t have a vaccine or any kind of cure. Things are opening and rapid closings. People are still afraid and pivoting, and they don’t know if they’re going to be able to go back to work or how. So how are things changing and evolving with your business and your community amid all of this?

We ran an online business school, so in a way, people are just joining us where we lived for the last five years, which is online. The only in-person things we did were the annual summit, which we did bring online this year, and we did some occasional in-person networking events.

The biggest impact for me personally is that I really miss seeing my team and the energy of working in-person with them, and I don’t know when we’re going to be able to all be together again. My chief of staff who was in the office every day, a lot of the rest of my team is part-time or virtual, but she and I were in the office every day together, she lives in Brooklyn and she doesn’t feel safe to commute back into Manhattan.

How have you spent your time during the past six months of the Coronavirus pandemic?

I feel so fortunate that I have not gotten COVID nor has anyone in my family. Some people are so incredibly careful and then the one thing they did, they got COVID. So, I would rather just live as normally as I can, and if I’m going to get it, I’m going to get it. Plus, you never even know where you got it if you got it. It’s not like you’ll be able to point to that one time you went to the supermarket.

Do you have one last big piece of advice that my readers can hang onto?

Focus on relationships. Meaning, pull your circle, your drifting circle closer to you. Reach out to people, create opportunities for people to interact with each other, and try to build authentic relationships with people in your network.

Because I think all the artifice, and whatever pretenses were there have fallen away. This is a time when people are acting very genuine and vulnerable, and people are seeking a genuine connection right now.

And so, I think that’s where we should focus, and it’s not a time to have flashy marketing and things that are tone-deaf that don’t acknowledge where we are. It’s a time to be very real and very vulnerable with your customers, and I think they will appreciate that and feel more connected to you that way.

Be Intentional. Speak to your goals. Write them down, and post them where you can see them. Written goals have a far higher chance of being met than goals that are just in your head. Take ownership of your own goals, and you are more likely to achieve them.

Know the Feeling Behind the Goal. This is important because sometimes we can forget what feeling we’re trying to achieve. Sometimes, you can reach a goal, but not feel any happier with your life than you were before you reached the goal.

Know Your Personality Type. Different personality types get motivated or get off track, like when you fall off the bandwagon. There are four different personality types — They are Obligor, Questioner, Upholder, and Rebel. Figuring out which one you are can help you make sure you are setting yourself up for success. These Four Tendencies — are identified by Gretchen Rubin in her book Better Than Before.

Focus On What Could Go RIGHT Instead of What Could Go WRONG. We often focus on what could go wrong. When we hit our first speed bump on our way to our goal, we go spiraling down into self-doubt ‘Oh, it’s not going to work anyway. I’m not smart enough, I’m not rich enough, I don’t have the right contacts.’ So, what you can do is keep a journal about what could go right. That refocuses your mind on the positive things.

Get rid of the naysayers. These are friends, or family members, who act like enemies, who will put down your idea or plan and remind you of the time you didn’t succeed. It takes a lot of positive energy to achieve big goals, and you need to distance yourself from the naysayers who will discourage you or even shoot you down during your journey.

What’s the alternative? Instead, surround yourself with high-energy people who are also doing ambitious things. For every naysayer in your life, you should have two positive “cheerleader” friends to make up for them because they suck a lot out of you. It is of major importance to protect that little bubble around your positive energy so that you can pursue those goals and dreams!

I agree that people really respond to my writing now that comes straight from my heart about my family and our challenges and triumphs.

Well, there you go, that’s a perfect example of that absolutely. Don’t you think that people are being more real and more vulnerable now?

Oh, absolutely. They want to know who you are to trust you, and no amount of selling at this point if they don’t feel a connection with you, I feel, is going to work at all.

Yes, that’s precisely what I’m talking about. And just on a human level, I think we’re creating that too. I don’t think I have any patience right now for anybody who’s not real from what’s going on. We’ve all got too much going on.

Where can we find additional information?

My e-book is at on the homepage, you can download it there. There are two e-books on my homepage, one is that one and one is Million Dollar Moms, which is my parenting advice — top 10 tips for raising confident kids, specifically for entrepreneur moms.

You can also find the CEO Check-In on IG TV and on my YouTube channel, by searching Julia Pimsleur Coach. All the CEO Check-Ins are posted on the YouTube channel, so people can go back and watch prior ones if they’re interested.

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