#48 The Guide to Hitting it Big: Building a Million Dollar Business Part Time

By Kathy Korman Frey as part of the Building a Million Dollar Business Part Time series.

Grampy used to say, “You make your own luck.”


This implies luck is actually an equation; something that can be figured out.

Grampy also did not suffer fools.

He would not approve of this photo, for instance.

Anywhoo, if we’re really going to put this equation into action – it might need to read more like this:

You can make your own luck.

But bring your A-game to the party.

Here’s the equation for:

  • making your own luck, and
  • hitting it big

based on:

  • some observations I’ve made over the years both in and out of MBA,
  • working on a venture-funded business, M&A, other forms of self-torture, and
  • teaching and learning from thousands of entrepreneurs.

Ingredient 1. Great product or service

Case study: Pipcorn, part of Pipsnacks. A spin on popcorn that is unique, all the way down to the packaging. Lemon truffle popcorn? That’s right. They’ve got it. And it’s mini. And it has a cute name.

A great product or service has:

a. Great people behind it (if not, press ejector seat now).

b. A liberal interpretation of “great”.  E.g., Great to a great many people. Millions think the Snuggie is great. We cannot all carry the Birkin bag mon frere.

Tip: Phrase of death = “We’re going to capture x percent of a y billion dollar market.”  Fast way to losing street cred.


Ingredient 2. Right place

Case study:  Smorgasburg. Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Just so happens that the creative director of O Magazine, Adam Glassman, goes here with Gayle. Thus, Pip Snacks founders ( brother and sister Jen and Jeff ) are perfectly situated in front of a henchman and henchwoman of a B.C. (Benevolent Connector – see Ingredient 3).

Right place must contain:

a. One or more Benevolent Connectors or their henchmen/women.

b. The ability for the Benevolent Connector to see you in action (e.g., see or sample your work vs merely meet you – otherwise it is just a warm up).

Tip: Don’t bring a JV pitch to a Varsity event. Practice at events like Springboard’s Dolphin Tank or other similar events near you.


Ingredient 3. Benevolent Connector

Case study: Oprah-slash-Oprah’s Favorite Things 2012

The final ingredient is the Benevolent Connector. This person is a mentor-slash-distribution vehicle who takes you under their wing and out to key publics/markets/stakeholders. Often too busy for the average plebian, it is important to be within ear, eye, and email shot of their henchwomen/men.

A Benevolent Connector must:

a. Be well-known, but also control a distribution network for your product / service. There is a “connector to a Benevolent Connector” and a “Benevolent Connector” – know the difference. Even a venture capitalist with lots of money can still just be a connector to a Benevolent Connector.

b. Be trusted, and listened to by their followers. They are not just people with lists. This is what makes Benevolent Connectors THE most valuable people in today’s business society. They are THE ONLY way to cut through clutter.

Tip: Be ready when the firehose turns on. A friend and Hot Mommas® Project case author got 20,000 emails after going on Oprah.


Summary: The Hitting it Big Equation.

Great Product / Service (by great people), in the Right Place (where Benevolent Connectors or their Peeps hang out and see you in action), leading to the key ingredient:  A Benevolent Connector.

1. Jen and Jeff’s Pipcorn is… 

2. Discovered at Smorgasburg by Oprah Henchwoman/men Gayle and Adam…

3. Resulting in a placement in…Oprah’s 2012 Favorite Things.


What are your thoughts on the “Hit it Big” equation? Conversely? Is there a “belly flop” equation? 

[learn_more caption=”Insiders Hot Mommas view on this”] Why are we writing about this? The Hot Mommas Project is growing. We are global. We have women who have shared their stories, and who follow us, from all over the world. Dudes love us too. They have daughters, sisters, moms. They get it. We have a curriculum that increases confidence measurably. As you can imagine, when you have a venture that deals with half the population, there are many, many ideas. We’ve been focused on ONE THING – a great product. We’ve spent many years making sure it’s great. It’s about education, and impact, for you, and the girls and women in our lives + the organizations that serve them. Now, it’s time to be thinking about distribution. That’s why this equation is so interesting to us…dot, dot, smiley face. Just sharing from our internal strategy meetings. xoxo. The business nerds at the Hot Mommas Project.[/learn_more]


P.s.s. For non-business folks….should you “hit it big” a variety of things will be needed including financing, advice, hires, fires, and possible therapy. However, as is the case with most entrepreneurs we assume you’ll do what it takes to get the job done. How do you know if you’re doing the RIGHT things? Keep reading…and get fantastico mentors / advisors