Smoke, Mirrors, and Spin on a Million Dollar Business

She said, “Congratulations, not many people can say they sold a business that did over a million dollars a year in sales! You can totally use that in your marketing materials.”

I said, “Yabbut even though we sold over a million dollars in inventory, we didn’t gross a million in profits so that doesn’t feel right to me.”

Can you believe I said that!?

I bet you can.

Camouflage moneyYou have probably been taught not to brag, to be humble, never boastful, always downplay your success and never say things to make others feel less than.

And you know that there are people out there that use smoke, mirrors and spin to make things appear bigger than they really are, always stretching the truth and others buy into their hype while you quietly watch and wonder, “Are they really telling the truth?”

Why is it that some people can stand tall and proud and talk about their accomplishments, while others fall victim to shame when really they should be celebrating?

I have my theories as to why this happens.

As a recovering striver, even when I do really well, it never feels good enough because deep down inside there is always the feeling that more could have been done.

When I opened my store in 2006 I really did bust my a$$ to do 1M in retail sales the first twelve months we were open.

I obsessively tracked our sales the exact same way we did in the corporation, worked long hours, analyzed our product mix weekly, and played with every marketing tool available and networked like a fool. It wasn’t easy, and it definitely wasn’t luck.

And although we did over 1M in retail sales, our gross profits were relatively small, and our expenses were high.

So to me, the business valuation was not a million dollars and to market it as such felt like a fraud.

On the other hand, the business was profitable and it was sold for a decent chunk of cash.  And yet, I still felt uncomfortable and wonky when it came to talking about it. And I still do.


Exceptions in our lives can sometimes scar us and erode our self-confidence.  This then impacts your ability to stand in your power and be proud of your accomplishments for fear of being judged.

When I wrote about The Pilot Project the very first time and talked about some of my success in business, another WOMAN replied and said, “brag, brag, brag.”

This is an example of one of those scars.  Thousands of others read the exact same email and did not reply that way but that one piece of criticism has the ability to impact you.

The same thing happened when I had posted a photo of myself on Facebook and another WOMAN made a snide comment.

Why do women do this to each other?

Women struggle to talk about money every day, to ask for their value, to get paid what they are worth and yet women make tremendous contributions to society.

We need more women who are leaders, millionaires and innovators and in order for this to happen. Women as a whole need to become a lot more comfortable with each others successes.

We don’t need more women tearing each other down, we need role models who stand tall and accept credit for their accomplishments to help others see that it is possible for them too.

That’s why I chose to share this story and why I talk about going from over draft to where I am today when I promote The Pilot Project because I want you to know what is possible for you and when you get there – I want you to stand tall and be proud of all you have done.

There is no shame in making money.

There is no shame in celebrating your success as long as you are not intentionally trying to make someone else feel bad.

The world needs more success and one thing I believe in my heart of hearts is when women make lots of money, they give back to others in need.

The only way to really change the world is for more women to celebrate their success and build successful businesses. <—Click to Tweet

Please brag below.  Tell me one thing you are super proud of that you have done or accomplished that you kind of cringe when it comes to sharing.


5 thoughts on “Smoke, Mirrors, and Spin on a Million Dollar Business”

  1. I am super proud that I am a Best Selling Author (according to the National Academy of Best Selling Authors). And yet I cringe when I share this, because a female *friend* said I should clarify that I am a co-author of a best-selling book, and NOT a best selling author. She said it “shreds credibility” to say otherwise. And yet I have a plaque in my office that says my name and Best Selling Author, and an award for my book. Another female *friend* suggested I “bought” my Best Seller status because my book is a compilation with a celebrity. Interested, as you say, how people love to cut us down.

  2. Great post Lisa :) thanks for sharing!

    It took the death of a friend a few years ago to realize following my passion was something I needed to do. So I did. Hasn’t been easy but I love what I do. Helping athletes and teaching them tools to deal with their mental challenges makes my heart sing.

  3. I love this post! Thanks, Lisa!
    I’m super proud of opening my first business! After teaching in the classroom for 12years and being a stay at home mom, it was a big leap of faith to open up my private swim school (The Aqua Life Swim Academy). I’m proud of having done, and continuing to do, a lot of hard work to keep it growing!
    It baffles me that I am loath to even say this in my own mind because the thought “…but you aren’t making a lot of money yet…” and a few other defeating statements immediately attach themselves to my I’m proud statement.
    I agree, it is time to truly celebrate (and hear other women celebrate!) what we have accomplished without any “and, ifs, or buts” attached.
    All the best to my fellow woman entrepreneurs! Here is to your successes and your little (or big) proud moments! Cheers!

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Lisa Larter Bio Image of Lisa x400

Lisa Larter

Founder and CEO of the Lisa Larter Group, master strategist, author, speaker, podcast host, social media expert, consultant, and business coach. Lisa inspires entrepreneurs and business owners to see the possibilities for their organizations when it comes to strategy. She uncomplicates modern marketing and creates (and implements) strategies for businesses that are guaranteed to increase visibility, inbound leads, and revenue.

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