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So What if My Role Model is a Pot Dealer: Entrepreneural Lessons from “Weeds”

Think there’s nothing to learn from a crazy mom who sells weed in the surburbs? Think again. Mary Louise Parker’s character Nancy is the classic example of an entrepreneur. I’ve made no secret of my certain affection for a fictitious middle-aged widow who supports her extended family weekly on Showtime at 10 PM.

Think there’s nothing to learn from a crazy mom who sells weed in the surburbs? Think again. Mary Louise Parker’s character Nancy is the classic example of an entrepreneur.

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I’ve made no secret of my certain affection for a fictitious middle-aged widow who supports her extended family weekly on Showtime at 10 PM.

Mary-Louise Parker looking sexy and smart

There’s something about the way Mary-Louise Parker saunters as she effectively multi-tasks – Running her underground business while trying to meet the needs of her brood, inevitably falling from grace episode after episode, only to stay afloat and do a public service (Juggling hats again!) by supplying every inch of the food train with much-needed “happy” relief in the form of marijuana.

I’m not advocating drug use here. I’m quite anti-pleasure derived from substances other than chocolate or ice cream. It’s just Nancy Botwin (or Mary-Louise Parker’s character on Weeds) is such a prime example of a social antipreneur.

She has her principles and stands by them – She won’t deal in elicit drugs like crack or cocaine, traded her SUV for a Prius in a way that even Al Gore might have to slap her on the rear for just out of sheer adulation, and she puts her family first before her work.

But Botwin isn’t just about the labels that go with her personal brand of soma. She’s an unsung feminist in the form of a single mother that’s had to act of necessity to support her family. Sure, she might have chosen a less glamorous and perhaps more legal professions to dabble in, but having been a housewife for a number of years whose kids were accustomed to a certain middle-to-upper class lifestyle, mostly provided for by her dead husband, Parker’s character had to pick up the pieces.

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So she went with a job that could make her a ton of bank, lend itself to the hours she could afford while raising two sons, and allow her to use her feminine wiles to get her out of potentially hairy situations, if needed.

And from what I hear a little flirting in the workplace has never hurt productivity.

But there’s more to being a successful entrepreneur and owning your own company than just being a MILF. Parker’s mentors in the biz have paved the way for her to learn and grow (no pun intended). She spent much of the 1st and 2nd seasons honing her craft and business sense from a family-run pot business that took her in and showed her the ropes.

Through trial and error and some tough love, Parker’s character emerged as a shining heroine and somewhat to root for in all her flawed splendor.

She’s had her share of failures like any serial entrepreneur including a bake shop (a front for money laundering) that burned down (strike 1), then taking a front-and-center role in burning down her entire community and house (strike 2), and somewhere in the middle getting her DEA ex killed (not really a strike 3).

Through it all Botwin has reinvented herself and managed to adapt to the changes in her business, meandering in and out of leadership roles ranging from entrepreneur to intrapreneur, all the while seeking independence and authority in a industry plagued by certain dudes at the top of the ladder. She’s also managed to stay super cool and nice, but firm and assertive when the situation warrants it.

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In just this week’s episode Parker decided it was high time for her to get a cut of the action and start selling again to her patrons. She didn’t want to be the middleman/woman. When she didn’t get the go-ahead from her direct superior, she went to the top and wasn’t afraid to take a couple of bruises to get what she wanted or temporarily damage her friendship with her boss.

“It’s just business,” Botwin told him.
Spoken like a true lady. And businesswoman.

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