Photo from “9 to 5” music video

By Kevin Elliott

Who Doesn’t Love Dolly?

We all know Dolly Parton for her songwriting genius, her style, and her friendly Southern demeanor. You may even know about her entrepreneurial wizardry – she has interests in everything from a talent agency to a restaurant chain to her own amusement park. Full on mogul.

I’m a long-time admirer (since Rhinestone) and I thought Dolly couldn’t surprise me anymore. Then I watched her latest documentary Here I Am on Netflix.

It is a masterclass on how to conduct oneself and build a business empire, especially for women. But there is one story in the film that encapsulates how Dolly accomplished her stupendous success. It is a lesson to every entrepreneur. 

Take the Moment … Then Ask for More

The year is 1980 and Dolly’s phone rings. It is iconic actress Jane Fonda. Fonda is planning a new movie about the challenges faced by three working women in the 1970s and how they get back at their idiot boss. It’s called 9 to 5

Fonda – Jane freaking Fonda – asks Dolly to be in the film. For context, Dolly is a huge star at this point, but only a music star. She has never done a film, and certainly not one with a Hollywood legend. Most of us would fall at the feet of Lady Jane and express our eternal thanks.

Dolly doesn’t. 

“I’ll do it,” Dolly said. “If I can write the theme song too.”


Think about that. It would be enough for most people – even ambitious entrepreneurs – to take the movie gig and run. But Dolly pushes for more, and gets it. 

That should be a lesson to all of us business owners. Push hard, push for more, make the big ask. Ask for what you really want.

You just might get it. 

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P.S. – Here’s the result of Dolly’s moxy. If you know one of her songs, you know this one.