Mastering the Art of the Brag

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By Concetta Rand, Chief Revenue Officer, iFundWomen

You hate to brag. We feel you. Every day we talk to entrepreneurs who tell us they would rather work on their business than focus on selling. So they avoid putting their accomplishments out into the world their and that holds their businesses back. 

Research shows that whether it's touting our own performance or estimating our abilities, women lag far behind men.  We also know that women who are overtly confident pay a price. But if you don’t promote what you’re doing no one else will.  There's no question it’s a tricky tightrope to walk.

When women step up to solve problems, we add a critical perspective. When our businesses are constrained by a lack of funding, everyone loses. Our silence has a real financial cost - from delayed promotions to smaller salary increases to lower fundraising amounts.

When women step up to solve problems, we add critical perspective. When our growth is constrained by a lack of funding, everyone loses.

When it comes to raising money for your business, bragging is table stakes. So what’s the secret to mastering the art of the brag?  How do those who may be more introverted get comfortable with touting your accomplishments and claiming your seat at the table?

1)  GET YOUR HEAD IN THE GAME

Mindset matters. Instead of ‘bragging’, think of it as a means to an end, and that “end” is growing your business.  Recognize that if you don’t start talking, no one else will. And you owe it to yourself and your business to get the word out about what you’re doing.

2)  OWN YOUR STORY

Your pitch is critical. You need to love it and own it in order to sell it.  Write out your pitch using our script template and practice constantly - with friends, in front of a mirror, to strangers, and to your phone while recording yourself.  Flexing your brag muscle like this will inevitably increase your confidence and your ability to share your successes with others.

3)   ASSEMBLE YOUR CHEERLEADING SQUAD

It can be daunting to put your accomplishments out in the world. If a post hits social media and no one likes, did it even happen? Take a page from some of the women who served in Obama's White House and enlist a friend – or 5! – to amplify your accomplishments. Take an advertising approach to your news – frequency matters. The more people who talk up your campaign and goals, the more likely they are to break through the clutter.

4)   DO THE WORK UPFRONT

Crowdfunding requires you to put yourself out there over and over again. Do that in whatever way is most authentic and organic to you, but be sure to prepare ahead of your campaign launch.  Your campaign is not a one-and-done sort of thing. It's not something you set and forget. It’s a marathon – not a sprint – and you need to keep your all-out media plan going all the way to the finish line. Be thoughtful in planning what channels you’re going to use and how you’re going to make them work for you.

It comes down to this: it’s not bragging if you’re really invested in what you’re doing. And if you’re not willing to invest in your business, why would anyone else be?

3 Things Every Female Founder Should Know

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This week's blog post is brought to you by DeLisa Alexander, Executive Vice President & Chief People Officer at Red Hat.  As an advisor and board member for several organizations advancing the entrepreneurial community in Raleigh, North Carolina, and the founder of the Women's Leadership Community at Red Hat, DeLisa understands the barriers faced by female entrepreneurs and she has rounded up her top three tips for women navigating the startup world.

Innovation and entrepreneurship are critical—to our community, to our country, and to the world. Entrepreneurs are a key part of a robust business ecosystem, because they generate new ideas, challenge the status quo, and help us solve the big problems that our world is facing.

But it’s hard to solve these problems when you’re missing part of the population. While research shows us that women make great entrepreneurs, they’re half as likely as men to start a business.

Entrepreneurs...help us solve the big problems that our world is facing. But it’s hard to solve these problems when you’re missing part of the population.

I’ve seen this play out many times throughout my career, particularly as I’ve worked with organizations like Soar Triangle, the Council for Entrepreneurial Development (CED), and other groups that support our local entrepreneurial community in Raleigh.

While the barriers women face in starting a business may be steep, it’s worth the climb. We know that diversity of many types (gender, ethnicity, age) creates greater diversity of thought. For the startup community, that means a better representation of customers, more innovative ideas, and better risk management.

I’ve observed some common traits among women who have been successful in creating and sustaining their own businesses. Here are three tips for those aspiring to be founders or leaders in the startup world:

1. Be aware of the odds and be ready to beat them

Women face additional barriers to entrepreneurship, including bias, greater responsibilities for family and life, and a lack of mentors. Being aware of these obstacles is the first step to overcoming them. For example, finding a mentor in your community might be a challenge. In addition to applying for programs that are open to everyone, take advantage of the resources offered by organizations like iFundWomen. They’re not only connecting women-led startups with mentors, investors, and resources, but also celebrating the successes of startups that are making an impact.

2. Be willing to bootstrap in order to stick to your vision

Entrepreneurs are innovators, and to innovate ahead of your time, you have to stick to your vision. The research tells us that women are resourceful, and they start companies with nearly half as much capital. So as you’re building prototypes and getting started, do what you need to do to bring your ideas to market. If your startup is addressing a problem that the market isn’t ready for yet, you may also need to be willing to make adjustments or find creative, cost-effective ways to communicate your vision. Striking a balance and being flexible on this journey doesn’t mean you’re giving up on your idea. If you’re open to new perspectives, they may improve or shift your idea and make it more fundable. This approach will prepare you to push forward when the market is ready.

3. Be resilient and open to feedback

Starting a new business is a risky undertaking, and there are times when you will get it wrong. It’s important to continue to iterate and build resilience as you approach roadblocks along the way. If you fail, what do you learn from it? How do you quickly iterate and shift your focus to better address the needs of the market? As entrepreneurs and innovators, you're often extending yourself to play many roles, climbing out onto skinny branches to bring your ideas to life. It's easy to want to seek perfection and avoid failures. I’ve learned that while critical feedback can be hard to hear when it’s something you’re deeply passionate about, it will help you avoid the big failures. At Red Hat and in open source communities, we call this “failing faster” -- constantly putting your early ideas out there, accepting input of all kinds, making those ideas better, and abandoning the ones that don’t pan out. This approach means you’re setting yourself up for continuous improvement, and laying the groundwork for the long-term success of your business.

There's no denying the obstacles that female entrepreneurs will face on their way to success, but preparing for these barriers ahead of time might just be the key to your success.

Red Hat is the world's leading provider of open source software solutions designed to provide customers with scalable & flexible technologies that meet their needs. iFundWomen is honored to have Red Hat as a sponsor of iFundWomen Raleigh, the region's dedicated crowdfunding platform. 

A Hidden Figure Crowdfunds on iFundWomen

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This week's guest post is brought to you by Dr. Sandra K. Johnson - An engineer and entrepreneur who is crowdfunding on iFundWomen for the resources to build geeRemit, her blockchain app for reduced-cost global money transfers.  Dr. JOHNSON is an actual Hidden Figure, one of the first African-American women to receive her Ph.D. in electrical engineering, and the first African-American woman to reach a technical leadership position at IBM. We are so inspired by her journey and the opportunity to be a part of it. 

I waited with great anticipation to see the movie, Hidden Figures. I was so inspired when I saw it. I learned that many of my experiences were also those of these three fabulous women. The way young Katherine Johnson explained the mathematical equations in one of the opening scenes felt right at home. FORTRAN was the first programming language I learned, and I ran them on a massive IBM computer. I left the movie excited, inspired, and also knowing that their story is my story.
 
However, I did not expect the sense of connection and history I experienced when I read the book. That’s when I learned the story of Dr. Christine Darden, the fourth woman profiled in the book. She worked as a supersonic aircraft designer at NASA. It turns out that I used some of her groundbreaking work in computational fluid dynamics (CFD) in my Ph.D. thesis research. It was then that I knew I stood on her shoulders and we have a historical connection. I immediately felt as though I had to meet her and began to look for ways to make this happen.
 
Several weeks later I learned that Dr. Darden was coming to the area for “STEM Resilience: Dinner and Conversation with Dr. Christine Darden”, an event at a local restaurant. I was so excited and immediately purchased a ticket. I reached out to the host, asking her to allow me to spend just a few minutes with Dr. Darden one-on-one. Well, she actually had me sit next to her for the evening. We spent 90 minutes together, getting to know each other, sharing our experiences, and conversing and sharing words of wisdom with three young ladies at the table with us.

Dr. Sandra K. Johnson with Dr. Christine Darden, and host of the evening Dr. Christine Grant

Dr. Sandra K. Johnson with Dr. Christine Darden, and host of the evening Dr. Christine Grant

Dr. Darden is a very warm, soft-spoken and affable individual. She is also wise as a serpent, but soft as a dove. We talked about her professional experiences as well as her beloved family. (She knew quite a bit about my background, as someone had shared my vita with her before she arrived). I was very interested in her NASA career, including how she navigated and overcame her challenging environment to make her impact. She was very competent in her work and asked the right questions at the right time. For example, when she noticed that her male colleagues who started at NASA with similar credentials began to advance, she asked her manager about her advancement. When she did not get an acceptable answer, she went straight to the director and asked him. His response was that no one had ever asked him that question. Within a few weeks, she was promoted to engineer, from her position as a human computer. Dr. Darden mentioned to us that she only learned that the women in the NASA diversity office championed her cause by reading the book. She did not know prior to that.
 
I asked her how she developed her work on CFD algorithms.  It turns out her boss more or less left her alone to think and work, and that’s how she was able to do her work. In fact, she was the sole author on a paper describing her groundbreaking work. She spoke very fondly of her boss, and stayed in contact him for many years after he retired.
 
We also compared notes about our time in graduate school. Our experiences were similar. When she walked into a classroom, she was the only woman and her classmates were all Caucasian men. My classes were primarily Caucasian and Asian men and maybe two or three women, including me. The difference was that her classmates were willing to work with her, to be part of working groups. For me, no one but the foreign students would work with me. Of course they turned out to be the smartest students in class so I was always in good groups.
 

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I told her about my experiences where students and faculty said unpleasant things to me, such as “I believe you’re in the wrong place” or “I don’t think you’re going to make it here, but we’ll take your fellowship money”. She was appalled at this and asked me how I coped. I told her that I knew the truth, and they would eventually learn the truth. I did belong there and I eventually made believers out of them! She mentioned that for some, that would have been a discouragement. Not so with me.  What is enlightening to me is she did not have such experiences in school.
 
I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Dr. Darden, getting to know her, learning about her career and her family. I will always cherish the personal time I had with her!

Dr. Sandra K. Johnson is continuing to make history through her crowdfunding campaign. Support her project on iFundWomen.

5 Healthy Habits Every Entrepreneur Should Cultivate

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While there are countless ways to better yourself, developing good habits is often relegated to quickly cast-off New Year’s resolutions. Enter, Self-Improvement Month, also known as: September.

The iFundWomen Coaching Staff hear all manner of healthy habits that the amazing women in our network have mastered - or are working on themselves. Growing a business can be all-consuming. In the midst your business-building brilliance, we also recognize it’s critically important to take time out for yourself and the things you care about.

So, in honor of Self Improvement Month, we humbly present to you, 5 Healthy Habits Every Entrepreneur Should Cultivate:

1 .  Ask for Help

Running your own business is hard work. The most successful entrepreneurs know what to tackle themselves and when we to ask for help.  What matters is that things get done - not that you did it all yourself. You don’t have to be the expert in everything, but it can be uncomfortable to put yourself out there and admit you don’t know it all. Or to make the decision to invest in yourself and your development financially.  Whether it’s hiring a coach to help with your crowdfunding and business strategy, asking your network to invest in your campaign, or outsourcing your social media strategy to an expert, asking for help is the surest sign of strength.

What matters is that things get done - not that you did them yourself.

2.  Build Community & Seek Out Mentors

If we could offer one piece of advice to every person out there, it would be this: Build Community and Cultivate Mentors. Yes, you’re extremely busy. Yes, there are a million more urgent things in front of you. But building community and seeking out mentors are two of the best things you can do for yourself and your business. Whether it’s broadening your network in real life through organizations like the Six Degrees Society or GirlSpace Co-Working & Day Care  or connecting with like-minded women online at Covey Club, forming new and different relationships exposes you to different perspectives and approaches to solving problems. And if you’re looking for role models to aspire to become, SWAAY Media is a great place to follow and be inspired by groundbreaking women.

3.  Avoid Context Switching

For some people, this is the hardest habit to commit to. Whether it’s endless notifications on your phone, incessant email checking, or a co-worker popping by in-person (or on your screen) to ask about an urgent issue, staying focused on just one task seems almost impossible these days. But every day we hear more about the downside to all our multitasking - it turns out that 98% of us are in fact terrible at it.  For all we’re doing, we’re accomplishing far less: studies say multitasking cuts our productivity as much as 40%.  So how do we get back to single-tasking? Some of our favorite personal productivity techniques include batching similar tasks together and setting limits, which all starts with organizing and scheduling your time. Tools like the Pie Life Planner can transform how you manage your time. Instead of checking email all day long, pick 2 or 3 times to power through messages - and then close your browser or better yet, sign out of your account. Turning off all non-urgent desktop and phone notifications can be life-changing in terms of keeping you focused on the task at hand. And using apps like Tide can help you block off dedicated periods of time to focus your energies on that truly mission critical task.

4.  Exercise your Mind and Body

Still with us? Fantastic! Now let’s get honest about some serious self-care. As an entrepreneur, it can feel like the world will crumble if you take even a second for yourself. But we all know the opposite is true. Healthy living is all about making time to nourish your mind and body so that you can come back refreshed and ready to conquer the world. And the entrepreneurs on iFundWomen make it easy to take care of yourself from head to toe.

Thanks to Francine Steadman Krulak and some incredible rewards from Buddha Booth, you don’t have to look far to find a quiet space in the midst of all of life’s noisy places. Maybe you prefer to burn off all that stress with a killer run. The Brass Betty team has you covered with some amazingly stylish (and functional) sports bras.

And if you’re like some of iFundWomen team, you just want to treat yourself to some mood boosting scents from Adoratherapy or an at-home spa experience with luxury skincare products from Gilly’s Organics.

5.  Unplug: Shut it Down

Whether it’s an hour, a day, or a week - disconnecting is an absolute must. While we sense there are negative consequences to being ‘always on’, few of us take steps to truly disconnect. But when we take the time to step back, research and experience show us incredible things happen - our stress levels go down and our brain gets a much-needed respite from all that hard work.  Recognizing those opportunities for cerebral siestas allows you to access different parts of your brain and that will benefit you greatly when waking up on the refreshed side of the bed - you’ll be more likely to turn problems into challenges and make better decisions throughout your day.  The point is - whether it’s a trip to an off-the-grid bar like Drunken Money in Bocas del Toro, Panama, finally sitting down to get through a few pages in a great book, or enjoying the great outdoors with your four-legged friend, courtesy of Waggin’ Trails Dog Park - taking time offline to reconnect with family, friends, and yourself is the healthiest habit of all.

As entrepreneurs, our personal mind & body health tends to take a backseat to more pressing matters, like keeping our businesses alive.  The truth is that nothing should get in the way of carving out relatively small amounts of time to unplug, relieve stress and step outside of the hustle bubble in order to reset and refresh.  

How To Create a Marketing Strategy with Little-to-No Budget

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At iFundWomen, we know that many female entrepreneurs are working with very small amounts of capital while at the same time working tirelessly to grow their businesses, so this week's guest post is brought to you by our friends at Muses - an influencer black book in your back pocket, helping you get direct access to thousands of relevant influencers excited to promote your brand. Through their app, you can filter and search by location and following to find the best influencers for you.

As entrepreneurs, we’ve all been there: tied to a shoestring budget.

If you’re operating with little-to-no marketing budget, you’re likely in the early stages of pinning down your audience demographics and behaviors, optimal methodology, and messaging. You’ve got a lot going on.

So, let’s start with the marketing channels that you own and the audience that you do have — before upping your spend to initiate paid campaigns that reach new folks.

First, there are your social channels:

Facebook, LinkedIn (assuming you don’t use Premium), Twitter, and Instagram. Note that it is not imperative for your business or brand to have a presence on each of these channels. You’ll only want to focus on the platforms where your audience lives. That’s important. We’re focusing our energies on the assets we already own.

There’s your website.  Let’s assume that the upfront costs have been accounted for and that it’s up to you to create content — i.e. blog posts. Lastly, there’s earned content — or any press and online mentions which you’ve acquired for free.

So, once again, here we have your “free media”: social channels, website, and social mentions or free publicity.  How do you make the most of those channels?

SHARE YOU KNOWLEDGE WITH YOUR COMMUNITY

Join a Facebook group or an interest group within Muses and start answering questions! Search for topics you know the answer to within Quora.

There’s a catch, though. You’re not allowed to plug your business. There are communities and groups (read: engagement groups) where it’s not only appropriate to shamelessly share a post of your own that deserves some lovin’ — but where that’s the purpose.

In this scenario, be helpful and your community will look into you. “Oh! They had really great advice. Let me check out their Facebook page or Instagram to see what else I can learn.”

You’ve just generated interest in your own work by freely offering up your expertise. That in itself is a form of free marketing.

AGAIN, SHARE YOUR KNOWLEDGE WITH YOUR COMMUNITY

This time however, I’m referring to inbound marketing. Use your website as a resource or community story hub. That is your blog. Write what you know.

Naturally, you’ll use your social channels to cross-promote the content you’ve self-published. Here’s what to do there.

Cite your favorite experts within your articles and give them a shout-out on social. Best case scenario, they appreciate the compliment, enjoy your work, and share your article to their audience.

DON’T HOST A PUBLIC GIVEAWAY. GIVEAWAY FREEBIES TO INFLUENCERS.

Here’s the deal. Giveaway contests are great. They are wonderful for helping you to generate impressions at scale as long as you invest in a big enough prize. The rules of the giveaway game usually dictate that the bigger or more expensive your prize, the broader your reach. You can think about it this way: the more expensive, the more newsworthy, the more shareable it becomes. So. If you want your giveaway to be successful, you’ll have to fork up.

Here’s an alternative plan. You can give out free products or services or coupon codes to select influencers to share to their audiences of thousands. Let’s say you tap 10 influencers to create and share posts about 10 brand new convertible tote bags you’ve just gifted them. If each of those influencers inspire two purchases, you’ve essentially cancelled out your marketing spend and made ten sales on an empty budget.

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Here’s another point. Influencers are likely to also become customers. If you gift them a bag it may be that they decide to purchase a complimentary wallet. Why not make a purchase? They just received a free bag, didn’t they?

Are you starting to the see the common denominator, here?

Marketing is all about community and relationship-building. The secret to getting the most bang out of your marketing buck so to speak is to not be “salesy.” Be yourself. Focus on building a brand around engaging stories and useful resources you know your community will take an interest in. Position yourself as a leader, an expert, a resource, a go-to and the rest will naturally follow.

7 Secrets for Crafting Your Campaign Rewards

Kate Anderson, Director of Operations, iFundWomen

Kate Anderson, Director of Operations, iFundWomen

When it comes to launching a rewards-based campaign, there are many different ways to go about it. From marketing swag to extend your brand to pre-selling product to exclusive themed bundles, you want to get the biggest bang for your buck without breaking the bank. We asked Kate Anderson, iFundWomen's Director of Operations, to provide her top seven tips for crafting campaign rewards.

1) PROVIDE A HANDFUL OF REWARDS AT DIFFERENT PRICE POINTS

The ideal range is 5 to 8 rewards at varying price points.  Start low and go high.  You want to have an accessible entry level reward, around $10. Popular crowdfunding contribution amounts are $25 and $100. Offering 5 to 8 rewards allows you to provide diverse price points that will suit the comfort level of all of your backers.

2) KEEP YOUR REWARDS PERSONALIZED & ON BRAND

If you're crowdfunding for a product-based business, your rewards should include that product. However, if your company doesn't produce a physical product, get ready to get creative! There are endless reward ideas for service-based businesses, such as a day-in-the life shadowing opportunity, a specialized masterclass or webinar, a personalized phone call with you, and of course you can even offer your services at a discounted rate.  Your rewards should resonate with your brand identity, so for example, if you have a technology company, offer tech-themed rewards like cell phone accessories or other universally used tech gear. Lastly, it's always smart to do your research and check out the rewards being offered on other campaigns for businesses in your industry.

3) THINK OUTSIDE OF THE BOX

Unique and exclusive rewards get people excited to be a part of your brand’s growth.  If you have a food-based company, consider inviting people to a special meal at your restaurant or name a speciality food item after them.  Are you crowdfunding for a film? Consider allowing people to be extras in the film, offer a producer role or to be listed in the credits. The ideas are limitless!

4) USE REWARDS TO HELP WITH CUSTOMER DISCOVERY

Your business may be targeted to one customer segment, but say you want to expand into new ones. Crafting rewards that resonate with different customer bases can be a great way to test future expansion opportunities or marketing strategies. For example, say you make fitness clothes for women, but you're thinking of launching a children's line or menswear line. Creating simple branded merchandise for those customer segments can get you in front of your prospects gathering feedback ahead of any future investments. 

5) ALWAYS ORDER A SAMPLE

You want to ensure the quality of your rewards before you ship them out to your backers, so be sure to order a sample from your swag supplier, and make sure you like the swag before ordering a large quantity to fulfill your rewards.

6) SHOW YOUR BACKERS THAT YOU CARE

Consider rewards that show your appreciation, such as a personalized postcard, handwritten thank you note, a recorded video message, or even a social media shoutout.  These are easy ways to personally let people know how much you appreciate their contribution. 

7) DON'T FORGET THE COGS (COST OF GOODS SOLD)

Be strategic about each reward you're offering and make sure that the cost of producing and delivering your rewards doesn't infringe on the amount of funding you need to grow your business. Check our Campaign Guide for iFundWomen's Coaches Playbook which can help you factor in the costs of purchasing and shipping rewards into your bottom line.  Keep in mind that, If you choose Flexible Funding, you'll need to fulfill your rewards whether or not you reach your goal and don't spend money on your rewards until your campaign is complete. 

Rewards are a powerful vehicle for extending your brand, engaging your community, and spreading your story.  Don't be afraid to get creative and test different price points and product offerings with your rewards and, ahead of your campaign launch, ask trusted people in your network for feedback on what they would be interested in receiving in return for supporting your campaign.  

At iFundWomen, our coaches are always at the ready to help with planning and execution. Now get out there, and win! 

 

 

Lights. Camera. Crowdfund.

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There is no question that a compelling crowdfunding video is a critical campaign asset.  A professional and polished crowdfunding video showcases your story and your ability to represent your business - essential skills you need to harness for your campaign and beyond.  iFundWomen's Creative Director, Sarah Sommers, is an expert storyteller, having produced & edited over 50 high-quality and professional crowdfunding videos within the last nine months. we asked her to share her top ten tips for how to make your story shine.

1. BE BRIEF

Your crowdfunding video should be between 2-3 minutes.  No matter how much they care about you and your business, people won't watch more than that.  Also, if it takes you longer than three minutes to succinctly explain your idea, you need to stop, drop and work on that elevator pitch before even thinking about pressing record.

2. ASSUME PEOPLE KNOW NOTHING

Never assume that people know what your business and campaign are all about.  Make sure your video answers these questions:

  • Who are you?
  • What's your elevator pitch?
  • What is your business all about?
  • Why are you uniquely qualified to do this?
  • Why should people care?
  • What exactly are you raising money for?

3. DO YOUR RESEARCH

Chances are someone on planet earth has crowdfunded and produced a campaign video for a product or business that closely aligns with yours.  Search the internet for crowdfunding videos in your category and take notes on what worked.

4. WRITE A SCRIPT

Organize your thoughts by writing out your answers to the questions listed above.  If you don't overthink it, the answers should just pour out of you. Then go back and edit your script down to a page and a half - max. That translates to about 2.5 minutes of video.  No, you do not need to memorize this script.  No, you don't need to record the entire script in one take.  This script will serve as a reference when the camera is rolling.  Take breaks from filming between answering each question to give yourself an opportunity to regroup and gear up for answering the next question. Watch iFW entrepreneur, Cindy Gallop, make the most of her script in her campaign video. 

5. IF YOU'RE FILMING ON YOUR PHONE, HOLD IT HORIZONTALLY

One of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make when DIYing their crowdfunding videos is holding their phones vertically when recording.  You want your final video to fill the screen, so avoid those ugly black bars on either side of your final video by holding your smart phone horizontally while you record. It's an easy mistake to make and it's even easier to avoid!

6. OPEN WITH A BANG

No matter the order you film in, the final video should have a powerful opening in which you grab the viewers attention by explaining what your business in about 15 seconds or less. The co-founders behind Ezza did a great job with this in their iFundWomen crowdfunding video.

7. SHOW YOUR BEAUTIFUL FACE...AND PICTURES

Your backers want to hear your story from YOU! Whether it's campaign backers or potential investors, it's important to show your audience the woman behind the idea. Having said that, nobody needs to watch a talking head for 3 minutes, so be sure to have a healthy mix of footage of yourself along with imagery and b-roll that reflects your brand.  Founder & CEO of The Blues Woman, Chef Amanda Yee, did a fantastic job telling her story.  

8. MAKE SURE YOU SOUND GOOD

You need to be heard clearly. Sound quality is important when it comes to your crowdfunding video.  You don't need to be a professional video producer by any means in order to pull this off - there are very affordable lavalier microphones that are compatible with smart phones as well as more advanced cameras.  Don't forget to add subtitles to your video when you embed on Facebook and other platforms!

9. LAY DOWN A TRACK

Adding music that matches your brand is an easy way to spice up your video.  For example, check out the iFundWomen crowdfunding video for Latinas In Business.  You can find free tracks in editing programs such as iMovie, but if you are willing to invest a bit more in your video, there are some great licensable music libraries, like musicbed.com.

10. POST IT EVERYWHERE

Vimeo and YouTube are both great players for your video to live on.  Vimeo has the benefit of hosting your video without any annoying ads running before your video plays.  However, if you are YouTube savvy and you know how to turn off your monetization settings, then that is also a great option.  Once your video is live and has been added to your campaign, you should post it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and wherever else your audience lives. You can always re-post shorter clips from your video throughout the length of your campaign as a refresh for your audience.

Sarah Sommers, Creative Director, iFundWomen

Sarah Sommers, Creative Director, iFundWomen

With these 10 tips to help guide you, you have the power to create a high quality crowdfunding video.  However, getting in front of the camera and representing your business can be a daunting task for anyone. So, at iFundWomen, we want to help close the confidence gap for female entrepreneurs by offering professional video production services to help ease the process.  Whether you are near or far, our production team can help you film and edit a winning crowdfunding video. Check out our packages here.

 

 

6 Things to Consider When Building Your New Team

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This week's post is brought to us by our friends at Pendo - a platform for product managers headquartered in Raleigh, NC.  Maddi Ury, the author of this week's guest post, is a Recruiter at Pendo.  Prior to Pendo, Maddi worked on the recruiting team at Red Ventures. Both roles have given her a unique perspective on building teams during times of high growth.

There are many factors that make a new company stand out to investors and customers — product, market, sustainability, and people. Building a quality team of the right people, at the right time, is one of the most important steps in creating a successful business.

How do we know?

Pendo is a tech company located in Raleigh, NC that has experienced rapid growth over the last two years. We recently closed our Series C funding round and have plans to triple in size this year! Pendo’s leadership team credits much of our success to the quality of people we hire and has taken exceptional measures to continue finding talent that aligns with our goals.

As a recruiter, I work with my team to ensure these standards are fulfilled. Whether it be the 20th employee or the 200th, we want to ensure we find the people who can do the job and fit well in our environment. We believe both are equally important for success.

For those building a new team, here are some important things to consider in your hiring.

1. Motivation

Day-to-day motivation is key to success for a growing team. Each new member must have the energy and excitement to take on new responsibilities that will help with company meet goals. A few questions to check during the interview process are:

  1. Are your hires passionate about seeing your company succeed?

  2. Are they willing to endure growing pains, learn things the hard way, and be flexible during times of rapid change?

  3. Are your hires people who want to make a difference?

  4. Do they possess an internal sense of purpose that keeps them doing their job well?

2. Adaptability

When building a team from the ground up, you must remember that these people will one day be core members of your team. As your first few employees, they will have the opportunity to grow with the team and they need to be able to adjust to the many changes that will come along. At this stage, it is crucial that individuals have an open mind for not only growth, but also for taking different responsibilities and wearing many hats.

3. Value Fit

At Pendo, we put a lot of stock in our core values. These seven values are not only posted along the walls of our office; they are a primary motivator behind our work and actions, including hiring! What are the values that your team emphasizes above all else? Once determined, these values help immensely in identifying candidates that will be the best fit for your team.

4. Skill Set

When developing a new team, it’s critical to find people who are competent enough in their skills that they are able self-guide their work. While you might have some training processes in place, it’s likely you don’t have much time for hand-holding (I know we sure don’t!).

5. Diversity

Diversity in hiring means more than simply hiring team members who don't look like you. Diversity also means you hire to open up the floor to different perspectives, ideas and thoughts throughout the organization. It’s easy to hire people who have the same ideas and same behaviors as yourself, but then you end up creating a product or service that only appeals to people who think like you. Creating an open and diverse company means creating a business that is limitless and can expand across different cultures, backgrounds and perspectives.

6. Recruiting for your brand

During a stage of high growth it’s far too easy to let your recruiting processes become sloppy. Don’t let this happen! It is imperative that you be overly aware of every candidate’s experience. As soon as a candidate submits an application for your job, they become a new spokesperson for your brand. This might mean it’s time to invest in building your recruiting team or taking the time to restructure/streamline your processes. Every recruiting team must focus on this, but it’s especially important when you’re growing and your name is just getting out there.

Here are a few things we are doing at Pendo to ensure an optimal candidate experience:

  1. Formal interview training for our hiring teams

  2. Candidate surveys about the interview experience

  3. Use of an efficient ATS (Applicant Tracking System) that assists with consistent candidate communication

  4. Scaling our recruiting team’s growth with the rest of the business’s growth.

Building a new team can be an exciting process. It takes time and scale to create a process that works for you. But when you can find people with the same commitments and passion for your goals, it makes all the difference in your company’s success.

If you’d like to learn more about the exciting things happening at Pendo, check out their current opportunities.