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


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?


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


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. 


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.


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. 


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.


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.


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.


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?


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.


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. 


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!


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.


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.  


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!


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.


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


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.


A Tale of Two Paths


This week's post is brought to you by iFundWomen's Chief Revenue Officer, Concetta Rand.  Concetta's passion for the success of female entrepreneurs can only be matched by her love for a good coding pun and, with almost two decades of experience as a growth-oriented strategic marketer and data storyteller, the iFundWomen team is lucky to have her.  We hope you enjoy getting to know her as much as we have!

When facing new challenges or in times of anxiety, I hold onto the belief, ‘Leap, and the net will appear’. And that is very much the story of how I came to join iFundWomen.

It’s been 3 months since I officially joined the iFundWomen team, but I have been passionate about entrepreneurship my whole life. I am the daughter of small business founders  – my parents launched their company when I was in middle school after my father’s company was restructured.  While I’m sure it was a stressful experience, I can vividly remember my Mom saying she wished they had made the leap sooner. It brought them so much joy and satisfaction, not to mention a sense of control and independence.

My career has centered around being a translator and an ambassador, working in B2B2C environments helping global brands like American Express, Google, Costco, and Heineken use data to connect with consumers and improve their products. But I never thought female entrepreneurs were any different than just ‘entrepreneurs’ until I joined my first tech startup. Having worked in organizations with tremendous gender diversity, I never thought much about gender at work or in my career - that was, until I found myself the lone woman in management team meetings, or pitching investors and clients who all happen to be men. Nothing about me had changed, but suddenly I had to work much harder to be heard. Despite having a physical place at the table, my seat somehow felt smaller. Balancing a career, motherhood, and pregnancy was much more difficult without female mentors and colleagues.

I never thought female entrepreneurs were any different than just ‘entrepreneurs’ until I joined my first tech startup

That experience changed my perspective and made me consider the tremendous challenges faced by other female entrepreneurs - women building their careers or starting their own businesses and coming up against systemic barriers, a lack of role models, and a small fraction of the opportunities that are available to men.    

As soon as I joined the iFundWomen team, I got the opportunity to speak with hundreds of female founders and business owners, hearing firsthand the obstacles they encounter while getting their businesses off the ground.  When I think about what holds back the potential of female entrepreneurship - access to capital, coaches and mentors, role models to emulate -  iFundWomen addresses each of them individually and holistically.  We offer dedicated coaching services, we have a Slack community full of peer mentors, we publish success stories so aspiring entrepreneurs have role models, and we get money into the hands of women so they can do incredible things.

iFundWomen is my first seed stage startup. We are just 8 months old, but in that time we’ve had over 1,000 women apply to be on our platform. Entrepreneurs have raised nearly $700,000 through their campaigns. For the first time in my career, I’m able to merge my professional skills with my personal passions by helping entrepreneurs grow their businesses and carving our path to market. So instead of a few more 000s in a corporate bottom line, it’s an investment that helps someone start their business, hire their first employee, or to attract additional investors because of a successful crowdfund.  

Five years from now, I like to imagine the impact we will have made. We are designing our business to be a global one-stop shop for entrepreneurs to raise capital to launch and grow their businesses without taking on debt, for investors to spot up-and-coming companies, and for consumers looking to support the female economy. When I look to the future, I imagine the success stories that we will have been a part of, and the next generation of women who will be inspired by the actions of our community. Seeing women take their businesses and financial futures into their own hands inspires me every day. I believe now more than ever in the power of entrepreneurship to change lives.

Seeing women take their businesses and financial futures into their own hands inspires me every day. I believe now more than ever in the power of entrepreneurship to change lives.

My previous startup experience was all-consuming, so signing up to do it again was anything but obvious.  But when Karen Cahn started sharing news of iFundWomen back in November, I couldn’t get it out of my mind.  Karen and I had previously worked together at Google and anyone who meets Karen knows she is a force. I knew if the opportunity to work with her again ever presented itself, I would jump on it.  So here I was with iFundWomen bouncing around in my brain - I was suddenly staying up nights thinking through plans and strategies, and pinging her with emails and questions. But I was also considering traditional job opportunities. I’m a mother of two, and annoyingly practical at times. After nearly 24+ months of red eyes and startup culture, the idea of returning to a safe, predictable corporate job was very appealing.

In the end, my decision came down to my kids and what I wanted to say to them. Did I want them to think I was brave and willing to follow my ambition and passions - or did I want them to grow up thinking they needed to make safe choices? And I thought of my parents, and how they had wished they had started their entrepreneurial journey sooner.

Without risk there’s no growth, so I decided to leap – and I’ve never looked back.

9 Reasons to Crowdfund

At iFundWomen, we believe that crowdfunding should be the first stop on every entrepreneur's funding journey. 

Here are 9 reasons why:



The money you raise through crowdfunding is seed money for your business. It's cash you can use to start or grow your venture, without giving away any ownership of your business or taking on debt.


Put away your powerpoint, and get out there and sell.  Get more eyeballs on your business, some customers, and demonstrate your entrepreneurial hustle.  A successful crowdfunding campaign proves to investors that there is a market for your product and you are the person to bet on.


Drive up the value of your company and show some GRIT during your growth stage.  Equity investors recognize a smart entrepreneur who gets scrappy and raises via crowdfunding - it's a more compelling story.



Perfect is the enemy of done.  Test your prototype and find out quickly if people really want whatever it is that you're selling.  Crowdfunding is a controlled environment for you to test your product and get the market feedback that will be essential for you to optimize your overall strategy.


Crowdfunding is the ultimate market research tool.  Test and validate your value proposition through campaign feedback.  Identify undiscovered customer segments and needs to inform and refine your broader go-to-market strategy.



Turn traditional marketing on it's head - instead of paying to market your brand, leverage campaign rewards to extend your reach.  Crowdfunding is the ultimate marketing vehicle - increase awareness, generate leads, get product feedback, and increase sales ALL at the same time. 


To run a great campaign, you need a clear communication and messaging strategy. Engaging past, current, and future clients drives business benefits far beyond your immediate campaign success.



Get out of your comfort zone.  The confidence gap is real for female entrepreneurs.  To win at crowdfunding, you need to get off of the networking sidelines and into the ring.  The success of your campaign depends on you reaching far and wide to tell your story.


1,100 new businesses are started by women each day in the U.S., yet only 2-6% of venture funding goes to female entrepreneurs.  iFundWomen pays forward a percent of our fees into active campaigns on our platform.  So when you crowdfund with us, you're helping female entrepreneurs achieve their dreams.

A smartly run campaign can be an incredible catalyst for growth - for you business and for you.  So get out there and WIN.





The Ultimate Balancing Act

This week, we are thrilled to have guest editor Rachel Trobman SHARE HER STORY OF LITERALLY BALANCING WORK AND FAMILY.  Rachel is the founder & CEO of Ouchie, a mobile platform for pain management which helps providers help patients.  She is also an ifundwomen alumni as the executive producer of the successfully funded digital comedy series, dating zoe.

Eight. That’s how many times my daughter spit up on me as I was presenting before the managing director of Golden Seeds, one of the most preeminent investment groups in New York City. It certainly was not what I would have hoped for, but it is my reality. My only hope is it makes me memorable.

You see, I’m not only the mom to a 3.5 year old and a 3.5 month old, I’m also trying to raise seed funds for my rapidly-growing digital health business, Ouchie. And despite my confidence that I could easily balance a newborn and a startup as I did with my oldest, nothing has gone according to plan. While my older daughter took a bottle with no issue, transitioned without fuss to daycare at three months and then seamlessly adapted to the introduction of formula when the well began to dry, the newest addition to the family dared to be different. No matter what we tried, baby June could not latch onto a bottle and required feeding every hour. So in between pitches and presentations, I was attending gastroenterologists and feeding specialists. All the while, the little lady joined me at every work event. Safely nestled in the Ergo carrier, we took the daily trip on New Jersey Transit into the city and the subway down to the office. Together we endured quizzical looks from the 20-somethings in the co-working space. We traveled up to a law firm to review contracts and across town to review designs with a development group. As my back grew weary from the weight of my laptop and my chest glistened with sweat from the tiny creature laying on me, June would give me a sleepy grin and I’d keep on trudging ahead.

The response I’ve gotten from those I’ve encountered on this journey, in both a professional and personal capacity, has been overwhelmingly positive. There was the aforementioned investor who encouraged me to nurse when the baby got fussy. There was our medical adviser who introduced my daughter to colleagues as our Chief Operating Officer when we toured his hospital. There was another investor who succinctly said, “Well, isn’t this what we all work so hard for anyway?” There were the potential clients at a dinner meeting, both parents themselves, who after briefly oohing and ahhing, conducted business as usual. Thankfully those who did not have anything nice to say didn’t say anything at all. I’m grateful that the majority of the people in my circle are female and that the incubator I’m part of (shout-out to Monarq) is dedicated to promoting diverse founding teams and frequently misunderstood founders. I’m lucky that my daughter is at a very portable age, one only slightly more interactive than when she was in my womb, and that her disposition allowed me to engage with others with limited distraction. And, I’m incredibly happy that those I worked with and alongside could see beyond the baby in my arms and speak with me about the issues at hand.

I felt like I had no other choice but to keep moving forward. It’s my nature to adapt and to fight like hell for the things I love and believe in. In this case, it was both my business and my daughter. Neither could be or deserved to be left behind and even though it’s been difficult physically and emotionally, I couldn’t imagine it any other way.

Today, for the second consecutive day, June took a bottle.  Not too long ago I daydreamed of the time I could drive to a client without the sound of cries in the backseat, pitch a VC without a tiny head bobbing back and forth or attend a dinner meeting without fear of dropping food on her face. Now there’s a twinge of sadness that I’ll soon be going at it alone. I’ll have to find a way to carry June’s perspective with me without her actual presence. I have a feeling my outfits will look better without the spit-up.