Why iFundWomen Offers Free Crowdfunding Coaching Now
Author: Karen Cahn, Founder & CEO, iFundWomen
2017 was a wild year for women, one which reaffirmed that everyone must work harder, must do better, to help women get ahead financially. As Ruth Ann Harnisch, investor, activist, and founder of The Harnisch Foundation brilliantly put it, “The final frontier of feminism is finance."
Women now make up 40% of new entrepreneurs in the United States, the largest percentage since 1996. Every woman I talk to has at least two or three business ideas that she’s keeping to herself. Many of these ideas are pragmatic, necessary products and services that people actually need. Access to capital remains the number one issue that female entrepreneurs face in bringing their products to market. That’s why my team and I started iFundWomen, a crowdfunding platform for female entrepreneurs - giving women a space to bring these dynamic innovations to life. 365 days later, we’ve helped hundreds of budding businesses raise startup capital and we’ve learned many lessons along the way.
Ok, so what are the top 3 things that we learned:
1. You must prove there is demand for your product or service before you invest in building out your offering
We started iFundWomen specifically to create a platform designed to turn traditional business economics on its head. Instead of supply and demand, iFundWomen gives entrepreneurs the opportunity to generate demand before they invest in supply. It’s a smarter approach to starting a business. Crowdfunding offers an extremely efficient, low risk opportunity for women to step outside of their comfort zone, and test out their ideas.
2. Crowdfunding coaching and a well-prepared marketing plan are essential to a successful campaign
Crowdfunding is like skydiving (but with a much lower risk of physical injury) - if you’ve never done it before, you really have no idea what you’re in for. The emotional rollercoaster that you will inevitably ride will likely make you want to vomit at times, but at the end of a successful campaign, you feel like you can do anything. And you can.
My team and I experienced the crowdfunding free fall first-hand before building our product, and we have identified the key factors that are essential to a successful campaign. Most importantly, we know that coaching works. When comparing campaigns that have succeeded versus those that have struggled to reach their goals, the results show that entrepreneurs on our platform who invested in coaching raised 4.5 times more money than the ones who did not. Data like this is why we’ve changed our product offerings to include free coaching for everyone who launches a campaign. We have built a toolkit and a peer-to-peer coaching system that has reduced the time to market for our entrepreneurs dramatically, while increasing the success of their campaigns.
3. You need to be legit to win
This is so basic, but it needs to be said. The support of your network is dependent on how you present your business through your campaign. Your potential backers are going to expect you to have the fundamental markers of a legitimate business. This means that you must have 1) a website that clearly states what your business or passion project is about, and 2) a professional video that tells the story of your company and efficiently explains what your campaign is all about.
There are very straightforward ways for you to successfully crowdfund and it starts with having a great idea, but ultimately you can’t just talk about it, you have to be about it. Prove that you’re serious about your project with a website, a video, your social handles on point, and a built-up audience of people who believe in you. You are what you do, not what you say.
To wrap it up, after a year in the game, we feel more confident than ever that crowdfunding, coaching, and connections are the answer to getting women-led businesses off the ground. So whether you are ready to grow your existing business or you are germinating on a great idea that’s ready to blossom, crowdfunding on iFundWomen is the lowest risk, highest potential opportunity to make your entrepreneurial dreams a reality. No more waiting. Do it!