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


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. 

Perfect Is the Enemy of Done

Don't overthink it. Don't overthink it. Don't overthink it. 

These are words every entrepreneur should live by, along with "MVP" and "product/market fit," well, and maybe a couple dozen others. While there may be many entrepreneurial mantras to live by, having one that reminds you to NOT wait until you've reached perfection is definitely high up on the list. 

Philosophers like Voltaire and Confucius first coined the sentiment, and it seamlessly translates to entrepreneurship - the idea that attempting to make something perfect will likely keep you from finishing that very thing at all.

Think about it.  Have you ever really seen perfection? Have you ever witnessed a business on the rise do everything perfectly right? No. It's impossible, so why waste your time waiting for every single thing to be just so before you share your business plan, take your product to market, or start your crowdfunding campaign?

The crowdfunding coaches at iFundWomen see this regularly in female entrepreneurs. These women have all the tools they need to launch a successful campaign, yet they question whether or not the time is exactly right. Whether everything is perfectly ready to go.  The answer is typically NOW is the perfect time to get your idea out there into the world. NOW is the time to call upon your friends, family & followers (your "FFF's") to give you the support and feedback you need to continue to improve your product. NOW is the time find out if there really is a market out there for your product. With crowdfunding, the feedback comes fast and gives you the opportunity to continually iterate and improve. It's scary to get out there before you 'feel' ready, but let's be honest, will that moment ever come? Our mantra is "Leap, and the net will appear" (John Burroughs). 

In theory, perfection would lead to success, but in reality, for entrepreneurs, waiting for your product to be perfect prevents you from getting the feedback you need in order to make it great. Founder & CEO of iFundWomen, Karen Cahn, learned this the hard way with her first startup.

I spent lots of time and money making my product perfect and I had no feedback.

In a recent Facebook Live, Karen and iFundWomen's Director of Operations, Kate Anderson, talked in depth about how perfection is the enemy of done, and Karen, now onto successful startup #2, shared her wisdom.

Karen is now the Founder & CEO of iFundWomen - a startup that is finding success within it's first year.  The learned lessons from startup #1 were applied to her second company, which is why iFundWomen launched with a beta in November of 2016. The product and technology were appropriately tested and improved, and to this day iFundWomen continues to release and improve features as feedback comes pouring in.

It's important to note that striving for perfection isn't necessarily a bad thing.  You should want your product to be as good as it can possibly be, but just don't let perfectionism prevent you from recognizing a good and more importantly, complete thing.  Give yourself credit for bringing your idea to life, for having functioning technology, or for having completed the first iteration of your product. 

Female entrepreneurs have the capacity to achieve incredible things with their businesses, but you must be mentally prepared to recognize the good in what you've created and be done with it in order to take it to the next level and make it great. 

Here's to making the leap!

Data: The Single Most Important Thing You Need to Know

 Shannon Ware & Melody Jennings Bowers, Co-Founders, Virtual Collective & Her Data Method

Shannon Ware & Melody Jennings Bowers, Co-Founders, Virtual Collective & Her Data Method

This week, on the Pay-It-Forward blog, we welcome guest editors Melody Jennings Bowers & Shannon Ware.  Melody and Shannon are iFundWomen Alum and co-founders of Her Data Method, an online course which teaches women business owners how to build a data collection framework that will help you make smart, data-driven decisions tailored to your business.

To all those who process the word “data” through a veil of trepidation, this blog post is for you. If you are a business owner doing any part of your business online, you will keep bumping into this word until either you or the internet dies, which is why we created Her Data Method.

Her Data Method is an online course that walks you through the steps of setting up your company’s data collection framework, and thanks to our successfully funded iFundWomen campaign, our plan is becoming a reality. We are hustling to start beta testing of the Her Data Method online course in July, and we are on track to have it live in August 2017!

You Are Not Alone

Author and behavioral economist Dan Ariely says it best: “Data is like teenage sex: everyone talks about it, nobody really knows how to do it, everyone thinks everyone else is doing it, so everyone claims they are doing it.” If defining your customer profiles or connecting your website to Google Analytics has been low on your to-do list because you aren’t quite sure where to start, trust me when I say that you are already ahead of the game — at least you have those tasks on your list!

In short, you aren’t the only business owner who has no clue where to start with data.  But, if you are hoping to grow your business, you will need data — and a clue about what to do with it — in order to make educated and informed decisions. From how to spend your marketing dollars to where to put your social buttons on your homepage, having data that helps you understand your audience will show you where to focus your efforts.

Defining Data

Let’s start by defining what we mean when we talk about data. Data = Information. You can gather information from anyone and everyone who visits your website and social media accounts or opens the email you blasted out. Things like location, demographics, the amount of time users spend on your site, the first page they visited on your site, what page the user was on when they decided to leave your site … basically any interaction your clients/customers have with your business’s website is considered data.

The challenge is figuring out how to collect the data you need to help you make better business decisions. If you want to find a way to boost your online efforts, start paying attention to your data.

Data Matters

Your website is a portal to the land of free information, but did you know that websites should be built for people and search engines? A beautiful website is not enough to help customers find you online through organic search efforts alone. A website must be built to include the information that the search engines look for and value.

Maybe you want to run a paid ads campaign some day? Data matters even more once you start the paid advertising game — those clicks are costly, so you’ll want to have the right info in order to be confident that you’re choosing the right word(s) to invest in. If you aren’t gathering data from your website traffic, you will be playing an expensive guessing game.

It wasn’t until I learned how to code and built a couple of websites from scratch that I understood how things work from the backend of a site and that there are basic fundamentals that are non-negotiable. If you want to have a solid online presence that appeases your customers AND the search engine gods, you will need to learn what kind of information the search engines are looking for.

And no, you do not need to know how to code in order to start collecting data!  Three of the most important steps that lay the foundation for your data collection framework happen offline:

  1. Determining your value proposition

  2. Writing a clear mission statement

  3. Defining your customer profiles

If you only figured out these three things, you would be ahead of the game when it comes time to measure and test your assumptions about your customers.  

Have I made my case for data yet?

Before your eyes glaze over and panic sets in, I promised to tell you the single most important thing you need to know about data. Ready?

Start collecting data NOW. Period.

That’s it. The only thing that really matters is that you simply start collecting data. In order to use data, you have to have data. You don’t even have to know what it all means or what you are supposed to do with it — and you definitely don’t have to collect it all at once, but! You. Need. To. Start. NOW!

You’ve already done the hard part by starting a business! This is YOUR business! These are YOUR customers! Data collection is part of doing business, just like reconciling your bank statements. It’s part of what you signed up for when you started your company. So, go! Get busy!

We don’t want to get you fired up and then leave you hanging! Here are several topics that we cover in the Her Data Method course that you can start doing right now:

Does all this data talk still look and sound like Greek to you? Don’t want to go it alone? Here are two ways to join our data collection mission:

By Melody Jennings Bowers /

You Are Your Brand

Being an entrepreneur has it's perks. You most likely make your own hours, report to yourself, and if you're like the women we know, you strongly believe in the mission of the company because, well, it's yours.

Your professional self has never been more authentic. So why does it sometimes feel uncomfortable to promote and market your company through your personal networks? You went into business to build your company, so why do we struggle to own being our brand?

In the latest episode of You're Not Crazy, entrepreneur & angel investor, Erica Duignan Minnihan gives us insight on how to position your personal brand and your professional brand on social media.

Erica also acknowledges that self-identifying with your company is not easy.

How do you manage aligning yourself with something that could be a wild success or possibly fail?

The truth is that there is no single solution to this existential milestone of building your business.  Every entrepreneur goes through this, so hopefully knowing you're not alone relieves a bit of the anxiety. As a founder & CEO, you just need to bite the bullet and embrace what you have created. 

You liberated yourself by carving your own professional path, so don't let a couple of Facebook posts stop you from throwing yourself into making your company succeed. Own your success, share your journey, and be your brand.