Viewing entries tagged
crowdfunding

Making Moves: How Lauren Beasley Got Funded Twice on iFundWomen

Lauren Beasley,  iFundWomen  Alum & Founder,  MOVE Inclusive Dance

Lauren Beasley, iFundWomen Alum & Founder, MOVE Inclusive Dance

Lauren Beasley came to iFundWomen with an idea for a dance program for people with special needs - a concept she wanted to bring to life out in Nashville, TN. After successfully reaching the funding goal of her first campaign within 24 hours of launching, she knew she would be back to crowdfund again. Lauren put that first round of funding towards testing her idea, and after experiencing what a huge hit her first summer camp was, she was ready to come back to iFundWomen to raise even more capital in order to build out the very first studio for MOVE Inclusive Dance in Nashville. Spoiler alert: Not only did she reach her goal, she managed to secure Carrie Rezabek, the Founder of Pure Barre, as a $50K backer for her campaign - putting her over the funding finish line and helping her make her vision a reality. In an effort to pay Lauren’s success story forward, we reached out and asked her to share her journey.

What is MOVE Inclusive & why did you start this company?

MOVE Inclusive Dance is a dance program for individuals of all ages with special needs. We are based in Nashville, TN and later this month, we are opening our first studio! In this space we will offer year-round programming to our students. It’s the first of its kind in our area. I started MOVE because I knew there was a need for it. Dance transformed my life for the better and I wanted to share that same experience with a group of people who may not otherwise have the opportunity. 

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“Dance transformed my life for the better and I wanted to share that same experience with a group of people who may not otherwise have the opportunity.”

-Lauren Beasley, Founder, MOVE Inclusive Dance

When did you know it was time to go out and raise money for your business?

When I realized you couldn’t become a verified non-profit for free, ha! My friend (and attorney - God bless her) suggested I do a crowdfunding campaign to cover the costs. I remember thinking “Who would donate to me? I don’t even have a product yet!” In fact, at that point, I hadn’t even spent anytime with anyone with any type of special need. It was just something I felt lead to do. It was just an idea. After a coaching call with iFW and lots of brainstorming, I decided to set a goal of $5K to cover my start up costs and launch my program... and to my surprise, we hit the goal in just one day!

Why did you decide to crowdfund and how did you choose iFW?

iFW was a no brainer for me. I stumbled across them on Instagram a while back and loved their vibe. After looking into their website and everything they have to offer, I knew it was the right option!

What did that first round of funding through iFW enable you to do?

My first round of funding enabled me to put my idea into action and get the ball rolling. We had a lot of milestone moments in our first year and all of that was made possible by the funding I received from my first iFW campaign!

We hit a lot of milestones moments in our first year and all of that was made possible by the funding I received from my iFW campaign.
Lauren with her students & team at  MOVE Inclusive Dance

Lauren with her students & team at MOVE Inclusive Dance

When/why did you decide to crowdfund a 2nd time?

I knew as soon as my first campaign was wrapping that I’d be back. I just wasn’t sure when. After we launched with our first summer camp, I knew it was time to take this full-time. It was then that I started making a plan to open our first studio, which meant I needed more funding. Way more this time.

What are some of the key strategies that led to your crowdfunding success?

Social media was key for me. In the months leading up to the campaign, start amping up your activity. Posts, stories, even replying to comments, DM’s, etc. These posts are not campaign-related. You just need to be actively using the app! Learn to work that #algorithm. Closer to time, start teasing the campaign. Once you launch, keep it up. Screenshot your campaign page each time you reach a funding milestone and post it to your story challenging your followers to get you to the next milestone. Tag people who make large contributions! This inspires followers to contribute more.

Screenshot your campaign page each time you reach a funding milestone and post it to your story challenging your followers to get you to the next milestone. Tag people who make large contributions! This inspires followers to donate more.
MOVE Inclusive’s second funded  iFundWomen campaign .

MOVE Inclusive’s second funded iFundWomen campaign.

How did your second crowdfunding campaign lead to Carrie Dorr, Founder of Pure Barre, contributing $50K to your campaign?

About half-way through my second campaign, I hit a major plateau. I had been sending cold email after cold email to potential donors with little success for weeks. Carrie was at the top of my list but I hadn’t reached out yet. Honestly, I think I was just nervous. What if she doesn’t respond? How will that make me feel? Carrie has been my CEO-boss babe-idol for years now. I didn’t want to feel let down if it didn’t pan out. Then one day I woke up and realized you only have one shot in these moments. And sure, maybe she wouldn’t respond, but I’d never know unless I went for it. So I guessed her email address and hit send. The next day I received a response. I couldn’t believe it! Not only was she interested in what I was doing, but she asked me to come to Denver for a meeting to learn more about MOVE. And as they say, the rest is history! All of this absolutely would not have been possible without the help of my iFundWomen coach. Not only did she help me strategize and build out the campaign, but more importantly she gave me the confidence I needed to go out and get the funding!

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“All of this absolutely would not have been possible without the help of my iFundWomen coach. Not only did she help me strategize and build out the campaign, but more importantly she gave me the confidence I needed to go out and get the funding!”

-Lauren Beasley, Founder, MOVE Inclusive Dance

Any advice for entrepreneurs who are thinking about or are currently crowdfunding on iFW?

  1. Make a plan. Figure out what your idea looks like and how it will benefit the world. Then start talking to people in your community. Do they see a need for your idea? Are they interested in it? If so, it’s time to jump. 

  2. Set up a coaching call with iFW and take notes. They will provide you with so many tools and ideas you haven’t thought of yet! I can assure you of that. 

  3. When the going gets tough, think outside of the box. Who needs to know about your idea? Who would find interest in it? Hunt those people down and educate them on what you are doing. 

  4. It’s half strategy, half heart. The strategy and plan will land you the meeting. Your heart and passion will bring in the funds.

Thank you to Lauren for sharing her funding journey! You can check out her funded iFundWomen campaign here and learn more about her Nashville-based studio at moveinclusivedance.com.

Ready to utilize the iFundWomen coaching program like Lauren? Start your free trial today.

3 Back To Startup School Essentials

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It’s time to trade in your swimsuit, hunker down, connect to wifi and get back to work! That’s right! It’s back to startup school season and iFundWomen is here to provide you with the three most important things you need to do as you snap out of #vacationmode and gear up to launch and grow your business.

#1: Crowdfund (and don’t go into debt funding your startup)

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ICYMI, there is a complete lack of funding options for early-stage founders. Only 1% of companies, regardless of the gender of the founder, will ever raise venture capital. So what do the other 99% of founders do? We max out our credit cards or we try to take out a bank loan, and nobody should go into personal debt funding their early-stage startup. Our advice: Find yourself a low-risk alternative funding option like rewards-based crowdfunding where you are raising small increments of money from lots of people that you know that adds up to just enough to reach a specific goal amount.

Through crowdfunding, YOU, the entrepreneur, are going out to your FFFs, i.e. your friends, family, followers, and people in your professional network to contribute money to your campaign to fund your business. Remember: There are no magical money elves out there waiting to sprinkle cash on your campaign, but guess what? You don’t need elves – what you need is to get scrappy and figure out how much money you really need to build your business, then go out and make it happen yourself. So get out there, raise some capital, prove demand for your product/service before investing in supply and don’t put any of your personal assets on the line or give away equity in your company. It’s that simple.

#2: Invest in coaching & community (aka don’t go it alone!)

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For women, the lack of access to capital is more than just about the actual funding. Almost half of women will tell you that lack of access to coaches and mentors who have “been there done that” to literally show them how to do it, is also a huge barrier.  A third of women will also cite a lack of access to a support system and community of women in the hustle with them as a hurdle to running a successful business.

At iFundWomen, our proprietary coaching program provides early-stage female entrepreneurs with access to the expert coaches, tools, and resources that they need to become smarter, better, stronger founders and get their businesses off the ground. It’s no secret that most entrepreneurs are building the plane while flying it, and we have created a safe space for female founders to get the expert support they need through every step on their startup journey - whether you are looking to meet fellow founders in the hustle, in need of private coaching on everything from building your website to raising a seed round, or perhaps even just needing to vent in our Founders Support Circle, we’ve got you covered!

At the end of the day, our coaching program is uniquely designed to raise you money. In fact,  entrepreneurs who join iFundWomen and invest in private coaching & video, and crowdfund, raise 22 times more money than they would using any other platformAnd, 34% of our alumni go on to raise venture capital. That’s 34 times the industry average of 1%. 

#3: Make a video (and hire professionals)

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In order to market your startup, passion project, idea, or business effectively, you need to have a high-quality video asset to share with your network and potential customers. In particular, when it comes to crowdfunding, campaigns with a video are 85% more likely to achieve their campaign goal, but the truth is that most entrepreneurs lack the skills, time and resources to produce beautiful, professional creative assets on their own.  

iFundWomen offers an in-house creative studio for our entrepreneurs, where we produce beautiful, story-driven marketing videos that are designed to help you raise money, and through our Back to Startup School Sale, you can sign up for our video production services and receive 30% off on a high-quality video for your crowdfunding or marketing needs!


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That’s it! Three must-haves in order to get your startup season off on the right foot! Being an entrepreneur means you are always learning, growing and evolving and, while there hopefully is no end to this journey, your road to success starts here.

How SheFly Raised $50K on iFundWomen and Then Kept Winning

Charlotte Massey & Georgia Grace Edwards,  iFundWomen  Alumni & Co-Founders of SheFly

Charlotte Massey & Georgia Grace Edwards, iFundWomen Alumni & Co-Founders of SheFly

Georgia Grace Edwards, Bianca Gonzalez, and Charlotte Massey founded SheFly with the firm belief that everyone deserves to answer nature’s call without baring their bums to mosquitos, cold winds, cactus pricks, or even other people. So these Vermont-based co-founders invented a layerable line of outdoor pants, allowing for a comfortable, safe, and easy way for women to relieve themselves in the outdoors.

It all started when Georgia Grace worked as one of a handful of women glacier guides on the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau, Alaska. Spending 8–12 hours a day on the ice, Georgia Grace realized the serious disadvantage she faced when it came to using the bathroom on the glacier. In comparison to the guys, whose flies allowed them to simply turn around to answer nature's call, she was forced to trek across crevasses until she could find privacy, completely remove 3–4 layers in sub-zero temperatures, do her thing, put it all back on, and hike back. It was a waste of time and energy, and it often left her feeling cold for hours after, to the point where she started cutting her water consumption—a story not uncommon among women adventurers in group settings or cold environments. 

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At that point, Georgia Grace knew this was no longer just a “me problem,” this was a “she problem.” After all, 1 in 3 women have reported having a pee-your-pants accident outside. That’s right. Grown women, peeing their pants (and you can hear more about these stats and the SheFly story by checking out SheFly’s TedX talk). Enter the solution to the pants patriarchy: SheFly.

SheFly hiking pants

SheFly hiking pants

After a year of  pitching, prototyping, patenting, and getting press, the SheFly team was ready to crowdfund. The timing could not have been better as iFundWomen Vermont had just launched in partnership with Governor Phil Scott.  iFundWomen is the only crowdfunding ecosystem designed specifically for female entrepreneurs and this local cohort was a unique opportunity for female entrepreneurs to raise capital for their startups and small businesses in the State of Vermont. 

Not only was the SheFly team ready to raise money on iFundWomen, but they knew that, in order to successfully bring SheFly to market through a rewards-based crowdfunding campaign, they needed to lean into the expert coaching and community that iFundWomen had to offer.  It was no secret that those who take advantage of iFundWomen’s proprietary coaching services raise 22x the crowdfunding industry average. So, Georgia Grace, Bianca and Charlotte invested in dedicated crowdfunding coaching and utilized the iFundWomen Method Playbook to ensure that they were ready to get the $15K they set out to raise.

It was no secret that those who take advantage of iFundWomen’s proprietary coaching services raise 22x the crowdfunding industry average. So, Georgia Grace, Bianca and Charlotte invested in dedicated crowdfunding coaching and utilized the iFundWomen Method Playbook to ensure that they were ready to get the $15K they set out to raise.

On March 14, 2019, SheFly launched their iFundWomen Vermont campaign and, as a result of all of their hard work and dedication to doing the crowdfunding prep work, 5 days later, they were funded. At that point, there was no stopping this funding exPEEdition. Georgia Grace and her team decided to introduce a stretch goal of $25K and 5 weeks later, they had raised over $50K (and more than tripled their original goal) to produce their first official line of SheFly hiking pants, with hundreds of pairs pre-sold through their campaign.

SheFly iFundWomen funded campaign

SheFly iFundWomen funded campaign

SheFly now had the funds needed to manufacture their signature hiking pant in partnership with a fair trade and zero-waste facility, and had also become qualified to participate in the iFundWomen Vermont Pitch Experience - a virtual pitch competition hosted by iFundWomen where entrepreneurs who had reached their crowdfunding goals through the local cohort would have yet another opportunity to infuse more cash into their businesses. Thanks to iFundWomen Vermont sponsors Milk Money VT, The Vermont Women’s Fund, Vermont Works, Mamava and Dagne Dover, there was $3,500 on the line (plus a Dagne Dover backpack - the perfect accessory for an entrepreneur on the go!). 

On July 16, 2019, the virtual pitch event took place and SheFly was joined by three other female-led businesses that were funded through the iFundWomen Vermont cohort: StrollRunner (founded by Heather Dalton), Subject Swim (founded by Rachel Moss), and Birdhous (founded by Jes Scribner).

Each founder brought her A-game and pitched to a selection of expert judges from the Vermont area - Meg Smith, Director, Vermont Women’s Fund; Christine Dodson, Co-Founder & COO, Mamava, and Louisa Schibli, Co-Founder, Milk Money VT.

The caliber of pitches heard from the four founders was exceptional and choosing a winner was no easy task for the judges, but in the end there was one company that did an outstanding job at presenting the problem, solution, market opportunity, business model and traction for their product thus far. That company was SheFly!

SheFly  presenting at the iFundWomen Vermont Virtual Pitch Experience on July 16th, 2019

SheFly presenting at the iFundWomen Vermont Virtual Pitch Experience on July 16th, 2019

iFundWomen was thrilled to announce SheFly as the winners of the iFundWomen Vermont Virtual Pitch Experience live on Facebook and Instagram, and we encourage all female entrepreneurs out there, whether you are ideating, prototyping, launching, or pivoting, to take a page from these pee empowered founders - get out there, get coached, and get funded.

These Female Founders are Empowering Their Customers with Freedom

This month we are celebrating the female founders who are crowdfunding on iFundWomen to fund products and services that are empowering their customers. These entrepreneurs have created solutions that enable others to live more independently, with freedom and access to the goods & resources that make their lives better.

Dr. Kari Williams, iFundWomen entrepreneur & founder of  Beauty by Dr. K

Dr. Kari Williams, iFundWomen entrepreneur & founder of Beauty by Dr. K

As a trichologist & stylist, Dr. Kari Williams is on a mission to help her clients keep moisture in their strands and prevent breakage. She founded Beauty by Dr. K to give her customers access to salon quality products that guide you to healthy hair at home.

Alex Ingalls, iFundWomen entrepreneur & founder of  Pilot Kombucha

Alex Ingalls, iFundWomen entrepreneur & founder of Pilot Kombucha

Alex Ingalls is the Founder of Pilot Kombucha, a livelier local brew that she formulated to bring gut health & immunity support to her probiotic-loving customers!

Babba C. Rivera, iFundWomen entrepreneur & co-founder of  HER USA

Babba C. Rivera, iFundWomen entrepreneur & co-founder of HER USA

Babba C. Rivera is the Co-Founder of HER USA, a community that connects conscious, driven and impactful women in 19 global cities on a local scale. This North American arm of HER Global Network is giving their community the freedom to be vulnerable, unfiltered, and connected.

Rachel Moss, iFundWomen entrepreneur & founder of  Subject Swim

Rachel Moss, iFundWomen entrepreneur & founder of Subject Swim

Rachel Moss founded Subject Swim to empower her customers with the freedom to feel confident in their own skin with feminist swimwear that fits well, covers where it counts, and celebrates her, no matter what shape or size.

Julia Munck, iFundWomen entrepreneur & founder of  Saged App

Julia Munck, iFundWomen entrepreneur & founder of Saged App

Julia Munck is curating practical woo with her mobile app, Saged, and is giving her customers access to oracle readings, crystal magic, and astrology that empowers them to get connected to themselves, their intuition, and their community.

Each of these founders have live crowdfunding campaigns right now, so head on over to iFundWomen and empower them to continue to empower others.

How This Female Entrepreneur Knew When to Turn Her Side Hustle into Her Full Time Job

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GUEST POST

By Claire Wasserman, Founder & CEO, Ladies Get Paid

When I was about 8 years old, my grandfather said to me, “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.” I remember that like it was yesterday. I also remember watching my parents sit around the dinner table, excitedly talking about what had gone on that day at work since they too, loved what they did.

It wasn’t a doubt in my mind that when I graduated, I wouldn’t have to trade what I loved for making a big paycheck. I could - and would - find something that I loved that also made money.

I now recognize that this is a privileged way of going through the world. The desire - even the expectation - that we should be happy in what we do, is not the reality for most people. A job is a job and a paycheck is all that matters.

As I traveled the country last year, hosting events for thousands of women to talk about work and self-worth, many of them had not been raised the way I was but had developed the itch to do something more. Something meaningful. Some had found what they loved to do but didn’t know how to monetize it, while others were still searching for something to feel passionate about.

Pretty early on in my career, I recognized that I was constantly connecting people and through that, had amassed a large network. I never considered it a job - or even a skill set - until a friend of mine told me it was. (We tend to be too close to ourselves so getting periodic gut checks by people who know us gives us both the perspective and the kick in the butt we need to get going.)

It was upon that realization that I discovered the Art Directors Club, a nonprofit that connected people in visual communications, and I applied to become the marketing manager and head of fundraising. It was thrilling that I could take something that came to me naturally - being a connector - and get paid for it.

From there, I moved on to Working Not Working, a curated network of creative professionals, orchestrating events and content to help people connect with each other and prospective employers. Instead of picking one industry to be part of, I had a birds eye view of many. I was particularly curious about company culture, discovering that it was not so much the job that made people stay or leave, but rather the environment. Did it feel inclusive? Were there opportunities for growth?

Perhaps the lighthouse in our career should not be what we’re passionate about but rather, what we’re curious about.

That realization, coupled with the fact that I was driven to help women succeed, was the spark I needed to start Ladies Get Paid. I began hosting events for women to come together to share workplace war stories. As more began attending, the question then became: can I make money from this? Could this be my full-time job?

Soon after I discovered what the business model would be, I quit my job. This was no longer a side project when I made a game plan for how I could make money and the benchmarks for success. I also created a timeline so I could track my progress and know when it was time to call it quits.

I was able to leave my job because I had no debt, children, or health problems. I didn’t have older parents I needed to take care of, and I was splitting my rent with my then-husband. I also had a number of people who wanted to hire me as a consultant so I could guarantee some side income. I quit because I could. If not now, I asked myself, when?

I quit because I could. If not now, I asked myself, when?

Figuring out when your side hustle can become your main hustle, is a personal question. It requires you to explore your values with money, dig deep into your finances, assess the amount of risk you’re willing to take (i.e. what makes you more anxious: staying at your job or losing financial stability?), and determine a game plan for not only how, but how long, it’ll take for you to make enough money to live without extreme anxiety.

When you take that leap, do it with your eyes wide open, a lifejacket nearby, and remember: you don’t have to go it alone, and you shouldn’t. There are platforms built specifically to help women with great ideas assess the demand for what they are passionate or curious about before investing in supply (and by supply, I mean wasting years of your life or investing your own money into an idea that isn’t going to work). Through crowdfunding, you can actually go out there and raise some cash for your business idea. iFundWomen was a great platform for LGP to step up and raise some capital when we were in need of cash following last year’s lawsuits. We turned to our community of Ladies Get Paid members and our larger audience of like-minded feminists, asking them to contribute to our campaign, all in hopes that they would see the value in what we were doing.  Turns out, they did. The point is that whether you are raising money to start, grow or save your business, it’s never too early to monetize and legitimize what you love to do.

Ladies Get Paid iFundWomen Campaign, May 2018

Ladies Get Paid iFundWomen Campaign, May 2018

One thing to remember: if you go for it, and it doesn’t end up working, it is not a failure. By doing something self-motivated and risky, you’re probably going to learn more about yourself than anything else you do in your life. Imagine it as going to business school (and it probably costs less!)

If you decide to go back to work, don’t look at this time of entrepreneurism as a waste. It shows a character of courage and a belief in yourself. What are you waiting for?