Viewing entries tagged
crowdfunding coaching

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.

The Freedom of Entrepreneurship

Lorelei Bandrovschi, iFundWomen Alumni & Founder of  Listen Bar

Lorelei Bandrovschi, iFundWomen Alumni & Founder of Listen Bar

At iFundWomen, female founders are being powered up to be the best entrepreneurs they can be - going from bootstrapping to fundraising, becoming confident enough to ask for what they need, and harnessing the freedom of entrepreneurship.

In an effort to better understand what inspires women to take the leap and become business owners, we reached out and asked founders within the iFundWomen community to share the reason why they decided to become entrepreneurs in the first place and this is what we heard:

1. To disrupt the industry

“I was told that I speak beauty as a fluent language. But as a makeup artist for over a decade, I never once witnessed a single person walk up to a mirror, look at themselves, and have anything nice to say. This was a revelation that troubled me, and I knew that this was a bigger issue and would require a brand to come on the beauty scene and change everything we know about the beauty world today.” - Alexis Androulakis, Co-Founder, Fempower Beauty

2. To leave a legacy

“I needed to leave a better legacy behind for my kids.” - Julia Munck, Founder, Saged

3. To solve a problem

“I saw a problem that needed to be solved and thought I was the best person to solve it.” - Megan Capriccio, Founder & CEO, Vikera Tequila

4. To empower women

“I was stuck in a corporate job that didn't respect my contributions and didn't offer the level of growth I was looking for professionally unless I conformed myself to a very narrow (and male) style of leadership. I knew it was time to spread my wings and leap into the unknown, into my next becoming. Additionally, my business focuses on inspiring confidence in women, which I am super passionate about and makes me excited to get out of bed in the morning - a huge shift in the right direction!” - Rachel Moss, Founder & CEO, Subject Swim

5. To make an impact

“I wanted to affect change in the community where I live.” - Brittany Gropp, Founder, FutboLISTAS

6. To take control

“I wanted to create something to support women and have ownership over my own success or failure.” - Lisa Mastela, Founder, Bumpin Blends

7. To start a purpose-driven business

“I wanted to start a brand with purpose-driven practices built-in from the start. Along came a dare to take a month off of drinking. As I started enjoying alcohol-free nights out more and more, I noticed the innovation gap in nightlife and the opportunity it presented. I think blindspots are really great spaces to build a brand from, and the response has proven me right.” - Lorelei Bandrovschi, Founder, Listen Bar

With freedom of entrepreneurship comes responsibility, and no one is holding you accountable but yourself. At iFundWomen, we firmly believe that you shouldn’t have to go it alone, which is why we provide access to the capital, coaching, creative, and connections that empower female founders to take action and grow their businesses. No matter how driven you are, it takes a village (of experts) to help you succeed and, if you haven’t already, the time is now to invest in that support and become the best entrepreneur you can be!









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.

Why iFundWomen Offers Free Crowdfunding Coaching Now

Karen Cahn, Founder & CEO of iFundWomen. Refers to herself as "Head Coach". Secret passion: getting women entrepreneurs to execute on one idea at a time.

Karen Cahn, Founder & CEO of iFundWomen. Refers to herself as "Head Coach". Secret passion: getting women entrepreneurs to execute on one idea at a time.

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."

The final frontier of feminism is finance
— Ruth Ann Harnisch

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.

Instead of supply and demand, iFundWomen gives entrepreneurs the opportunity to generate demand before they invest in supply.
— Karen Cahn

 

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.

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’re offering FREE coaching for everyone who launches a campaign.
— Concetta Rand

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.

You are what you do, not what you say.
— -Anonymous Wise Person

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!