Viewing entries tagged
entrepreneurship

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!









The Emotional Rollercoaster of Entrepreneurship

A day in the life of a female entrepreneur

A day in the life of a female entrepreneur

When you ask any female entrepreneur if she can relate to the emotional ups and downs visualized above, you’ll hear a resounding “yass,” possibly followed by a few of these: 🙋🏽‍♀️.

There are 111 Million female entrepreneurs around the world, yet somehow this journey of launching and running your own business can feel lonely, spending significant time each day in your own head and experiencing high-highs and low-lows along an unchartered path. That may all sound a bit dramatic, but the truth is there is probably nothing else you would rather be doing than realizing your dream and bringing your vision to life.

Alongside every founder stands a product or service that they created to solve a problem and fulfill a need in the market. The only way to keep your wheels on the track and manage this emotional rollercoaster long enough to actually determine if you’ve created a viable business is by surrounding yourself with the right support and mentorship along the way. We firmly believe this at iFundWomen and have made it our mission to provide female entrepreneurs with the access to the capital, coaching and community that is critical to launching and growing your business.

In fact, when it comes to expert mentorship and guidance, we know coaching works. Entrepreneurs who lean into our proprietary coaching program called The iFundWomen Method raise 22x more than the crowdfunding industry average.

We also know that successfully navigating the ups and downs of running your own business is about so much more than access to funding. This is why iFundWomen offers on-demand coaching services that meet the needs of entrepreneurs across all aspects of business-building. Our coaching memberships include private coaching sessions (on topics ranging from pitch honing and network mapping to startup founder therapy and building community), virtual workshops, classes & webinars, a monthly Founder Support Circle, and an invitation to our Slack community where thousands of female entrepreneurs are in the hustle together, celebrating, collaborating, and commiserating through their startup journeys.

iFundWomen is providing the support that so many female entrepreneurs have had a lack of access to. In fact, almost half of all women cite lack of mentors and 31% citing lack of a support system as hurdles to running a successful business. So, we’ve developed these resources for you, the entrepreneurs, because you shouldn’t have to go it alone, and no matter where you go to find it, the most important thing is that you get the coaching & community that you need to take along with you on your entrepreneurship ride.


The Network Effect & The Power of Local Cohorts

The seven iFundWomen Seattle pitching entrepreneurs (from left to right): Laura Clise, Founder,  Intentionalist ; Alex Pinkerton & Megan Pakula, Co-Founders,  The Armourie ; Hannah Schnabel, Founder,  Belle Ampleur ; Megan Febuary, Founder,  For Women Who Roar ; Genevieve Livingston & Marimar White-Espin, Co-Founders,  Eco Collective ; Sarah Haggard, Founder,  Tribute ; Dr. Cheryl Ingram, Founder,  Diverse City LLC .

The seven iFundWomen Seattle pitching entrepreneurs (from left to right): Laura Clise, Founder, Intentionalist; Alex Pinkerton & Megan Pakula, Co-Founders, The Armourie; Hannah Schnabel, Founder, Belle Ampleur; Megan Febuary, Founder, For Women Who Roar; Genevieve Livingston & Marimar White-Espin, Co-Founders, Eco Collective; Sarah Haggard, Founder, Tribute; Dr. Cheryl Ingram, Founder, Diverse City LLC.

We always say that iFundWomen is so much more than crowdfunding, and what's just as true is that the success of entrepreneurs on our platform and within our community is about so much more than the funds they raise.  

Success on iFundWomen is about your willingness to step outside of your comfort zone, put your product/service out there, and touch down on every single person within your network, no connection left untapped.

The truth is there is nothing more powerful than the network effect, which is technically defined as when your product or service increases in value the more people engage with it. This is the gift of rewards-based crowdfunding - It is a marketing tactic that is best utilized by exposing your product/service to as many people as possible in your network (and your networks’ networks). The resulting feedback that you garner from the network effect through crowdfunding is invaluable. Most importantly, it saves you tons of time, and as we all know, time is money.

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This all boils down to the fact that rewards-based crowdfunding is THE opportunity that early-stage entrepreneurs need to take advantage of in order to take their businesses to the next level, and at iFundWomen, we provide access to the tools & resources that you need to harness that network effect and propel your vision forward.

Equally as important is the community and support you are able to surround yourself with while riding that emotional crowdfunding rollercoaster.  Yes, getting that raw, unadulterated feedback from your network and customers is imperative, but it certainly isn’t easy to manage. You need to be surrounded by people in the hustle with you who you can collaborate, commiserate, and celebrate with along the way.

Trust us, we know. We’ve launched nine local cohorts across the country with the intention of bringing our crowdfunding platform and coaching tools to female entrepreneurs in these different cities. Through these activations, we were able to partner with local governments & organizations passionate about supporting the female economy in order to spread the word about iFundWomen allowing us to leverage the network effect and provide amazing opportunities for female founders in each city.

This has never been proven more true than at the iFundWomen Seattle Pitch Competition, just weeks ago.

Happenings at the  iFundWomen Seattle  Pitch Competition on June 4th, 2019.

Happenings at the iFundWomen Seattle Pitch Competition on June 4th, 2019.

This event was the culmination of a year-long partnership with the Seattle-founded co-working space built by women, for everyone, The Riveter.  On June 4th, 2019, seven qualifying, Seattle-based female entrepreneurs, who had successfully reached their crowdfunding goals through iFundWomen Seattle, came together to participate in a celebratory pitch competition with the opportunity to raise even more cash for their businesses.

The work that these founders did to thoroughly map out their networks is what helped them cross the crowdfunding finish line, but it was the network effect of pure energy that filled the room that night.  These seven pitchers packed the house at The Riveter, Capitol Hill with their people...and then their people brought people. Just like that, by presenting in the room that night, each pitcher had her product/service exposed to an entirely new audience. That’s a win right there.

After hearing seven tight pitches from women-led businesses that ranged from a workplace mentorship app to an online guide to intentional spending to a bold solution for women planning bachelorette parties (no more you-know-what straws!), two iFundWomen Seattle entrepreneurs were proudly announced as the winners of the evening and awarded with $5,000 checks, thanks to our event sponsors at SYSTANE®, the #1 doctor recommended brand of artificial tears.

The Judges, iFundWomen team and the winners of the iFundWomen Seattle Pitch Competition: Dr. Cheryl Ingram, Founder & CEO,  Diverse City LLC  & Sarah Haggard, Founder & CEO,  Tribute .

The Judges, iFundWomen team and the winners of the iFundWomen Seattle Pitch Competition: Dr. Cheryl Ingram, Founder & CEO, Diverse City LLC & Sarah Haggard, Founder & CEO, Tribute.

The networks that these founders each cultivated through their crowdfunding campaigns were so clearly present at The Riveter that night, and the momentum these seven entrepreneurs capitalized on before, during, and after the pitch event will inevitably have a positive impact on their businesses moving forward.  

Talk about a lasting (network) effect….



These Female Founders Know How to Build Community

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The fierce female founders behind HEYMAMA, Katya Libin and Amri Kibbler, know a thing or two about building, growing and managing a community. Since launching their Instagram account in 2014, they've expanded to 7 cities with 1200+ members - and this is only the beginning.

We sat down with this dynamic duo to get the scoop on their experience running their iFundWomen crowdfunding campaign (while they're still in the thick of it) and to discuss what's next for HEYMAMA.

Q: What is HEYMAMA?

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HEYMAMA: We’re a community for mothers in business with one goal: to make mamas more successful. What started as an Instagram account meant to inspire moms turned into a powerful supportive community for creative and entrepreneurial mamas in business to connect and collaborate. We put on over 100 events a year in 7 cities and provide digital resources our community uses to stay connected every day.

Here’s the fun part: we get to watch that happen. Every single day we see mamas give each other advice in our forums in real time. Often, members reach out to us and tell us they met at a HEYMAMA event and are now working on a partnership together. We see women in our community asking each other for advice that can be difficult to ask for anywhere else, from how much to pay a social media consultant to how to navigate challenges around bullying. There is a constant stream of genuine support flowing from mama to mama.

Q: Why is a community like HEYMAMA so important for working mothers?

HM: As we raise the next generation of humans while simultaneously building companies, developing innovative products and investing back into our communities, we need support and resources. Women make strong leaders, but nearly half say they they don’t have the mentorship and capital needed to grow their business. Our community is designed to change this by helping mamas in business address critical challenges through mentorship, digital resources, real-time advice, and experiences.

We invest in the success of other mamas because we know that each mama who thrives gives back even more to her community and the world at large. If we want society to thrive, we need mamas to thrive.

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Q: Who are the mama’s that inspire you?

HM: This is a hard one to answer because there are so many and we’re inspired by different mamas every day! We do have a group of incredible mamas participating in our MILF(und) campaign, which we’re running in tandem with our crowdfund to draw attention to the gender gap in funding.

Q: What is your best piece of advice for balancing entrepreneurship + motherhood?

Banish mom guilt.

Q: It’s so important that female founders combat the confidence gap and get comfortable asking for money. Has crowdfunding had an impact on how you feel about making the ask?

HM: It’s easier to make an ask when a “yes” answer feels likely. We’re lucky to be really uniquely situated in that our community is made up of so many women with significant fundraising experience, giving us proof of how much is possible. Their stories help us cultivate the belief that success is the natural progression of all of the efforts we’re taking. Developing the right mindset before making the ask is so critical to bridging that confidence gap.

We’ve been unapologetically bold in all of our messaging around crowdfunding (see: the MILF(und) campaign!). Of course, we’ve felt that fear of failure but rather than letting that drive, we’re leading with our vision for our community and women at large. In a nutshell, that consists of unequivocal belief in ourselves, the women around us, and that we’re capable of more together. To accomplish more together, we need to be completely willing to ask for what we need.

Q: What’s been your biggest learning from this crowdfunding experience?

HM: Before launching our crowdfunding campaign, we knew women, especially mamas in our community, genuinely want to support each other. Through this experience, we’ve seen that this desire to support one another can—and does—translate into the fundraising realm. We’ve been blown away by the support we’ve received both in terms of the money we’ve raised and the willingness of women in our community to help us out by offering their valuable time as rewards for our supporters.

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Q: What’s next for HEYMAMA?

HM: In the immediate term, we’re building out our platform and adding more core cities so we can provide more mamas with access to the benefits of our community digitally and IRL. First up, we want to create an intuitive app and web experience to help our members get all the best of HEYMAMA in one place, and foster more connection and communication amongst our members. We’re also hiring community managers to facilitate events in our current core cities and new markets.

Long term, we’re exploring ways to support entrepreneurial mamas in concrete ways that translate into real business results.

Not only do these ladies know community, they also know how to create some amazing campaign rewards. Don't miss out on a MILF(und) t-shirt, the HEYMAMA gold neckalace, a $600 discount on iFundWomen's Crowdfunding Masterclass and so many more goodies!