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startup funding

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.

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!