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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.

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….



How This Yogi Prepared For Her Crowdfunding Campaign

It's all about prep, prep and more prep.  Brooklyn native, Jennifer Coulombe was loud and proud about her upcoming crowdfunding campaign on iFundWomen long before it launched.

I consistently posted on my personal Facebook page for a few months leading up to my campaign, essentially getting people really ready and excited for our campaign!

Jennifer is the founder and CEO of Sat Nam babe, a socially conscious line of play and yoga clothes for kids under five and babies. She set out to raise money on iFundWomen to support her first round of production for her product.

When prepping for her campaign, she knew it wasn't just about when you tell people, but also who exactly you tell.

Make sure your friends and family are ready to support you when you do launch. Tell your company’s story as events unfold so people feel inspired and committed to wanting to support you.

Now, looking back on her successfully funded campaign, Jen realizes that there are certain things she didn't see coming no matter how much preparation she did beforehand.  The crowdfunding campaign road is long and, for Jen, she had to work extra hard to compensate for "the trough" she experienced along the way.

The trough was rough to get through, i.e. trying to keep up that momentum for weeks at a time. I found offering quick 48-hour blitz ‘campaigns within a campaign’ opportunities to raffle off product worked great.
Sat Nam Babe Trough iFundWomen

Jennifer understood that in order for Sat Nam babe to meet it's goal, she needed a crowdfunding platform that offered dedicated coaching and shared her appreciation for thoughtful preparation before launching a campaign.  She did her due diligence and chose iFundWomen as the right crowdfunding platform for her.

As I was doing my research, I thought iFundWomen really stood out from the crowd. I liked the fact that they were much smaller than Kickstarter, so I felt that I would have a greater chance at visibility by being able to live on their homepage for the duration of our campaign. I also liked the individual coaching they offered. So many good reasons to go with iFW!

Thank you to Jen Coulombe for paying it forward! Check out Sat Nam Babe on iFundWomen and now on Etsy.