Hi. My name is Karen Cahn, and I run a crowdfunding company. Well, it’s not just a crowdfunding company, it’s a How to Start a Business company, but it’s also a Do You Have What it Takes to Start a Business company.
Let me explain.
When you have people who want to pay for your product or service, that means you have a real business. Crowdfunding is the ultimate litmus test to determine whether you have a product, a service, a mission, a vision, a dream that people actually want to buy and pay for. Crowdfunding successfully proves that you know how to get something off the ground.
I recently crowdfunded for a cause that is near and dear to my heart: the NYC Women’s March — and it wasn’t easy!
Even though I run a crowdfunding company where we coach entrepreneurs on how to crowdfund, i.e. how to market and sell your business idea, it was no easier for me to raise $50K than it is for the thousands of women entrepreneurs crowdfunding on IFundWomen right now. Why?
Crowdfunding for the NYC Women’s March meant me hustling every single day — riding the crowdfunding rollercoaster — which, like many things in life, gets easier the more experienced you are. But sometimes makes you want to puke.
Crowdfunding is when an entrepreneur goes out and sells their product, service, mission, vision — their dream — to people whom they know in their personal, professional, and social networks, in exchange for cash. This cash adds up to just enough money to get their project off the ground. With rewards-based crowdfunding, entrepreneurs can offer rewards such as social love, an advance copy of their product or service — anything they can monetize — to get the cash in the door.
The best part? Crowdfunding on IFundWomen means not having to wait until the end of a campaign to get access to the money; Entrepreneurs get cash in the bank as soon as people start funding their campaigns. This flexible model was especially important when I was raising money for the NYC Women’s March so that March organizers could pay for things like security, stage, and sound equipment in real-time. They needed cash to start planning the event right away — they could not wait until the campaign was over.
How do you successfully crowdfund?
In this post, I’ll outline how I raised $50K in three weeks for the NYC Women’s March campaign in order to give you all the tangible, actionable steps you need to meet or exceed your crowdfunding goal. It’s called The IFundWomen Method. And it works. Let’s go.
💡 Pro-tip: The IFundWomen Method Playbook has a pitch honing exercise in it. It’s essentially Mad Libs where all you need to do is fill in the blanks, and presto: you have a honed pitch. To learn how to hone your pitch and to download the playbook, go watch lesson 2 of the free IFundWomen Method eCourse.
👂Listen, you do not need to be an Emmy award-winning producer to create an engaging crowdfunding video. You just need a decent smartphone, a lavalier mic, some good lighting, and a great script (which you just wrote when you honed your pitch). My fave example of a recent crowdfunding video is from SheFly, a line of outdoor pants for women that allows us to comfortably, safely, and easily relieve ourselves in the outdoors.
To learn how to make your own dope campaign video, watch Lesson 5 in the free IFundWomen Method eCourse.
⚡Reminder, crowdfunding is the ultimate litmus test to determine whether your idea is something people want to buy. So, a huge part of prepping for a crowdfunding campaign is knowing who is in your network that you can sell your idea to. Here is the process for network mapping:
For a detailed, unedited view into how I personally did my network map for The Women’s March, watch this gem:
🧠Remember, rewards-based crowdfunding is when you, the entrepreneur, offers rewards such as social love, an advance copy of your product or service in order to get the cash in the door. But what’s your rewards strategy? Good news: Your network map becomes THE MAP to your rewards. You’ve got people in your network map that you think will contribute $25, $50, $100, $500, and maybe $1,000. Now you have to think about what the people at those various levels will want from your campaign.
Here are a few examples from the NYC Women’s March campaign:
Group 1: Cash-strapped friends who want to support. We offered a digital download of the original artwork from the Women’s March for $25. It was well priced and provided a meaningful keepsake for those who wanted to be part of the movement.
Group 2: Men! Even though you’re crowdfunding on IFundWomen, remember there are tons of awesome dudes out there who want to support your startup. Make the men feel welcome on your page. This is very important. Our dude reward for the Women’s March was “Be a Male Ally.”
Group 3: People who need a service you are uniquely poised to offer. We’ve all got a superpower. Maybe yours is writing your friends dating profiles, or giving piano lessons, or reading tarot cards. For the Women’s March, I donated 45 minutes of business coaching to the cause and 13 people ended up buying it.
Ok, so at this point you get it. And if you want a little extra help, consider signing up for a private coaching plan, so we can have one of our experts help you with your specific campaign.
Crowdfunding is a 30–45 day sprint, in which you have a goal to hit. This means you need to make a certain amount of “sales calls” in order to hit your goal. The law of averages applies here: the more calls you make, the more you will sell.
💡Pro-tip: Personalize every ask. (This applies to crowdfunding, but also everything else in life.) Here’s how I do it:
(PS: I asked for $25 bucks and they funded the campaign at $100. Jedi mind tricks. They work.)
💡Pro-tip: Say thank you on social media ASAP after someone funds. Tag them and sing their praises. Why? Because you genuinely appreciate the time it took for them to click and fund. These are your true supporters. Money talks and you want to thank all of the money people, whether they are $25 people or $5,000 people. For a sneak peek on how I did it, watch this video:
Make sure to keep yourself on track with your daily two hours of crowdfunding “selling” and you will make your goal. And yes, there’s an app for that. Well, it’s part of the playbook: your daily accountability tracker.
If you have not yet downloaded your FREE iFundWomen Method PLAYBOOK, what are you waiting for?
If you’ve read this whole post, congrats! You’re prepared to crowdfund.