After a truly inspiring conversation last week with morning ritualist Libby DeLana, our new Manifest Mornings virtual event series continued today with Kate Anderson, Co-founder and Operations Director of crowdfunding platform for female entrepreneurs IFundWomen.For any entrepreneur, taking an idea from concept to execution can be a rocky road. Seventy-two percent of female founders cite lack of access to capital as the number one barrier to starting a business. After experiencing some difficulty with funding for the first startup she worked for, Kate was inspired to help other women by creating a platform where they could access not only capital, but also coaching, mentoring, and a supportive community.
New to the idea of crowdfunding? Kate explained it as an initiative where you raise small amounts of money from people you know to get your business off the ground. Other often-used methods are bootstrapping, taking on credit card debt, or getting a business loan. Crowdfunding can be a great method of funding for an entrepreneur because of its limited risks — really, the only thing you have to lose is your ego (if you worry that people won't like your product).
Over the course of the discussion, Kate offered a few lessons for the entrepreneurs and supporters in our community:
- "You don’t just decide one day to run a marathon." You have a training program, a plan of how you’re going to get there. The process of crowdfunding is that training plan for your business.
- Prepare your elevator pitch. The first essential tool for any entrepreneur is being willing to put yourself out there. You can't be shy about pursuing your dream. If you want ideas, go on IFundWomen and watch pitch videos.
- There are two things we can do to help right now. Stay home, and support small businesses. It's not tone-deaf to be crowdfunding right now. Kate quoted Brene Brown, who said, “Compassionate people ask for what they need.”
- It's time to share and be vulnerable. We're all going through something unbelievably difficult. Now is the time to listen to each other, give advice, and support financially if possible. Set yourself up as someone who people want to spend time with.
- Be excited about your business. When crowdfunding, don’t think about your business as a charity. Remember to thank people when they support you — publicly. Be personal, because that’s what crowdfunding is.
For those who weren't able to join us, you can watch the full conversation in the video below. We hope you'll participate next time in our session with Nick Mathews of Mainvest on April 16.
We loved seeing your reactions on social media during and after the event. Make sure to tag us @manifestbos on Twitter and Facebook and @manifestboston on Instagram.