Earlier this year, I raised nearly $11K to launch Sat Nam babe. I didn’t use bank loans or angel investors or dip into a 401K; I used crowdfunding on iFundWomen to fund about 70% of what I needed to kick start my company.
I thought crowdfunding a little over $10K would be relatively easy and painless; $10K seemed like an attainable number, I had great rewards for various funding levels and had been talking about my new company for months on social media, getting friends and family excited to support and dress the babies and toddlers in their lives in cute, ethical kids’ clothes.
And it was easy to an extent – in the first 3 days, I hit roughly 40% of my goal. Yes! I thought to myself. Hitting that remaining 60% will happen in no time. Until it didn’t…
Here are five ways that crowdfunding is an excellent test to determine if you have what it takes to start a company:
Crowdfunding is time consuming – I was not prepared for crowdfunding to practically be a full-time job during those 40 days when my campaign was live. Coordinating the many moving logistics for a smooth campaign took a lot of time. I felt ON all the time, much like running your own business; it’s morning, afternoon and night, there never truly is an off button.
Crowdfunding tests your patience – No one could have prepared me for the trough, as iFundWomen likes to call the middle of a campaign when the excitement tends to quiet down and then it picks back up toward the end. Surviving the trough was a great way to build up a level of patience and tolerance that is needed to deal with everything from challenging situations to non-stop learning and troubleshooting as you get your company up and running.
Crowdfunding gives you a thick(er) skin fast – There will be those “friends” who just don’t support you. Period. This really ate away at me, but over time, I grew a thicker skin and eventually let it go. A thick enough skin to run a company is absolutely critical so you don’t get taken advantage of and allow the negative thoughts to bring you down.
Crowdfunding is lonely – No one really knows what it feels like to raise critical funds for your dream, your first company, especially as a solo owner going at this first-time entrepreneurial journey by yourself. Similar to those early fundraising days, the day to day of running a business by yourself can get lonely. It’s important to test whether this environment is conducive to your personality. Luckily there are co-working spaces and plenty of coffee shops and networking events to greatly help with the occasional lonely factor!
- Crowdfunding spurs that fire in your belly that should already be there if you’re launching a company, but if not, it gets the fire going really fast! – Raising a lofty crowdfunding goal is no joke. When the pressure is on, it’s on, and it doesn’t ever really subside, even when the crowdfunding goal is met; the real work of launching a company is only just beginning and the dedication must be there!
I eventually reached my goal to launch Sat Nam babe and am thankfully past the painful, yet so incredibly helpful crowdfunding stage! In retrospect, I’m glad the pressure of crowdfunding came early on in my entrepreneurial journey, as it set the stage for where we are now as a company – happily learning and growing by leaps and bounds every day.
-Jen/Founder, Sat Nam babe