10 Things I learned while crowdfunding with IFundWomen by Nexus Cook, Founder of 25th & June In July, I wrapped up my IFundWomen crowdfunding campaign for my business 25th & June. 25th & June is a toxin-free, vegan-friendly nail polish company for ambitious trendsetters and colorful storytellers. My goal was to raise $25,000 in pre-seed funding to grow beyond just a nail polish company and into a full eco-system of clean beauty products to help nourish, enhance, and simplify your beauty routine. With the help of 197 funders, I reached my goal! I met an IFundWomen team member back in 2019 at the Girlboss Rally in Los Angeles and have been connected to the organization ever since. I’ve attended various virtual panels and coaching sessions, and always received so much valuable information and tips that I could take action on. I knew I wanted to choose IFundWomen when I was ready to crowdfund, it just took me a few years to make the leap. Since my campaign, I’ve had quite a few fellow entrepreneurs ask how I prepared and what I learned, so I thought I’d share some takeaways. I hope this list of “10 things I learned from crowdfunding on IFundWomen” helps everyone reading:1. Your network is your net worth. It’s cheesy. It’s cliche. It’s true. Foster relationships before, during, and after needing, wanting, or asking for anything. Nurture the connections in your life and be the genuine support and inspiration you hope to also receive.I’ve made it a priority to share my milestones, no matter how big or small, with trusted friends, mentors, and champions in my life. Because I was already in the habit of proactively sharing my setbacks and accomplishments, I found it very natural, and even exciting, to share my crowdfunding pitch with certain people. One funder who stands out in particular is a former boss from nearly 10 years ago who made a pretty sizable contribution. I’ve made it a point to always send them updates, ask for feedback, and offer my support if they ever needed something from me. They noted in their contribution how they’ve enjoyed watching my growth over the years and that they feel like they’ve been a part of the process every step of the way.2. Follow the framework.IFundWomen is a well-oiled machine. From network mapping, to coaching, to past examples of success, there is little room to feel unguided. In addition to the guidance I received in my private coaching sessions, I also relied heavily on the IFundWomen Method Playbook. The IFundWomen Method Playbook is an end-to-end campaign planner: pitch honing, network mapping, rewards Profit & Loss, and marketing planner. The Playbook is your crowdfunding bible during your campaign. Get your copy here. Be sure to book a coaching session to help with your campaign! It is worth the cost to get advice from these expert coaches. Whichever approach you decide, document a plan. You’ll see how naturally support flows and magic finds its way in. 3. Be flexible. You have a plan, now let people give you feedback. Make adjustments if things are unclear. Check with people you trust to ensure your messaging resonates with potential funders. If multiple people are having similar reactions, take note. Reminder: running a crowdfunding campaign is running a sales funnel. It takes playing around with different strategies until you find the few that work. As they say at IFundWomen, “test, learn, and iterate.” It’ll make your campaign stronger.4. People want to support you. Give your people the opportunity to do so. Do not underestimate how many people are truly cheering you on and waiting to see your passion and ideas materialize. It also helps that IFundWomen is a reward-based crowdfunding platform aka when you reach out to your network for money, you can offer a product or service in exchange via your crowdfunding campaign. This can help “making the ask” easier because your funder is getting something in return for their generosity. So, take a risk, make the ask, and openly receive the love.I was nervous to ask this one amazing beauty editor in my network to share my campaign link to her friends and social media followers. She is someone who I don’t have a very close relationship with, but has always been supportive and enthusiastic about my brand and is very well connected in the beauty industry. I had a moment where it felt presumptuous to ask her to share the link, but she did, and it resulted in a $2,000 contribution! I was blown away. 5. Many people won’t support you. People you think are a sure bet, might not be. That’s okay! It’s far better that you made the ask than not at all. Continue to give people the opportunity to say no. There’s also a high chance that people you thought would never support, will. That’s just how it goes. Choose gratitude either way.IFundWomen Tip: It takes 5-7 touch points before someone converts to a sale. Use this same sales advice for marketing your crowdfunding campaign.6. No one will care about this more than you. That may sound negative, but it’s not. It’s actually an opportunity to take complete ownership over the things you can control. You need to be clear on your vision, but don’t spend too much energy trying to convince every single person to see what you see. You care about this. That’s what matters. That’s enough.With that being said, having a community of entrepreneurs to celebrate, collaborate, and commiserate with is imperative to remaining motivated and energized. Check out the IFundWomen’s Community Slack to meet other entrepreneurs like yourself!7. The campaign is not about you. The most innovative business ideas only matter if you’re giving people something they want or need. Tell your story, but don't center yourself. You are crowdfunding to get more resources to give more value to your audience. Don’t lose sight of that.IFundWomen Tip: Take advantage of national and international moments to market your campaign. For example, if your company makes products for dogs you should 100% leverage National Dog Day to talk about your campaign to potential funders. 8. You will receive more than just money. The greatest gift of this experience wasn’t just hitting my monetary goal, it was connecting with people who are excited about my growth, my future goals, and want to help me get there.Prior to launching my campaign, I had been in search of talented photographers and videographers who might be interested in working on 25th & June projects in a dedicated way. Because of all the posting and resharing from friends and supporters, I was able to connect with not only an extremely cool photographer, but an entire team of creative graphic and web designers who are excited to help me elevate my website and social media presence. 9 & 10. Go hard in the paint and have fun while doing it!There’s nothing like investing in yourself and sharing your aspirations with the people around you—this will require a lot of mental and emotional energy. It is scary, vulnerable, and uncertain. But, so was starting a business in the first place! Chances are you’re probably only going to do this once, so go the extra mile. The vision is yours. So make it fun and trust yourself. Be direct, make asks, follow up, and you will reach your goal. Learn more about Nexus and 25th & June and follow her journey on Instagram!