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Monthly Archives: May 2013

8 Ways Crowdfunding Can Help Entrepreneurs

May 10th - BY Dan Salganik

Business 1

You have a dream. A goal. A vision. A labor of love. You have the tenacity to see it through, attract the right team of people to make it happen and the emotional support of those around you.

The only thing you don’t have is the bank account, to finance your payroll, your supplies and the macaroni and cheese you’re happy to eat while you’re building your dream.

When was the last time you were getting a loan from a bank for a start-up? Unless you have enough collateral to guarantee your loan, the bank’s doors are closed to you. Same goes for other investors, i.e. venture capital firms, private equity companies, etc. Everyone wants to see your track record and your sales for the past few years. What if you do not have any yet? And your reach uncle/father/mother/brother is not in the mood to give you the money? But you still have that urge, you are certain your concept will work, you are willing to pay the dues in the form of long working hours, no weekends, and living in your parent’s basement to prove to the world that your business will be a success. What is your best option to make your dream a reality?

The answer is crowdfunding. Here’s why:

1. You do not have to part with equity.

FunderHut is a rewards-based crowdfunding platform that allows project creators to provide Kudos (rewards) to your contributors. An example can be a gadget your business produces that you can offer as an early reward to your contributors before the product hits the shelves. Once the project creator receives his or her funds and sends out the Kudos to project contributors, he or she still maintains the same level of ownership as before.

2. This is not a loan.

There is no interest to be paid back, unlike debt financing. Just produce your product and send out your rewards to the backers who believe in you.

3. This is a great proof of concept.

This gives someone the ability to see who their early supporters are and who will most likely keep spending on future updates and releases. These people express the most interest among users. If the project is very popular, you can make more money than your initial goal (campaigns continue when they reach 100% funding if your end date hasn’t been reached). You can also receive valuable feedback from backers on ways to improve the product as well, because who knows what the general public wants better than the general public?

4. You are in control.

You have control of costs, timing, delivery, creative vision and execution, marketing and customer interactions. You have the ability to choose your budget, the amount of time you would like the project to run for, contributor Kudos, and where you wish to see your project go in the future. That also means that careful thought and consideration has to be put into your fundraising goals as well---don’t pick an end date further out than you need, you don’t want to suffer from project fatigue.

5. Your idea gains LOTS of exposure.

Due to the nature of the crowdfunding campaign, your product will be nationally and internationally exposed. Imagine how much it would cost to pay for that type of publicity? The more you update your backers, the better. Interaction is key, and the better you are at replying to comments, sending periodic updates, and utilizing your resources effectively, the more likely you are to reach your goal.

6. You receive instant and on-going feedback.

You have your first critics and endorsers while you are campaigning for funds. Some projects can become outrageously popular and can receive very high feedback, while others may receive some guidelines for improvements that may potentially save them large amounts of money in the future.

7. Your own fan club.

If you are running a crowdfunding campaign that your backers are passionate about, then they’re bound to help spread the word about your business. Think of them as your own public relations department, working within their network that you otherwise wouldn’t have had access to.

8. You are independent!

Your success will ultimately depend on yourself. We all wish funds would simply fall from the sky, but in reality, a successful campaign takes work and dedication, just like your business.

Crowdfunding is a great tool for businesses owners to publicly fundraise their growth and expansion. By offering your product or service as Kudos to your backers, you find a dedicated group of early supporters and receive valuable feedback prior to bringing your product to market. It is the new, disruptive, low-cost alternative way to start, grow, and fund your business.

CSW: 13 Year Old Teaches Us to Embrace Our Differences

May 8th - BY Dan Salganik

Embracing differences Autism

Community Story of the Week: 5/8/2013

Not everyone was created equal, but that does not mean that people should be treated differently.

13-year-old Rosie teaches us what it is like to have Autism and why it is NOT an issue for her. She says, "Although it can be a problem, I wouldn't swap my Autism for anything. It makes me who I am, I just wouldn't be the same without it. For instance, I think it gives me my imagination."


Rosie, along with some of the other children in this video teach many of us what it is like to be a child with Autism and what they do to overcome some of the difficulties of the outside world.

So next time that you see someone who is "different," embrace it, rather than ignoring it.

CeleBEARating Inspirational Women Q&A

May 2nd - BY Ellie Diaz


A New Spin on Traditional “Thank You’s” Hello crowdfunding fans! Today I’d like to share a story about a passionate woman with one remarkable inspiring idea. PJ McGuire is the founder of NettieBears; a campaign devoted to recognizing and honoring those who have made sacrifices in their family or community. Her goal is to send a unique hand-stitched “NettieBear” to deserving men and women across the country. I had the honor of interviewing PJ to find more about her personal story, campaign, and her plans for the future. Your project is truly inspiring. What experiences led you to this moment? How did you come up with such a unique heart felt idea? It’s all about my grandmother, Nettie B. Davenport. She was an unbelievable woman, who did so much for her community. There are thousands of women and men in our country who go above and beyond to improve the lives of others. Despite the evil in the world, there are still good people out there and I want to recognize them. They deserve a sincere thank you. A great example is the amazing stories of selfless acts by the first responders and people of Boston after the horrific bombing. nettie1 Nettie sounds like a remarkable woman! I’ve also noticed that each of these bears are hand made and consist of recycled designer fabric. Who actually creates the NettieBears? I do! It’s probably hard to believe that I sew the bears by hand, but I have the calluses and cuts on my fingers to prove it. When I get larger orders, I have a group of ladies who help me. It’s a great feeling to provide jobs to others and I hope NettieBear grows so much that I can hire additional hand-sewers full time. Why did you choose to hand stitch each NettieBear, instead of using a sewing machine? My grandmother taught me how to sew, but she never used a sewing machine. So I did not learn to stitch and design with a machine. While it would be so much easier, she believed that when an item is made by hand there is more care, quality and love put into it. Using a sewing machine on NettieBears would strip away some of the unique qualities and birthmarks that come from sewing by hand. You’re completely right, hand stitched products are more personal and carry their own story. So how do we nominate a woman who has created an impact in the community? When we reach our crowdfunding goal, we will launch a dedication website on July 16, 2013. If someone wants to dedicate a bear, they simply tell their story. The crowd will identify the top 100 stories by sharing or voting. Essentially, the crowd will fund it and the crowd will determine to whom we should send the bears. What goal do you intend to reach during your campaign with FunderHut? To make my dream come true, I need to raise $20,000. That will help me give away 100 bears hugs to deserving women and men. Ideally I’d like to give away 365 bears, one bear a day, but that will require over $70,000 so I’m starting with just 100 bears. If you were to reach that $20,000 goal, what would it mean for your community? For you? For women around the country? For me it means that I’ve honored the legacy of my amazing grandmother and allowed others to honor special men and women in their lives. It also spreads positive energy, joy and smiles that are so needed in our communities right now. The success of the campaign should be proof of the concept and the demand potential for retailers who might want to stock bears in their stores. Reaching this goal opens doors to unlimited possibilities for a sustainable company. Successful women-owned and minority-owned small businesses bring new jobs to our communities. Minority Owned Small Business If readers can’t contribute money, how else can they help you establish the NettieBear campaign? Spread the word! Tell your friends, family, coworkers and everyone you know about the NettieBear Motherly Love campaign. Share the link to the campaign on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn or any social community. .” Although men can be nominated, why did you choose to put an emphasis on mothers and women? A Mother’s love is special, intimate, and unlike anything else. I’m carrying on traditions of a strong woman who made things easier for my father and our entire family. Most women universally embrace the heartfelt gesture of a teddy bear gift regardless of their race, ethnicity, age or economic status. When a person (man or woman) cares, nurtures, sacrifices and protect other people from the bottom of their heart - that’s motherly love. We desperately need more motherly love and less violence and war! When I look at a NettieBear I think of my mom, my grandma, and all the other fabulous women who have led an inspiring role in my life. I imagine empowering women who never let anyone stop them from achieving greatness. What does a NettieBear represent to you? Thank you so much for sharing that. That’s exactly the same kind of reflection that I see. I also see that NettieBear represents a combination of familial love and legacy. But even more, NettieBear is my daily example of an ability to triumph over difficult circumstances through the support of friends and family. p>There’s no denying you have an incredible amount of passion for your mission. So now let’s talk about the business aspect of your project. Did you know anything about crowdfunding before you started your campaign? I’d heard of crowdfunding but knew very little about it. Lucky for me I have some great friends who helped me get up to speed. I still have a lot to learn though. What made you decide to choose FunderHut as your crowdfunding platform? FunderHut is based in Chicago and their team has been personally involved. I’m a “people person” and I personally met two of the three co-founders. I liked the fixed vs. variable option which isn’t offered by many other crowdfunding platforms, but I was very impressed by the founders’ interest and commitment to support local communities. (Grand) Motherly Love  Teddy Bear How has FunderHut assisted you with the first steps of making your wish become a reality? FunderHut has been AWESOME! They loved NettieBears from the very beginning. Not only do they have a plethora of resources that I used to get my project up and running, but they also provided personalized coaching and tips for successful project management. You don’t get that type of help from other crowdfunding platforms! Let’s take one second out of our busy lives to think. Imagine one person, whether it a friend, neighbor, family member or perhaps even someone you’ve never met before, whose strive towards the greater good is utterly awe inspiring. When we question the humanity of this world, these are the people that bring us back to simplistic concrete definition of “goodness” and “sacrifice.” Wouldn’t you want to thank them? One bear, one hand-stitched comforting bear, can provide the gratitude of a million “thank you’s.” PJ has raised money by contacting her friends and family, but now she needs your help! Make the world a little brighter by donating or spreading the world. As PJ’s grandma would say, “There is beauty in everything and everyone, you just have to take the time to look.” Donate Here: Nettiebear Project! For more unique gifts and gifts ideas, please click here!

CSW: Man Pays Off Mom’s Mortgage To Thank Her

May 1st - BY Dan Salganik

Man gives his mother's day gift

Community Story of the Week: 5/1/2013

After not seeing his mother for years at a time, this man comes home to his mother's greeting arms. He was able to come inside and eat dinner with no questions asked. She works 10+ hours shifts to be able to feed her family and is now having a hard time paying the bills. This week's Community Story of the Week is a great example of how you do not have to trek far from your own backyard to make a huge difference in someone's life.


For the whole story, check it out here

How have you been able to thank your mother? Our current project, Nettiebear Motherly Love is a great example of motherly (and grandmotherly) love! PJ mcguire says, "My grandmother would tell me, “There is beauty in everything and everyone you just have to take the time to look.”

Don't forget to check out the Nettiebear Project!

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