#fillmein is a series of guest bloggers who thanks to their background, story or profession are experts in a specific topic or area. Getting advice from someone who’s done it all before can save us a lot of effort and time. And as busy mumpreneurs we have no time to waste.
Let me introduce you to our second guest blogger on Mumpreneur Squad. Crystalee is a busy bee as she is not only a mum of two plus a Writer, Speaker, Mamapreneur but also the Cofounder of The Mama Ladder ®. Phew...
You want to start a business or are in the process of growing your startup but need funding? Crystalee will fill you in one five creative ways you can fund your company without a bank loan. We are curious!
As a U.S.-based mumpreneur who runs two companies (while raising two small kids), I’ve gotten pretty creative with attracting funding—without taking out a loan or engaging investors. I’m proud of my self-funded businesses because it’s allowed me to grow at my own pace, without the pressure of paying interest to investors. Read on to learn five ways YOU can creatively fund your business.
My Story of Self-funding My Business
First, let me briefly share my story. When I was pregnant with my second baby, I was let go from my corporate ladder job. I “created my own ladder” that fit my family by launching a business in 2016. With two kids under two, I needed a flexible work schedule.
After a serious hustle, prayers, and working on my mindset, my first client made a deposit of $5,000. I hired powerful mentors. I immersed myself in business training. I worked (and played) hard. The next year, with two years under age four—working part-time—I turned that initial $5,000 payment into a team of eight writers, 29 clients including world-class tech brands, and $100,000+ revenue.
Lack of Funding for Women-Owned Businesses?
You really don’t have to take a loan or get an investor to make an impact and go after your business dreams. If that is the route you want to go, statistics on funding for female-owned businesses are still a bit dismal. In the United States alone, there are 9.1 million women-owned businesses who generated $1.4 trillion in sales, according to the National Association of Women Business Owners. Yet, Fortune found only 2% of venture capital funds went to women business owners in 2017.
Know this, Mum: There is so much money out there to help you grow your business! It’s just a matter of knowing where to find it, how to ask for it, and how to offer value in return. Here are five creative ways you can attract capital to your company without taking out a loan or seeking investor funding:
Show You The Money
Grants: Business grants are interest-free cash offered specifically to help your cause. Think of it like scholarships for going to uni. Hiscox offers this list of 15 grants for women entrepreneurs. There’s also a brand new one specifically for promising mom entrepreneurs for $5,000 USD, called HIGH FIVE Grant for Moms™.
Pre-sell orders: The best way to test the market is to have buy-in from your customers. I mean that literally! You don’t have to have the product completely finished to make money or the event completely planned to get pre-registrations. Asking for pre-orders validates your offering and also gives you capital to actually CREATE what you’re selling. (Note that you do need to have some really enticing messaging and visuals to help them see the vision.)
Get deposits from clients: Ask for deposits from clients who are signing up for your services. This is a smart business practice because it not only helps with cash flow but also shows your client is committed to working with you. Asking for up to 50% is completely acceptable as a service provider.
Crowdfunding campaigns: There are so many options now for crowdfunding! Using a site like Kickstarter gives you exposure to thousands (even millions) of eyeballs, which is exactly what you want to grow your business. You can do this even if you’re already an established brand (like Puj did to launch the world’s first hangable kid cup) or a spanking new brand like Bravery magazine, who raised funds to launch their first issue and had 1,207 backers who brought in more than $55,000.
Sponsors: Another route to fund your business is to attract sponsor brands who want to reach your audience. This does require you to build an audience first so that you have some value to offer the sponsors. (They have to get value out of investing in being a sponsor, right?) There is no set number, in terms of how big your audience needs to be. The most important thing is to approach potential sponsors with confidence in what you’re creating.
So you see, there are several ways you can fund your company without taking out a loan or seeking investor money. You are the greatest asset in your business, and the more confidently you tell your story, the more likely you’ll attract the funding you need to grow. Go get that money, Mum, and then see how you can make it grow!
Crystalee Beck is an internationally published writer, award-winning speaker, and fired-up mumpreneur. She cofounded www.themamaladder.com to empower moms to create their own ladder that fits their family. Mum entrepreneurs around the world are welcome to apply at www.highfivegrant.com for a $5,000 grant.