Hey, you. Yeah, you! Cyndi here, just crashing the Chill Times party and disrupting the usual CT dinner table topics to share some news and maybe even words of wisdom. Are you an entrepreneur in the making or someone who is looking to build up your existing business? Then you may want to keep reading because I have some information you may want to know.
There are hundreds of steps that go into building a business. From thinking about your product or service offering to dreaming up the brand and forming your business structure — it’s all A LOT. While we can all agree that the process is exhilarating, there’s one element that can sadly hold us back from crossing that finish line (and no, it’s not you because you believe in yourself. Go, you!) It’s — you guessed it — money.
As someone who went through their first fundraising process just two short years ago, (sup, CH investors! I love you, thanks for believing in us!) I can attest to the age-old story: yes, fundraising is stressful AF and at times demoralizing because we want investors to #ReThinktheRatio and invest more in women. And ugh, it’s true: it may even make you rethink your entire business at some point. If you’ve been through the wringer before, you’re probably nodding your head right now. YOU.FEEL.ME.HOMIE
For those who haven’t, I’m not here to discourage you. On the contrary, I’m here to share some badass information that can perhaps brighten up your day — if your day includes thinking about your business day in and day out. If there’s one thing the fundraising journey has taught me is that opportunities arrive where you least expect them. For me, as it turns out, a lot of my friends are much better at saving than me (thanks, friends!) For others, it can be opportunities like the Girlboss x Uber Pitch partnership, which is awarding funding to make your startup dreams come true.
But before we get into it, a couple of little tricks I’ve learned along the way that hopefully, may help you with your own business journey. Even though fundraising is a pain, it actually allows us to hone in on the vision and the numbers. For CH, our first round of fundraising came from a small group of friends and family round to get our first space opened. We built 149 Essex St. on a shoestring budget and the rest of the capital we allocated towards branding, hires and cash reserves. Then, it was off to the races. Chillhouse V1. had to produce cash flow, and we did, though, there were hiccups, but we knew how we wanted to solve them. So, off to raise #2 we go. We’re currently mid-raise on a pre-seed bridge round (meaning, we haven’t valuated the business yet and this raise is on a convertible note). Raise #2, though, is definitely not easier and it has taught me a few things.
1. Think about every possible question that could be asked. Whether you’re raising solo or have a partner, you should have an answer ready even if it’s not perfect or 100 percent accurate. Preparation is everything.
2. Be confident in what you’re building and why you’re the best person to lead this company. If you’re still unsure of the direction you want to take your business, it’ll come across and folks will hesitate to invest.
3. Don’t be discouraged if investors don’t agree with your foreseeable path, but always be open to new possibilities! Investors will tell you this isn’t going to work because of x, y, z. Sometimes they’ll be right, and sometimes they’ll be wrong. Carve out a path that you’re confident in and that will ultimately make you HAPPY. You’re the one that’ll be running the business daily, not them.
4. With that in mind, be mindful of the fact that money is something to be valued. It’s not a game of “I’m creating something dope and you’re missing out if you don’t invest.” That attitude isn’t cute either. Respect the process, respect their input, respect their time and respect their trust in YOU.
5. I heard this quote a while ago and it always stuck with me: If you want money, ask for advice. If you want advice, ask for money. At the end of the day, your investors are your collaborators. Treat them as such, and don’t act like you have all the answers in the world. We all have vulnerabilities and weaknesses. They should see this side of you, too!
Now, feeling ready to pitch? Here’s what’s up: Girlboss and Uber came together to launch Uber Pitch, a program awarding more than $200,000 in prize money to three rising-star entrepreneurs. The goal is to empower startups (or big ideas with big potential) by giving entrepreneurs the opportunity to enter to win financial support, mentorship, and the resources they need to level up. This program is geared towards empowering women to break through boundaries and #RethinkTheRatio whether you’re just started out or pursuing an existing side hustle. Submissions close on October 21st and all you have to do to enter is fill out this application, create your business pitch deck (with 10 slides max), and if you’re one of the finalists you’ll be invited to the Girlboss Rally taking place on November 17th and 18th in NYC.
I hope to learn that some of you apply and even more so, I hope to learn that one (or a few of you!!!) become finalists. I’ll be there at the rally to root you on and listen to your fierce plans and maybe *gasp* pop some bubbly with you in celebration of your victory. Now, go forth and thrive. You owe it to yourself.
Feature image via Victoria Morris
This post was sponsored by UBER. However, we believe in providing authentic opinions and thoughts about all products or services.
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