Dear Emerging Women,
Ah, money. Money, money, money, money (.....money)!
These days, I can't keep the refrain from the O'Jays song out of my head. To be completely transparent, we have big plans for the growth of Emerging Women, and in order to reach our goals, we need capital. Money, honey.
So we're in the middle of the grueling process of raising seed money to create the next level of Emerging Women. If you've done this for your business, you know: it's a full-time job that consumes your entire mental space - even when you sleep. I'm constantly honing our pitch deck, three different versions of a "compelling-yet-super-brief" presentation which I share in as little time as possible to as many qualified investors as I can get in front of.
I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur before I even knew what kind of company I wanted to build. About a year before telling my mentor and boss that I was ready to leave my cushy full-time job as a successful publishing executive, I started emerging - creativity and ideas started sprouting in my brain a mile a minute, and I felt restless and powerful at the same time. I had endless energy and drive, even though I was a working mom with two kids under four. I was scared, but more of the "how" than the "what" or the "why."
How would I make enough money to continue the lifestyle I had created with my husband as a two-income household? How would I find a mentor once I left the fertile business learning environment of an established company? How would I create a profitable business while juggling motherhood and marriage? And most importantly - how would I fund this dream?
Ironically, all of these questions led me to create the business itself, Emerging Women. I wanted a support network of powerful women dedicated to creating a new version of success that takes into account the specific "how" challenges that women in business face. And BY FAR my greatest challenge has been access to capital.
When I started the raise last September, I felt confident and excited - with an impact-oriented business supporting women's leadership in the world, who could say no?
Then I learn that though the total investment in female-led companies has tripled since 2000, "85 percent of all venture capital–funded businesses have no women on the executive team," according to Babson College researchers. Even more astonishing: "...only 2.7 percent of venture capital-funded companies had a woman CEO." What the what?!
I know we have a brilliant idea that fills a real need in the world, so I'm crazy eager to have enough money to hire more people, launch new products, take risks, make mistakes. That's how businesses move from simply surviving to soaring, and scaling. When I look at the powerful women in our tribe, I know we will make it happen.
Until then, I'll just keep being grateful for my thick skin, because every "yes" I receive comes with at least a dozen "mehs."
I have refined and honed my pitch (am I on version 37 now?) to the point where I can say it backwards. And while I am not done with the full raise, the lessons I have learned along the way have completely re-shaped my relationship to money.
Check out these 5 Ways to start setting yourself up for a life of alignment, abundance and impact.
I'd love to hear where you're at with the whole money thing, too. How are you funding your dreams? Share your smarts with the tribe in the comments section.
Founder, Emerging Women
*If you are an accredited investor and want to be a part of Emerging Women, please mail us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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How are you funding your dreams? Share your smarts with the tribe in the comment section.