Bold Women: Event Recap
Ministry of Awesome recently partnered with PledgeMe and Canterbury Development Corporation (CDC) to bring you three amazing women speakers sharing their knowledge about branding, communications and crowdfunding. Written by host and Start-Up Activator, Catarina Gutierrez.
Emily is from The States (A lovely kiwi lady told me afterwards there were actually three American accents on the stage!) and shared her views on Start-Up Branding. She had me hooked at the start when she showed a presentation title slide with Katniss Everdeen.
She began by stating the big FAILURE reality in start-up-land. We’re all doomed. Emily’s presentation was that she would start with the negative then swoop in with the important of story and how you could land your start-up a fighting chance. She mentioned 5 ways in which start-up founders struggle to tell their story:
- Word vomiting: By saying it all, you’re not really saying anything. Get your pitch together!
- Be disciplined: “Start closing doors”, she said. So hard for people who are sort of used to saying ‘yes’ all the time and taking every meeting. Define what customer it is you want and be diligent about going after them.
- Be shameless: Being transparent with yourself and your team, even admitting that the product isn’t where it needs to be is honesty that will go a long way.
- No one cares what you want: You need to be concerned with what others’ selfish desires are and appeal to that.
- Pitch perfectly: “Only if your start-up fails do you get to stop talking about what you do”. Ouch! Failing not only means you’re shutting the door on your business, but you’re shutting your mouth too and no one will get to hear about that company you once had. You may not like to talk about yourself, but it’s what the hustler of the company must do!
- Find your own way: Market yourself in a way that feels natural. If you are introverted, try a marketing scheme that’s more dark and mysterious, or frame conversations around who the target customer is and why they’re so great. Create buzz around something different and don’t pretend to be something you’re not.
Our second speaker, Anna Guenther (chief bubble blower at NZ’s busiest crowdfunding platform PledgeMe) stepped up to the front of the room and I got even more excited. She has been on my radar (it’s where I keep lots of my friends) for awesome things like this, and this, then this. Damnit, Anna! You’re so cool. And to prove she was cool, she swooped in with elephants on her dress.
I remember Anna twitter-ranting recently about giving the same old talk over and over a million times. But this night’s talk was different. She not only briefly went through what crowdfunding is (nearly everyone in the room knew about it), she introduced ‘loan note sales’ (teaser!) and shared stories we’d never heard before. The stories behind popular campaigns were touching, heartfelt and real. Much like Emily’s talk, she emphasized the importance of story and your crowd — how they buy into a story, not a statistic, reward, or figure. Some do, most don’t. And some of the most successful crowdfunding campaigns, including Brianne’s, shared a unique story that tugged at heartstrings and pursestrings. Anna also had the world’s first gif in the slideshow presentation. Okay, maybe not the world’s first but probably New Zealand’s first.
Brianne West shared her PledgeMe story next. She raised $200,000 in 9 days. Bri is the epitome of BOLD because she was charging to raise far more than the most popular crowdfunding campaign, Yeastie Boys, by raising well over that amount in under 30 minutes. Brianne is even more bold because she’s afraid of public speaking but is passionate and gave us a quick run down of the dirty side to raising money. She is unapologetic and it’s AWESOME! It’s also part of what makes her and her brand so real. People know her and want to get behind someone they know and trust.
For me, the real takeaways of the night were 1. Do it your own way- be who you are or else people will see through it, 2. Tell a story worth sharing, and 3. Women are freaking amazing!
#boldchch is the hashtag. Keep sharing your bold stories so we can all hear more.