While delivering a PodCast this morning for the SCORE organization, I was asked to define crowdfunding. I said: Crowdfunding is a way of supporting a product or business venture by gathering small amounts of money from a large group of contributors, generally via the internet.” I went on to offer more information. “The term crowdfunding first appeared on the scene in 2006 but it is not a new concept. As a matter of fact, in 1884, the pedestal supporting the magnificent Statue of Liberty was cracking and in need of repair. Joseph Pulitzer published an appeal to the American public and raised over $100,ooo through this early crowdfunding event, with most donations being $1 or less. As a result of Pullitzer’s successful crowdfunding campaign, Lady Liberty was restored to her original health and beauty.
Driving home I chatted with MomPreneur, Courtney Washmuth (Founder, Miles Outside) and told her about the Statue of Liberty example I used earlier. “Have you ever seen the Statue of Liberty up close?” I asked her as my mind wandered from the PodCast to my last trip to Manhattan. I stayed in a hotel room that looked directly out at the Statue and I could hardly pull myself away from the sight. “It is magnificent and solid. She appears to be focused, not at all distracted by all the eyes upon her. She holds the torch firmly as though leading the way.“
Courtney interjected, “Sometimes I feel as MomPreneurs, the world is watching us, waiting for us to guide them. Sometimes I, too, feel confident, strong and able to lead the way, yet other days I am not so sure of where I am going, and I don’t feel like I could lead the way to anyone!”
MomPreneurs, especially those who are new to crowdfunding, experience the emotional roller coaster that Courtney referred to. One day they receive a call from a vendor asking for more product and the MomPreneur is pumped up and excited. And still on another day, perhaps she learns that the production run is late, or more costly than initially planned, or maybe that there hasn’t been any activity on her crowdfunding campaign. Those days are down days, unsure days, days of wondering if it is all really worth it.
When I asked a diverse group of entrepreneurial moms what they do on those down days to get themselves upbeat again, I received variety of answers. Courtney goes for a run to clear her head and bring her attitude back in line. Lara (Co-Founder with sister Jen of heart&core), however, looks for a crowdfunding inspirational boost from Google, finds herself in the Pilates studio, or she even admits to letting go of her mind as she reads through gossip magazines. Regardless of how they unwind, afterwards they find themselves focused, free of stress, and back on track.
Sitting in New York Bay, the majestic Statue of Liberty has become a symbol of freedom to all Americans and those who choose to come here in search of a better life. Courtney and her entrepreneurial colleagues are in search of a better business world, one where women are respected for their innovative product ideas and their ability to lead organizations to consistently provide quality products and services.
And so to Courtney and her colleagues who have created innovative products and services, I say: MomPreneurs, we are watching you. We are waiting for you to show us the way to a changed world, a world that recognizes the genius of women and their ability to run successful businesses. Like the Statue of Liberty, you will be leading the way for other moms, women and young girls who also dream of one day having a business of their own.