This is the third article in our Leveraging the Crowd Crowdfunding Series. If you haven’t read the previous articles, click here with advice from Tracy Persson of Cozy Intentions, and here for Hannah Cree of Common Good.
Heather Heystek had a dream of owning a business while also finding a way to give back to her community. From that dream Bravery Blends was born, a company with the goal of raising both money and awareness for first responders, military personnel, and veterans whose lives have been impacted by Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) through the sale of fresh roasted coffee and merchandise. Given Heather’s husband is a member of the RCMP, this cause was very important to both Heystek and her community, where a lot of talk about mental illness often goes unspoken.
In June of 2017, Heystek launched her crowdfunding campaign with a goal of $10,000 to fund the initial start-up costs of her business, including purchasing merchandise, setting up a storefront for e-commerce, and investing in some marketing strategies. In the end, she raised just over $11,000, which allowed her to take that next step into becoming the entrepreneur she had always wanted to be.
We spoke with Heystek who shared her thoughts on what she thinks aspiring crowdfunders need to know from her own experience. Below are her top three tips for fellow entrepreneurs looking to tackle their own crowdfunding campaigns.
Being organized is crucial in almost every facet of life, but it’s especially important to stay organized when it comes to your crowdfunding campaign. In fact, Heystek thinks it is the biggest priority. “You have to think beyond just the initial ‘I want to launch this,’ you have to go into the logistics. So obviously being specific about what you are going to sell, but also precise about when you are going to run your campaign, how you’re going to get the stuff you need, and how you’re going to get it to the consumer,” she explains.
Don’t be afraid to accept help
As a business owner and campaign organizer, it’s easy to fall into the trap of the old adage “if you want it done right, you have to do it yourself” and wanting to manage everything to do with your business on your own. “People would always ask me ‘oh can I help you?’ I was really hesitant to take people’s help because I thought to myself, ‘this is my business, this is my baby,’” Heystek reminiscences. “I didn’t want to ask for help because I thought I should be completely in control of everything. But there were definitely times when the day was over, that I thought that I really should’ve taken people up on their offers. Even when it came to just fulfilling and packing the rewards and getting them out to people, I probably could have used some help!”
Go all in
It seems straight-forward, but believing in yourself is the key to almost everything, crowdfunding success included. When others may not be so sure about your idea, you have to be the one who is invested wholeheartedly. “A lot of people who were really close to me - and even my husband - were like ‘well ok I guess, that’s a weird idea’ or something along those lines,” Heystek admits. “But I went with it, and I dove in head first, like ‘I’m doing this.’ I owe a lot to my crowdfunding campaign.
"It was a ton of work before, during, and after to get that campaign off the ground, but I put everything I had into those 30 days. Having the campaign succeed really proved to both me and the market that people were standing behind me. They had never tried the coffee before, so they were taking a chance on me, and in turn that gave me the confidence to really just go for it. And here I am a year later. It’s been hard, but I’m still totally doing it. I’m still all in.”
“I’m still learning!” Heystek laughs when asked about final advice she would give. “I still have a lot to learn, running a crowdfunding campaign and a business is all about learning and growing. Just keep yourself open and keep on learning more and more.”
Looking for more tips on how to crush your own crowdfunding campaign?
Check out our other articles about crowdfunding and accessing capital, alongside the other articles in our Leveraging the Crowd series with our crowdfunding role models.