Meet PowHERhouse’s new crowdfunding partners, Shelly Lynn Nellis and Donna West, of Project Her.
The very soul of Project Her is women helping other women through channels of funding, mentors, associates, and pro-woman marketing media.
Project Her is a perk-based crowdfunding website for women entrepreneurs or business owners (think: Kickstarter, but for women only). Because it’s a website created by women for women, Project Her also harnesses what makes doing business as a woman special: our knack for building community. Hence, Project Her connects its campaigners to an online community of women entrepreneurs and resources (like mentorship) that build the confidence women in business sometimes lack. Meet the PowHERhouses behind this initiative, hear more about their vision to send an army of prosperous and empowered women business owners into the world to make it an infinitely better place, giving talented women who might otherwise lose heart a leg up, and learn how you can become involved.
Describe your Mission. What’s it all about for you?
Our mission is to help women entrepreneurs crowdfund unique products and launch thriving businesses. But we want women to raise more than just funds—we help them to leverage the empathy, passion, and wisdom of an entire movement of women entrepreneurs. We are both women entrepreneurs so we get that women face unique challenges. Creating success on our own terms can be an uphill battle—but we believe that together we have all the stamina we need!
Biggest highlight in your career/journey thus far?
Shelly: As the Founder of Fresh, I have met so many awe-inspiring women, but my experience with the last issue definitely takes the cake. I got to interview Arlene Dickinson for our cover story and hang out with her during her photo shoot. Talk about a life-changing eight hours! It was such an honour to have that conversation and allow Arlene to talk about the things she’s truly passionate about: the experience of women in business, life, and love. To have given her a platform for calling out a culture that marginalizes women who do things differently was definitely a career highlight.
Donna: When I look back on my life, I feel really proud of the moment I decided that working for other people just wasn’t for me. It was a powerful turning point. I’d just moved from the US to Canada, so it was a time of big transitions. And anybody who has started a business knows that it’s a big deal to go from being an employee in a structured work environment to creating your own structure from scratch. That moment of making the scary—but right—choice will always stick with me.
Imagine it is 7 years down the road with Project Her. Where are you now and what has been the impact you’ve been able to make through this crowdfunding and support vehicle?
When we look into the future, we think about how we can continue to build communities that will mentor women. We envision using some of our proceeds to invest in new women-run companies that we believe in. And we want to give back to women’s charities, and perhaps start scholarships for women. We want to keep these cycles of support growing!
Describe the ‘perfect’ entrepreneur for Project Her – a campaign that would be successful on your platform and why.
The perfect entrepreneur for Project Her owns a business that has a great perk: a tangible product that people will want to get their hands on in exchange for supporting a campaign. She is also full of initiative and the desire to connect. She will take the marketing and networking resources that Project Her provides and work them, rather than passively expecting others to promote her. She’ll also be ready and willing to support others in their marketing efforts: giving shout outs, providing contacts, and generally being supportive and encouraging. It takes a village!
What are the top things to keep in mind when creating a successful crowdfunding campaign?
5 crowdfunding tips from successful campaign creators***
1. Tell a great story. Engage visitor’s minds and hearts by telling a story about yourself, the project, the company, or your customer.
2. Focus on what’s in it for the investors. Offer truly compelling rewards for your backers that tie into your story and aren’t just swag. Ask yourself, would I go through the trouble to buy this reward myself?
3. Ask your friends and family for support on day one. Campaigns that attain a significant percentage of their funding goal at the start often attract more attention over the life of the campaign. People want to invest in campaigns that others buy into.
4. Market your campaign. Before launching, successful campaign owners put in tens to hundreds of hours on the creative and marketing planning side of their campaign.
5. Create a short strong video. Online services like Biteable, Animato, and Moovly allow anyone to create an animation or a video.
What would you say is a ‘perfect campaign’ for Project Her?
If a reader resonates with this article but isn’t entirely sure she is immediately ready to initiate a Project Her campaign, PowHERhouse has created a simple readiness questionnaire, and we’d be happy to follow-up with you.
PowHERhouse is exploring a theme this Spring, “PowHERful Living Explored: Living, Learning & Leading from a PowHERful Place”. Can you tell us what activity, practice, ritual or strategy you are implementing this Spring to feel more powHERful in your life?
Long, quiet, mindful walks on the beach—most likely with dogs and kids.
If you could display a 1-line message in Times Square that would be televised to women around the world, what would it say?
What can you do today, right now, to take back some of your power?
You can’t leave the house without…
Shelly: “My cell phone.”
Donna: “A whole bunch of dog hair all over my clothes.”
Describe collaboration and what the looks like/feels like on the ground – how does it show up in your life?
Because we work in a women-designed business that caters to women, we obviously collaborate with other women all of the time. And we really feel that we tend to do it differently then men. It feels like collaboration is a bit more natural and easy for us, and we think outside the box in terms of what will be helpful, rather than just doing the bare minimum for each other. It’s like that saying, “It takes a village to raise a child”…well, it definitely takes a village to raise a business too. For example, the fact that we’re talking to your readers speaks to the power of women connecting and collaborating. Charlene has created this platform and reached out to us because she believes in what we’re doing; she’s thinking of ways to use her voice to give us a voice.
Read to move forward?
To join the Project Her community or start a campaign, visit https://www.projecther.com/login and fill out the form to create your own free account.
Shelly Lynn Nellis is the founder of Fresh Magazine, Skin Spin Cosmetics, and EpiAlert App (now Spokesperson). In addition to her work as a publisher and business owner, she has developed an exclusive label for a major pharmacy and consulted for various magazines and health and beauty brands. Shelly loves to get her hands on an idea, make it a reality, and share it with the world—all while radiating the good vibes of a best girlfriend.
Donna is a mom, a dog lover and an entrepreneurial spirit. She’s on her fourth start-up, and her work history includes organic produce delivery, commercial & financial printing, footwear, paper manufacturing, and security services. A communications specialist, Donna can talk to anyone about pretty much anything. After all, she’s equal parts Type A businesswoman and cuddly dog mom.
About Project Her.
Project Her is a perk-based crowdfunding website for women entrepreneurs or business owners that allows members to create fundraising campaigns for new businesses or products and connects them to a community of women entrepreneurs.
***PowHERhouse is a solid resource for crowd-funding candidates. If you are ready to move forward, find out more about our Women WE Celebrate media partnership and how we can best support you with brand-building, marketing & promotion, positioning and effective copy-writing for a stellar campaign!