BoostR Success Story – Shaunio Radio

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Priscilla Cherry owns online radio station Shaunio Radio. When Priscilla first inherited the station, she decided to dedicate it to independent artists, in order to honour one of her family members who had passed away. She saw it as an opportunity to share his music around the world, and to share the music of other independent artists.
So she decided to use the Alberta BoostR platform to crowdfund and re-launch the station. And she knew marketing would be key to running a successful crowdfunding campaign: she created videos for social media, cold-called strangers, you name it. And it worked! Here are her thoughts on how her marketing efforts made the difference.

Q: What different marketing channels did you use?
Priscilla: Obviously social media, because in our information age, it’s huge. At the beginning, I was really consistent in keeping people updated and engaged, and posted almost every day. But for me, I know people get bored fast and they like to be entertained. So besides social media and the videos, I thought, well, let me go back to traditional marketing. And I actually went business to business and was telling them about my campaign. So, like actually going door to door saying, ‘hi, nice to meet you!’ kind of thing. And actually cold calling as well. So I took it back a couple years and added some traditional marketing.

Q: Did you find that cold calling people was a successful strategy? Were people interested?
Priscilla: A little bit. You call people out of the blue and you give your little pitch, but they have no idea who you are. So they’re like, ‘what does this girl want?’ So I did that first, and then people would say ‘oh, I’ll get back to you’ or, ‘oh, send me an e-mail.’ If anything, I’d get a share of my video, a post, a retweet or something, but not necessarily any contributions. So that’s when I was like, for my personality, I have to be talking to people face to face, person to person. And that ended up being perfect, I got contributions when I went door to door.
Q: I was actually wondering how that went after seeing your video! (To see Priscilla’s video on door to door marketing, click here)
Priscilla: Yeah, it was interesting. Some people…you just don’t know what to expect. And honestly, some people, how I re-enacted it was not even an exaggeration. Literally people are just like, ‘no not interested,’ and I hadn’t even said anything yet! But other people, who are entrepreneurs themselves, they respect the hustle kind of thing, so they support right back, which is really nice. It’s hit or miss, definitely.

Q: What kind of marketing advice would you have for someone who’s just trying to start a campaign?
Priscilla: Honestly, I would just suggest completely stepping outside of the box. If it feels uncomfortable, then do it, because you never know what kind of results you’re going to get. Like door to door marketing. Just try different things outside of your box. Like I said, I never did that before, but I tried it, and it worked! So you never know what kind of results you’re going to get.

BoostR Question: Would you rather be a dragon, or own a dragon?
Priscilla: I think I’d rather be a dragon? Is this a trick question? Because dragons are cool, I want to blow fire out of my mouth, that’s pretty cool. And not scare people, but a dragon is a fierce thing. And if I am a dragon then I own myself, so there you go!

Money follows passion

Megan SzanikJust east of Calgary’s downtown core is a trendy little district called Inglewood. It’s a community that’s brimming with unique and one-of-a-kind shops and shopping experiences. One such business is Espy – an affordable designer boutique owned by Megan Szanik, a passionate, forward-thinking entrepreneur who is providing a retail environment that gives men and women a place to see themselves in a completely new light. The Espy experience is about teaching clientele to love their bodies with the discerning advice and caring approach of highly trained in-house clothing stylists. The Espy staff will help you create a wonderful and lasting wardrobe, but it is the confidence you walk out with that tells the real story behind the Espy experience.

We had the pleasure of sitting down with Megan recently to probe a little deeper into her business (which began as a designer discount concept in 2009); her guiding philosophies; and what Espy is about. It’s a story filled with risk-taking, gutsiness, hard-work and a whole lot of passion – elements successful entrepreneurs possess – yet Megan has the self-awareness to tell her story in a way that inspires and causes you to really listen to what she has to say. What we will share with you are some of the take-aways we captured that you can use to keep your entrepreneurial spirit strong and resilient.

HAVE A REAL PASSION FOR WHAT YOU ARE DOING

Megan is passionate about making a difference in people’s lives – whatever their shape, height or size. She channels this passion and energy into helping her clients feel special and sees Espy as a place for people to let go of faulty personal judgments and heal from the inside out … and she just happens to sell clothes.

FAILURE CAN GIVE CLARITY AND PURPOSE

You will fail at  a number of things you do as an entrepreneur, whether it is a marketing initiative, a buying decision, or your entire business goes down the tube. Megan has had several business failures over the span of her career; however she doesn’t define herself as a failure. Everything she has experienced has given her greater clarity and purpose. The experiences that didn’t go as well as she thought, have been foundational in helping her continue to take risks and stay focused on her core purpose. “There is always something important to learn,” Megan says. “Learn it and move on.”

TAKE THE KIND OF RISKS THAT REQUIRE YOU TO BE DIFFERENT

Espy has shown their uniqueness through creative fundraising/crowdfunding events in support of Prostrate Cancer (#nakedespy) and the Special Olympics (#bikiniespy). Megan’s approach is to stop seeing barriers to making things happen, and just start.

Megan says: “Start with the idea of helping someone. Start asking others to partner and work with you. Start with the decision makers. Start connecting face-to-face with people in your community. Start a gutsy movement or two and people will get behind you because people love being a part of something exciting and meaningful.”

VALIDATE AND TRUST YOURSELF

Espy is now getting national coverage through media, which Megan is thrilled about, yet this is not how she validates herself and her business mission. Megan ‘trusts her gut’. She keeps herself grounded with meditation, exercise, and girlfriends who help her keep her thinking and ideas elevated. Because external conditions are forever changing, sometimes fleeting, Megan stays focused on her core values, and it’s building a lasting business.

It is said that money follows passion. Megan Szanik certainly proves this. Go to www.espyexperience.com to discover more about this defining retail business.

Big thanks to Megan for sharing her story and insights into “what it takes” to be a successful small business. What about you? Do you have a story or something to share? Leave a comment on the blog or Facebook Page, or send us a Tweet!

Launching Your Alberta BoostR Campaign to the World

Launching your Crowdfunding Campaign

If you live in Alberta it’s likely you’ve heard the phrase, ‘the Alberta Advantage’. Living in this vibrant prairie province in Western Canada has its advantages, especially if you are an entrepreneur or small business owner.

If you have decided to use crowdfunding to seed your business, you have made a strategic decision to trust and empower yourself. Awesome!

There are a lot of ideas you can gain from those who have already succeeded. Study the campaigns that have been ‘boosted’. Email or call a few of these business owners to ask for their advice or suggestions. Create a descriptive, authentic story about you and your business, and get help if you need it.

Firstly, your rewards must be enticing and desirable to someone who is interested or intrigued by what you plan to do. Ask friends if they would be motivated by them. Establish a plan for connecting and building a community and following it throughout your campaign. And most of all, decide to have fun with this. Crowdfunding is a unique opportunity to share yourself and announce your ideas to the world. Let your confidence shine!

Regardless of whether your business is strictly local or it has a global reach, your ability to share your vision, excitement and your ideas from the get-go will have a direct effect on your campaign’s success.

So, where do you start? The easy ‘go to’ is family, friends and customers. Ask them to support you first. Then ask them to help you spread the word and share your campaign with their networks and contacts. It is then up to you to provide them with shareable content. Here are some ideas to help you get creative.

  1. Pre-plan daily social media mini-messages about interesting angles and ways that your product/service could add value to others – (you probably have a ton of market research to draw from).
  2. Develop new rewards mid campaign that build even more excitement and anticipation – ask questions and listen to what others say would inspire or motivate them to support you and your business idea.
  3. Ask your network to help you stay current with local news, community events, or media personnel for relevant opportunities to be a part of the community goings on. Show up!

Running a successful campaign will keep you busy and your mind alert. Even though you can’t control the outcome – you have a lot of control over how actively you put your time, passion, and energy into helping people want to invest in you. Being consistent and persistent could make all the difference in the world. You can do this!!

Other ideas for launching your campaign with a bang:

  • Host a campaign launch event, inviting your immediate network and best customers to share your campaign, ideas and the great rewards
  • Make rewards exclusive or time sensitive to build urgency
  • Create a campaign video to get your message across
  • Have a marketing plan in place to help things run like a well-oiled machine

Ready to get started? Learn how to start a crowdfunding campaign with Alberta BoostR or browse other campaigns to see what’s going on.