Leap Before You Feel Ready

Leap Before You Feel Ready

Last month, the third annual Conscious Company World-Changing Women’s Summit was held in Sonoma, CA. As Crowdfund Mainstreet co-founders, both Jenny Kassan and I were honored to each be named to the list of 43 World-Changing Women in Conscious Business for 2020.

The summit was attended by 250 female/women-identifying founders, CEOs, executives, and entrepreneurs involved with conscious businesses. The event focused on authentic conversations around two prominent themes: 1) listening to and trusting your instinctual wisdom as a woman and business leader, and 2) understanding, challenging, and overcoming the complexities of racism in business and beyond—both issues that are increasingly important as we challenge the status quo and take the concept of conscious business and conscious leadership to new heights. 

Confidence is an outcome of taking action, not a prerequisite for it.

The need for more women in business leadership is undeniable. Research and logic have long confirmed the fact that women have much to contribute to our companies and communities, but it can be daunting to fight the stereotypes and the patriarchy along the way to becoming the change we want to see in the world. Storied women leaders such as Missy Park of Title Nine, Tami Simon of Sound True, Cheryl Contee of Do Big Things, and Jane Wurwand of Dermalogica were in attendance and shared their experiences on finding their leadership styles and successfully growing their companies.  

Each of these women came to leadership in their own way, but all learned to listen to and trust their unique voices. All seemed to have an early grasp of the fact that confidence is an outcome of taking action, not a prerequisite for it. The message was clear—if you wait around until you have the confidence to make the changes that need to be made, you will surely perish in inertia. We cannot afford the loss of so many voices. A better way, as Jane Wurwand of Demalogia says, is to accept the fact that “You don’t know how to do something until the first time you do it. You didn’t come out as a baby knowing how to make a casserole—but you figured it out!” There is a freedom to fail forward and innovate when you adopt a beginner’s mindset. We will get to equality and inclusivity a lot faster if we learn to consistently leap before we feel truly ready.

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Angels of Main Street is one year old and growing fast!

Angels of Main Street is one year old and growing fast!

A little over a year ago, Crowdfund Mainstreet CEO Michelle Thimesch and I had a crazy idea—create an angel group for EVERYBODY!

The traditional definition of an angel investor is a wealthy person who invests their own money in startups. There are groups all over the country where angels gather to support each other with finding and making investments. To join these groups a person must meet the definition under federal law of an accredited investor (minimum of $200,000 in annual income or $1 million in net worth, excluding their primary residence).

Angels of Main Street was formed so that EVERYONE could be part of an angel group—there is no minimum wealth or income requirement. AMS currently has almost 70 members who collectively invested over $500,000 in small businesses in 2019. Investment amounts ranged from $500 to $25,000.

It’s easy to join Angels of Main Street. Just pay the one-time membership fee, commit to investing at least $500 per year in businesses you care about, and join us for our calls, events, and learning opportunities.

For details, visit https://www.angelsofmainstreet.com, or feel free to email info@jennykassan.com if you have any questions.

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Major changes for maximum impact

Major changes for maximum impact

Dear Community,

This is my last blog post for 2019, and I want to thank you for all your support this year. As we work to change the face of investment in our country, your outpouring of love for our amazing entrepreneur clients, and of course your investments in them, mean everything to us!

2019 was a year of major change for Jenny Kassan Consulting. For the first time we didn’t do our signature training event, Fund and Fuel Your Dreams, because it felt like we were being called to serve in a different way.

It was time to acknowledge that raising significant investment dollars, for many entrepreneurs, is an undertaking that requires an extremely high level of support—coaching, legal services, support with communications, and help with connecting to the right investors. While a three-day training is a great start, it barely scratches the surface of what is needed to meaningfully support an entrepreneur with fundraising. Plus, now that my book is published, everything we taught at the event is easily accessible without the need to attend a three-day live event.

So, in 2019 we focused our efforts on one-on-one client services, allowing us to address each individual client’s unique goals and challenges and to bring the right resources to the table.

We also put more energy than ever into cultivating the investor side of the equation. With such amazing entrepreneur clients, the obvious next step was to leverage the relationships we already have with “outside-the-box” investors and to encourage connections between investors and our clients. We do this through our WeCapital Community—where we connect our current and former female clients with investors—and also through Angels of Main Street—a community of angel investors that is open to people anywhere in the US regardless of wealth or income.

In its first year, the Angels of Main Street have already moved several hundred thousand dollars into direct investments in mission-driven companies.

In 2020, we will continue 1) to focus on providing highly customized services for entrepreneurs who want to raise investment capital on their own terms and 2) to grow the movement of investors wanting to learn how to move their money into ventures they love.

We hope you’ll stay involved—here’s what you can do:

· Follow us on social media

· Join Angels of Main Street

· Invest on Crowdfund Mainstreet

· Buy and gift my book here

· Refer entrepreneurs to us here

· Continue to read our newsletter and encourage friends to join our mailing list by going to our website

Thank you again for your support and encouragement!

~ Jenny

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Go Ahead, Get Invested! The power of community investing

Go Ahead, Get Invested! The power of community investing

Local businesses are the touchstone of our communities. And in the last decade, social entrepreneurship and community investing have moved from fringe experiments to mainstream ideas. Together, there’s more opportunity than ever for community members to support, participate, and potentially share the benefit of the success of main street businesses. 

In case you missed it, you can watch the video replay from an event we recently attended in Los Angeles called Go Ahead, Get Invested!—an engaging evening of conversation and ideas for action around the power of community investing.  Click here to watch the video replay.

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2019 Social Venture Circle Conference Highlights

2019 Social Venture Circle Conference Highlights

I have been attending Social Venture Circle (fka Social Venture Network) conferences for about 10 years, and they never disappoint. These conferences attract business and finance leaders of all ages to discuss how business and investing can transform our world and hasten the arrival of the “next economy”—one that provides health, happiness, and sustainable prosperity for all.

One of the highlights of the 2019 conference was a conversation between SVC Executive Director Valerie Red-Horse Mohl and Anand Giridharadas, author of Winners Take All.

Anand’s book was difficult for many in the impact investing and social enterprise space to read. Anand called out changemakers for “falling prey to . . . a belief in ‘changing the world’ in ways that tend to keep it the same, in using the tools of hypercapitalism to soften its blows, all while refusing to question the system generating the problems.”

Presentations by Morgan Simon, Diana Marie Lee, Taij Kumarie Moteelall, Hope Lehman, Nathalie Molina Niño, Derek Razo, and many more (including me!) provided glimpses of what a truly just, sustainable, and regenerative economy and financial system would look like.

While it is true that some who call themselves impact investors are doing more harm than good by providing a fig leaf of respectability for rapacious, extractive finance, many speakers at the SVC conference delved into the hard questions and put forth radical ideas—exactly what is needed in this time of growing wealth inequality, economic insecurity, and political disengagement.

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We are the Ones We’ve Been Waiting for

We are the Ones We’ve Been Waiting for

This year’s CoCap (Community Capital Conference) was our best yet, and I walked away feeling very hopeful. One of the main themes was this: we don’t have to wait for a white knight to move capital into what we love. For example:

  • Anyone in California can invest in the East Bay Permanent Real Estate Cooperative, an organization that protects land from the speculative market—everyone can buy equity in the co-op for $1,000. Those who cannot make a one-time payment of $1,000 may set up regular payments, with a minimum first payment of $100.
  • Anyone (if you have self-employment income) can work with The Next Egg to set up a low-fee self-directed retirement account from which you can invest your retirement funds into businesses you care about.
  • Anyone can go to Crowdfund Mainstreet and invest as little as $100 in a mission-driven business. This platform offers investments under Regulation Crowdfunding, an investment tool which has only been legal since 2016. According to data gathered by Investibule.co, while 66% of investment crowdfunding campaigns are successful, 77% of women-owned companies and 75% of people of color-owned companies that raise money using investment crowdfunding are successful.

These are just three examples of how everyone can invest in the next economy—one that is just, sustainable, and creates equitable prosperity for all.

Rather than putting energy into trying to get the big players in the financial markets to stop being extractive and rapacious, let’s use our own money to create the world we want to see. Collectively, we have a lot!

Be a part of the movement to unleash community capital to fund what we want to see in the world.  If you’re interested in learning more about the power of community investing, go to https://www.angelsofmainstreet.com/ to join our movement.    

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