Connect with us

Makers

Meet Lady Boss Blogger: Elaine Rau

Published

on

With an impressive following of over 150,000 readers, Lady Boss Blogger is a blog that has accomplished notable success in only 2 years. Elaine Rau, CEO and Founder, is the woman behind the popular site.

Lady Boss Blogger is dedicated to helping women entrepreneurs and bloggers. On the site, you will find countless articles featuring advice for women’s success in the business world from women professionals, informational courses created by the Lady Boss Blogger team, and more.

The blog reaches far past its headquarters in Chicago to across the world. With success comes hard work, and Rau put not only work but her passion and skills to create a resource for women to successfully navigate the business world.

Blogging had not always been Elaine’s passion. For years, Elaine worked in the wedding industry. Not only was she successful, but she loved it too. However, her whole life changed in a matter of one week.

At the time, her fiancé lived in Honduras with his family. She was shocked to learn that her brother-in-law was brutally murdered. Once she heard the news, she requested time off to support her fiancé in his time of grief.

As quickly as she asked, she was denied because of the approaching Christmas season. At that moment she realized she was nothing more than a dollar sign to the company. From there, she quit her job, sold her place, and moved to Honduras.

The move to Honduras was a challenging transition from her life in the states. She was fully immersed in a culture with a language barrier. Because of this barrier, she could not find a job.

Feeling lost, she decided to channel her creativity and find a purpose. In September of 2016, she created a blog. Originally, she bought the name Lady Boss but realized that all the social media handles were taken. Alas came the blog we know today: Lady Boss Blogger.

Lady Boss Blogger grew very quickly. She accredits it to her jumping on the wave of female-empowering projects when it was rare. At the time, Elaine recalls not seeing many projects like hers. In addition, she also thinks her consistency helped the growth.

Her blog today is still constant with the daily uploads at 6 PM CST. Elaine compares the importance of consistency of blogs to that of a television show.

Today, the blog posts two types of articles. One being interviews while the others are guest posts. Lady Boss Blogger has interns from all the around the world. For the past year, international Instagram pages have been translated into Chinese, Spanish, and Swahili.

Elaine wants to work towards erasing the language barrier, a barrier that she experienced in Honduras. With the help of her interns, they help translate to make the blog accessible to many. Currently, they are experimenting with Instagram and hope to expand to other platforms.

Once she moved back to the states, she confided in her mentor about her blog. As she poured out her heart about her vision, her mentor responded with the same response, “So what? How are you helping the world?”

At the time, it really frustrated her and kept her up at night. As she reflected, she realized she needed to do something to benefit the world. This led to her involvement with the Micah Project.

The Micah Project is a Honduran charity that works to help house and educate homeless boys. They also work against the violence that the boys endure, the same violence that took her brother-in-law’s life.

Her husband was one of those boys in his youth, so she felt compelled to get involved. A portion of all Lady Boss Blogger’s proceeds goes towards this charity. Elaine is emotional when she speaks about The Micah Project, but today she looks at it as a fulfilling experience that helps make the world a better place.

For readers who aspire to be bloggers, she advises them to draw from personal experience, be extremely relevant, and find a profitable niche that they’reinterested in. They also should love the whole process of blogging from start to finish. Lady Boss Blogger is always looking for remote interns so if you’re interested click here.

The blog also offers a few courses to guide online business owners and bloggers. They are either paid or free, ranging from 3 to 21 days. The courses on How to Start A Money Making Blog and How To Become An Influencer were originally articles.

These articles were very successful with thousands of shares. Elaine decided to listen to the readers and create the courses. At first, it was difficult for Elaine to transition from learner to the teacher, but knowing that she’d help many women made it worthwhile.

However, with the popularity of women wanting to learn how to be bloggers, she knew she had to make the jump.

Elaine Rau is the head of a growing company that expands far pass just blogging. This platform helps thousands of women internationally channel their inner Lady Boss.

By helping all these women, she has created a network of women helping women. The success stories of powerful women in business motivate others that they too can achieve that success.

Rau is empowering and guiding women in business every day with her blog. Her message strives to have women take control of their lives and to not waste a second of life. You are never trapped.

If you’ve been looking for a start to blog, look at Lady Boss Blogger as that start.

By: Vivianna Shields

Continue Reading

Makers

Closing the Funding Gap for Women Entrepreneurs-Meet the Founder of IFundWomen

Sydney Murphy

Published

on

The brunnette lady in a red shirt is Karen Cahn, the CEO of IFundWomen.
Source: Karen Cahn

Karen Cahn , the Founder and CEO of IFundWomen, has dedicated her career to closing the funding gap for women entrepreneurs and opening up their realm of possibilities through maximizing confidence. A successful pioneer in tech and media, she spent 10 years as an early Google Intrapreneur leading several monetization teams in search, display, and video.

When Karen Cahn started the Branded Entertainment business on YouTube back in 2006, she and a rogue group of sales and product managers, connected big consumer brands and video creators. Her group created the first native video ad experiences monetized on YouTube. 

IFundWomen is the go-to marketplace for active participants and supporters of women-owned businesses. They offer access to capital “through crowdfunding and grants, expert business coaching on all the topics entrepreneurs need to know about, and a network of women business owners that sparks confidence, accelerates knowledge, and ignites action.” 

Despite Karen Cahn’s busy schedule, she has kindly offered advice and reflection on her success story in the following interview.

As the founder of IFundWomen, what led you to create this company? 

IFundWomen was created when my first startup—a video platform for female creators—was failing. We were out of cash. We set up a crowdfunding campaign to raise $30,000 to keep the proverbial lights on. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but eventually, we ended up meeting our goal. 

We had the idea to create a crowdfunding platform specifically designed for women entrepreneurs to get their ideas funded. Why? Because crowdfunding should be the first stop on every entrepreneurs’ journey. It allows a startup to prove there is demand before investing in supply. 

We realized that there was no one to teach us how to crowdfund. We knew that coaching was a key ingredient to any successful entrepreneurial story, so we offered coaching on how to crowdfund. 

Lastly, we knew that women thrive when they’ve got a community of sisters around them to push them to keep going. We made community a core part of our offering as well.

You coach and mentor women on how to start smarter, better businesses. How else do you try to fill that role of mentorship in your life? What do you look for in your own mentors?

I truly believe that women can solve all the world’s problems. I love having a diverse group of investors and partners that has helped me build IFundWomen from the ground up.

I think one of the ways that women differ from men is that women tend to ask for help when they need it. This has definitely been my strategy with building IFundWomen. Test, learn, iterate, and have strong coaches around me to show me the way.

What do you believe is the most valuable thing to invest your time into?

I eat, sleep, and breathe funding for women entrepreneurs. At IFundWomen, our #1 goal is driving funding into the hands of women. That’s what I invest most of my time in and care most about.

What’s one thing you believe every entrepreneur should know?

Overnight success takes five to 10 years. Do not quit your day job when you have a startup idea! You should work in your 10% time to prove there is demand before investing in supply. We believe at IFundWomen that no founder should go into debt or max out credit cards funding the earliest days of her startup.

As a woman in business, you are always meeting new people across all backgrounds and industries. If there’s one thing people take away after meeting you, what do you hope that is?

The one thing people get about me right away is that I’m no BS. I get straight to the point, and tell people the truth about their business idea (only if they ask).

This approach not only saves people time and money, but it also engenders trust. I’m not a “yes” person or a person who just wants to be liked. I’d rather people know that I care about them and their business by giving them honest, constructive, no-BS feedback. 

What is a key business strategy that you took away from your three years as General Manager of AOL Original Video?

Know what your customers want to buy and sell that exact thing to them. For example, when I started at AOL, I knew that, at the time, Verizon was looking to market to women because women make 80% of the household purchasing decisions.

So, my team and I went hunting for the best women video creators, gave them a budget to make whatever they wanted, which not only yielded a 7-figure deal from Verizon, but also got AOL an Emmy nod. 

The IFundWomen COVID-19 Relief Fund provides microgrants to women-owned businesses that are being impacted by this crisis. What charity or foundation is IFundWomen currently supporting?

Our number 1 KPI at IFundWomen is driving funding into the hands of women-owned businesses. To that end, our COVID-19 grants go directly into the crowdfunding campaigns of entrepreneurs raising capital on our platform. 

We believe that no founder should have to go into debt or relinquish equity while building the earliest days of their startup. This is why we provide access to rewards-based crowdfunding and grants. Any of our crowdfunders that have been impacted by COVID-19 are eligible for our COVID-19 grants. 

Additionally, since our inception, we have given 20% of our standard crowdfunding fees back to women raising capital on our platform. Meet some of our Pay-it-Forward grant recipients here.

IFundWomen is closing the funding & confidence gap for female entrepreneurs. How does IFundWomen advise businesses such as hair and nail salons to strategically pivot during the COVID-19 crisis? 

Think smartly about how you can meet your customers where they are and deliver some sort of value. For example, can you deliver hair color with brushes and instructions? Can you do house calls while wearing a mask?

This is the official logo of IFundWomen, or ifw for short.
Source: ifundwomen

Karen Cahn has proven that success can come from every angle, including failure. She has learned from previous challenges that determination is everything when it comes to striving for what seems to be impossible.

IFundWomen is driving funding into the hands of women-owned businesses and closing the funding gap and confidence gap for women entrepreneurs. Lack of funding should not prevent women from taking on business challenges and empowering others through their ventures. 

Karen is living out the BLENDtw vision of generating positivity and confidence for entrepreneurs across all walks of life with connections. 

Through IFundWomen, women are exchanging experiences with other women to help shape their understanding of the world and prepare them for the future. This overwhelming support between women is inspiring us all to strive to do the same: to reach for the “impossible.”

Continue Reading

Makers

Claire Coder Sheds the Stigma on Menstruation

Published

on

By

Source: Claire Coder

Claire Coder, founder and CEO of Aunt Flow, is an empowering female entrepreneur and advocate for making people comfortatreble when talking about menstruation.

Not all men are aware of women’s menstrual cycles and the importance of having menstrual products at a reachable distance. In addition, there is a stigma about menstruation that needs to be dismantled. Coder and her team at Aunt Flow work to #ShedTheStigma and educate the public about menstruation.

During a Columbus Startup event, Coder unexpectedly got her period without the supplies she needed. So, she had to leave the event filled with majority male participants to go buy tampons.

To address the inequity with a sustainable solution, at age 18, Coder founded Aunt Flow. Since its establishment in 2016, the business works towards its mission to ensure that “everyone has access to quality menstrual products.”

To accomplish its mission, the team at Aunt Flow provides 100% organic cotton tampons and pads to companies and organizations at no charge. Requests for menstrual products can be made on the Aunt Flow website. Coder believes that menstrual products should be made readily available for free since it is a necessity.

“Toilet paper is offered for free, why aren’t tampons and pads?” Claire states.

Claire Coder
Source: Claire Coder

Launching a start-up is no easy work. She worked odd jobs to raise $1.5 million in order to stock and fund over 350 businesses and schools.

When the business was launched, what were some of the greatest fears? How and when were the fears overcome?

One obstacle with a B2B [business to business] menstrual product business is that some decision-makers—primarily men—don’t always see the need for products in their bathrooms. Because they’ve never personally had a period, they don’t always view tampons and pads as bathroom necessities, like toilet paper. However, the large majority of the operations and facilities, people, office managers and other business owners we’ve worked with are certified FLOW BROS. They get why freely-accessible products matter: they support menstruators AND help business’ bottom lines.

Aunt flow provides women with organic tampons and pads, which is quite different from major menstrual product brands. What is the importance of using organic ingredients?

Transparency is key when it comes to what we put in our bodies. Unfortunately, the FDA currently classifies tampons as ‘medical devices,’ and major menstrual product brands are not required to disclose their ingredients. If we take the extra time to go for an organic apple, why would menstruators want to put chemicals (including rayons, dyes, and toxins!) into their bodies? Our tampons and pads are made from 100% organic cotton and contain no dyes, perfumes, or other WEIRD stuff.

 What advice do you have for aspiring female entrepreneurs?

Always believe in yourself and Google something when you’re not sure!

One of your accomplishments is being an advocate for making people comfortable when talking about menstruation. What are some initiatives that you have taken to advocate for this cause?

From the beginning, Aunt Flow has aimed to get people talking about menstruation and why menstrual stigma sucks. To #ShedTheStigma, we refer to our products as ‘menstrual products’ and ditched the term ‘feminine hygiene products.’ The latter implies that getting your period is somehow dirty or gross, when it’s just another normal bodily function. This verbiage is also inclusive of everyone who gets a flow, not just cisgender women. We use this same inclusive language on our social media to make people comfortable when talking about menstruation.

You have also stated that you are a “proud college drop-out.” How did you make this decision? What influenced your determination?

I have always had an entrepreneurial instinct, and I didn’t feel like college was giving me the tools needed for genuine social impact. I dropped out of college after one semester to fight for menstrual equity, and the rest is history!

What is a fun fact about you that not many people know?

I owned a company in high school called, “There’s a Badge For That” where I made trendy buttons, magnets and compact mirrors with different designs on them. I was a top seller on Etsy as a sixteen-year-old!

Claire Coder
Source: Claire Coder

What are the future goals for the company?

Our team wants to ensure EVERYONE has access to quality menstrual products. Soon, we want to see our products supporting people in 1,000 businesses and schools.

Coder exhibited her entrepreneurial instincts early on. Her experience enhanced her career as a successful entrepreneur, who sheds the stigma on menstruation.

By: Kahyun Kim

Continue Reading

Makers

Meet Shani Syphrett, The Innovative Strategist Empowering Women of Color

Published

on

By

Source: Shani Syphrett

Even if you’ve never heard of Shani Syphrett, you’ve probably been impacted by her work. She’s the mastermind behind the branding and marketing strategies that keep some of the biggest brands and corporations around the world connected to the public via field-tested brand building, experiential marketing, customer acquisition, and customer retention strategies. In layman’s terms, she’s one of the people responsible for keeping them up to date with their rapidly-growing and ever-changing consumer base.

She’s also the founder of Jamila Studio, a launchpad serving women of color that encourages and empowers them to share their stories and drive themselves forward through accessible one-on-one mentoring, brand coaching, and peer mentoring networks.

Jamila Studio staffers who focus on empowering women are a diverse group of women posing in front of a white brick wall.
Source: Shani Syphrett

We caught up with Syphrett to learn more about her role as a strategist, the influences and impact associated with her work, and what it means for her to empower women of color and drive their success.

You’re a Brand and Marketing Strategist for companies such as Samsung, Nike,  McDonald’s, Refinery29, and Gap. How do you help these well-established companies step into the future of marketing to and serving their customers?

My philosophy around brand and marketing strategy is serving the right customers with the right product at the right time. Much of what I bring to the table for the companies that I work with is getting them to step away from any assumptions they have about the customers they are trying to chase and examine who the qualities of their product or service are uniquely positioned to serve at the moment. Many times that means abandoning putting their customers in demographic boxes and looking at how they actually behave in an internet-connected, barrier-breaking world.

When did you realize that you wanted to be a Brand Strategist?

To me, it’s all human ecology – the relationship between people and their natural, social, and built environments. I would say I fell into strategy because of my innate curiosity and empathy and a few people in my life who entered in at just the right times to advocate for me and push outside of my comfort zone. I’ve always wanted to solve problems and I am lucky to be able to do that every day.

Why do you think it is important to offer support and additional resources to Women of color and intersectional identities, at large. How have you seen intersectional identity groups benefit from tailored support?

I see the work that I do for Women of color as something I am uniquely positioned to do. My experience often puts me in positions where I am the only one who looks, thinks, or acts like me. At first, it depressed me because I felt isolated and misunderstood. Now I see it for what it is: my obligation to open the door and bring others with me. And we all need that. No one succeeds all on their own. We move so much further when there is someone ahead of us, or someone who has access, who is specifically looking to help us. I made a decision to be a resource for Women of color and I see the fruits of that decision both big and small.

In 2015, you founded Jamila Studio as a consulting firm and project studio that helps high-performing women of color to thrive. How have you seen Jamila studio serving and empowering women through these endeavors? How important do you think Jamila studio is in their journey towards success?

I like to think that Jamila Studio provides creative capital and people capital for Women of color and, hopefully, soon, financial capital. What originally was a container for me to house all of my freelance creative work turned into a way for me to provide scalable support for a largely ignored market: innovative women of color. The one-on-one advising, coaching, bootcamp-style teaching, monthly meetup, and digital publication are an ecosystem that helps me reach women at different stages of their journeys. Maybe they’re just starting out and need confidence boosters and general direction. Maybe they are launching something new and need the right strategy behind them. Maybe they’ve already reached a certain milestone and need the co-sign, or connection of their peers to get them to the next step. Maybe they just want to be in the know about the myriad of options and resources out there that they can leverage to be successful. It’s the way that I can help the most people without burning myself out.

Shani is at a Chat & Chew meetup speaking to a group of people sitting in chairs in a circle.
Source: Shani Syphrett

You also started monthly Chat & Chew meetups. Where did the idea to host Chat & Chew meetups come from? How have you seen these monthly meetups impact the attendees both on a personal and professional level?

Selfishly, the Chat & Chew meetups began because I was drowning in “coffee date” requests. Though I wish I could help everyone, I am an introvert who needs a fair amount of downtime. There came a point, I believe it was after about a year of leading workshops for various entrepreneurship programs and conferences and writing for Forbes, where there was a request for a coffee date and pick your brain session every day. I just couldn’t keep up. I was meeting so many new great women, needing to catch up with others, and often wanting to connect women who I thought could benefit from each other. So Chat & Chew was born. It’s invite-only conversation between peers who help each other celebrate wins, get through tricky work-related tasks, and air out the things we don’t feel comfortable doing with just anyone. I could not have imagined the sisterhood and enterprising I’ve seen since it started. It’s warm, validating, and actionable support. It feels like the most significant thing I’ve ever done.

On top of being an active brand strategist and running Jamila Studio, you are also a regular contributor for Forbes. Have you always been interested in writing? How does being a Forbes contributor tie in with your other projects?

Contributing to Forbes came from my passion to be an advocate for women of color. It’s all connected for me. I get to expose the world to dope, innovative women of color who may have been overlooked because they don’t know anyone “in the know”. I get to open that door for them and that makes a difference for them professionally and personally. I get to vouch for these women under the Forbes banner. The writing is just the vehicle.

What is one piece of advice you would give to women of color in any career field?

Clarity comes from engagement and not just thought. You won’t figure out who you are meant to be until you get out there and try to be it.

By: Alla Issa

Continue Reading

Trending