Georgia Hidi Explores Ways Creatives Raise Funds (if they do)

The following interviews, conducted by Georgia Hidi, seek to understand:

  • If creative entrepreneurs typically seek capital in starting their organizations
    • OR if leaders of nonprofit leaders, how they raise funds
  • What ways they may have done so, if applicable
  • What advice they have for aspiring creative entrepreneurs. 

Samantha Schell – “Dress Don’t Guess” Samantha Schell JPEG

http://dressdontguess.com/

Have you sought funding for your organization?
No.

In what ways have you sought funding for your organization? If not, how were you able to grow without outside capital?

Everything is bootstrapped, so I pay for everything thus far.

What funding pursuits OR self-generated efforts have proved most effective and why?

I think that with bootstrapping it gives me a lot more freedom to allocate the money where I see most necessary. For this next stage I’m entering, I need to get VC’s involved but I think that will help me keep myself on track.

What three pieces of advice do you have for aspiring arts and creative entrepreneurs?

Number one – definitely just go for it. I never thought I would develop an app, or be involved in the technology world, but my persistence just kept me going. Number two – Don’t be afraid to ask people for help. That’s been my number one thing. I’ve just surrounded myself with people who are great in their own field. I use that and apply it to my own business, with my own spin on it. Number three – Remember why you started in the first place. I think this helps keep your business on track. I started this because I wanted to give confidence to women when they go out, and everything has been centered around that.

Salim Green – Freelance Creative Consultant, Marketing Consultant for Beat by Dre, Interns at creative agency, website design/operations Salim Green JPEG

http://salimgreen.com/

https://www.linkedin.com/in/allen-salim-green-4a8425117/

Have you sought funding for your organization?

For sure!

In what ways have you sought funding for your organization? If not, how were you able to grow without outside capital?

When I am at school, a lot of my funding comes from campus, such as applications for grants. I try to steer clear of crowdfunding. I don’t like the way it feels to ask the people around me for money. I try to do many different things, so that I can fund myself.

What funding pursuits OR self-generated efforts have proved most effective and why?

Grants are pretty effective, to be honest. You have to do a lot of digging, but the grants I’ve gotten through the school have been really helpful. After they believe in your idea, they give you a lump sum of money and tell you to run with it. Recently I shot a photography project in the community of Middletown, CT. I’m currently trying to get a grant from school to fund a book with the photographs. Wesleyan is a social action school. The normal Wesleyan student is someone who is involved in community outreach and activism, so our school has a lot of grants that support community initiatives.

What three pieces of advice do you have for aspiring arts and creative entrepreneurs?

Make sure you’re constantly meeting new people, having new experiences, and be patient.

Dana Giles – “I Want The Real” Dana Giles JPEG

https://iwantthereal.com/

https://www.linkedin.com/in/dana-giles-73165a112/

Have you sought funding for your organization?

Yes.

In what ways have you sought funding for your organization? If not, how were you able to grow without outside capital?

For my organization, I actually won the Big iDeas business plan competition this February, so I have a $5,000 grant. Aside from that I’ve met with investors, but I’ve never pitched it to any VCs or Angel Investors just because I want to build it up a little bit more. Since it is more of a social media platform, I think it will take a couple more months to build up, and once I’ve established a better plan I will seek funding.

What funding pursuits OR self-generated efforts have proved most effective and why?

I’ve only been in one competition. I think being a college student – I’m only twenty-two – I took advantage of the opportunity. I think it is hard to manage a business and, being a senior, graduating, trying to figure out jobs. It’s a lot. So, I think taking advantage of university funding is a good opportunity, and you meet a lot of contacts.

What three pieces of advice do you have for aspiring arts and creative entrepreneurs?

First, make sure that you’re very comfortable when you pitch the idea. It’s something that you created; you know it best! So, don’t be intimidated. The judges at the competition said that I was really nervous when I shouldn’t have been, because it was my own creation. Second, don’t be afraid to ask for a lot of money, because if your business is good, then you will want a lot of money. Don’t cut yourself short. And third, shake as many hands as you can and always follow up with a nice email. Tell them about your business; you never know who has money, and who can help you out!

This interview process is part of SMU Meadows’ class Creative Entrepreneurship and Attracting Capital.

Each interview was conducted by Georgia Hidi.

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