Conversations: Jill Storey, ReadyFundGo

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After leading large teams in global conglomerates, Jill Storey forayed into startups to pursue her passion and make a difference. Through ReadyFundGo, Jill enables and empowers new ideas and businesses – offering viable ventures a launch pad to realise their goals.

Tell us about ReadyFundGo and its audience.
ReadyFundGo is a reward-based crowdfunding platform. We help start-ups get off the ground, and support existing businesses to grow. When businesses start, they are typically set up with the founder’s own funds. Some approach banks for funding, but invariably the answer is “no” at this early stage.

As founders continue to “bootstrap” their start-ups, often the next step and only recourse are to tap friends and family for money. This group is often and fondly referred as “Friends, Family and Fools”! As this source of funding starts to run dry, there is then often a sizeable gap between moving along the funding journey from “F, F & F” funds to angel investors. This period, known as the “valley of death”, is where many start-ups fail.

This is where ReadyFundGo seeks to assist businesses. Cash flow is a frequently stated reason for the failure of businesses. Crowdfunding for businesses often involves pre-sales or pre-purchases of products, which enables businesses to get through to the next stage of development through effectively providing cash flow. There are all sorts of opportunities for start-ups and businesses, and we love to have the opportunity to help them with a crowdfunding project.

As a relatively new financing concept, crowdfunding may not be a ‘top of mind’ option for many startups and small business owners. How can they best approach it?
Crowdfunding is a game-changer for startups. If someone is looking at starting their own business, it is a great way to get market validation for their idea or product. Let the crowd decide!

To be successful, you will need to spend time and effort on engaging your audience and building awareness even before your campaign launches. For example, some campaigns engage a resource to execute social media activity for them. We work with video producers, content creators, PR, and social media specialists when campaign creators do not have those skills in their team.

What is your vision for ReadyFundGo?
To be the “go-to crowdfunding platform in Australia” for business start-ups, and those creating projects or ventures for a better Australia.

You have moved from leadership roles in large conglomerates to driving your own start-ups. How challenging was the transition?
It is a great privilege to have the freedom to follow your passion, and spend time in areas where you believe you can make a difference. It takes a while to get used to not having a large team of people to make what you would like to happen, as quickly as you would like.

In large corporations, the buy-in and decision-making process typically takes longer but when you reach a decision, you have the resources and funds to implement. In a startup, you can be agiler and make decisions quickly, but having to wait for resources and funds is more challenging.

Everyone faces difficulties during the start-up phase. What keeps you motivated in the face of challenges?
It is about picking yourself up again and realising a journey of a thousand miles begins with one small step. You may do one small thing in a day, and at the time that may lead to something that helps you in a small way on your journey.

While juggling between work and personal commitments, how do you find time for yourself?
When you love what you are doing, the dividing line can become somewhat blurred. I love helping people achieve their dreams and follow their passion. I did an executive coaching course a few years ago, and now it is great fun talking to people about their business plans, feeling their passion, and helping them on their journey.

When I am not talking about crowdfunding (or rather boring my friends and family about crowdfunding), I enjoy sports, travelling, learning about new countries, and the environment. I am a big tennis fan – it used to be playing, but now it seems to be more watching. I did manage to do the Grand Slam in a season as a spectator!

What business lessons have you learnt from your professional journey that you would share with our readers?
Enjoy the journey! In the end, follow your passion and think about what you will remember when you look back. Will you be more likely to regret what you did not do, rather than regret what you tried? Ultimately, it is all about the people.

Do you have a quote or life mantra that motivates you?
Smile and the world will smile with you!

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Have an idea and need funding? Visit www.readyfundgo.com to learn more.

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