"Once I took that risk it was like a light switch went on and I was able to find my footing to make it work"
-Erin Bagwell, Videographer & Director of Dream, Girl
Can you give us a brief overview of what Dream, Girl is?
Dream, Girl is a documentary film redefining what it means to be a boss by interviewing female entrepreneurs and CEOs.
Tell me more about your career before starting your business?
I was working in a really corporate environment and craving the creative freedom to run my own schedule and work on the projects I was passionate about. I started a feminist storytelling blog on the side to express some of this creativity called Feminist Wednesday. While running the blog the opportunity came for me to quit my job and work part-time for a friend, so I took the leap. Now I am directing Feminist Wednesday Film’s first production and documentary Dream, Girl.
What inspired you to create the documentary?
Feminist Wednesday’s mission is to share empowering stories that awaken your inner badass bitch so I am always on the hunt for cool women and stories! Along the way I was meeting so many female entrepreneurs, I was really impressed with not only their drive to succeed but also their dedication to help one another. I felt really inspired to share their stories on a larger scale.
How did you manage doing it alongside your full-time career?
Feminist Wednesday was definitely something that grew gradually (we started out as a newsletter, became a blog and podcast, and now a production company) but I worked on it every chance I could get until I was given the opportunity to work for my friend part-time and dedicate myself to it. Once I took that risk it was like a light switch went on and I was able to find my footing to make it work, and ultimately begin production on the documentary. It definitely took a lot of late nights and long weekends before I got to that point, and I am thankful to have had the experience before I went full-time.
What’s been the biggest highlight?
I think I should probably say getting funded, which is a great accomplishment and something I am really really proud of. But I think honestly just starting the Kickstarter was a huge undertaking. That first day where I put my idea into the world was scary and a bit terrifying, but I was really proud of myself for putting it out there and so excited to finally share my vision with the world.
What’s been the biggest challenge?
Running the Kickstarter was so much more work than I imagined. Since everyday counts there isn’t any time to take off which was a real struggle to stay focused during the summer. Also, there was a huge push in the beginning of the campaign, but in the middle there was a lull where only a couple hundred dollars were trickling in and I was really nervous. Everyday I would try to meditate and keep my spirits up. When you put your whole life into something and it doesn’t look like it’s going to make it, it can be a pretty devastating feeling. I’m really glad I had an amazing support system to help me get through those slow days.
You’ve so far received over $82,000 for the project on Kickstarter and being backed by the likes of Marie Forleo. What’s been your secret to raising interest and getting it out there?
I got on every phone call and went on every meeting I was approached about. I didn’t always know how they would work out but a lot of those smaller meetings led me to bigger fish. It also helped me build up my stamina about pitching and talking about the project. I was able to be more direct and by the end of the campaign was cold calling and emailing blogs about the film. I actually reached out to Marie Forleo towards the end of our campaign and a couple of emails turned into a 40 min phone call. After we talked for a bit I felt really connected to her stories and wanted her to be in the film. I was really lucky she not only wanted to be part of the project, but share our story with her network. After she signed on and helped promote it, we made our remaining goal.
What advice would you give to other women who dream of starting their own business?
Do it. Start talking about it, writing about it and start putting it into motion. The first step is allowing your mind the space to make it work. Don’t expect to get everything in a day, or even a year, it takes small steps to climb big mountains. But that’s ok – the learning process will help you develop and polish your idea so when that success hits, you are ready for it.
What’s next for you?
I will be producing the documentary Dream, Girl which will come out later this spring. I will also continue to run my blog Feminist Wednesday and host our biweekly podcast, BeaverTalk.
What’s your favourite quote?
“Some women die in the fire, others are born from it.” – unknown
Later this week, Erin will be sharing her top tips so you can also leverage the huge potential of crowdfunding sites to make your dream project a reality. To make sure you don’t miss out on the juiciness, sign up to join our growing tribe here.
Erin Bagwell is the Founder of Feminist Wednesday and an award winning videographer from Buffalo, NY. She loves reading business books, talking about feminism, and taking selfies with her cat Lucy. You can follow Erin on twitter @erinebagwell