Figure Your Sh*t Out
(That's right. I said it.)
It's time to
You can build a business that supports the life you want, gives you purpose, & makes a sustainable profit.
Big news: We're fully virtual!
Read below to learn about the plan for the next FYSO cohort,
which will be kicking off on January 31st, 2021.
The support & accountability you've been waiting for
Figure Your Sh*t Out (FYSO) is the first accelerator program for mission-driven founders that focuses on creating a safe space to test their big ideas, hone their business models, and figure their sh*t out, in community.
What to expect
Strategy & Support
Giving you a safe space to get strategic advice and support is of the utmost importance to us.
We designed the 6-month FYSO accelerator to give you the support to:
- Build & grow a business that will align with your life goals
- Give you the accountability you need to gain traction
- Take time to deeply understand the customers you serve (or want to serve)
- Explore what makes your company unique
- Develop a marketing strategy with clear messaging
- Discover how to use purpose as a strategic advantage
- Connect with a cohort of entrepreneurs at a similar stage
We will assign you to a learning circle of 4-6 non-competing businesses and all participants will be required to sign an NDA. You'll also get to know the cohort of all of the businesses participating during the 6 months we'll be spending together.
Curious about the content we teach?
Click here to sign-up to receive our free 101-page FYSO founders guide, which gives you a detailed breakdown of how to build & grow a kicka** purpose-driven business. Even if FYSO isn't the right fit for you right now, this guide was created to be a standalone valuable tool for founders.
A clear, strategic plan on how to connect with your customers and build a thriving organization
New entrepreneurial besties you can lean on
Feeling like a bada** because you're one step closer to having your sh*t figured out!
How it Works
We'll be kicking-off the accelerator program with a 1-month virtual Bootcamp. During this month you'll do a deep dive into making sure you're asking the right questions while also getting to know your cohort and the FYSO community in a meaningful way. Throughout the next 5-months, we'll have virtual check-ins for accountability and support.
Since the beginning, the FYSO accelerator has primarily been virtual to make it accessible for participants with full-time jobs, as well as to make the program available for people around the world.
The next 5-months
After the Bootcamp, every Monday evening you'll meet either with your learning circle or as a cohort for group coaching with Christina and/or other business or marketing strategists at 7:30 pm EST.
We'll continue to teach you strategies and share insights that will empower you to build a thriving organization. This includes having access to short, 20-30 minute trainings on branding, storytelling, e-mail marketing, social media marketing, prototyping, and negotiations.
These virtual gatherings will give you the opportunity to learn and grow together. The group coaching sessions will be recorded, so you can watch them later if you aren't able to attend.
Throughout the program you'll have access to your cohort's slack channel along with a virtual library of helpful resources gathered throughout previous cohorts of FYSO.
The Nitty Gritty Details
We have some fantastic speakers for you to learn from over the course of the program. Here are the speakers from our latest cohort:
Co-President & CFO, Brains on Fire Inc.
Brandy Amidon is Co-President and CFO of Brains on Fire Inc., a Certified B Corporation and creative marketing agency in South Carolina and California. Brandy's passion and experience stems from leading teams towards individual and collective growth goals. All the while, leveraging her expertise in the financial sector to create stability and confidence for collective success. She manages human resources, while also overseeing the agency’s financial reporting, risk assessment, budgeting and implementation of company-wide goals. Beyond Brains, Brandy currently serves as the elected Mayor of Travelers Rest, South Carolina, her hometown.
Brains on Fire Inc., is a full-service creative agency that helps community-driven brands launch, grow and meaningfully impact the human experience. They have also written two books, Brains on Fire: Igniting Powerful, Sustainable, Word of Mouth Movements and The Passion Conversation: Understanding, Sparking and Sustaining Word of Mouth Marketing.
Johnny Hackett, Jr.
CEO & Founder, Black Friday Market
Johnny Hackett is the co-founder of the Black Friday Market, a new retail department store in Downtown Raleigh that allows business owners to sell their products commission free, which has already brought in tens of thousands of dollars in revenue to 60 small-business owners in the first two weeks since it opened. Johnny also operates a Black-Owned Business directory for the state of North Carolina titled #BlackDollarNC and is an alliance member for businesses with the City of Raleigh’s Office of Economic Development and Innovation, helping to take care of the needs of small business owners in the area.
Product Development Expert
Brendan is an expert in launching new SaaS (software as a service) products. He has led the creation of numerous banking applications and led multiple product teams. He is an expert in customer interviews as well as the entrepreneurial process.
It's also worth noting that he's a former Startup Weekend: Makers Edition Winner where in one weekend he led a team of entrepreneurs in the creation of a functioning wireless leash for children.
We’re excited to have him return to teach the next FYSO cohort about how to effectively interview customers for better market search!
Founder & CEO, Unity Web Agency
Alisa Herr is the founder and CEO of Unity Web Agency. She is passionate about lifting up those who use their talents as a force for good, and she established Unity Web Agency in 2016 to create sustainable and accessible websites for nonprofits and socially-responsible businesses. Alisa was previously the founding chief technology officer of a media nonprofit and an award-winning web developer at a design agency.
She has a MS in Library Science from UNC-Chapel Hill and a BS in Psychology from Appalachian State University, where she graduated summa cum laude. Alisa lives on the Raleigh-Durham line with her husband, 2 sons, and cat.
Alisa was most recently recognized by the North Carolina Business Council by receiving a 2020 Leadership in Business Sustainability Award.
Director, MCNAB LLC
Margaret McNab is a seasoned PR & marketing strategist who got her non-traditional career started in music, segued into tourism, and dipped a toe in advertising before becoming vice president of a fast-growing tech agency. Margaret is a longtime freelancer who has helped 100+ startups, nonprofits and agencies launch new projects, expand into new markets and recruit top talent.
These days Margaret focuses her energies on projects that contribute to the economic prosperity of North Carolina. Her recent clients include LaunchBio, BioLabs, NC IDEA, Nugget, Momentum, WarpWire, and UNC’s Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise. Margaret is a frequent speaker on the future of work. She is an advocate for independent workers and founder of the Freelance League of NC.
To learn more about Margaret, visit ww.linkedin.com/in/margaretmcnab.
Co-founder & CIO, Designbox LLC
Aly is an innovation entrepreneur focused on positive impact. His training as a product designer and mechanical engineer is coupled with 27 years of inventive global manufacturing experience. This has enabled him and his team at Designbox to launch impactful projects for major brands while partnering with distinguished talent and garnering dozens of patents and design distinctions. As an entrepreneur, Aly has cofounded and exited several efforts. Entities include: SPARKcon, one of the nation's largest open source creative festivals; Gamila, a line of sustainable gourmet beverage makers that was sold to Seventh Generation/Unilever; and Oceanworks, a marketplace that repurposes ocean plastic for the circular economy. Currently Aly is on assignment in Australia serving as the Project Director of a major federal grant awarded to Plastic Collective. This work involves a comprehensive community approach to launching micro-enterprise recycling units that help remote and vulnerable communities across Asia reverse the tide of ocean plastic.
Kenya Oduor, Ph.D
Managing Director, Lean Geeks
Kenya partners with organizations by helping them improve their strategic outcomes.
Organizations look for her assistance in the definition of the set of Design Thinking practices that make sense for their organization, including user/market research and collaborative problem/opportunity definition and design. Her career as a user experience practitioner and leader in the software solution space spans over 19 years.
Kenya has a doctorate in Human Factors. Her training in Human Factors, included coursework in cognitive and applied experimental psychology and industrial engineering. Her training coupled with her experience give her the ability to help teams define the set of activities and processes necessary to create solutions that are at the intersection of meeting business expectations and user needs.
Founder, Rockridge Venture Law
Kevin Christopher is founder and principal of Rockridge Venture Law, a B Corp Best For The World and Real Leaders Top 150 law firm. Kevin is a registered patent attorney and founder of active companies in biotech, consumer products, and renewables industries. He is a Berkeley Form + Fund Fellow, Yale Business Leader, and mentor for startups at Bethesda Green Hub, First Flight Venture Center, Sente Accelerator, and Singularity University Ventures. His cease and desist letters to Poo-Pourri and Financial Moxie are considered works of "breathtaking legal beauty" by Above the Law.
To help you know what to expect, here was how we structured the program during our latest cohort:
For the first month of the six-month program we'll be meeting on Monday & Thursday evenings from 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm EST.
Here are the topics we'll be covering:
- An introduction to the entrepreneurial process
- Exploring your Personal Goals
- Determining your purpose
- Creating a sustainable profit
- Positioning your organization
- Understanding Perception & how to do customer discovery
- Using the Business Model Canvas and Lean Canvas as tools
- Goal Setting Strategies
- Reviewing lessons learned & Group coaching
This content will give you the foundational information you need to build a thriving organization.
Get Started Today
As part of our mission to make a positive impact, 5% of profits from the FYSO Accelerator will be going to support The Helius Foundation, which provides free business coaching for necessity-driven entrepreneurs.
Frequently Asked Questions
The FYSO Accelerator was created for mission-driven entrepreneurs that want to accelerate their progress. Typically FYSO participants have been in business for less than 5 years.
They come to FYSO with an entrepreneurial idea that they want to bring to life or they are wanting to take their organization to the next level by either reinventing their business model or launching a new product or service.
FYSO might be right for you if:
- You take your work seriously, but not yourself. You're ready to figure your sh*t out in an ego-free environment
- You recognize that you shouldn't try to build an organization 100% on your own and that by investing in getting support and the right insight, you substantially increase the likelihood of meeting your goals and tackling them more quickly.
- You are ready to carve out time to work 'on' the business and not just 'in' the business.
- You are tired of second-guessing yourself on whether the strategy you have chosen makes sense.
- You want to get an outside perspective to help you make key decisions.
- You want to be held accountable to sticking with a plan.
- You recognize that it's important to hone in on your ideal customer and develop a business model that truly serves their needs.
- You also recognize that you need to design your business in a way that aligns with your life goals.
FYSO starts by asking the question: what type of life do you want?
From there, we then dig deep into how to develop a for-profit or non-profit business that matches your vision for your life.
As part of this program, you'll learn the importance of having a strong "why" and we'll explore how having purpose can give you a competitive advantage.
"Mission-driven" means that you're not just building your business to simply make a profit, but that you believe that your business should also help build your community in some way.
You get to define what this means to you. All that we ask is that you build a business in a way that moves the needle in the right direction.
It could mean that your mission is to provide great jobs that truly take care of employees and pay a living wage, that you are committed to supporting local businesses in how you operate, or that you donate a percentage of your profits to a non-profit that aligns with your mission.
You might even consider exploring a 'social enterprise' business model by taking this free B impact assessment.
If you have any questions about this, reach out & let's talk about it!
To live our mission as a social enterprise, we offer a "pay-what-you-can/when-you-can" model for this program. The suggested investment is $1495 and we are happy to work with you to set up whatever monthly installment payment would work best for your finances.
If now is not the right time to make the investment, we do not want your current financial situation to prevent you from participating in the program. Rather, we will ask you to commit to "paying it forward" by investing in the suggested program fee once you or your business are successful, so this program can remain sustainable & accessible to all for years to come.
You'll receive more than 30 hours of group coaching and strategic content in addition to more than 16 hours of peer-to-peer support offered over the 6-months. You'll also receive unlimited access to our network of entrepreneurs and small business owners on our private slack channel that you can lean on throughout your journey as a business leader.
We have seen better success from entrepreneurs that are able to invest. This is a rigorous 6-month program and we want participants to be committed.
FYSO was created to help you find your support network and ensure you're asking the right strategic questions.
While traditional programs are focused on access to connections & to financial resources, our program is focused on making an investment in your own success.
This is an opportunity to invest in the development of a strategic plan for your organization and finding a community of people you can trust.
We've had multiple participants share that FYSO has been an invaluable experience. Based on the experience of past participants, FYSO may help you:
- Save months or even years of your time and potentially thousands of dollars on investing in a strategy that isn't going to work
- Pivot to a more profitable business model or identifying a more profitable potential customer
- Save time by having access to other entrepreneurs for insight and perspective
- Feel less stressed as you build and grow a business that's truly going to match your life goals
- Have the confidence that you're moving forward with the right strategic plan
If you want to build and grow your own business and you feel seeking investment is a natural next step for your company, you'll leave the FYSO accelerator program with a strategic plan that will help you attract the investment money needed to help your business thrive.
If you want to build and grow your own business from the ground up, FYSO is the perfect program to empower you to get the strategic support you need while leveraging the powerful accelerator model to help you build a bada** business.
Yes! We've had many FYSO participants weigh the benefits of pursuing a for-profit versus a non-profit model for their social enterprise and still found the program to be a valuable resource.
FYSO is an especially great fit if you're considering building a non-profit that you would like to have some form of "earned income," i.e. a strategy for making money outside of grants and donations.
Regardless, at the end of the day, we care most about supporting you in building an organization that will (1) best solve the problem you're setting out to solve and (2) that will be sustainable for you and your life goals.
During the accelerator program, we're happy to help you explore whether the work you are doing or want to do would make more sense being supported by a non-profit model.
If you sign-up and change your mind and decide now isn't the right time for you to participate in the FYSO accelerator... or you show up for the FYSO kick-off and, after our first evening together, you realize "this isn't for you," you'll get a full refund for the program.
We are so grateful to our sponsors for helping to make this work possible - from providing free legal support to FYSO participants to giving us a space to meet & collaborate - thank you! If you're interested in learning more about sponsorship opportunities, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.