As entrepreneurs and creatives, we all have those people we dream of collaborating with. But it can be intimidating reaching out to them, especially if you’re a relatively new entrepreneur and they’re a big name.
Michelle Kwok and Ravina Anand, co-founders of FLIK, know a thing or two about the art of cold emails, having pitched big names in the female entrepreneurship community with great success. Below, this talented duo shares some of their strategies and advice for fellow entrepreneurs and creatives on how to land your dream collaboration.
Do you remember who your first (or early) dream collaboration was for FLIK? How did it go?
One of our early collaborations was with Samantha Barry, Editor-in-Chief of Glamour Magazine. I mean Glamour is huge and she RUNS IT, so we had literally no expectations. She was on our *dream list*.
We first went to find her email. I found an email to contact via her Instagram and directly emailed her there. We started with how much we looked up to the work of Glamour magazine, how mission-aligned we were, inserted some personal anecdotes, then went into the mission of FLIK, why we started it, and how she could be a big catalyst for change for our community.
A week later. No answer.
Then we did some digging, found the PR agent who represents her, and reached out to her agent with the same kind of message. After two days her agent got back to us – Samantha Barry was IN.
Turns out she turned down eight other interviews to do an interview with us. She loved our mission and our story (she read it that’s pretty cool). Just goes to show what genuine storytelling and messaging can get you.
When we released our interview with her she posted it on literally EVERY SOCIAL MEDIA POSSIBLE. She was so about pushing forward young women especially young women in entrepreneurship. Wow. Love her.
Who are some of the people you’ve collaborated with that you’re most proud of/excited about? What did it feel like to work with them?
Honestly, everyone we encounter regardless of where they are in their careers has been extremely exciting to collaborate with. Without each and every person in our community, we wouldn’t have a company!
Some of our most memorable interviews include Eva Lau and Kim Kaupe. Eva Lau is one of the few women leading a venture fund in Canada, and she also had to break through traditional barriers to do so, much like me (Michelle).
Her parents always wanted her to be an engineer, like mine wanted me to be a doctor, and couldn’t fathom why she wanted to be an entrepreneur. Not only is Eva a successful entrepreneur in her own right, but she invests in some of the biggest companies today, including Skip the Dishes and Drop! If you want to learn more about our conversation with her, check it out here.
Kim Kaupe was a super cool one, too. She won Forbes 30 Under 30 for her work in music, working with artists like Shawn Mendes, Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, Paul McCartney, and so many more.
She walked us through how she never wanted to be an entrepreneur, but fell into it, realized she loved it, and built a music marketing empire! She’s now LinkedIn and Instagram famous, yet it was amazing how she was willing to give us 2 hours of her day to connect, chat, and share her story. She’s so down to earth! Check out her story here.
Honestly, there were so many more and we love meeting all the founders and apprentices in our community.
Where did you find the confidence to send cold emails to even the big name entrepreneurs and leaders?
It was simple. The worst thing that could happen was that they would say no or not respond, and we knew there was no net negative, there was only potential for net positive. Entrepreneurs and leaders all start somewhere, so why not reach out to the big-name entrepreneurs and leaders? Maybe they would resonate with our story and mission, and honestly, they did!
Each cold email was personalized – authenticity was key for us. We created a message that would allow entrepreneurs and leaders to resonate with our mission and values. We were intentional with who we were sending cold emails to. And we simply just had a blazing self-confidence because we were just so passionate about our mission.
Growing up, we both placed no limits on ourselves. We grew up knowing that we would have to take bold steps in order to turn our dreams into realities and we hope that other young women do the same. If we’re not confident enough to interact and ask for help from one another, how will we create change?
At the end of the day, know you have nothing to lose, but so much to gain. Every time you take a step forward, it’s a step forward for all women.
Can you share your go-to tips for sending a cold email?
1. Reflect on why you are reaching out to this person. What are your intentions? Now you’ve thought about why this entrepreneur or leader is important to you and/or aligns with the values of your company.
2. Formulate your ask, but never ask for a job. Be concise.
3. Do your research. Is there something specific that connects you with this individual on a different level? (i.e. you both share a love for Harry Potter books or coincidentally grew up in the same small town?). Now you’re on your way to constructing a narrative.
4. Begin to create a narrative that is concise and cohesive. Why does your story resonate with that of the founder’s?
More tips can be found at #FLIKtips on LinkedIn or add Michelle on LinkedIn here as she continues to post tips on cold emailing.
Dear [Professional’s Name],[Introduce yourself and how you know them / their company] [Tell them why you resonate with their story / mission / values and how that connects with your own narrative] [Put in an ask]
Keep it concise!