How to face your fears and raise funds

We fear what we don’t know. We stop short of taking a step forward because we are overwhelmed by what we don’t know, and we are intimidated by those who knows more than us.

When the idea to cycle across America struck me in December 2013, I was inundated with a thousand fears:

Are you serious? America is big! It’s 4,000 miles we’re talking about! You’re not driving? You’re cycling across the entire continent?!?

Are you out of your mind? Have you done anything like this before? Yes you might have done an Ironman triathlon, you might have ridden 118 miles day, but can you ride 100 miles every single consecutive day for 40 days, with no rest or recovery days?

As the months grew, so did my fears:

This is a huge project. How are you going to find the money to do it?

We’re talking about tens of thousands of dollars, not a few hundred dollars. How are you going to pull it off?

I’ve always believed that money is and never should be a problem. I don’t know where this belief came from, but I’ve always believed that there is money in the world and we just need to find it. I don’t mean to say that money comes easy for me; in fact, it doesn’t, but my internal belief help me to have a mindset concerning money that encourages me to take steps forward and formulate strategies to raise money.

Let me explain. Because I believe that money is everywhere, I dared to reach out and ask. I believe that people will support a dream if you ask, especially if it isn’t too large a sum of money. I thought if 400 people would contribute $100 each, I would raise $40,000 easily.

That was the premise from which I started. I thought $100 is not a lot of money to a lot of people, and that I would easily be able to persuade my family and friends to support my endeavor.

Naive as my thought was at that time, it got me started nonetheless (I would later learn that you got to give the person you’re asking a good reason/reward/incentive to part with his/her $100). Whenever we take any action, it is because we believe in it. We are motivated inside out. So I spoke to people who have successfully raised money on Kickstarter, studied projects similar to mine, and started crafting my story and backer rewards. I got my friend to take videos of me training. I paid freelancers to put a short 1-min video together. I crafted personal messages to my friends. Little by little I watched the funds come in. I kept writing to my friends daily, encouraging them to contribute. It was hard work, and it was humbling.

Everything that you want to see happening, you have to work for it. Progress is about taking steps. There can be no progress without action.

While I didn’t raise $40,000 in a month, I did raise $23,000 in four months. And while $23,000 may not be enough to cover the entire expenses of the journey, it was the largest sum of money I have ever raised single-handedly! I was blown away by people’s generosity and knew I was on to something here - that human kindness travels farther and deeper than we dare to believe.

Entrusted with that amount of money, I boldly pedaled across America on my trusty Cannondale CAAD10 with a heart full of gratitude for the tremendous support and encouragement I had received from family, friends and strangers. The challenges on the road were documented in a film which today has over 54,000 views. That’s not all - the fascinating people encounters are captured in my brand new debut book, Crazy Cycling Chick, which will be available in bookstores Singapore-wide from Aug 26, 2016.

Why did I write this book? Because at the core of who I am and what I do is a passion for true human stories. Not fiction or novels, but true life stories. I believe they are important because every person is important and their lives matter. So in Crazy Cycling Chick I recount not just my personal adventure conquering America on two wheels, I present intimate stories of the amazing individuals who inspired me along my journey.  

From the young age of five I knew I wanted to be an author. Over three decades later, that dream would come to pass. But this dream wouldn’t be complete if it wasn’t for people like you who love, support, encourage and motivate me, and more importantly, who read my stories.

The growth of Angie Across America has been entirely through word of mouth and you can help to spread it further by clicking on the Like and Share links below.

Angeline TanComment