Illinois has first successful equity crowdfunding campaign





Chicago, IL, Thursday, January 25, 2018:  Launched in November of 2017 on the truCrowd Illinois platform, AirChicago Holdings only took 5 weeks to raise its goal of $150,000 becoming the First Successful Equity Crowdfunding campaign using the Illinois Intrastate Crowdfunding law.  truCrowd Illinois is an SEC-approved Investment Portal operating under Regulation Crowdfunding (Title III of the JOBS act).  AirChicago Holdings, Inc. is a private-jet-travel company based at Chicago Executive Airport in Wheeling, IL that offers, for the first time, the opportunity for Illinois residents to travel on private jets at airline fares.


Exclusive access to AirChicago Flights is through ownership of an AirChicago Jet Card.  Investors in AirChicago’s crowdfunding offering received an AirChicago Founder Jet Card as part of the return on their investment.  For every $1,000 invested in AirChicago, investors received four complementary flights on AirChicago each year for life.  They also received 30 shares of AirChicago stock.  Each additional $1,000 investment in AirChicago yields an additional four complementary flights on AirChicago each year for life and 30 shares of AirChicago stock.  AirChicago Founder Jet Cardmembers can purchase additional AirChicago flights beyond their four complementary flights each year at airline-coach fares.


AirChicago flew its inaugural flight on January 15th, 2018 from Chicago to New York City.  Additional routes will be opened to 30 of the most-popular business-and-leisure destinations in the U.S. as quickly as possible.  The flights will depart Chicago Executive Airport in the morning and return in the early evening Monday through Friday.  The selected routes are the busiest airline-travel routes out of Chicago.


“This is a great step forward for the intrastate equity crowdfunding space” states Florence Hardy, CEO of truCrowd Illinois. “We have worked hard with the Secretary of State and our partners to make equity crowdfunding a reality for businesses in Illinois and this first success proves it can work.”  truCrowd Illinois is currently working with a number of businesses to get their campaigns listed and start the fundraising process and expects to have 5 offerings ready for investment by February 28th, 2018.  truCrowd Illinois currently has a database of over 2,000 Illinois investors looking for opportunities and individuals can sign up to view the upcoming offerings at


About truCrowd Illinois:  The first registered Equity Intrastate Crowdfunding Platform in Illinois, TruCrowd Illinois focuses on providing equity financing opportunities to Illinois business owners and investment/wealth building opportunities to Illinois residents. Located in the heart of the financial district of downtown Chicago, truCrowd is an equity crowdfunding portal operating under Regulation Crowdfunding (Title III of JOBS ACT) and connects startups and emerging businesses with non-accredited and accredited investors. Built on the belief that not all businesses and investors are alike, we pride ourselves on delivering a personalized and professional funding experience through industry-leading technology. Our truCrowd team consists of ordinary people with extraordinary passion and experience. We have all dedicated ourselves to making truCrowd the most user-friendly equity crowdfunding portal for funding your startup or investing in startups. Our collective talent in finance, marketing, content and design form a powerful team committed to achieving and maintaining the #1 equity crowdfunding portal in America.


About AirChicago: The AirChicago private-jet-travel experience starts with booking your flight through an easy-to-use App.  AirChicago Jet Cardmembers can arrive at Chicago Executive Airport as little as 15-minutes before departure and enjoy free parking a short walk from their departure gate.  There are no TSA hassles, delays, lost bags or bumping associated with travel on AirChicago.  Ten-to-fourteen-passenger executive jets are used for the innovative AirChicago private-jet service.  Travelers on AirChicago flights enjoy complimentary beverages and meals that are served by two friendly and helpful flight attendants.  The flights are flown by pilots that meet or exceed FAA standards.  When they arrive at their destinations, AirChicago travelers will find their ground transportation and bags waiting for them when they get off the airplane.  On average, AirChicago Jet Cardmembers save over 3 hours on each one-way flight.  This makes one-day business trips a reality again.

Everyday is a Special Day (for your customers)

With Valentine's Day coming up in a few days, it is easy to come up with deals for your clients to make them feel special while hopefully padding your cash box.  However, the special treatment you give to your customers on this day does not have to be limited to only one day a year.  Every day is an opportunity to showcase to your clients their importance to your business, even if it is not highlighted in a calendar.

One way to easily incorporate deals for clients and highlight different activities you are doing is to take advantage of wacky holidays.  Wacky holidays are those days you hear about briefly, but can cause major upticks in your business if used quickly.  Days such as National Pizza Day and National Pancake Day are opportunities to highlight the fun side of your business, while giving you a reason to contact customers who may have been quiet for a while.

Highlighting wacky holidays can also be a way to create content for your blog, website and social media when you run out of things to talk about. However, when you do use a wacky holiday, it is important that you make sure the day has some relevance to your business or your customers.  For example, National Grandparents Day can be relevant to celebrate for a day care center, but it would be hard for your parents to care about Science Fiction Day.

You can find a complete calendar of wacky holidays at  If you don't see any relevant to your business, you can also create your own.  Use your businesses anniversary date, the owners birthday or some other special occasion and spread the world about your local celebration.   Happy Holidays!!!

Alternatives Ways to Start A New Business

When thinking of starting a business, most new entrepreneurs first impulse is to build a business from the ground up.  However, one very prominent and less risky way to enter the world of entrepreneurship is buying a business that already exists.  This can be through a straight acquisition of a stand alone business or by buying into a franchise.  There are tons of tools that exists to help you determine if this is the right step for you. Here are some things for your to consider if you are taking the acquisition route into entrepreneurship.

  1. The value of the brand - One of the most enticing reasons to buy an existing business or franchise is that you do not have to start from scratch.  However, if the business is being sold has a bad reputation or horrible record keeping practices, it may not provide any value to you moving forward.  Take into account how the businesses current customers view the brand to help you determine if value actually exists.  If you buy into a business where the value to customers is non-existent, you are essentially going to have to start from scratch to build up your customer base regardless.
  2. Training or Support - Some owners and all franchise operations offer to provide training to help you jump into the business with as few mistakes as possible.  Be sure to choose a business acquisition that will give you the education you need on processes, suppliers, current marketing strategies, financing and more.  This will allow for a smooth transition of ownership and prepare you to handle many of the problems you will face as an entrepreneur.
  3. Ongoing Costs - While rare in small business acquisitions, but a staple in the franchise business, paying a monthly or annual "royalty fee" can be an ongoing cost for your business.  While it may be called by a different name depending upon the seller, you need to be mindful that entering into an agreement may have additional ongoing fees beyond the closing of the sale.  Be sure you are clear about how much these fees are (if they are applicable to your transaction) and you account for this additional cost in your regular accounting.

While this list is not exhaustive of all the items you should take into account when acquiring or buying a franchise of a new business, it is a good start.  For more information on things to consider, contact me at or

How to Build Strategic Partnerships

Building strategic partnerships are of paramount importance to your business.  The right partnerships can help you enter new markets, build new products and expand your client base.  However, building the right partnerships can take time, effort and its own type of strategy.  Once you have taken the time to identify the right organizations and companies which you would like to work with to reach your goals, the key is making the connection.

Here are some tips you can use to help you build alliances with organizations without being seen as an annoyance.

1. Learn about your target company

Having identified an organization with whom you want to partner, now comes the hard part of learning about why they should care.  Research their current partners and the ways in which they work with them.  Find out about upcoming initiatives to be implemented.  Identify the individual(s) within the organization who have the authority to make decisions so you know who to contact.  The point here is to learn as much as you can about the company so you can approach them correctly.

2. Understand your value

Knowing your value is key to every part of your business.  Your value is the reason why customers purchase your product.  It is the problem that you are solving in their lives. Once you know your value, you can highlight why the features your product or service provides are superior to your competition.

3. Now mesh the two - Articulate your value in terms that match the target companies goals.

Understanding why customers buy from you can help you articulate to target companies what additional value you can bring to their customers.  Coming to the table with the reasons why you would make a great partner shows that you are prepared and can help you in the process of building alliances without being an annoyance.

Now go out and make those connections.

Planning for Productivity in 4 Steps

Being productive has a range of definitions from one business owner to another and you have to decide what a "productive" day, week or month looks like for your business.  The best way to do that is to set goals and work toward achieving them.  This is generally easier said than done, but I have provided 5 tips to help you reach your optimal level of productivity.  So ....  here we go!

1. Set SMART Goals

Setting goals is not as easy as it sounds.  It is easy to say I want to make $1 million this year, but you have to take a look at the resources you have available to ensure the goal you are setting is a SMART.  SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound.  Make sure that the goals you set have all of these characteristics and you are on your way to a productive new year.

2. Work with Others

I have heard time and time again that it is hard for solo entrepreneurs or the self employed to stay motivated.  There is generally so much to do, it is hard to decide what to do next and so procrastination settles in.  One way to combat this is to get an accountability partner.  This does not have to be a partner in your business, but it should be someone you feel comfortable talking to about your business goals and tasks.  Share your goals with your partner and schedule regular calls or meetings with them to share your progress.  Having someone you trust to answer to can make sure that you are continually and being as productive as possible.  

3. Take Care of Yourself

Get healthy and exercise.  Studies have shown that those who exercise at least 3 times a week have a higher energy level and feel more prepared to get something done.  Besides the increase in productivity, you are likely to see an increase in stamina and happiness.  Now, these are the kind of side effects I like and that are sure to help you reach your goals.  Plus, the workouts don't have to be long and involved to be effective.  A 15 minute session or a walk during lunch can be all it takes to get you out of a rut and on the path to productivity.

4. Get your Priorities Straight

We all over extend ourselves from time to time, but as a business owner you need to be able to firmly identify priorities over non-priorities.  Priorities should be those things that you need to do to grow your business that cannot be outsourced for one reason or another.  Once you have identified those tasks you need to do, put the most important ones first and get to work.  One thing I like to do is create a to-do list everyday to make sure I am accomplishing the short term goals I have set for myself.  I also use a little trick.  In creating my list I put an easy item first, followed by the hardest item, followed by an easy item and I even put in breaks to make sure I don't forget lunch.  Then I repeat.  It feels great to cross something easy off my list before delving into a hard task.  Then after I complete the hard task I am rewarded with a break or a super easy task.  It is the little things that help me move forward.

I hope this short list of things to do helps you reach the productivity levels you want in your business.  If you are in need of a productivity partner, look into for more information.

Entering the Experience Economy

I am a big advocate of new and emerging economies. My favorites are the Experience and On-Demand Economies. I will speak about the explosion of the On-Demand Economy in a later blogpost, but this one is focused on the Experience Economy.

I love, love, love the Experience Economy and I have been pushing it to my clients for years. So what is the Experience Economy? It is the practice of figuring out how to find a way to give your clients/members/customers an experience as a part of the sales process. What is even better is that you can charge for the experience that you are providing!!! So it makes marketing a revenue stream for you instead of simply an expense. Awesome, right?!?

After some reading, I have found some great examples of the Experience Economy and you may have already come across some of these. For example, Kellogg's is opening a cereal bar in New York and Chobani opened a yogurt shop in Soho. Large brands are using pop-ups to create short-term (and in the case of Chobani) long-term experiences for their customers and so can you.

So the question you may have is "How do I join the Experience Economy"? First, you have to identify a relevant, related experience that matches your brand and product. Second, you have to find a medium to share that experience. It is important to note that the experience can be virtual or actual, so don't always start with thinking you have to host an event somewhere. And Third, assuming you have people who want to take part in the experience, you want to put in place some mechanism to receive feedback. Ask participants, what they liked about the experience, what they would change, what was missing that they expected, etc.

Need assistance in identifying ways for your company to enter The Experience Economy? Contact me at to schedule a consultation.

Networking: Personal Marketing At Its Best


I have never liked being around big groups of people.  Citywide festivals and crowded concert arenas just are not my thing.  It took some time to figure out why this was the case because I do like going new places and trying new things.  However, there was always this constant anxiety that came along with these new adventures: There will be other people there and I might be forced to talk to them.  You see, the art of small talk was a skill I had not yet mastered.  The idea of going up to strangers and attempting to fain interest in their chosen topic of conversation just was not appealing.  This non-interest was further aggravated by the fact that as a soon-to-be attorney, I am constantly bombarded with invitations to networking events and panels where there will be the opportunity to meet and greet with experts, practicing attorneys or students.

Over time, I have begrudgingly attended a number of these events as I have been told that doing so is a must to be successful in any field.  And you know what I have found:  It is true.  Networking is the best form of marketing.  After all, how else will people know what you do or what you need?  You have to tell them.  This is personal marketing at its core and the best way to keep your name and specialty on the forefront in order to gain clients in the future.  By going out and speaking with people, I have been offered internships, jobs, and even scholarship money.  People like to buy from and work with people they like and the only way they will know if they like you is to meet you.So as much as I used to hate it, I now embrace the idea of getting to know new people and letting them get to know me.

Most importantly, what I have learned over time from attending these events is that to master the art of small talk, one only need a plan; a marketing plan to be exact.  Creating and instituting a plan allows you to paint your own picture of how you want others to see you and your practice in networking situations.  To help you begin to put your plan together, I have included a few topics (outlined below) to keep in mind.

Choose your events carefully

As you already have your business plan in place and understand the characteristics of your ideal client, spend time focused on attending events that will give you face-time with this audience.  As you get more involved, there are generally costs associated with access so you want to plan to spend your money and your time wisely.

Have something to say

There is nothing worse than approaching a group of people, listening intently to their conversation and when it comes your time to state your opinion….crickets.  I have seen it and it is not pretty.  A simple browse through the daily paper or a related industry brochure can prepare you to speak on almost any subject that may come up.

Set attainable goals/Make it a game

What I find now is that I quite enjoy meeting new people.  With the skills I have gained as a law student, it has become a game to find out the true goals and interests of all new people with whom I come in contact.  In addition to this, my personal goal is to meet at least 2 new people at each event I attend.  That is a number I feel comfortable with, but you should choose a number that meets your needs and expectations.

Provide personal incentives

After reaching the goals that you have set, reward yourself with a new purchase, a nice dinner or time off.  If you set a goal of meeting 3 new people at a particular event and accomplish this goal, you have done a good job.  Why not take a night of?  Providing yourself an incentive will build excitement as you work to reach your goal(s) and you may start to look forward to the process.

Create a follow up plan

Sending a quick email is a great way to follow up on a previous conversation.  In some situations, it may even be appropriate to send a handwritten note, if you were able to gain a new lead or obtain information about a helpful opportunity.  If you choose to do so, send the message quickly so that you are still on their mind by the time they receive it.  Also, by doing so, they may be more likely to remember you in the future when additional opportunities arise.

Even if you are already working with the client of your dreams, there is always room for improvement and your next opportunity may just be hiding behind an unasked question.  So go out to citywide festivals, be social while waiting for your concert to start, attend industry seminars and begin marketing yourself and your practice with purpose and confidence.  You never know where the next big opportunity may come from.

The One Thing You Need To Do To Monetize Social Media

There are alot of articles in the universe about how to increase likes on facebook, followers on twitter and instagram, scopers on periscope and so on.  And this is great information.  However, getting those likers, followers, and scopers to convert to paying customers is a whole different ballgame.  Statistics show that (on average) less than 2% of your social media followers will ever buy from you.  So while focusing on gaining a following in social media is good to just get your name out there, it is not enough to make the kind of money you want (I assume).

So how can you change that?  The answer, while brief, is not so simple.

You need to create valuable community experiences in a select few social media platforms that move customers to purchase.

See it is short, but it is a loaded answer.  Let's break it down.

1. Create

You need to curate your content.  Posting on social media should reflect the personality of your brand and business and thus, everything you create should be purposeful.

2. Valuable

Value is in the eye of the beholder.  Find out what information, images, content, discounts, etc your ideal customers believe is valuable and give it to them.  Whether it is weekly tips, breathtaking images or something else, find your companies value to your customer and pile it on.

3. Community

Put the social back in social networking.  It is easy to think of customers as strangers behind a screen, but all individuals want to be part of a community.  Create a community specifically for your customers, whether within a social network platform or by hosting real-live events.

4. Experiences

People forget the things they buy, but they remember the experiences that moved them to purchase.  Think about relevant experiences you can provide your customers and create them.  Like community, experiences can take place both online and offline, so be creative.

5. On a few (preferably one) social media platform

Managing multiple platforms is difficult for Fortune 500 companies with hundreds of employees, so it is not surprising that it is difficult for the solopreneur.  Choose one platform, preferably the one most in tune with those in your target market and be spectacular within it.  You can also cross pollenate content to other social media platforms later, if you decide.

6. That move customers to purchase

This should more specifically state that you need to include an "Ask" in every post.  The ask may be implicit, such as including contact info or a giving incentives to visit site in each post or it may be explicit and state on the face of the post to BUY NOW.  In any case, you need to include an "Ask".  Think about it like church, in every service, they ask for a should do the same.

So that is short loaded phrase to help you to begin to monetize your social media platforms and convert your followers into customers.  Good Luck!!!


If I could put some sound on this blogpost, you would hear the guards of the castle of the Wicked Witch of the West chanting as they make their way into that scary castle.  You know that part of the Wizard of Oz where the Tinman, Lion and Scarecrow are preparing to enter the castle to save Dorothy before the sand runs out of the hour glass?  That chant.  For a family movie, that is a fairly dark and scary part.  But Dorothy and friends survive to get their wishes granted in the end.


The same can be said for understanding the world of S.E.O. or search engine optimization.  For a business owner, it can be a dark and scary part of the internet that is hard to understand and even more difficult to get right.  However, if you can work past the fear, taking the time to learn and plan, you can gain the skills you need to automate and even succeed in S.E.O. on your own.  To help you begin you survive and thrive, so that you can get your business wishes granted, I have provided a few tips (just to get you started) on the world to success in the S.E.O. space.

1. Identify the words that Google attributes to your site and use them (tastefully) as much as you can.

You can identify the keywords Google attributes to your site by using the Google Keyword Planning tool found at  These are the words that if searched by a user, Google will use to likely point them to your site.  Once you know what these words are, use them throughout your website.   While it is easy to try incorporate them into the copy you create, you also want to use them in the title and url if possible.

2. Get others to connect to your site

Ensuring that users get quality content when they are searching is key for Google.  To help Google identify quality website, they pay special attention to who many other sites "link back" to your site.  That is, they want to see that others have provided a link to your content on their website.  The more this happens, the more likely you are to get pushed to the top of the list.  To help you get more "link backs", contact bloggers relevant to your industry and request they review your site, your product or content that you have produced.  If they like what they see, they will include "link backs" on their site.  This action has the additional benefit of introducing your site and content to their readers, so if it is good, you may get new customers as well.

3. Get testimonials and put them on your site

This point is pretty self-explanatory, but the key is to ask for and then post the great things people are saying about you.  You may even want to tag the person who gave you the testimonial to show they are highlighted on your site.  This step may lead to them posting it in their social media channels and opens you up to a whole new audience.

4. Set up google alerts

Once you get your content and your site out there, now it's time to check on the status.  The bad thing about sending your information out to bloggers or putting it on the web at all is that it is difficult to see if you are getting any traction from it.  While you can view analytics, it is almost impossible to know what people are saying about you after they view your site.  Google Alerts changes that by sending you notification every time your business (or related keywords) are mentioned online.  This free tool allows you to monitor what people are saying and where they are saying it, so you can respond where appropriate.

5. Create great content and pay to promote the best of it

Read this article to determine if blogging is right for you.  If you decide it is, do it and watch which of your postings get the most steam.  Once you see the article that most people are interested in, you can amplify the effect by paying to get it in front of even more people.  This can help you gather more "link backs", identify better keywords and reach your goals faster than before.

While this list is by no way inclusive (there are articles out there that list 100 ways to boost your SEO), it is a start.  These are quick things that you can do to at least get you on the path to increasing viewers of your site and your content.

Just like in the Wizard of Oz, there is no need to be scared despite the ominous chant of the guards.  You just have to take the first steps to learn how to manage the process, and you will be saving your business from the grasp of whatever witches have limited it in no time.

To Blog or Not to Blog...What is Blogging Anyway?

The advent of social media has opened up a new, free (in most cases) avenue to help individuals market their business.  Along with the social networking, the term blog (short for weblog) was created in 1997 and has since become a major advertising and, for a lucky few, a major revenue generating outlet.  Blogs allow individuals to publicize their thoughts and ideas or highlight their levels of expertise in a given area.  So should you use one in your business?


There is no easy answer to this question, but here are some things you should consider before jumping into the blog ocean!

1. Purpose

Know why you are interested in creating a blog.  Is it to highlight your expertise in your area, is it to push product or is it to share information that you learn along the way?  These purposes are not independent of each other and it is certainly possible to include all of these reasons (and more) in your rationale for creating a blog.  However, if you do not a focus, purpose for your blog, it may seem more like a journal than organized thought and be a turn off to your readers.

2. Intended Audience

Do you know who you are speaking to with your blog?  If so, is that an audience that can be easily found online and are they likely to follow you?  Just as with everything in business, you need to have a good understanding of your target market and know whether or they are interested in reading the content you are posting.  If your target market is not into blogs, then you may be wasting your time creating one.

3. Dedication

The thing with blogs is you need to be consistent with them.  Adding content only every once in a while is not likely to help you reach your goals.  You need to add content on a regular basis.  Choose one day a week, or a certain time every day to add to your blog to stay on schedule and follow it as much as you can.  You can even take a day to write out all your blog posts and schedule them to post in advance.  The key is to make it a habit and post, post, post.

4. Content Creation

Now the question is what to post.  This is also based on who your audience is and the purpose of your blog.  Tips about how to do business with you, behind the scenes highlights or customer highlights are just a few ideas to talk about.  Here the key is knowing that the blog posts do not need to be long or in depth, but they need to be interesting and informational.  Just think about what you would want to know about a business and start writing from there.

These are just a few of the things to consider when you are considering creating a blog for your business.  If you would like more one on one assistance if determining if a blog is right for your business, contact the experts at

Rome wasn't built in a day

And neither will a huge social media following.  So what can you do to help the process along. The key to growing a following is consistent, quality content.  To help you do this, lets take a closer look at what that means.
In order to be successful on social media, you have to be on social media.  That may sound intuitive, but it isn't.  Setting up a profile and posting once a month is not going to cut it.  However, it is important to note that too much posting can also be a bad thing.  So being consistent means finding the line between to little content and too much content and walking it perfectly.  It is also important to note that not every platform is built equally.  The right amount of posting in one platform may be too much or too little in another.  While none of this is scientifically proven, the best amount to post per platform is outlined below to make it a little easier for you to start.
Pinterest - 5 posts per day
Twitter - 3 posts per day
Google+ - 3 posts per day
Facebook - 2 posts per day
Instagram - 2 posts per day
LinkedIn - 1 post per day
Blog - 2 posts per week
To make it easy, you should use posting scheduling tools, such as hootsuite or latergramme, to relieve the pressure of always being at the ready with new content.  You should also feel free to reuse your content and/or post the same content on multiple platforms.  Chances are you have a different audience in each so you should not have to many people reading the same thing over and over again.
Being consistent means nothing if what you are creating is boring or irrelevant to your reader.  You want to be sure that you are creating content that your readers and followers will actually find interesting.  A good way to do this is to simply answer some of the questions that you get concerning your business.  Chances are that if one person took the time to ask the question, many others have the same one.
When you also consider whether your content is truly quality, you need to also take into account your writing ability and style.  The problem that I see with some blog authors is the dreaded "they write like they talk".  The written word is very different from that of a verbal conversation, and some miss the point.  Writing as one speaks can make writings difficult to read and understand and few readers will take the time to wade through it.  So try to make reading your content as easy as possible by using the best grammar possible.
So what is content.  As I have alluded to in this post, a lot of content is writing.  Whether it is a blog post, a short tweet or facebook comment, written posts are easily the most commonly created types of content.  However, to boost your social media following higher and faster, you need to begin to incorporate pictures, video and live interaction into the content you are creating.  Pictures are a necessity when using certain platforms, such as Instagram or Pinterest, but incorporating them into all your platforms is key to getting ahead.  Additionally, with new platforms such as Periscope and gaining in acceptance and usage, being able to interact live with followers is even more important.  Most importantly to note is that these interactions do not have to be long and planned to the moment.  Additionally, these interactions can be recorded for usage on different platforms making it even easier for you to create content on the go.
As with everything, the key to building a large following is to be diligent and generally good at what you do.  If you do that, finding the time to share your passion with others will be easy and the followers will just come!!