Looking To Fund A New Project Or Business? Maybe You Need KickStarter

I did wonder whether I should call this article ‘How To Generate $3 Million In 26 Days’ but that is a little misleading even though it actually happened . (Read On)

I was recently wondering how people could fund new projects when they do not have much spare capital and would rather not have a bank or business loan which would mean repayments.

I remembered about the new world of ‘crowdsourcing’  (also crowdfunding) as it is known which has change the way many people get their projects funded and started.

Crowdsourcing itself is not new, there have always been groups of investors and ‘angels’ willing to lend capital to new projects that they believe have potential to give a return but the new form of online funding is different in the way that it now allows large numbers of fans to donate money to a project they believe in or want to see happening in exchange for the product itself, and in some cases just to give and see something special happen.

There are several websites online that allow the general public, people like you and I, to donate money to up and coming art, music and technology projects including films.

There have been a few films that had not been given the backing by the big Hollywood studios but were made because they were backed by eagre fans wishing to see the film become a reality. Iron Sky from 2012 being one of them. (Click the Play button below to watch the trailer for Iron Sky)

When you have a product that a lot of people want to ‘have’ or ‘see’ then many of those fans will be compelled to donate otherwise it might not get made. The great thing about crowdsourcing is that you set a desired amount that you need and if you hit that amount you get the money but if you don’t then those who were willing to donate are given their money back.

How To Generate Over $3 Million In 26 Days The Cyanide & Happiness Story

I was recently looking at crowdsourcing campaign by the guys behind the brilliant Cyanide & Happiness online comic strip. I love these guys and wrote about them previously in this article: Becoming A Funtrepreneur: Building An Online Business Promoting Fun Stuff

The guys have been wanting to create a card game using their comic characters and so they set about running a crowdsourcing campaign to get funding as seen in the image below.

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Did you notice how much people have pledged to back the project? It says it in the bottom right corner… if you didn’t see it take a look at the screenshot below.

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Yes, you read that right! Take another look at that final total below…

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They set a goal of $10,000 which should have been enough to get the game made and have ended up with 63,758 backers who have pledged over $3 million dollars! That is insane!

They ran their campaign on the KickStarter.com website which finds backers for new projects, campaigns run for 26 days. As I said earlier, within 26 days these guys generated over $3 million!

Kick Starting Your Project & Product Venture With KickStarter

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Today there are 5,340 live projects looking for funding on KickStarter: the screenshot below shows you some of the projects which are looking for backers.

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These are some of the most popular ones and you can see that they have reached their funding goals as it shows you the percentage that they have hit. 100% is as you would expect the full goal and as these screenshots show these projects have gone over just as Cyanide & Happiness did.

In the screenshot above there is one project which has hit 2939% which is just incredible.

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There are 15 categories to choose from, if you want to get crowdfunding from people your product must fall into one of these categories on KickStarter.

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In many ways this can be seen as creating an audience for your product and pre selling it before it is complete.

There is one guy called Grek Pak who is promoting a guide to using KickStarter as seen below and he has gone well over his set goal… and he still has 23 days to go. He has sold his book probably before he has finished writing it.

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He has used KickStarter before several times and is the guy behind the very successful ‘Code Monkey Save World’.

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“Code Monkey Save World, a graphic novel based on the songs of internet superstar musician Jonathan Coulton, became Kickstarter’s highest grossing original comics project of all time in 2013.” – KickStarter

What Makes A Successful KickStarter Campaign?

There are some really cool projects on KickStarter like those by Cyanide & Happiness and Greg Pak but there are some really bad ones too like the one shown below.

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The guy has 57 hours to go and has only had $1 pledged so far to bring his ‘Ultimate Salad Spoon’ to the world. It is a shame really as he has been working on the project for a long time and is very excited about it… but it seems no one else is!

The success of your campaign on sites like KickStarter are down to two things really,

  1. The quality of the project
  2. The way you share it out.

For Cyanide & Happiness it wasn’t too hard, they have a HUGE following and I do mean huge, they have their own website, they have millions of followers on social media and go to comic conventions so they can inform their fans of their campaign and share the details with millions of eagre fans.

The guy behind the ‘Ultimate Salad Spoon’ might not have such a following and to be honest, may never get a decent following… after all, it is just a salad spoon!

The screenshot below shows a campaign for a music dance caravan called The BOOM BOX in Montreal Canada.

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With 20 days still to go they have over half of the backing they need.

Incentives, Videos & A Great Write Up

When people pledge to back a project they can chose one of several options set up by the project owner. When scrolling down the campaign page you will see the options to the right of the page.

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Pledges are for different amounts and for different amounts you get different things back in return. For the Boom Box project owners their minimum pledge is $1 and for that a pledger would get…

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…basically they get nothing for their donation apart from gratitude. If backers pledge money in the other options they get sent things like stickers, phone call to say thank you and videos of the team dancing in front of the Boom Box caravan.

For the Greg Pak project the minimum pledge is $12 and for that the backer receives…

greg pak pledge

… a PDF copy of the book he is writing. If people pledge from the other options they get extras like copies of his other books in PDF form.

The extras and bonuses that you offer help to get better pledges but as you can see you can ask for very small amounts and offer a sincere thanks and nothing else.

I cannot say whether you could generate a few thousand dollars by asking for a few thousand people to donate $1each in return for gratitude within 26 days. Unless your product was groundbreaking and going to change people’s lives I doubt you would do it.

Depending on what your project is at least the people who pledge should get a copy of it, for example if you were looking to write a book then they should get a PDF version even if you were planning to get a physical book printed, the lower pledges should get a a shorter PDF version.

Campaigns that have an intro video have a better success rate than those that don’t.

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Creating a video that is hosted on the campaign page along with a very detailed and clear write up will help you have a successful campaign.

Before starting a campaign it would be wise to plan out everything such as the video, incentives and the write up otherwise it is very likely to flop. You could test out the system asking for just a couple of hundred dollars before trying to run a larger campaign for several thousands.

The question is what is it that you want to get funded?