How To Create A Kick Ass Crowdfunding Campaign And Make Your Dreams Come True

We all have a dream. Some grand vision we’d love to see come to fruition one day. Something that scares us, compels us and energizes us at the same time. So why is it that so many people seem to put those dreams in a box and shelve them away for a day that never comes?

It’s tragic to think of all those boxed up dreams, slowly dying away, deprived of oxygen and never likely to see the light of day. I don’t want to see that happen anymore.

I want you to court bolder dreams and make them a reality.

The biggest excuse I hear aside from people’s natural, inherent fears of failure (or success) is lack of funds to make it happen. Well I don’t really think we can use that as an excuse anymore because of this phenomenon called crowdfunding.

Making your dreams come true with crowdfunding

What is crowdfunding?

It’s when people come together to invest directly in a project or person’s idea. Always wanted to design an automatic `dog pooper picker-upper’? Use crowdfunding. Fancy yourself as an artist? Use crowdfunding. Want to bring your artwork to the world at large? Yep, say it with me, use crowdfunding.

Kickstarter is one of a number of crowdfunding sites that’s sprung up in the past few years and is seeing incredible results, as is Indiegogo.

I swear that contributing and backing people’s projects on platforms like these is becoming a little addictive.  In the last 6 months alone I’ve invested over $2,000 across 8 worthwhile projects because I just love helping people see their dreams become a reality.

This has got to stop I say to myself …or has it? It’s totally inspiring to watch these people put their dreams out there on the line and then ask you to step up and make them a reality by pledging your dollars to ensure their project gets funded.

How To Succeed At Crowdfunding

Earlier this year I also contributed to {r}evolution apparel’s Versalette campaign (the perfect Suitcase Entrepreneur accessory by the way), which became the most funded fashion project in Kickstarter history!

What was it that made it so successful and how can you replicate this for yourself? That’s what I want to discuss right here and so I’ve aimed to make this post is your mini guide to creating a kick ass crowdfunding campaign so you can turn that dream into a reality.

Below I’ve dissected the projects I’ve backed and why they were a success and how you can apply this to yours as well as providing some key reading resources to take your plans one step further.

Also I’ve written a guide called How To Successfully Crowd Fund Your Dream Idea on Kickstarter.How to successfully crowd fund your dream idea on kickstarter

I’d like to kick off with (for want of a better pun) with a quote from Lee Moyer who wrote an excellent two part Kickstarter Whitepaper series, to share his lessons on creating his own successful Kickstarter campaign of over $122,000 pledged. An important point to keep in mind that he makes is:

“Kickstarter is a value proposition. You are offering people, your “backers,” a product or service in exchange for their support. In the majority of cases on Kickstarter, you are essentially offering people the opportunity to “pre-order” your product before you actually produce it. Backers of Kickstarter projects are not loaning or “donating” money to you, they are buying a product from you and therefore they expect to receive value for their money.”

If you take a look at the Versalette example I talked about above you see that {r}evolution apparel is aiming to change the fashion industry (read their story here). That’s a pretty great start to making your campaign successful – be game changing, have a grand vision, tug at peoples heart strings.

These crowdfunding platforms allow you to do this through telling a compelling story helped greatly by the power of video. In the case of the above this was the clincher for me, having stumbled across their Kickstarter campaign. After watching it I was hooked.

Kudos to Abe Cajudo who directed this video, and is now a Kickstarter Impressario (aka consultant) – I mean this crowdfunding is truly a revolution creating new jobs and businesses too!

Five Case Studies Of Successful Crowdfunding

To make it dead easy I’ve posted the name of the campaign, the summary of the project, the outcome and the reason why these kicked ass. Get ready to learn a lot.

Seth Godin – The Icarus Deception

The Project

“Please help me show my publisher, the bookstores and anyone with a book worth writing that it’s possible to start a project with a show of support on Kickstarter. The Icarus Deception is an experiment in publishing, an opportunity for real growth, an invitation to challenge your friends and something you can touch.”

Visit it here on Kickstarter.

The Outcome

Seth was asking for $100,000 to make this project happen and he raised this within 3 hours of posting it! Normally you’re given a month to reach your goal and only when you raise that amount does it get completed and funded and all the pledge payments are authorized. He’s now on over $286,000 with 7 days to go!

Seth Godin Kickstarter Project

The Reason for Success:

In large part, the reason for this amazing result is due to the fact that Seth rocks and has a huge global community of fans who were only too happy to help him out. He’s the authority on the world of traditional and self publishing and writes passionately about it day in day out, both on his blog and the Domino Project.  The video is also just too brilliant to ignore. Seth gets straight to the heart of why the world needs this to succeed in a pragmatic, no BS way that you just can’t help but adore.

He wrote a great article here actually on Why (some) Kickstarter Campaigns Fail and why you do need a community to make your Kickstarter project a success. He talked about his reflections on the amazing outcome of his campaign in Reflections on Today’s Kickstarter.

Adam Baker – I’m fine thanks

The Project

“I’m Fine, Thanks is a new, feature-length documentary about complacency. It’s a collection of stories about life, the choices we all make, and the paths we ultimately decide to follow.  We examine the factors that motivate and drive our major life choices. And, most importantly, whether or not the path we follow through life – and the habits we form based on that path – are truly connected with who we really are as individuals. This is a movie about the moment people realize the life they’re living is not the life that’s true to their heart… and, as a result, what they decide to do about it!”

View it here on Kickstarter

The Outcome

Adam and Crank Studios met their funding goal with around a week to go and overshot their $100,000 goal by around $15,000 with 4,447 backers. As a result they’re thrilled to be able to piece this documentary together and bring it to the world in a series of premieres, starting with the first in Portland during the World Domination Summit that I went to and rocked. And the NYC one where my pledged amount has got me VIP tickets as well as a feature in the credits!

 Adam Baker Kickstarter project

The Reason for Success

Adam Baker is a hugely successful blogger over at Man vs Debt with a large readership and an excellent network of other influential online bloggers and marketers who were all to happy to step up and help out by spreading the word on their blogs. When I talked to him about it he believed his audience and community were a huge part of it.

They sent regular updates to their lists and through the Kickstarter platform asking for everyone to continue to spread the word and keep the momentum going so you were naturally excited by the project. In addition the excellent video showcasing the project on Kickstarter, the fact is this is a documentary that needs to be seen and a message that must be heard. That’s reason enough to back it – and just so you know it became the most well backed documentary ever on Kickstarter!

Danny Iny – Naked Marketing

The Project:

“I want YOU to help me write this book! Instead of going away for six months and writing in seclusion, I want to write this book in collaboration with the people who need it the most. I want to share my ideas with you as I write them, develop them in collaboration with you, and get your feedback and input before I waste time writing stuff that you aren’t interested in reading. Then I’ll write up my ideas, and share them with you – every section and chapter – the moment that I’m done writing them.

View the project on Indigogo

The Outcome:

When I went to visit this project through a link through Danny’s blog I saw his small goal of $2,500 was already blown out and today I received an update saying they raised $5240 in pledges and exceeded their expectations. This could easily have been a $10,000 plus project but Danny is not greedy and had clear reasons for selecting this amount and managing his book project in a `novel way’ (excuse the pun). He breaks down the previous costs of publishing and his reason for doing it this way this time around.

Indiegogo Danny Iny Naked Marketing project

The Reason for Success

Danny Iny is not called the Freddy Kruger of blogging for no reason. He’s a prolific writer on Firepole Marketing as well as tonnes of other sites he regularly guest posts for. He’s the author of Engagement from Scratch and has built a huge list since publishing this book, as well as his latest free manifesto Naked Marketing. In fact that manifesto is the basis and motivation behind turning it into a fully fledged contributor-led book. Everyone likes being part of a collaborative project they can share in the journey of. Danny is a smart marketer and has a big community rooting for his eternal new creations and implementations who want him to succeed – and he has.

Below is a break down of Danny’s `Special Perks’ for his writing team and a big reason why his project got funded so quickly in my mind:

I want to give you every reason to get behind this project, so I’ve put together a huge list of exciting perks that you can get when you join my Writing Team, like:

  • Privileged access to the book materials before anybody else
  • A direct line to me, and the ability to influence the development of the entire project
  • A behind-the-scenes look at how it all comes together
  • An autographed paperback copy mailed to your door as soon as it’s ready
  • Free access to the live Naked Marketing Bootcamp training series I’m developing
  • 1-on-1 marketing and business strategy advice and coaching from me (I usually charge $250 for 45-minutes)
  • Acknowledgement, mention, and exposure in the book when it’s released

The full list of perks is listed on the side of the page, and just to be clear, the perks are CUMULATIVE – so if your investment gets you the signed hardcover, for example, it’ll also get you participation in the project.

Antrese Wood – A Portrait Of Argentina Landscapes And Portraits

The Project

“Inspired by love, this project intends to seek out and share the stories of people and places that inspire hope in the human spirit. People who inspire us to reach higher, to be better than we are. My goal is to paint Argentina from an individual, national and world perspective. As I paint portraits of the people I meet, I’ll listen to their stories and then paint enplein-aire, the scenes from their daily life; the places the nation is most proud of, and locations familiar to the world.

Visit the Kickstarter project

The Outcome

Antrese was able to fund this project of $25,000 with 159 backers with just hours to go as her friends, family and some influential people who cared about this art project stepped up to join her in spreading the word. I originally found out about it from Pam Slim who thought it was a beautiful project and reached out to several of us who had lived in Argentina to support it or spread the word. When Pam speaks, people listen! But I was also so taken by Antrese’s video and idea that it was a no brainer to back it and share with my community and other friends around the world – especially from my time living in Argentina.

Portrait of Argentina Kickstarter

Seeing how happy she was to have this project funded in this charming video she sent out in the final hours when she knew she’d reached her funding goal, was worth it for me.

The Reason for Success

As I state above, enlisting the help of a few key influential people who care about your art is the best way to get started when you don’t have a large community, or an award winning blog or website to give you the platform from which to leap. I liken it to a snowball that gains momentum, speed and size as it rolls down the slopes. A few people give that ball a push and others (e.g bits of sticky snow) jump on to make it pick up pace and spread further and further! It helps that Antrese is a clearly talented artist with a cool idea that people want to see come to fruition.

Liz Dickinson: Alpha – The Holy Grail Of Heartrate

The Project

“And they said it couldn’t be done! Alpha is the world’s first strapless, continuous heart rate monitor watch you can wear on your wrist tested EKG accurate even while you are running at performance speeds of up to 20km/h (12mph).”

View the Kickstarter project

The Outcome

At the time I backed it around a week ago, after Liz had personally emailed me to spread the word, she was at around $85,000 of her $100,000 goal but with plenty of time still to go. She then surpassed her goal in a very short space of time when Mashable got hold of it (read on below for that story!).

Liz is the founder of MIO Global and the amazingly generous supporter of my bike ride across Africa. Not only did she send me several watches to try out (the Triumph I wear everyday with pride), she also gave me a rewards flight on my current trip to the US! So I was hands down going to back this cool project as it’s never been done before.

Liz Dickinson MIO Kickstarter

The Reason for Success

Having witnessed other people’s inventions on crowdfunding platforms, most notable this stellar example of over exceeding your expectations, these kinds of projects attract people passionate about seeing these innovations making it into the shops for all of us to buy and own. In addition Liz’s company MIO Global, has built up great goodwill with their superior sports watches and by supporting athletes in their endeavours – in short a real passion for healthy living and improving sports performance. People react to that and want to return the favour in droves.

It also helps when this happens, as Liz put out in one of her updates just days ago:

Hi Everyone

Here I am in Hong Kong and was just getting ready to turn off the computer and try to fool  myself into thinking I really wanted to sleep despite being desperate for breakfast when I noticed a string of new pledges coming in.  Usually that means there has been some sort of favorable mention somewhere online.  I did a quick search and saw that the reporter who put up with my puffing breathlessly in her ear while running around last minute getting ready for my trip was from Mashable!  You think I would have known that, right?

Mashable Business

Well, within a few minutes we were catapulted right over our goal and I am thrilled to announce we are FUNDED!  

Could we be another PEBBLE? Well we are starting to ROCK!

Happy Birthday ALPHA!  July 4th will now be known as Chest Strap Independence Day!

Liz

Want to know more about how this worked so well, read PR Lessons From A Kickstarter Launch by my friend Elena Verlee. It’s a great resource.

Using Crowdfunding For Your Dream Project

The variety of case studies I’ve highlighted above and the reasons for their success should give you some excellent reasons for using a crowdfunding platform to make your dreams come true. Aside from Kickstarter and Indigogo here are the Top 10 Crowdfunding Sites for Entrepreneurs. All are free to use and have different terms and conditions for what types of projects you can start on there.

Five keys to succeeding in your crowdfunding mission:

1. Translate your dream into a story people can buy into and fully support – create a movement

2. Enlist the help of those nearest and dearest to you and a few key influential people to get you started

3. Continue to update people on your progress through the platform your using and any other means possible (YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, your blog, your newsletter, other people’s blogs, PR outlets  – the sky is your limit).

 4. Create meaningful rewards that people want to get hold of – scarcity, exlusiveness and uniqueness all help in making them more attractive to potential pledgers

5. Go big or go home. Most crowdfunding projects are asking for larger monetary amounts these days, which means the risk is higher to ensure it succeeds so your project gets backed. At the same time that seems to be the reason most people get behind it – the sheer scale and vision of making these dreams a reality.

Want to start your own Kickstarter right now?

I recommend you grab my new book How To Successfully Crowd Fund Your Dream Idea on Kickstarter for just $18!

How to successfully crowd fund your dream idea on kickstarter

Here’s what’s covered:

1. What Exactly Is Crowdfunding? Learn all about this fundraising phenomenon and why you should take advantage of it.

2. Which Crowdfunding Site Should You Choose? Discover the advantages and disadvantages of the top ten crowdfunding sites and see which one is right for you.

3. What Makes a Successful Crowd Funding Campaign? Learn the key components that will ensure your campaign meets and exceeds its goals.

4. Step by Step Campaign Checklist: Take the pain out of setting up your campaign by following this complete guide.

Grab yours here.

Tell me about your experiences using crowdfunding and what worked and didn’t

 

 

Comments

  1. says

    Natalie, thanks for the shout-out! I’m so excited about Niftyfare – what can be better than artisan (aka Tasty) food that meets the needs of folks on restricted diets, supports job creation and provides internships for adults with autism? My values just keep it clear and focused, every day. This is a pretty modest start, but I’m sure we’ll be back again after we get more exposure and have to crank up production. Let me know what you think of the video…

  2. Yaw Ansong says

    Great advise. Will put into practice in my next campaign. I’ll update you guys. God bless!

  3. Gerard Benn says

    Thanks for this Natalie. You mention that your book costs $9, but when I click through it’s $18. Can you advise? Cheers.

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