11 March 2014
Yesterday, Richard Bliss of the Funding the Dream Podcast shared a podcast that he and I recorded as co-hosts about a month ago. I thought I would share some tidbits of information from that podcast here in text form. If you’d like to listen to the full 20-minute episode, you can find it online here.
Richard and I were talking about some common misconceptions that Kickstarter creators have, particularly first-time creators. We wanted to illuminate a few key points that every creator should know before they launch their campaign to prevent their project from being a dead-on-arrival dud.
Here are the key takeaways:
- The crowd has to come before the funding. Richard uses a great analogy that compares crowdfunding to crowdsurfing. If you take the leap and there’s no crowd ready for you, you’re in for a painful landing. Make sure you spend some time every day engaging people online and in person in a way that is beneficial to them.
- Make sure you enjoy running a business before you create a Kickstarter project. In the past I’ve talked about how much time and energy it takes to run a Kickstarter campaign and the resulting business, but I think the key question is, “Are you having fun?” Is working through the logistics and details and customer service and spreadsheets and freelancers fun for you? Because if it isn’t, it’s going to get old really fast.
- Don’t count the money until you’ve delivered every copy of your product. No matter how well you budget, things will cost more than you planned. You’re going to have a lot of money in your bank account for many months, but that isn’t real money until you’ve actually delivered all products to backers. Then you can look at your bank account balance (or lack thereof) and know the true cost of your project.
- Don’t rely on Kickstarter to promote your project. Hundreds of projects launch on Kickstarter every day. Kickstarter highlights a few of them. Don’t assume that backers are going to find you just because you’re on Kickstarter, or that Kickstarter will make sure that backers discover your project. That’s your job, not Kickstarter’s.
- Don’t ask people to promote your project. Richard gets tons of e-mails from complete strangers that say, “Hey Richard, can you share my project with all your followers?” That, my friends, is not the correct approach. Instead of looking for quick and easy ways for people to support you, spend your time looking for ways that you can add value to other people. Teach people. Make people laugh. Make people imagine. Promote other people and projects. It’s too much to write here–just go read this.
- Art is king. This is a recurring topic on this blog. I think the tough part about art is that it’s really, really hard to be unbiased about your own project’s art. Perhaps impossible. So please listen to what backers say about your art and design, and even what they don’t say–if they’re not raving about your art, that means something. Also, try this: Every month, put a reminder on your calendar to spend 30 minutes looking at art DeviantArt, ConceptArt, Pinterest, and BGG. Each time, pick your 3 favorite artists from your browsing session and reach out to them to say that you appreciate their work. That’s it. Just a quick note. Every time you do this, you’ll become more and more aware of how great art can be and how accessible most artists are.
Running a successful Kickstarter requires a lot of various elements to come together, but I think if you’re aware of those key points, you’ll increase your chances of funding and delivering on your promises.