A question I get often asked is
“How can I fund my dream?”
Whether it’s a book, a product or a cause, money is needed to invest time in your dreams.
You see, I took the bold chance to crowdfund my first book.
In case you do not know what crowdfunding is, here’s a definition:
crowdfunding is simply the process of raising capital for a project upfront by receiving monetary contributions from a large number of people via an online platform. The supporters “pledge” their monetary support in exchange for a reward. Rewards can be a product or service, or even just a public acknowledgment of thanks.
In total honesty, I thought crowdfunding was easy — anyone could get money to fund their dreams.
It appears that crowdfunding is not always resulting in success, as 4 out of 5 campaigns do not succeed.
While the 17,000 projects launched in the UK in 2017 was 2% down in 2016, the total pledges increased by 5%, according to The Crowdfunding Center. There is still a way to crack the code!
You see, when I first approached the idea of crowdfunding the book, I simply did it because it was the only way I could justify spending the money to, well, birth the book in the first place.
Some people look for investments, yet since I run a community and I strongly believe in the power of engaging with your audience, I just knew that asking my community to support me was the way to go.
“It feels good to be in a community. Community, above all, is bigger than individuals — we are something much more than individuals when we are part of a community. And this is how things ought to be.” — Tony Blackshaw
Some of the perks of crowdfunding
Not keen if your idea will fly?
Crowdfunding will quickly give you that answer.
While many people fear a failed crowdfunding campaign, the astute business owner knows it’s a much better alternative to investing thousands of dollars of money, and months or years of time, into a business or project upfront, only to have the venture fail.
A successful campaign gives you the confidence that there’s a market for your product or service BEFORE you run off and create it and better still, it will harness a group of passionate supporters who believe in your vision and will cheer you along every step of the way.
You can engage with pedgers by thanking pledgers and keeping them updated at every step of the journey, including (especially including) the weeks and months after the campaign has ended.
Measuring the success of a campaign is simple: you will know quite simply by whether it reaches its target or not. An unsuccessful campaign can also be successful as it’s confirmation that your project may never have had legs.
Finding that out in the early stages of your project is much better than discovering it after years of work and thousands of lost dollars!
As I know most of us will be wanting to fund our dreams at some stage, I thought I’d share with you what I learned along the way.
Do: share, share, share
Remember the old saying “it takes seven interaction before we take action”?
Well, it’s true.
Make your crowdfunding campaign the core of your focus for the next 4 weeks — I recommend 4-week crowdfunding campaigns to create urgency.
Seriously, sharing every day is NOT enough, even if you may think so. Make it inventive, creative and unique. Maybe share a testimonial from someone who loves your company, or a story linked to your crowdfunding. Get creative and get to work.
Do: find ways to engage with pledgers
Videos are a great asset. Investing time into video trailers for your campaign will pay dividends.
A video trailer can be homemade or professional — either way, a crowdfunding video will get a more personal approach, and clearer way to share your message. Seriously, it works!
Throughout my campaign, I had a philosophy of “no pledger left behind”.
I’ll list and tag, where possible, every pledger in social media and provide regular status updates. For every person who shares the campaign in social media I also personally thank them for the share. This makes them feel appreciated and further inspired to share the campaign.
Do: have amazing rewards
Can you go away and beyond with your rewards?
Do not be stingy, this is NOT the time! I would seriously say, get creative with your reward ideas (a little side note, be aware of the cost of those, bigger rewards are always better than loads of small ones).
Some of my rewards included a copy of the book, a free online course, a free month of consulting and so much more.
Not all rewards have to be physical, if you can trade your “time” and focus on experiences, you may save some money along the way.
Don’t: get stuck in the ‘all or nothing’ mentality
I personally love Crowdfunder, as it allows me to keep everything I crowdfund, even if I do not hit my target. If you are a small business, this is such an essential step — it will make it less stressful for you, and much more beneficial in the long run.
So many campaigns fail simply because the campaign creator gives up before the campaign is over, not realising that in many cases, the bulk of support flows in during the last few hours.
Without a doubt, I think the biggest mistake is choosing a flexible funding campaign over an all or nothing campaign.
Don’t: give up the 2 days before it ends
Those are the most crucial days. This is the time to go all-in, as people will be willing to support. Most crowdfunding campaigns end up being funded during the last 48h of the campaign, so keep it up, you got this! Every time I felt lost I reminded myself: “fail to plan, plan to fail”.
The main reason why campaigns fail is simply a lack of preparation.
You can’t make improvements to your campaign or compensate for a lack of preparation you’ve hit the launch button.
I also think that many crowdfunding campaigns fail because the creator makes the campaign about THEM rather than the CAUSE. People love to get behind a cause.