TinyHouseBigSolution is a personal finance and lifestyle blog for people who dream of working from home. The main focus includes building a Tiny House in order to lower monthly bills and live debt free, travel full time, master social media marketing, how to start online businesses, and motivation for fulfilling personal goals.
So you’ve got a brilliant idea, but you don’t have the credit to take out a loan. Maybe you are dealing with a family crisis and you need some cash quickly to survive the storm. Or you are
a Good Samaritan who wants to travel the world giving out stuffed animals to random people who are wearing purple. Nomatter what your reasons are, there are some simple ways to make sure that your crowdfunding campaign can stand out amongst the competition!
And let’s make no mistake about it, there is some stiff competition out there! A new crowd funding campaign starts every minute. There are thousands of people just as desperate as you to raise funds, and most of them are for very legitimately reasons. Well, except for that guy who wanted to create the worlds most amazing potato salad. He was just trolling us all (and it worked brilliantly!) Most people have a really great idea or desperately need to raise funds for an important cause. If you are that person, here is some absolutely free advice to get you started.
1. Create a plan.
Like most things in life, the difference between success and failure is a good plan. Yes, you can probably give me 100 examples of people who have become famous by accident, and I bet you I can show you that out of those 100 people only 98 of them are still currently successful. Those two left over? They rose above the failures, learned how to create plans, schedules and budget…or allocated those duties to someone responsible enough to handle them.
But if you are going to truly succeed at crowdfunding, you will have to put pen to paper and map out exactly what you are going to do. You will not raise a million dollars for the world’s most innovative razor by your only content being, “Guys, I’m seriously trying to raise a million dollars because I think I could create the worlds most innovative razor. K Thanx.” You need to really map this thing out. This same principle applies even if you are attempting to raise funds for a charity project or crisis. The more information you give people, the
better. You need to sit down and really think about what you are asking of people, when you need it by, and create reasonable goals.
2. Build a team.
You can’t accomplish anything alone, you have to have a team. Walt Disney did not paint every still frame in each one of his movies, and Steve Jobs did not solder every piece of metal together in the Mac. If you are going to succeed, you are going to have to surround yourself with people who are smart, compassionate, and dedicated. That doesn’t mean this isn’t your project! It just means that you realize the limitations of the human body, mind, and soul. It takes a village to raise a robot that can sweep your floors, and if that is your crowdfunding ambition, you’ve got to have a good team to reach that goal.
Crowdfunding success comes through social media, and the easiest way to quickly maximize your outreach is by bringing more people on board. Have a good group of 5-10 folks who are helping make this project happen, that is important. Again, this same principle applies to raising money quickly because your friends are about to lose their house, or because you need to raise the funds to go on a missions trip. The more people you bring on board, the wider your campaign is going to reach. Most campaigns are funded by smaller dollar donations and so the more people you reach, the better chance you have of reaching your goal.
Now, if you your project is something like a film or an invention, bringing more people on the team means that some of those people will be professionals who will eventually want to make a return on their time investment. That, my friends, is part of running a business. So you will need to put that into your budget.
3. You need a budget.
This is one of the areas most people who crowdfund super fail: the budget. I want you to realize something very important! For whatever reason, people who crowdfund don’t seem to grasp this, and it’s why so many of them ultimately fail… they are the one creating the amount. Let me explain this again, they are the one who sets the budget. This isn’t being determined by someone else. There really isn’t a budget too high! But there is a budget to low. The last thing you want is the nightmare situation of running a successful campaign, only to figure out you didn’t raise enough money to deliver on your product. This is why setting reasonable goals and expectations is so important!
Here are things you really need to ask yourself:
- How much is this really going to cost to complete?
- Do I need staff support?
- Will I provide perks and how much will those cost?
- What are my miscellaneous expenses? Advertising, setting up a website, print material, etc.
Gather all of that data and put it together in a reasonable and achievable budget. The absolute last thing you want to do is underfund your project, because you are obligated to follow through either way. If you really truly can’t accomplish the task without the use of a photographer or purchasing a 3D printer, then you’ve got to make sure you put that in the budget. The real budget of a crowdfunding campaign can not be just the project itself. That isn’t realistic!
Also, don’t forget about the fees! That’s right… everyone’s gotta make theirs. That means you need to make sure that you put in a percentage markup on your entire campaign. If your budget is $50,000 and the site you use has a 10% fee on all projects, you need to make sure the amount you are actually asking for is $55,000, or you you’ve basically gone and cost your whole project $5,000.
Are you preparing to put together an amazing coffee table book made up of the selfies you took while on your European vacation? You need to blog about it! Are you about to launch a kickstarter for your new documentary about the earthworm? Then you better have a blog up! No matter what your project is, you need to be blogging about it!
If you want to MAKE MONEY doing what you love, then you have to work for it. The easiest way to do that is to begin blogging. Your blog is a perfect place to tell your story, build an audience, and passively make THOUSANDS of dollars. Basically, if you don’t have a blog up right now about your project you are setting money on fire. You are just wasting your time tinkering away and you don’t want to be taken seriously as a professional in your field. That’s wonderful that you are artsy and think you are so clever that all your business cards are printed on recycled cereal boxes. Well, guess what? So are mine…and I am still making more money than you right now. You know why? Because I am blogging and you are not. So before you launch your amazing crowdfunding campaign, part of the process is getting started with your blog! Which you can do right here, just like I did.
5. Advertising. Yes, I’m serious.
I know, I know! I’m constantly telling you about how you don’t need to advertise, that you need to be building organic viewership, and subtly plugging your product. Countless times, I have told you that if you sell the image of yourself, your product will sell itself. All of that is very true. And you absolutely want to use that organic audience that you’ve built. But you can not and should not over sell your crowdfunding site to those people. It will drive them crazy. Talk about it, yes. BLOG ABOUT IT! Absolutely you blog about it. Keep building your subscribers list. But at the end of the day, this is something you are absolutely going to have to buy advertising for.
Yes, you are the one and only unique you. You’ve branded yourself on social media, that is huge success. But let’s be honest, you start talking about crowdfunding sites and asking for money directly, and between people running for this hills every time money is mentioned and the algorithm having a panic attack like you are preventing it from making money… well you get the picture! People don’t want you see your crowdfunding site, well most people. There are actually 4% of people that want to see your site and will donate to it. That doesn’t seem like a lot, but its not a bad margin when you really think about it. That 4% is who you are trying to reach, it’s who you need to fund you the rest of the way, and that is why you’ve got to get your product into their hands. Are you selling a romance novel? You’ve gotta target that advertising to folks who like romance novel groups on Facebook. You are inventing a 3D printer that makes stuff out of recycled corn? Good… there is a demographic that is interested in that! I don’t know who they are, but they are out there and you’ve got to find them and market to them.
But doesn’t advertising cost money…?
6. Find a sponsor.
This portion really only applies to those folks who are using crowdfunding for an invention or artistic endeavor. Chances are that once you’ve put your budget together, you just realized that your total campaign is going to cost a lot more than you thought. That’s okay, things always cost more than you anticipate. But don’t sweat it. Without pain, there’s no gain.
You are going to need startup capital if you are going to run a successful campaign for a creative venture of any type. Even for some of the most indy looking projects on the planet, the reality is that they are backed by some initial funding. This will give you the ability to start out with some advertising and getting the word out. You can just adjust your budget for this initial amount or the person can consider it a gift or a credit of some kind. You may think it sounds weird, but the reality is you are ALREADY asking people for money. All I am telling you is that you need to break the ice by finding an initial backer to help give the project the out of the starting gate push it needs!
NOTE: What is also good about something like this is that you can often times write in “offline donations” received, so this will give your campaign the initial appearance of success because you will be starting out in the positive! People want to give to campaigns that look like they are going to be successful, not ones that seem like they are doomed to fail.
7. Compelling video.
I get it, you are camera shy! Or maybe you feel like you don’t have the right kind of editing software on your computer. Where will you find a good camera?! Chances are, you’re reading this on a smartphone that has a fantastic camera on it. Campaigns that use video perform substantially higher than those that don’t and so no matter what… you need that video!
There are a couple of ways to make this happen. You can just record yourself giving a genuine pitch of your product or cause. Depending on the situation, this can actually be highly effective. You can never underestimate the power of a personal touch.
There are also numerous editing programs that have prepackaged settings where you can just drop a video into them, and they can make some pretty impressive videos! Another great option is using an animated explanation video made by one of talented people at Fiverr.com. All of their products, including videos, start out at just $5 and I have used this service many times for videos, editing, and publishing projects. This is a fantastic option if you want something that looks really sharp and professional.
8. Tell your story.
Between photos, video, and the description, you’ve got to give the full picture of exactly what is going on. You need to explain your budget, goals and vision completely. Take people on a journey toward the success you wish to achieve! Make them feel as if they will truly be a participating member of something important. Which is absolutely true! This is important to you and that is why you are doing it. Make sure that message comes across to people during this process.
One of the reasons you are doing this is because it is personal. Maybe you’ve always wanted to open a cutting edge hotel made out of used cellphone parts or need to fund something serious like a family member’s funeral. You can accomplish either of these goals, but you are going to have to make the appeal on a personal, heart based level! So you’ve gotta tell the whole story. Be honest, real, and passionate. You can’t go wrong with those attributes!
9. Socialize but don’t be annoying.
Social media is how you will tell this story. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, blogging, and your subscribers list. These are all powerful tools and you will need to use each one in unique ways to get your message out there. And yes you will have to actually advertise beyond that. But your pre-existing social contacts are where its all at… so make sure you don’t burn them out to the point that they tune you out! That is right, no one wants to see every single thank you note you send to people or hear you go on and on about everything that you’ve done. A good rule of thumb is that you can only mention or share your crowdfunding for every 10-20 times you’ve shared ANYTHING else.
I don’t mean you can just rapidly share 12 things in a row just so you can share your campaign again! You’ve go to keep things cool, calm, and mature. Your successful campaign is presumptive. You will succeed. Keep people engaged, let them know what’s happening, but you also can’t make it seem like you are just sitting on your computer doing nothing but sharing your campaign. Save that for the final blitz.
10. Scream it from the rooftops.
Thats right, you want to save all your annoying powers for the bitter end! Because even if your campaign has only raised 30% of the goal… try to make make it 50%! Just in case you haven’t reached your goal, you need to make sure that you haven’t turned everyone off to your campaign by the time you get to the end. You need people to be rooting you on so that in case you’ve got an extra 10% to raise and only 15 hours to do it in, they are ready to watch the nail biting experience with you!
11. Show your gratitude.
You’ve created a successful campaign! You DID NOT get here by yourself and you need to take the time to send out an immediate thank you to all you supporters. You need to thank them every step of the way. But be absolutely certain to thank them once you’ve achieved your goal!
It doesn’t matter if your campaign succeeds or fails, you should be thankful to everyone who gave anything. Sometimes things don’t work out. It probably just means you are ahead of your time, Steve Jobs level genius. Give it time!