The Art of the Kickstarter

I hate making new years resolutions! Often times they are unrealistic, trivial or downright messy. I try to focus on constant movement and being relevant. So let’s talk about last years goals that were accomplished instead. We released WhaddupNow 2.0 which was a dramatic improvement to the site. We attended quite a few events, and even bigger events outside of our scene, we even broke the release date for Black Ops II at a Gamestop event using our presentation service. All things we want to do again this year, but why spoil the fun of what is in store (chuckle) this year with a resolution?
 

Resolutions are kind of similar to starting a project, you have to do it everyday to be effective. A few of us were in a meeting thinking of merchandise and how awesome it would be to get some shirts printed. We tried going with Joe Schmo’s T’s and things but I HATED their quality, I thought we could do it better ourselves. We wanted to make shirts for us and the people in our scene, but how do we get the required funding in order to get a start? Well we kept hearing about Kickstarter. In August of 2012 yet to be released Ouya game system was breaking records with their project funding of $8,596,474.
 

We all would probably like to have the same problem right? So if you are thinking about starting or have started a project chances are you are reading this to give you a small edge. If you haven’t heard of Kickstarter think of a site specifically geared to create funding for (almost) whatever you want to do. There are many categories, chances are your project will fit into one of them. Here’s a short list on how to create a project.
1.Define your objective: Be brutally honest with yourself and don’t over think it.
2.Create a video: Be yourself and state why you are excited about your project
3.Create rewards: Tiers of stuff you will send for the amount invested
4.Create a reasonable funding amount
5.Define a date: 30-90 days, they say 30 is optimum I will get to that next.
6.Submit and hope you don’t have to re-do 1-3 again.
 

I’ve had a few friends that have wanted my opinion about creating a project on Kickstarter. Prepare for what I will tell you next, because you have to be funded at 100% or you don’t get funded…at all. So even if you follow my advice you may fail. We had failed, which is why the 2012 shirt project was the Bane to my Batman. But doing the process first hand I can give you some tips you won’t get anywhere else.
 

Tip #1 Set your target date. For the next 30 to 90 this project will become your baby, everyday you will want to nurture it. We set our project to split the difference, 45 days. My mistake was trying to market the shirt project, while also trying to learn how to create shirts. Do yourself a favor and complete your project first. If you are still in concept and planning there are other ways, better ways to start a project, unless you have something extremely innovative.
 

There are two big things going on here because you cannot change the end date. You have to think about rewards and marketing your project. The main reason you want to get it out early is the way the system works. Funding doesn’t take place until the time expires; think about your backers and when they will get their rewards. You want all of the time to tell people about your project, not to try and finish it too.
 

Tip #2 Create awesome rewards. We had some cool stuff to give out but I have seen other projects that will reward you with compliments. My message to those types projects; thank me later, send me some cool stuff first! On a whole you want to have something of universal value for your backers. Keep in mind that you can add rewards; they can also be modified UNTIL you have a backer for that item.
 

Tip #3 Think about your backers. We had a lot of people that said they would be interested in a shirt. But we realized there are a few limiting factors to someone who wants to support your project. They have to create an account themselves and then they have to create an Amazon account. Then they have to wait for your project to finish before they are charged. Then they have to wait for you to ship them their stuff. True there are people that will follow you regardless but instead of trying to get new people to join Kickstarter, look at the people already on Kickstarter first as they have already backed other projects. Oh, and keep your audience engaged and entertained with updates.
 

Tip #4 Make measurable goals. Our objective was too broad, how do I know that? It took THREE renditions of our project to finally be approved. The funding of our goal was realistic but not so much for the demand of what we were doing. We started off with the lofty goal of covering the cost of equipment and production, but realistically we met only the cost of production. And like I said earlier it is %100 funding or nothing. Had we have started a little lower we would have met the goal.
 

Looking back it was a good experience. In those 45 days we went from idea, to concept, to an actual product. We are set to release some items very soon so keep tuned. As much as the whole thing defeated me the first time around I may even start another project here shortly. Now has this article given you second thoughts about starting a project? If you happen to fail miserably at it would you quit? If you said yes, I’m sorry to say that you aren’t ready…yet. If you’re not scurred (ie scared) and you are ready to sleep eat and breathe Kickstarter for the next 30-90 days, I salute you! Now get out there and start something! Hopefully you have a successful project and you can thank me later.

 

And If you are curious the title of this article draws quite a bit of influence from the book “The Art of the Start”. For me it was a really motivational and informative book about “bootstrapping” a project. I read it a while back and passed it to our Prez at WhaddupNow, for once he is actually reading it, shocking! Oh, and if you’re listening Guy Kawasaki. I’m making meaning… but I still need funding, please help!

 

Until next time,
Do a Barrel Roll!!!
– Eric “Corona”

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