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Are You Ready to Crowdfund?

Lesson 18 from: How to Make a Living Selling What You Make

Megan Auman

Are You Ready to Crowdfund?

Lesson 18 from: How to Make a Living Selling What You Make

Megan Auman

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Lesson Info

18. Are You Ready to Crowdfund?


Class Trailer

Session 1


Class Introduction


Define Your Big Goals: What Gets You Out of Bed?


Finding YOUR Ideal Number


How Much Should You Pay Yourself an Hour?


Who is the Ideal Customer for Your Products?


What is Your Customer Willing to Pay?


Pricing Your Products for Profit


Where Does Your Brand Need Work?


What Are The Strengths and Weaknesses of Your Products?


What Makes You a Great Business Owner?


What Should Your Product Be Now?


Bonuses w/ Purchase


Bonus w/ Purchase: Your MAL # (ideal #) in Detail


Bonus with Purchase: Testing Customer Profiles using Facebook ads


Session 2


Live Check In


Shift Your Money Mindset


How To Finance Your Business


Are You Ready to Crowdfund?


Analyze Business Opportunities


Test the Market by Entering with a BANG


Plan Your First Big Sales Event


Market and Promote Your Event: How to Build Buzz


Make Your Event a Success


Analyze and Move Forward


Bonus with Purchase: Calculating ROI


Session 3


Evolve Your Product Line


Create a Production Strategy


Plan for Growth and Future Revenue Streams


Your Big Business Vision


Draft Your Daily and Monthly Action Plan


Keep the Momentum Going


Live Check-in - Finale


Bonus with Purchase: Adjusting your MAL # with employees and contractors


Free Bonus: Student Interviews - Catherine Utschig


Free Bonus: Student Interviews - Christine Herrin


Free Bonus: Student Interviews - Holly Tanner Straus


Free Bonus: Student Interviews - Joy Jenkins


Free Bonus: Student Interviews - Leah Drapkin


Free Bonus: Student Interviews - Lisa Jones


Free Bonus: Student Interviews - Monica Jacquay


Free Bonus: Student Interviews - Richelle


Lesson Info

Are You Ready to Crowdfund?

Hello everyone so today we are on lesson thirteen are you ready to crowd fund so our goal today it's determined to determine if crowdfunding is an option for your growing business right if it's an option for you to grow the business to generate some capital to get your products out there, right? So that's our goal. So in the last lesson we looked at the different ways to fund your business, right? We talked about credit cards and loans and home equity and all of those good things, but of course I know one of the ones that everyone really wants to talk about because it's so new and hot and seems like it has so much potential is crowdfunding. So that's what we're gonna do today so we are in session to generate revenue quickly we're talking about making that money right? And we are unless in thirteen are you ready to crowd fund? So I think one of the myths around crowdfunding is that it is a magic bullet that will catapult your business to the big time, right that's what you hear about yo...

u hear about those success stories you know, those the ones that are in the media like this person one on kickstarter and raised a kazillion dollars and now that the product is everywhere right that's what you hear about right the reality is that crowd funding can be a viable way to find your business but it requires planning and effort to make it a success it is no magic bullet and in a few minutes we're gonna have some great guests on here he were goingto really elaborate on that for us but before we get started I want to talk about a couple of crowdfunding options because there are more than one and really there are way more then what I'm going to talk about here in this lesson right? So the one that you're probably most familiar with is kickstarter and we're actually talking predominantly about kickstarter in this lesson because it's just the area of expertise our guests have and I think because it's really the main platform that people really want to see success on right but it's not a platform that a is open to everyone not every country allows you to use it and it may not be the best platform for you all the platforms have different strengths and weaknesses based on product category as well uh something to keep in mind but really at the end of the day what we're going to learn is that it's less about the platform and more about the preparation right? So kickstarter might be an option for you the other one that you're probably super familiar with his indy go go they have some structural differences from kickstarter so kickstarter you on ly get the money if your project is one hundred percent funded or above indiegogo, you can create a campaign where you get funded partially, so even if you don't raise it, you might still get the money so that's one difference and again different product categories, the other thing, and I can't speak a lot of this in detail, but he is actually beta testing their own crowdfunding platform, right? So if you have the kind of product that does well on, etc and you're not trying to raise a ton of money, that could be an option. So truthfully, crowdfunding is not my area of expertise. I've never run a crowdfunding campaign. I've never tried that as a method for my business, so what I want to do now is invite up a really fantastic guest. So bridge of lions is a p r genius who has working clients on their kickstarter campaigns. She also has some fantastic pr classes here in creative live if you're not familiar with them, you should check them out, but I want to bring her on now to really talk about what goes into a successful kickstarter campaign. So bridget come on up here, and since this is your area of expertise and not mine, I'm gonna let you take that I'm gonna take a break, you guys in a few minutes, works out nicely, doesn't it? Well, thank you so much for having me here today it talks to you about crown funding like megan said, I've worked with clients consulting on their kickstarter campaigns and also helping doing press work and prep work around them. We've also done some work my agency around putting out some resource is of what do you want to do before for you crowdfund so and that's one of the things that I really want to reiterate that megan talked about is that the preparation is so important, so we'll get into that in a little bit and we'll talk about kickstarter quite specifically, but first, I just want to share some ideas with you about what crowdfunding can actually do for your business. Why would you want to do it? So one of the best things that crowdfunding khun dio is take an existing community you have and give something to rally around, give them something to get really excited around to build up a lot of support maybe have a product you want to bring to market, but you need the resource is to do so can be great to go to your community if you have a long production time and get those resource is ahead of time and you know you have your support when you're launching the product on market the other great thing that crowd funniest group for is of course creating seed money right? I mean, that's, why most of us are doing it and that's what we're talking about here, it's, how do you bring your project out there? And so crowdfunding is really excellent forgetting seed money for these projects you have, but there are some drawbacks to this kind of model that will be talking about as well. So I wouldn't say that, you know, crowdfunding is the end all or be all for finding seed money for your project and in fact, there's some projects it doesn't work as well, for and then the last thing is that I think people don't necessarily think about this much, but you can really get great insight into what your customers are most hungry for, right? One of things that is so important is to make sure that your product to market fit well, what's a really fast way of knowing whether eva product market fit. If people are going to give you money for your product or for your idea or for your business and using a crowdfunding platform to raise that seed money, you can find out very quickly if is that product to sell our people going to be really interested in it, or maybe they're not as interested in it, you know, there is an element to crowdfunding where you can fail fast, and that can feel really scary and vulnerable in public, but it can be also a get for your business, because you can say like, oh, well, this didn't work out, why didn't it work out? Why didn't catch on? How can I tweak it or maneuver it where I think some of us have been in the position where we've been running businesses for a year for two years and you don't really know if you're getting traction or if you're going to get traction, this could be a way to find out that answer that yes or no very quickly so you can really put your resource is behind some things that's going to succeed, so I kind of jumped in, but I want to know here in our studio, is anybody considering crowd funding right now, okay? And what about anybody who was crowdfunded before? I think we have one here, so have a great mix and anybody who's like maybe, but it feels really scary to put myself out there that way. Yeah, andi, I think this last reason is why, right? Because you know that you're either going to get traction. You're going to get the money at the end of the day or you're not. Kickstarter which we'll talk about will actually you know they have a model where if you don't raise all the money you get none of the money andy gogo was a little different I'm actually not sure how the nazi platform works s oh it's a very fast way to get that gut check of is this actually going to be successful? What crowdfunding won't do for you though there's one big thing that most businesses think I'm going to do this for crowdfunding and I've actually heard it from a lot of people have called me up for consulting and I always have to break the bad news crowdfunding cannot create community out of thin air for your business okay, I want to say that again because we've seen amanda palmer we've seen seth golden we've seen eric agrees with the lean startup and they've had these huge successes and we're going to hear about some other success stories but all of those people already had a community and even when you get press, which is my area of expertise, you still want to make sure that you're having that community support early in your kickstarter project. So if you're in an area where you're thinking I don't have any customers yet no one knows about me yet and kickstarter will get me there it's possible but one of the other options megan taught you might be more beneficial it will be actually, probably easier for you to raise money another way if you don't have any sort of community existing and we're going to look at some numbers and a little bit so you actually can figure out how much, how many people what is community meet? I mean, so many things different people, right community could mean enough people to fill your living room. It could be in enough people to fill in auditorium. So what size of community do you need to support your goals? Kickstarter backs us up. So according to kickstarter, most most funding for a campaign actually comes from the founder's personal network. You hear this from a lot of case studies, and this is where it can get really tricky, because when you're doing a crowdfunding campaign, you know, you are asking your friends and family for money right for your creative project or you're asking your customers I mean that's the best case scenario, right? If you have a customer base or people who are stopping you on the street and saying, oh my god, I love your bag, where can I get it? And you say, you know, I'm just making them for myself right now, but here's a card and maybe we can keep in touch and I could let you know we're going in production that's a great time to say, like, I think that there's some fit here, and maybe those people would be interested in following up and helping me bring this to market. So the next thing I wanna talk to you is what you need to do before you launch, because what will make or break this success of a crowdfunding campaign for you is actually the preparation that you put into it before you even decide to launch it. It's, you know, kickstarter has thirty days, which time you're able to raise the money, different platforms have a little bit of variety on that, but it's generally pretty consistent and it's a lot about the success of your campaign is how much prep work you put into it and that's business, right, it's, like the prep you put in, you get back tenfold. So there's four areas where you can really make the biggest impact if you're deciding to do a crowdfunding campaign, the first is absolutely the video, so telling your story a via video is the best way to really make that connection with the person who you want to support your project and it's a great way to tell your story, you know you could do it in under ten minutes, you can show off your product demos are really popular, if you have a product that you can demonstrate or show people wearing or using or in interacting with eso putting the time and the resource is into creating a video which sort of sets kicks or apartment because you actually have to probably put some money in before you're going to get money back. And so when you're looking at what you're funding goals you want to go and say, can I produced this video myself to have the resource is my friends who can help me and my great video or do I have to hire somebody and actually price out how much will that cost me before you set your goals? The second area that's incredibly important is also creating rewards that people want. So ultimately one of those rewards is of course going to be the product that you're bringing out into market, right? You know that's the thing that people want and you want a price that appropriately and you want to get as many sales for that and to support the production as you want but also thinking about hockey new stack, different product rewards are different kinds of rewards above and below that that will also give your audience something that their most hungry for, so for example, I'm going to be talking about jennifer deposit was a client of mine and she had a very unusual product that she was launching because it's a free web series and it's very unusual because usually and kick starter when you're backing something, you're backing something that you would otherwise have to pay for, but she was doing this free web series so people weren't actually getting something delivered to her home, so we had to be incredibly creative and thinking, well, that's not actually a product that people are buying, so what other kinds of experiences might they want? So one of the things we talked about was she was launching a podcast, so we sold sponsorships for her new podcast it was going with the web series, and then of course we did those standard things you always see, like tote bags and limit edition art prints and things like that that kind of built out the brand. So really thinking creatively about your rewards and who is the person who is in that community you're trying to reach and what are they going to be really interested in and excited about? Because that'll make a huge difference. The third thing you want to prepare our email scripts, so putting together email scripts that you consent to your friends, your family, your supporters, your allies saying in advance of your project, my project is coming out on this state, I'd love it if you could support me and having customized asks so some of the people in your community, you might say you know you have a great platform on facebook I just love it if you chair with your facebook community, another person you might say gosh, you know that in the magazine you run is really cool could you potentially highlight my project when it's when it's live and then there's going to be a lot of people that you're just going to send a direct appeal for money? One of the things I like to recommend there is that you actually recommend it's very much what they doing fundraising right? I have a little bit of a nonprofit background to and so in fundraising email somebody and you'll say here's my project and here's what I recommend you donate so for the kickstarter campaign with our clients what we do is say here's our project and here is actually the reward level I think that you specifically will be most interested in it could be anything from a sponsorship right that might go to somebody who is within a company tio we had an opening party so our client sent her friends like, will you buy a ticket to the party, the screening party for this and so thinking about in your network what kind of reward people might be most interested in and actually suggesting that they give it that amount so they can get that reward and again this will want you wantto weigh beforehand so these emails can take some time to write and you can kind of bucket and temple it them out but you want to start on this stuff you know, thirty, sixty, ninety days just just the emails and the video maybe even before and then the last thing is the integrated content plan when I work with people on their projects we have done a ton of research into what it is that people are saying like what makes the campaigns most successful and what we found time and time again both in experience and also through research what kickstarter says is it it's those direct appeals but one thing that can be really helpful is to have an email list of people who are interested in your product or in your service before you launch it so you could be communicating with them beforehand and then also pushing that content out through social media. So for our video project we actually did animated gifs which was like really fun and cute right? Like who doesn't want to animated gift these days? S o thinking about whether some multimedia ways you can use to tell your story which is really useful because you already have a video so how can you slice and dice your video and you probably have product shots in product descriptions and all kinds of fun assets? So how can you push those out in his many platforms as possible as many possible so is this a little more work? Maybe then most people think of when they think of crowdfunding there's so much and then to do the video on top of it it's a lot yeah what are the other components you're thinking about when you're saying there's so much oh in that is faras deciding on the products what away think people are gonna want what colors because you you know what kind of you have to list them out one by one price ranges and then the variations that was a big deal and then definitely the ask like I wanted I had a a bunch of different groups a big email list but I also had my facebook friends and my family so they were all different asks they were all different emails they were all different kind of project's been away for the same kickstarter so it just felt like a lot of pieces when I thought it was going to be like you know post and then I could add pictures I don't have to do video isn't true you needed good video you do it in fact so I'm a writer right like my background is in writing and I do pr I do press work and so if I'm saying this to you you know it's not bowl because I will say the video is so much more important than any of the other content you put on the page on it kills me as a writer to say that but really, if you put that effort, the video, the content isn't port, you know, people are going to have questions they're going to want to find more information, but if you're going to say like, I'm overwhelmed with everything, what I focus on it's really that video and the rewards and then your pre marketing plan, you know, and the rest will sort of flow from that once you get that all figured out, it definitely can be a lot. One other thing I've seen that was really creative was shannon I came for her last name did a kickstarter project for something called the versa let and it was this one piece of clothing that you could wear multiple ways for travel hackers and they actually use their kickstarter communications to have people vote on the colors that they were going to a production. So they said we have these five colors were considering will you vote? And actually the people who did their pre orders you could select and then whatever we're top selected, they'd say ok, this one or that one so you can do some creative things in terms of having that community give you feedback and within kicks her specifically you khun due back or updates and so those backer updates are incredibly useful in getting that kind of intelligence because you can actually use that I've seen people do surveys in the middle of their projects to get more feedback, so once you have that audience and they're really passionate, you know, it can be really great have any of you back to project before? Yeah, what do you like seeing what kind of got you drawn in wei was video and like really detailed photos of the reward okay, yeah like making sure that that's clear because there's some that just say we'll give you a total it's like, well, what is the total look where exactly? Yeah, cool, what about your self so unique that there was nothing I could find anywhere else? Okay, yeah, I mean, product market fit you can't you can't beat it now as a peer person, of course I'm gonna tell you press is a huge bonus and kickstarter could be a great time when you're launching a project to actually take advantage of that moment of time. You actually have something very newsworthy and so you can go out there and get a ton of coverage. And so we're going to hear a couple of case studies of people who my client got a bunch of coverage because we're working with her and one later on somebody who just got like, overwhelming and what can be great is there's a lot of places that will actually say here's the current project right here is the latest kickstarter project and so you can do those round ups you can also do nish blog's and website you know, like wired magazine I think has a kickstarter profile, so you really want to look out for what are those opportunities? One thing though is that I consider press a bonus so this press usually some there's exceptions but like let's not plan to be the exception right let's like plan and then hope that we get all this other stuff on top of it but like let's really create a plan so usually press is kind of like the icing on the cake. It can really help you get more momentum. People come to your page and they see there's already a lot of community support, they're going to be more likely to support you on dh. It can also like what you can dio is put it a redirect your l so one thing I really encourage people is press is great for search engine optimization even if you know nothing about search engine optimization it's still good for you to get that length and so you khun dio your your al ford such kickstarter for that on and then when the project's over you can create a new page so you're keeping about traffic down the line so that could be huge for you so is kickstarter right for you a couple of questions I want to go through quickly about funding and how you decide if kickstarter is the right avenue for you to fund your creative project so the first question is how much funding do you need? How much funding do you need to get your project off the ground? Most successfully funded projects raise less than ten thousand dollars that's according to kick start her again and so we hear these success stories of people who have tens of thousands if not more dollars but that's not what is typical and so typically most projects raise listen ten thousand dollars we recently conversation with somebody at kickstarter who said you know if your project is actually more than ten thousand what you can do is actually break it up into several campaigns so are their stages here production process or do you have one campaign for production and then another campaign for cool marketing campaign you might want to dio if you want to race more than ten thousand so you can get really creative about that and then also can create leverage for your community as you're going forward so I actually have a little formula for you on this so you can actually figure out if kicks her is right for you using this formula so the formula is your funding goal so whatever amount you want to raise divided by your average donation um earth yeah, divided by conversion rate. So let me give you the numbers behind us. So kick service says the average donation rate is twenty five dollars. There are some areas where maybe your product costs a little bit more, so it will actually bump it up. So, you know, you want to use this for the great of salt and run your own numbers, but knowing that the average rate is twenty five dollars, and then sales pages tend to convert a three percent, this is kind of interesting, right? And marketing, they say, if you have cold traffic to yourselves, page three percent conversion rate is really great, and one of our clients that we worked with she had, like, four percent on our fixer paige, and I couldn't believe it. I was like it's the same conversion rate, so this might not be sure for everyone, but I thought that was kind of cool. So then your actual formula becomes your funding goals. So however much money you need to get your project the ground divided by twenty five twenty five dollars divided point oh three is the traffic needed to support your goal? You can actually figure out how big, how many people do I need to reach within my own community and doing press and doing social media and all kinds of outreach so let's, run the numbers on this. So how many visitors you think you need to get to your page to raise? Just like ballpark? If I were to say my kicks, your project is twenty five hundred dollars, how many people do you think I know you don't I know it's math in your head? How many people do you think you need to get there roughly that's pretty high just thinking if you're dividing it by point three again, three point three, three thousand visitors so three thousand people to raise twenty, five hundred need to just visit your page between, you know, everybody you know on facebook, everybody know on social media who will click through anyone on your email lists, all your friends and family it's generally what youre looking there again, that's assuming an average donation rate of twenty five dollars, so if you have one hundred fifty dollars, project, this number of visitors will actually go down right? So you can actually insert your own numbers in there and think this is my number one reward and maybe that will shift it up or down um, five thousand no, now we're looking at six almost seven thousand visitors ten thousand now we're looking at thirteen thousand visitors, so it really grows exponentially, according tio how much money you need to race so that can kind of show you that you know it's not a place where you want to go unnecessarily if you don't have any community yet now these don't all have to be your friends of family once you get the ball moving more people will come they'll refer to friends and so is your thinking your marketing plan it's like how can you ask people to say well you sent us to five friends for me and how can you get to that number and be creative about that so we're going to be talking about a couple of successful campaigns um I wanted to share some lessons we actually just finished up a kickstarter project for my client jennifer apostle and like I said hers was a little unusual so she does a web series it's a free web siri's but before we launched with her we done a ton of research on we really found out that hers was pretty close to typical you know she had it close to the three percent conversion rate I think some people might have higher if they have a product we have to buy but we put into place all of the things that I talked about with you so we started two or three months before her project and worked on the video we created individual scripts that she could be sending teo people who might be sponsors people who are friends who could be donating two people I knew, like I sent an email to make it, you know, it's, like you've got to really get out there and get a reason she's a graphic designer, so she was able to create all sorts of assets. One thing that was very unusual, though, about her campaign, is that typically successful campaigns get a big boost of funding in the very beginning. And so if you're asking your family to support you, one thing I suggest is that you say, would you mind if you're going to donate, actually donating in the first two days because that will help me down the line like, don't wait, and one thing that was interesting about jennifer's campaign is that was very steady across the board, you know, the first in the fifth and the fifteenth and the thirtieth day, we're all about the same, but she was raising twenty thousand dollars, and she just edged over that with seventy nine backers, so we just we just got there at the skin of our noses and by the end of it, but it was really that preparation work that happened, and we did find that even though we had a ton of press for her, she was on dna info, which is incredibly popular outlet in new york and cresskill oboes flog who's, another creative live instructor and being boss was just like, really cool podcast like she was like all over the place, but really we found that her network and her social media accounts were the ones who drove the seventy nine backers more than anything, so that just kind of goes to show you that even with an atypical result of getting more than ten thousand dollars, it was that it was still kind of this is more of like that, like we were really working every every day, and it doesn't have to be that way. Sometimes you have a flash success, but I think it's better to plan and have all those assets in place because once the thirty days gets rolling, it is so fast by the time it's over, I know we're going to bring up megan in a second, so I just wanted to pause because and see if anybody had any questions over that different elements that we just went through. What happens if you don't get funded in the net in thirty days? Just all the money goes back to whoever they don't get charged until after the thirty over with kicks are indiegogo has a model where you can actually choose to take some of the funding that comes in so it's like no matter what it is s o that could be a platform that people will use that feel safe there's a little bit of its raw back sometimes to that, though, because people don't feel like it's urgent because they're like, well, you're gonna get the money anyway, where's here you can say, like, I'm at one thousand nineteen thousand nine hundred ninety nine like somebody kicking the last, you know, and somebody will do that but that's a little bit of a different model. I've been planning for your goal let's say your project needed five grand, but you're like, I don't know that I went after doing the math, I really have the community to build five grand would you recommend then going in at a lower dollar amount so that you're more likely teo, get the funding? So if you can break it up, I think that's a great option. I do want to caution against creating a goal that so low that your community won't believe that it's possible to achieve your goal. So, you know, with every project, I think there's extras that we want teo so what's your minimum viable product, right? What's what's the bassline thing and the start of parlance that you can do to get your product to market, so can you scale back so that your goal can actually be a little bit less for your first generation? And then maybe you run another kick start a campaign in six months or a year to get that next verse and ready so that could be a great way to do it um and there's also that tricky thing of theirs a nice graff if you go to kickstarter calm, they have tons of resource is about their projects and if you have a goal that's lower it's more likely like the success rate is higher, but if you're actually not going to bring your product to market, you know it's all this worth work it work it right? So if that could be a hard one to figure out, so if you could scale back your project or if you can think of a way to split it up that's how I would go if you don't think you can support it not for me for saying what my husband is the animator, so they just stop motion animation so I don't know if it is it better toe and like per chapter or but behind like, is it better to break it down like steps that are involved in making what's the finished project like it it's a movie a short, basically a short film but it's and there's okay takes like two years to make the puppets and it takes yeah that's a hard because that's probably a big goal yeah I wonder like he said you could use the puppet so what can they be used for something else in the interim where you could break it up that way like we need a raise to make these puppet so we're going to dio yeah, something with them I'm so you're having an outcome, you know? The thing is I know I've been very like realists yeah, I'm kind of a realist, but like the's projects do get fun and like our client for like basically a nonprofit kind of project like raised twenty thousand dollars, so it does happen what he might also want to think about doing is, you know, what can he be doing in his local community or online or in person or whatever or going to different events to gain that community support someone he launches? He knows it's there, so can you spend a year recruiting people right to get involved? Another thing? Sometimes people do right it still recruit like celebrities or internet celebrities and then they can share with their audience. So like jennifer, all of her business is she's profiling they have a colt following, but they're not really knowing online we'll kick starters and online platforms that was a little bit of a challenge, but there's other people who got recruit people who are kind of internet famous or re alight famous and then they they draw on their community as well, so I would really concentrate not so much of the project like that on lowering the goal, but on recruiting community first, yeah, the other questions. Okay, well, I think we're gonna bring meghan back up toe look at another successful campaign. Awesome. Thank you so much, bridget and obviously, you're not going anywhere. That was amazing. And I have to say, you know, when you asked our in studio audience, you know, had they back to campaign and the reason why something emilie popped into my head because I just back to campaign thing within the last couple of days and the reason why was because it was a woman I had met at a conference and at a conference she told me about this project she was working on, I was like, oh, that's, so cool. And then so I had actually been following her on instagram, and I saw the kickstarter that had come up, but she also direct messaged me on instagram, and she said, I remember it all, you were super excited about this project, I would love it if you'd be interested in donating. So that point, I already looked at the kickstarter page once, but I hadn't done it so the sushi that I was like, alright, here's, my donation if that's done, I'm in, but it all started because I met her at a conference. It was someone that I had felt I had that personal relationship with, so that is so awesome, and I just say to she followed up with you yet so as a publicist, my biggest pet peeve are one, people sent out a request in an email and never follow up because how many times has somebody followed up with you? And you're like, oh, I meant to do that and I feel so guilty, I haven't and you immediate like you wanted, teo, but you've got distracted and so assumed that the people you're reaching out to you, I really want to help you because we all want to help each other. That is why crowdfunding is working, right? That's, why people crowd fund is because it's our human nature, we want each other, the six secede we want to see these products come out there, and so I just assumed that everyone here reaching out to is going to be just as excited to back it as you are to bring it to life. Yeah, absolutely. All right, so we want to take a look at one more case study on dh this is shannon girl from caravan pacific who creates these gorgeous mid century modern lamps when she did her kickstarter campaign, their goal was eight thousand dollars, and they actually raised fifty thousand dollars, which is incredible, right or over fifty thousand dollars. So shannon is going to be joining us by skype, so let's, go ahead and bring her up via skype. I'm making a hyper hi, shannon. Thank you so much for joining us. So, you know, I basically intrude intros you by saying you have these gorgeous mid century lamps and that's pretty much all I can do is gush about your product. Eso how you give us a little bit about your background and how you that started. So I was working in new york as a television editor, and I was just kind of having creative block, and I felt like I needed to make something with my hands. So I took on this project, which was making the perfect mid century lamp for my own home, and through that I learned how to do a bunch of different things slip, cast, turn woods, wire things electrically, and I started building a little bit of the business. And so when I was building the my first laugh, I was kind of taking photos and telling people about this journey that I was on to make something, and they got really interested in that, too, and slowly over that year I thought, wow, you know this could be a whole business, you know? And I wanted to come share this with other people and so that's how I got started creating my first kickstarter campaign so what was it about kickstarter that made you realize that was kind of the best way to get your product out into the marketplace first? Oh well, I had some friends that we're using it for giving money to go on tour for their bands and it took a look at the website through that and I thought, wow, there's so many great projects so many great just things going on here it's a perfect way to launch a product and test the market out see if people really like your products and want to be a part of what you're doing and s o I thought through that that's kind of when the idea for sparked for me and I thought, well, this would be a great place for me to introduce my product and one of the themes that we're talking about here in this lesson is this idea that kickstarter is not a magic bullet, right? It takes a lot of work I mean bridget saw that her client it's something we've seen over and over again so can you tell us about the work that you put in even before your campaign actually started? Because I know there was a lot oh gosh yes there's no hiding it you you have to do your homework on my homework I mean doing your market research creating a business plan basically going out and seeing where it's going to fit media wise the people that you can approach to give you pressed about your campaign it takes a lot of work I think a lot of people they actually reserve that space of time that the running their kickstarter campaign and just devote their entire time and energy to that so yeah it's definitely it's a big chunk of time but it's worth it if you really give it your all and you really put your whole heart into it and one of the other things that bridget pointed out for us is that there's often a lot of upfront costs that come with running a kickstarter campaign that people don't even think about. So what were some of those for you? I had a budget and by the time I was ready for my kickstarter campaign I had kind of meager amount to spend my kickstarter campaign but that was okay I had some skills that really helped me I had all my video knowledge from from years before so I was able teo basically composed my campaign put the music teo you know like create a good you know kind of documentation of what I was doing and you know, for that entire year I was documentary my project and my products so I had a lot of footage I had a lot of kind of a wealth of things to you know, choose from and create that from on dh with with your video if you don't have those video skills or you don't want to take that on I really I highly suggest having someone help you with that who has that knowledge because it's such a huge calling card for your entire project it will end upon blog's it will you know times of people will see it you really want that to be polished and look best it can it doesn't have to be anything flashy with sound effects or you know, crazy music going on you just simply need to tell your story in, you know about two to three minutes keep it short and sweet and just really, you know, entice people, let them know how that could be part of it. Now I know you spent a lot of time researching kind of what the drivers were for pledges and what's bringing that and so you ask shannon a couple questions around that idea of really if what drove traffic to her it was consistent for what you guys saw with jenny's campaign yeah it's it's so curious because when we did our research, you know we found some city six that said the the most funding comes from within the project creator's own network and so I'm really curious if that was the same for you especially given all the press you had what kind of got that momentum going started and like what was it that fed it yeah so I started with a very meager amounts of people interested can vein I think we had maybe around seven, seventy people that I had kind of been showing my work to throughout this year that was building things and within that list there are some really key people there were some business leaders there were some people that had connections different bulog's different places in the media so that really made a difference when I started my campaign the first contributors for my friends and family people that have been waiting for this product for about a year on then after that we got picked up by blogged and we got our first boost and I think that was like day two or three we got picked up by this really great design blogged and that propelled us towards our goal of a thousand dollars on dh then throughout the campaign we caps giving these little bumps from places in the media different blobs that would pick us up and it kind of snowballed had this like effect of generating a lot more interest in our campaign and the last boost which is the biggest one came from kickstarter itself and we ended up on their email campaign or their email that goes out to, you know, tens of people around the world and we just got worldwide interest in our product and that's I think we went up around thirty k when we went out on their e mail and it was really significant, really huge and that first initial boost of press that you got was that someone that you had reached out to you was that part of your marketing plan it was actually through ah friend of mine that I met this blogger and it was just very serendipitous to say I felt like I was in the right place at the right time, but, you know, kind of backtracking a little bit from that if I hadn't done all that preparation, if I hadn't, like, hired a photographer to get some really great photos of our product by hadn't put that time in energy, and I don't think I would have been in that place at that time, so some of it may be you serendipity, but I think pretty much ninety nine percent of it is really hard work knowing your market in knowing your product, right? You had definitely done your prep work beforehand for sure we were ready wear ready when that person was interested in one of the other things that we were talking about is conversion percentage so did you ask about that as well? S so one thing that we found it was so so strange to me, is that they say that sales conversions are often three percent of, like, traffic tear sales page will buy and that's outside of crowdfunding, and the client I was just working with, we we're a little bit above that, but it was so true, and I couldn't believe it. And so I'm wondering if you've ever seen, like, you know, what percentage of people who landed on your kickstarter page actually ended the backing, and if that was higher? Yes, I think google analytics has some great info on that. If you hook it up to your kickstarter site, it'll give you those conversion rates. I think for us, it's definitely was higher. I can't really speak to the exact amount, but definitely because blog's, we're highlighting us and linking directly to wreck kickstarter page that really made the conversion rate pretty pretty amazing one for us, you know, basically, people were coming to our site, they wanted to buy our product, and they were there to do just that, like I was having before it was it wasn't actually a product, it was a free web series, and so it was like people weren't buying anything, which is pretty tricky and so when you have that product that's being featured that like everybody can see and say I want to put that in my home where I wanna wear that on my body I think you do see those numbers or higher, right? Yeah when there's an actual product a physical thing that someone's being given yeah there sure yes. And yours is really interesting too because your average donation level was much higher than I think a lot of campaigns right just based on the selling price of your lamps what do you know what your average donation level was? I think I tried to run the math and I came up with something around. Now something in the two hundred is that accurate do you think I think it was the price of one lamp which was two hundred seventy five that's with fifty so yeah, people were just e think they recognize what a great deal it wass and the fact that was handcrafted so yeah, that that is pretty much your wholesale price now, right? You're that's a steal what people were able to get them for during the campaign sure way. So did you have a production strategy in place before you started and then obviously you sold way more than your initial funding ask so were you equipped for that many sales? How did you handle that that's a really great question and it was something that I I was slightly prepared for before I went into our kickstarter campaign but not fully prepared for and now looking back on it there's definitely something that I could have done better I did before we did are launched our campaign I sat down with all my vendors, all the people that we're helping me create these products and we had a chat on lead times and on production floor flo how things were going to get from us to the customer and so had my packaging worked out I had a shipping system either production management system, assembly system all that was in place so that after kickstarter we could create you know, keep continuing to create this product kick start it was the launch pad, if you will it wasn't the end point, so so basically, yeah, you know, you kind of need t get your ducks in a row that being said in the middle of making started campaign when we realize we're not going to sell just double but triple maybe even quadruple what we had hoped for, I I had a little bit of a freak out I'll be honest, I freaked out a little bit and then I sat down with my team and we were able to outline exactly how much we could do over a period of time and I think that's the beauty of these crowdfunding sites you don't have to go beyond that level if you don't want to, you don't have to over fund, but if you do, you know, you just opened up new categories at times that you're comfortable fulfilling those orders and you can continue to over find awesome. And then you had mentioned this idea when when we chatted before that, you know, it's, not really free money, right? When you raise that fifty thousand dollars or whatever was you didn't actually end up with all fifty thousand dollars, right? So can you talk about that? And then also how quickly you get it? I think that's another thing people don't realize yes, yeah, so kickstart takes a five percent fee of what you make on their sites and then there's an additional three percent processing fee. On top of that, I think if you do over funds over a certain amount, then you're also privy to certain taxes and other conditions, but you know you you want to check out kick started a website or the crowdfunding website that you're using and the with kickstarter, the funds usually take about two to three weeks to get to your bank account, so it's not like readily accessible you need to be patient, you need to wait for those funds and you and you have to plan, then write if you you need those funds to start production you have to build that into your schedule to begin with right to know that it's going to be another two to three weeks after it ends before you have that money to start production. Oh, definitely that's a great thing to notice is a great thing to like yeah, teo budget for to think about yeah, you can't promise, you know, you can't promise a delivery date that three weeks after if you after buy materials with that money first, so yeah, definitely definitely you want to be very aware of that? Do you've any other questions while we've got shared in here? Yeah, what about after the campaign with the community that you had so I'm curious to know what you did, teo, they're all in the kickstarter platform, right? And following it excited. So did you do anything to kind of make sure that you were keeping in touch with them after that initial sale was made? Oh, yes, yeah, definitely. Andi even now we still reach out tio kickstarter backers and we see them it shows they come up, they introduced themselves, they've been repeat customers with the campaign basically, you can have, you know, updates after your campaign and you definitely want to stay in touch with people, let them know what's going on when there items are arriving if you've released anything new, new products, it's just such a great way to continue this relationship that you've built with people. It's, it's a really unique one. Yeah. I love what you said about it being the start and not the ending. You know, once your project is funded that's the beginning. Um, and I think that shows, you know, when you're following up with the communication tio, right? Yeah. Used it as a springboard for where you want to go. You know, like before your campaign. Just figure out how far you want to go with this product to your business. It's it's. A really great way to start it. And I love I think you told me to that, you know, not only had you planned the kickstarter campaign, but you knew what the next product launch was going to be right after the kick starters thatyou could really take advantage of that audience, which is offthe um, yeah, yeah, that was it was wonderful. And we had cem cem people that bought both plants and still continue to buy lamps, eh? So we're very lucky that day. Actually. Fantastic. Give another question. Fantastic. Well, shannon, thank you so much for joining us. I think we are all super inspired by your story, but also recognize how much work you put in to make that a success, which is super awesome. So thank you for joining us. All right, so that was awesome. Guys, what did you think of listening from shannon? Success story inspired a little scared. Awesome. So I want to go ahead and thanks, bridget for joining us. I think we learned so much from richard. We learned so much from shannon. I know this is an area that not something I've done, so I learned a ton, right? I feel like I could go to a cut funding campaign now with all that work and planning right now, I'm not gonna go do one, right, so I know you've put together a resource. I think first that we can go to your site and download a program that I did. So my website is be the letter b think forward dot com. And if you go to be think for dot com for such craft fun. Actually put together a free checklist. Pdf that you can download and actually go through if you're going to be doing a crowdfunding campaign of all those things that you want to get ready in place, especially iran marketing before you launch your campaign s o that you're really able to engage the community and make sure you have all those pieces you could feel really confident and engaged. I think we just really heard that right? Like how great it can be to set aside the that time and spend time engaging with people and reacting to opportunities that will come your way. So how can you prepare to succeed really and your campaign that's awesome! That is an amazing resource. So thank you for putting that together for us. So where else can we find you both on creative, live and off? Yes, so I have a creative life program called simple pr for creative, and it is a program on how is it that you can go about getting publicity for the work that you do in building your plan form? I also have two shorter classes. One is pr for your personal brand, which is if you are like an expert or a thought leader, how do you actually build up that body of work and get your ideas on the media and then the other one which I think more people are going to be interested in this odd answers his pr for your product so how do you get publicity? Holiday gift guide product roundup product features we did a program here a creative live on that and then of course you can find me on the website and I'm also at bridget lions just about everywhere twitter instagram those are my favorite yeah and I highly recommend everything that bridget does she actually helped me get one of my products into el decor which was a huge goal of mine so yeah so thank you so much for joining us for it. I think we all learned a lot think thank you. Okay, so now that we have just heard from all of our amazing experts what do you guys think is crowdfunding right for you so again just reiterating kind of what bridget talked about, right? How much money do you need? Right? Is it something that feels like that manageable number on kickstarter based on your audience how quickly do you need the money? Right? We learned from shannon that she knows you spent a lot of time working. Then you have your thirty day campaign then it's another two to three weeks right till it shows up in your bank account so it might be that if you want to get something off the ground you may need some cash quicker, right and then do you have the time to invest in the campaign right? Can you invest that time? Can you invest the prep work time right? And then do you have the resource is to create a compelling campaign? Do you have the skills to do the video or do you have someone you're network that could do the video for you right? Do you have those great product shots? No, shannon talks about how important that was her lamps are stunning and gorgeous, but so is her product photography and so was the quality of her video, right? So do you have the resource is to really make it visually compelling hook people in right from the beginning, right? And then do you have a large enough network to support your campaign like bridget talked about? And if you don't, do you have a plan to target people that will get you to that large enough network? I'm just curious or any of you guys now like you are some of you are on the fence or any of you like yeah it's right for me or are you guys thinking maybe a little need a little more time to think about it? I think it might be a great opportunity to just test the market for the products, especially in menswear and get to the trade show yeah, so if it's right? Yeah I think that's a good good strategy, right as you just said it gives you the opportunity to fail fast, right? Get in there, try him and see what happens anyone else? Well, I definitely know it's not right for me because I just started a company so I don't have the audience right and that's a really valuable thing to noah's well, that maybe it's not the right platform for you yet, but it's always something you can keep in mind for later, you know? Like shannon said she spent a year developing her product before the kickstarter came campaign happened and she was paying attention to kickstarter that whole time so it might not be right for you right now, but it could be an option for you later. All right, so in the next lesson we're going to learn howto analyze business opportunities so that you can make smarter choices for your business. So whether that opportunity is a trade show or even kickstarter itself will learn how to figure out if it's right for you but first let's look at your homework for today I want you to determine if you are ready to crowd fund and if you are how much money you would need for my campaign if you think it's the right fit for you, what do you ask for? And then I want you to decide what crowdfunding platform is the best for you, and spend time their research. See what's getting funded, see what's not getting funded. We look at the videos, look at the image quality, figure out what's, working there, and then your extra credit for today is that I want you to tweet at bridget lions with one key takeaway you got from today's lesson. And, of course, don't forget to use our hashtag make live cell, and I will see you guys in the next lesson.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Class Workbook
Private Facebook Group Invite
MAL in Detail - Numbers Template
Editable Bootcamp Workbook in Pages Format
Editable Bootcamp Workbook in Doc Format
Cost Plus Pricing Elements Bonus Video
How to Talk About Your Products Bonus Video
Trade Show Traffic Flow Bonus Video
Visual Branding Basics Bonus Video
MAL in Detail - Excel Template

Ratings and Reviews

user a03f28

Love the shorter and longer format to this class. It keeps me interested and I don't have to schedule a whole day at once, during the free play. Well worth the money if you pay for the class too. Megan is amazing! She really knows business, marketing and has strategies which apply to all kinds of businesses. The work book is 150 pages long and breaks everything down into small bits and teaches you to really think about all aspects of your business. Where you were, are now and best of all where you want to be and how to get there. Highly recommend any of her classes. Thank you so much Megan and Creative Live for bringing us such wonderful content!


This course was totally awesome!!! I cannot express enough how fantastic Megan Auman is, what a great teacher she is, and am so thankful she offered it for FREE!!! Wow!!! It was exactly where I was at, stuck and frustrated. Exactly what I needed to begin to get my business off the ground. I am currently implementing all I have learned from her. Rebranding my self, rebuilding my website, new product shots, model shots, list building, etc., etc. I am still connected with the Facebook group, and that is awesome we have that connection to continue helping each other out and using each other as a sounding board. I plan on purchasing the course as soon as I can. I HIGHLY, HIGHLY recommend this course to anyone who is struggling to get their business off the ground and going!!!


Thank you Megan for this opportunity. I really liked the first classes. You indicated interesting directions to think about. Even though life verifies the rest it is still worth to become smarter. Great Work! Best regards from Poland. Ewa

Student Work