You have an idea, a vision, a dream on the edge of becoming a reality. You’ve done the research, you’ve mapped out your creative plan, and you’ve even shared your idea with friends and family. And the people around you think you’re onto something good!
So, what’s stopping you? What’s holding you back from taking the leap?
If you’re like most people in this stage, the answer is simple: money.
Funding is essential when it comes to making your dreams a reality. You know it’s possible because look around – every great business started somewhere! What did they do to get on their feet?
Today, the answer is often found in crowdfunding.
The Basics of Crowdfunding
Rather than being funded by a handful of large investors, crowdfunding is when you have many, smaller financial supporters. Crowdfunding has grown significantly over the last several years, with online platforms enabling entrepreneurs to reach potential supporters across the globe.
Typically, a crowdfunding campaign has a specified monetary target and end date. It’s a tool used by established businesses, new startups, and genesis entrepreneurs alike.
It has a proven track record, but that doesn’t guarantee success. What’s required to make crowdfunding work for you?
Finding Your Crowd
It’s right there in the name, isn’t it? You need a crowd!
Similar to sales, crowdfunding is in large part a numbers game. The bigger the crowd, the more potential backers you’ll gain. Whether you’re starting with a whole community of supporters, or with just your mom cheering you on (shout out to moms!), you’ll want to do everything possible to reach more people with your idea.
Luckily, social media and the internet offer invaluable tools for getting the word out. Keep in mind - you’re not looking for just anyone, you’re looking for an audience that shares your passion.
Are you developing a new type of fishing pole? Set your sites on outdoorsy fanatics and fishing enthusiasts. Consistently create content that draws those viewers in, and then point them to your crowdfunding campaign.
And of course, don’t underestimate the power of word-of-mouth!
No need to be that guy who always brings up “the fishing pole they’re designing,” but certainly don’t shy away from it. This is your passion, let it shine.
In brief, there are no shortcuts to finding and growing your crowd. It takes a willingness to put yourself out there consistently and demonstrate your passion. But if you do this, you will find your people.
Once you find them, you’ll want to keep them.
Keeping Your Crowd
Imagine you donate to a Kickstarter campaign for building a new school in an impoverished neighborhood. You’re passionate about education and were thrilled to support the cause. But as the weeks go by, it’s crickets from the campaign.
No communication, no photos, no progress updates, nada! How likely are you to recommend the campaign to a friend or donate again? … not very.
To keep your crowd, do the opposite: communicate regularly. Continue creating content and distributing marketing material. Use social media posts and email marketing to keep your backers in the loop.
The goal? To show them that their contribution is making a difference.
This makes a person feel good about themself! With every update, thank-you post, or progress picture, you’re assuring your audience that they made the right decision.
If by now you plan on crowdfunding to kickstart your idea, you have some prep work to do.
First, you'll want to decide on a crowdfunding platform. There are many great platforms on the market, but Kickstarter is one of the most popular for its easy UI and trustworthy brand recognition.
Regardless of which service you choose, make sure to thoroughly read the conditions before committing to know exactly what to expect with fees, processes, etc.
When you’ve selected your platform, you’ll want to design a strategic marketing plan leading up to the launch, and extending through the deadline.
The more heads-up you give supporters to your crowdfunding launch date, the more success you’ll have from day 1.
Finally, stay motivated. Crowdfunding is by no means a quick ticket to success. It requires work, diligence, and determination. Remember why you’re doing it in the first place. Tap into the passion that got you here, and keep moving until you pass the finish line!
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