Ariel Hyatt's best selling book CROWDSTART is now a 3-part masterclass – Cyber PR LAB 9. With leading crowdfunding service PledgeMusic at least temporarily offline, this must-read book excerpt and the course are more important than ever.
While researching for this book, I came across many articles that gave the same advice on crowdfunding preparation that I already knew through my own experience, such as have an existing fanbase, understand your target audience, etc.
What I found to be the most unexplained area was the importance of not doing it alone. According to Indiegogo campaigners who work in teams raise over 3 times as many funds than campaigners that choose to work solo.
I highly discourage you from taking on crowdfunding by yourself. It is a process that can be emotionally draining and quite complicated to manage effectively alone. Even if you are a “lone wolf” solopreneur or an artist who likes to create with no additional input, I strongly urge you to change your mindset when it comes to your campaign.
You will need several types of team members for success. Start by identifying your campaign offering collaborators (if applicable), then you may need a webmaster, graphic designer, and copywriter. Finally, you will need a “personal” team—people who will support you throughout the process—a crowdfunding coach and a board of directors.
Once they are in place, you will start to build your VIP list. These are the first group you’ll reach out to and ask for funding. They will be your “early adopters.” Here’s an in-depth breakdown:
Your Crowdfunding Coach
Earmark someone as your crowdfunding coach who will agree to help you through the duration of the entire 30-day campaign. This person should be someone who is available to you and is good at coaching. Maybe you pay her, maybe you barter, maybe he or she help you for free. I highly suggest that you choose someone whom you respect and is successful at completing projects and taking on challenging things. In my case, I hired a strategist who understood Internet marketing, effective video creation and copywriting. She helped me with everything from naming my campaign to presenting it clearly.
I also suggest that you and your crowdfunding coach read this book together, and let your coach help you put together your full 30-day plan.
You will want to rely on your coach especially at three crucial points in your crowdfunding campaign.
- The first week, where you will aim to get 30% of your goal in.
- The financial halfway mark — you want to shoot for 50% of your money raised in the first third of your campaign.
- The final week, where the challenge is to stay on course so you don’t lose faith and you reach the finish line successfully!
You should not just rely on one person. That is why you should also have a personal board of directors.
Your Personal Board of Directors
This will be made up of people who tell you the truth, help you think things through, and support you. Start by thinking of the one person you can call late in the evening and say, “I have an idea,” and he or she answers, “Go on….”(Note: These “people” may or may not be the person you are married to or a family member). You have to be careful when you select your board, as not everybody is programmed to be supportive. In other words, keep non-believers off your board! When you decide to be bold and take risks, the insecurities and fears of those close to you may be triggered. Work hard to tune them out, and work even harder to surround yourself with positive people.
If you don’t know any positive people, search for videos on YouTube or Podcasts that explore the subjects of support, positivity, and goal achieving, and put yourself on a steady diet of audio and video greatness.
Your VIPs — Your Best Friends, Family, and Most Important Supporters
This is all about remembering to leverage personal relationships with people you know who are willing to fund your project.
Now let’s identify your collaborators — the people who will help with your campaign design.
Your Campaign Offering Collaborators
Crowdfunding campaigns can very quickly become about me, me, me. This is especially true when creating the rewards. After all, this whole experience is about taking your fans, followers, and customers on your journey.
But why not get others involved in delivering a great series of rewards with you?
This was the question I asked myself, as I love collaborating with others and decided there was absolutely no reason not to get others involved. So, I reached out to several allies in my industry and asked them to take part in my campaign by donating their products and services as bonuses for my reward levels.
I, in turn, helped my collaborators to connect with their ideal target audience, and in return, they helped to sweeten my offerings and drive attention to the campaign by promoting it on their social channels — all while providing some killer bonuses!
This strategy created a win-win situation, and I have seen it work in many campaigns. If you know anyone who can throw in bonus materials like e-books, courses, free mini-consultations or teleclasses, sign them up.
In Chapter Four, I discussed the importance of making sure the ability to update your website is in your control. It is important that you be able to update your site as you move through your campaign. If this is not possible, make sure your webmaster will be available to help you throughout the entire 30-day campaign to post frequent updates.
Your Graphic Designer and Copywriter
Getting your message straight and making your offers sound amazing is key. Not everyone is a natural copywriter or designer, so you may want to hire a sales copywriter or a graphic designer to help you craft your message as clearly as possible.
Here are some websites that will help you find wonderful, affordable, and proven designers and copywriters:
For Graphic Designers:
99designs.com or crowdspring.com
Elance.com or Odesk.com
Congratulations! You’ve now built a solid foundation for your Crowdstart campaign. Now it’s time to “get creative” and come up with the story, the look, and the elements that will engage your crowd and make them eager to contribute.