A lot of people have been asking me about Kickstarter for their projects... so I thought I would get my thoughts down in blog form so I am not repeating myself. I should say this is just my experience, this is by no means how you should run a kickstarter and it's not a guaranteed win. This blog I'm going to talk about things you'll need to think about before you start a Kickstarter campaign, the next one I'll talk about the actual running of the campaign.
Before You StartFirst off you need to decide if Kickstarter is for you... read the gubbins on their site, at the bottom in the creator section here:
The Creator Handbook and FAQS will answer most of your questions... and those they don't there are a million blog posts out there which will.
I feel like I had Kickstarter coming out of my ears after all the research I did! Mostly I would say research, research,research because about 50% of Kickstarters fail... what I did was look up the projects similar to mine (there were 8) half succeeded and half failed and I analysed what I thought the successes did right and what the failures did wrong.
It's also worth backing a couple of projects if you never have before just to get a feel for how the site works and so you can talk potential backers thru the process if they struggle.
Ask yourself what you want to get out of Kickstarter. Do you want to get rich and move to a hot country and drink cocktails on the beach? Well you need a millionaire boyfriend not a Kickstarter! Do you want to produce a new range of products? Fund a new studio? Get a book printed? That's more reasonable... you can't just shout "FUND MY DREAM" and expect people to be queuing up to give you cash (hey it might happen if you have a 100 or so people who love you deeply and want to fund your dream but that's the exception, not the rule)
You need to give people something in return... something they will want, it doesn't need to be a psychical object, it can be a download (music, video, ebooks, PDFs) or an experience (a VIP invite to your gallery opening, a class in your new studio, a plaque on the wall of your new amazing what ever that you built with their name on it)
I would say do a small project first to test the waters and see if you have an audience out there who will back you but mine got a bit out of control and ceased to be small after the first 48 hours... I was lucky! If I had been smarter I would have done something even smaller to test the process, I made a lot of mistakes which cost me but I came out on top in the end and I learned a lot from the experience which I can apply to my next project.
Getting down to the nitty gritty... The Money BitSo you've decided it's for you, let's get serious... a lot of people have looked at what I made on kickstarter and said "wow you've made 3 grand!" well yep... I have but this included postage (about £600 of postage if your asking) packaging, producing the tea towels, prints, mugs and stickers. I didn't come out of this with a lot of profit... but I do have a new product line and the stock which will turn in to profit over the coming months...which was the point.
Do your costing first, then do them again then get a pal to check them... I screwed up on postage on somethings (kickstarter includes postage in your target which I didn't realise) but it evened out in the end. Include about 15% for kickstarter and credit charge fees and backers who drop out at the last minute (it happens, don't worry too much about it... if you work it into your budget it's not the end of the world).
Even consider doing your costing by working out a unit price for every single item and adding them up... and don't forget to add tax on... chances are most or all of your funds will be used to produce your project (if you're reading this you are probaly doing a crafty project right?) but if you do have profit then it will be counted as income and taxed (oh yay government!)
So what's the minimum you need to make to fund the thing you want to do, add 15% then add 20% for tax then add a safety net for any unseen/missed expenses... an oh yeah... profit! You may want to make some of that at some point weather it's future profit in the form of stock or actual profit at the end of your Kickstarter... this is work people! You want to get paid!
(This is getting a bit long so I will do a separate blog about creating your project)
Building the Buzz
The best bit of advice I got is that Kickstarter is all about your mailing list/facebook fans/social media contacts/fans/friends/ family... these are the people who will get you to your initial target and help spread the word so don't be bashful about contacting them and asking them to share you project/back you.
If you don't have an audience already (look at your facebook, twitter, instagram etc do you have a lot of screaming fans or is it just your mum and your Auntie Ethel) the you need to start building it. Do you have a mailing list for your business? Have you repeat customers you can contact who might be interested.
Start a press list of blogs you want to contact, paper press, local news etc... you might want to contact these people before you go live as they are busy people... lots of blogs have a schedule worked out in advance so you may need to contact them early.
If you can build a bit of a buzz before you even launch reaching your target will be made easier as you may even have people waiting for your project to go live... wouldn't that be awesome?
You can read my Kickstarter story on my website here:
Or check out the original campaign page here:
Next week I'll fit in a blog about writing and planing your campaign. Watch this space!