From filmmakers to hardware developers, entrepreneurs are turning to Kickstarter to find financing for business and personal projects that otherwise might never exist.
In the last five years, over 6 million backers have pledged more than a billion dollars in support of 63,375 projects. Kickstarter recently updated its rules to reach even more companies, removing human oversight from the pre-approval process and adding additional supported project categories.
As co-founder of Octa, a company currently leveraging Kickstarter for a second time to drive funding and awareness for our modular line of tablet accessories, I’m aware of the benefits of this platform and the stress it can cause.
From midnight film sessions perfecting your video to early morning backer inquiries, a Kickstarter campaign is non-stop and can drive you a little, well, crazy. Here are tips to stay sane throughout your crowdfunding campaign:
1. Focus on the big picture. When you decided to launch a Kickstarter campaign, you probably had more than one reason. While fundraising is usually the first, there are lots of subordinate goals. Were you looking to raise awareness for your project or company? To validate your product, inspire your team or simply push a deadline?
While running your campaign, it’s important to focus on the big picture, remembering that your project services multiple goals, not all of which can be measured by Kickstarter’s standard metrics.
2. Remember your priorities. It’s tempting to check your Kickstarter tally every couple of minutes. Obsessing, however, pulls you away from the priorities that enable your project or business to succeed.
If you’re tracking your campaign through the Kickstarter app, turn off push notifications on everything except backer questions and comments. Respond to these in a timely fashion, but let your pledge total be a mystery -- at least for a few hours at a time. Otherwise, waiting for those pledges to come in can be as crazy-making as waiting for a new crush to call.
3. Know your limits. When you launch your campaign, you’ll get comments with both ideas and requests. Some will be good ideas, and some will be questions to which you’d like to say “yes.” That doesn’t mean they’re prudent for your project or possible in your current bandwidth.
It’s important to know when you have to say “no,” even if it means disappointing a backer or losing a pledge. Otherwise, you may make promises you can’t keep or delay your project’s delivery by taking on side tasks. Knowing your limits in advance will help you stay responsive and sane while responding to backer inquiries.
4. Be gentle on yourself. There are a lot of factors outside of your control. In Octa’s 2013 campaign, 80 percent of our backers first found our project while browsing Kickstarter’s “discover” pages. At that time, there were only 92 technology projects looking for funding. At the time of writing this, there were 397 live technology projects. The chances of our current TabletTail campaign being organically discovered within the Kickstarter website are much lower.
It’s more important than ever to spread the word about your project, but you can’t force page views or build an audience out of thin air. Launch the best project you can and then congratulate your team, whether it’s a blockbuster or not.
Not every project will get funded through Kickstarter. What every project creator will get, however, is the opportunity to explore their idea in a sandbox community that’s, by nature, a “yes” to possibility.
Mistakes are inevitable. Remember why you launched your project and, whether you’re successful or not, forget about “what if” and get inspired about “what’s next.”