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6 Crowdfunding Tips To Get Your Project 100 Percent Funded

6 Crowdfunding Tips To Get Your Project 100 Percent Funded

What do you do if you have a great idea, but you don’t have the ability to get face time with important investors? One of your options is to start a crowdfunding campaign. In fact, many new ventures have gotten their start thanks to crowdfunding. Unfortunately for every business or project that’s successfully used crowdfunding to get up and running, many more have failed. That doesn’t have to be the case for your project. Check out these six savvy crowdfunding tips to ensure that your project gets massive community and financial support.

1. Validate Your Product Idea.

First things first, before you start hitting others up for money you’ll need to validate your idea. You can start this process by simply sharing your idea with others and getting feedback. Just be careful about who you approach. You don’t want the advice of the perpetually negative, but you also don’t want to seek out the opinions of those who are just going to tell you that you are brilliant.

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Find people that you know will be honest and who will play the devil’s advocate. You may want to consider a patent search to find out if someone else has already invented your idea. You could reach out to a professional organization such as InventHelp. This is a very tough part of this process because it is quite possible that you are going to find out that an idea that you’ve fallen in love with already exists. Of course if you have to deal with failure, it is much easier at this phase than later on.

2. Scope Your Competition And Similar Campaigns.

If your product idea passes muster, your next step is to scope your competition and to see how similar campaigns are performing on crowdfunding platforms. If you go to market, who will you be up against? This requires some leg work. Go to Amazon and see if there are similar products already on the market. Can you disrupt them by offering up something that is better or less expensive? Are there companies in your niche who could potentially come to market and disrupt you? These aren’t necessarily deal breakers, but you do need to be prepared to prove that your product can stand up to stiff competition.

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Next, take a look at other projects on the crowdfunding platforms you are exploring. If they are full of other products and services that are similar to yours, that could spell trouble. Even if you are the only one offering up your specific product, it is going to be tough to get attention or investment dollars if there are lots of similar products in your niche. For example, if you have a sports-related startup that you are trying to launch and there are dozens of other sports-related campaigns on a crowdfunding platform, folks might just scroll right past yours.

3. Consider Alternative And Less Crowded Platforms.

If you are worried about getting lost in a sea of other projects, you might look into alternative platforms or platforms that are niche specific. For example, if you have an idea for a new invention or if you have created a working prototype of an invention, you might look into Fund an Idea which is a crowdfunding platform specifically for inventors. There are also specific campaigns for open-source software projects, funding your college education, environmentally friendly startups, social justice causes, entertainment industry projects, and funding that focuses on members on the LGBT community.

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Another option that you have is to start a self-hosted campaign. In this case, you would create a website for your project and find ways to draw in traffic and convert visitors into investors. It’s a risky bet to take, but it would mean that you will not be going up against hundreds of other projects vying for attention.

4. Invest in Creating Attractive Visuals And a Unique Storyline.

Think of the crowdfunding ideas that you have seen go viral. Most of them had two things in common. They told a compelling story and they used attractive visuals to get that story across. If you have money to spend, this is where most of it should go. First and foremost, what is your story? How did you come up with your idea? Who has you helped so far? What are your dreams and goals? Finally, who are you trying to reach out to with your crowdfunding campaign, and what will appeal to them? You might consider pulling at their heartstrings or making them laugh.

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Once you know the story you need to tell, you have to decide how to get that story across. Video is always a good option as are presentations or infographics. A combination of visual elements might be the best choice. Whatever you choose, don’t skimp. Production values are extremely important. If you aren’t up to the task, you might need to bring in a professional. If you can’t afford a professional, choose a visual medium that you are capable of working with. Remember that a nicely done powerpoint presentation is going to work better for you than a mediocre video.

5. Work on Your Social Media Presence or Find Ambassadors.

Creating a presence on a crowdfunding site alone isn’t going to get your project funded. You have to have a full blown social media presence and a website for your project. This is where you will direct people from your crowdfunding page who want to engage with you and learn more about what you are planning to do with investments. You’ll want to keep people excited about your project by posting updates, sharing images, and even promoting your followers’ own projects and content.

Once you have a following, you’ll want to identify the people who you believe will act as your ambassadors. Reach out to them. Offer them incentives for not only investing their money into your campaign, but for helping to spread your message to others. You can do this by offering up a cut of future revenues, giving away freebies, or simply by forming a mutually beneficial relationship with them in some way. If you’ve got samples of your product available, these can make attractive gifts for potential spokespersons.

6. Be Strategic With Your Press Outreach

You should be promoting your campaign on your social media pages and getting your friends and family to do the same. However, that isn’t going to get you the traffic that you really need to get launched. You’re going to have to reach out to the media. This begins with creating a press kit. Your press kit should be easily accessible on your website. It should contain all of the information that members of the press might need to know if they choose to do a story on your campaign. Of course, your initial outreach won’t necessarily be to media outlets per say. Your press kit will be useful to anybody who wants to talk about your project. To get started, you might consider reaching out to bloggers in your niche and then building up to speaking to people in the media.

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Last Updated on April 17, 2019

10 Essential Soft Skills That Will Help Advance Your Career

10 Essential Soft Skills That Will Help Advance Your Career

What’s the secret of professional success? Some of it lies in the mastery of your discipline and all the technical skills you have to carry out your job; but a much bigger part lies in the soft skills list you possess.

Soft skills are your people or relationship skills—how well you get along with others and your ability to communicate and collaborate—as well as the personal characteristics you bring to the job, such as optimism, a can-do attitude and the motivation to work hard. These skills are not always easy to point out, but their absence can cause serious problems and negatively affect the whole work atmosphere.

They say that hard skills will help you get the job, but soft skills will help you get along—and get ahead. With that in mind, here’s the top-10 essential soft skills list to help you advance your career.

1. Communication Skills

Communication skills are hands-down the most sought-after soft skill that bosses want, and this one ability covers a lot of ground.

To communicate well, you have to listen carefully, interpret the context of the conversation, express yourself clearly, persuade others of your point of view, check your body language and use an engaging presentation style that won’t intimidate or bore your audience. That’s a big ask!

Your personality traits can influence the way you communicate with others. For instance, some people get straight to the point and center their arguments around facts and logic; others are cooperative and sensitive to how others feel. Both these approaches are equally valuable but there can be misunderstandings if you don’t understand where the other person is coming from.

Taking a comprehensive personality test can help you understand why you communicate the way you do and where your blind spots are. It can also help you understand other communication styles is so you can tailor your communication to the person you’re dealing with.

After all, connecting with your conversation partner is the hallmark of good communication.

2. Flexibility

Change is an essential part of any business. Companies need employees who are flexible enough to work with new initiatives, open to new ideas, and generally are able to tough it out when things don’t go as planned.

Research has found a link between job performance and flexibility over the long term because there will be times when you have to step outside your routine and rise to fresh challenges that didn’t exist before.

Being flexible doesn’t mean you have to hop into a new task or job role like an expert. Rather, it’s about showing you’re willing to accept new responsibility and learn different things.

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Bosses look for people who are prepared to step outside their comfort zones and are open to alternative solutions when their first idea doesn’t work.

3. Being a Team Player

Working on a team can be challenging but learning to do it well can definitely help you get ahead in your career. Employers look for people who can negotiate, cooperate and manage conflicts with other people to achieve a common goal. That includes the ability to build lasting relationships with customers and clients.

What makes a good team player? Essentially, it’s someone who knows the goal and knows her role. Employers look for evidence that you know your strengths, your responsibilities and how you can best contribute to the team, then put those skills into action by sharing ideas and communicating in a respectful manner. That’s the definition of being a good team player.

This is another area where taking a personality test can help you get ahead. When teams work together, each member brings a unique set of skills and qualities to the group. Research has shown that different combinations of personalities affect how teams collaborate and how productive they are.

Knowing who you are, and how you work on a team, can drive new insights and open the door to better teamwork.

4. Positive Mental Attitude

There are plenty of things you can’t change at work, like the people you work with or the fact that the printer is broken again. The one thing you can change is how much you let these things bother you.

Bosses like people who are calm, rational and upbeat—those who diffuse tensions in the workplace, not get all grouchy and go around slamming doors.

Studies show that people who maintain a sunny disposition have better relationships at work, are happier in their jobs and make better decisions than those who whine and complain. Some suggest that a positive mental attitude can also make you live longer—which means it’s beneficial for every area of your life![1]

It’s not always easy to keep a “glass half full” mentality when work is stressful and the deadlines are piling up. But there are some things you can do to help maintain a positive attitude. Laughing at your unfortunate circumstances keeps the work environment positive, and taking “sanity” breaks can help you keep your cool in high-pressure situations.

Managers look for positive mental attitude in a team member that is ready for a promotion, so it really does pay to keep your cool in challenging situations.

5. A Strong Work Ethic

People with a strong work ethic are committed to the role, persevere when things get tough and are inspired by challenge. These people are ambassadors for the organization, and will always be seen as top talent and ideal candidates.

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If you can exhibit this skill, then expect to be seen as a great candidate, eligible for new opportunities and positions throughout your career.

Since a strong work ethic can mean different things to different people, it helps to show specific examples of your exceptional work ethic during a performance appraisal or interview. For instance, you might talk about:

  • A time when you persisted in the face of challenges and did not shy away from hard work.
  • How you volunteered to help with projects even though these tasks did not form part of your job description.
  • The networking, workplace learning and skills betterment you’ve undertaken, which shows ambition and drive (people with a strong work ethic have those qualities in spades).
  • How you own your mistakes and never, ever point the finger of blame at others.

For help with building a strong work ethic, check out these tips: How to Build a Reliable Work Ethic

6. Public Speaking

Who’s terrified of public speaking? Pretty much everyone, since public speaking is America’s number one fear, ahead of death at number five and loneliness at number seven.

Yet, according to Warren Buffett, mastering this one skill you could increase your personal value by 50 percent.[2] That’s huge!

If you’re not natural at public speaking, you’re in good company. Buffett had to work hard to overcome his stage fright and once dropped out of a public-speaking course before it started—because he was afraid of public speaking! He eventually realized that he needed to build up his confidence by just doing it; over and over in front of small groups.

For a more structured approach, Toastmasters International teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a variety of pathways. Membership of this non-profit looks good on your resume but the real payoff will come when you can put your newfound skills to use on the job or in the interview room.

Or, you can check out this advice: The Ultimate Public Speaking Tips to Hook and Impress Any Audience

7. Integrity

From a manager’s point of view, the two integrity skills that will set you apart are:

  • Always doing what you say you will do
  • Owning an error instead of minimizing or hiding it

…even when no one is around to check up on you.

There are lots of people who have climbed the ladder without scruples, but they are not the people who others trust, respect and support when promotion time comes around.

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Behaving with integrity is a safe and consistent way to enhance your reputation and achieve your professional goals.

8. Managing Your Time

Phone calls, texts, Slack pings, meetings, huddles, side projects, multitasking—we are busier today than any generation before us. There’s no denying the workplace is an incredibly distracting place to be.

A lot of us have traded effectiveness for busyness which we wear as a badge of honor, both as a proxy for productivity and to show our value to the company. But what bosses want, what they really, really want, is someone who actually gets stuff done on time.

Time management is not merely the art of being on time, but of managing your time so you focus on the projects that really matter and add value to the business. This means prioritizing well, sticking to schedules, delegating, and not getting distracted by tasks that are easier to perform or less important. It means planning ahead and learning when it’s appropriate to say no.

Time management can be a tough skill to maintain, but not a difficult one to pick up. Monitor your actions for a few days—how long do your tasks take to finish? What’s interrupting you? What causes you to lose focus? Once you have the answers to these questions, you can set a schedule for yourself to make sure you’re spending your time wisely and this valuable asset is never wasted.

These 20 Quick Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity are also great to try.

9. Assertiveness

In any workplace, you typically will find people with the following conflict styles:

  • Passive: Those who go out of their way to avoid conflict.
  • Passive-aggressive: Those who express their negative feelings through actions rather than words.
  • Aggressive: Those who respond to conflict in a hostile and rude manner. These people get their opinion heard but they won’t make any friends in the process.
  • Assertive: People who stick up for their rights while still respecting the rights of others.

Managers look for assertiveness above all other styles because it allows decisions to be made without conflict or alienating people.

How do you use this information for yourself?

It starts with understanding your personality so you can anticipate how you will react when conflict arises and address your own shortcomings. Then, you can start influencing the team for top results, and securing your own career advancement in the process.

Learn how to be assertive and gain respect:

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How to Be Assertive and Stand up for Yourself the Smart Way

10. Creative Thinking

LinkedIn recently analyzed over 50,000 skills that employers search for when looking for candidates to find out what skills are currently in demand.[3] Taking the number-one slot on the 2019 soft skills list was creativity: the ability to solve problems and think outside the box.

Creativity is about bringing fresh, and sometimes unorthodox, ideas to the table. This helps companies to innovate, and companies that do not innovate will not survive very long.

How do you showcase your creative thinking skills? The golden rule is to participate.

Be brave and share your ideas during group brainstorming sessions. Volunteer to run a society, networking event or recruitment drive. Ask “what if” questions: “What if we add this information to the client welcome pack?” “What if we eliminate step 3 from the process?”

These activities demonstrate that you’re prepared to go beyond “business as usual” towards creative problem solving—an ability that will serve you every day, all throughout your career.

You can learn to unleash your creativity power:

What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

Final Thoughts

The good news? Every item on this soft skills list can be learned. Although you may feel lacking in certain areas, taking an inventory of your strengths and weaknesses will allow you to focus in on the areas that you’ll benefit from developing.

So take an inventory of your personality, skills, and talents. This will give you a baseline for your communication style, attitude to change, conscientiousness and more. You can then identify your weak areas and develop strategies for improving your team-building, assertiveness and conflict skills.

The better news? The effort is worth it. Developing your soft skills opens the door to a new job or a promotion, and helps you succeed once you get there.

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Featured photo credit: Rachael Gorjestani via unsplash.com

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