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10 Things You Should Know about Crowdfunding to Start Your Business

10 Things You Should Know about Crowdfunding to Start Your Business

After yelling expletive after expletive because you stubbed your toe on a chair you failed to push under your desk before going to bed (because who knew you were going to leap from the blankets with the best idea you’ve ever had at 2AM?), you settle into said evil chair to validate said best idea ever.

Site after site, email after email, your idea has claws. It will work! YOU can do this!

Only… you can’t… because you have no money.

Your brain feels like it’s playing ping pong in your skull. Idea after idea about how to fund this Best Idea Ever. Finally, it dawns on you.

CROWDFUNDING!

YES! That’s it!

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Except, it’s not that easy. It’s not until you know more about crowdfunding, and you’ve panhandled to every person you know and haven’t met yet.

1. Crowdfunding can fail very easily

According to Crowdlifted, over 71,000 Kickstarter campaigns have failed as of January, 2014. IndieGogo campaigns fare far worse with a 91% failure rate, according to Crowdfund Insider.

Those are abysmally horrible numbers. Especially considering that of those 71,000 fails, over 51,000 fail to make it through the friends and family round. Add that all up and it’s a whole lot of zeroes.

Even start-ups like Simplifit, and their co-founder Kevin Packer, know that you can’t just ask for money. You have to know when to crowdfund and when to approach other resources. As a weight loss brand, they couldn’t just take to the streets to ask for cash to get their software funded. He also says creating a crowdfunding campaign is a huge effort and distracts from the actual building out of ideas. Lastly, Packer says crowdfunding best serves products that are unique and stand out quickly.

It’s clear that not ALL businesses are suited for crowdfunding. Let’s take a look at what you need to do before hitting the streets.

2. Make sure you know who you are serving

Businesses that are aiming to serve the greater good by producing a product or service that fills deep needs, fare the best when asking for money from strangers. Unless you’re a video game developer. Then you leave everyone in the dust. By in the dust, I mean you walk away with 65 million dollars. The next highest earner stands in shame with 18 million dollars (as reported by Wikipedia).

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Don’t post some self-serving campaign just because you need a website. Understand?

3. Presentation is everything

You’ve heard the phrase, “You eat with your eyes”, right? Well, it’s the same with your presentation. Throw up any old whatever-you-can and your earnings will suffer. Trust me.

Carefully consider your presentation because you  don’t want your prospective funders to be on the fence about how serious you are. They’ll not give you a dime if they don’t feel like they can trust you.

Invest in a quality video. If all you have access to is your iPhone, watch this vid. Follow their tips to create vivid images that pull people in (along with their donations).

4. The language you use matter a lot

No matter what you do, don’t say the wrong words. If you do, people who are considering donating, will cross your name off their list of charities. You have to know the people you want to appeal to, intimately. You have to say the things that make their hearts sit up and take notice. Because if you don’t? You’re lost… just like Gilligan.

Do the legwork to understand how your potential think. Use the language they use. Use the words that open their hearts.

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Saying “Invest in US” will never earn you anything. But saying, “You want to own the world, and we want to help you do it,” just might.

5. Create early interest

When you present your crowdfunding campaign, it creates credibility and speaks to that, “Oh, Sally’s backing this, so it must be valid” mentality. It’s also known as social proof. If you already have some backing from outside sources, let your prospective funders know. If people who have already invested in the public round are excited about your project, they’ll also be good candidates to share their good intentions with their inner circle and extended contacts; thereby extending your public reach even sooner.

6. Be prepared to present your business plan

Some platforms, like IndieGogo and MicroVentures, want to see some semblance of your business plan. You don’t need to have every detail mapped out for them, they just want the highlights. That said, it’s always great to have your actual business plan on hand so you can present it if asked. You can even elude to it in your video for your campaign, adding a little more “oomph” to your “street cred.”

7. Know which platform will serve you best

Crowdfunding has been an ever-evolving industry since its inception back in 1997 and it’s come a long way. GoFundMe.com has raised over 580 million dollars for personal fundraisers, making it a leader in the field. But, as a business, you might want to look to campaign backers through sites like Kickstarter or Crowdrise for your creative ventures.

Or maybe you just want to launch a t-shirt line? If so, check into TeeSpring.

Be aware, each has fees attached. Some as low as 5% and some as high as 10% (like TeeSpring).

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8. Layout a strategy for marketing

You’ve got a Facebook account, but your BFFs are only going to share your campaign once or twice before they move on to the latest cat video. You need a marketing plan that will allow you to reach far beyond your circles.

This is where intimately knowing the people whose hearts will be touched by your pleas for help comes into play. If you know them well, you know where to find them online and off.

  1. Create flyers to post in those real world spots.
  2. Create ads for Google and Facebook. You can even buy Twitter ads, too.
  3. Create eye-catching and heart-grabbing images to post on Pinterest using Canva and Pixabay.
  4. Don’t rely solely on Facebook ads. Use your blog to talk about what your campaign. This will generate interest in a more heartfelt fashion. More than once.
  5. Reach out to people via email, but be careful not to spam. Engage them in conversation first, then ask if they’d like to contribute. Even better, add something catchy (not sales-y) to your email signature on your phone and your desktop. This way, no matter where you’re sending from, you’re covered.

9. Influencers can be your friends

Reaching out to influencers during your campaign is a good idea. Let them know you’re raising money for this cause that their audience will truly benefit from. However, do NOT wait until said campaign starts to start conversations with said influencers. Bad, bad idea. Do it early.

Start warming those fires. Try and be seen by them long before you need help. Create genuine relationships and don’t be a beggar. No one wants to feel like they’ve been used.

10. Remember it’s hearts that power wallets

No matter what you do, don’t forget the cardinal rule of crowdfunding: It’s hearts that power wallets.

There’s a trifecta that you cannot ignore if you want people to tear open their wallets for you: Story, authenticity, and credibility. Bake these things into your campaign and you’ll pull people into it. Let them see the passion that powers the idea. This will power the business. Let them feel how much you’ll put into creating “Awesome” for them. Let them experience just how important this campaign really  is. There’s a good chance they will reciprocate with genuine excitement and willingness to give and share.

That’s how you create a successful crowdfunding campaign. And that’s how you’ll get your idea from notion to motion.

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Last Updated on August 15, 2018

30 Fun Things You Can Do This Summer Without Spending Much

30 Fun Things You Can Do This Summer Without Spending Much

Summertime can be a real strain on your wallet. The sun is out, there are people to see, places to be; it’s no wonder you might be short of funds during these sunny months. Not everything has to cost you an arm and a leg.

Take some time to go through this list of 20 cheap summer activities and make some realistic goals to complete as many as you can.

Video Summary

1. Visit a strawberry festival

Summer is prime time for tasting strawberries. More often than not, an area that grows strawberries will have a strawberry festival. Indulge yourself in strawberry pies, jams, cakes and more!

2. Have a picnic

Take your partner or your family to the local park and enjoy a relaxing picnic. Designate each person to bring one food item of their choice to add to the fun.

3. Camp in your back yard

    The summer heat can sometimes make it hard to sleep. Why not enjoy the heat outside in the yard? Pitch a tent or gaze into the night sky.

    4. Take long walks

    Discover something new where you live. Take the afternoon off from your chores and go for a long walk. You may be surprised by what you discover.

    5. Break a world record

    Breaking a world record doesn’t have to be time-consuming. You could even break one on your lunch hour. Give it a go!

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    6. Go on a bike ride

    The number of bike paths on roads in big cities has increased dramatically over the years. Take advantage, and enjoy the summer breeze.

    7. Join a gym class

      The gym is not everyone’s idea of a good time, but why not go with a friend a join a class? Spinning, yoga and step classes are always more fun with friends, and a lot of gyms allow you to pay-as-you-go.

      8. Find a new hobby

      The summer is the perfect time to find a new hobby. Serotonin (our body’s natural “happy” hormone) is produced by the sunshine and will be at a yearly high, which is great for when we want to tackle something new.

      9. Join a sports team

      Not all sports teams are competitive and require huge amounts of your time. Join in the fun with like-minded people, get fit, stay healthy and make some friends along the way.

      10. Make a slip ‘n slide

        Gather your friends, some plastic sheeting, a hose, washing up liquid if desired, and make a huge slip ‘n slide just like these guys. Granted, yours won’t be as big, but you get the idea… it’s fun!

        11. Make a treasure hunt for your kids

        Today’s digital world sees our children more often than not playing inside than outside. Why not create a sense of adventure by making a treasure hunt? Only rule? It has to be outside.

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        12. Visit a free festival

        Towns and cities are awash with free festivals, with themes from film to science. Scout your local area and discover something new.

        13. Visit the zoo

          Let’s face it: we love animals. While browsing news websites and social media networks you’re bound to come across a few pictures of cats. Take a trip to your local zoo for a better experience.

          14. Take a road trip

          Enjoy the open road with a few friends and take a road trip somewhere–anywhere. Just go out and enjoy the sunshine!

          15. Play ultimate frisbee in the park

            Frisbee is always great fun down the park, but why not turn it into more of a competitive sport by playing ultimate frisbee?

            16. Make your own ice cream

            Ice cream is a very versatile dessert. Make a sandwich, enjoy a cone, or simply just enjoy a bowl full. Better yet, making your own ice cream allows you to create any flavor you want.

            17. Invite your neighbors over for a BBQ

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              When was the last time you invited your neighbors over? Do you even know them? Now’s your chance. Just ask each person to bring a food item so costs don’t mount up for you.

              18. Get a summer job

              For many students, summer is the time for relaxation and fun. But who said earning money and being productive isn’t fun? You only get out what you put into a situation.

              19. Attend a charity event

              Attending a charity event is a great way to raise funds and awareness for a cause, meet new people, and generally have a good time. Search for your local charity event today.

              20. Visit a national park

              National parks are a great way to explore nature and learn something new. You could even volunteer and make a difference in helping restore natural habitats.

              21. Visit your local comedy club

                Local comedy clubs are extremely underrated. They are cheap to attend and no doubt you’ll have a barrel of laughs.

                22. Make your own hammock

                  Hammocks are very relaxing, are perfect for summer afternoons and are surprisingly easy to make.

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                  23. Read in your new hammock

                  Now you have your very own hammock, the only thing left to do is enjoy it. Grab your favorite book and read to your heart’s content.

                  24. Watch a movie outside

                  Movies are great. Relaxing outside in the evening is great. Put them together and you’ve got a perfect combination. In D.C, Maryland and Virginia this summer, for example, you can enjoy a huge number of movies outside.

                  25. Take a hike

                    Hikes are a great way to keep fit and see more of Mother Nature. There are countless trails available for you to explore. Why not try some this summer?

                    26. Learn how to fly a kite

                    As a child, you probably had a kite and haven’t touched it since. Why not dust it off and attempt to fly it? It’s tricky, but well worth the challenge.

                    27. Work out at the park

                    American cities are full of parks with ample space for a work out session. No doubt you’ll be happier to work out in the sun rather than a crowded gym.

                    28. Take your dog to the beach

                      One of the many joys of owning a dog is taking him or her for long walks during the summertime. This joy is enhanced when visiting the beach, for both you and your dog.

                      29. Make a summer smoothie

                      Healthy, delicious and perfect for the summer. Not only that, there are countless recipes ready for you to try.

                      30. Attend a free yoga session at the beach

                      No experience needed and all skill levels are welcome. Take yourself and a buddy down to the beach and try some yoga. You’ve got nothing to lose!

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