How to actually make money from crowdfunding

IT’S the latest way to fund your pet idea – whether it’s a new app or a giant game of marmot chess – with everyone from James Franco to Zach Braff getting on board.

In the last 12 months, crowdfunding has nearly doubled to a $5.5 billion dollar industry. But with success rates ranging from 44-55 per cent, how can you ensure your idea becomes reality?

Solo artist and performer Rose Wintergreen, who also works as a social media coach and ambassador for crowdfunding site Pozible, has told us five golden rules to get your crowdfunding project off the ground.

1. Get real

“Do you have the crowd? Figure out your numbers before you go launching anything. Crowdfunding research is still in its early days, but as a general rule, you’ll only get pledges from about 10 per cent of your pre-existing “crowd.” That includes Facebook and Twitter followers and mailing list subscribers and numbers show they’ll pledge $30-$50 on average,” she said.

Ms Wintergreen decided to crowdfund her own album after having previously taken on debt to release her music.

“I thought about it for a long time before I did it, I was quite scared. It’s a very public thing to do, you’re putting yourself in a vulnerable position but I knew I was going to make the record regardless and struggle with money regardless,” she said, adding that it’s essential to consider if you have the time and energy for such a big undertaking.

“It will be a full-time project for much of the campaign, and you’ll have to be very emotionally resilient. It’s not wise to do it while something else big is happening in your life. How do you think you would cope if the campaign failed? Make sure you’re in a good space to be able to deal with that.”

2. Get creative
Once you’ve decided to take the plunge, think about how you will set yourself apart from the millions of other projects out there.

“Everyone’s crowdfunding. What are you going to do to make your project a talking point? What rewards can you offer that will be irresistible to fans?” Ms Wintergreen said.

She offered advance copies of her album, along with Skype concerts and coffee and cake dates. But also warned it’s essential to think of the money you receive as people paying for a product rather than a donation.

“You have to wrap your head around it. If you think of it as a donation it feels like begging and you won’t run a good campaign. It’s about trying to think of unique services you can provide.”

3. Get feedback

“Get several different people to look at your draft crowdfunding project, paying particular attention to your video and the rewards you’re offering. Ask them if they seem exciting, if anything’s missing, and if the pricing seems right.”

But it’s also important to strike the balance between getting people excited about your project and giving away all your ideas. While it’s not such a problem in the creative industry, Ms Wintergreen said tech companies and start-ups may need to consider how much information they post online.

“With any new business ideas you have to work hard at giving enough information to pique interest and trust but without all the details.”

4. Plan your heart out

Ms Wintergreen said it’s important to plan it like a campaign where you can build momentum and interact with your fans, rather than broadcasting ideas.

“Decide before you launch what you’ll do to get the word out. Try to book shows during the campaign period. Put together a schedule of when you’ll email people, update your Facebook page et cetera.

Have a media release ready to go so you can organise some interviews. Have a collection ready to go of things you can use to keep people interested – new videos, interesting pictures and talking points.”

Ms Wintergreen said she sent over 400 personalised emails to appeal support, along with individual thank you notes for those who pledged during the first part of the campaign.

“It was a lot more work than I thought it would be. I already knew it would be massive work in terms of putting together. In the lead up it’s about how to build anticipation, coming up with talking points that aren’t about you to keep it interesting.”

5. Cross your fingers and jump

She said once you’ve planned it all out, the best thing you can do is jump in.

“No one can tell you if your crowdfunding campaign will be successful. The only way to know for sure is to give it a go!

“Jump willingly into asking people for help. If you don’t ask directly, many people will be oblivious, no matter how many posts you put up on social media, or how much they love your music,” she said.

These tips originally appeared on Faster Louder.

Are you considering crowdfunding one of your projects? Tell us about it @Victoria – Craw, @newscomauHQ

Source: Daily Telegraph – VICTORIA CRAW NEWS.COM.AU AUGUST 16, 2013



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