Ok, not really. It is actually an awesome, amazing platform where people can bring their ideas and aspirations and get them funded by many different people. Inventors and dreamers can then bypass the conventional funding routes of investors, bank loans, friends and family, and second mortgages to see their concepts brought to life.
I should clarify that first sentence. Kickstarter is awesome! Running a Kickstarter campaign is what sucks.
Why does it suck? Well, you basically have to take your entire dream, try to summarize it in a single web page, and then show it to thousands of people in hopes they will give you money. It is stressful, it is emotional, and it is hard.
For those who are unfamiliar, Kickstarter is a platform where people can post any project and ask for money. They must give you something in return, but that is one of the only rules. The request may include pre-ordering the newest gadget, investing in a movie, watching someone create a new charity, or anything in between. The project creator sets a certain fundraising goal in dollars, and they must raise that amount or they get none of the money pledged. The idea is simple; many people can contribute a small amount to a project to raise enough money for the project to succeed. Easy, right?
Unfortunately, no. Running a campaign is a tremendous amount of work and can take many more hours than you thought possible. It is the culmination of months of preparation ahead of time, including acquiring funding for important items like graphics, videos, and photo shoots. It is then followed by pure craziness as your campaign progresses. You try to hit your goal early and then build on the momentum. Finally, you have to deliver. You owe those people something, and you need to make sure they get what they paid for or your dream is gone.
This post is the introduction to a series of articles where we will try to help you through these waters should you ever try to navigate them. We are not experts, and if we are sure of one thing, it’s that no one is. We have run three Kickstarter campaigns, two of which have been successful and one that wasn’t. With the two successful campaigns, we raised over $100,000; I can assure you, that is not enough to make anyone’s dreams come true. People sometimes hear about Kickstarter campaign raising millions of dollars, but they are very few and very far between (and usually involve large investors beforehand).
In the following posts, we will try to lay out the blueprint of what we have learned along our Kickstarter journey. We have run campaigns for various products, so this advice may or may not apply to yours. Still, it is what we have learned and what has worked for us. We are hoping it can help you.
Kickstarter can be hard, grueling, and crazy. It is also extremely liberating. In the end, you can realize your dreams without answering to investors. The community surrounding many of these projects is simply amazing; it is a group of people who genuinely want to help others. Through Kickstarter, you will gain more product and market knowledge than you could ever possibly do through any other means. In short: it sucks, but it’s awesome. We hope our advice brings you more of the latter.