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me promoting your kickstarter  RSS feed

 
paul wheaton
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First, of course, I want to make it clear that i am powerfully keen on kickstarter in general. I like the site. I like the professionalism in the way it is run. And, my favorite part, is how people can come up with a cool product and go into business without groveling to a bank.

I have shared a lot of kickstarters with folks. And for several of those it made the difference in getting funded. The people on the daily-ish email seem to groove on them and it does bring me a big thrill to seem to be in a position to help like this.

And now I've done it enough that there have been some things that have fallen a little flat. So I am creating this thread with the idea of everybody that is also keen on kickstarter stuff can make suggestions to future kickstarter people for having a good and decent kickstarter.

For an example: please take a good look at permaculture orchard. When Olivier first contacted me about this he:

1) already had 35 posts on permies. Good posts. So he is "one of us"

2) told me he had been on the daily-ish email for a long time

3) offered heaps of promotion in trade

4) was clearly a supporter of other kickstarters

5) had a clearly related product

6) was offering good rewards for good prices

7) videography looked fun

I asked him to post a media rich thread at permies and he did.

I gave him a mention in the daily-ish email and he came back to me with all sorts of candy. He made links to the empire from his kickstarter page and his regular home page (not some obscure "links" page). He sent out emails and posted a kickstarter update. He just found all sorts of little things all over the place. And, of course, the whole "bacon, cheese and sparkles" thing (I don't know why, but I seriously like this a lot).

So then it turned into this massive gratitude going back and forth thing. He gave me more candy and I would give him more candy. Repeat until the kickstarter is over. He would dream up new ways to show gratitude which would spur me on to dream up new ways to show him gratitude. Frankly, we had fun.

And then the movie comes out and sure enough, there it is ... just seconds into the start of the movie. And the music is so fun .... "supreme executive producer with bacon, cheese and sparkles paul wheaton" - my life is so fucking awesome.

So, yeah, I really like the idea of riding that ride again.

And then there are others. People who contact me and inform me of my responsibily/obligation to support their kickstarter because they say so. They have a lame kickstarter and this is the first time they have ever heard of me. They don't know about the forums, or the daily-ish email or the podcasts or my videos or anything. They just heard that I will promote kickstarters for free so now I owe them free promotion. And it needs to be done this morning.

Just today .... it isn't even noon yet ... I've received three requests to promote kickstarter-ish stuff.

(so now you know the real reason I am writing this - I want to send these folks a link to this thread)

Here is a conversation I've had about a dozen times:

me: I'll tell me daily-ish email peeps. Currently about 16,600 people

them: that's a lot. i would offer to reciprocate, but I only have 300 people on my mailing list.

.... so here is what I am now thinking: I get it - I can reach a lot more people than you. And I'm totally willing to promote your stuff without anything in return. I guess it feels like giving somebody a thousand pounds of help, and they can give 2 pounds of help back, but they choose to give zero. It leaves a weird, creepy feeling.

And this is how most of the relationships go. I help. The end. Oh well.

And once in a while things go like it did with Olivier. I give Olivier a thousand pounds, and he gives me the full 2 pounds back which is all that he can. I give Olivier another 500 pounds and Olivier finds 3 pounds to give back. Nutty, goofy, wacky fun back and forth. Well worth the time.

More of my kickstarter advice is here.

Okay folks: what do you want to say to people that are putting together a kickstarter and want the help of the empire? What makes a good kickstarter? If I tell you about a kickstarter, what are your expectations?
 
Erik Little
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paul wheaton wrote:

1) already had 35 posts on permies. Good posts. So he is "one of us"

2) told me he had been on the daily-ish email for a long time

3) offered heaps of promotion in trade

4) was clearly a supporter of other kickstarters

5) had a clearly related product

6) was offering good rewards for good prices

7) videography looked fun

I gave him a mention in the daily-ish email and he came back to me with all sorts of candy. He made links to the empire from his kickstarter page and his regular home page (not some obscure "links" page). He sent out emails and posted a kickstarter update. He just found all sorts of little things all over the place. And, of course, the whole "bacon, cheese and sparkles" thing (I don't know why, but I seriously like this a lot).

So then it turned into this massive gratitude going back and forth thing. He gave me more candy and I would give him more candy. Repeat until the kickstarter is over. He would dream up new ways to show gratitude which would spur me on to dream up new ways to show him gratitude. Frankly, we had fun.

And then the movie comes out and sure enough, there it is ... just seconds into the start of the movie. And the music is so fun .... "supreme executive producer with bacon, cheese and sparkles paul wheaton" - my life is so fucking awesome.

So, yeah, I really like the idea of riding that ride again.


Okay folks: what do you want to say to people that are putting together a kickstarter and want the help of the empire? What makes a good kickstarter? If I tell you about a kickstarter, what are your expectations?



You like to help people Paul which is very cool of you and you don't seem to expect that people reciprocate at the same level which is better than cool. I personally have supported 3 kickstarters because of the daily-ish email (your earth works dvd, how to sharpen a knife, and the wild edibles) and your endorsement.

I expect that you get some candy from the person requesting support before you send it to us. They shouldn't have any problem with helping expand the empire before you help them. If they can only give back 2 lbs thats fine but I don't want them asking you for help without offering you help first...if they do I would just delete the email but that's me and you are a far nicer person than I.

I expect the project to somehow connect with the empire (long lasting, innovative, life enhancing etc)

#6 is a given, when I support a project I do so at the reward level I feel has the most value for me and that I can give to support a project so that it will be funded.

I would encourage you to limit your support so that everyone can get the full benefit of the daily-ish email, I like funding projects and if I fund a project I want to see it get fully funded. Don't want to overload the system with high funding requirement projects.

You know your empire and what the people on the daily-ish email seem to respond to so trust your instincts.
 
R Scott
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MEMBERS of the community, not just salespersons passing through.

People like you, Paul, that give lots away before asking for something.

 
Jennifer Wadsworth
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Okay folks: what do you want to say to people that are putting together a kickstarter and want the help of the empire?


What I very much don't want is someone who joins just to post their kickstarter (or similar crowdfunding endeavor). When I see someone with only one or few posts on permies looking for funding - I just can't take them seriously. It's a drive-by plea. (The same holds true for drive-by postings for classes, too.)

I would want the poster to be interactive here on this site. I think that there are dozens of people on permies that I would support if ever they were to do a kickstarter simply because they have made insightful posts and add something to the community. I "know" them. I know that they have some background in whatever their subject of choice is. I know that they are decent folks who can interact with other decent folks in a productive manner - sharing their insights and having their knowledge challenged as well. I know they are committed to their topic and their kickstarter project will add something to the common knowledge base.

What makes a good kickstarter?


1. Clearly stated goal.
2. Your qualifications that might lead me to think you can attain your goal.
3. Well-thought-out plan. With details. BE TRANSPARENT.
4. How much of your plan have you accomplished to date?
5. Do you have some kickass rewards? I think everything from a $1 or $5 reward, all the way up to $1000+ is great. People often miss out on the people who want to support them simply because they don't offer the lower end rewards. Personally I don't have to "get" something - I would be thrilled to, say, have a tree planted with my donation. Or a book given to a kid. Or have my name listed as someone who supported an app development....

If I tell you about a kickstarter, what are your expectations?


That it increases the knowledge base, adds to the toolset or develops a demonstration site that enhances the spreadability of some aspect of permaculture.
 
Morgan Barker
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I feel a little differently about the post count consideration.
Recently, I shared the Folk School kickstarter, which I totally blame the funding of on you guys.
I however, have an almost nonexistent post count. I really try to not post unless it is worthwhile to furthering and enriching the content of the forums. When I read these forums, I really appreciate the distilled knowledge that can be found here. Almost if not all of you seem to be profoundly more knowledgeable in these topics than I and I find that I have nothing to bring to the table that wouldn't detract from it.
Until I learn enough or until someone starts a topic in something that I am actually knowledgeable in, I will sit quietly at the kiddie table and listen to the grownups.
 
Jennifer Wadsworth
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Actually Morgan - the fact that you weren't promoting something you created and just said you thought the idea was fabulous and you had no stake in it was really positive and genuine. As I recall, you simply put it out there and didn't ask Paul to promote it or anything.
 
allen lumley
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Paul W. : I can not think of a more awesome way to present Ourselves (Permies, richsoil ) to another site than to show your willingness to be counted when that site is Flogging a
Kickstarter Program/effort !

If anyone contacts you and says I have had a positive response from X.Org, and am hoping you will 'get on board', this seems like the perfect time to contact that site to ask for
their opinion !

Always, always, I have found that the best way to get someone to care about your project is to ask them for advice or help, " what do you think about us supporting this project /
kickstarter ?'' At that point they become enthused in supporting you, that kickstarter and by association, your projects !

Again, contacting X.Org and allowing yourself to be 'talked into' supporting a Kickstarter they like, may seem a little self serving but as I always sign out - For the good of the Crafts!
Big AL
Late note ; if you always follow the reasons listed for 'liking a Kickstarter' Your Fellow Members should never have a problem ! A. L.

 
Josh Ritchey
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Jennifer Wadsworth wrote:

1. Clearly stated goal.
2. Your qualifications that might lead me to think you can attain your goal.
3. Well-thought-out plan. With details. BE TRANSPARENT.
4. How much of your plan have you accomplished to date?
5. Do you have some kickass rewards? I think everything from a $1 or $5 reward, all the way up to $1000+ is great. People often miss out on the people who want to support them simply because they don't offer the lower end rewards. Personally I don't have to "get" something - I would be thrilled to, say, have a tree planted with my donation. Or a book given to a kid. Or have my name listed as someone who supported an app development....


That it increases the knowledge base, adds to the toolset or develops a demonstration site that enhances the spreadability of some aspect of permaculture.


I totally agree here with Jennifer, though with some additions and maybe not as stringent on the details. After you get too detailed a LOT of people lose interest. IMO the most effective videos are the short clips, between 2-3 minutes and interesting rather than a boring, monotone interview.

I back this Kickstarter because I like the step they're trying to take in the right direction. I like it not because it's what I want to do, but because I believe in it, that it will move the society a little closer to my goal. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1682257709/growing-the-farm-feeding-mississippi?ref=email
Though I only supported with a couple dollars because they fail to provide the feedback required of any significant amount of money. I'm in the military with a wife in college and 3 kids. I like so many others on permies, don't have the money to throw out without the value added piece. I absolutely agree with Paul, you have to have some reasonably priced "stuff" you're buying. In the case of this one, some instructional material on how the process of getting your facility will work. Anytime you work with the government it is confusing and difficult, make a documentary about it, make a cheap short film about it. Something that can be value added for the customer. That being said here is my take on the rewards.

1. Clearly stated goal.
2. Your why, what have you done and how are you qualified to do this.
3. Well-thought-out plan. With details. BE TRANSPARENT. (Make a nice video, a short and long version of the details)
4. How much of your plan have you accomplished to date? (Totally agree)
5. Do you have fair priced rewards? It must be worth the hard earned money I'm giving you, I can't afford to just give you a couple hundred dollars. Sorry, wish I could.

 
Jennifer Wadsworth
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I totally agree here with Jennifer, though with some additions and maybe not as stringent on the details. After you get too detailed a LOT of people lose interest. IMO the most effective videos are the short clips, between 2-3 minutes and interesting rather than a boring, monotone interview.


Yeah - I should have been more specific there. Short and sweet videos are absolutely the best. My "details" part was for the text following the video. I didn't make that clear - sorry.

I think a short, catchy video will hook most casual supporters. I think the text should start off talking about the project and then establish the cred of the fund requester. Then give a high level budget for how the money will be used (use round numbers). Then talk about what you've done to date - you might also talk about volunteer hours donated to the project, in-kind donations, etc - so that we know that the project has buy-in from the larger community, etc. Seeing a lot of support garners more support (everyone wants to back a winner!)
 
Josh Ritchey
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You know Paul, it probably wouldn't be a bad idea for you require anyone wanting to have you push their kickstarter to have been a member for maybe 2-3 months first and to have posted 6 or more genuine posts. Also, just like a book give away, they must be on your dailyish email list. That would surely weed out the disingenuous terds looking to just take. You do point out the fact that most people simply don't have the resources to reciprocate, but it's the fact that they try that seems to make the worth for you. I would tend to agree with your sentiment on that.

By using some simple metrics like these, you can quickly identify those you should be supporting without all of the additional work.

Keep doing these great things and watch as more of us follow. I absolutely agree with your sentiment that fighting bad guys all the time simply doesn't win the war. We're battling an asymmetrical opponent symmetrically, we've got to think outside the box like them. They get politicians to change the laws while we keep protesting in one form or another. Unfortunately politicians don't care, keep building your empire on positive displays and we will win. You are undoubtedly leading the battle and doing a great job the way you're doing it.
 
paul wheaton
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Here is more for the list:

8) create a thread here on permies for your kickstarter. Add lots of video and pictures. Make the link to the kickstarter prominent (larger font) (because in the past some people asked "where is the link?"). This is what I will refer to from the daily-ish email *if* I choose to tell the daily-ish email folks about your kickstarter.

9) When the kickstarter has been going for a while, you will be able to look at the kickstarter dashboard and see how much money came from permies. But you have to keep in mind that due to the limitations of how kickstarter can track that sort of thing, a lot which came from permies is also showing up "direct traffic" and some of the other stuff listed in that report.

10) Your thread is a great place to talk about new rewards and stretch goals. I know that our community seriously grooves on kickstarters and we have HEAPS of people that have supported dozens of kickstarters. So they know what appeals to the kickstarter masses.

11) Halfway through my last kickstarter I made some realizations that I was going about doing the kickstarter thing all wrong. I now think that I want to give my kickstarter supporters double the candy of people that buy my stuff afterward. So if I am going to later sell a DVD for $35, then I want to offer it to my kickstarter supporters for $20 and throw in a some bonus candy. After all, these people have put up money to say "we trust that you won't just run off to a tropical island with our money - we believe in your stuff."



How much of your plan have you accomplished to date?


Yeah - that's a good one for me too.


Do you have some kickass rewards? I think everything from a $1 or $5 reward, all the way up to $1000+ is great.


That turned out to be a smart thing for me: offer something significant at the $1 level. And then plenty of candy at $5, $10, $20 ...

I'm not sure, but I think the "popular" list is determined by the number of supporters in the last little while - not by the total dollars.


Also, just like a book give away, they must be on your dailyish email list.


The thing that is a hassle about that is that I would have to go look it up. And then I would say "you're not on my daily-ish" and 9 times out of 10 the response is something like "yes I am. I just choose to use my shitty email address for that instead of the good email address I am using right now". And I really don't want to get in a discussion about that space.

With the book promotions, people have 24 hours to respond. So if they are using their shitty email address, then they can find out in a week or two that they would have won the book/dvd/ticket if they used their good email (diabolical laugh goes here).






 
Josh Ritchey
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Roger that, I just assumed you could do a quick CTRL+F on a CSV and help or just ignore them at that point, though I don't see that as your style.

Thanks for all of the good info as well, I'm doing some planning of my own. I'm hoping to do something similar to your land deal, but hopefully work from some of your lessons learned. After all, I do have another 4 years do get it done.

I really appreciate the creation of this thread, this is super helpful with the evolution of business finance, in stuff like KickStarter. Unfortunately, many people simply don't have the platform to launch from. Your empire will only be so helpful until we reach the point where there is too much product replication and people are then limited by their imagination in gaining customers/financial support. I suppose one could build a lot of local support, but you can only physically speak to so many people before you run out of time and open ears. The internet is by far the most powerful tool for building that launch platform, it is unfortunately one of the most difficult to control.

Thanks for the diabolical laugh, it got a LOL out of me.
 
Bill Erickson
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I think most of the good suggestions have been made.

Myself, I've kicked into 63 IndieGoGo and Kickstarters - I think 8 or 9 through permies and Paul's recommendations - so far. There might be a bunch of zombie related ones in there, but horror is my weakness.

Everything that has been noted about projects is what draws me into them. Someone dropped a bug in my ear, I went, saw a funny or interesting bit about the project, various bits of content and then candy that is tasty and leads to me getting something at some point - small or large. Clear and concise goals, what their cred may be and a basic idea of what the money is going to do for their project. The juiciness of the candy is always a draw, but some stuff is just because. The creative ways that people bring the message to their audience and the impact on me that I determine is positive, or it will reach far beyond my meager little contribution. I have the where with all to do these things and it is a good thing to reach out beyond the community we have here. Sometimes my trigger just doesn't get tripped - so it goes.

So, I like the values that have been discussed here when it comes to Paul using the empire for good. But I wouldn't hang out around here unless I thought those things were important for us all. I'm just an old jarhead so take that how you want. The dailyish email has brought me many cool things to think about, support and even do on my own - keep bringing it because I trust the way you think.
 
Tom Trial
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I would note that it helps if your project is almost done and just needs that last push to complete. The thinking goes that the kickstarter project has some actual work and effort towards completion.
And people tend to support a project the sooner the rewards can be delivered, say 30 to 90 days vs 6 or 9 months where the excitement has worn off for the supporters.
And of course some rewards can be sent out before the final project is complete.

I supported Paul's world domination gardening kickstarter and can't wait to get the permaculture playing cards & dvd's! Getting the PODS early was great!

https://www.kickstarter.com/profile/mytomcat
 
Petra Lonowski
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I love Kickstarters and have been a supporter for the last two years. I am very glad you promoted the permaculture orchard because otherwise I would have missed it. Such a fun (love the music!) and informational/educational video. Will watch it many times, I'm sure of that. Thanks!

 
John Polk
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it helps if your project is almost done and just needs that last push to complete.

That makes a huge difference to me.
I have seen kickstarters where all they had was an idea.
No matter how good the idea is, unless I have seen some form of actual progress towards the finalization, I am unlikely to even look at what rewards are being offered...and quite often, the rewards at the lower levels are of no interest to me.

Although there are people that just want to support a good idea, the bulk of people who actually send cash, want something in return. For most, that something, is probably more than a 'Thank you' card, or their name on the wall-of-fame.
 
Morgan Barker
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I have not watched the DVDs but I have watched lots of other Ernie and Erica videos. Their information comes in a form that generates comprehensive subject knowledge that you can take and adapt to your own needs. It seems like you may fall into the instructables camp instead.
It's okay. The vast majority of people I work with respond best to step by step direction. Many of them regard the folks with the comprehensive knowledge to be artists or naturally talented. They can be one or both or neither. It is just a different example of how diverse we are. I am sorry that the workshop videos didn't work out for you. In the future, mail all disappointments to:
Morgan Barker
303 N Gold st.
La Farge, WI 54639
 
paul wheaton
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We supported Sergei's kickstarter. He's a raw vegan guy. So he set me up with "Supreme Executive Producer with Pickles, Ketchup and Sparkles".

More recently, we supported Olivier's newest project. And this time he said that since he wants to put this in some fancy film festival things, he needs to withhold producer credit. Instead, in the opening credits he is gonna put "made possible with the support of the permaculture goofballs at permies.com" --- very cool!

 
Justin Rhodes
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All your input please! I'm launching my film project, "permaculture chickens" on Kickstarter very very soon. As fate would have it I saw this thread and consulted with some key Permies and need to make some late night, last minute changes.

I'm going to town on my pricing, making it an even better deal for my Kickstarter supporters. Here's the sneak peak preview: Permaculture Chickens Kickstarter PREVIEW!
 
M Johnson
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I'm in for the $25, that is good pricing, at least for the consumer. I'll check on it later and bump up if you are short
 
Julia Winter
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I'm in for the DVD ($30 with shipping)! Can't wait to see it!
 
Shawn Koop
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Based on some of my observations of permaculture-related kickstarter campaigns, my advice to anyone starting one is that if you don't make a video for your kickstarter page you are asking not to be funded. There are some great ideas out there but it looks like people just move on if there is no video. I think a 2-4 minute video for the top of the page is great and if you want to provide more incentive for people by providing a longer video, maybe include that one down below. If someone clicks the video and it says 10-15 minutes many people might just move on. So draw them in with a short one, then deliver the longer one if you wish.

Paul, I also really like your viewpoint on rewarding those who are supporting your project. I understand why some people do it, but it never really feels fair to support a campaign that is asking more for something than they will end up charging for it later, even for a great cause.
 
Jeff Rash
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You know it's funny. People let enthusiasm run away with logic and reason. I have thought about kickstarters before for various ideas that I have had. But having failed at so many things so often, (my Patron Saint is Wile E. Coyote) one learns the signs of enthusiasm over substance.

I have since learned to keep enthusiasm, it is a good thing, but I have learned to keep enthusiasm in check with temperance. Wait a few days, don't start rolling right off the bat, think about the idea, the concept and what it will really take to implement. Then see if you still want to invest time, money, hopes and dreams into the project. Look clearly at what it will take.

There's a saying about diets and projects that the level of enthusiasm is never higher than in the the first five minutes. (If anyone remembers the quote, please post!) But once one has to roll that rock uphill, enthusiasm becomes tested. If it's not tempered by good planning, reason and commitment, it will break.

Jeff
 
paul wheaton
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I think I have sent this thread to about 30 people.  I get the impression that most of those people ignore the advice in this thread.   But some people embrace my advice.  Erica followed my advice.  So I want to flesh out this thread a bit more.


12)  kickbooster.  Kickbooster good.  Me like kickbooster.  Kickbooster is thing-a-ma-bob that gives the empire a 10% cut of the action.  And, I suppose, other peeps that promote your kickstarter can get 10% also.  10% isn't a lot, but it's nice to get a bit. 

13)  the $1 reward loaded up with easy to send digital goodies is, I think, damn smart.  Too often I see the first reward is $5 and it is for "our gratitude."  Which sounds pretty weak to me.   In my WDG kickstarter, we added the $1 reward level complete with a micro documentary about hugelkultur and suddenly kickstarter support per day TRIPLED!   With BWH we started with a fat $1 reward (two microdocs plus a podcast gob) and then added a $2 reward (three pdf files) and then added a $3 reward that included ALL that plus the full formidable vegetable album and more plans and documents.  Then at the $5 level we added the full streaming version of fire science and access to the secret inner circle.   Real stuff.  All real stuff that is easy for us to hand out willy nilly. 

14)    It is more than a full time job for the duration of the kickstarter.  You need to have your marketing plan together and work, work, work all day long every day of the kickstarter.  Develop relationships with other websites.  Buy advertising.  Send updates.  Come up with new rewards.  Interact on lots of forums and social media. 

15)  Use kicktraq.com and look at the daily stats. 

16)   Look at the other thread where I give advice: https://permies.com/t/32334/tnk/Lessons-Learned-Kickstarter-projects



11) Halfway through my last kickstarter I made some realizations that I was going about doing the kickstarter thing all wrong. I now think that I want to give my kickstarter supporters double the candy of people that buy my stuff afterward. So if I am going to later sell a DVD for $35, then I want to offer it to my kickstarter supporters for $20 and throw in a some bonus candy. After all, these people have put up money to say "we trust that you won't just run off to a tropical island with our money - we believe in your stuff."


The people that support your kickstarter are TRUSTING that you will come through.  These people are ten times more awesome than people that just buy your stuff later.  These are your super fans.  These people are THE BEST!  Take your prices down a notch or two.   Give big heaps of candy to your kickstarter supporters and gouge the people that did not support the kickstarter. 

For my WBS2 videos, I set the price for the 4-DVD set at $100.  For BWH I set the price at $60 - and I added a LOT of candy.


17)  Make a REALLY good kickstarter video.  Erica's first video was really poor.  I convinced her to go with a richer format and connected her with a videographer. I think the better video brought in five times more coin.


How much of your plan have you accomplished to date?


Yeah - that's a good one for me too. 


I would rather support something that is close to the finish line.

For my last project, the video editor ran away right after the kickstarter was done.  It makes sense - he didn't really have any skin in the game.  I had the only skin in the game.  So I was left needing to figure this out.   If I do another DVD project, I won't start the kickstarter until the editing is done.   So I have skin in the game and the editor has skin in the game.  Plus, delivery should be pretty damn quick!

I supported a dvd kickstarter where the whole idea was that they were going to do a road trip to get video - and the dvd would be done in a few months.  Three years later they did another kickstarter for the editing.  The funny thing is that they did end up finishing the project - but they never sent me my dvd.

The moral of the story is the same for nearly all kickstarters:  I think supporters are looking to support stuff that is much closer to the finish line. 

Further, for me, "obligation is poison" ....  oh man did this last project ever poison me.  Ug.  What a nightmare mess.  There was so much poison, that it spread to poisoning loads of other projects.  youtube videos, workshops, podcasts, articles, books ...   all poisoned. 

So my advice is that if you are going to do a kickstarter that you want me to promote, make sure your kickstarter is really near the finish line.






 
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