Last week I wrapped my third successful Kickstarter. It was honestly my hardest Kickstarter to date and the slowest to fund, but it did and here are some of the things that I think contributed to it funding:
- Be sincere & don’t try to create something just cause you think people will back it.
- Don’t take it personally if people don’t back or cancel pledges
- You are not your project.
- Be ready to adapt.
- Make Friends
Be sincere & don’t try to create something just cause you think people will back it.
This wasn’t a money grab in any kind of way. In fact, if I had been trying to make big bucks off a project then this was the complete opposite of what I should’ve done. Instead this was a passionate thing that I cared about and wanted. I believed in it and I had to hope that others would see in it what I saw in it.
Don’t take it personally if people don’t back or cancel pledge.
This was my third time through the gauntlet. I knew what I was getting into and it was also my weirdest project to date. At this point on the internet I’m best known for being a writer. I have actual fans and making a gaming calendar really didn’t make use of that fan base. I got countless messages from Holiday Wars readers apologizing and saying that they weren’t going to back the calendar. I told every one of them that it’s not a big deal. The calendar and my game photography fits a very small niche and I never expected it to appeal to people who follow me for my writing.
Same thing with a gamer friend who backed the calendar and then canceled their pledge. If you don’t back my project I don’t take it personally. When it comes to Kickstarter we are talking about money and there is so much baggage with people when it comes to money, especially with how the economy has been the past few years. I don’t know what’s going on in someone’s life. They may 100% believe in my project but simple don’t have the cash to chip in a few bucks. I get that.
You are not your project.
This ties into the last one but is important enough that it should have it’s own spot on this list. I’m not my project. No matter what people say or think of my project it’s not me. No matter how well it does or doesn’t do it’s not me. If my project fails it doesn’t mean I’m a failure. If someone doesn’t believe in the project that’s not saying they don’t believe in me. It sounds sooo silly to say but when you are deep in a struggling campaign it’s super hard NOT to take every little thing as a direct stab at you.
Be ready to adapt.
If I had hit “Launch Project” walked away and then come back at the end of the 30 days it ran, it wouldn’t have funded. Why? Cause the scope of the project changed several times throughout the whole campaign. After the initial launch I tried to to introduce a few new things like adding Game Conventions to the calendar, but that didn’t really draw anyone in.
After speaking to several people I found out that a lot of people weren’t backing because they didn’t want a calendar with a photo of chess or Pandemic in it. So after some research and emails I added a simple $6 add-on that allowed people to build their own custom calendar. The $6 cost didn’t gain me any profit because of the printing cost, but what it saved the project because it brought in a bunch of new people. So no matter how well planned and ready you are before a launch, be ready to shift and adapt a project if its not clicking with an audience.
Only about ten of the backers on this project were friends or tweeps. Everyone else was someone who found out about the calendar somewhere other than from me. How did that happen? Not on Kickstarter. My project was buried and as a result I only had five direct backers from Kickstarter. I think all the credit goes out to all my tweeps and friends (even those who didn’t back it) because they spread the word.
The calendar was mentioned in at least four separate podcast and was mentioned in multiple blog posts, including ones on BGG. The crazy thing? I never bugged or asked any of them to give it a shout-out on a podcast or to do a write-up.
That’s important because it didn’t happen because I was trying to use or make use of them it happened because they believed in the project and without that having happened the calendar would’ve never funded. In fact if I had been nagging people asking them to mention it on their show or begging them to do a blog post that could’ve back fired.
I’ve been on that end where someone was constantly hounding me and asking me to mention their Kickstarter. It makes you NOT want to mention it. The best way to get others to see and draw attention to your project is to become a real sincre social friend who engages in all kinds of conversations instead of just “ME ME ME ME ME.”