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Crowdfunding Uncut | Kickstarter| Indiegogo | Where Entrepreneurs Get Funded

Why should you listen to Crowdfunding Uncut? Because I’m asking the same questions you want to know. I know what it feels like to fail at crowdfunding. I also know what questions to ask, and what to do to raise over half a million dollars on Kickstarter and Indiegogo. As I’m also advising Crowdfunding campaigns, I need to keep up to date with what’s working and what isn’t. Questions that will get answered on this show: what crowdfunding platform is right for me? What can I do to have a successful product launch? How can I get 1000 backers for my project? What really matters? What if I have a small budget? What happens after crowdfunding? I will share with our best interviews showcasing the campaigns processes, failures, critical lessons learnt and actionable strategies showing YOU how to get your project funded. This is where project creators get funded.
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Nov 29, 2018

Crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter, IndieGoGo, and many others have been around for about 10 years now, and yet there are still lots of people who don’t understand why Kickstarter is good for your business. In this quick video, my aim is to explain the power of Kickstarter and other similar crowdfunding platforms and the potential that they have for your business or personal needs.

Put as simply as possible, crowdfunding platforms allow you to raise money for projects with the help of a community, which you then repay with various small physical or non-physical tokens of appreciation. These can be the products that your project ends up producing or anything else that’s relevant to your project and your supporters. Crowdfunding supporters sometimes get their money’s worth and sometimes do it mainly with altruistic purposes. Either way, the bottom line is that understanding the power of Kickstarter and knowing why Kickstarter is good for your business is how many of the most successful entrepreneurs of the last decade realized their projects.

Particularly with physical products, where my specialty is, you need to raise X amount of dollars months ahead of your production schedule so that you can even start your business. To that end, crowdfunding campaigns typically set a certain monetary goal that needs to be reached within a certain amount of time – usually 35 days, but sometimes less or more than that.

Whereas with other traditional investment methods such as bank loans, angel investment, friends & family loans, etc., you can often put yourself in uncomfortable situations, with the power of Kickstarter and other crowdfunding platforms you can go global and contact your future customers directly. And this is another reason why crowdfunding is such a good idea – because it allows you to get in touch with your client base even before you’ve created your product and start building upon it in advance.

These are just a couple of the many great benefits that come with crowdfunding. For more tips and strategies about how to plan your Kickstarter campaign, be sure to subscribe. 

Nov 27, 2018

Crowdfunding too early is a common mistake a lot of entrepreneurs make with their campaigns. They don’t research what to know before crowdfunding before jumping in. Today we’re going to take look at a key stress point in your campaign and how to avoid it.

I have a major beef with many marketing agencies that deal with crowdfunding. They don’t talk about the phase of production that comes right after the successful end of your crowdfunding campaign. Most agencies and fundraising coaches give all sorts of crowdfunding tips for making a successful Kickstarter or IndieGoGo campaign. However, by “successful” they mean “a campaign that’s reached 100% of its funding goal.” They talk about what to know before crowdfunding, but only in the context of preparing for the campaign itself. What’s usually left unsaid, and what kills a lot of otherwise “successful” crowdfunding campaigns, is that they’re not well prepared for the phase that follows – using the raised funds and manufacturing the planned products.

This is why a lot of campaigns fail to deliver on their promises and why they get delayed for months or even years. Crowdfunding too early can kneecap even the best business concept. It can cause you to fail to predict the exact manufacturing costs, lose key manufacturing partners, and force you to change major aspects of your product. In an ideal world, a crowdfunding campaign should be started when you have a working prototype, or have already manufactured about 100 items and figured out the ins and outs of the whole process.

Otherwise, you risk delivering a different product than what you promised, delaying delivery, and losing potential clients for your brand. What’s more, you’ll damage the trust that crowdfunding supporters have, both in your brand and in crowdfunding as a whole. None of us want that to happen, so don’t make the mistake of crowdfunding too early.

Nov 27, 2018

Can your product succeed on Kickstarter? We’ve been going over different tips and tricks on how to run a successful Kickstarter or IndieGoGo campaign, but it’s time to talk about your product itself. It doesn’t matter how well-prepared your campaign is – you first need to see if your product is a good fit for crowdfunding in the first place.

Crowdfunding is an amazing tool for raising money, but it simply can’t be done for any and all products – at least not easily. People who support the various fundraising campaigns on Kickstarter, IndieGoGo, and other platforms don’t do it out of sheer altruism, nor do they only care about the material incentives they’ll get from supporting it. These things matter, but the main rule here is that crowdfunding supporters tend to gravitate toward interesting, new, and unique products that manage to impress them. So, when wondering how to run a successful Kickstarter campaign, the first thing to do is consider the following three things about your product:

What’s your product’s selling point? What’s unique about it, what niche can it fill? It doesn’t have to be a “never-before-seen product”, but there needs to be something new and different about it.

Is your end customer a consumer or is your product intended for a business-to-business model? Can your product succeed on Kickstarter if it’s intended only for social media managers or CEOs? In theory, yes, but generally there are other fundraising platforms and methods that better suit B2B products. For a platform such as Kickstarter or IndieGoGo, you want your product to be something that can catch the interest of a wide consumer base.

Does your product have market validation? Sure, your product has a unique twist, but is it truly one of a kind or are there other similar products out there? The best way to know how to run a successful Kickstarter campaign for your product is to check out how other similar campaigns have fared. A big mistake a lot of people make is taking notes from the campaigns for different products from different niches. This is risky because what works for products from one niche is counterproductive for others, and vice versa. The best case scenario is having a product with existing market validation that still has something unique about it to make it interesting.

Once you’ve answered the question “Can your product succeed on Kickstarter?” then it’s time to proceed with your crowdfunding campaign. If you want to learn what to do next, like this video and subscribe to our channel for more insightful crowdfunding tips.

Nov 27, 2018

The Kickstarter popularity algorithm is probably the most overlooked factor for ensuring a successful crowdfunding campaign. If you want to know how to launch a new product on Kickstarter or IndieGoGo successfully the algorithm is something you need to be aware of!

The Kickstarter popularity algorithm is based on the idea of social proof. In order to have social proof a campaign needs early support before the majority of potential backers start to see and support it. In the crowdfunding world this means that we are more likely to support campaigns by unknown creators that have already gathered some support from other people. If we stumble upon a campaign that has been online for a week or more and still hasn’t gathered a significant amount of support, we tend to ignore it. It’s a perfectly natural and understandable response – after all, why would people support something that no one else has any interest in?

And because crowdfunding platforms take a share from successful crowdfunding campaigns they tend to feature and promote only those campaigns that show promise from day one. After all, there are so many campaigns running at any one time, the prime real estate of the home page needs to be reserved for the best of the best! The Kickstarter popularity algorithm includes factors such as the number of backers a campaign has gathered on day one, the number of transactions, the amount of traffic and amount of comments, and the general amount of activity that has happened for your particular campaign.

This is the reason why knowing how to launch a new product on Kickstarter or other crowdfunding platforms is so important – because most of the work has to be done before the campaign has even started. More often than not, to hit your funding goals a campaign has to gather support from the very first day. And for that to happen, you need to have built a significant portion of your audience beforehand.

Pro Tip: when building an audience ahead of launch, don’t overlook support from your inner circle (friends and family). Their support can be critical!

Nov 23, 2018

Knowing how to set your Kickstarter goal is a tricky but an extremely important part of your crowdfunding campaign. Funding goals for your Kickstarter project involve a lot of factors, but the bottom line is that the goal has to be reached.

The first thing to understand about crowdfunding goals, particularly on Kickstarter where your campaign’s goal needs to be reached for you to get anything, is that you actually have two goals to consider – the public goal and your personal goal. To properly identify those two goals you need to ask yourself two questions:

“How much do I * need * to raise for my project?”
“How much do I * want * to raise for my project?”

These are two very different questions.

More often than not, the trick to achieving your funding goals for your Kickstarter campaign is to set your goal at the level you * need * to raise. The higher sum – your personal goal – can still be reached, but you have a higher chance of reaching both goals if you use the smaller sum as your official public goal.

The reason for this is very simple – the lower your campaign’s goal is, the higher percentage of it will be completed with each consecutive contribution. If you have a goal of $10,000 and someone contributes $500, that’s 5% of your campaign goal!

However, if you’ve set your goal to $100,000, then those $500 will be just 0.5% of your campaign goal. The reason this is important is that fundraising platforms such as Kickstarter and IndieGoGo tend to feature “successful” campaigns on their main pages, exposing them to communities of millions of people. So, when wondering how to set your Kickstarter goal, choose the lower number – the one you absolutely need to hit. Once the contributions start rolling and you gain traction among the platform’s audience, you’ll find it much easier to reach and pass your initial goal. In fact, by doing this, you’ll have a higher chance of reaching your real funding goals for your Kickstarter campaign and bringing your vision to reality!

Nov 13, 2018

Dreaming of launching a kickass crowdfunding campaign for your project? There’s one common Kickstarter mistake you need to avoid at all costs. It’s super important that you keep this in mind when researching how to plan your Kickstarter campaign. Let me explain … The key to success on crowdfunding sites is to really understand the mindset of potential backers. That includes knowing when the right time is to launch your campaign. One thing I see over and over again – and in fact I’ve been guilty of it myself – is people often make the common Kickstarter mistake of launching their campaigns in the fourth quarter of the year. On the face of it, it sounds like a good idea, right? With Black Friday and Christmas around the corner, surely that means increased consumer spending and a greater likelihood of reaching your goals? Right? WRONG! The holiday season doesn’t mean more backers. In fact, it’s likely to be the opposite. Here’s why… When considering how to plan your Kickstarter campaign, scratch the surface and work out what’s going on in the minds of your potential backers. Most campaigns, if successful, will take months before the product is manufactured and delivered. Knowing that backers are reluctant to spend their holiday budget on something they may not see for six months. After all, they’ve got more pressing things to spend their money on, like gifts for friends and family! From a marketing perspective, there’s also an increased advertising cost you’ll need to factor in. Around Black Friday, marketing costs can spike to three or four times what they are during offseason. Why? Well, it’s the time of the year where there’s a feeding frenzy of competing advertisers all vying to get eyeballs on their products. All that competition drives costs up! Long story short - avoid making the Q4 Kickstarter mistake. Don’t do it! For more tips and strategies about how to plan your Kickstarter campaign and execute the perfect launch hit the subscribe button and stay up to date with all my videos.

Oct 9, 2018

In today's episode, we take a look at how MadnessPlanner.com, a current planner brand that's getting ready to release their latest planner, is using Instagram Giveaway contests to gain brand traction and build their audience.

Jocelyn Schade launched Madness Planner on Shopify earlier this year. Madness Planner, as I like to describe it, is the un-planner for creatives.

Planners seem to be one of the hottest products to launch on Kickstarter right now.

But when Jocelyn was searching for a tool to help her focus, she couldn't find one system that really worked for her.

And that's how she got the idea to create a planner for those Mad Ones. The ones that don't want to conform to a system... but want to create your own.

[Me = Guilty]

So, needless to say, she's sold out of her first 500 units fairly quickly.

Jocelyn decided to go to Kickstarter for Version 2.0 of Madness Planner. She decided to take the launch slow and treat that first "500 sold on Shopify" as a way to get customer feedback and focus on creating an even better product for round 2 (Kickstarter).

Part of her early success has been how she's used Instagram Giveaway Contests to build her email list + get early sales. 

Listen to our latest episode to see how she used Giveaways to build her list by hundreds in a few short months.  

 

Apr 3, 2018

Khierstyn’s guest for this episode of Crowdfunding Uncut is Paul Nadeau, skilled hostage negotiator and the person who is going to revolutionize how you think about stopping self-sabotage. He takes his knowledge of negotiating with people in crises and applies it to personal and professional situations, giving you the best chance at finding success and happiness in your own life. It’s an episode that is going to help you advance your career, find fulfillment, and learn how to prevent your subconscious from sabotaging your success. Don’t miss this insightful and inspirational episode.

How are hostage negotiations and business transactions connected?

Paul transitioned from his background in traditional police force work into hostage negotiations because he learned how to communicate persuasively with people - a skill that is necessary for any business environment. He frequently takes people who have reached the end of their rope and renegotiates a situation into one where everyone is given the best chance to succeed and find peace. These scenarios were not approached with an inflated sense of bravado and an abundance of pre-formed answers to the problems at hand. Rather, he followed a refined process that always kept the human factors in mind. On this episode of Crowdfunding Uncut Paul explains to Khierstyn that you can’t judge a person before you get into the situation and identify all the details. You must then ask them, "What is it you want? What is going on with you right now?" Making that personal connection with an individual (hostage or potential client) is key for the interaction to be successful. They must know you, like you, and trust you in order for any solution to succeed. Taking your time, having empathy for the individual, and working together towards a solution works for hostage crises and business interactions. Paul draws on his extensive experiences to offer you a great explanation as to why these two seemingly separate scenarios are linked, and it’s something you don’t want to miss.

The first step in stopping self-sabotage is learning how to recognize your own self-worth

Paul and Khierstyn are adamant on this episode of Crowdfunding Uncut that every individual is worthy of success, happiness, and fulfillment. These wonderful things only come after recognizing your own self-worth. In order to stop self-sabotage, you must take the time to recognize the areas of life that you are struggling in, identify the conscious and subconscious thoughts that are holding you back from succeeding, and eliminate those thought patterns. Khierstyn explains that reality is often 100% contradictory to what your subconscious is telling you. If you take away the bars that are caging you in, nothing can hold you back. For more great advice on learning how to recognize your self-worth, be sure to listen to this podcast episode.

Don’t let the negative defining moments in your life create a belief system that dictates your future

Everyone has those moments in our pasts that resurface and tell us we’re not worthy of happiness or success. Paul explains to Khierstyn that there are two ways of handling these moments in retrospect. You can choose to believe that the terrible thing that occurred was your fault, and because of that, you are not worthy. Or you can choose to understand that terrible things happen, it was not your fault, and that you don’t have to internalize it and let it define your future. Essentially, you can choose to be a victim or a survivor. The most important moments in your life are the ones that are happening right now, and Paul and Khierstyn want you to recognize you are worthy of enjoying these moments. Don’t miss the rest of their conversation on this episode of Crowdfunding Uncut.

Your past does not define you, your future has not yet been written, and you are worthy of success and happiness

Perhaps the biggest takeaway from this episode of Crowdfunding Uncut is the fact that there is nothing separating you from success. The other people that you admire and view as successful are no more worthy of that success than you are. Paul explains that your past does not have to define you, you can learn how to renegotiate situations to your benefit, and that your future has not yet been written. You CAN stop self-sabotage, you CAN pursue personal and professional success, and no one can dictate how you choose to feel or react to situations in your life. This podcast episode is sure to make you rethink how you approach your past, present, and future, and it’s one not to be missed.

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:53] Khierstyn introduces her guest for this episode, Paul Nadeau, skilled hostage negotiator and believer in self-worth
  • [4:49] Paul’s journey from police work into a hostage negotiation specialist
  • [10:04] Scenarios where Paul’s negotiation and persuasion skills become essential
  • [14:15] The predictable selling environment vs. working within hostage situations
  • [19:00] The challenge of getting people to open up
  • [24:06] The first step in stopping self-sabotage, utilizing hostage situation skills
  • [31:38] There is nothing separating you from success!
  • [35:12] Don’t let the negative defining moments in your life create a belief system that dictates your future
  • [40:50] Life is about the process, not the outcome
  • [43:54] Paul shares how you can get a copy of his new book
  • [46:18] Paul’s famous last words for "unhostaging" yourself

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Paul Nadeau

Connect With Khierstyn

Mar 27, 2018

Leadership, motivation, and entrepreneur are three of the biggest buzzwords in today’s business environment. Chris Thomson, business owner and partner for Canada’s Student Works Painting, has built a company that brings in over $17 million in annual revenue, has raised over $1.3 million for various charities, and plugs highly-skilled undergraduate students into a working business model. Khierstyn herself is an alumnus of the program and on this episode of Crowdfunding Uncut she and Chris discuss the most important leadership strategies for young entrepreneurs and why identifying your “why” is so critical. You don’t want to miss this inspiring episode, so be sure to give it your full attention.

How Student Works Painting creates future business leaders

Student Works Painting operates by giving undergraduate college students the opportunity to create a business plan, market, and sell a company. Participants can elect to work as a minimum wage painter for a single academic year or apply to be a part of the prestigious Summer Management Program. The summer program teaches students leadership and business skills that are transferable to any career path. By focusing on the mentorship and student development portions of the business model, not just the final painted product, Chris and his team are able to enable promising students to flourish in their personal development. Chris is “developing the next great generation of Canadian business leaders” and his insights are sure to inspire, be sure to check out this episode.

Identifying the “why” behind your work will motivate you to create more and take more action

Just as Student Works Painting is so much more than a house painting business, your business needs to be about more than just the final product. Identifying the true reasons behind why you’re doing the work you’re doing will pay off in dividends. Chris stays motivated and passionate about his work because it’s really about impacting young people and giving them the tools to succeed later in life. He explains to Khierstyn on this episode that you have to connect your business idea, your future life goals, and the needs/wants of your employees and customers for your entrepreneurial venture to really succeed. Identifying the “why” will motivate you to complete the business tasks that are necessary but aren’t that exciting. To hear how Chris discovered his “why” be sure to listen to this podcast.

The top essentials for good leadership and why you should apply the pay it forward technique in life and business

Servant leadership is a huge part of what Chris does at Student Works Painting, and he encourages listeners of this episode of Crowdfunding Uncut to always take care of people first - tasks and objectives can wait. If your employees aren’t being taken care of and don’t feel valued the important work won’t be done at a high-caliber level. Your conversations shouldn’t revolve around money. Focusing solely on the transactions of business cheapens the relationships you should be trying to develop. When there’s real alignment between vision, value, employees, and customers, that’s when your company and brand are going to be launched into success. Chris also mentions that you can attract high-quality people with a vision, but you have to keep them through mentoring.

The most important part of being an entrepreneur and Chris’ famous last words of motivation

The first step in becoming a successful entrepreneur is passionately seeking out your own strengths, weaknesses, and communication styles. After you determine your authentic self, fill your team with people who will encourage your strengths and support your weaknesses. Chris explains to Khierstyn that people work better in teams because no one is great at every task or leadership style. However, incredible things can happen when passionate, dynamic people tackle a common goal. By always learning and being willing to take the first step into a new project, you’ll be surprised at how much you can accomplish. “The world bends to those who are in action,” exclaims Chris, and you definitely need to hear the rest of his advice for aspiring business leaders. Don’t let this episode of Crowdfunding Uncut go unlistened.

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:53] Khierstyn introduces her guest for this episode, Chris Thomson, business partner for Student works
  • [3:27] How did Khierstyn go from a biochemistry major in college to working with Chris at Student Works Painting?
  • [5:38] What exactly is Student Works Painting?
  • [7:14] Chris’ journey from individual to business partner and owner over 30 years of working in Student Works
  • [10:34] Developing future business leaders through Student Works
  • [14:00] How can you realize what your passion is, even while working on your business?
  • [19:04] The magic behind why Student Works has returning participants year after year
  • [21:46] The essentials for good leadership and applying the pay it forward technique
  • [27:25] We work better in teams because no one is great at every task or leadership technique
  • [34:53] Creating a network is so critical because you become like the 5 people you spend the most time with
  • [36:21] Chris’ famous last words for entrepreneurs

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Chris Thomson

Connect With Khierstyn

Mar 13, 2018

With nearly 50% of all e-commerce sales occurring on Amazon, many crowdfunders are asking the question, “how can I take my product and sell on Amazon?” On this episode of Crowdfunding Uncut, Khierstyn has a conversation with Ben Arneberg, founder of Product Fuel and creator of crowdfunding giants Willow & Everett and Terra Mat. Ben shares his top tips for crowdfunders looking to move into the e-commerce space after a successful campaign, how to rank highly within Amazon’s categories, and many more trade secrets that you don’t want to miss. Be sure to listen to this episode - your product will thank you.

Crowdfunding platforms and Amazon are delicate partners - here’s how Product Fuel makes it work

Turning a successful crowdfunding campaign into an equally successful brand online is hard work. That’s why Ben created Product Fuel - to help entrepreneurs move their products from crowdsourcing platforms into digital marketplaces. While it may be easy to list products on Amazon, it’s extremely difficult to allow that product hit its full potential. Product Fuel has successfully taken campaigns such as Wilcox Boots that earned over $140,000 through Kickstarter and helped them bring in over $80,000 monthly Amazon sales. When a campaign is nearly complete, Ben and his team will begin conversations with the client to determine product flows and shipping methods. This allows both parties to fully understand the desired outcome for the product and make a game plan that is tailored to each product, target audience, and sales goals. To hear how to get your product on Ben and Product Fuel’s radar, be sure to listen to this episode.

The art of combining a crowdfunding campaign, a stellar website, and selling on Amazon

Product Fuel attracts clients who already have a successful crowdfunding campaign in progress. Ben encourages aspiring creators to go to a crowdsourcing platform first, rather than trying to launch solely on a website or directly to Amazon. There’s a trifecta that leads to the most success: a successful crowdfunding campaign, an interactive website, and ranking highly on Amazon (leading to more sales.) The campaign is the first integral piece in the process - aside from having an innovative product that fills a market gap. Campaigns create “an amazing halo effect” as Ben explained, and when harnessed properly the momentum drives organic traffic to Amazon and pushes your rankings higher. Without all three of these pieces, your efforts will be much more difficult. For Ben’s full explanation on this cohesive approach, be sure to listen to this episode of Crowdfunding Uncut.

Why accurate keywords and appropriate pricing is key for Amazon success

To explain the importance of great keywords and appropriate pricing, Ben uses a hypothetical coffee mug scenario. Even if you have a stellar coffee mug that sells well for $50 on your website, that doesn’t necessarily mean it will sell well on Amazon. When compared to $7 competitor mugs, if your $50 mug only has a 5% conversion rate on Amazon, it will be pushed down in the rankings and be seen by very few customers. This is the point of critical balance - your product needs to be priced accordingly to not be immediately written off by the client, and it needs to be matched with the right keywords and categories. Product Fuel can help you with this process. For all of the insights on Amazon success, don’t miss this conversation with Khierstyn and Ben.

Ben’s best advice for achieving success selling crowdfunding products on Amazon

In addition to all of the selling strategies Ben discusses on this episode of Crowdfunding Uncut, he encourages crowdfunders to always communicate with a campaign’s backers. You want to avoid launching on your website or on Amazon before your most loyal supporters receive their product. You can also use this window of time for feedback - see what your backers like and dislike about the physical product and then make slight adjustments before releasing it to the general public. He and Khierstyn also discuss the importance of always fulfilling sales through Amazon and why you should stay away from Amazon Launchpad. To hear more of Ben’s expert advice don’t miss this episode of Crowdfunding Uncut.

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:53] Khierstyn introduces her guest for this episode, Ben Arneberg, founder of Product Fuel and Amazon seller guru
  • [3:59] Why Amazon and crowdsourcing are delicate partners
  • [7:17] Why Ben was hesitant to use Kickstarter for Terra Mat, and what changed his mind
  • [8:38] The difference between product selection for Kickstarter and Amazon
  • [12:20] Pros of putting an established brand on Amazon
  • [17:45] Ben’s best tips for future Amazon e-commerce sellers and why you should stay away from Amazon Launchpad
  • [20:44] Ben’s suggestions for organizing product fulfillment
  • [22:57] The timeline for creating your e-commerce process
  • [31:21] How to get connected with Ben and Product Fuel

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Ben Arneberg

Connect With Khierstyn

Mar 6, 2018

If there’s one area of business all entrepreneurs and crowdfunders need to understand, it’s the art and science of investing in relationships. On this episode of Crowdfunding Uncut, Khierstyn interviews Jayson Gaignard, founder of Mastermind Talks, about the story behind the Talks, how he maintains influential relationships with his network, and the best questions to ask to spark great conversations. You don’t want to miss Jayson’s passionate insights, and your network will greatly benefit from hearing his advice.

The fascinating story behind how Jayson overcame threats of bankruptcy and founded Mastermind Talks

After spending the early part of his career building Tickets Canada, traveling the world, and netting $6-7 million per year, Jayson realized that he wasn’t happy with the direction his career was headed. He avoided talking to his clients, started having stress-induced health issues, and wanted to start over and go in a new direction. Rather than sell the company, he decided to downsized and unfortunately was met with debt upwards of a quarter million dollars. That’s when the idea for Mastermind Talks was born. He tapped into a niche market for high-ticket networking and entrepreneur launch events and began working within his passion for connecting people. Mastermind Talks was immediately thrust into success when Jayson purchased a book and speaking engagement package from Tim Ferriss, and Ferriss was in the audience for the first Mastermind Talks event. But how did Jayson manage to purchase this package? He simply made three phone calls. The first two looked promising, but it was the third call to a personal contact that changed the game for Jayson. To hear about how this phone call turned out, and why this contact “invested in Jayson, not the business idea,” be sure to listen to this episode of Crowdfunding Uncut.

How Jayson selects the participants for Mastermind Talks events and why he refunded over $40,000 in ticket sales for his first event

When Jayson switched gears from e-commerce into the art of connecting people, he knew he wanted to be selective in deciding who would be invited to the Mastermind Talks events. The invite-only events that cost upwards of $10,000 per ticket allow Jayson to personally screen interested parties. He explains to Khierstyn that he wants to surround himself with people of integrity that he would personally be friends with - not just any business person who can afford the ticket price. Jayson is so committed to these high standards that for the first event, Mastermind Talks refunded over $40,000 in ticket sales because the fit between the event and the participant just wasn’t right. Mastermind Talks isn’t about event size or revenue, it’s about creating a space where stellar people can share great ideas and make connections that could change the course of their careers. Jayson is passionate about his story, and you don’t want to miss hearing him tell it on this episode of Crowdfunding Uncut.

The importance of investing in relationships and the art of connecting people together

Jayson tells Khierstyn that “it’s noisy at the top, and amazing people become increasingly amazing over time.” This is why he stresses the importance of connecting with people as they’re rising in their careers. You never know when someone might need a connection that you can make for them. Crowdfunding and relationships are deeply intertwined, and even the most successful Kickstarter campaigns with 60,000-70,000 backers only have around 100 exceptionally influential backers. This Kickstarter data proves the mantra Jayson lives by, which is “It doesn’t matter how many friends you can count, it matters how many friends you can count on.” The most influential and memorable moments in your life occur because of other people. You can’t afford to miss Jayson’s lessons on the art of investing in relationships, so be sure to listen to this episode of Crowdfunding Uncut.

Khierstyn and Jayson share the best action steps for strengthening your personal relationships and why we’re all in the relationship business

There are a few key pieces of advice that Jayson shares in this conversation with Khierstyn. He explains that “You never know the value of your network until you need it,” and “You’re only ever left with two things, the integrity of your word and your relationships.” To continue to invest in your relationships after the initial meeting, Khierstyn and Jayson explain that connecting with them in unexpected ways is key. For example, how many times do people receive a video update email rather than the standard email asking “what’s new with you and how can I help?” You can’t be afraid to be the one initiating contact, and you also have to ask the right questions in order to draw out the right responses from your network. They list many great conversation starters on this episode of Crowdfunding Uncut that will dramatically improve your ability to connect to your network, and you don’t want to miss it.

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:55] Khierstyn introduces her guest for this episode, Jayson Gaignard, founder of Mastermind Talks
  • [5:20] Jayson tells the story of how he worked with UJ Ramdas to launch the Five Minute Journal
  • [9:13] How Jayson selects the entrepreneurs that are invited to Mastermind Talks events
  • [12:07] Khierstyn shares why “clicking” with clients is one of the best motivating factors
  • [14:23] The story behind Jayson’s businesses prior to Mastermind Talks
  • [19:25] How Jayson got connected with Tim Ferriss and the importance of connecting with others
  • [24:40] How do you stay in contact with valuable relationships?
  • [30:00] Jayson shares the best action steps for maintaining your influential connections
  • [34:39] The best questions to ask to build connections within your relationships
  • [39:49] Why we’re all in the relationship business and the slogan Jayson lives by

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Jayson

Connect With Khierstyn

Feb 27, 2018

Many entrepreneurs start their company and launch their products because they want to implement healthy change in the world. Khierstyn’s guest for this episode of Crowdfunding Uncut, UJ Ramdas, and his company Intelligent Change is doing just that - encouraging people to embrace healthy change and document positive growth through beautiful personal journals. Their conversation takes you through the company idea formation process, product launch, endorsements, and the importance of infusing excellence into every aspect of doing business. It’s a conversation that you don’t want to miss.

The story behind Intelligent Change and the idea of encouraging healthy change through beautiful products

UJ recognized the fact that change is inevitable, and he was passionate about wanting to help people make it productive and enjoyable. He created Intelligent Change to make beautiful things that directly guide people through the change process in practical ways. The Five Minute Journal was born out of these core ideas. The six-month journal is based on leading psychology research that discovered expressing daily gratitude leads to a better overall quality of life and higher levels of positive emotions. UJ is passionate about his company and its products, and he tells his story in this interview in such a way that’ll leave you inspired and wanting more.

How The Five Minute Journal progressed from a lackluster Kickstarter campaign to an endorsement from Tim Ferriss

The Five Minute Journal began as a Kickstarter campaign but unfortunately, funding fell flat. Although their first crowdfunding attempt didn't succeed, UJ and his team successfully launched at Mastermind Talks in front of just 120 people. One of the guests in attendance was famed entrepreneur and author Tim Ferriss. UJ explains to Khierstyn that in a stroke of “unbelievable awesomeness” Ferriss loved the idea of the journal and within just a few months ordered over 3,000 copies to be shared with his own followers. UJ exclaims that it was a matter of being in the right place at the right time and a perfect testimony to the power of networking. Ferriss is now one of Intelligent Change’s biggest advocates. For more, be sure to listen to the full episode of Crowdfunding Uncut.

UJ shares how his Intelligent Change team balances an external launch with daily operation obligations and combating the #1 problem in business

Since The Five Minute Journal was launched, Intelligent Change is now working on a number of different products that continue to encourage healthy change in people’s lives. Khierstyn and UJ spend some time on this episode of Crowdfunding Uncut discussing the #1 problem in business - finding good employees. UJ could have never balanced external product launches and daily business operations without solid teammates by his side. But finding quality employees is the hardest struggle. He encourages entrepreneurs to prioritize their needs, seek out and hire the best people you can find, and move forward from there. For more of his advice, be sure to catch this episode of Crowdfunding Uncut.

Why building a great business is all about systematizing excellence and gathering 1,000 true fans

Intelligent Change has been met with such great success because of their stellar ways of doing business. Wowing your customers repeatedly within the first 100 days of a launch, gathering and maintaining 1,000 true fans, and systematizing excellence are all methods that UJ lives by. Without these strategies in place, it’s much harder to have a successful product launch. If you’re struggling with your crowdfunding ideas, or just want to hear a great success story, be sure to listen to UJ Ramdas on this episode of Crowdfunding Uncut.

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:53] Khierstyn introduces her guest for this episode, UJ Ramdas, founder of Intelligent Change
  • [3:45] UJ shares the Intelligent Change story and how The Five Minute Journal was launched
  • [8:29] How UJ took his personal system for positivity and healthy change and turned it into a successful product
  • [11:29] The Five Minute Journal’s progress from Mastermind talks to a Tim Ferriss endorsement
  • [13:30] What UJ attributes his Intelligent Change’s growth to and how to wow your customers within the first 100 days
  • [16:50] How the idea behind Productivity Planner got started and the growth of marketing videos for Intelligent Change
  • [21:36] Why UJ and his team chose Kickstarter for the Productivity Planner launch
  • [23:11] The art of balancing an external launch with daily operation obligations
  • [24:42] Why UJ wasn’t 100% pleased with Intelligent Change’s recent Kickstarter project and how they’re troubleshooting the issues for a successful relaunch
  • [32:01] How UJ secured Intelligent Change’s first 1,000 true fans
  • [37:53] Final thoughts on Intelligent Change and the importance of “scratching your own itch”

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with UJ

Connect With Khierstyn

Feb 20, 2018

On this episode of Crowdfunding Uncut, Khierstyn interviews crowdfunding success mogul Evan Varsamis, founder and CEO of Gadget Flow. He has built a platform that puts innovative products in front of over 25 million people per month, runs an international team remotely, and has some great advice for aspiring crowdfunding professionals. You don’t want to miss their energetic and informative conversation, so be sure to catch this episode.

The story behind crowdfunding platform giant - Gadget Flow

What started in 2012 as a part-time project quickly grew into a crowdfunding giant that now hosts over 10,000 products across 140 categories. Gadget Flow is the third largest Indiegogo partner and they have successfully worked with over 6,000 customers thus far. Evan and his team recognized a niche market need for technology and design products that may not get picked up by large platforms such as Amazon and Etsy. They are able to host a wide spectrum of products and give backers exactly what they need to know (tech specs, images, brief descriptions, etc.) in a beautifully simple way. To hear Evan tell his engaging story, be sure to listen to this episode of Crowdfunding Uncut.

How Evan’s Gadget Flow team gauges the potential crowdfunding success of a campaign

Not every campaign or product idea that comes across Evan’s desk will be successful. Gadget Flow currently has an acceptance rate of 78-80%, and the team is highly trained to differentiate the gems from the duds. By using an internal evaluation process they look at the top campaign specs: funding time remaining, the quality of the presentation, and if the product’s team has been following established steps for crowdfunding success. Evan’s employees look for those unique teams that aren’t just shooting in the dark when it comes to marketing and campaign efforts. Their #1 red flag? If a campaign has less than 10% of their goal raised after five days of campaigning. Be sure to hear the full story behind the evaluation process by listening to this episode - your campaign can’t afford to miss it.

 

How Evan built a global remote team for Gadget Flow and his strategies for overcoming telework challenges

The current Gadget Flow team is comprised of 25 people in 8 countries. How does Evan manage to lead such a diverse team? And why did he choose to pursue remote teamwork rather than a traditional office setting? The answer is found in commute time - he was tired of wasting precious productive hours commuting to and from a physical workspace. He found that highly skilled employees and contractors often do their best work in their own environments. By allowing (and even encouraging) his team to remain in their hometowns and countries, and utilizing remote work tools such as Slack, Evan created a global team that is passionate about Gadget Flow. He tackled the issue of creating a strong company culture by implementing weekly video calls with each one of his team members. Evan’s desire was to encourage personal connections, even though miles and time zones separated each individual. It’s such a great story and a testimony to dedicated team members, you don’t want to miss it.

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:53] Khierstyn introduces her guest for this episode, Evan Varsamis, founder and CEO of Gadget Flow
  • [2:29] Evan describes his professional background and the idea behind Gadget Flow
  • [5:10] Gadget Flow’s ideal customer, and how Evan’s team gauges potential campaign success
  • [8:59] The ideal timeframe for submitting a product to Gadget Flow and the biggest red flags Evan’s team looks for
  • [11:24] The 5% and 3-5 day timeline Gadget Flow follows
  • [13:43] The balance between internal and external funding goals
  • [15:31] Khierstyn asks Evan what he would do if a campaign failed to meet its internal goal, but met its external goal
  • [17:31] Khierstyn shares her thoughts on digital marketing for crowdfunding success
  • [20:49] Evan shares his best piece of advice for creators
  • [21:14] How Evan built a successful remote team, and why he chose to go virtual
  • [30:09] The one area in which Evan has seen remote work go wrong

Resources & People Mentioned

  • SPONSOR: Gadget Flow - get your project in front of over 25 million people per month and receive 10% off your service with code “Uncut10”
  • Remote work tool Slack

Connect with Evan

Connect With Khierstyn

Feb 16, 2018

Few entrepreneurs are as unique, engaging, and great at creative networking as Sol Orwell, founder of nutrition advice empire Examine.com. He is also the creator of websites garnering over 200,000 visitors per day and a fanatic chocolate chip cookie enthusiast. On the first official Crowdfunding Uncut episode for 2018, Khierstyn interviews Sol and asks him key questions about his successful empire, why he thought to connect his love of cookies with creative networking events, and his top advice for entrepreneurs who want to do things a little differently. Their conversation will leave you intrigued, laughing, and wanting more so don’t miss this episode.

The success story behind Sol’s Examine.com nutrition advice empire

What started with a desire to know the facts behind nutrition supplements morphed into an independent analysis company with the sole goal of “reading the research, making sense of it, and putting it online.” From being the sole creator of the company to now being a consensus-building leader and visionary, Sol has built the most trustworthy source for accurate information on supplements - minus any hype, agenda, or ulterior motives. Khierstyn uncovers the human story behind a website giant, and it’s a story sure to inspire. You don’t want to miss it.

How Sol’s Examine.com team thoughtfully engages with their market and the most underrated feedback tool on the market

Sol’s current position as a leader of Examine.com allows him to have a clear picture of what works (and what doesn’t) when his team connects with their audience. By empowering his employees to do what needs to be done, he can watch them successfully interact with visitors via email and actual phone conversations - a rare phenomenon in today’s digital world. By trusting their niche market and the quality feedback they received over the years, they were able to organically grow into new market segments. They utilized Google Surveys, one of the most versatile and user-friendly tools on the market, to connect with what their audience was actually looking for. He found that if you expose your company’s personality more, people are more likely to engage with your content and communication. Be sure to listen to this episode for more of his stellar advice.

What do cookies, creative networking, and ridiculous amounts of fun all have in common?

When Sol grew tired of predictable coffee networking meetups, he wanted to create an exciting new way to bring people together. That’s when #CookieLife was born. Rather than buying someone a simple cup of coffee, Sol started inviting people to try the "world's best chocolate chip cookie" with him. In just two years the idea moved from a small Toronto chocolate chip cookie shop to $30,000 fundraising and networking events. Khierstyn talks with Sol about how he discovered that people will come together for any reason that’s new and engaging. By simply encouraging people to follow their own unique passions, he has set a new standard for how people develop a comprehensive personal brand - rather than focusing only on one aspect of themselves. To hear more about #CookieLife, how it gives back to communities, and its expansive reach, give this episode a listen.

Sol’s best advice for having clear career end-goals, making influential friends, and living the lifestyle YOU want

Being an entrepreneur should be about a few key ideas: intentionally create lifestyle freedom, give back while creating an impact, and pair fun with passionate hard work. In his interview with Khierstyn, Sol explains that there’s no single “right way” to build your career and that you shouldn’t forget to enjoy the steps along the way. When trying to create a network of influential friends, Sol recommends “Actually do something interesting - you don’t connect over business strategies you connect over personal interests.” One of his best pieces of advice is, “Do things that personally drive you forward, and don’t be afraid to let go of a project once it solves the problem you set out to eliminate.” To hear about Sol’s top 3 career tips, you’ll have to check out this episode of Crowdfunding Uncut.

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:53] Khierstyn introduces her guest for this episode, Sol Orwell
  • [4:00] Sol tells his story of he got started as an entrepreneur
  • [8:11] Sol’s current role in Examine.com, and how he empowers his employees
  • [10:30] How Sol expanded Examine beyond one supplement line, and how his team engages with their customers
  • [17:52] The number one thing Sol did with Examine.com that led to its success
  • [19:32] How Sol connected ridiculous fun, chocolate chip cookies, and networking
  • [26:07] The place that #CookieLife has in Sol’s personal and professional universe
  • [28:49] Going beyond the product launch for your company and why planning 3 years in advance is insane
  • [32:02] Khierstyn asks Sol how he illuminated his career end-goals
  • [34:58] Sol’s 3 best habits for making influential friends and a solid network
  • [43:23] The best notebook Sol relies on to capture his ideas

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Sol

Connect With Khierstyn

Dec 15, 2017

My guest today is David Roher. We’re talking about doing things that people may think you’re crazy for doing. We recently completed an Iron Man Triathlon. It was the hardest endurance activity I could have ever done.

 

[03:36] How David Knew He Wanted to do a Triathlon

 

David and his wife live an average life. When David was 38 his father had a heart attack. To help with his therapy he made his dad exercise. He started hearing about triathlon’s and it was something that interested him. He got into it and immediately began to love it. He determined that he was finally good at something outside of his work.

 

He went to North Carolina for a seminar on coaching. He then became a certified coach and began realizing what he liked about himself. He wanted to impart this feeling to other people. Most people when they complete a triathlon stop there. It’s more of a bucket list item for them. To David, it became more of a lifestyle. It transformed his outlook and approach to life.

 

Completing the iron man triathlon gave him empowerment. He dedicated a year of his life to achieve this goal. It was a very difficult task to the point where David felt like he was going to die. The end goal of reaching the finish line was his motivation to continue through. He set a goal that is beyond most people’s capacity and provide you can do almost anything you put your mind to.

 

 

[16:23] Prepare Yourself for a Triathlon. Same as you Would in Business.

 

It’s important to properly prepare when attempting a triathlon. It’s difficult to understand what is expected before going into it. Being prepared for what you can expect will bring you success. The same translates to business. When you’re more prepared in a situation the easier it is to execute.

 

You can feel defeated when you’re not properly prepared. Going into a situation where you’re not prepared can lead you to not wanting to do so again. This can be a barrier when faced with new opportunities. David set goals and prepared himself for the triathlon’s he’s completed. Remember, you can’t prepare for everything.

 

When training for a triathlon David was in an accident with a vehicle while on his bike. When he got home he realized there was an issue with his arm. After visiting the hospital, he found out he had broken his arm. Despite this David was still committed to doing the triathlon. He continued to work hard and train to complete the triathlon. He soon realized that his injury was causing him to take longer to complete activities.

 

He could have gone home and said at least he tried. Instead he continued and worked hard to reach his goal. The amount of training required is daunting. He was able to use his training tactics towards improving his life.

 

[25:48] Take Time to Train

 

An average training week for David isn’t a normal training week for other people. He doesn’t have a normal schedule as he teaches and tutors. Having a coach when training is important. Coaches will train you based on their experience and not yours. This is a good thing when you have limited experience.

 

A normal training time for people would be 5 out of 7 days. Each day would be set with different exercises to train on. You should have two long exercises, two medium exercises, then one small exercise. David’s training schedule is a bit more intense than that. He pushes himself beyond the frustration of discomfort.

 

[31:10] Celebrate the Small Accomplishments

 

It was terrifying to David to become an entrepreneur. The reason he went with teaching is because it was a safe bet. While it has its unique challenges it’s nothing like running a business. He started becoming an entrepreneur when he became a coach. He began to realize he liked working with people in a more freedom oriented environment. He wanted to encourage others to achieve their goals.

 

Mindset is huge. Your body can tolerate a lot of stress and frustration. Many entrepreneurs get stuck. They have mind barriers put up that prevent them from getting to their goal. We need to celebrate the moments where we feel we’re going to fail. Otherwise we end up sabotaging ourselves. Put benchmarks in place on your journey and keep yourself accountable to your goals.

 

[40:54] Bounce Your Ideas off Someone

 

Don’t get caught up on the narrative in your head. You could have the best product and put all you have into it. Yet, your strategy could be off. You might not be aware of the opportunities available to bring it to market. Have a sounding board where you can bounce off ideas. If you stay living in your head, you could miss many opportunities.

 

[42:20] Contact David

 

If you want to reach out to David you can e-mail him at davidroher@aol.com.

 

 

Episode Outline

 

Introduction: Being an Entrepreneur is Like Doing a Triathlon

 

[03:36] How David Knew He Wanted to do a Triathlon

[16:23] Be Prepared for a Triathlon. Just as you Would in Business.

[25:48] Take Time to Train

[31:10] Celebrate the Small Accomplishments

[40:54] Bounce Your Ideas off Someone

[42:20] Contact David

 

Resources and Sponsor

 

Gadget Flow

 

Follow David Roher @ ??

Facebook

Dec 4, 2017

 

My guest today is Ted Flemming. He’s used Kickstarter to raise awareness and funds to his non-alcoholic beer brewing brand. He raised a little under $30,000 for his project! He’s here to share why he used Kickstarter for his campaign.

 

[02:33] Why Non-Alcoholic Beverages?

 

Ted began getting into the craft beer scene in his late-20’s. His journey was cut short due to a diagnosis of Crones disease. he also became a father around the same time. It made him change his focus towards making his health a priority. Because of this he gave up alcohol. He missed the social aspect of drinking with family and friends. This was his motivation towards starting a non-alcoholic beer brand.

 

Ted’s background was an engineer and he didn’t know much about the space he was getting into. His E-Commerce platform has grown to alcoholic-free beverages such as wine and spirits. Creating a product based on what he liked and the feedback from customers was a huge asset.

 

[07:44] Kickstarter Campaign or Community Investment?

 

Ted used an e-commerce platform to reach his customers. He built a community of 10-15,000 people between customers and social media followers. He values the feedback he gets from his customers. He wants to increase the quality and diversity of their products.

 

Kickstarter showed extreme potential to Ted. It was an opportunity he didn’t want to pass up for his brand. For the future, he will most likely be taking fundraising internally. The cost for using these platforms adds up over time. Every percentage of revenue going out is important. About 25% of investors came from their Kickstarter campaign. The remaining percent came from their community. This showed Ted which path he needs to take in the future when asking for investments.

 

There wasn’t much hesitation to start a Kickstarter campaign for Ted. He had done the research needed to have a successful campaign. Preparation gave him comfort.

 

[14:30] Expect the Unexpected

 

Coming into a crowdfunding campaign with an engaged community or a lead-up is helpful. It helps get your product out there to a larger community. This was very important for Ted. He needed to have this system in place and take advantage of it as a tool. Next time Ted looks to do this, he would like to be farther along in the production process.

 

His first campaign had production delays. In the future he hopes to have more clarity on his path to production. When your campaign is successful it's stressful to fulfill commitments. Have a production process in place before your campaign is complete.

 

Ted developed a prototype and the recipe for beer. He didn’t have the next step of bringing it to a commercial scale. Pitching that it was a non-alcoholic product was also a difficult challenge for Ted. Being first to market created hesitancy from manufacturers.

 

Once the goal for the campaign was reached, Ted started conversations with brewers. In the brewing industry it’s very based on the season. He was coming in during springtime when business was picking up and people were too busy. Had he come in the fall it would’ve been better timing for his brand. Having an understanding of the industry and timing is important for any business.

 

When you decide to go the crowdfunding route, it’s important to have a structure in place. Have your fulfillment and processes in place to be successful.

 

[21:58] Accident Turned Success Story

 

Understand what your manufacturing time frame is to know your production time. Give yourself enough time in case there’s any unexpected surprises. Customer fulfillment when you’re first launching a brand is very important. Have the mindset that everything will be twice as much and twice as long as you expect.

 

It’s not easy to tell your backers there’s going to be a delay. Ted had a production issue with the product not coming out as he wanted the first run. While his design was for a hoppy and bitter beer, it came out too much so. He gave customers the option of receiving the beer they created or waiting for their brand beer. His customers showed happiness towards it and enjoyed the product.

 

The product is now a part of Ted’s brand. It became a happy and fortunate accident for him.

 

[30:03] From Kickstarter to Dragon’s

 

Within a month of the Kickstarter campaign, Ted had pitched for Dragon’s Den. He utilized his campaign to his advantage when pitching the Dragon’s. It gave his product validation and traction. Everything seemed straight-forward and simple after that. It was a great experience for Ted and he finds great value in it. It made pitching in front of other investors and crowds easier.

 

[34:15] What’s Next for Ted?

 

Next for Ted is developing an innovative pipeline of new products. He’s expanding his line of non-alcoholic beverages to bring the greatness of non-alcoholic beverages to this market. His goal is to transform this niche and make it better for the future.

 

 

 

Episode Outline

 

Introduction: Building an Unlikely Niche on Kickstarter

 

[02:33] Why Non-Alcoholic Beverages?

[07:44] Kickstarter Campaign or Community Investment?

[14:30] Expect the Unexpected

[21:58] Accident Turned Success Story

[30:03] From Kickstarter to Dragon’s

[34:15] What’s Next for Ted?

 

 

Resources and Sponsor

 Gadget flow

Premium Near Beer

Nov 22, 2017

My guest today is Matt Bodnar. He is the host of the Science is Success podcast and a part of the Fresh Hospitality Firm. He’s here to share with us today how to get VC investments and whether they’re right for your business.

 

[01:50] Investment with Fresh Hospitality

 

Fresh Hospitality invests across the food value spectrum. They invest in farming and agriculture through packaged foods.  They also invest in technology, marketing, and accounting that fits around their ecosystem. They're able to add immediate value to their clients. They provide the extra resources needed to help growth.

 

They are very hands on investors. Matt looks at investing as the discovery of value at one end and the creating of value on the other. Companies they invest in already have good value, but Matt wants to increase their value. There's several ways they provide value to their clients.

 

There’s a lot of different ways to work with VC’s. Fresh Hospitality works as a traditional private equity firm. They take more stake in the company and become more hands on. Majority of VC’s take on more of a minority position.

 

 

 

[06:12] Matt’s Beginning

 

After graduation Matt worked on Wall Street for several years. He’s originally from Nashville. His connection there is what brought him into the food and hospitality industry. He found himself in a new dynamic with new challenges. He’s now starting to find opportunities in the food technology space. While still investing in more traditional farming practices.

 

[07:34] Investment in Crowdfunding and the Entrepreneur

 

Crowdfunding is one of the top platforms for your start up. It improves customer demand and gives you the startup capital you need. Most people will lean more towards a company that started through crowdfunding. It gives them validation of the product.

 

It’s important to look at the traction and value of a company when investing. Have your proof of concept ready when approached with an investment. This is something you can get from a successful crowdfunding campaign. Connect yourself with your campaign.

 

When investing, Matt also looks at the entrepreneur themselves. He wants founders to stay involved with their business and continue to lead. It’s originally their vision so they should be taking lead on the creative side of the business.

 

Matt likes to focus more on the back end of a business and scaling the business. It’s important for Matt when investing to ensure the company connects with Fresh Hospitality’s current investments. He utilizes the success of his investments to leverage other investment opportunities. He’s found this increases the value of those investments.

 

[17:08] Investment Decisions Vs. Investment Outcomes

 

It’s not about the outcome of a decision. It’s about the decision being the right one. Make yourself a decision journal. When you have big decisions coming up, focus on which ones are most important at that moment. Analyze what the decision is and weigh out the outcomes of making the decision. Once you’ve made the decision, analyze what went well and what went bad. By building a log of these decisions you can look back and see how your decision-making skills have grown.

 

[22:42] Network Towards an Investment

 

Most of the clients Matt deals with have sought them out. In the beginning they focused more on being active in seeking clients. Now he gets 5-6 deals pitched to him per week. He’s been able to garner this traction from referrals and word of mouth.

 

The platform in which you send your pitch is important. When receiving pitches from an online form or their website, Matt immediately discards it. If he’s given a warm introduction by someone he knows, he’s more inclined to receive the pitch. It’s a kind of vetting process when it comes to the leads he receives.

 

Networking goes a long way when asking for an investment. Use your network to reach the people you need to. It’s much easier to pitch an idea when you have a warm intro. Matt likes to receive pitches in person when possible. If not, he’ll ask for a product sample and a 30-minute meeting. He wants to create that personal connection with them before he starts to invest.

 

[27:23] Are VC Investments Right for You?

 

If you think VC investing is for you, make sure it’s the right thing for your business. It’s a very different life than bootstrapping. The pressure to grow quickly can lead to investing in areas that don’t create value. This can be what destroys your business. Most people who look for VC investments are aware of the holes in their business. They are looking for someone who can provide that capital or intellectual capital.

 

Be clear with yourself on what you want. What kind of lifestyle do you want? Are you capable of taking it there? Be honest with yourself.

 

 

 

 

[30:36] Investments in the Food Industry

 

In the technology world, most VC’s invest in the seed stage. In the food industry, people lean towards investing in companies that have growth. They’ve already gained traction and have some sort of customer demand. It’s rare to receive investments in the seed stage in the food industry. The more traction you can get the better chance you have at getting an investment.

 

Word of mouth will help you get traction. There are some investors in the food industry still willing to invest early. Use your connections and network to figure out what the ecosystem is right now. Find the right person for the investment you’re looking for. Look for someone who’s willing to invest in your niche.

 

[36:56] Show Intensity, Intelligence, and Integrity

 

Reputation is very important. Don’t sacrifice your integrity for short-term gains. Shortcuts to get ahead end up pulling you back. You can get money easily but building your reputation is difficult. The integrity of an entrepreneur is important for any investor.

 

 

Episode Outline

 

Introduction: How to Find Which Investment is Right for your Business.

 

[01:50] Investing with Fresh Hospitality

[06:12] Matt’s Beginning

[07:34] Investment in Crowdfunding and the Entrepreneur

[17:08] Investment Decisions Vs. Investment Outcomes

[22:42] Network Towards an Investment

[27:23] Are VC Investments Right for You?

[30:36] Investments in the Food Industry

[36:56] Show Intensity, Intelligence, and Integrity

 

 

Resources and Sponsor

Matt Bodnar

The Science of Success Podcast

Fresh Hospitality

Toxic VC TechCrunch

 

Follow Matt Bodnar @MattBodnar

Facebook

Twitter 

 
Oct 31, 2017

My guest today is Tim Ray. He is the founder of Carnivore Club. An E-Commerce subscription based company that offers meat from different artisans around the world.

 

[02:04] Stories That Drive Crowdfunding

 

Carnivore Club is a subscription e-commerce business launched in 2013. Tim was working a 9-5 during the time of the dollar shave club hitting the scene. Tim tells us how wine clubs are a great example of subscription e-commerce based businesses. Because of their stories and delivery, it can be very successful

 

The different ingredients and interpretations really interested Tim. From a business perspective, he’s in a lightweight and durable industry on e-commerce. He launched in Canada and US with a crowdfunding campaign. Being aware of the crowdfunding space before he got into it, he took an unconventional approach to his marketing video.

 

He finds that most crowdfunding projects go with tear-jerking stories and something deep to create an emotional connection. The unconventional video was able to get Carnivore Club past the noise. After the launch of the video, the campaign blew up overnight in the US. He spent 13 grand on the video but got back 20 from crowdfunding.

 

[09:00] The Meat Isn’t Your Product, It’s Your Brand

 

About 50% of people when they find out about how much it costs to conduct a campaign don’t realize they won’t make money on the campaign. You may break even but chances are low you will make money. You need to look at it as launching a company and not just a product. Crowdfunding is not a get rich quick scheme.

 

The video Tim created it creates brand awareness. It got his vendors and customers excited for what was to come. Fulfillment and costs will continue to increase for crowdfunding. As the industry begins to mature there’ll be more brands utilizing crowdfunding to launch a product. Ultimately you need to remember you’re starting a business. You can kickstart a product but not become a successful business. Think long term.

 

[12:20] The Search for Meat

 

Tim doesn’t have international shipping. Each country he services has its own club. The artisans he works with don't have good websites or SEO. To find them he had to use guerilla tactics. He began searching Google using keywords to find his suppliers. To be successful you need to ensure you have everything lined up before launch.

 

Tim was on Dragon’s Den despite the saturation of the subscription box market at the time. However, it hadn’t really hit TV yet. Tim took advantage of this and ended up increasing his sales short-term due to this. He knew the value proposition but didn’t get any box features in line at first.

 

From once the campaign was closed he allowed himself time to figure out what they were going to give people. It ended up being put together on the fly when it came to getting monthly boxes together. This helped when it came to multi-month subscriptions as well as he was able to provide discounts.

 

[18:37] Start of Crowdfunding

 

Tim didn’t want the pressure of only having 20 orders for his first month. His first month and a half of the business was media and PR. He created brand awareness before Christmas to be able to tap into that market. His media and PR piece was about crowdfunding in general. He’s now launching a new company in the spring without crowdfunding. He feels a more traditional business launch would pull more heartstrings, considering his tenure as an entrepreneur.

 

Social media marketing is huge when it comes to crowdfunding. Getting your name out there to increase your brand awareness will show you success.

 

[21:14] The Bugs in Your Meat

 

When Tim launched his website, there was a lot of bugs. He had long painful nights to figure out his processes and systems. He launched the website and crowdfunding campaign without very much thought into the little things. He taught himself by virtue of necessity how to execute and have superior customer service.

 

Tim was able to fulfill on time. He may have broken a few rules to get there but he learned different strategies from this. He expanded into Australia and quickly realized that more research needed to be done to get into that space. He didn’t even realize he needed a registered business number.

 

He began to expand into the UK and began to quickly discover some copycats. He found a company that had ripped him off in almost every way. Packaging, inserts, etc. They ended up going under a few months later because they didn’t know how to effectively run a business. This happens when you’re not knowledgeable on how to fulfill.

 

[26:07] Importance of Fulfillment

 

Tim spent approx. $25,000 on the video marketing in Australia. They exceeded their targets in the first month launching organically by 25k. Quickly they realized they’re deliveries in Australia weren’t very transparent. When Tim’s products shipped to US and Canada he was easily able to receive a tracking number. However, in Australia, it was similar to a black box. There was no identification as to where the parcels were at any point. They also were limited in terms of where they could ship to. Tim was unable to deliver in Australia during Christmas because of this.

 

Tim revamped his business model in Australia. He’s now using Australia Post which has found to be much more transparent in their fulfillment. If you don’t have a good 3PL it’s going to present it’s own problems down the line.

 

[30:50] Cutting the Fat, Keep The Meat

 

Crowdfunding was a good start for Tim and his company. His most successful decisions were around investing in prestigious packaging for their boxes. He’s paying more for this, but he wants his customers to feel regal with their subscription. He continued to do videos which continued to prove to be successful.

 

Tim didn’t want to penny pinch or cut corners on his branding. He believed having a unique and stand out brand would get him to where he needed to be. However, he ended up spending way too much on unprofitable ad spending during Christmas.

 

He began podcast advertising which didn’t turn out successful for him. He noted that ads in podcasts follow to regular of a space. This results in a lot of people just skipping over the ads. Tim found his profitable routes of marketing are social media and videos. Working with a subscription business and artisans provides that unique touch to his business. Tim is looking to be the go-to for these types of artisans to display their product.

 

Tim got a lot of inquiries about specific products. A lot of his artisans also didn’t like the infrequency of purchasing, however. He wants to evolve his subscription model to a more on-demand model for his customers.

 

Episode Outline

 

Introduction: Finding the Meat In Crowdfunding

 

[02:04] Stories That Drive Crowdfunding

[09:00] The Meat Isn’t Your Product, It’s Your Brand

[12:20] The Search for Meat

[18:37] Start of Crowdfunding

[21:14] The Bugs in Your Meat

[26:07] Importance of Fulfillment

[30:50] Cutting the Fat, Keep the Meat

 

Resources and Sponsor

@Timmyeray

https://carnivoreclub.co/

https://thegadgetflow.com/

I want to thank our sponsor Gadget Flow which is the #1 platform to discover the best products and crowdfunding projects on the market. Over 25M people per month stay up to date with the latest product releases and crowdfunding projects. They are the 3rd largest Indiegogo Partner and listed on Kickstarter as experts and they have worked with over 4,000 crowdfunding projects since 2012. Their platform also supports AR & VR! Head over to thegadgetflow.com/submit/ to list your crowdfunding project today and use coupon code ROSS10 to get 10% OFF. 

 

Oct 17, 2017
 
 
Introduction: Get Your Time Back
 
My guest today is Sacha Brant. There was a point when I was in desperate need of someone to help give me back my time. I had outsourced multiple times and ended up having to micro-manage every thing. Through one of our business groups I was able to find Sacha who is the founder of Sassy Lasses. A business built to optimize and take care of your pain points as an entrepreneur. This allowed me take back the time I was losing doing back end things I did not want to deal with.
 
 
 
[3:35] Identifying Areas of Support
 
 
 
Sacha’s business is to help support small business owners and entrepreneurs. It's about the little guys. Sassy Lasses is her way to help others utilize their skills to maximize their potential. She does this by taking on the support pieces so owners can focus on what matters most; The Business She started out wearing every hat a business owner has to wear. It was through this process, she is able to identify areas where you need support. There are even areas where you Might not see you need support. When you’re in a fast-paced environment it’s easy to not see what you’re missing. Sassy Lasses is completely diversified so they can help you in every area you need. When you strengthen your businesses team it begins to strengthen your inner core. Sacha wants to give you a better sense of self and a better sense of direction.
 
[06:02] Rebuilding Yourself
 
Sacha hasn’t always had as much control in her life and business as she does now. She led a life of struggle and only began to take control in her adult years. She’s gone through therapy and was trapped in an abusive relationship. Despite this being a life of traumatic experiences, she looks at it as one of the most formative things to happen to her.
 
Broken down both emotionally and mentally. Sacha learned how to rebuild herself through her business and being a entrepreneur. She was than able to apply those same techniques to helping others businesses.
 
In a world where to many people chose to blame every one else for the state of there lives. Sacha chose to rise above her past and us it as fuel to propel herself into the future.
 
 
[09:43] Keeping To Your Values
 
Sacha was employed full-time before taking on her business. She identified that she was working undervalues that just didn’t fit her. Small Business clients weren’t getting the same treatment as higher paying clients. This was a driving factor to starting her business.
 
Sacha wants to help these small businesses that seem to get pushed to the wayside. She wants to provide an experience. One where you look as good as you feel. You need to move forward and grow to be successful. Sacha finds inspiration by giving new life to their businesses.
 
[10:57] Managing High Volume
 
A high volume of business can sometimes cause issues with quality. Sacha is always on the hunt for new talent. Sacha utilizes a network of contractors to ensure work always gets done on time. Regardless of incoming volume, she is able to continue to provide high-quality service. You need to be able to inspire and lead people. Nurturing your network will provide high-quality talent.
 
[14:00] Struggles of Entrepreneurs
 
A lot of businesses struggle with getting their messages out. Everybody knows in their mind what they think they’re brand should be. However, it’s difficult to put yourself in the place of the consumer. Your brand needs to have a core of yourself so you can connect with your clients.
 
Consistency in messaging is key. Once your brand is heard you need to ensure it is on multiple platforms. What the message is and how it is delivered needs to be tailored to that platform and demographics. Include your values in your messaging to make that connection.
 
Your message also needs to deliver value. Ask yourself what you have to give to your consumer.
 
[17:14] Branding
 
When you have a product to market you need validation and proof of concept. You need to start with your core audience and who you can connect with the best. This is why it’s very important to have a clear brand message.
 
Once you have your followers you can amplify your brand and your message will spread. You shouldn’t try to reach out to a broad audience too early. You need to specialize in a niche, determine what your target audience needs and provide that to them.
 
[19:12] Journey to Finding Your Passion
 
Sassy Lasses originally began as an event planning and virtual office company. Sacha used to plan events and identifies this as one of her biggest mistakes.
 
She learned that event planning wasn’t something that was passionate for her. She had partnered with someone who she ended up having to talk away from. It’s very important to not only do something that you're passionate about but to surround yourself with people who have that passion.
 
Sacha’s past gave her an advantage towards finding her passion after rebranding. Failure isn’t an option for Sacha because you only fail if you stop trying. You assume that if you don’t get the end result you want on your first try, that you failed. Whenever you think you’ve failed, you’ve actually succeeded.
 
You need to take your failures and look at them as an opportunity and learning experience. They’re also successes because now you can build a new process around them.
 
You need to have the proper mindset. Instead of complaining, you need to change your mindset to identifying the problem and finding the resolution. Find out what makes you happy. Grab on to what you enjoy and apply those talents to monetize yourself. Everyone has something that someone else wants or needs.
 
[25:40] Self Improvement
 
Most people are afraid to bring their idea to market. Whether that be because of rejection or plagiarism.
 
Sacha is launching a new program called Re-Self University. Individuals will be given the building blocks to find themselves and improve themselves. You get lost in what everyone else wants you to do or thinks you should do. Sacha wants to help you find yourself again.
 
Sometimes you hit that comfort zone and as an entrepreneur you need to learn to re-train yourself to grow and challenge yourself. If you don’t your past mindsets could cause you to sabotage yourself.
 
We are responsible for our self-improvement and being proactive about it. This will begin to pour out into your relationships and business. Sacha found that there weren’t many outlets for emotional regulation and logic mind. She wants to help you find that balance between the two.
Sep 12, 2017

Insider Lessons Gained from Launching Successful Products

 

Dale Backus has a story with ups and downs, hard work and wins, and some really amazing entrepreneurial lessons. He’s won crash the doritos contest not once but twice. He used some of these earnings to help fund his startup. That startup is now doing over $20m a year in revenue. That business is  SmallHD, a camera accessories company. Big wins for a young man of 31 years old.

 

Khierstyn and Dale are working together on a new project and it’s really exciting. Real world experience of taking a company from nothing, self funding, and growing an impressive revenue stream.

 

That’s why Dale  was invited on to the podcast. To give you a chance to hear from someone who has built from ground up, from 0 to 8 figures, and is now starting at 0 again.

 

[04:30] 10 Year Journey in a Nutshell

 

Dale tells us that he had an entrepreneurial spirit from young age. When it came time to graduate high school, he wanted to take his own route. He didn’t want to follow what parent’s desired path. He knew he had skills and that it was just a matter of making money.

 

“It’s always a matter of money right?” Dale laughs.

 

He started a production company called 5 Point Productions and shares that it’s not something he would recommend. Products make more sense  and it’s inherently harder to sell services. It was like a weight bearing down. They created some car ad, but he tells us that those are the worst. Then, the super bowl contest came along and they were inspired. It was only 4 days from deadline when they saw it, but they decided to go all in.

 

It was the first ever consumer sourced ad content contest - and they won. It was a pretty revolutionary marketing strategy at the time. A unique concept. That was the first of 10 years they ran the contest. It was unbelievable.

 

“We didn’t get a lot of money but we got a lot of credibility and an increase in business.” They leveraged that for 5 Point Productions. “We had some fun making things that WEREN’T local car ads.” Eventually the fame wore down and they were back to the grind. It just wasn’t working for them anymore.  

 

In the process of running that company, they had to keep improving quality as they were getting bigger and working on accounts.  It was during this process that they discovered a need for this display to be able to plug in their HD camera into something they could monitor with. It wasn’t out there at the time, and decided to go out and build it.

 

Dale loves creating physical products, likes it more than sevices, and edged everyone towards launching the product. They launched SmallHD which was building these displays.

 

[10:40] Meeting Sales Without Inventory

 

It can be tough launching  product and meeting sales needs when you don’t yet have a physical product. Dale tells us that they tackled it head on. They threw together a few prototypes and crowdfunded themselves on their own website. Kickstarter wasn’t around because crowdfunding was still a new concept. They ran a 24 hour campaign pre-order and sold 60 units which opened up the possibilities. When they got money, they ordered parts. Orders would trickle in but it was slow. Then they developed a real product, something developed as the next step.

 

There were many lessons learned in the process. At first, Dale tells us that they fought against MOQ (minimum order quantity) for a new board for which they couldn't afford the MOQ investment. It so happens the Doritos contest popped up again around this time, though the prizes had increased dramatically.

 

Against wishes and recommendations from those around them, they decided to enter again. Long story short, they created 2 ads and both were selected as finalists.  One became the second best commercial and they won $600,000. This was the boost they needed to meet those MOQs.

 

It’s a Cinderella story, Dale shares, and it doesn’t always happen, but it did for them. That’s how they launched the company and grown it so much over the past 8 or 9 years.

 

What they learned is that going and meeting the producers in person, especially in overseas cultures like China, it goes a long way. “They build their sales on relationships” Dale explains. If you make these connections you can often work them down and get the MOQs to something more manageable.

 

[24:54] Best Decision for SmallHD

 

Every thriving businesses experience highs and lows. For Dale, the best decision was to stay focused. Along the path there were many opportunities to branch off or expand, but they stayed the course. Dale explains that the displays can work with and touch a lot of other technologies within the same vertical, so it’s natural to want to dabble in different opportunities.

 

Dale gives us some general advice. “It’s easy to get distracted by perceived opportunity. “ Until you dominate the space you are already in, why would go off and do something else? You must first achieve the primary goal of the primary focus first. That’s what they did.  Dale and his team wanted to make the best countertop displays in the world and they believe they’re almost there.

 

[27:15] To Swag or Not To Swag

 

When discussing focus,it stands to reason that the topic of swag comes up, because it can certainly take tame. The thing is, swag works.

 

You’re not trying to be the world leader in t-shirts, it’s an accessory. There should be limitations though.

 

There’s not a lot involved in swag like t-shirts. It’s about how much time it will take away from the main project and what resources it will divert. It shouldn’t slow you down from reaching that primary goal, it should be a support feature.

 

As an entrepreneur you need to, everyday, decide to work on the most impactful things. “I strongly recommend making sure there’s good people around you.“  Dales stress that having the right people around you is how you accomplish those supportive tasks without splitting focus. You are the leader. If you are working on mugs and t-shirts all the time, it may not be a good thing, but if you have someone to do it for you, it’s likely a good deal.

 

[29:38] Lessons Learned: Part One

 

Like most entrepreneurs, Dale insists that he has made an enumerable amount of mistakes. Reflecting on those mistakes is something he does frequently. Still, there’s the number one lessons Dale feels we should all learn.

 

Hire with purpose and have a hiring strategy. There are lots of things that could be problematic, but hiring properly can take care of 80% of those things.  Dale says, “Most of your time should be spent on hiring and developing people.” Only hire when necessary, not because it’s fun.

 

When they started, hiring was fun. It was a sign of growth, but what he didn’t understand was that you need to hire the right people. This is the number 1 thing. You see (and can clearly hear) that Dale has been burned which is why he is so passionate about it.

 

As a founder, you need to get people to believe in your vision. The smaller you are, the harder it is to do that. As a result, you hire those that are easy, that you’re comfortable with; friends and family. They know you and it’s easier to hire them as they are already supportive. However, they aren't always the best fits for your company.

 

Dales shares, “We hired the first 5-0 people and the were all friends or family.” When he hired his first team, he hired fast and hard, and didn’t get the right team. It meant major delays and nearly bankrupted them.

 

After learning that lesson, they have a great team now, and it’s helped grow the company by leaps and bounds. Bottom line, hire the right people.

 

[40:21] Lessons Learned: Part Two

 

Though since we got Dale rolling, we thought his second and third most impactful lessons would be good to dive into.

 

Dale’s number 2 -Don't over optimize too early. He shares that it’s very easy to want to do things the right way, almost to a fault. You can spend too much on big shiny systems before you need them.

 

Develop and spend as you need it. You shouldn't be bleeding because of a system. Before you start spending money on a system, you should be desperate for it. Keep your overhead as low as you can as long as you can.

 

Lesson 3 for Dale, is be more data driven, know your numbers. When they started, they didn’t have any idea what the number really were ever. Often they wondered where the money was. They were making money but there never seemed to be enough when it was needed. Know your margins, your costs of goods, your KPIs. It sounds corporate but it's’ really valuable. You don’t have to be rigid but you need to know what it’s going to cost you to get a customer. This helps you better know where to spend your time.

 

[42:13] Something Nifty This Way Comes

 

Before he signed off, Dale helped get us hyped up. He’s getting ready to launch a simple product business. He invented this product, and wants to get it out fast and hard. Dale’s working on learning more about online marketing. It’s time to get back into entrepreneurial side, the startup side.

 

Dale is launching Oh Snap, a cell phone accessory. Want to know more? We urge you to visit getohsnap.com.Dale can hardly contain his excitement about getting it out to the world.

 

As part of the new venture, Dale says that they are looking for a marketing person, looking for a marketing strategist so if this is you send email to dale@fornom.com

 

Nothing beats listening to the episode, so if you're reading this and you haven't tuned in, check it out above.

 

 

Episode Outline

 

Introduction: Insider Lessons Gained from Launching Successful Products

 

[04:30] 10 Year Journey in a Nutshell

[10:40] Meeting Sales Without Inventory

[23:42] Backetkit

[24:54] Best Decision for SmallHD

[27:15] To Swag or Not To Swag

[29:38] Lessons Learned: Part One

[40:21] Lessons Learned: Part Two

[42:13] Something Nifty This Way Comes

 

 

Resources and Sponsor

SmallHD

getohsnap.com

Crowdfunding Product Launch Guide

Crowdfunding Product Launch Academy

 

Sponsor: BackerKit - use the code “uncut” to get 50% off setup services

Sep 5, 2017

We’ve been looking forward to this week’s guest for some time. Khierstyn joined James on a panel listening to Amazon sellers. She listened to how he was able to grow organically through influence marketing. Brands can fast-track by doing paid advertising however influence marketing is long term.

 

Many business owners and entrepreneurs don’t understand how to leverage influencer marketing. Therefore, James is the perfect podcast guest. He’s going to help us better understand his journey, and in turn, yours.

 

[03:38] Who is James Swanwick?

 

James didn’t take the shortest path to success, but certainly a colorful one. He worked in Brisbane Australia,  where he stared as a newspaper reporter before moving to the US. James tells us that he tried to start PR company in 2008 during the financial Armageddon. In fact, he had to shut down in 6 months. James ran to South America to lick his wounds for 6 months before returning for round 2.

 

This time, James started learning about biz and online marketing. Like many, he recants that he struggled for a few years. He didn't’ make much money and that was hard for him. It drove him to get a business mentor, which was his turning point for success.

 

A couple years ago, he was introduced to the idea of no blue lights at bedtime. He heard that blue light could inhibit production of melatonin. James sought a solution. He knew a friend who had a pair, but they were really ugly, which lead him to develop the stylish Swannies. Now he’s had over 1 million dollars sales in 11 months all grown organically (no paid ads).

 

[06:20] Riding the Mainstream Curve

 

When the idea for Swannies first came about, it was ahead of the now mainstream blue light glasses curve. James shares that when he got into the vertical, he was able to catch the wave. Catching the wave means to jump on an idea, not when it’s mainstream, but right before. At a time when people were starting to pay attention and eager to become more educated on the subject. The danger is that, at any time, a bigger company can come along (think a huge sunglasses brand) and come in and crush.

 

For instance, there was Friendster a before there was Myspace. That was before Facebook eventually took over. You don't want to be a Friendster. James shares, “We might be a Friendster, there's always that danger, but I think it was a good thing to start when we did.”

 

With Swannies, they utilized a different angle. The company is not Swannies Sunglasses it's Swanwick Sleep. They aren't just glasses, they are a sleep company selling glasses. That differentiation makes an impact. They may not be able to compete against the large glasses companies but they can compete as a sleep company. It allows them to sell glasses as an additional product to support the overall goal. It’s a niche of its own.

 

[12:43] To Niche or Not to Niche?

 

James laughed with us, he wanted to tell us that he knocked it out of the park first thing, but that’s not reality.

 

There’s a lot of stuff James threw at the wall to see what would stick and it was the bio-hacking community that got behind the product. Once he saw that, he doubled down on that community to be the biggest proponents, the cheerleaders, to help spread the message to a larger audience. Free marketing so to speak.

 

Biohackers are so particular about their health. James stresses that if you get them behind you, they are going to tell their mothers, their friends, anyone who will listen, how great the product is. That’s the real power of influencer marketing and niches - you don’t have to spend money on advertising.

 

[20:08] Top 3 Ways James Boosted Swannies’ Revenue

 

Khierstyn asked James what the biggest proponents to boosting initial revenue were. Here’s what he came back with.

 

Reviews:

 

When Swannies first launched, they were only on Amazon; No website or online presence. James knew reviews were important to managing the visibility metrics. He did everything he could think of to generate reviews. He tried giving some away for honest reviews. He asked friends, family, anyone, he could think of, to share their feelings online. He was persistent -. Stayed on top of them, pestered them, because getting the reviews were paramount.

 

Associating with Influencer:

 

James says he made an effort to ensure that he was associating with influencers already paving the way in his vertical. He connected with Dave Asprey, founder of BulletProof, because he knew that Dave’s audience of bio-hackers would love the glasses. James sent Dave a message and offered to help educate listeners about dangers of blue light. James gave him benefits for his viewers, for his audience, in his field of interest. Dave responded by text and was all over it.

 

It wasn’t without work though. James waited 2-3 months for the interview. He ended up scheduling the interview while in midtown, at a conference. They managed it though, Dave interviewed James over Skype in this hotel room. 2 months after that, Dave published the episode on YouTube. [Watch it here]

 

Sales quadrupled overnight. Within 3 days, Swannies they went from selling 15 pairs a day to 50 or 60 pairs a day. This truly opened James eyes to the benefit of being on a show with influencers in the right market. James reached out to other podcasts, got interviews, and continues to do so now.

 

The Selfie Ask:

 

James tells us that he would ask customers to take selfie photos of themselves using the product. He asked that they send them and post/tag on Instagram. It’s the ultimate marketing tool because customers would wear and share and talk, and it grew. That’s free marketing.

 

[26:47] Influence Marketing When you Don’t Have a Product

 

Don’t have a physical product to give away? That’s OKAY! Do as many videos as you can. Cool, fun, demo videos and get influencers to use the product. If you only have one prototype, have them use it and then return it, the point is to capture the experience visually.

 

Show people, not tell. People are well known to need to see before believing, so make videos and give them something to believe in. If they can’t touch, at least let them see.

 

[29:26] Hot or Cold - James’ talks Media

 

James shares that he did both warm and cold connections, but NEVER cold pitches. He had folks like Dave Asprey who he was friends and felt comfortable with. He showed anyone who had a podcast or platform using existing relationships to build conversations. He always talked in their benefit and made it about their listeners.

 

There were times when James tells us he had to reach out to cold media contacts. His strategy was to talk about their interest. No mass emails though. He made sure to research first and made the pitch about them, their work, and how he could support their growth.

 

From his experience, cold, impersonalized pitches didn’t work. He made sure to tell us that he throws them out all the time. James recommends that you Google the media person you're pitching to. Read the last three articles they published and then connect your pitch to them. Craft the pitch around their interests and why they should be interested.

 

[34:00] Growing Pains

 

Like any other business owner, James has dealt with his fair share of challenges. For Swannies, it’s growing pains.

 

"The first few months, everything is moving up, growing and expanding. Then, you get to 1 million and you realize you don’t have systems and process in place." James had to hire because, all of a sudden, he was managing people. He had to work with staff, customers, and more. They've experience plateaus, inventory shortages, as well as a host of other complications.

 

There are all these little things that, in the beginning, you’re not worried about because you’re trying new things. If you don’t have systems, and things like KPIs for staff, you end up putting out fires.

 

As the CEO, James feels what he did poorly was not prioritize processes and systems enough. Swannies had to slow down, put out fires, add systems and processes, to pick up and start moving forward again.

 

[42:13] The Future Starts Now

 

Where is James headed? He shares that he has 2 distinct visions in the coming years.

 

Swanwick Sleep he intends to grow to a 100 million dollar business while on track to selling. He’d like to see it grow to be something big and the sell and walk away with a great payout.

 

James shares that with his 30 Day No Alcohol Challenge business, he wants to grow forever, so that it can be his perpetual income machine. It’s the lifeblood, something that will always support him.



 

 

Episode Outline

 

Introduction: Influence Marketing; Expert Secrets to Fast, Inexpensive Growth

 

[03:38] Who is James Swanwick?

[06:20] Riding the Mainstream Curve

[12:43] To Niche or Not to Niche?

[20:08] Top 3 Ways James Boosted Swannies’ Revenue

[25:40] Backetkit

[26:47] Influence Marketing When you Don’t Have a Product

[29:26] Hot or Cold - James’ talks Media

[34:00] Growing Pains

[42:13] The Future Starts Now



 

 

Resources and Sponsor

James Swanwick

James’ Inner Circle

30 Day No Alcohol Challenge

Swanwick Sleep

James Swanwick on iTunes

 

Follow James on:

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter

YouTube

 

Sponsor: BackerKit - use the code “uncut” to get 50% off setup services

Aug 22, 2017

Unsure where to start?

 

Too many email marketing platforms to choose from?

 

Then this podcast is for you. This week I’m joined by Chris Davis who is the Educational Director of Content of Active Campaign. We’re going to take a deep dive into what active campaign is doing behind the scenes, how you can go about selecting an email service to provide, and how to get started with email marketing and automation.

 

Where You Were and Where You End Up Might not be so Different

 

It’s important to understand where you came from and why. Chris tell us, “A lot of times you’re doing something and just don’t know how important, or know how what you’re doing now can be impactful, perhaps in another area or industry.”

 

You see, Chris started out as an engineer, studied formally, and worked for 7 years programming microprocessors. The nitty gritty 1’s and 0’s coding in a laboratory with no windows.

 

Before long, he found himself asking, “What am I here for?” That’s when he left to start a web development firm. It was short-lived, but he came to understand that the magic wasn’t in the website but what was behind the website. That’s when Chris was introduced email marketing and soon after email automation.

 

He mentions learning a tool many small businesses were using but struggling with. The goal was to take this difficult and hard to manage tool and make it easier on clients by managing it for them. The tool? InfusionSoft

 

Chris quickly learned that InfusionSoft wasn’t catered for SaaS companies but learned how to use it. It was that knowledge that lead him to dominate the space.

 

It was then that it hit him, “I’ve been in the automation space the whole time, but never connected the two.” When the opportunity came to take on the role of education and building out content came up with Active Campaign, he shares that he jumped on it and hasn’t looked back

 

What Is Marketing Automation?

 

Chris defines marketing automation as the process of employing technology to continually execute your marketing strategy. It’s not new, but it’s new to the small business owner. Technology replacing human beings hadn’t been available to small business to this scale, but big businesses have been using automation a long time.

 

With the advancement of technology, it makes it more accessible to all levels of business ownership. A small business owner can operate as an enterprise and thus dawns a new day for the small business. Instead of hiring staff to do your marketing, employ technology to do it for you.

 

Chris explains that there comes a point where you pay the price for ignorance. How realistic is it that every business owner can respond to every customer inquiry manually within 5 minutes? As business increases, it becomes a near-impossible task. Therefore, Chris counsels that you want to use the platform, a marketing tool like Active campaign, to alleviate some of that.

 

If you want to have an email go out within 5 minutes of someone signing up, it’s as easy as a  checkbox using Active Campaign. That’s how easy it becomes to ensure it happens.

 

Most business owners don’t have that box to check, and they simply don’t know how much money they are leaving on the table.

 

Choosing the Right Marketing Automation Platform

 

Did you know that there is an invisible ceiling with most platforms? Chris explains that there is a point to where you can’t go any further. To where you'll have to adopt a new technology or platform to move forward. If you are just starting out, it’s all synonymous to you.

 

Don’t read reviews, it’s specific to that situation. If you aren’t using it like they do, then it's worthless. Best thing is to try it yourself.

 

As found in Dr. Stephen R. Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Chris says you need to “Begin with the end in mind”. You know, at some point, you want to be profitable. You want your business to have growth.

 

Active Campaign is a platform that allows you to come in, as a beginner, and grow with the tool; no need to convert to a new platform with each growth spurt.

 

For example, if you are a Mailchimp user, there will be limitations. It’s designed for the beginner to intermediate user. Then you used to jump to Infusionsoft which is advanced level . Very few make that jump successfully. Active Campaign can stretch the entire spectrum. Now you don’t have to make the leap, you take gradual growth path.

 

Top 3 Automations Every Business Owner Should Start With

 

If you follow Chris’s training on Active Campaign, or if you pop into his office hours, you’ll hear he constantly tell people to reduce the audience and cater the message. Instead of building one giant, fancy automaton on one page, he likes to break them up.  

 

Chris’ favorite? When a user submits a form, and the automation sends out an email 3 or 4 times, spread a few days apart, always leading them to the bottom goal. If they buy at email two, it automatically cuts off the rest of the emails and moves them into a paid subscriber list.

 

If you understand the buyer process, you know right after purchase the buyer's remorse kicks in. After a big purchase, we first become emotional. This is when we feel the most unsure. Later we become rational, and we’re walking through the rationalizations to ease our minds. You don’t want to send your message at the wrong point.

 

Engagement automation; Watches what you do, sees if you’re engaged, and if not, it checks in when unengaged at 30 days. Those 30, 60, 90 day engagement tags can be helpful because it can help isolate where the hot leads are.

 

Khierstyn mentions that she uses a system that automatically unsubscribes folks when they haven't interacted within a period of time. It keeps the list clean from inactive users.

 

Chris agrees that if you need to do something, adapt Khierstyn’s approach. Popular teachings go that you need a huge list, and how to get your next huge chunk of leads. What they don’t tell you is that maybe 1200 are engaging. Since you pay to do every seat, why would you pay for dead leads?

 

The bigger your list, the higher the chance people will not be engaging. 25-30% open rate is the target. An open rate below that says your messaging isn’t aligned with your audience.

 

Chris proclaims he is a champion of the idea that,  “we don’t send broadcast emails, ever. We make it easy to send a targeted message to your audience.” When you send targeted messaging, your open rate jumps 10%.

 

Example, let’s say you sell apparel for both men and women. You have a new fall line and you want to show it to your customer base. Instead of sending one blast to all individuals in one list, he recommends you separate them into 2 emails and target to each gender specifically. It’s easier to create and email for women that they will like, and another for men which will appeal to them, rather than an email that has to appeal to both simultaneously.

 

Segmenting, How Do We Do It?

 

Chris explains that there are a few different ways to implement your segmenting. For starters,

when you import your pre-existing subscribers you can map each column to a custom field. This gives you control right at the point of importing. Now that all the contacts are in, you can use the custom fields to segment your messaging.

 

Many don’t know the power of speaking to smaller groups. We’re not saying discriminate or ostracize any section of your viewership, just tailor your message to smaller audiences to increase engagement.

 

If you have to spend 5 minutes to create a few more segments and send targeted messages to get a higher open rate, it’s worth it. It’s more mature automation.

 

Templates are Starting Points not Solutions

 

Clickfunnels, and other such software, have pre-built funnels, but you still need to customize them. There is a lot of customization that has to happen.

 

Chris advises, “A template is a starting point, a light frame-work for you to work within.” When you don’t have them, it becomes overwhelming, you have unanswered questions, and you're prone to analysis paralysis kicks in, and you don’t do anything.

 

Templates are necessary but some people have taken it too far. It’s not just plug and play and BOOM success. When you do best practices, you are always going to win. That’s the hardest thing for people to understand. Marketing automation isn’t the solution, you are the solution and automation is the strategy.

 

You are the business owner. It’s up to you to know your audience and to know what offer to place in front of them. Chris says, “We (Active Campaign) will support you, help you, and get that message out, but we don’t do it for you.”

 

Going in, you need to watch your numbers and edit your message until it hits the mark. Watch the results, tweak the words and images, so that it continues to be more and more appealing to your specific audience.

 

Up Your Split-Testing Game

 

Khierstyn asked a golden question - How can you use split testing to up your game? Chris breaks it down.

 

If you want to send a broadcast, or campaign, with a message to your list or group of people, you can split test the headline. After 2 hours, once one of the titles has a higher open rate, it resends the winner to the other 50% automatically. However, it’s not just headlines Active Campaign lets you split test.

 

Let’s say you want to implement this into an email series. You can use the automation builder to split paths. You can monitor and track send times. Set one run up for every day, the other for every 3 days, and the read-open rate winner automatically takes over the process. It’s next level awesome.

 

Split path is a recent launch and you can do so may things. You can split paths for promotions too. Such an automation that delivers a coupon until Friday and you don't’ have to worry about turning it off. It becomes set it and forget it.

 

Where do Most People get Stuck Starting Up?

 

Chris warns, “Not realizing how much they already know. Technology introduces a barrier.” Everyone knows how to write on paper. Take that and put it onto an iPad Pro with that new pen… writing with the Pro is totally different than writing on paper. Technology ads a layer of complexity to make it uncomfortable.

 

Many business owners understand marketing and know what to do, but add the technology and they lose their way. Once you know what you want to achieve, you can build a blueprint to achieve it. “That’s what I spend most of my time working with business owners on” Chris shares.

 

You need a blueprint. Most already have the blueprint though don't’ know how to convert that into a working process. Some don’t even know how to get it down. I recommend you get to the point where you have your blueprint and you’re positioned for success. Then it's all about execution.






Episode Outline

 

Introduction: Expert Secrets to Leverage Email Automation and See Results

 

[04:23] Where You Were and Where You End Up Might not be so Different

[08:40] What IS Marketing Automation?

[14:20] Choosing the Right Marketing Automation Platform

[20:15] Backerkit

[21:20] Top 3 Automations Every Business Owner Should Start With

[28:54] Segmenting, How Do We Do It?

[33:43] Templates are Starting Points not Solutions

[38:15] Up Your Split-Testing Game

[41:25] Where do Most People get Stuck Starting Up?

 

 

 

Resources and Sponsor

Active Campaign Guides

Active Campaign Training

Free 14-Day Active Campaign Trial (Special for UNCUT listeners ONLY!)

Clickfunnels 14-Day Trial

Dot Com Secrets - Russell Bronson


Sponsor: BackerKit - use the code “uncut” to get 50% off setup services

Aug 15, 2017

They met at Tropical think tank in the Philippines and now they are ready to sit down to podcast 12 months in the making!

 

Who is Janet Murray

 

Janet Murray is the founder of soulful PR specializing in helping small business owners sculpt and pitch their ideas and stories to the media. She’s a freelance writer/editor who runs a successful Paid web group called Soulful PR Studio. Alongside a booming podcast and masterfully written blog, Janet is always on the go. I must also mention she has an amazing book called Your Press Release is Breaking my Heart. Let's not forget her Facebook group Soulful PR going almost 10,000 strong.

 

"I guess the most important thing about my story is that I teach PR but I have never worked in PR," Janet explains.

 

From The Guardian to The Independent and The National posts, Janet has spent the last 16 years freelance writing and editing for some of the biggest publications in the UK. Never mind the handfuls of magazines; Janet has been there and edited that!

 

One thing that Janet learned early on in her freelance years is that bad pitchers are everywhere. She began to grow sick of a number of bad pitch emails filling her daily inbox; Hard working people throwing their money into PR firms that just don't get it.

 

She was inspired to take a stand. It was time for a change, and Janet decides to set out to teach others how to get noticed.

 

Janet runs the event Your Year in PR, where she takes 8 national journalists and roughly 80 small business owners, stuffs them in a room, and teachers. They learn what it is that consumers look for in a pitch and what sets a good pitch apart from a bad one. Janet says, “You don't need a big budget or fancy PR firm to get top Notch media coverage.


The importance of standing out.

 

Khierstyn cleverly asked which pitches Janet had heard over the years that she still remembers being the worst. Janet skillfully responds that she really can’t recall any terrible pitches. Instead, the ones that that stand out she said are the good ones. Here are the 3 criteria to use to get noticed!

 

First, you need to show evidence that you actually read or listen to a publication. If it's radio or the newspapers take the time to do your basic research. Journalists have such a small area they can fill and endless crap to sift through.

 

Second, you must have really strong header/subject. It is important to be direct and to the point, Journalists work fast and read even faster. Avoid trying to be witty or the use of puns in your header. You want to keep the body of the text short and to the point as well adding strong visuals or audio clips. Janet gives us the tip of trying to picture yourself in the shoes of the journalist you are trying to reach.

 

" In Journalism, we have a term called the 10-word top line." Janet explains that this means if you can't summarize your story in 10 words or less you are not ready for launch.

 

Third, knowing the different types of media content is very important as well.

 

  • News: Reporting on something new that is happening.
  • Opinion article: Published in a newspaper or magazine, that reflects the author's opinion about the subject.
  • Personal article: A story that leads to the point, can be the reason for why you made what you are pitching.

 

Janet tells us that, rather than starting with your story, tailor each outreach to every different publication.

 

What advice would you give to the first time entrepreneur trying to find their pitch?

 

" First off! Anyone that owns a business can get media coverage."

 

One tool that reigns supreme is HARO, Help A Reporter Out, a place where journalists go to find stories to write about.

 

Janet takes the time to recant a story of a current client that is working on a app for people with food intolerance. Now, the App is not quite finished but that has not stopped her client from being all over media publications for the last year. Even if you can't get the coverage you want, get any coverage you can! By the time you are ready to launch you have made the bridges and started your following.

 

Be where the journalists are. There are always events going on; Find a way to be apart of them, set up booths, ask for coffee meetings. You need to find ways of getting into the public eye.

 

Above all else don't write a press release! You are basically saying you have already sent this story to every other publication you could find. Journalists want a scoop, tailor, tailor, tailor every email you send. Continue listing as Janet teaches you some simple steps to follow when tailoring your pitches.

 

Episode Outline

 

Introduction: Pitch Perfect; How to Get Media Coverage at Any Stage

 

[02:25] Who is Janet Murray

[13:12] The importance of standing out

[23:00] BackerKit

[24:00] What advice do you have for new business owners

 

Resources and Sponsor

Tropical Think tank

Janet’s book: Your press release is breaking my heart

A Soulful PR Studio

HARO

http://www.janetmurray.co.uk/

Crowdfunding uncut

Jan_Murray Twitter

Soulful PR Facebook

 

Sponsor: BackerKit - use the code “uncut” to get 50% off setup services

Aug 8, 2017

For episode 100, Khierstyn wanted to do something big. Bigger, better, and cooler than ever! What’s better than bringing back the podcast’s most downloaded guest? Nothing, that’s what. Especially when the guest is  Max Temkin of Cards Against Humanity!

 

Max and his team, they aren’t like everyone else, nor do they want to be.  They wear their honesty and integrity on their sleeve. It's about good products selling, no matter how you market them.

 

Sit back and enjoy as Max shares his unique views and opinions - ones that rocketed him to the top.

 

Marketing Strategies? We made a damn good product.

 

Max doesn't believe in hack or tricks or guarantees.  In his mind, when someone markets a magic hack for something, it's like selling lies.

 

People are hungry for shortcuts. What they want is the easiest way to get the biggest payout. Life isn't like that. There IS no magic secret way to achieve your dreams.

 

Cards Against Humanity didn't use tactics like "artificial scarcity".  It's about having a great product that people want, selling at a steady rate, and spending less than you make. Max says it's that simple.

 

Staying top of mind and marketing on a limited budget.

 

Traditionally, a marketing budget is the monetary sum you intend to you to advertise. Traditional marketing is something Max states they avoided. They don't spend money on Facebook advertising, or radio adverts.

 

They do spend money on doing cool and unique things. Things that people would enjoy and would want to watch and share. In this way, they do spend money to market, but it's not where others might first turn.

 

Cards Against Humanity, and Max, have developed a cult following. People identify with and embrace the alternative means of marketing they use.

 

Max quotes, "If you want people to talk about you, it's on you to do something worth talking about."



If Obama was our CEO...

 

Speaking of doing something people want to talk about, Max shared his experiences. Specifically, he told us about an ad they ran on Craigslist in January 2017.

 

Max said that while enjoying a brainstorming session, they came up with an idea. Wouldn't it be amazing if Barack Obama was our new CEO?

 

Many of the ideas they throw around don't make it to public consumption, but this one did! It's a perfect example of the power of alternative advertising. They made a post on Craigslist and it got loads of attention.

 

You know what that cost them to run? Nothing. Sure, they haven't picked up Obama yet, but there is still hope!

 

(Note to Barack Obama, if you're reading this, give Max a shout, he'd love to hear from you!  mail@cardsagainsthumanity.com )

 

Blackbox - Our not-so-secret new business for crowd funders!

 

Blackbox, ever heard of it? It’s a new shipping company from the creators of Cards Against Humanity.  Max tells us that they had to go through the motions when it came to shipping the game. They ended up having to build and infrastructure to do it.

 

It's now spinning off as it's own service. Blackbox takes their existing experience and connections to make it accessible. It's geared at crowd funders too.

 

Max tells of how he made a critical shipping mistake that ended up costing him. With certain campaigns, you need to know an exact shipping cost up front, or you're charged for it. That's why they want to make it safe, easy and fast. Enter the details online and get an accurate, guaranteed shipping price.

 

Oh, and they take care of everything so that you don't have to; Customer service, shipping, storage, returns, exchanges you name it.

 

The strategy behind marketing Secret Hitler

 

Let's talk about something else that Max Temkin knocked out of the park. Have you ever played Secret Hitler? It's a brilliantly marketed board game of hidden identities.

 

The website describes it as:

 

" Secret Hitler is a dramatic game of political intrigue and betrayal set in 1930's Germany. Players are secretly divided into two teams - liberals and fascists. Known only to each other, the fascists coordinate to sow distrust and install their cold-blooded leader. The liberals must find and stop the Secret Hitler before it’s too late."

 

It was also wildly successful on Kickstarter. We asked Max what drove the success of this game, and he imparted some real gems.

 

He's done design for more than 15 years professionally. He works with and designs branding for political campaigns. He insists there is a visual database in his head of styles and ideas that he can pull out on command, a benefit of experience.

 

Secret Hitler was a dream project, one that he had the money to fund. He had money to put into testing and it became a balance of art and science.

 

Max made sure to emphasize that, despite money, there is never a guarantee on return. Sometimes not having money can make for a better product because you have to work harder to achieve it.

 

Ever heard Max talk about Star Wars and the reason that they became a classic? You should tune in to the podcast to hear more.

 

If you could do it all again, what would you do differently?

 

Khierstyn prepared a few questions in advance for Max. The first being from Zach Smith, founder of Funded.Today. He asked - "if you had to do it all again, what would you do differently?"

 

He tells of how he charged only for the cards and not shipping at first. While it was during a time when that was more common, he said it was a nightmare. This nightmare was part of what fed into Blackbox.

 

He did mention one regret - that he let inexperience push him away from the design he truly wanted. Everything worked in the end, but he wishes he had the courage to make the choice that felt right.

 

Max warns listeners, "Fail because you make it too good, not because you made it too bad."

 

Where’s the line? Let’s talk being offensive.

 

There is no line per say, but there are rules. The goal is to make people laugh and feel good when they play. It's not to make anyone feel bad. Sometimes the enveloped gets puts but Max tries his best to ensure it's within these rules.

 

There was a time, Max recants when he was young and in college. There was a cheap transsexual joke he still regrets. It came about after he saw a post on Tumblr. Someone expressed feelings of being bullied. They said when the card came up, the transsexual player was bullied, and it was no longer a fun time.

 

"It's all fun and games... until we become bullies." Max explains "We have a social responsibility."

 

Super Happy Fun Time Uncensored Bonus Content

 

Fun and games you say? It's about that time! Max chats with Khierstyn about crowdfunding platforms. At the same time, they chat about (and dissect) campaigns seen on Funded.Today.

 

**Warning - This is uncut for your listening pleasures! Max Temkin in full swing!**

 

 

 

Episode Outline

 

Introduction: Max against Humanity; I did it my way.

[08:28] Marketing Strategies? We made a damn good product.  

[14:28] Staying top of mind and marketing on a limited budget.

[21:50] If Obama was our CEO...  

[30:42] Blackbox - Our not-so-secret new business for crowd funders!      

[35:58] Backerkit   

[37:05] The strategy behind marketing Secret Hitler

[43:03] If you could do it all again, what would you do differently?      

[48:46] Where’s the line? Let’s talk being offensive.

[52:30] Super Happy Fun Time Uncensored Bonus Content       

 

 

 

Resources and Sponsor

 

Cards Against Humanity

Secret Hitler

Prototyping Secret Hitler (Blog)

Funded.Today

Khierstyn’s Product Launch Checklist

Crowdfunding Product Launch Academy

Khierstyn’s e-mail

Best of Craigslist - Cards Against Humanity CEO Ad


Sponsor: BackerKit - use the code “uncut” to get 50% off setup services

Aug 1, 2017

How to Harness the Power of Your Story

 

Have you ever met a travel digital nomad?

Have you ever wanted to be one?

Have you ever wanted to use your life experience to shape your e-commerce future?

Chris Rawlings joins Khierstyn on a deep dive into his experiences. A tale which leads him to San Francisco in search of new VC (venture capital) investors for his next big idea.

 

The Spice of Life; Using Story to Elevate Products

 

Three years ago, Chris was working in the solar industry as an employee. He started as a scientist though he felt like he needed to know business to control his destiny. He found himself gravitating towards roles that were more and more business related.

 

Business tired Chris and left him wanting more. In a rush of adrenaline he looked up the most beautiful country in the world. At that time, with that search feature, New Zealand topped the charts. Like that, he booked a one way trip.

 

The journey began, and what a story! 2 and a half years ago he sold all his possessions, quit his job, shifted into a minimalist lifestyle. Chris moved to New Zealand, bought a motorcycle and started wandering.

 

Traveling Digital Nomads

 

Chris captivates with his stories of the network of traveling digital nomads. He met individuals who operated mobile businesses like him, going from coffee shop to coffee shop. People running digital marketing, e-commerce, SEO and Amazon business like his.

 

The Philippines, Bali, Indonesia and other areas see a high volume of these digital nomads. Individuals who enjoy traveling and working for themselves. A network of experiences waiting to happen.

 

"Is this your thing?" Chris asks of the audience, "Then book it and just go."

 

Luck + Hard Work = Success

 

From humble and alone to capitalizing on a network of knowledge Chris began to build his team. His first business went from nothing to a two million dollar evaluation, nothing to snort at.

 

It was captivating to see this new and unique market that he hadn't before. Small, niched, fast growing businesses that cater to small to medium sized businesses. The same niche he was in.

 

He tells us about the amazing diversity and ingenuity. Nearly anything you could think of had it's own niche and service.

 

It was the process of building his business and expanding abroad that lead to his most well-known venture - Judolaunch.com

 

Judolaunch.com - The launch platform for e-based brands.

 

Chris explained that there are generally 2 ways to expand your business.

 

Horizontally

  • By releasing product after product to continually generate new income.

Globally

  • When you have a channel that works, it's easier to recreate the same platform in other markets.

Fundamentally, JudoLaunch gets your product into the hands of customers in the global Amazon market to jumpstart your products' rankings.

 

Would Judolaunch.com be a SaaS (software as a service) or an Agency?

 

Chris indicated that his intention with Judolaunch.com was to offer a full service agency. By starting out with this model they were able to get business and fill quotas.

 

They began investing in the systems and processes needed to automate and improve. Chris ventured into San Francisco and software development as Judolaunch.com developed into an SaaS tool.

 

"That's where all the real growth is!" Chris exclaimed.

 

What to give up to raise what you need.

 

In San Francisco,starting from scratch, Chris has been working to get as many meetings as possible. He explains that it comes down to only a few things.

 

Do whatever the #$%& you want - you make the rules.

  • You have to set the rules. You will run into the occasionally VC or Angel investor who argues. However you are more likely to get those who just jump all in.

Set a time-period to raise funds.

  • Setting a goal with limits makes things feel more achievable. Get together a proposal, ideas and figures to help your presentation.

Chris shared that in his opinion, you can calculate evaluations 3 ways:

  • Revenue/Net Profit Review
  • What was another company at a similar stage evaluated at?
  • Pulling it out of your ass.

In fact, number 3, was the one he sees most often.

 

How Much Equity Do You Give?

 

Chris really breaks this down in a great way. As a general rule, each time you raise investments, you hand out 20-30%

 

(Give a listen to the podcast to hear him explain this!)

 

Round 1 Fundraising

  • Collecting money from friends and family and your own personal savings.
  • Generally you raise between $0 -$100,000

Round 2 Fundraising

  • The seed round.
  • Generally you raise from $100,000 to over $2 million dollars.
  • This is the first real round.

From there you can have as many series as you want though it dilutes each individual's holdings each time.

 

The Spinal Tap

 

While he doesn't divulge, it's mentioned that a spinal injury is actually what sparked one of his most recent successes.

 

Chris started working with his father on a new way to meditate comfortably for longer periods of time. It's an amazing posture pillow which re-invent the meditating position. He's ventured into an area he almost praises as a sweet spot in his story. A product that builds off of his spinal injury which also fills a need.

 

He validated his product.He liked that it was in a boring category and it wasn't sexy. There was much room to improve and impress.

 

Your products should resonate and tell a story.

 

Chris says he had a basic, flat white label product for a while. It didn't take long to learn that the best campaigns have the best stories behind them.

 

How does he know his new posture pillow will sell? A leg up; His dad is a meditation instructor and travels around with the product testing on his students. The reactions have been very positive.


(Pop in right about now in the podcast and Chris will start sharing how he easily validates a product. Tap into that experience!)

Episode Outline

Introduction: How to Harness the Power of Your Story

[06:15] The Spice of Life; Using Story to Elevate Products     

[08:50] Travelling Digital Nomads     

[11:53] Luck + Hard Work = Success  

[13:51] Judolaunch.com - The launch platform for e-based brands.       

[18:34] What to give up to raise what you need.   

[21:28] How Much Equity Do You Give?    

[22:54] Backerkit

[24:00] The Spinal Tap      

[32:35] Your products should resonate and tell a story.        

 

Resources and Sponsor

 

JudoLaunch.com

Hello@JudoLaunch.com

Noah the Bullmastiff

Khierstyn’s Product Launch Checklist

Crowdfunding Product Launch Academy

Khierstyn’s e-mail

 

Sponsor: BackerKit - use the code “uncut” to get 50% off setup services

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