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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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Now displaying: September, 2016
Sep 27, 2016

Cheat Sheet

  • You will likely run into problems with manufacturing. These problems are exponentially expensive, meaning, they get grow with every unit you sell! You have to be aware of all the potential pitfalls so you can avoid the manufacturing death spiral as much as humanly possible.
  • Having a buffer in the bank is a great idea. Build investment contacts before your campaign and then raise money immediately after your campaign ends. With positive energy and excitement from a successful campaign, money will be cheap. It’s much harder to ask for money (on your terms) when the shit has hit the fan and you’re about to go broke.
  • Building relationships with people on the other side of the world is incredibly difficult. This difficulty is multiplied if you have never manufactured anything before. Find someone with existing relationships that you can leverage.
  • Manufacturers will always push you to make your product easier to make, which is not necessarily better for the customer. Be prepared to push back if their design suggestions are not aligned with the customer.
  • Always be in touch with your backers. This rule is especially true when things go south with manufacturing. Get ahead of any problems by being upfront, raw, and honest. It doesn’t take much time to send an update.

About this episode

Sometimes things go wrong…

Who are we kidding, EVERYTHING goes wrong! It’s crowdfunding....

Which means it’s likely the first time you have built and audience, reached out to media, made a sales video, or even designed a product. You’re going to mess a lot up.

But of all the mistakes you can make, screwing up manufacturing is possibly the easiest to do and also the most catastrophic for the viability of your business after a successful campaign.

That’s because mistakes are compounded with every unit sold.

So, the greater the “success” of the campaign, the bigger the hole to climb out of.

This is how the Manufacturing Death Spiral happens.

You’ve probably seen the Manufacturing Death Spiral from the outside multiple times because it always looks the same:

  • Entrepreneur creates amazing gadget, raises millions! Smiling faces everywhere!
  • A few months in, announces delays in shipment
  • 6 months in Entrepreneur falls off the face of the planet
  • Backers up in arms
  • A few months later, TechCrunch reports company is folding
  • Viability of Crowdfunding called into question by media

So what do you do when you don’t have the money to fulfill the orders you have because you find out your manufacturer’s quality is not up to par, or you didn’t price things out properly?

(...avoid the pitfalls in the first place… but more on that in a moment)

Michael Mataluni was the COO of the thingCHARGER, a brilliant and beautifully designed adaptor that lets you neatly charge all your devices while keeping your electrical outlets free.

thingCharger was in the midst of a Death Spiral of its own after a hugely successful, $600,000 raise. They had problems with the quality from their manufacturer and had to ultimately cut ties.

While trying to solve the problem, shipping delays, and subsequent backer complaints rose to such a level that he had to hire a team of people to handle them, which further strained the cash-strapped team.

It got so bad, they fell almost a year behind shipping at one point, that they didn’t have the money fulfill their original orders.

They didn’t know how to get angel investment and certainly weren’t in much of position to negotiate if they did.

But Michael Mataluni and the thingCharger team were able to regroup and fall back on their strengths while shoring up their weaknesses through effective partnerships.

Fast forward to today and they have since raised an additional $11 million over two separate crowdfunding campaigns:

  • An additional $1 million on Indiegogo (for a total of $1.6 million) in a second, third party hosted, campaign
  • $10 million on a self-hosted crowdfunding campaign

...and most important of all, they have manufactured and shipped over 250,000 units to their (now) very happy backers.

So how did Michael and the thingCHARGER team stop and reverse the Death Spiral?

What mistakes did they make after their original campaign and how can you avoid them?

Listen to find out!

Resources Mentioned

thingCHARGER

thingCharger Indiegogo Campaign

Trident Design

Zendesk

You Power Media

Michael’s email

 

Sep 21, 2016

Cheat Sheet

  • Getting customers is easy. Fulfillment is Hard. Lots can go wrong, especially if you introduce complexity into your perk designs.
  • Having a working prototype is key before you launch. It shows potential Backers that you care enough about the problem to build it first. More importantly, if you complete the prototyping process, it proves to yourself that you have what it takes to complete the project!
  • Not knowing everything is a universal trait of Creators. If you did, you’d probably go straight to Amazon… Embrace it and keep things as simple as possible.
  • You WILL screw up. It’s what you do WHEN you screw up that matters. Do right by your Backers and you will have raving fans for life!
  • Make sure you have put enough margin on your perks to allow yourself to reship your product no questions asked, when it gets lost in the mail, not “if”.

 

About This Episode

In this episode we are continuing our theme of “what to do when the campaign ends” with Maxwell Salzberg of BackerKit.

Full Disclosure: If you haven’t noticed already, BackerKit is a sponsor of the podcast.

But that is not why Maxwell is on the show.

Of anyone in the WORLD, Maxwell is one of the leading experts on how to fulfill the orders of your crowdfunding campaign.

That’s because he and the team over at BackerKit have helped over 2000 funded campaigns ship perks to their backers.

But Max didn’t come from the fulfillment or shipping world into Crowdfunding. He started as a Creator.

Back in the good old days of 2010, no one knew what Kickstarter or Crowdfunding was about.

Max and his friends had an idea of a decentralized social network so your data and privacy would not be solely controlled by “Big Zuck”.

They heard about the fledgling site, Kickstarter, threw together a “poorly scripted and edited video”, launched a campaign, and told “like three or four people”.

And the project, Diaspora, took off!

Their original goal was for $10,000, as Max puts it “so we could go up to a cottage and hack for 3 months, eat ramen, and not get real jobs for the summer”.

Diaspora ended up raising over $200,000 and was, in fact, the FIRST project to break six figures on the site.

Which is where the problems started.

Even though backers were supporting a software project, the perks were physical products... T-shirts, CD’s, and stickers.

And now a software engineer with no production or shipping experience had to ship items to almost 7000 excited fans.

“I planned to have a bad weekend burning a couple hundred CDs….”

Frustration soon mounted as he was spending all of this time fulfilling t-shirt orders and no time doing what his backers paid him to do… build Diaspora.

From that experience, and watching countless other Creators bang their heads against the wall of order fulfillment, he decided to found BackerKit.

Since then, he has seen every problem that can go wrong, go wrong. From orders getting lost, to shipping the wrong sizes of things, to address changes on three separate orders for the same person, to receiving email money transfers from people after the campaign ends because they want a second t-shirt and “ ...that’s easy right? Thanks! - Backer”.

Max will shed light on the “unknown unknowns” in fulfillment so you can avoid having the “ticking time bomb of Crowdfunding” blow up in your face.

 

Resources Mentioned

BackerKit

The Diaspora Project

The Diaspora Kickstarter Campaign

Sep 13, 2016

Cheat Sheet

  • Amazon is simply a sales channel, NOT the “end game”. Build other channels in tandem.
  • You are playing in Amazon’s sandbox. That means they can change whatever they want whenever they want. One of the channels you must build to have stable success is your OWN.
  • You can essentially turn a physical product into a digital product by using Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA). Let them package and ship your product because your time shouldn’t be spent licking stamps and going to the post office.
  • After a successful Crowdfunding Launch, put your product up on Amazon and begin to learn about sales page optimization. Learn from experts and look at other successful pages in your niche.
  • Leverage your backers for high-quality Amazon reviews. Honest reviews are key for your Amazon page and if you have treated them right, your backers will be more than happy to help you out (especially with the sweet incentive system Scott goes over in this episode.

 

About this Episode

What is your plan for after you successfully launch your product on Kickstarter or Indiegogo?

In last week’s episode, you learned how Julianne Ponan got her superfood snack bars onto the shelves of the largest grocery retailer in the United Kingdom with persistence and creativity.

This week it’s all about Amazon with Scott Voelker of The Amazing Seller.

After running a successful, six-figure, portrait studio business for 10 years with his wife Lisa, Scott wanted to increase his income online, so he started teaching people how to start and run portrait studios themselves with New Portrait Biz.

That business was also successful, but he had caught the online bug, and eventually came across Amazon’s Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA) program.

FBA allows entrepreneurs and business owners to ship physical products from the factory to Amazon’s Warehouses. Once an order is placed either on Amazon, or your own website, Amazon will package and ship the order to the customer. No wrapping stamp licking required!

This means that Amazon has almost made running a physical product business like a digital product business. Your time can be focused on high value tasks like marketing and product creation.

Since discovering FBA, Scott has launched a number of successful private label products on Amazon.

He shares his knowledge and expertise on his Podcast, The Amazing Seller, which has over 4 million downloads to date.

In this episode, Scott offers an honest overview of Amazon’s platform and how it applies to your crowdfunded product.

There are a ton of tools and tips for you to sink your teeth into.

 

Resources Mentioned:

The Amazing Seller

New Portrait Biz

Upwork

Topwin Inspections

Alibaba

Salesbacker.com

Keyword Inspector

FBA Calculator

Sep 2, 2016

So you’ve listened to all the podcasts....

Perhaps even taken my course, Crowdfunding Domination...

You had a successful crowdfunding launch and now it’s time to create a real business.

Now what?

How do you transition from having a “campaign” to having a “business”?

If you are looking to eventually get your product into large retail stores, then this episode will provide the blueprint.

Julianne Ponan is the owner of Creative Nature Superfoods based in the United Kingdom. Five years ago, at 22 years old, she bought the company off of her father. It had £56,000 (~$75,000 USD as of publishing) in debt, and was also losing money month over month.

“It was a bit stupid, and when I look back it would have been easier to start from scratch....” - Julianne Ponan

The first thing she did was cut back on unnecessary expenses, eliminated almost all the products they were selling, and focused on hypoallergenic superfood snack bars.

Julianne then methodically built a group of loyal repeat customers with local retailers, but she had eyes on going national.

After hundreds of phone calls, trade shows, pitch meetings, she was finally able to secure listings in Tesco, the #1 grocery retailer in the UK. Creative Nature products are also in Ocado, Asda, and Sainsbury’s, as well as a host of other smaller health food stores.

So how did she do it?

She got “Creative”.

In this episode and you will learn some unconventional tactics, like “ethical stalking” and strategic brownie baking, that allowed her business to explode.

You’ll hear stories about her biggest mistakes so you can avoid them in the future.

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