About This Episode
Have you been struggling to get your business off the ground or to get things done?
Wish you had just nailed it from the get-go?
Mike Michalowicz would beg to differ.
When he was 22 years old he started a computer networking business that he quickly grew and sold when it was reaching $2 million a year in revenue.
He then started a computer crime investigation company at the right time (helping take down Enron) and sold it when it was generating $7 million a year in revenue.
“I thought I was God’s gift to entrepreneurship… turns out I was just a guy.”
He then proceeded to blow all his earnings on trophy items like cars, an expensive apartment in an expensive city, and silly Angel investments.
One day he had to come home to his wife and kids and tell them they had to sell everything and start from scratch.
Fast forward to today, Mike has risen from the ashes to write four entrepreneurial cult classics, including “Profit First” and his latest book, “Surge”, where he teaches the strategies that made him successful originally and the mistakes he made to lose it all so you can avoid them.
He is also back into Angel investing, with a stake in a manufacturing company, but this time operating with a strict “No Dicks Allowed” partnership policy that is serving him well.
Having had early success, and then losing it all, and then rising like a Phoenix from the ashes, Mike has a unique and valuable perspective on how to launch and grown successful businesses.
In this episode, we talk about how to avoid a cash flow crunch with proper budgeting, why you should do a small batch run of manufacturing even before your campaign to prove the process…
...but most importantly for Crowdfunding, he reminds us that your backers can’t see behind the curtain and see how hard you are working to deliver unless you let them.
And how to set expectations properly so you can wow your backers and make them raving fans, even if it feels like your world is crashing down around you.
Imagine being able to look at your body, and see your heart beat, lungs breathe, liver processing, stomach churning, and intestines digesting,
That is what you can now do with Virtuali-Tee, a new product from Curiscope that Founder and CEO, Ed Barton, hopes will help kids learn to love biology.
The Virtuali-Tee uses your smartphone and a funky tee-shirt that looks like it is out of the 1980’s hit game, Space Invaders.
The shirt is essentially an advanced QR-Code that, when you combine it with your smartphone or VR device, lets you look at a virtual representation of your anatomy ON your body.
You can literally dive into your blood vessels and learn how the heart delivers oxygen to muscles and tissues.
Crowdfunding is MADE for cool projects and creators like Ed and his team.
For their successful launch, Ed was extremely well prepared by most standards:
He had an email list
He had a working prototype
He lined up a manufacturer in the United States that could meet the high printing quality standards required to make the magic happen.
He and his co-founder went to conferences, demoed their product and signed people up to their email list IN PERSON!
Even then, Ed delivered the Virtuali-Tee to all backers about 6 weeks late, (“early” by Crowdfunding standards) and he wasn’t happy about it.
Why’s that? As Ed puts it…
“Business is a string of problems that you solve to get the successes along the way.”
Some of these problems are foreseeable and contingencies can be planned.
After Brexit, the Pound dropped 25% overnight.
This caused his production costs go up 33% as a result (the maths, as the Brits say, works I swear) and meant that he had start from square one to source a new manufacturer able to meet the high standards required to make the magic happen.
Communication is what saved his company’s reputation.
Ed made it his policy to respond personally to all emails and Backer comments within 24 hours.
The results of being on top of his communication, and ultimately delivering a great product, has meant hundreds of repeat orders from teachers all over the world and the beginning of what Ed hopes will revolutionise how kids are taught and engage in school.
I am super excited about today’s guest!
Savannah Turk is the Communications Director of Purple, makers of The Purple Pillow and The Purple Mattress.
The Purple Pillow is probably my favorite Kickstarter Campaign that I have seen to date.
What blows me away about what The Purple Team were able to do is take a “successful” campaign, The Purple Mattress, learn from it, iterate, and then...
BLOW IT OUT OF THE WATER
Their first campaign, The Purple Mattress, raised $171k and they were really happy about it.
They custom built their own machine designed to make 20 mattresses a day.
After the first campaign, the demand spiked and they had to get it ramped up to 200 mattresses a day.
So what did they do? Did they rest on their laurels and newfound success?
They took what they learned, leveraged their new, super passionate audience of existing customers, and crushed it with The Purple Pillow.
Exactly one year to the day later they raised over $2.6 MILLION.
Crowdfunding is just the START of something amazing.
Whatever your level of “success” (however you define that), if you are paying attention, you will learn enough to crush it in Round Two.
Backerkit - No really! These guys used and loved Backerkit!
75 - Finding a Balance of Entrepreneurial Superpowers | feat. Alex Fine
About this episode
Most of the people that call me for advice or to hire me to run their campaigns are visionaries.
They have big hearts and bigger dreams.
But oftentimes they lack the skills in another area of business that is crucial to the success in the market they have chosen to tackle.
In consumer technology crowdfunding, the skills deficit I most often see is in the nitty gritty detail work of industrial design and engineering.
You can have a great idea, execute a crowdfunding campaign on it perfectly, raise a ton of money, and then be screwed trying to manufacture.
What is the solution? Partner with people who have the skills you need.
Chris Prendergast partnered with an industrial design firm for JamStack.
Today’s guest, Alex Fine, is a sex therapist with a Masters Degree in Clinical Psychology from Columbia University.
Alex brought her passion for human sexuality and partnered with an MIT mechanical engineering grad, Janet Lieberman, who brought extensive product design experience.
Together they cofounded Dame Products and have raised over $1.2 million dollars over two campaigns for two different, cutting edge, sex toys.
The original, Eva, raised $575,000 in 45 days on IndieGoGo in 2014.
Their latest, Fin, raised $394,000 in 30 days on Kickstarter in late 2016.
The balance they raise with IndieGoGo's InDemand service.
In this episode, you will get some hints on what makes their partnership work well.
When you are done listening, ask yourself, “do I have all of the skills necessary to pull off my vision?”. If not, then get to work finding partners.