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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.