Have you ever had a big idea – the next big thing – a project that could change the world AND make you rich – only to be stopped in your tracks because you couldn’t or didn’t know how to raise enough capital to develop it? We found ourselves in that exact predicament with a new product. The crowdfunding platform, Kickstarter, was our answer.

It used to be that only big established companies could make products, only Hollywood could make movies, only record labels could produce music, only publishers could produce books. Those days – thankfully – are gone. Today a great invention or idea CAN be brought into the world by an entrepreneur like YOU and without a second mortgage on the house or selling a majority stake to a venture capitalist. In today’s DIY world, you can jump right into the marketplace. One of the most helpful methods of funding your start-up venture is Crowd Funding.

Crowd funding enables a creator to present their project to a large network of potential “investors” (meaning friends, family, colleagues and other “regular” people) through an internet-based platform to request funding in nominal amounts. The total of those amounts, if successful, should add up to the amount needed for start-up capital of the project. To entice these investors, the creator offers a reward as thanks for the contribution. The rewards could be anything from a web site mention to a product to other creative thankyou’s, and is usually fulfilled after the campaign is over and funding is received.

The big WIN is that you have received enough capital to move to the next phase of your project and have not had to give up ownership of your idea (or your house) to get there.

You might be wondering if Kickstarter is REALLY successful, or if it’s just something business and gadget blogs like to talk about. Well, a quick look at the numbers says crowd funding is a big deal, and success rates are going up and up and up.

Kickstarter says this, as of February 10, 2016: “Since our launch, on April 28, 2009, 10 million people have backed a project, $2.2 Billion has been pledged, and 100,107projects have been successfully funded.”

Here’s a screenshot from Kickstarter Stats (February 10, 2016)… keep in mind, this is a buncha regular people making it happen!

Kickstarter Screen Shot 2016-02-10 at 4.35.50 PM

Screen Shot 2016-02-11 at 12.09.19 PM

Screenshot from Kickstarter Stats, October 29, 2013

As you can see above, Kickstarter, and crowd funding in general, is NOT about being an instant millionaire. It’s about kickstarting your project. Over 50% of the successfully funded projects raised between $1k-$10k. Those million dollar projects are real, but so are lottery winners… Having said that, a real person like you, with a great idea and the drive to put together campaign CAN make enough money to get it off the ground – with an immediate audience!

This post serves as the introduction to a 10 part series “10 Steps to a Successful Kickstarter Campaign.” Stay tuned for the set in the coming weeks:

  1. Walk the Walk: Defining the pieces of every crowd funding campaign.
  2. So What’s The Big Idea?: How Every Great Product Starts
  3. A Quick Outline of Product and Project Development
  4. Crowd Funding Rewards: The Key to Success (or failure!)
  5. Secrets to Determining Your Kickstarter “Goal” (hint: it’s greater than your project budget)
  6. Tips to the Perfect Kickstarter Project Outline: Creating a Bad First Draft
  7. How to Make a Kickstarter Video (you don’t have to be a professional!)
  8. 5 Things You Need to Do BEFORE You Launch Your Crowd Funding Campaign
  9. The 4 Most Important Things to Do DURING Your Kickstarter Campaign to Ensure Success
  10. It’s Not Over When It’s Over: Transitioning from Campaign to a Successful Product in the Marketplace
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