One would think my hope in the crowdfunding concept was gone in a prior video, but it’s strung along because I had faith in people supporting it. Not only because they love the content coming forward, but because it’s the right thing to do. And while I still have faith in the concept, my feelings have evolved some after plenty of introspection (as detailed in above video).
As a means to get my thoughts sorted and have more information in general, I went to a How to Kick Off a Kickstarter panel whilst at Geek.Kon 2013 this past weekend (separate blog coming soon, I promise). It was unplanned, given I had no idea what panels were available on the only day I could go, but it seemed to fit with what I was writing, you know? Anyway, aside from the tips, tricks, do’s and do not’s of of running any sort of crowdfunding campaign, it was just downright entertaining to hear the stories of all those who made it…and of course failed it. So hard, and so bad. If there is anything to be gathered from that panel, it’s that you need to know the price of everything before you ask for a dollar amount. That includes the time of individuals, shipping, specific Kickstarter reward tiers, and roadblocks (deaths, lawsuits, etc.), not just the cost of a single product. There’s also the fact you need to communicate with your audience, but more on that in a moment.
Greatest thing of all about this panel, I actually got to pose a question to the duo who have worked on and with many different crowdfunding projects. Question being: What is the audience threshold something should have before going to the Internet, so as not to lose money (or even succeed) if the potential backers are just going to be local? Or at least that’s how I wanted to word my question, because I’m certain it was all gibberish to them because they took it in an entirely different way. Something about engaging your audience, having your backers be more vocal about what’s in the work, and being really eye-rolling when they pointed out the Twitter, Facebook, etc. buttons you can use to share with others (sort of like the YouTube trend of asking users to Like, Favorite and Subscribe).
So they answered what one should do in order to gain a greater online audience, but they didn’t answer how large the backer base should be before considering anything outside your local base. In other words, didn’t answer my question at all. The answer they gave did give a facet of the issue, and that’s the fact you need the support of truly inspired people. Even if you spoke with hundreds or even thousands of people, they need to either want what you’re selling or want you to succeed. So while I still don’t know what that magical number of loyal backers should be (though it’s been said all you need is 1000 true fans), I at least have some idea on how to get to that number.
If there’s anything I can say for certain about all these thoughts I’m having, it’s that your reputation is currency. I’m stealing from M dot Strange, but I’m certain he would be down with spreading the good word, so why not? This isn’t all about crowdfunding, because even getting away from the process (as I’m considering in the video) you still need those connections, those people willing to bet on you to do right with them. You have plans for something big? Follow through on what you say with gusto, and build something powerful with those around you to show you’re worth the investment. Work and communicate with the world, and maybe someday they will give you what’s needed to make the bigger dreams happen.
And until I have a body of work that’s worthwhile along with some roots in the community to grow from, I’ll likely be putting a lot of what I plan on the back burner. Ever the bother, but it’s good to remind myself that my success or failure lies partly on me, and I’ve been fairly vacant from the process that makes it work. The rest is hoping the world will take a chance on me when I seek it out. Ever in the dungeon I’m plunging…hopefully on something worthwhile…