Well, the Kickstarter campaign couldn't make it past 30% funded and so I decided to cancel it. I might relaunch but not quite sure. I do have it back as a preorder on my website at this address for those of you who would still like to order one. I won't order it until I can get at least 3k raised for it.
Here are some things that I learned about this process.
- running a Kickstarter is not easier than launching a business. You still need very good quality samples and a well developed audience in order to launch it. There is a lot of financial outlay to get it to be successful - to get a good campaign is one huge project which was the main focus before I launched it. But the marketing part was the unknown and I thought that tasking and paying others to do so would be the golden ticket. Sometimes, though, you know your customers better than someone else - so almost all of the pledges were from connections that I had or some different resources I used during the campaign. I know a lot of people who feel doing a Kickstarter is the main and best way to get a business going. However, whether you start your own biz or launch a crowdfund, the same needs come into play - establishing a customer base, learning how to market to them, and getting people to see your products. Being in the KS space doesn't make that necessarily easier.
- doing a Kickstarter isn't really about validating an idea. It's really about marketing. There are plenty of ideas out there that have been funded that were somewhat halfbaked and maybe wouldn't survive in a typical retail world, but they still get funded.
- Does magic happen when you post your project? SOME magic happens but in my case, not enough magic. There were some opportunities to have other people and sites post my project or blog about it or tweet about it, etc. But a lot of people tweet about things that get one or two likes or none. Sometimes something you think will be huge will not really do anything. Even people with huge followings, if they're just reposting, some people might see it - but paying someone to post something isn't necessarily going to come across that they really dig your project or back it. There are some people who will really like the project but if they're bloggers, they typically are so used to free stuff that they don't really buy their own things any more - used to getting things for free and posting at a cost, you can not rely on them to help you out unless you have enough product in hand to give it to them and pay them for it. In my case I only had two sets of samples so I was limited in who I could use. Many people not only require payment but also require the free product which can be problematic if you are doing a crowdfund and only have a couple of samples. I'm not sure how critical it is to get influencer reviews, but it is one of many ways to get people to see your product.
Anyways, I definitely learned a lot and it's challenging to integrate all these things when the clock is ticking but I do think moving forward, if I did it again, I would definitely keep the above things in mind and approach it differently.