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You have a creative idea, it costs money to get it off the ground, money that you don’t have to invest. Is there any way in which you can make it happen without giving away any equity or rights to your idea?

Traditional forms of finance raising may mean you pay high return rates, and that’s only if your idea passes through an intricate web of approval methods. Plus, you may have to surrender a percentage of your profits on an ongoing basis.

The good news is YES. www.kickstarter.com is a site where creative people can ‘pitch’ their ideas to a wide audience and if their target is met, they receive the funds raised.

Now don’t rush to the computer to check out the site, not yet anyway. In order to create a successful campaign, there are certain things that you need to consider.

We have broken it down so you will have a clear understanding of what you can do to have the BEST chance of reaching your funding target.

Planning

What’s your project or idea? If you have a clear goal then it will be easier for potential backers to see where you are coming from. It may be that you want to launch an album, a book (digital or physical), or a specific creative event.

As long as there is a clear objective and a way in which the project is completed, you have a fighting chance. Be clear in your goal and make it simple for backers to understand what you are aiming to achieve.

Campaigns can run from 1-90 days, but if you aim for a 45 day plan people won’t get frustrated waiting. If you don’t reach your target, no one will be charged and no funds will be allocated.

Budgeting

What are the minimum costs you need to make your idea a reality? You can’t change the requested total once the project is live, but you can receive above the total, so it’s better to be realistic and work to your minimum requirements.

You need to look at all costs, including;
➤ Resources
➤ Equipment
➤ Shipping
➤ Materials
➤ Expenses

You must show these predictions so that backers can see what their money is going towards. You do get to keep 100% of the funds after a 5% commission and 3-5% processing fee, so it’s worth calculating this when you are deciding on the amount. (Shipping costs will also be taken off your running total if there is a physical product you need to post out).

You are 100% responsible for making sure the project reaches maturity, so the more realistic you are the better. Think about the time it will take to create a physical product such as a book, including design and printing. If it runs behind, don’t panic, be honest with your backers

Rewards

Each backer will expect something in return for their pledge. It may be a signed copy of the book or a copy of the album or an invite to your event. Some rewards can be more creative, such as, for a certain value of pledge they would receive VIP tickets to a ‘gig’ you are performing in, or you may offer to sing at a party or go to their office and perform. Obviously, this kind of backer would need to live quite close to you or in a radius in which you are prepared to travel, so it limits the number of people who would take it up. Your backers will also expect insider information on how the project is going, so you will need to keep them updated. Pictures of work in progress, or mini video clips, will make it all the more interesting for them.

How to start

➤ Get your plan together
➤ Work out your range of offerings and rewards, (not cash incentives or any dodgy stuff)
➤ List it on the website
➤ Create a marketing plan;

Many of your potential backers will come from your local network but that’s not to say you won’t attract funding from strangers. Projects that receive the most pledges have a video attached, introducing you and your idea. People love to know the story behind a venture.

Use social media to raise awareness of your campaign, get in touch with personal contacts, inform your local media publication. These are just some of the ways to get noticed.

When someone makes a pledge, thank them personally.

Reach out to communities, forums or trade groups, if appropriate, that are connected with your idea.

Keep the BUZZ going about your project by regularly updating your page.

Celebrate when your target is reached!

by Suzanne Smith

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