I admit, I can be naive and disillusioned when it comes to my dreams. Sometimes, these traits come in handy, because I rarely back down from starting a new project. But other times, it can lead to a FAT reality check. In the case of my Kickstarter Project, I believed that it was going to be easy-- everyone gets funding, everybody donates, and everybody is down for the cause.
Instead of a smooth sailing Kickstater campaign, where I raise a billion dollars and have major publishers fly me out for a piece of the action, I got my usual reality check. Nothing good comes easy. There will always be obstacles, failures, lessons, setbacks and flaws. But if you make it to the end, the reward will be freakin’ worth it.
If you haven’t seen the box on the left hand corner of this blog, I DID reach my goal. With the help of some awesome people, I was able to raise $4,175 and 103%.
And here is what I learned.
1) If you want your dream to become a reality, you’re going to have to earn it.
We all know this is true, but it doesn’t really hit home until you’re halfway into a project and you hit that breaking point. Holy shit, this is hard. You might be out of money, or out of energy, or prayers. You might be chilling back at your mom’s house because you put everything into your dream and now can barely afford frozen food at Trader Joes, I don’t know. Kickstarter campaigns are no different. For me, the halfway point was when I realized I was going to have to earn this. I was going to have to do things that were uncomfortable and tough. I was going to have to pass out flyers and get myself noticed. I was going to have to earn my funding and not just sit back and watch it come to me.
2) There will always be haters.
Again, we all know this to be true, but the feeling is hard to shake. Some people aren't going to send you words of encouragement and like everything you're doing. It might be subtle, like a sarcastic comment or a defriend on Facebook, but it’s going to happen. You can’t please everyone. If you want to follow your dream, you will have to step out of line and stand out. And if you step out of line you will have people who support the new you, or not support the new you. That’s a fact. Yes, it stings like a bitch to have someone respond negatively to what you’re doing or slap you in the face with a shitty comment, but think about all the people who did support you. And get used to it. Those won’t be the last shitty comments or the last hater.
3) The top Kickstarter projects are usually equipped with a tribe.
When I was nearing the completion of my project, Seth Godin was starting his. I was at 50% with $2400 after 23 days and he was at like $200,000 after two days. Before you start your Kickstarter project, you are going to have ask yourself who your tribe is. Is it friends? Is it family? Is it twitter. Is it facebook? I’m not saying that some projects don’t go viral, but the crazy success stories you see on Kickstarter , often stem from a pre-established tribe. And I’m not saying this to deter you, just giving you a reality check before you jump into your own project. If you don’t have an established tribe and you put your project on Kickstarter, you have to do a lot more work than someone like Seth Godin.
4) Don’t expect Kickstater to put you on the front page.
You can’t rely on people to find your project on Kickstarter. Most of my funding came from my Facebook network. I don’t know the algorithm they use, but no matter how many backers I got, It was never a few clicks away from the front page. And if it wasn’t for the “ending soon” and “recently launched” section, I would have had few backers that just happened to stumble upon my project. I did appear on blogs and I did reach out to media outlets, but again, most of those did not produce a significant number of backers. The real power of crowdsourcing comes from established networks.
5) You never know who in your life will come back to touch you.
Another personal but universal lesson. Some of my backers were people who had always supported me, whether it was a best friend, someone who read my first book or even a member of my fam. There were others I thought supported me and found out for sure that they did. Then there were the left field shockers. A person or acquaintance from your past, or as Goytle says, “Somebody that you used to know.” Someone who you lost track of throughout the years but suddenly shows up in your email as a backer of your project. And it is in those moments that you realize the power of human nature. Never underestimate the people you meet along the way, from an old elementary school friend (a backer) to a new blogger friend (a backer) to even the ex boyfriend of my college roommate (MY BIGGEST BACKER). It’s such a surreal feeling to see people from my past who still remember me, still care and still have the ability to make an impact in my life.
The one thing I can say about my Kickstarter campaign is this, I’m a grateful. I am grateful that people believed in me and that people reached out to support me. I am grateful that I have an amazing support system. I will forever remember each person who pledged even $1 for my goal, because it was those people who made this whole thing worth it.