Kickstarter is like girl scout cookies…without the calories!

Girl Scout Cookies

On the final day of my Kickstarter campaign for A Kickstarter’s Guide I got this wonderful tweet.

Danielle might have been joking but I think she is on to something. Kickstarter is very much like purchasing girl scout cookies. Not only are you helping the girl scouts, but you are getting some great cookies. It’s not exactly charity and its not exactly capitalism. Kickstarter lies somewhere in between. People support you and your project but also get something concrete in return.


A Kickstart’s Guide to Kickstarter TOC:

pssst…you can read all of this offline by downloading the e-book.

Introduction
A Kickstarter’s Guide to Kickstarter: Introduction
How Kickstarter “Kickstartered” it’s own website
Understanding Kickstarter
The Basics of Kickstarter
Kickstarter is an updated version of the Parton Model
Kickstarter is like girl scout cookies…without the calories!
Make sure your project has an ending
Some additional benefits to running a Kickstarter project
Perry Chan’s Six Principles on why Kickstarter projects are successful
Yancey’s thoughts on getting funded
Brainstorming Your Project
What is this damn thing about?
Simplify your project for success
Is your project a Purple Cow?
Making Lemonade And Telling A Good Story
Reward The Patrons
Naming Your Kickstarter Project
Doing Your Homework
Before you launch, do your homework
No one cares about you
Some People Care About You
Who is Your Audience?
Where is Your Audience?
Resonating With Your Audience
Crossing Chasms
What Will it Cost?
Understanding Profit Margin and Costs
Setting Your Goals
Make or Break Decisions
Running the Numbers
Focus on what you need
Reasonable funding goals
Why be Reasonable?
How long your campaign runs depends on one thing, momentum
30 days or less
Managing Deadlines
Going for the BIG bucks
The Allure of a Large Backer
Pricing theory, thoughts about pricing your Kickstarter rewards
The Paradox of Choice
Crafting Your Pitch
Creating a compelling pitch for your Kickstarter project
Four questions people want answered when visiting your Kickstarter page.
Show some credibility to get more backers
Clarity is your friend
How to ask for Support
Kickstarter is a video-driven site
Examples of great pitch videos
Launching Your Project
Launching your project
How to track the progress of your Kickstarter campaign
The 30% Kickstarter project “Tipping Point”
Conclusion
How to engage an audience with a Kickstarter project: Idea & Story

The Basics of Kickstarter

Kickstarter is a platform for someone with a creative project to obtain financing for their idea by receiving small amounts of money from a larger group of people. Each project has a public page, funding amount, deadline and rewards.

The funding goal is the minimum amount of money that a project needs in order to happen. If a funding goal is not met by the deadline, the people backing the project are not charged, and the creator receives no money. This may seem a bit harsh, but it is a very important aspect to the way Kickstarter works.

Deadlines are set by the project creator and can be as long as 60 days. According to the Kickstarter School shorter projects tend to be more successful than longer projects. The number of days remaining in a campaign is displayed on each project page.

The project page provides all the information about the project. This usually includes a written description, video and rewards. I will go in detail about each of these aspects later.

Rewards are an important part of Kickstarter, and each project is required to offer them. Rewards come in many forms, from a physical product, to services, to early access. They depend on how much someone pledges to support a project.

During the campaign a creator can post updates about how the project is going. These updates can be for the general public or just for the people who have already backed the project. Once the project is completed, the creator is responsible for honoring the rewards that were offered during the campaign.


A Kickstart’s Guide to Kickstarter TOC:

pssst…you can read all of this offline by downloading the e-book.

Introduction
A Kickstarter’s Guide to Kickstarter: Introduction
How Kickstarter “Kickstartered” it’s own website
Understanding Kickstarter
The Basics of Kickstarter
Kickstarter is an updated version of the Parton Model
Kickstarter is like girl scout cookies…without the calories!
Make sure your project has an ending
Some additional benefits to running a Kickstarter project
Perry Chan’s Six Principles on why Kickstarter projects are successful
Yancey’s thoughts on getting funded
Brainstorming Your Project
What is this damn thing about?
Simplify your project for success
Is your project a Purple Cow?
Making Lemonade And Telling A Good Story
Reward The Patrons
Naming Your Kickstarter Project
Doing Your Homework
Before you launch, do your homework
No one cares about you
Some People Care About You
Who is Your Audience?
Where is Your Audience?
Resonating With Your Audience
Crossing Chasms
What Will it Cost?
Understanding Profit Margin and Costs
Setting Your Goals
Make or Break Decisions
Running the Numbers
Focus on what you need
Reasonable funding goals
Why be Reasonable?
How long your campaign runs depends on one thing, momentum
30 days or less
Managing Deadlines
Going for the BIG bucks
The Allure of a Large Backer
Pricing theory, thoughts about pricing your Kickstarter rewards
The Paradox of Choice
Crafting Your Pitch
Creating a compelling pitch for your Kickstarter project
Four questions people want answered when visiting your Kickstarter page.
Show some credibility to get more backers
Clarity is your friend
How to ask for Support
Kickstarter is a video-driven site
Examples of great pitch videos
Launching Your Project
Launching your project
How to track the progress of your Kickstarter campaign
The 30% Kickstarter project “Tipping Point”
Conclusion
How to engage an audience with a Kickstarter project: Idea & Story

Kickstarter is an updated version of the Patron Model

The Patron Model

In tech circles raising small amounts of money from a large group of people is commonly called “crowdfunding” or “crowd-sourced funding.” This is a buzz word and does not actually describe what happens on Kickstarter. Who is this crowd? Where do they come from? How do they find us? The word crowdfunding makes it seem so easy. All we have to do is post a project and the crowd will fund it. However, that’s not really what happens.

Founder Perry Chen describes Kickstarter as a newer version of the patron model, which lies somewhere between altruism and capitalism. People not only give to a project because they like the idea or creator, but they also get something in return. The reward could be to see the project come into existence or to get one of the Kickstarter rewards created for the site.

The idea has been around for a very long time. Mozart and Beethoven used a similar funding model to premiere concerts and first print editions of their works. Patrons of the visual arts were rewarded by being able to keep and display the artwork. The Kickstarter model is similar, but it’s turbocharged by the web and its social aspects.

The web allows for ideas to spread very fast and helps connect creators with an audience. The all or nothing deadline encourages patrons to share and promote the project quickly or risk see it disappear. Fueled by Facebook, Twitter and other social sites, Kickstarter projects can take on a life of their own, as patrons spread the idea far and wide.


A Kickstart’s Guide to Kickstarter TOC:

pssst…you can read all of this offline by downloading the e-book.

Introduction
A Kickstarter’s Guide to Kickstarter: Introduction
How Kickstarter “Kickstartered” it’s own website
Understanding Kickstarter
The Basics of Kickstarter
Kickstarter is an updated version of the Parton Model
Kickstarter is like girl scout cookies…without the calories!
Make sure your project has an ending
Some additional benefits to running a Kickstarter project
Perry Chan’s Six Principles on why Kickstarter projects are successful
Yancey’s thoughts on getting funded
Brainstorming Your Project
What is this damn thing about?
Simplify your project for success
Is your project a Purple Cow?
Making Lemonade And Telling A Good Story
Reward The Patrons
Naming Your Kickstarter Project
Doing Your Homework
Before you launch, do your homework
No one cares about you
Some People Care About You
Who is Your Audience?
Where is Your Audience?
Resonating With Your Audience
Crossing Chasms
What Will it Cost?
Understanding Profit Margin and Costs
Setting Your Goals
Make or Break Decisions
Running the Numbers
Focus on what you need
Reasonable funding goals
Why be Reasonable?
How long your campaign runs depends on one thing, momentum
30 days or less
Managing Deadlines
Going for the BIG bucks
The Allure of a Large Backer
Pricing theory, thoughts about pricing your Kickstarter rewards
The Paradox of Choice
Crafting Your Pitch
Creating a compelling pitch for your Kickstarter project
Four questions people want answered when visiting your Kickstarter page.
Show some credibility to get more backers
Clarity is your friend
How to ask for Support
Kickstarter is a video-driven site
Examples of great pitch videos
Launching Your Project
Launching your project
How to track the progress of your Kickstarter campaign
The 30% Kickstarter project “Tipping Point”
Conclusion
How to engage an audience with a Kickstarter project: Idea & Story

How Kickstarter “Kickstartered” it’s own website

Kickstarter was founded in 2009 by Perry Chen, Yancey Strickler, and Charles Adler. Since its launch over 20,000 projects have been successfully funded, with people pledging more than 75 million dollars. However, Kickstarter wasn’t always this big. Much like your project, Kickstarter began small.

In 2002 Perry was working in New Orleans and trying to put together a concert. He wanted a way to query the audience to see if he had enough support to go through with it. From this initial idea Kickstarter.com was born. However, it would take another seven years before the site would launch.

“I didn’t necessarily know where to begin. I wasn’t coming from working on the web” says Perry in an interview with TechCrunch. “At the time…I couldn’t have been less interested in dedicating my life, which is clearly what it takes.” Fortunately for us, he met some like-minded individuals and began working on the site.

A couple years, later Perry moved back to New York City, his hometown. He met Yancey while working as a waiter at a restaurant called Diner in Brooklyn. Yancey was a regular and worked as a journalist. One day Perry mentioned an idea he had for a site that would allow him to raise money for creative projects. Yancey liked the idea and they began working it. However, neither of them had technical backgrounds. It wasn’t until they met Charles Adler that the idea really started to take off.

Recalling the early years, Yancey said “At the beginning… it was a few people with a piece of paper and not much else.” He spoke of how they would wake up every morning wondering “Is today the day that the three people who live in Palo Alto, who are working on the exact same idea launch their site?”

In order to get the site funded they reached out to David Cross, an actor on Arrested Development. Perry was friends with David’s cousin, and she helped arrange the meeting. David came on board as the initial investor and was joined by a few other artists later. When they were finally ready to launch, they sent invitations out to 30 of their friends and asked them to share it with five of their friends. In essence, they kick started their own site.


A Kickstart’s Guide to Kickstarter TOC:

pssst…you can read all of this offline by downloading the e-book.

  • A Kickstarter’s Guide to Kickstarter: Introduction
  • How Kickstarter “Kickstartered” it’s own website
  • Introduction
    A Kickstarter’s Guide to Kickstarter: Introduction
    How Kickstarter “Kickstartered” it’s own website
    Understanding Kickstarter
    The Basics of Kickstarter
    Kickstarter is an updated version of the Parton Model
    Kickstarter is like girl scout cookies…without the calories!
    Make sure your project has an ending
    Some additional benefits to running a Kickstarter project
    Perry Chan’s Six Principles on why Kickstarter projects are successful
    Yancey’s thoughts on getting funded
    Brainstorming Your Project
    What is this damn thing about?
    Simplify your project for success
    Is your project a Purple Cow?
    Making Lemonade And Telling A Good Story
    Reward The Patrons
    Naming Your Kickstarter Project
    Doing Your Homework
    Before you launch, do your homework
    No one cares about you
    Some People Care About You
    Who is Your Audience?
    Where is Your Audience?
    Resonating With Your Audience
    Crossing Chasms
    What Will it Cost?
    Understanding Profit Margin and Costs
    Setting Your Goals
    Make or Break Decisions
    Running the Numbers
    Focus on what you need
    Reasonable funding goals
    Why be Reasonable?
    How long your campaign runs depends on one thing, momentum
    30 days or less
    Managing Deadlines
    Going for the BIG bucks
    The Allure of a Large Backer
    Pricing theory, thoughts about pricing your Kickstarter rewards
    The Paradox of Choice
    Crafting Your Pitch
    Creating a compelling pitch for your Kickstarter project
    Four questions people want answered when visiting your Kickstarter page.
    Show some credibility to get more backers
    Clarity is your friend
    How to ask for Support
    Kickstarter is a video-driven site
    Examples of great pitch videos
    Launching Your Project
    Launching your project
    How to track the progress of your Kickstarter campaign
    The 30% Kickstarter project “Tipping Point”
    Conclusion
    How to engage an audience with a Kickstarter project: Idea & Story