Is it possible to make a worthwhile amount of money by fundraising on Kickstarter?
I am looking into different funding methods because I don't want to bring in angel investors or VCs right now. Is it possible to make a decent amount of money while fundraising on Kickstarter if you aren't a celebrity? If so, what are the secrets to a good kickstarter campaign?
It seems that you have already received a lot of good answers here so I will keep my brief and to the point. First, you should be looking at Kickstarter as a way to raise funds toward the investment of your business, not to "make" money. Any investor worth their weight in gold wants to be certain that the funds raised will be used to grow and build your business, not to support fixed costs or to provide bonuses.
With that said, Kickstarter is definitely a good avenue to seek. Those who have had great success usually invest in a well produced "splainer" video.
As alternative to Kickstarter you can try Indiegogo. They offer the possibility to get the funds even if the the target is not met.
While I agree with what most have said below, more important, is what you're selling. What are you selling, proposing, what is your idea, your proposition? You can be the best sales person and marketer, and dedicate endless hours, energy, and resources to selling it, but if no one wants it, you'll never raise the necessary capital. In over two and a half decades, I've helped hundreds of entrepreneurs (including myself) with great ideas become tangible products / services that produce revenue, jobs, profits, and retirement. Please let me know more about what you have. Dave Cochran, Seattle
It is absolutely possible, although one "secret" I have to share is to be sure to set your goal at something you are almost certain is attainable so that you do not lose momentum or interest from investors down the line. You also do not want to lose the actual money pledged by not reaching the goal in the first place. You may need to focus heavily on getting people to see your Kickstarter cause at first, through social media & other avenues. It may take more time that you'd like. Once you have a bit to start with, you can bring on investors & focus more on what you'd like to focus on! I hope it all goes well for you.
There are no secrets but there are tons of lessons learned and best practices that you can find out online. But for me...a lesson learned I had from doing a campaign myself, and falling short of my goal, is it takes a great deal of prep and planning time, and as others said below, you have to network and market it far beyond the crowdfunding source as well.
And again, depending on your product/service, you need to research all of the types of crowdfunding sources to determine which is best for your type of campaign, which funding type you want (all or nothing, or a % fee for anything raised, equity, etc.), and then I would reach out to some of the successful (non-celebrity) and nonsuccessful campaign managers and ask them what worked and what did not work.
crowdfunding can be very overwhelming, so be prepared to do a lot of research, prep and planning BUT you can be successful there.
It's absolutely possible, to the tune of $12M on Kickstarter, the current record. (http://money.cnn.com/2014/08/27/smallbusiness/coolest-kickstarter-record/) What you may not know is that for every deal you see on Kickstarter there are three other business deals being crowdfunded on other platforms. As some have said here, it's not easy, it's not cheap, it is fast though.
My company Crowdfund Roundup, the Crowdfund Guarantee people, are emphasizing the value of revenue royalty loans as the likely best way for a business to get funded, keep its crowd engaged after the raise and maintain control of equity and leadership particularly if you'll pursue later rounds of funding. Every oil well sunk, mine dug and ship launched is a product of a royalty loan, it's just not often talked about in the startup level of investing. Wouldn't you rather work with (and for, really) people who are as committed to your venture as you are, instead of VCs who only see you as between them and getting their money out of you in 2 years?
KickStarter is difficult, don't let anyone tell you otherwise and there are no real secrets, more of an accepted way of doing things. If you fail you may scupper any chances of angel or VC investment further down the line so something to think about there.
You will need to attracted a community, these are the people that will sell your product on to other 'investors', word of mouth being very important. You will need to engage with that community, build a buzz around these people and continue to update. Also, watch those stretch goals, sometimes these can run away and seem unachievable.
Get your community, engage with your community (daily) and be carful on what you promise. Also, make sure that what you are asking is perceived as achievable, there have been a number of high profile failures recently (mostly in the games industry) that quite simply ran out of money. Bad community karma and I think users are getting wise to the cost of things as they become more aware that Kickstarter is really a pre-order program with benefits.
There are many factors that go into a successful crowdfunding campaign. Kickstarter is an "all or nothing" platform, which means that if you set your goal at $10,000 for example and you only receive $8000 in your campaign, then you do not get to keep the monies collected. There are other platforms that might work better for you.
Running a crowdfunding campaign is like running any other marketing campaign, there are no short cuts and there are many steps to making it successful.
Here is a link to an article I wrote on crowdfunding that is in the Resource Center of Mosaic Hub. There are also other aspects of crowdfunding that are under the same title.
Good luck with your campaign. Elaine
Colette, answering your 1st question - yes, it's quite possible: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/235313 The companies in the article have become kind of celebrities afterwards, not before the campaign.
As for a How-to-do list, there are lots of info in the web, f.ex. this: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/236974 , or this http://www.bitrebels.com/business/setup-successful-kickstarter-campaign/
The tips for making successful campaigns (no matter special Kickstarter ones or general advertising) are pretty much always the same. Hence, the info in such articles migrates fro one to another.
Nevertheless, my personal strong conviction is that you need to believe in your product for 100% by yourself. Thus, you make other people believe you. Your belief need to be seen in the pitch video, in every social media post you share, in everything you do.
And don't forget to tell people about the product out of Kickstarter. The more people know, the better it for your campaign.
Make a video of your product, give some incentive to your sponsors, it really depends of what you are wanting fundraising for as each project will need different marketing