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Sharing a Kickstarter on LJs?

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Forum topic by Ashus posted 04-02-2015 05:03 PM 975 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Ashus

31 posts in 642 days


04-02-2015 05:03 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question fundraising social acceptability

Hey LJs,

I’m planning to run a Kickstarter campaign for a product line that I’m working, and I’m looking at all the different options for marketing avenues.

The ladies and gentlemen here on LJs are not my ideal customers, since I’m pretty sure that everyone who frequents this site can do what I’m doing and most likely do it better, but I couldn’t find anything in the official rules that says I can’t advertise it here. I don’t want to offend anyone, obviously, but I very much want to get the word out to as many people as I can. Even one extra pledge could make the difference between failure and success for me, so I’ll accept it from any source I can.

So my question: are the ‘social’ rules of LJs such that it would be considered bad manners to share my campaign here?

And a follow up: if I were able to share it here, what are your thoughts on the response I could expect?

Initially, my first thought is that turning random LumberJocks into backers for my campaign is a huge stretch of plausibility – you’re all better woodworkers than I am, so I doubt I’ll impress anyone here enough to actually pledge – but then I think about how supportive everyone has been, and I start to believe that there might be a few people willing to put a little money in to help me realize a dream. I just don’t know which way it would go.

Thanks, friends. :)

-- Adam in Minneapolis


12 replies so far

View Rob's profile

Rob

704 posts in 2538 days


#1 posted 04-02-2015 05:32 PM

My gut reaction is that if you just joined the site to promote your kickstarter (or even if it can just be construed that way), don’t expect a great response unless you’re already a big name in online woodworking circles or you’re really offering something revolutionary.

Other people have posted their kickstarters in the past. Personally I don’t like campaigns that look like they were just whipped up in a few hours with the goal of paying for a new tool for the shop, because anybody here could just as easily post a “me, too” kickstarter with the same goal and the same rewards. Make the kickstarter backer-centric rather than creator-centric. Show us how you’ll make the world a better place for others, not just for yourself.

I’ve seen too many kickstarters that stated something to the effect, “This kickstarter will allow me to …” There was one for some bookshelves that was worded this way. It was completely obvious the guy was basically just trying to raise funds to buy himself a CNC, and the rewards were different configurations of CNC-milled pieces of shop-grade plywood that you could assemble into shelves. I liked the design but didn’t like the presentation.

Instead it should be something to the effect, “I’ve developed this awesome new thing and here’s why you need it. Here’s what I’ve done so far, here’s what I still need to do, and here’s how you can be one of the first people to get one.” I think there were a couple sawhorse ones that went over pretty well, and the reward tiers included sets of plans.

-- Ask an expert or be the expert - http://woodworking.stackexchange.com

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Ashus

31 posts in 642 days


#2 posted 04-02-2015 05:48 PM

Thanks Rob, that feedback is invaluable. Much of what you’ve said is stuff that I’ve already taken into account (being backer-centric, taking the time to polish the idea, including plans for rewards), so I’m really thrilled that you mentioned those things. It helps me believe that I’m on the right path to success.

I didn’t join LumberJocks to promote it – I joined for the combined decades of advice available to help me be the best woodworker I can be, who makes things people will like. I’m not at all a big name; I think my wife is just about the only one who’s heard of me. ;)

I don’t want to step on toes or alienate myself from the community with shameless self-promotion. I would much rather never mention my campaign here and continue to benefit from the fantastic advice and expertise that can be found. I guess I’m just looking for a way to both, without making people mad. And, eventually, I hope to get to a point where I can give back to the community with my own experience – I just don’t have that much experience to offer yet.

-- Adam in Minneapolis

View GFactor's profile

GFactor

79 posts in 1066 days


#3 posted 04-02-2015 06:03 PM

You have been a member for a whole 24 days, yet you did not join to push your agenda? Really? If you say you did not, I will believe you. BUT… That is one HUGE COINCIDENCEthat I imagine will be a red flag for many members.

Most, if not all of the regular Contributing Members could probably raise more money than then you are looking for. However, they have all of our admiration, and more importantly, TRUST. .

Best of luck to you, i have a feeling you are going to need it to get past the obvious.

Cheers

-- To Steal Ideas From One Person is Plagiarism; to Steal From Many is Research…

View Ashus's profile

Ashus

31 posts in 642 days


#4 posted 04-02-2015 06:11 PM

Thanks GFactor – I completely understand your point of view.

Throwing up that sort of red flag is specifically what I want to avoid. I’d rather be a member of the community and become a contributing member than be a flash-in-the-pan who just came for money. I will definitely keep this in mind when deciding whether or not to post my campaign details here.

For me, the woodworking comes first, and LJs has already been incredibly valuable to me as place to learn and grow. I honestly do not want to risk losing that.

-- Adam in Minneapolis

View dhazelton's profile

dhazelton

2326 posts in 1764 days


#5 posted 04-02-2015 06:21 PM

If it were a kickstarter to send some poor kid to a carpentry class or to make a movie about old time Appalachin wood carvers or some other such thing, then no it would not be in bad form. If it’s a kickstarter to give you money to set up your own business then I say go to the bank and take out a loan.

View JAAune's profile

JAAune

1646 posts in 1784 days


#6 posted 04-02-2015 10:33 PM

I’ve looked into Kickstarters for various projects and will probably run one someday. One common theme I’ve seen on advice about such campaigns is that you need to have the audience before starting the campaign. You need a large group of people who are enthusiastic about your idea and are willing to spread the word around. Game developers usually get a big fanbase via Facebook or a forum before starting a campaign.

@DHazelton

Actually, Kickstarter is primarily designed to fund the development of new products, not charitable causes. If Ashus is starting a new product line, Kickstarter is the perfect place to fund it.

That being said, it’s not possible to take shortcuts. Starting a campaign then expecting a bunch of people to jump on the bandwagon right away is unreal. It takes a lot of time (one year is a reasonable number) and long hours of work to create prototypes and a presentation that will win backers.

If I were to launch a campaign, I’d want an audience of several thousand people supporting the project before the campaign launched. I also wouldn’t have a problem sharing on Lumberjocks if I thought people really would have a genuine interest in it. But I could get away with it since I’ve been an active contributor for years.

You need to get a lot of funding on day one to have a good chance of success. Build the audience first.

-- See my work at http://remmertstudios.com and http://altaredesign.com

View Ashus's profile

Ashus

31 posts in 642 days


#7 posted 04-02-2015 10:49 PM

I agree with DHazelton that charitable causes would probably be viewed more favorably here on LJs than a business venture, which was the purpose of my question. Since I’m not asking about the viability of running a Kickstarter, just about whether I should post it here or not, I can respect that viewpoint.

Following up on what you said, JAAune, I’m not taking shortcuts – I’ve been planning this product line for six months already, with at least another 4 months to go before I’ll feel like it’s ready. My prototypes have gone through several design iterations already; one of which even had the assistance of the experts here on LJs (my post on wood for small joinery was to get feedback about one of my design ideas).

I’m heavy on the planning, and I’ve done an awful lot of it – both for the products themselves and the more business-side aspects of all of it. I’ve also been building a small following through my friends, and have a line on getting my project seen by about 2,000 people on Day One. If even 10 of those people decide to back, I’ll be thrilled. Once the project launches, I’m relatively certain that I’ll be successful; I’ve shown my designs and prototypes to quite a few (about 20) people, both inside and outside of my target market, and the feedback has been incredibly positive.

But I digress – this thread was to be about sharing my dream with a group of strangers who share an interest in woodworking, not how best I can make my project successful. :)

-- Adam in Minneapolis

View dhazelton's profile

dhazelton

2326 posts in 1764 days


#8 posted 04-03-2015 01:04 PM

I’ve seen campaigns started to finish a movie (after a trailer had been made) and for bands who need money to finish albums (with the promise of a free download) and more artistic endeavors. I’ve also seen the ads looking for investors $100 at a time for that three wheeled car that supposedly gets a hundred mpg, seats two, has air conditioning and will only cost $6,000 – even if the car isn’t built you get a free tee shirt. I’ve seen a kickstarter for a guy who wanted to buy a table saw (blargh!) just because he wanted one. A local sawmill started a kickstarter to buy a bucket truck – their claim was that they were into ‘sustainable harvesting’ and it was good for the environment. The things that I think would work best would have pledge levels that get you something in return – “for a $10 contribution you will get this widget when I meet my goal. For X you get one percent of the profits for a year.” Share your plan and project – but be prepared for as many nay sayers here as complimentary viewers. Sometimes LJ is a tough crowd.

View DrDirt's profile

DrDirt

4169 posts in 3209 days


#9 posted 04-03-2015 01:40 PM

If you are interested in being involved with the site, I think you need to work on your presence a bit….

New guy… NO projects, NO shop, No biography…. wants money.

People will click on your profile before they open their wallets.
If they SEE nothing there…. that is how much they will contribute.
The site functions predominantly on sharing info.

-- 'Political correctness is fascism pretending to be manners' ~George Carlin

View Ashus's profile

Ashus

31 posts in 642 days


#10 posted 04-03-2015 03:06 PM

Thanks DrDirt, that sounds like very solid advice. I haven’t done any of those things yet, because I don’t feel like I have built anything worthy of sharing. Yet.

My shop is a disorganized mess that barely qualifies for the name, and the only project I’ve done that I have any sort of pride in is one that I forgot to take pictures of – my client/friend/gaming buddy is bringing it back around on Wednesday so I can get a set of pictures. Once I have the finished project captured digitally, I’m planning on posting it and writing a blog about it. I made a lot of mistakes, so I hope my experience can at least help people learn what NOT to do.

I’d just like to reiterate, I’m not actually asking anyone for money. I’m thinking about maybe asking, maybe as early as August. Though if the feedback continues as it has been, I’ll probably skip sharing my campaign here and just post my prototypes as projects.

-- Adam in Minneapolis

View RogerBean's profile

RogerBean

1602 posts in 2420 days


#11 posted 04-03-2015 04:29 PM

Probably not the right venue for your venture.
Roger

-- "Everybody makes mistakes. A craftsman always fixes them." (Monty Kennedy, "The Checkering and Carving of Gunstocks", 1952)

View CypressAndPine's profile

CypressAndPine

62 posts in 1274 days


#12 posted 04-03-2015 05:00 PM

I would start by at least putting a picture on your profile and a name at the bottom of your postings. Then I would recommend you spend enough time on here until you are a familiar entity. I don’t post often and most people don’t know me on here, therefore I would never ask anything of them because I don’t feel that I personally know them or they know me.

Regards,
Jacob

-- Cypress Jake, New Orleans

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