How do you handle customs declarations for international shipping?
A great question!Here's the facts: Your backer rewards are absolutely Merchandise. They are not gifts, and no government in the world will see them as such. Period. : OCan you mark it "gift" and get away with it? Probably, but it is international tax evasion. If you get caught... you're gonna find yourself in a lot of trouble. : / Simply not worth it.-Anecdote: We sent out rewards all over the world. We sent all items to the EU with properly declared customs forms as merchandise and the actual values of the products. Many of them came back to us anyway because the customs agent (as every one is different) couldn't find a packing slip with item-by-item value declaration on it, and he wanted to be 100% certain to milk the person of every penny ..err euro. - And that was on properly declared items.So yes: Merchandise. And yes, you should mark it the full value (of the pledge level). If you included shipping in the pledge value you can reduce the declared value of the package by the amount of included shipping. When they are charged VAT it will be on the value of the package + the cost of shipping. This new total will roughly reflect the actual pledge amount, and thus they will charged the correct amount of VAT without being charged on shipping twice.-Suggestion: Use E-declarations by using an online service like USPS.com, Stamps.com, or paypal.com/shipnow. - Filling out paper forms by hand is murder; the e-declaration is really really easy as it imports data from previously filled out fields, then asks simple questions like: Merchandise or Gift? ; )Always open to private or specific help as well,John Wrot!
How do you decide on your project's funding goal?
Hello everyone,The Kalculator is a proof of concept that I made to help creators budget their Kickstarter project, set a realistic funding goal and estimate how many backers they may need to be successful.I invite you to give it a try! And if you have any feedback, please add a comment below. This is a personal project that I’m building on my own. If you participate, you’ll be helping me—not Kickstarter—understand how to improve this tool.
When is the best time of day / week / year to launch a Kickstarter project?
This is a great question and that's some great data. I'll say that some of it could be potentially skewed. Why?Well if everyone starts to believe that Wednesday is the best day for pledges, then people start campaigns on wednesday, or ending them, and there ends up inflation on that day. What matters is what day is the best for pledges MID-CAMPAIGN and START of Campaign, and END of campaign. So I'd take those daily numbers with a grain of salt.Weekdays are KNOWN for being better than weekend, anyone can tell you that, so Wednesday being at the center gets a lot of "Tuesday Launches" and "Thursday Ends". The differenece from 1 day to the next on those charts are also minimal during the week, so while they're fascinating to study, there's simply not enough information to draw conclusions.FOR YOU...#1) Launch ONLY after your project is fully built and been reviewed and revised at least 2-3 times (by strangers).#2) If your product is seasonal, launch in the same season. It's shown to be better than delivering in the right season.#3) Don't end on a Sunday. It won't kill you, but it won't help. Don't launch on one either.#4) Project length should should stick close to 30 +/- days. It really does help.Best to you!John
What is on your how-to Kickstarter reading list?
I'm currently on my 15th Kickstarter project, so I don’t read anything about crowd-funding anymore. But initially, for my first few Kickstarter projects, I read and reread all the info on the KS site. I mean everything. There is plenty of sound advice scattered there.I haven't found any crowd-funding bloggers that have content that helps me. They often seem to be focused on blockbuster technology projects. That's not me.Let me explain where I think I learned the most about running Kickstarter projects. I supported several projects before I even thought about doing my own. I'd say the best way to learn about doing Kickstarter projects is to support Kickstarter projects and pay attention to what people do well. Copy the stuff you like. But more important, I learned from the mistakes of others. Pay attention when you see updates complaining about schedule problems, wonky prototypes, manufacturing fiascoes, shipping delays, and problems with customs inspectors. These are vital lessons from the front lines. Much better than some author or blogger pontificating about their theories. Plus, these glimpses behind the curtain can be highly entertaining.
How do you get THAT much PR?!
Hey everyone -- Stephanie from Kickstarter here. We just posted a whole slew of new videos from workshops and talks we have hosted here at Kickstarter HQ over the past year on the Advice playlist on our YouTube Channel. There are two short video clips that made me think of this excellent conversation in particular -- linking to them below. Hope its insightful!1) In this video clip, early entrepreneur Kit Hickey from Ministry of Supply talks about how they built their PR list before they launched their campaign, and how they pivoted once they went live.2) In this video clip, Heather Delaney from Dynamo PR (has worked on numerous Kickstarter campaigns), shares some very sound strategies for getting and working with press.(Chris Birch: If you are still reading, check them out -- Love your take on this advice!)
What tips do you have for someone who is nervous to make a video because they are shy in front of a camera?
Try having a good friend stand next to the camera, and talk to your friend. Very few people are comfortable in front of a camera, but most people are OK with talking to a friend. Do lots of takes and edit the best parts with static shots or illustrations as segues. I used to work in video, but it took me 24 takes to get something that isn't too embarrassing!
When does it make sense to relaunch a project that didn't hit its goal the first time?
Personally, before asking the question 'when', I would take a good, long look at the reasons behind the original project's failure to fund, and ask myself 3 questions:1. Was I asking for too much money? Take a look at your bare minimum needs, and if the only thing that killed your project was not quite reaching your goal, lower your goals, tweak your rewards, and try again.2. Did I build enough of an audience before launch day? If you still haven't done this by the time you are ready to restart your failed campaign, you might not see a different result this time around. Take what you learned from your failures, and use those lessons to help build a good following before you relaunch.3. What did other similar projects do to succeed where mine failed? Did they have better presentation (graphics, videos, write-ups, reward levels, etc), do they have a support base that you could tap into (blogs, social media groups, fans with similar tastes), and finally - did they do more research before hand (ideally, 90% of the work should be done before launch day - if not, do a little more prep before your relaunch).
Blackstone Entertainment, Inc.
Any tips on what to do 48 hours after launch?
Bjorn please don't buy services from people who solicit you through the KS message system. In fact, I'd go further and report them as spam using the facility provided. This will help KS to weed out the accounts of people who do this.(Edit March 2017) I see the question has been edited to remove references to marketing solicitations. Well they were there when I originally answered the question. Also - I've got a campaign ongoing at the moment and am receiving a lot of solicitations. I'm in the "flatlining" middle period which is pure agony, but I'm holding onto my own advice and reporting every single one. But I really really understand why some people might actually be desperate enough to be tempted by these offers. Don't buy from spammers! It really is that simple. :)
Alex Eames - RasPi.TV
What do you wish you had known before you ran your first project?
Kickstarter cannot deliver that *initial* audience.Once you have enough backers, and a REASON to promote your project (making your goal, then stretch goals and freebies), you hit a certain point where your backers will promote the project and you can, in principle, sit back and watch the money roll in. But you somehow have to hit that first critical mass. We thought we'd be visible on the front page for a day or so - but we were only there for a matter of a half hour or so...and then you had to already know that we existed or you'd never find our project. We didn't expect that...we thought we'd get hundreds of page-views per hour...what we actually got was crickets!Our first Kickstarter failed horribly because we didn't understand that. But after we retreated, re-tooled and did some up-front promotional work - the second one took off nicely. The backers from that first successful one then formed the core of people who started the third and now fourth (and soon FIFTH...you heard it here first!!) projects - so we don't need to be so concerned.But the first time out, it's tough. Nobody knows who you are, whether you'll deliver (lots of projects don't!) - whether you can deliver on time - whether the quality of the rewards will be up to your claims. Nobody is searching for your keywords - and initial failure gets you pushed down the search further and further. Unless you get a "Staff Pick" (we never did) or somehow find out how "Sort by Magic" works and exploit it - you're not going to get an audience.So the first Kickstarter is without doubt the toughest...and the only defense is to pre-promote it somehow.
How do you deal with all of the marketing spammers?
Report them all! Every one I reported got banned pretty quickly. Its clear they are scammers, they havent backed anything, and havent created anything. They are likely computer generated accounts run by software looking for new projects.