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.
What kinds of plans and preparations do you need to make before your project launches?
I always tell people who are contemplating doing a Kickstarter project to seriously research the projects already done in their area of interest. You can learn so much from what other people have done.
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!)
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.
Would you recommend any third-party services to help with managing backers and fulfilling rewards?
We use Backerkit.com for managing post Kickstarter pledges and add Ons and generating the final data that will go to our warehouse. With Backerkit we were able to pull in an additional 25-30% funds on one project and 20% on another project (through a combination of late pledges, people upgrading pledges or choosing more add ons over time and offering paypal as an alternative payment service) Backerkit say projects often get 5-10% uplift through them and they charge 1% of your project but for the ease of managing backers after the event it's VERY worthwhile.
Chris Birch, Modiphius
The feeling of "omigodwhatif..."
We're a husband and wife team and we've run four projects so far. We've also had those same mixed feelings of doubt and elation. The first project (a toy castle that I'd have killed for as a kid) seemed to us like a sure-fire hit. We dressed up in nice clothes, sat behind a nice desk and gave a heavily rehearsed and much practiced and edited speech for the video. It bombed...not just by a little bit...it didn't even make 1% of goal. We were entirely dejected and would probably have given up right there and then....except...One of our backers had a suggestion to re-think the product for a different market - so what had been a toy for little kids shrank in size and became scenery for adult tabletop gamers. He also put us in touch with a Kickstarter veteran who offered to do a joint promotion - a competition featuring his product and ours as prizes - we donated a few hundred dollars of product and that got us an instant 500 person mailing list.Despite this, we entered our second kickstarter with very low expectations - we thought we'd just see a repeat of the first one. Rather than go to the hassle of making a nice video, we literally sat at our kitchen island and ad-libbed - we used the very first take and didn't even bother to edit it.The tabletop gamers loved it! We made goal in a little over a week and hit about 350% of goal by the end. We were totally elated! There was plenty enough income to let us invest $10,000 in a laser cutter to make the rewards - and we had a small, part-time, business of our own that we could run from our tiny apartment.The third Kickstarter was an odd mix...we knew it could be done in principle, but we had an entirely new project idea and we had no idea whether it would take off or fail. We were nervous of screwing up a successful formula - so we went back to the kitchen island to make our video and made NO effort to do anything fancy. This time, we got 500% of goal...and an incredibly enthusiastic set of backers. We thought we'd reached the big-time...for one of us, it became our full-time job...we invested another $10,000 in equipment, moved out of our apartment and rented a bigger house with a nice big garage to do it all.Our fourth, most recent, project had us being very cocky. We made the most elaborate set of rewards with incredibly flashy photos. We sweated every tiny detail although we still ad-libbed the video. We were pretty darned sure of doubling our previous success...but sadly, we had over-complicated things, confused many of our backers and inadvertently timed the project very badly. So we earned almost exactly the same dollar amount as the second time - but with a LOT more preparation work. An odd mix of "Yeah! We made a big pile of money again" and "Oh....we did *SO* much worse than we expected". :-(Kickstarter is immense fun to do...the stresses and the elation...the ever-present possiblity of disaster. It's an incredible rush. But without risk of failure, no activity can be all that exciting.It definitely makes us feel more 'alive'.Our many hundreds of repeat-backers are our friends, we know many of them by name now. We put in rewards that we know will specifically push someone's button because they asked for it personally. When someone has an idea for a new reward that's good enough for us to want to make it next time, we give them a free copy of it. One of them happened to mention that it was his birthday close to the day we were due to ship to him, so we made an extra reward and stuck it in his package with a "HAPPY BIRTHDAY" written on the box. We routinely give away freebies for funny posts, clever ideas or just for being the 100th backer or the 1000th poster...and that makes us feel very good about ourselves.We'll be back for KS #4...older and wiser! We're planning KS #5 and #6 as we do it! Gunning for the viral win that'll spell early retirement!
How can you use Kickstarter Live to connect wth your community?
I think everyone's experience with live-streaming might be slightly different. I laser cut miniature war-gaming terrain. I currently have a live project running (my first ever Kickstarter) and I live stream my laser cutting nightly on Twitch.tv. Every night at about 10pm CST I turn on the cameras and interact with my backers, friends, and the community at large. I show backers the rewards they signed up for and I let them see their things being cut live. I also answer a lot of questions about lasers and design. So far it has been a very positive experience for me and I think it might be the reason that my project was 100% funded in 4 hours and is now holding steady at 600% funded. I think with live streaming people want the interaction, they want the creator to say hi to them and single them out when talking so they feel connected to the creator. So when you live stream you have to be very personal with people and ask how they are doing and be genuinely involved in conversations with them. All 500 of them at the same time. It is a very exhausting thing to do. But after over a month of doing it I already see a very loyal community forming around my brand and what I do. So it is very worth the time. I also feel one single live stream event is just dead hype. People log in to see it but don't stick around until the end. If you consistently live stream more than once a week at set times and days and stick to that, you will find more people showing up week after week and hanging out until the end.My tips?Dont plan every word to say, have a list of topics, but be genuine and engage the audience. the reason people watch live is to engage. If they wanted a scripted speech they would have watched your youtube video.When your stream starts no one will be there. so have something to talk about for 10-30 min where you can just ramble on. Make it fun and exciting, like a youtube video. People will latch onto something you said or an interesting thing that is in frame and make a comment. When they do, acknowledge them and start talking about what they want to talk about. If the tangents get too far off topic just jump the rails and get back on topic.Have interesting items in frame. Wear an interesting T-Shirt that your viewers can ask about.Go to Twitch.tv, go to the games section, and there is a "game" there called creative (normally the 10th or 20th on the list) open that up and watch some creative streamers. See what they are doing and try to do that. Even if you are facebook streaming or youtube streaming, you can learn a lot from those twitch streamers.Have a blank notepad document open with links to places pasted in. This allows you to quickly grab a link via copy/paste and send it to your viewers. Also, great place to put notes.Anyways, My campaign ends on 10/14 at 10:14am (CST) and I will be live streaming that whole day to celebrate. Before and After. Most of it will be a view of the laser cutting their rewards but it will also be me chatting with the viewers and giving shout outs and giveaways.
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!
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