Are you backing on Kickstarter too or just creating?
I think I've backed something like 33 projects. I backed 2 or 3 before my first campaign, which did so well that I wanted to continue to pay it forward a bit and help other projects.You should definitely back other projects before creating one for several reasons... It makes you look like you're a nice person It helps you to understand the backer experience It gives you a feel for the system It helps you to see how other people do it. What do they put in their updates that you wouldn't have thought of? If I'm not bothered about what they're offering or if it's too expensive for my taste, I usually bung them £5 for no reward just to be supportive.
Alex Eames - RasPi.TV
Serial Backers - Describe your motivations!
100+ campaign backer here. I know the creator. I like to support friends, so they usually will get a backing. The creator backed one of my campaigns. It's not terribly frequent, but I like keeping a healthy crowdfunding ecosystem by supporting those who support me when I can. The reward will arrive quickly. It's fun to have campaigns with quick turnaround, especially if the reward isn't terribly expensive. The campaign plays on my nostalgia. I love that some of the architects of my childhood games have made a resurgence in the crowdfunding space. Keep tabs on the cultural zeitgeist. Some of what I back is for research of crowdfunding, honestly. Feeling mighty. Knowing that someone's dream can only be fulfilled if people like me help out lends itself a feeling of goodwill, as long as the creator doesn't come off looking desperate. The product is exactly something I've searched for before but couldn't find. Very niche reason here, but a bluetooth typewriter keyboard is something I've looked for, but could only find months later on Kickstarter. Usually if the product is something I could find something easily on Amazon, unless they have an awesome pitch video, I go for the thing I can have arrive at my house in 2 days.
How important is USD currency and shipping cost for US backers?
I too wish that Kickstarter would let us choose our currency. We post what our rewards are approx in USD, but I think for backers from the USA it makes a big difference to see it in their currency. I have friends in Denmark, but I don't keep up with what the danish conversion rate is to my currency or the USD. If you are asking for 400DKR, is that a lot of money for me, or not much money? I can look it up, but I have to really want to back a project to do that - so I think it really harms the amount of money you can gain.Its not just backers in the US either, the majority of our backers were from the USA, Canada, Australia and then Europe. Most people understand what their currency is doing against the USD as its what most trades are pegged against and what most online stores will use that sell internationally. Even for you, just the choice to use Euros rather than Kroner would be good right? Does someone in Austria know what a Kroner is in Euros, or USD? I'd guess on average probably not. They probably know what the Euro and USD are doing, maybe the Pound if they are keeping up with the state of financial affairs around the world?It would be nice of Kickstarter would just display the rewards, goal, funds raised as "CA$40, Approx (your currency based on your ip address)" if they wont let us pick the currency for our project.Furthermore on the currency selection, its not just about backers - its also about creators. We have two local purchases for our campaign - postage and our retail boxes. Postage is included in our reward price, so that doesn't count for us. We've spent about $20k of our $29k we recieved so far in USD purchases. The Canadian dollar is still slipping relative to the USD, some purchases we waited a week on and it cost us several percent more because of it. If 90% of our funds will be spent on USD priced test gear, components, and services it makes sense for us to run our campaign in USD.
What are some strategies for finding an audience for your project?
That's just about the most essential question there is, and I suspect there is not just one answer to it. I'll suggest one. Offer a sample. Costco offered you a bite. id Software let you play a few levels of Doom. Stephen King personally read you a few chapters. Maybe find a way to give people a taste of what they'll get if they decide to go all in for your project.
Ship internationally and VAT
Das,It's my pleasure to help answer this if I can. : ) The system is actually a good deal easier than you'd think. I plan on adding a full on post about this on my blog sometime soon, but for now, let me give you the brass tacks version.#1) In the USA, unless your product is very large, you probably want to ship USPS. The rates are much much better. Use Stamps.com to get the shipping rate discounts, you'll save as much as $1 per package or more. Then cancel after the first month (which is usually free anyway).#2) In the EU, contact a fulfillment center. Spiral Galaxy is in the UK, Happy Shops are in Germany. I know there are more you can hunt down. I strongly do not recommend Ideaspatcher (aka MorningPlayers). They were once great, they are now sadly unreliable.Make sure when you contact them you ask if they act as your "Importer of Record" and will pre-pay the VAT for you. You can then pay them for it together with the shipping fees.Plus, shipping from within the EU will be cheaper per package than shipping TO the EU from the USA.Of course, freight shipping it there will be a very noteworthy extra cost, that somewhat offsets with the per-package savings.#3) You can also try to avoid VAT in other areas (Canada / Australia) by doing similar things. I've found that Canada has far fewer VAT restrictions than the EU (which is the ultimate VAT factory), and Australia has about the same low level (especially for less expensive products). Here you'll have to decide what's worth it for you and your backer pool. You'll have about 6% of backers in Canada and far less in Australia. This % can certainly vary by product, price, and shipping costs, etc.Aside from the missing detail associated with the unique process for your product and the company you choose, that's really all there is too it. Companies like Spiral Galaxy and Happy Shops have taken advantage of the Kickstarter model and the difficulty VAT poses for USA companies to create a solution for us. It works out for everyone as you don't have to ship as much yourself, EU gets the taxes they want, and your backers don't have to be the ones paying it. (BTW: YOU pay VAT on the manufacturing cost at 19%, backers pay VAT on the product price at 19%, so if costs you $1 but you charge $10, you'll pay 0.19c, but if you made backers pay by shipping from the USA they will have to pay $1.90!)Hope this helps you and many others! Heart it if it helped. : )John Wrot!
Best Day/Time of Month to Launch Campaign?
Hi Francis,I am assuming you launched already by now. But I figured I answer this one anyways. It seems that one of the better days to launch a project is Tuesday. Obviously it all depends on the type of project you are launching and how well prepared you are. However if you are trying to go for PR and are reaching out to Bloggers, Writers and Editors of sizable media, Tuesday is a good day. It's not the crazy Monday, yet it's still the beginning of the week, so it will give them just enough time to still post something that week or even that very day that you launch. It is best to reach out to all these folks way in advance to give them a heads up and gauge there interest in your project.We have launched 3 projects for JUICIES.COM here on Kickstarter and I have personally helped out with at least a handful more with friends of mine. All of them where successful, some more then others.There are also a bunch of so called Crowdfunding Helpers and consultants that will start contacting you and basically try to sell you there services as soon as you hit the launch button. We have stayed away from all of these thus far. Not sure how much value they will actually bring. Anyways...good luck! Hope all is working out well.Cheers!Laurens
How are you dealing with shipping?
We are UK based and of our 3000 orders around 80% of out backers were international with around 20% - 30 % being in the US. So yes I would say that limiting your backers to just the US will hurt you. What we have learnt is that backers expect a tracking number but they are not willing to pay extra for one. We have also learned that certain countries have awful postal systems and I would now say that tracking is 100% essential in these countries. So far the list of bad countries is Saudi Arabia, UAE, Yemen, Russia, Mexico, Chile, India, Indonesia and getting quite bad it seems is Canada. This is based on the number of orders that have gone missing.When we run our next campaign we are going to use a fulfilment house overseas not so much to help with the packing but more as International shipping rates with tracking seems to be much much cheaper than using Royal mail in the UK.Regarding prices don't just look at the obvious people like Shipwire as we found there prices at least 50% higher than others and we could actually buy postage cheaper than them. Hope this helps
How can a first-time creator find collaborators to help with a project?
I think during the development and research portion of putting your project together it is a great time to look for projects, creators, backers, etc. which might have something in common or might have interest in your project. I have found the kickstarter community to be very helpful, for example sharing my project with a few key individuals who I feel could help my campaign has paid off for me several times. Others were helpful in critiquing yet not as helpful in promotion and development. Usually you'll understand just how helpful people might be in your initial contact with them.There are a plethora of places you might need collaboration with your project, design, manufacturing, advertising, promotion, etc. I think campus would be a great place for anyone to start. I would not hesitate to throw out a very precise inquiry on the type of collaboration you are looking for. I think you will be amazed at how awesome this kickstarter community is. Good luck and keep the creative juices flowin'
Does anyone have good references for manufacturing partners/contractors?
There are many turn key manufacturers in China... many many many many of them. More than you can poke a whole tree at.The good news is, that websites like Alibaba and GlobalSources exist to help you connect with them. There are also many reputable inspection agencies around. If you can't visit a factory in person, or inspect your goods before they go out, or keep an eye on the whole assembly process you'll be able to use an inspection agency to keep an eye on things for you - you pay them separately to the factory, so they work for you, not the factory. Alibaba will also help you find these.Looking at your current kickstarter, it could be difficult to find this all in one place easily, it look as though there are laser cut/die cut parts, injection moulding, pcb manufacture/assembly, packaging and such. If it was me, I'd get all the various parts made separately and shipped to a PCB assembler to do the final box build.I'll send you a message privately about another possibility.