How do you approach your annual or recurring projects?
I may be unique, but I view projects that do annual campaigns for the same project as poorly run businesses. I might cut you some slack if you do a second, but I won't support a third. I view Kickstarter as the place for raising the seed money you need to start something new.My view on this is probably tainted by the fact that I run a monthly science fiction magazine and podcast that I have been trying to turn into a full-time career. Feast or famine fundraising just doesn't make sense to me (nor does the stress of an annual campaign). I think it is more important to build stability and with recurring projects, the natural way to do that is with subscriptions or recurring pledges. I save Kickstarter for new initiatives. For example, last year, we launched a campaign to help us fund the addition of Chinese translations to each issue. If that campaign failed, the project, not the magazine, would have been a bust. In the campaign, I promised not to return to Kickstarter to fund year two. That gives me one year to secure the recurring funds through expanding my business in a traditional way.I love Kickstarter, but it's not always the best tool for the job. I think something like Patreon is better suited to funding the second, third, etc. year of a project. You can leverage each audience to promote or support the other and switch the Kickstarter campaigns to moving you forward rather than sustaining what you have. I think those types of KS projects are more exciting to your community.
If you are printing artwork, do you send it directly to your backers from a third party?
It ultimately boils down to the conditions of your campaign, and the rewards that you are offering. A few points to consider:1. How many kinds of prints are you offering?2. Are your prints your main reward, or are you also offering other items?3. What's the lowest amount of backers that you anticipate having for this campaign to be successful? For example, if you run a $2,000 campaign, do you anticipate having 200 $10 backers that you need to send prints?4. Where is your product being manufactured?Some manufacturers can ship product directly, while others require that you come up with a shipping solution. It's quite normal for larger campaigns to make use of a fulfillment partner to ship out rewards, but many campaigns of all sizes opt to ship their packages themselves through the USPS.As a practice, it is also a good idea to consider assembling an entire reward package before sending it out for fulfillment. Some campaigns offering mixed reward items choose to fulfill part of an order at a time, rather than all at once. (printed pictures through one provider, t-shirts and mugs through another). This can increase complexity for keeping track of which backers have received everything, and which backers still need to be fulfilled.Full disclosure - this commentator works at BackerKit, a post-campaign platform for project creators.
What tips do you have for making a great project video on a limited budget?
Keep it 2-3 minutes. Attention span is low, and everyone has a threshold for how long they'll pay attention (or can pay attention before the manager comes to look over their shoulder). The opening moments will have the backers judging your video and deciding if they want to keep going, so try and hook them early. Focus on audio quality. If you don't have a microphone and have to use the in-camera audio, then get the camera as close to you as it can. You can kill audio bounce by hanging a blanket behind the camera. A cheap solution is getting a Zoom H4n (or whatever device that works as a microphone/recorder itself) and holding it in your hand just beneath the frame. Also, make sure where you're shooting isn't riddled with background noises. Shoot near a window. As a filmmaker, I use a light kit, but for the natural look, I tend to just shoot near a window so the soft, diffused light can look good and natural. Just be careful to keep continuity on days where the sun peeks out from behind the clouds while you're filming. It's a cheap way to look well lit. Find the line between informational/inspirational. Some people pitch the big picture without satisfying the detail-oriented people. Some people focus on the nitty gritty without explaining why they're running the Kickstarter. Be fun. Not all campaigns can focus on this, but I'm more likely to keep watching if I'm entertained. I want to like you and if I like you, I'll be more likely to support you. Tell a story. Lastly, let the backers in on why you're doing this, and give them a sense of the origin story if it's interesting. These people are being invited to be on the ground floor of something cool, and as long as you don't come off as needy, a fun relationship can form between creator and backer. Most of those have no impact on the budget, but are important to get right.
What´s the best way to have your project in different languages?
Personally, I don't think that Kickstarter have thought this through. Like many aspects of Kickstarter, its a great platform but also seriously lacking in many regards (surveys being my big pet peeve). The content editor for the project is very limited in capability.I've only really seen projects in one language, except for one which did the double up.Rather than doing one big block in spanish and then another in english, you could do each paragraph first in spanish and then in english. Perhaps make your first block english and targeted at an english audience. This way your kickstarter search/discovery visitors can see that first which might lower your rate of people leaving immediately upon seeing spanish.
Stretch goals: when are they a good idea, and when should they be introduced?
For my last short, we had no concept of launching stretch goals, but we funded on day four and had to put our brains together to come up with ideas!I think stretch goals are a great idea, but I've seen some people succumb to the pitfalls of getting too excited about their success and then over promising on their stretch goals by promising things that amp their costs up more than they anticipated. (hard cover books vs soft cover, for example)I think stretch goals, like any other rewards, deserve very specific consideration in terms of what is being offered, what they'll cost, and the logistics of delivering on those promises.In terms of when to announce them, I feel like they tend of best serve their purpose when you're close to your goal. You can come off as overly confident by launching with stretch goals built into your campaign, but if you're hitting 80% of your goal and still have a lot of time left, launching stretch goals could be a great way to motivate your community to get you over the finish line and beyond.
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
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!
Average time before backer begin to back?
I have a PR routine I go through when I launched a new Kickstarter:- Announce it on Twitter- Announce it on tumblr- Send out an announcement on my mailing list.I then wait 24-48 hours, and send out press releases to news sites. As a result, I usually get my first backer within seconds of launching, and sustain a good surge for the first three days of the campaign. I repeat the routine mid-campaign, and again near the end.
What is the best advice you have for finding and working with a manufacturer?
I work with Scott at Dragon Innovation. First, I wanted to say thank you for starting this discussion and including us in it! I wanted to share some other free resources we provide that augment the video you shared. Design For Manufacturing video course. Over 12 hours of lectures to help you understand the basics of manufacturing and where to apply manufacturing thinking in your design process. Our blog has consistently relevant info about navigating from prototype to production (with a focus on hardware). A few recent posts in particular talk about what kind of relationship you want with your factory and what to expect in a RFQ process. The Dragon Standard BOM. We built a free Google Sheets Add-on to help hardware teams have a well structured Bill Of Materials that will make communicating with manufacturing partners easier. I hope these help!