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
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!
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'
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.
Less is more or more is more rewards levels?
Personally I find less is more. Initially a lot of people who backed my Kickstarters were confused by Kickstarter as a concept in the first place let alone reward levels. Make it simple, keep peoples focus and if you reach your goal then that's the time to start adding wizards, shooting stars and whistle blowing bells.