The Kickstarter campaign for my next recording is now officially two weeks old, and it’s going gangbusters (92% funded as of this post)!
So for all creatives and makers and DIY’ers out there, I thought I’d share a few very quick lessons learned in case you’re thinking of finding support for your next project.
1. I delayed launch–and I’m so glad I did. I’d planned to launch in early September for all kinds of reasons, but my ducks just weren’t in a row. I needed more time to make the video I wanted to make, refine the project page, and plan my outreach strategy. I know we all want what we want when we want it, but if I’d prematurely launched there’s no way I’d have seen the same kind of campaign success at the two-week mark.
2. I’ve had to stay flexible with my campaign plan. Since I’m a one-woman operation with a lot of irons in a lot of fires, I thought I’d need a really specific calendar of daily to-dos. That calendar is a great tool, but it doesn’t account for “life.”
For instance, it didn’t account for the AT&T outage that hit yesterday afternoon–hours before my big weekly social media push. Sure, I got some of the work done thanks to the neighbor who supplied me with an unsecured wifi stream unbeknownst to him (he’ll get cookies or a free lawn mowing or something for it), but last night’s to-dos are going to happen this evening.
3. Best unexpected consequence so far? Pledges are reconnecting me with people from all chapters of my life. Sure, I was certainly hoping I’d get support from old friends from college, or from my years in NYC theater, but it’s been amazing! And almost every one of these pledges has resulted in an email chain or a phone call or a Skype session to catch up and share the stuff you don’t see on Facebook. As the commercial says: “Priceless.”
I also want to give a shout out to my peers here in Austin — musicians who have stepped up with a level of generous support that absolutely humbles me.
4. It’s a marathon with a sprint on either end. Front-loading the campaign with pledges works. A strong start really gave that “social proof” I think most campaigns need to gain momentum. Right now, I’m at the 13 mile mark and because I’ve almost met the campaign goal, I need to rethink how to run those last 13 miles.
I know what my “stretch” goals are for the campaign (two words: fund publicity), but reframing my message matters now, especially if I want to keep momentum going and finish with that huge win.
They say these campaigns are full-time jobs, but I already have a nice one of those. So beyond pacing the campaign well, I need to pace myself well, and that’s probably not one of my greatest skill sets. Working on it.
5. It really is okay to ask for help. This is the best lesson of all. I’ve always funded my own projects and always paid my way in this world. It’s how I was raised. But there was no way I could fully fund “love & blood” on my own right now. Even if I could, it would probably never break even–such is the nature of music sales in the 21st century.
This is why crowd funding might just save the arts, and certainly save artists from all disciplines.
Asking for help doesn’t come easily to many of us, though–even if we’ve supported the work of others. It’s incredibly hard to do, and there’s a lot of guilt associated with it. So let me urge other creators who are nodding their heads right now to take a deep breath and put that guilt down.
It turns out that most people are happy to help, and–trust me on this–every single pledge makes me recommit to creating my best work yet with “love & blood.”