Short answer? Noooo! Long answer? Meeeeh, maybe. It depends.
Do yourself a huge favor and just start marketing your product online. Not convinced yet? Let me explain more: Take a look at the quality of those campaigns that make as low as tens of thousands of dollars and see if you can match them without killing yourself. To have a campaign that does not embarrass you, you’ll need to spend at least 200 hours on marketing that is making images, timelines, compelling text, etc. The video itself is another headache.
The quality of some of those videos is as good as some TV commercials these days. If you think that you are incredibly talented and can whip together a video that breaks the internet and make you famous you are badly mistaken. Most homemade videos are dull and boring. I mean take a look at yourself! Just kidding LOL. Imagine your coworkers seeing that embarrassing video and the miserable failure of the campaign that it follows. Gosh! No one wants to see that.
The story is a little different if you already have a fan base and some audience who follow you. You can crowdfund. You can do all kinds of stuff and succeed if you already have a bunch of followers and die-hard fans. The question is when you already have people who listen to you, why going through the trouble of pulling together a campaign? You can sell whatever you’re selling to them and go to investors to raise serious money.
What crowdfunding does for people with an existing fanbase is boosting their campaign and they can get some more publicity. But don’t think that you’ll raise millions of dollars that way. Those fancy campaigns are burning cash to drive traffic to the campaign. People pay half of the money they MAY end up raising on advertising plus 5% to the platform itself (Kickstarter or others). So, is it really worth it?
For the little guy who does not have a fan base, my answer is ABSOLUTELY NOT. You can spend the same time and money on building your own landing page and advertising. The benefit of doing that is that people who visit your website have not seen all the fancy videos from other campaigns that are shown a click away from yours! Crowdfunding was once cool and all, but it’s not anymore.
After big companies from all over the place started advertising on Kickstarter and Indiegogo, they crushed the little guys. Those companies should have been banned from posting their projects there. The truth is that those big companies are the ones who make all the money, not the little guys. And the crowdfunding websites live off commissions. Do you expect that they promote your work over those? Sadly, no!
So, in summary, if you are just starting and don’t have at least 100 people who are waiting to see your work and pay for it, don’t even bother launching a crowdfunding campaign. You’ll be better off building your own landing page. And if you have a fan base, you don’t need my help. Go figure it out yourself. You don’t need our help. LOL.
What to do if you’re just starting
Don’t fall for crowdfunding. It’s almost a scam and there are countless scammers waiting to get your money and don’t lift a finger for you. Do this instead:
- Find people who may need or like what you’re building. You can use this platform to do that.
- Talk to them and without telling them what you have, ask what their biggest problem is they want to solve the problem that your thing does.
After you talked to some people and learned that you can solve their problem, at the end of the interview tell them that you have the solution and see how they react. If they say, they would love to have it, ask them whether they can pay for it now. If you can find one person who wants your idea and willing to pay for it, you have validated your idea. As simple as that.
Next, build a simple landing page (simple website) that offers your solution. Do everything by hand in the background. You don’t even need to write code for this. You can just ask people to leave their contact for more information and you can contact them later. The bottom line is this: KEEP IT SIMPLE.
If you can show an investor that you have a solution for a problem, many people are willing to pay for it, and eventually, the cost of providing your service will be lower than what customers pay you, you will raise a ton of money. Of course, it’s easier said than done, but that’s how you can have a real business.