I think crowdfunding campaigns are wonderful. Entrepreneurs, artists and creatives can use a website like Kickstarter to get projects funded that might otherwise have neer seen the light of day, or to take preorders to derisk a new product. The success stories really are astounding: The Coolest Cooler got over $13 million, the Solar Roadways project raised $2.2 million, and the Soma water filter creators published the famous article "Hacking Kickstarter: How to Raise $100,000 in Ten Days".
Still, the chances of success are slim. Of all Kickstarter campaigns launched, about 40% are successful. Of those, 70% raise less than $10,000. Few have the runaway success we've seen in the previous examples I've mentioned.
An unsuccessful campaign is a huge time sink. If your campaign is 30 days long, the Kickstarter can easily turn into the only thing you focus on for those 30 days, plus the several weeks of preparation before the campaign even begins.
That's what happened to us. We ran an unsuccessful 40 day campaign. We were trying for $30,000 and made it just shy of $14,000. With at least three weeks of preparation leading up to it, we easily sank two months trying to make it work. While it wasn't the only thing we worked on in those two months, it was certainly our priority. We also wouldn't call it a complete failure- we made many connections from our initiative that might pan out in ways we don't expect. Regardless, we didn't reach our funding goal, which we really would have liked to do. We did learn a few lessons from our campaign that we want to share.
5 Lessons from our failed Kickstarter Campaign
This article isn't meant to dampen anyone's spirits or enthusiasms for a Kickstarter campaign. Instead, we hope to give you a balanced view and share our experience so that you can make a better decision about whether a crowdfunding campaign is the right strategy for your venture at its current stage.
Feel free to share your thoughts, comments and experience with us!
Dillon Dakota Carroll
...sees much and knows much