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In this series on productivity, author Jess Stratton takes you through the latest tools that will help you run your business and life more efficiently. Each installment covers a particular feature or technique in a different online tool, such as Google Apps, Skype, YouTube, Mint.com, Etsy, and more. Check back every Monday for tips on topics from recording and publishing video chats to managing your finances online.
Hi, Jess Stratton here with Monday Productivity Pointers. Today, we're talking about Kickstarter. Do you have a great idea for a product, but no funding to get started? Kickstarter is a crowd source means of funding your project. You create a financial amount that you'd like to raise over a set amount of time. And other people can pledge money to your project. At the same time you are also considering yourself as a financial backer for somebody else's project that you think is a great idea, and that you'd love to see come to fruition.
You have a certain amount of time to raise your funds, and if you meet that deadline, that's when those backers who pledge money for your project are actually charged. This insures, that you're not going to be spending money on anybody's project that you know isn't going to happen. It also means that you have a very tight deadline to raise those funds because you're on a schedule. Today I'm going to show you how to create a successful Kickstarter campaign. So let's get started. Today we are going to walk to the steps to creating a successful Kickstarter project campaign.
I actually have a band, and today I am gona play a little make believe, and pretend they we're actually ready to come out with our first CD release but that takes money. So, I'm going to try to create a Kickstarter campaign to get enough backers so that we can get our funds and release our CD. I've logged in to Kickstarter.com and I already have a profile, I'm all logged in. I've been a user of Kickstarter before to see other people's projects and to back them but I've never actually started my own. And that's what I'm going to do today. Now the very first step before I even start my project is to determine the amount of money that the project needs.
When you're doing this, be honest with yourself. And you also need to know that Kickstarter is going to take 5% and Amazon, which is the escrow service that takes the backer's money, is going to take between 3% to 5%. So that needs to be taken into account when you're figuring out how much money you need. I'm all ready to go, so I'm going to click Start my project from the top of the screen. I click the green Start Your Project button and there's a couple of things that it's telling us that have to be in place first. We have to be a permanent U.S. resident with a Social Security Number, a U.S. bank account, and a driver's license, credit card, and you have to be 18 years of age or older.
I definitely meet these requirements so I'm going to click Continue. The next step is where we verify that the project that we want to do meets the project guidelines. These are the things that you can and can not do. So I encourage you to go through and read these. And make sure you're posting something that's legal on Kickstarter. I've already done that. So I'm going to click the check box that says I've done that. And now I can continue to start my project. The very first thing that has to happen is that I need to choose a project image. This is going to be the image that appears on the right side of Kickstarter.
As a thumbnail when people are browsing around projects. I'll get to see a preview of what it looks like and I can change it if I'm not happy with it. But I'm going to click here to choose a picture. I've got one already chosen so I'm going to select it and click Open. While that's loading, I can come up with a project title. This is what I'm actually doing for my project, and as Kickstarter says, avoid words like help, support or fund. It's merely what you're trying to do. In this case we're trying to create our first CD.
I'm going to get a preview of what the thumbnail looks like on the right-hand side while I'm working on my project. Now I choose the category. You can browse the categories and find the one that matches closest to what you're trying to do. In this case it's Music. And as a further subcategory, I'm going to choose Rock. Here's where I pick a short blurb about what we're trying to do. As they say, you get a 135 characters. So if you had to describe your project in one tweet, how would you do it? And again, I can see on the right-hand side everything's changing while I'm working.
The project location is where you're physically located. Here's where I pick the funding duration, this is how long my funding is going to last. The default is 30 days. You can choose a number between one and 60 days. They recommend 30 or less. Typically shorter funding times generally get better results. Here's where I put in that funding goal that I worked out earlier. How much money that I actually need to make my project come to life. When I'm all ready I can choose Save to go on to the next step. Once it's saved, I can click Next to go onto the next screen.
Here's where I choose rewards. If you've ever browsed around other Kickstarter projects, you'll notice that there's a reward tier system on the right-hand side. This mean that for backing with more money, you'll get some pretty neat stuff from that project. I'm going to start by adding one reward. I can say when that reward is going to come to fruition. In this case, I know when we're going to release our CD, If we do get the right funds. So I can put a date here. I could limit the amount of backers that I want to let do this. In this case, it's a digital download. There's no need for me to limit it.
So, I'm going to leave that blank. I'm going to add another reward with a little bit amount of higher pledge money. Obviously, the greater the pledge, the greater the reward. Again, I'm not going to limit this, but I want to add one more backer reward. I'll make this one a big one. Now, since this one's going to involve our money and our time and there definitely needs to be a limit on this one because there's only so many places we can go at so many times.
I'm going to limit this to four. This means that four people can pledge this amount of money and get this reward. When I'm all done, I click Save, and now I can go on to the next screen. Here's where I choose the project video. The project video is the first thing that people are going to see when they go to your Kickstarter project page, so it's really important that you have one. And as Kickstarter says, it doesn't have to be great, but you do have to have one. It needs to tell everybody what you're trying to do. In this case, I have a sample of a song that we've already done, so I'm going to put that up there as our movie.
I select it and choose Open. And it's going to upload. While it's uploading, I can type in the project description and this is where I tell people a little bit more about what we're trying to do. This is where we're going to actually make the case for our project. I've already gotten it written down so I can just copy and paste it right in. I can format it, boldface it, make it really nice looking. You can scroll down. The last thing on this page, is where we tell people what the risks and challenges are. Remember, we're asking people for money for our project.
So this is where we need to be honest about any hurdles that we may face to make this a reality. Again, I've got these written down, so I can just copy em right in. Alright. This looks good. So I'm going to click Save, and go on to the next screen. Once my video is uploaded, I can go on to the next screen. Alright, now we're ready. I'm going to click the Save button and the Next button. Here's where we tell people about who we are, in this case I'd already had a Kickstarter account, so I have already filled all this in.
But this is where you're telling people about you. People are going to go to your profile because they're going to be interested in the types of person that is creating a project like this. This is where they're going to try to connect with you and feel like you're the type of person that they want to support financially. So it's important that you have a profile photo and a biography and as much information that you think paints a good picture about yourself, or at least who you really are. When you're all done click Next. The last step is where you're going to connect your Kickstarter account to your Amazon payments account.
This is where you connect everything up and verify who you are with Kickstarter. I'm not going to worry about this step for now. I'll let you do that. But I'm going to skip right to this Preview button at the top right, because I want to see what my Kickstarter project is going to look like when somebody clicks on that link. This is what they're going to see. They're going to see our project title that we've put in, where we're from, what category it's in, how many updates, backers, and comments our project currently has, how many backers and what our financial situation is currently. They're going to find out who's actually started the project.
Remember this is why it's why important. They can read the description about the project. On the right, they can see all the reward tiers for if they back the project. And, finally, they can read the risks and challenges. So this is all it takes to be on your way to a successful Kickstarter project. Now remember, once you've launched your project, your work is definitely far from over. You're on a deadline now, and you have to meet that financial goal by that time. Remember, it's all or nothing. So once your project is live, your next job is to drive traffic and to encourage other Kickstarter users to back your project.
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