Crowdfunding Handbook (Part 5)

Communicating with backers

Throughout your project, you’ll be communicating with backers and keeping them informed of your progress. Project updates, your spotlight page, Kickstarter Live, and our messaging system will help you keep backers in the loop.

  • Updates.

    Think of these as your project’s blog. Keep backers engaged through interesting and shareable updates, and encourage them to spread the word about your progress, like this project did. Backers aren’t just looking for updates on when their rewards will show up — most of them love a look at the details of how work like yours is actually made. Show them!

  • Update options.

    You can post text-only updates, or you can include images, video, and even sound clips. (Check these out!) You can mark updates as public or for backers only. Updates can be emailed to all your backers, or just to specific reward tiers. And after an update is posted, you even have 30 minutes to edit it.

  • Messages.

    You can use messages to communicate with backers one-on-one. Remember to check your messages and comments regularly, and respond to any questions. If you find that you’re frequently getting questions about the same topic, consider making it the subject of your next update.

  • Spotlight.

    Once your project is successfully funded, use the Spotlight feature to customize your page, highlight images that show your plans coming together, and direct your audience to where they can see your current work. Looking for inspiration? Visit this page.

  • Kickstarter Live

    Use Kickstarter Live to share some special moments with your community. Pick a subject for your stream and plan to share something exclusive that people won’t get to see anywhere else. Whether you do a product demo, Q&A, or just stream some of your next rehearsal, remember to have fun with your viewers. Schedule a live stream, see how other creators are using this tool, or get some pointers here.

Backers appreciate regular, insightful, and honest updates. Don’t be hesitant to communicate delays or changes to your original plans — or to just check in. (If backers don’t hear from you for a while, they worry that you may be having trouble doing the work you promised.) Curious how other creators have approached updating their backers? Here are some of our favorites.

Crowdfunding Handbook (Part 4)

Promotion

While an exceptional project can find outpourings of support from all over the web, much of your support may still come from people who already know your work: your fans, friends, and community. Read on for tips on spreading the word about your idea, and getting people as excited about the project as you are.

Getting Started

Prepare an outreach plan.

Before you launch, think through how you’ll approach promoting your project. Outside of your nearest and dearest, who’ll be interested in what you’re doing? Gather lists of relevant blogs, media outlets, and online communities — like forums, message boards, or Facebook groups you know will care about your work. If you’re making a board game, think of the games communities you can send word to; if it’s something for kids, think about parenting forums and blogs. Compile your contact lists, and organize your strategy.

Announce your project.

Once your project is live, let people know! Share it on Facebook, and send out a few tweets. Email friends and family. Keep your mailing groups small and your messages personal, showcasing your project’s unique features and rewards — a personal note tends to get a better response than a form letter. Try not to overwhelm people with e-blasts and group messages, but do remind your networks throughout your project’s funding.

Pitch the press.

But first, do a little research. Google topics and projects related to yours and see who writes about them, and find venues and publications that cover similar work. Explore where your project fits in the broader context of your field. Check out this video for advice from other creators on how to get press coverage.

How to Pitch Your Project

If you’re getting in touch with the press, make sure to include the essentials: who, what, where, when, and why. People appreciate concise messages that respect their time and give them exactly the information they need. Put yourself in their shoes, and tell them why your idea is worth covering. Some tips to remember:

  • Twitter is your friend.

    Many reporters list direct contact info there.

  • Keep your contact lists targeted.

    Reach out to people and sources you know are interested in topics like yours.

  • Mention who’s available for interviews.

    That goes double if prominent folks are involved in your project.

  • Offer any content you can.

    Show off a sample, a trailer, or a preview.

  • Be thoughtful about timing.

    When will it be most relevant to cover your project? And how long do you think each media outlet will need to prepare a piece?

  • We have resources for you.

    You can provide press contacts with a link to the Kickstarter Pressroom for information on itselfs.

  • Don’t be pushy.

    Be considerate — bothering people can have bad consequences for your project.

Some Inside Tips

Here are some things that are definitely worth trying:

  • Host an event.

    Rally close friends and fans with a party, performance, or get-together. Bring along a tablet so people can make pledges on the spot — or send out a link to all your RSVPs letting them know they can pledge via the Kickstarter app, right on their smartphones.

  • Line up help.

    If your goal is ambitious, you might need more than just yourself to get the word out. Get others involved — like your collaborators, peers, or cast and crew.

  • Keep your wits about you.

    You might get some strange offers. You might feel overwhelmed. You might get an extraordinary media opportunity you never expected. Just keep things in perspective and you’ll do great!

And a few things you definitely shouldn’t try:

  • Don’t spam.

    People will like your project a lot better if it’s coming from an amazing, creative person — not from someone acting like a spambot. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information.

  • Don’t trust every offer that comes your way.

    If a marketing offer seems too good to be true, trust your instincts! And make sure you know what you’re actually being offered — you don’t want someone sending spam on your behalf.

  • Don’t expect magic.

    Chances are, you can’t just toss your project out into the world and sit back while everyone raves about it. Put in the work to let people know what you’re doing, and watch your efforts pay off.

Crowdfunding Handbook (Part 3)

Funding

Kickstarter uses an all-or-nothing funding model. If your project doesn’t reach its goal, then funds don’t get collected, and no money changes hands. This minimizes risk for creators — imagine ending up with only $5,000 and a bunch of people expecting a $50,000 film! (Why we don't use Flexible Funding) All-or-nothing funding makes it easier for backers to pledge to your project with confidence that you’ll be able to get the job done.

Your funding goal should be the minimum amount you need to make what you promised and fulfill all rewards. The first step to setting that goal is figuring out a budget.

  • Make a list.

    Write down every possible expense — even less obvious ones, like shipping tape and bubble wrap. For larger expenses, research the best price. Total everything up. It’s okay if the number is bigger than expected: even if your project feels simple, it’s best to make sure every step is accounted for.

  • Consider your reach.

    Kickstarter is a great way to share your ideas with new people. Still, most of your support will come from your core networks, and the people most familiar with your work. Consider the audiences you can tap into, from friends and fans to online communities, and make a conservative estimate of how many backers you can really bring in.

  • Give yourself a cushion.

    If your project is successfully funded, Kickstarter applies a 5% fee; there are also additional fees for our payment processors. Every project’s tax situation is different, but that may affect your needs as well. More than anything, you’ll want a little padding in case of unexpected costs or emergencies.

  • Set a deadline.

    Your funding period can last anywhere from one to 60 days. Statistically, though, projects lasting 30 days or fewer have our highest success rates. Shorter periods set a tone of confidence, help motivate people to back, and let you make a planned, concerted push to spread the word.

  • Stretch goals.

    You can’t change your funding goal once you’ve launched. But once that goal has been reached, some projects add incentives — like new features, colors, or gifts to backers — to hit even higher funding milestones. These stretch goals can work for some — but they can also be challenging. They’re a better idea when they improve the work (like adding more levels to a video game), instead of creating something entirely new. 

  • And if your project suddenly explodes?

    Unexpected popularity can be a nice problem to have. But when you designed a budget to make 100 of something, it’s tricky to suddenly have 10,000 pledges! If you feel like you’ve hit your limit, you can always cap your rewards. You can also stagger release dates — cap the original reward at a number you can handle, then add more with a later delivery date, so you don’t have to do everything at once. Let backers know in advance that the demand might affect your schedule.

Your Tools

  • The creator dashboard.

    Your project’s dashboard gives you an at-a-glance view of everything that’s happening: your funding progress, where visitors to your project page are coming from, a breakdown of which rewards backers are choosing — even a complete feed of all project activity.

  • The backer report.

    Your backer report is where all information about your project’s backers will be neatly organized. Everything from the reward that they chose to any messages that you’ve exchanged will be documented here. And once you send out reward surveys, backers’ responses will ALSO be documented here. The report can easily be downloaded as a CSV file.

  • Analytics.

    Google Analytics opens up a whole new world of trusted, powerful tools, from custom reports and dashboards to the ability to track how many visits to the project page are converting into pledges.

  • Kickstarter for iPhone, iPad, and Android.

    The Kickstarter mobile app can help you manage communicating with backers whenever you want, wherever you are! Use it to send messages, post updates, and get at-a-glance looks at how your project is doing.

Crowdfunding Handbook (Part 2)

Building Rewards

Why do people back projects? To start, they want to support what you’re doing. But they also want to feel like they’re getting something in return — and rewards let them share in your creation.

Some rewards are simple. If you’re making a book, for example, you offer copies of it. Other rewards — like behind-the-scenes souvenirs or personalized work — get backers more involved in the creative process.

  • What should you offer?

    You know better than anyone what your community wants. Think of things that would get you to back a project. Offer copies of your work in different formats, from digital downloads to limited editions. Consider custom work and chances to be a part of the process. Need inspiration? Try this list we made of 96 reward ideas.

  • What should you not offer?

    There are a few things Kickstarter prohibits, including offering financial returns and reselling items from elsewhere. 

  • How to price.

    Be fair. When people think about backing your project, they’re asking themselves whether your rewards are a good trade for what they’re contributing. The most popular pledge on Kickstarter is $25 — it’s handy to offer something substantial around that level.

  • Offer a range of rewards.

    Some backers can spare $100, some $20, some $5. Every one of those backers counts. Make sure there’s something worthwhile at every level — even simple $1 rewards. You’ll need to produce and deliver every reward, though, so think through each tier and make sure your budget works!

Once you’ve decided on your rewards, you’ll find plenty of tools and options that let you organize them so they fit your schedule and budget.

  • Itemize or limit your rewards.

    Kickstarters itemization tool allows you to give titles to your reward tiers, clearly list out what you're offering, and specify exact quantities. You can also limit the available quantity of any reward tier to a certain number of backers — because, well, if you were planning to hand-knit twenty scarves, you might not want pledges for 2,000 of them! Quantity limits can also create excitement around special-edition rewards or signed copies. Limited “early bird” rewards, where a certain number of backers get something for a slightly lower pledge, can also help build momentum during the project’s early days.

  • Estimated delivery dates.

    These are your best guesses for when you expect to deliver rewards to backers. For each tier, choose a date you’re confident about hitting, and don’t be afraid to give yourself breathing room — it’s definitely better to underpromise and overdeliver. For complex projects, it can be useful to stagger the estimated delivery dates for different reward tiers, sending out rewards in batches over a period of time. 

  • Shipping.

    As you add each reward, you’ll be able to specify whether the item involves shipping, which locations you can ship to, and the shipping costs. Shipping costs can sneak up on you, so make sure you have them covered — the costs you set will be added to backer's pledges as they check out, and count toward your goal. 

  • Don’t forget the survey tool!

    You don’t need to build separate reward tiers for different styles of the same item. Once your project is successfully funded, you’ll be able to send backers a survey to collect information like their shipping addresses, sizes, color preferences, and so on.

Remember: once your project is live, you can add new rewards any time — but once someone has pledged to a reward tier, you can’t change it anymore.

Crowdfunding Handbook (Part 1)

Welcome to the Woodshed Agency's Crowdfunding Handbook! This guide will walk you through everything from planning your shipping to communicating with backers. This handbook will be released over the next 7 weeks so be sure to check back each week. Let's get started with Part 1- Telling Your Story. Don't want to wait 7 weeks to get all of the info? Click here to pick up our Crowdfunding Success Roadmap

 

Getting Started - 

Your project can be anything that you want to create and share with others. It could be a book, a film, a piece of hardware... pretty much anything you dream up can find a home on Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Just keep your project focused, with a clear end goal, and you’ll be good.

Every Crowdfunding project should have the following:

  • A project page with a video and description that clearly explain the story behind your project

  • Rewards that backers will receive when the project is completed

  • Updates that share the creative journey as the project comes to life

Let’s go through these, one by one. We’ll get started with your project page — where you’ll tell people your story.

 

Telling your story

Imagine explaining your project to a friend. What would you say? What might they ask you? And how would you show them you’re serious, prepared, and capable of doing a great job? Your project page is your chance to tell people that story: who you are, what you want to make, and why.

Wondering how to get started? Listen to a few episodes from our podcast Successfully Funded to hear creators share some insights on what makes a great project page. Looking through successful projects in your category is another good way to see what kinds of information backers will expect. Our crowdfunding success roadmap can also help you craft a campaign that will get people excited about your idea.

If your project is simple and straightforward, then maybe your project page can be, too. If you’re doing something more complex, share details to demonstrate that you know what you’re doing. Either way, there are some basic questions you should answer:

  • Who are you?

    Introduce yourself, your team, and any similar work you’ve done (show some examples!).

  • What are you planning to make?

    The more details, the better. Sketches, samples, prototypes — it all helps backers get as excited as you are.

  • Where did this project come from?

    Tell people how you got the idea, and how much you’ve accomplished so far. Sharing the project’s history helps others understand the kind of work you do, and how you go about it.

  • What’s your plan, and what’s your schedule?

    Lay out a clear, specific timeline for what backers can expect.

  • What’s your budget?

    A simple breakdown lets people know you’ve thought things through and have a workable plan, so they can trust you to use funds wisely.

  • Why do you care?

    Tell people why you’re passionate about your project and committed to making it happen.

A lot of your story can be conveyed with words, but there’s more to a good project page than text. Images and video are a huge help for bringing people inside your story. Check out the tips here and below for more on what we think makes a standout project.

  • Choose a great project image.

    Remember: it’s the first part of your project people will see — you’ll want to make a good first impression. Here are some tips on choosing an image and grabbing attention.

  • Make a compelling video.

    It’s the best way to introduce yourself and to give people a closer look at what you’re working on. It doesn’t have to be super slick; some of our favorite videos have a very DIY feel. In fact, here’s how you can make a project video on your own, without extra equipment or a film crew.

  • Still feeling a bit camera-shy?

    Try watching this collection — we promise it’ll leave you feeling more relaxed.

  • Consider adding captions and subtitles.

    Captions, subtitles, and translations help more people understand what you have to say and get involved with your project (whatever their language or hearing level).

  • Get creative.

    Include gifs, soundclips, and graphs. Try to keep some media items under 5MB so that they're easily shareable.

A Short Guide To Shorts

Everyone knows most men look terrible in shorts (it's true!), so we asked a stylist for few pointers on showing the world just how beautiful a guy's legs can be.

Step 1 - Pick a Style

"Jean shorts look like Daisy Dukes: Bermuda shorts should be saved for tropical vacations: and baggy cargo shorts shrink your legs," explains Rayne Parvis, personal stylist and author of Ultimate Guide to Style: From Drab to Fab! Chino shorts and flat front-shorts-with belt loops, a zipper, a button and no pleats-however, are just right, as they won't draw any unwanted attention to your stomach.

Step 2 - Find Your Fit

"Shorts should fit like pants would-close to your body and with a slight taper." Pervis explains, adding that bottom of the shorts should sit an inch or two above your knee. Remember: Too much thigh won't fly.

Step 3 - Keep it Simple

Parvis suggests sticking to solid colors and avoiding overly busy patterns. "Anything too bright or tropical will lead people to think you're wearing a bathing suit," she says. That's a look best saved for the pool.

Step 4 - Plan Your Outfit

If you're going for a more sophisticated look than shorts, a T-shirt and sneakers (and a hoodie if it's chilly), Parvis recommends a tucked-in button shirt with the sleeves rolled up, a slim brown belt and light colored dress shoes or white slip-on sneakers with low-cut socks.

 

Your Crowdfunding Email Strategy

PR, social media, and other forms of one-to-many outreach can drive visitors, but these visits don’t always translate into funds.

We’ve found that email outreach is the most effective way to raise money: the conversion rate from email is 34% higher than other forms of outreach. Email works because it’s personal, highly targeted, and easy to track and replicate. It’s also easier to plan around email. You know how many email addresses you have, whereas your reach through social media and PR can be unclear.

HOW Big Of An EMAIL LIST Do You Need?

We recommend that you try to raise 30% of your goal in the first 48-72 hours of your campaign. Most campaigns that eventually hit their goal have strong launches, and the best way to launch with momentum is by sharing your campaign with a strong email list.

You can use your goal and average contribution to get a rough estimate of a desirable email list size. First, figure out what your average contribution will be (probably your product price) and what your goal is. Then use our mailing list calculation (which we’ve included as a separate article) to calculate the target size of your email list. The calculation uses an estimated conversion rate of 7.3%. We’ve run hundreds of successful crowdfunding campaigns, and we also talk to lots of folks who’ve run their own successful campaigns. 7.3% is our conversion estimate from across all this experience. It is however, an estimate, and may be high or low, depending on how qualified the emails on your list are.

 

Most clients are surprised at how a high number the calculator produces. It’s eye- opening, and intimidating. But it’s pretty accurate, and if you can hit it you can be very con dent in your launch. If not, you’ll want to supplement beyond email with other forms of outreach as well.

How do you build UP Your list if you’re not at the calculated size?

Start with a landing page that allows people to give you their email address and use social media outreach, ads, and other methods to send any interested parties to it. If you’re building your own landing page, we suggest creating a “coming soon” page on Squarespace. Once you have your landing page built, you need to drive traffic. A few simple ways to start:

  • Include it in your email signature.

  • Encourage friends and family to share it with their networks.

  • Start sharing on Facebook, Twitter, and on Reddit.

  • Attend events and ask people to sign up in person.

    To more actively build your list, plan out an email gathering campaign. You could use Thunderclap to coordinate a social push towards your landing page, which will help you gather emails from your extended network. If you have something else you can offer as an incentive, you could also use Gleam to run a competition to capture email addresses.

    There are many more resources online that can help you build out a list. Here are a few guides on the topic:

  • Each email should have one clear action item: Share, Contribute, etc. (Multiple action items may confuse your email list).

  • Include nice images, especially if you have a product.

    As you near your launch date, there are four emails that you should plan on sending to get the biggest impact on and soon after launch:

    One Week Out:

    Send an email letting your audience know that you’re planning on launching soon and they’re eligible for a secret deal. They can even send friends to your landing page to share this deal, Include links to social media and pre-written messages (maybe use Click to Tweet to embed one) to drive social sharing.

Three Days Out:

Share the specifics of your special deal. We recommend a discount for anyone that contributes in the first 48 hours. You can replace it with a similar perk at full price (or at an early-bird discount, if you have more than one tiered discount).

Launch Day:

Notify your list that you’re launched, and they have a limited time to claim their perk. Make sure to include an image of your product as well as a call to action button (Contribute Now! Pre-Order, etc) front and center, above the fold.

Week 2 of campaign:

Email everyone on your list who hasn’t contributed and offer them one final special deal (though not as good as the original) to try and persuade them. Check the list of contributors to avoid emailing people who have contributed. You can download this on the Contributions tab of your campaign. In this email, you can let them know that they have 48 hours (ideally on a Monday or Tuesday) to claim a discounted, secret perk.

PRO-TIP: How To Test Ideas About Your Campaign While Gathering Email Addresses

You can use Google AdWords, Facebook Ads, or any other type of paid placement to test out assumptions you have about your campaign. Unsure if your fitness wearable appeals more to urban twenty-somethings or suburban moms? Run ads targeting each, direct them to your landing page, and see which type of ad converts the best. This will give you an idea of what messaging works. Don’t know the best price point for a perk? Run ads with the same copy but different price points and direct them to your landing page. If there’s no difference in conversion, the higher price point might not be a problem.

UP-SELL WITH EMAIL DURING YOUR CAMPAIGN

Do you have a deluxe version of your product you’d like users to upgrade to? Does having multiple units give them a better experience? Is there any new or additional perk that you’d like people to make another contribution for?

If you have some natural up-sell for your campaign, like those I mentioned above, an up-selling email campaign can be a powerful tool to raise funds. In this campaign, you’ll use the Secret Perk tactic I mentioned above to offer previous contributors special deals.

To do this, you can pull your list of contributors (you can download this on the Contributions tab of your campaign dashboard) and try to decide what you’d like to offer different groups. If I’ve bought one widget, maybe you’d like to offer me 25% off of our original price.

The 9 Commitments Required to Succeed in Crowdfunding

There is no safe path in crowfunding. Be ready, flexible and willing to do whatever is required.

jordan-whitfield-112404.jpg

To be successful in crowdfunding requires certain commitments. We must accept that not all things are going to go our way. When we experience a challenge or any sort of delay along our path, it is easy to become consumed with frustrations and to entertain thoughts of defeat. When we are experiencing hardship, we are unable to make any real sense of our emotions. We’re not capable of making the best decisions, and we’re unable to see how things are going to turn around. Although you may not be in control of the events you’re stuck in right now, you must keep your commitments to success, and you will eventually get there.

1. Stay true to yourself.

Just because the path you’re on was once clear and now is not, it doesn’t mean that you abandon your mission. Commit to keeping your eye on the ball. If the way things have been done are no longer working, dare to things a bit differently; even if it means going against status quo. Do what you have to do, but do it ethically and without badmouthing or stepping on others to get your way.  You do you. Stay true to your values, your convictions, your work ethic, and do it with your own unique flavor. You are not a repeatable experience, so keep pressing forward in the way that only you can.

Related: Entrepreneurs Can Keep The Passion Alive in Their Relationships

2. Reclaim your agenda.

Nothing burns more ruthlessly inside us than the frustration of pursuing our dream without making progress. When you are in times of uncertainty, commit to reclaiming your direction. Get back to your heart, and the passion of your original vision. When you get back in touch with the ‘why’ of what you’re doing, it resets your agenda. It also ignites the motivation you need to keep moving forward. The more you map your direction, the more you can adjust your sails. Things become clear when you write them down; therefore, never minimize the effectiveness of this simple but powerful task. You are much more likely to achieve the things you write down then the things you don’t.

3. Create long term goals.

Uncertainty isn’t your destination. Part of resetting your agenda is to revamp, or even create new long term goals. Commit to creating goals that will upgrade your current level of success. Goals provide you with vision and direction and give you a direct way to measure your progress. Striving to meet your longer-term goals gives you the insight into what smaller goals need to be achieved to create the path to those bigger picture goals. Your long-term goals are the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. They are the benchmarks you need, out in front of you, to keep you directed and motivated. Your longer-term goals drive hope and put you into action. The closer you get them, the happier your life becomes.

Related: Challenges/Rewards

 

4. Turn terrors to triumph.

When you suffer, you learn, you grow and you move forward. Commit to the mindset that things change so they can get better. When in times of uncertainty, you must be unbending, focused and diligent in advancing your career, changing your directions, and getting where you want to go with renewed hope and inspiration. Uncertain times are not the times to slow down and be defeated. It’s healthy to ask if you’re on the right path. You should do this often, as asking questions ignites innovative thought. When you can answer these types of questions, you are less likely to get sidetracked. Questions help you reorient yourself, to lift your head, and to turn uncertainty to clarity.

5. Be what you envision.

What is your vision of how a more successful person than yourself would handle uncertain and lost times in their career? Grab onto what you envision and live that idea out in your own life. Commit to being composed. Cultivate the maturity you need to handle yourself thoughtfully. Rushing and avoiding both signify fear, impulsivity, and reactivity. Commit your movement forward to be step-by-step; focused only on hitting the ball that is in front of you. If you’re going to move on to the next step, you want to do this mindfully and with a sense of completion to the step, you were just in. Working in this way, steps are not skipped and you come to see where you must champion for your own rights, and succeed against adversity.

6. Take care of yourself.

In any meaningful endeavor, you must commit to building yourself up from the floor, time and time again. Give yourself permission to take care of yourself, pamper yourself and to be your number one priority; especially if you’ve been in a background position for a while. When the world outside of you feels exhausting, pull back and rest. All great warriors need rest. Rest does not mean stop, or quit; it means refuel. The level of respect and passion you have for yourself, as an individual, is what will be mirrored back to you from the outside world.

7. Take the long road.

There is no quick path to success. Do not take short cuts, lie, cheat or steal to get yourself to the top. Commit to succeeding honestly and with a sense of integrity and patience. The harder you work, the greater the benefits you will reap; especially when it comes to reputation. The thing about cheaters, liars or drama-creators is the truth is like cream in coffee, it will eventually rise to the surface and expose all the short cuts, drama, gossip and undermined deception that got them to the top. These types may rise quickly, but their fall will be deadly. Don’t compare yourself to others. You do you. Believe in what you do so deeply that you commit to your own success with an unwavering faith in your purpose, and you will succeed.

8. Keep perspective.

Commit to not allowing a bad time period in your life become your permanent state of mind. Of course, the journey to success lasts much longer than a day; however, in the course of a lifetime, the uncertain times are truly just a blip in time as you travel the path to realize your dreams. Success, like anything else in life, waxes, and wanes. Don’t let a temporary trip through a hard time influence your personality and perspective from that point forward to be pessimistic. Down times are there to raise your basic level of training. Make it your commitment to getting better, not bitter.

9. The time is now.

You cannot want for success and wait for it to come your way. You have to go out and grab it. Whether you’re just starting your journey, you’re trying to make your numbers to make Club, or you’re on the executive track and want to move up; commit to making yourself seen. Your hard work, the quality of that work, and the way you treat people is what needs to happen right now to get you to the next level.

If you are not happy with where you are, you have three choices to make; First, you can continue doing you what don’t like to do, or second, you can work to change your perception on what you’re doing and find ways to enjoy it; or third, you can be bold and change your direction and approach completely. Choice three means you commit to risking the familiar to create the unfamiliar. We must make the commitment over and over again to risk. There can be no real success without great risk. Be ready, be flexible and most importantly, be willing.

You've Funded But CAN'T Deliver

Hey Kickstarter backers,

It has been a while since we have posted an official update. It just seemed pointless to post an official update simply to say that we were still waiting on the customs issues to be worked out. However, since it has now taken over 3 months and there still is no resolution we decided we should definitely get an update out. So here it goes.

On December 14th we were supposed to receive a shipment of 1,849 Black ELWN Fit earbuds. However, we made the fatal mistake of mailing them to me personally and not addressing them to ELWN LLC. This raised red flags with US Customs and they decided to investigate the shipment. This process took over a month and they decided to officially Seize our Goods on January 19th. During which time they never once reached out to our company or me personally. They simply just kept telling us that they were investigating. They did not send us an official seizure notice until February 7th (as you can see in the letter attached) and gave us a list of options on how to proceed. We then had to file an official petition to prove that we do have the Bluetooth certification needed to be able to sell these earbuds throughout the US. We did so on February 9th. They did not 'receive' this petition until March 1st. They have now informed us that they can take up to 60 days to make a decision and that we will be notified by mail with their decision. I have attached a screenshot of their seizure notice for you look at if you would like. I have also attached a copy of our Bluetooth Certification just so you know that we do have the right to sell Bluetooth branded earbuds. 

 

The problem with the shipment was not that ELWN does not have the right to sell Bluetooth branded earbuds, it was that I, Shaun Alexander, do not have the right and the shipment was addressed to me. We did not see this as an issue as most of our previous shipments were addressed to me since I am the one who manages the warehouse here in Phoenix.

So, the biggest problem we have is that they are currently withholding over $200,000 worth of product. As a startup company we do not have the funds to simply place another six figure order. So we fulfilled every order we could. However, there are still over 800 people who have backed us on Kickstarter and have not received their earbuds. Unfortunately we cannot fulfill those order until we receive the shipment that is stuck in customs. We sincerely apologize for the delays. It obviously was never our intention.

We have been trying to reply to comments and emails, but as you can imagine it has gotten a bit overwhelming with all the delays. I have personally responded to over 2,100 emails in the last 6 months alone in regards to this campaign. We have done our best to keep the customer service part of the business in house. And as many of you who have spoken to me personally on the phone can attest, I am genuinely a caring guy who is trying to do right by all of you. I have personally taken over 200 phone calls and have spoken to many of you for well over an hour at a time. I have no problems whatsoever with being open an honest with each of you. If you ever want to talk to me, just send an email to me on here and I will be happy to call you and you can ask anything you want or even just yell at me like many have done. Either way, I am always happy to listen and to try and help.

I do want to say thank you for the support. I am sorry this campaign has not been going smoothly to say the least. My partners and I are actively working our butts off to get everything squared away. Just hang in there with us and we'll get you the earbuds you pledged for.

By the way, replacement infinity bands and extra infinity bands are scheduled to arrive here the end of this month or beginning of next month assuming we do not have any shipping delays. We will get those sent out soon after arrival.

Shaun

Listen To Episode 13 - Perfect Fitting Wireless Headphones

Challenges/Rewards

CHALLENGE 

 

Getting attention. 

 

REWARD 

 

Barrier to entry nonexistent. 

 

CHALLENGE 

 

Getting publicity. 

 

REWARD 

 

Publicity is nearly irrelevant and the means of spreading the word are at your fingertips. 

 

CHALLENGE 

 

Making money. 

 

REWARD 

 

Successful project creators are making more money on Kickstarter than they ever were, just not as much as bankers or techies. Furthermore, there are many avenues of revenue. Endorsements, merch, privates...and teaching others pays better than ever before. 

 

CHALLENGE 

 

Only huge ad budgets can make you go nuclear. 

 

REWARD 

 

We're disruption ready. Big box retail will embrace the left field, the public wants it, if you can do something different well, you can break through. But you must be persistent. 

 

CHALLENGE 

 

Takes forever to build a crowd from scratch

 

REWARD 

 

You can continue target and find almost anyone on this earth. You just have to open and willing to explore all avenues. 

 

CHALLENGE 

 

You're competing against the history of all the greatest ideas on this earth. 

 

REWARD 

 

Separates the men from they boys (and the women from the girls!) If you're not good enough, drop out. And ignore those not good enough. Today you have to have a great project and great ideas. The bar is ever higher, but if you can reach it... 

 

CHALLENGE 

 

Fake news. 

 

REWARD 

 

Great campaigns are about truth, ignore the hype. Don't feel bad when someone else gets a review in the "Times" and you don't, it doesn't matter! 

 

CHALLENGE 

 

You can't get big attention. 

 

REWARD 

 

That’s fine. Focus on getting 50-100 insiders who truly believe in your idea.

 

CHALLENGE 

 

China rips you off. 

 

REWARD 

 

Not for long, new systems employed by millennials are coming online. They believe in transparency. A boomer cries peace and love and stabs you in the back a millennial will pay you your cash as long as they make some. 

 

CHALLENGE 

 

Getting in traditional press. 

 

REWARD 

 

The old media is meaningless. But YouTube is your tool, and it's FREE! 

 

CHALLENGE 

 

Being heard. 

 

REWARD 

 

Go back to the basics, the Beatles could sing, write songs with changes and looked good to boot. Adele sells ten times what everybody else does, because she focuses on songs and melody and she can sing! How does this thought relate to what you are working on right now?

 

CHALLENGE 

 

Me-too business. 

 

REWARD 

 

Don't work with the usual suspects, do it your own way, the means of production are at your fingertips, experiment, failure is forgotten, keep striving for the stars, see what resonates.