Your Crowdfunding Campaign Might Fail. And That's Okay.

When you launch your product on Kickstarter or Indiegogo, the hope is always to raise a lot of money. The more the better. Of course. 

However, your crowdfunding campaign might not do as well as you’d hope. Consumers may not buy your product in droves, and you might not hit your crowdfunding goal. 

Here are three critical lessons to understand if your crowdfunding campaign doesn’t go as well as you had hoped. 

1. View Kickstarter Not Just As A Platform For Fundraising, But Also For Product Validation

When we think of crowdfunding, we readily think of raising funds for a new product idea. The word “funding” is in the very name of “crowdfunding.” 

Yet, if you view crowdfunding as simply a platform for raising funds, you miss half the picture. 

Crowdfunding is like a two-sided coin. One side of the coin is money. On the other side of the coin is product validation. 

When you run a crowdfunding campaign, if your flip doesn’t land on the side of money, that’s okay. Even advantageous. 

Entrepreneurs can spend year after year working on a new product idea and trying to make it work. Because they are slow or delayed in getting to market, they can waste hundreds and thousands of dollars in both time and actual out-of-pocket cash. And they can waste even more in opportunity costs. 

To be able to quickly and cost-effectively validate whether there is a market for your product is invaluable. Crowdfunding allows you to do just that.

As MasterCard might say: “One failed Kickstarter – $4,565. Business validation in less than 6 months – Priceless.”

And truthfully, quick business validation, on a product that has no future, is priceless!

So if your crowdfunding campaign is a flop, learn from it. Take what lessons you can, and pivot. Move on to the next thing.

2. Be Committed To Success, Not Your Product.

The most successful entrepreneurs are committed not do their product idea, but to success.

For an entrepreneur, especially a first-time entrepreneur, being committed to success, and not the product, is a critically important distinction. (And very hard to do, I might note).

Beginner entrepreneurs are affected, even plagued, by what I call entreumyopia.

Entreumyopia is when an entrepreneur believes his or her new product idea ‘IS’ the most amazing product ever and ‘WILL’ revolutionize their industry.

It’s not that this new product idea ‘may’ or ‘can’ or ‘could’ be amazing and make lots of money, but that it ‘IS’ and ‘WILL.’ And any suggestion to the contrary is ludicrous and ignorant.

The second you think you are a different entrepreneur who will only knows success, or that you have a different type of product that will only realize a profit, you are entreumyopic.


3. You Get Better With Practice, So Be Patient. Your Next Campaign Will Likely Be Better.

If your crowdfunding campaign fails, don’t worry. That’s perfectly fine.

The first go-round you will always learn the most, and when you come back with your next campaign, you’ll most likely do better.

Here are some pretty powerful examples, both outside and inside of crowdfunding.

Barack Obama ran for the U.S. House of Representatives in 2000 and lost 60% to 30%. Yet, he later ran for and won the U.S. Senate in 2004, and the U.S. Presidency in 2008 and 2012.

Similarly Bill Clinton ran for the U.S. House in 1974 and lost. He later became the U.S. President. George W. Bush ran for the U.S. House in 1978 and lost. He later became the U.S. President as well.

These campaigns in which they “lost” weren’t lost causes. They all learned how to better run things the next go-round.

As one last example, Ryan Grepper of Coolest Cooler launched his first Kickstarter in December 2013. He only raised $102,000 and didn’t reach his funding goal. He then relaunched in the Summer of 2014 and raised over $13 million.

It’s cliché, but it’s true: If at first you don’t succeed, try again.

There is more to Kickstarter than raising money. You’re also launching a crowdfunding campaign to validate your product idea. If it’s a home run, run with it. On the other hand, if it’s not even a first base hit, pivot to a new idea, and keep going until you hit success.