Instead of being discouraged, lack of funds became Brandon’s motivation to pursue his invention of the Arctic Stick, a plastic, bullet-shaped tube that makes it easy for users to create ice and drop them in bottled beverages. The big idea came as a result of him growing up working with his dad in their ice business, Adams’ Ice Service, which Brandon now owns.
The whole process of prototyping, manufacturing and bringing the product to the market required money, and this need led him to crowdfunding.
Crowdfunding is defined as raising capital, mostly small amounts of money from a collective group of people like friends, family and other interested individuals via a web-based platform like Kickstarter and Indiegogo. There’s no denying that this is a growing industry and it has gained popularity through the years.
In fact, it is growing so fast that in a report done by Massolution, crowdfunding has raised $34 billion dollars in 2015, surpassing the VC (Venture Capital) industry, which invests an average of $30 billion each year.
Brandon saw the potential of crowdfunding and he did not waste time putting up a Kickstarter campaign for Arctic Stick in August of 2014. He raised more than $25,000 as a result of the campaign and this allowed him to introduce Arctic Stick to the market.
The campaign, however, did more than just raise capital for Brandon, it enabled him to learn the ins and out of crowdfunding. Through it, he realized he could help people with big ideas like him achieve their dreams of bringing their products or businesses to the world.
The Benefits of Crowdfunding
With his newfound passion for crowdfunding, Brandon started Keys to the Crowd, a company aimed to help people create and launch successful crowdfunding campaigns to raise money for their ventures.
When asked about the benefits of crowdfunding, Brandon cited the following:
- It helps validate your idea by getting feedback from the market and getting pre-orders for your product. This saves you time and money since you don’t need to manufacture the product first.
- You don’t give up any equity unlike getting traditional investors to back your business.
- It helps build your email list, which allows you to promote and send updates of your products to your backers.
- It creates a community of people believing in your idea and making it a reality.
The great thing about crowdfunding is it’s not only limited to tangible products. You can raise money for almost anything. In Indiegogo, you can crowdfund for a non-profit, an event, a film, a product or any idea you have. Kickstarter, on the other hand, is a haven for inventors and product designers.
Crowdfunding Mistakes To Avoid
One of the top mistakes in crowdfunding, according to Brandon, is a major lack of preparation. Having an idea is one, but making people invest in your idea is another. You cannot rush things just because you think your product is unique. This is why it takes time before you launch a campaign.
Another mistake is lack of promotion. Tweeting and posting about your campaign in social media are not enough to make people invest in your product. There has to be people who are willing to support you by leveraging their audience to back you up.
Lastly, lack of value can lead to the failure of the campaign. You have to give people something irresistible, something exclusive that only they can have. This will make your potential backers feel they get more than their money’s worth.
Positioning Your Campaign For Success
Since the inception of Keys to The Crowd in 2015, Brandon and his team worked with several successful campaigns. One of them is with famous podcaster, John Lee Dumas. They raised more than $450,000 with over 7,000 backers in Kickstarter, making it the sixth largest publishing campaign in crowdfunding history.
With that, Brandon has these tips for those who want to go into crowdfunding.
- Work with a team. While you can do this on your own, preparing for the launch takes a lot of time. Having a team on your side means you can delegate the tasks. Remember, there are certain crucial areas involved like social media promotion, sales copy, and landing pages that need attention.
- Prepare a budget. Be ready to spend especially for promotion. Ads in social media do not come cheap. One important thing to spend for is a video and it is better to leave this part to a professional. Having a great video could lead to a successful campaign.
- Have an ambassador or affiliate program. Connect with celebrities, bloggers and influencers in your niche. Brandon suggests sending a personal video message on what they’ll get if they take part in your ambassador program. Having the right people on board can help you in leveraging their audience for a successful start of your campaign. Bring in at least 15 to 20 influencers who are willing to spread the word and support you.
- Believe In What You Do. The success of the campaign doesn’t only lie with how well you prepare for it. People can always tell if you are authentic and passionate about what you do. Before you dive in a campaign, make sure you are ready to put your heart, mind and soul in it.
Crowdfunding may be gaining popularity but not everyone knows how to tap its full potential. Brandon’s goal is to educate people about it through his online course and book, Keys To the Crowd: Unlocking the Power of Crowdfunding.
Although Brandon wears different hats, he wears them all with pride and passion. This young, dynamic entrepreneur has this to say to everyone, “No matter where you come from, despite your status or lack in education, you can still become successful. Figure out what your gift is and use it to the most you can and focus your life on that. If you do that you’ll become the most successful the world has ever seen.