The last 18 months have been hard, and crazy.
It happened out of nowhere, she was 59 and suddenly she was gone. It really, really sucked.
We deferred both launches. A month or so later, we tried again. The Crowdfunding Challenge worked, but my big campaign flopped. A few months later, another big campaign flopped too.
My mother’s death started taking up a lot of my time. Suddenly my conversations with friends stopped being about crowdfunding and Tinder. They were now about lawyers, family, leases, sewerage systems, and wills.
Then my grandmother died too. A family business was left partially to us and I spent a lot of time worrying about and working on that. Crowdfunding fell by the wayside.
But I kept pushing though. I wanted to help, and I was really trying up until December 2016. I had a series of dumb accidents, including getting electrocuted and putting a giant hole in my shin. Combined with Christmas, I decided it was time to take a real break.
I spent time with family and friends, I went to South-East Asia and did a lot of healing. I needed to stop and look after myself. It bought me back to a place where I could decide what I wanted.
I quit my other job as a petsitter and got a house with my boyfriend. We adopted a couple of kittens, started a garden, and got a small flock of chickens. But even being back on a far more even emotional keel, I still didn’t want to work on crowdfunding projects.
Part of it is that my life has changed irrevocably forever. I lost two grandmothers and a mother within the space of a year. I’ve had to grow up and into a role traditionally taken by older people in my family. Who I am now, and who I was when I began Multitude are two quite different people.
But the failures in the crowdfunding world have informed this decision too. My own campaign flops hit me hard, but many large international “star” campaigns flopped in the last 18 months as well. The Coolest Cooler is still trying to get rewards out to backers 3 years later. Pebble crumbled into sand and the pieces were purchased by FitBit. Kickstarter hired a freelance reporter to work out what went wrong with Zano. The creators of the Skully-AR used their funds for fast cars and strippers. Everywhere I looked, I saw successful campaigns that never actually succeeded.
On top of that, I spent a few weeks catching up with old clients and talking frankly about the process. I’ve helped well over 50 people raise money through crowdfunding, and the majority say they wouldn’t do it again.
Crowdfunding is intensely emotional. Anyone who has crowdfunded knows exactly what I’m talking about. The anxiety, fear, and elation you feel on a daily basis is like an emotional yo-yo that doesn’t let up for 30 days. It’s full of panic, and optimism, and fear of dreadful failure.
If you fail in crowdfunding, you fail very publically. If you fail to get private financing, no one really needs to know about it. But a big public failure really hits you in the metaphorical balls.
Most of my clients have experienced all that once and wouldn’t do it again. It’s a lot of work and it really knocks the stuffing out of you.
I’ve gone through that well over 50 times. And in the face of the grief I experienced last year, and the stress of all the related legal hullabaloo, I stopped involving myself as deeply within campaigns. And now, I think it’s time to move on.
When I quit my other job as a petsitter, it was easy. My clients wished me luck, and I could pass them onto another petsitter easily enough. But the crowdfunding job has been harder to leave.
When I entered this job, I wanted to help people make the world a better place. I think I’ve achieved that to a great degree. I’ve met a lot of awesome people, and I’ve visited a tonne of cool places, and I’ve had a part in bringing some things to life that I am truly proud to put my name to.
But when I started this journey, people warned me I’d reach this part — where crowdfunding is less popular and shiny and new. Where projects had failed to deliver and the system is filled with cracks.
The majority of the people I have worked with have delivered, and I’ve helped them navigate the waters along the way. I’m not ashamed of my projects at all. But equally, that moment I was warned about has arrived, and I no longer have the strength, or the desire, to continue.
So what now? The Multitude site is now closed. The URL points to this post.
The content may be repurposed with time. It’s helpful and useful, but right now I’m not interested in doing much with it. Instead, I’m facing the dream I had all along.
I’ve always wanted a permiculture farm with my own pets and gardens. Now I have a chance to get it. I’m about to start a 12 week course at NorthTec which I’m hoping will lead to some work in horticulture. Crowdfunding has been a hell of a learning experience for me. This little business has taught me so much, and introduced me to some of my favourite people. I’ll never regret having started it.
However, for many reasons, this business isn’t something I’m passionate about anymore, and I think the passion I bought to the table was the thing that was worth paying for. Without it, it all feels like a farce, and my clients deserve better.
If you’re looking for more resources to help you run your crowdfunding project, check out the link below.