Asking for help empowers you

I raised my first Kickstarter campaign.
Duration: 14 days
Goal: $4800
Outcome: I failed…

But, I have learned so much.
And, very pleased to be selected as “Project We Love”.

To give you a bit context of what I did. I wanted to share my love for nudibranch with the world and celebrate underwater photographers’ effort in capturing them. So, I reached out and successfully gathered five photographers around the world to share their passion, personal stories and photographic tips and principle. Eventually, I would put all of these into a photobook.

The lesson I learned: Do not be afraid of asking for help.

The story of how I gathered underwater photographers:

Besides my brother, I found two photographers through friends’ network and two through cold Facebook messaging. I have sent out 20 cold messages to strangers I found on Facebook groups, like Nudi Pixel or Nudibranch Central. I explained my project and hoped they are interested in supporting. Most of them did not reply. Many times in the process, I feel hopeless. But, all you need is to keep trying and let your passion carry you further. In the end, I excitedly found photographers who are super kind and talented.

The story of how I crafted my Kickstarter campaign:

My project required a lot of help from photographers because I have framed the project as a collaboration with them. In the beginning, I felt scared to share my dirty process with the photographers because I wanted to earn their trust. I wanted to show that I have a million dollar plan ready and all they have to do is contribute their photos. In fact, that was not the case; I did not have experience in printing a book. I was overwhelmed by the numbers of decisions I need to make to get a quote from a printer: book size, paper type and weight, printing quality, book cover and other details… Also, I don’t want to look like a clueless person asking for help, bothering and wasting their precious time. To conquer the fear, I decided to invite the photographers to collaborate by sharing a google doc. As a result, I learned to better articulate my project and made decisions that I could not make by myself. Most importantly, I do not feel alone, but sailing with a team, and this empowers me to present myself to the public.

The story of how I promote my Kickstarter campaign:

I am not very active on social media haven’t been active on Facebook for about 3 years, never used Twitter or Reddit before. But, I was forced to go public with this Kickstarter project. This is the first time in my life asking for help publicly, especially asking for money. I felt uncertain. It is definitely out of my comfort zone. However, friends, families, and people have truly surprised me. They backed my projects and helped me to spread the words. It was the first time I got so many compliments and likes on Instagram. People retweet your tweet. Every morning, I woke up in celebration of nudibranch. I am amazed by their love and passion for nudis.

Meeting more nudi-lovers and making friends with the underwater photographers through this project has been the most rewarding part of the campaign.

Student at SVA MFA Interaction

Student at SVA MFA Interaction