In the last 18 months I leveraged the crowdfunding wave to generate over $2,700,000 in revenue.
I’ve been a founder and growth-hacker for about a dozen Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns. In total these campaigns have collected more than 150,000 emails, grown social media accounts to over 220,000 followers, received coverage in over 2,000 articles and raised that $2.7M I already mentioned. ;)
I’ve done this with ZERO outside capital, and no full time employees.
It’s late-2012. I’m a 20-something college student and I’ve been building and testing ideas for a while. Things like, a dislike button for Facebook, a resume search engine, a dating site and an app that turns people’s faces into Guido’s.
I had just finished reading Tim Ferriss’s 4HWW and began dry testing ideas. This involved buying several domains and building out ideas (websites) as if they already existed.
Several weeks prior to these experiments, I had already found some pretty cool OEM watches that could be branded and shipped to the U.S. for ~$2.00 per unit. After building a quick e-commerce website, I “pre-sold” $4,000 worth of watches in a weekend. So, I decided to start a watch company.
By the end of this pre-sale period, I was able to get $10,000 and cover the minimum purchase order of 2,000 units.
How did I do this?
I hustled my ass off. I found watch lovers on Instagram, followed them and liked their photos. While running this watch company, I manually followed 150,000 people.
While I was a senior in college, the business averaged ~$10,000 per month for a year, and I later sold my equity to a co-founder and began anew.
My personal investment to launch the company?
Within weeks, I got connected to and started working with 1:Face Watch. We spent time building a trailer, collected emails and generated a lot of hype. After a few brainstorming sessions, our Indiegogo campaign was live. On the first day we made about $30,000. After 40 days we pulled $357,000. In the process we also fed over 52,000+ children in the Horn of Africa.
Since the launch, 1:Face has killed it. Their metrics are insane and they’re scaling fast through e-commerce and major distribution like Journeys, Nordstroms, Tillys etc. Oh, and they also helped +600,000 people through various charities. Win. Win.
So… I learned a lot from the 1:Face launch. Mostly about the power of PR, media-buying and building hype before launching product. In my opinion, it’s similar to how movies launch like 5 trailers before opening night.
From there, I was contacted by a wearable device company that was getting ready to launch. I was impressed by the product so together, we built a landing page, got some press, collected about 20,000 emails and launched in January 2013. On the first day we made about $60,000. On day two we cleared $150,000. And within 40 days we brought in $580,000.
After that campaign, I knew I was onto something. I took what I learned and repeated the process. From that day forward I got better at industrial design, patents, manufacturing and overall marketing. I also learned to get some help by hiring interns and generally, found ways to scale more effectively. I also created relationships with celebrities, influencers, writers, videographers, PR firms and all sorts of people that could help me blow something up anytime I wanted.
Over a 6-month period I had built a system where I could create product, build campaigns, launch, and generate hype insanely fast.
SO WHY CROWDFUNDING?
I’ll be honest, I didn’t become a crowdfunding “expert” on purpose. I grew in up Salt Lake City, UT where the investment community didn’t really exist.
If I wanted to make money, I had to do it with my own dollars and a lot of hustle. I also stumbled into this world mid-2012 when the space wasn’t “cool”. On my first campaign I was literally explaining what Kickstarter & Indiegogo meant.
WHAT’S THE SECRET TO A SUCCESSFUL CROWDFUND?
I’ll do a Medium post on this later. But for now, you can always join my mailing list. ☺
WHAT AM I UP TO NOW?
For the past two years I’ve been living in a castle in Malibu, investing, and spending most of my time traveling and meeting interesting entrepreneurs. Right now, I’m over in London, living, working and exploring new opportunities.
LET’S BE FRIENDS
If this article brought you any value.. I’d truly appreciate a recommendation. And if my crowdfunding hacks could help a friend in need, please share below.