Skip to content

Things that have surprised me about the Kickstarter experience thus far

When setting up a Kickstarter campaign there is no shortage of advice floating around. Most of it is duh, and some of it is even good, the gist being to not be bashful, to be clear, to over-prepare, to do something everyday to promote the campaign, to use social media, email and in person contacts to ask for support, to give people more than one way to support the project, and to be as transparent as possible about how the money you raise will be used. Fair enough.

But, I was surprised to see how little info is floating around about what to do once you launch. For example, a list of things to do at each milestone to keep momentum high would be helpful; I’ve had to wing it in that department.

I was also, perhaps naively, surprised by how many people have been ripped off on Kickstarter. By virtue of putting your project plans out in the world with your name on it, there is, at least to me, a degree of built-in accountability, but apparently that hasn’t prevented some from raising funds and delivering nothing, which I find perfectly awful. There should be rating system in place through Kickstarter, if that’s really as big of an issue as it appears to be, much in the way eBay has the follow up ratings and future transactions are dependent on transactions going well as mutually agreed by both parties. Maybe. Anyway, I’ve been addressing concerns like that with transparency about my plans. I’m adding more tonight, based on a conversation today, even. Many layers, here. And, the text created for the campaign launch is only the beginning. There’s so, so much else to write once you get going. Adding, and adding. Accept that and be available for it, is my advice there.

Also surprising is the emotional roller coaster Kickstarter brings up. Sure, I know intellectually that it has more to do with how the project project resonates and people’s relationships with their money than it does how well I’m liked or even loved, but even so I found it hard to not feel bad on slow Kickstarter days, as if I’m shouting into a void, as if my big idea doesn’t jingle any bells. But I have a theory on that point: surely to go to the effor to running a Kickstarter, there is deep investment in what you’re doing, and thus, it’s near impossible to divide yourself from the project and its Kickstarter’s health at any given moment.

I’ve also accepted from the start that I would throw shame out the window and approach this like 30 magical days that had the ability to change my work and life and impact a lot of people. But, I didn’t realize how nearly drug-like the experience would be. The push notifications alerting of a new backer are little dopamine fixes, and a big donation amount is a good, euphoric couple of hours. And if you’re tracking your data as you go, which you ought to do if you can (because what you measure you can manage, etc), there’s a bit of a rabbit-hole thing going on there, too, parsing data different ways to see different outcomes. It’s a little bizarre, but sensical. Yet, I gave myself permission to obsess as I’m inclined, given the stakes.

So, here at the 50% point of funding, and with 10 days to go, there are the surprises. more when I know more, hopefully on the other side of the fully-funded finish line.