How to Start a Business on Kickstarter

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Many moons ago, I was working on a book all about Kickstarter. That project fell by the wayside for a variety of reasons, but one of them is that it’s a little like trying to hit a moving target, and also because the For Dummies people were working on their own version, albeit with a different focus, so it was difficult to secure a publisher because most of them didn't understand the points of deviation.


The point remains that the crowdsourcing platform is still a mega-viable way for people to launch their dream projects, and there are still plenty of people sharing their insights about how to do one of these campaigns right. SCORE, the self-described “counselors to America’s small business,” has just posted this handy-dandy list of eight pointers for people who want to start their own business through a Kickstarter. It’s well worth reading.

However, as I am approaching my own project I will be Kickstarting soon (more to follow on that in a month or two), I would like to weigh in on one point of advice from SCORE: “Don’t worry about the video.”

Actually, I think you should. A Kickstarter’s video is super-duper important. It’s the one shot you have of conveying to your audience, “Hey, I’m not crazy and you can trust me with your money. I’m reliable.” It isn’t a place to be cutesy or to ask God for help or to go on and on and on trying to impress people. Trust me. I’ve watched tons and tons of these, and you would be amazed some of the approaches folks make on the video.

If, however, SCORE means don’t worry about the production values of the video, though, I would agree with that. In fact, it would be kind of suspicious and disingenuous if your video had amazing production values and yet you were still asking people for money. That’s where some of that blowback originated from with Spike Lee and Zach Braff — they’re both big-name Hollywood people who were using Kickstarter to raise funds for movies. There’s a perception (perhaps unfairly) that because these guys are famous, they have money and so why would they need other people’s help to make stuff?

That’s what you want to avoid. Anyway. Read the full thing over at SCORE.

David Wolinsky is a freelance writer and a lifelong Chicagoan. In addition to currently serving as IFC’s comedy, film, and TV blogger, he's also a comedy-writing instructor for Second City and an adjunct professor in DePaul’s College of Computing and Digital Media. (He also co-runs a blog behind the DePaul class, DIY Game Dev.) He was the Chicago city editor for The Onion A.V. Club where he provided in-depth daily coverage of this city's bustling arts/entertainment scene for half a decade. His first career aspirations were to be a game-show host.

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