What is Kickstarter: The Beginner’s Guide to Kickstarting Your Project

Elena Hudgens
By Elena Hudgens 16 Min Read

Startup funding refers to the process of raising the money a company needs to get off the ground. Companies require financial investments in product development, manufacturing, expansion, sales, and marketing offices, and inventory to start and operate. Funding allows startups to keep debt low and prevents equity dilution among founders as they expand their operations. To learn more about startup finance, click here

Crowdfunding has become one of the most popular ways to fund your startup. Crowdfunding is not only a way to collect funds for a business. It is also an alternative for those looking for customer feedback. 

The willingness of crowdfunding customers to engage and contribute and the depth and breadth of their contributions are unrivaled by other forms of interactions with companies in their developmental stages or present company operations. Crowdfunding customers offer ideas to improve the products and connect businesses with potential suppliers and retailers.

It’s essential to keep in mind the purpose of your crowdfunding campaign. The money you generate through a project should be used for the exact reason it was given. For example, if someone is raising money to help pay for medical bills, they must use their funds exactly as desired (i.e., paying medical fees).

If you are running an awareness-building campaign or trying to maintain a nonprofit organization with funds from donations coming in but not enough financial support coming out, then it would make sense that the company uses these funds only towards its cause and mission statement instead of purchasing personal items like food or clothes–which could be seen at best as wasteful spending and at worst unethical behavior altogether! Read more about what is crowdfunding and how it works. 

In any case, however, where individuals invest their own capital into startups through crowdfunding services on sites such as Kickstarter or Indiegogo (the dollars will also come with shares), investors have zero assurance about whether they’ll get anything back when/if this startup becomes successful enough to sell itself off – some might see this risky investment strategy without much chance for return in case all else fails financially speaking; others who are more risk-averse may want just one less thing weighing them down for a long term until success does happen.

What is Kickstarter?

Kickstarter

Kickstarter is a crowdfunding platform that helps people bring their ideas to life. The site has helped many aspiring artists, designers, filmmakers, musicians, and more to secure funding for their projects. It’s essentially an online store where you can browse categories of products and discover interesting projects to back.

The site has two sections: the “discover” section and the “back this project” section. The former lets you scroll through various product categories and learn about them before clicking on them to visit the creator’s profile page. Once there, the select, pre-order, or buy now buttons take you to different pages with shipping and payment options related to that specific product. 

In the second section, which is the “back this project” section, you can pledge money towards someone else’s project in exchange for rewards set by the creator, such as artwork or exclusive content from the project they chose.

How does Kickstarter work?

Kickstarter allows anyone to pledge money to help bring an idea or project to life. Anyone can submit a proposal for anything they want, and if someone likes the proposal, they can pledge money to it.

Backers are actively involved in the process of developing things because they get something in return for their donation. The site is built with the belief that people will enjoy helping others achieve their goals.

The five most common questions:

Kickstarter is a great place to fund your creative dreams, but there are some things you should know before you become a backer. Kickstarter has an FAQ section that answers the most commonly asked questions for backers and creators alike. Five of the most popular and frequently asked questions about Kickstarter are: 

1) How much money do I need in order to create a campaign?

2) What happens if my campaign doesn’t reach its goal?

3) Will I be charged anything for rewards if my project doesn’t get funded?

4) What if I want to make changes after the campaign ends?

5) Am I required to offer rewards for pledges?

What are the project qualifications at Kickstarter to qualify for crowdfunding? 

There are five rules Kickstarter lays out for projects that want to be funded on the platform: 

1. All projects must create something and share it with others;

2. Projects can’t raise money for charity; 

3. Projects must be honest and clearly presented, including a clear description of what is being offered in exchange for your donations (like what will happen if you donate $10 or more); 

4. Project creators cannot offer equity as part of their project but give rewards like contributor badges instead of profit shares. Equity would lead to conflicts of interest when the same community members who everything from marketing materials to social media content every day are used.

5. A crowdfunding campaign only goes live after Kickstarter approves it.

Can I back a project without donating money?

It is possible to back a project without donating money. You can make a pledge of any amount and set a reward for yourself, or you can donate any amount of money.

The website does not charge users until the campaign has been completed and is fully funded. So if you pledged $5, but the campaign never reached its goal, Kickstarter would not charge your card.

Great search engine optimization (SEO) is needed for optimizing your business to its fullest potential. The challenge is that a lot of small entrepreneurs do not have the time, resources, skills, and/or expertise that is required to handle everything that comes with the optimum strategy for SEO. From keyword research to content evaluation, from page optimization to internal linking, it’s easy for companies to end up with a generic web presence that doesn’t inspire engagement or drive conversions. 

What are the payment options on Kickstarter?

The first set of payment options is those involved in pledging money to fund other creators’ projects. Kickstarter allows backers to pledge any amount they want and then choose rewards that the creator creates for them based on the amount they pledged. This can range from an exclusive song written by the artist to a signed copy of their new book.

The second set of payment options is for those who want to purchase products offered by other creators on Kickstarter. For these products, Kickstarter operates like an online shop where users browse through different categories and view different products before clicking on them to visit the creator’s profile page, which contains more information about the product along with videos and images related to it. Once they click on the product, they have two buttons available: pre-order or buy now, which will take them to another page with shipping and payment information related to that specific product, as well as project updates or messages from the creator themselves.

The payment processor for Kickstarter, Stripe, charges a fee on each successful pledge made. Take into account how much of the money you raise through fundraising will be taken up by the fees of the website. Then, determine just how much funding you’ll need to make your project happen. The fee structure outside of the USA is the same as what you see above, with 5% typically taken from every pledged amount raised by the company. It also depends on which currency the transaction is in.

As part of the terms on launching a Kickstarter project and accepting support from backers, you must provide physical rewards for your backers. The rewards you offer depend on the level of support pledged — offering trading cards at $10 pledge levels, copies of gaming projects to those who make pledges between $100-500, or even bonus content like posters with game expansions when people commit to making donations beyond that amount.

Is there a minimum amount to pledge?

For Kickstarter projects, there is no minimum pledge amount. The only requirement is that the project creators set a goal for how much money they need to raise and often offer rewards to backers who pledge more than this amount.

Kickstarter also has a system of “Backers” and “Founded by.” Backers are people who back projects on Kickstarter, while “Founded by” means that someone has created a project on the site.

When will I be charged for my pledge?

You won’t be charged for your pledge until the project is successful. Kickstarter collects funds from backers when the creator reaches their funding goal and will charge you for your pledge at that time. If a project isn’t successful, they won’t charge you a penny.

Can I cancel my pledge at any time?

No, once you pledge money to a Kickstarter project, it cannot be canceled.

Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing funding platform, so creators set their goal at the start of their campaign and work towards reaching that goal by offering rewards to backers who pledge money. If they don’t reach their goal at the end of the campaign period, they will not receive any of the funds pledged by backers during that time.

Funding on Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing model, which means if a creator doesn’t meet her or his goal by the end of the campaign period (deadline), no one will be charged for their pledges, and the project won’t receive any funding.

How is the customer support at Kickstarter?

Kickstarter is a major part of the crowdfunding industry, but its level of customer support doesn’t really reflect that. The only way to attain contact with them is by submitting a ticket and waiting for an email response. It’s not always convenient because sometimes customers may need quick help if they have any issues with their project – especially if it’s submitted outside the advertised parameters or needs to be canceled mid-campaign due to unforeseen circumstances like illness or injury.

What are the pros and cons of using Kickstarter?

Some Kickstarter users have grown disillusioned at the direction that the company has taken over recent years. A 2016 HuffPost article by Nathan Resnick titled “Why Kickstarter Is Corrupted” highlighted how paid advertising, investor-backed campaigns, and crowdfunding agencies have sucked all of the air out of the room for smaller creators in crowdfunding with an advantage given to big players – making it difficult for small companies to succeed. The two main causes were that some projects had investors backing them as well as other aspects like using funds from rewards or crowdfunding through corporations instead of having their own independent company raising money on their behalf.

With the emergence of paid advertising and investor-based campaigns, big players can have an enormous advantage over smaller operations on Kickstarter. The vast majority of complaints come from backers who either weren’t pleased with the outcome or never received their promised items. While this isn’t an issue for a business launching a project, it is good to keep in mind that platforms like Kickstarter are unreliable when it comes to following up with customers about what was promised and delivering rewards promptly once funding has been raised. Both customers and backers were frustrated by the difficulty getting in touch with personnel at Kickstarter resulting in poor customer support for both parties involved.

That being said, one of the risks in crowdfunding is that you might back a project which doesn’t reach its goal. If this happens, however, Kickstarter generally does a pretty good job of filtering out sketchier projects and reducing the risk to backers. The website also has an efficient media outreach system, so it’s more likely your project will be seen by potential investors or supporters for instant funding before their time runs out.

Kickstarter is not the only crowdfunding website out there. To find the platform perfect for you, you must explore several other websites like GoFundMe or Indiegogo. Here’s a list of 11 Kickstarter alternatives you can choose from. 

Conclusion

Even with all of the criticisms that Kickstarter has received, it remains an excellent venue for people to attain funds for their creative projects, whether it be art, films, or games. It’s certainly better than trying to get a loan from a bank. True enough, this is one avenue worth pursuing if you think your project will appeal to hobbyists and other creative types looking to involve themselves in the next big thing!

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Posted by Elena Hudgens
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Elena Hudgens is an entrepreneur with 10+ years of experience. She started her journey by building her own e-commerce website on Shopify and turned her $1000 savings to millions in just 2 years. Soon she started different ventures in which she failed and succeeded. And now, she's on a mission to help other entrepreneurs with her life and business lessons.
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