What It's About
Two friends go on an epic quest to create one journal to rule them all.
Words of Wisdom
Thinking about Kickstarting your next idea/product. Nick has some wise words to share, "Learn EVERYTHING you can about Kickstarter/crowdfunding before you launch. There is a ton of free resources online and good advice from the community. Build that email list, and make it happen."
In mythology, the hero's journey, is the common template of a broad category of tales and lore that involves a hero who goes on an adventure, and in a decisive crisis wins a victory, and then comes home changed or transformed.
Notes from Chris
A lot of people use goal-setting journals to help them stay on task, and Nick Vitellaro is no different. But he’d always been disappointed that the typical journal was boring and uninspiring. They all looked the same, and always included the same motivational quotes. As a self-described closet nerd, Nick thought that he could spice things up. He was a huge fan of Lord of the Rings, and imagined that he could design a productivity tool that paid homage to the story. Roping in Kyle, his best friend from college, they decided to produce a “nerdy” version of goal-setting journals. What had once been considered to be the domain of nerds was now popular culture—just look at Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Game of Thrones. The two had always loved great stories, and realized that this could be the opportunity to create a goal-guided template for someone to live their own great story. This was a concept developed by American Literature Professor Joseph Campbell, who termed this “the Hero’s Journey.” Having been used by screenwriters from superhero movies to childhood classics such as the Lion King, this was a model that definitely connected with people—the only question was whether it could be applied to journals as well. Thus the idea of the Hero’s Journal was born. Coming up with designs, Nick and Kyle had great fun in bringing their imaginations to life. Nick even consulted his high school English teacher on the idea—the same person who had taught him about the Hero’s Journey. Then, they commissioned the help of a designer they found on Upwork to make sure the artwork lived up to their high standards. But that was only the first step. With no business experience or any real projection of how this idea would perform, Nick and Kyle decided that they would launch the product on Kickstarter to see if there would be any interest. With the help of an ally—a mutual friend who had experience with digital advertising—their strategy was to build a list of email addresses that they could get to support their launch. The designer for the artwork, the videographer for the Kickstarter video, advertising and manufacturing costs added up to over $6,500, which was something that the two friends were prepared to spend even if the idea didn’t take off. Obstacles included their first round of journals arriving three months late, and they even had a temporary scare that the shipping company had lost their package. But with their product priced at $40, the two friends have since pulled in $20,000 from this project, and now they’re ready for round two, having reordered 2,000 journals. In many ways, you could say that Nick and Kyle have embarked on their own Hero’s Journey building their side hustle. They answered the call to adventure, crossed the threshold, overcame trials and tribulations, entered the dragon’s lair, captured the treasure, and returned home to a changed world … ready for the next quest.
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
- Hero’s Journal: Order your very own Hero's Journal to document your own adventure.
- Kickstarter: Learn more about the crowdfunding platform that Nick and Kyle used to create the Hero's Journal campaign.
- Underwear Side Hustle Turns Into $500,000/Month Business: Two women launch an underwear brand in their spare time. It grows from an early Kickstarter campaign to a multi-million dollar company with more than a dozen employees.
- Indoor Garden System Raises $226,542 on Kickstarter: After spending six months designing an un-be-leaf-able indoor gardening unit, an energy scientist turns to crowdfunding to bring it to life.
- Childhood Game Master Earns $1 Million from Nerdy Kickstarter Campaigns: This Ohio man loves board games so much that he made his own—and when he tries to raise $6,000 through a Kickstarter campaign, he ends up with much more than he ever imagined.
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