What It's About
A growing side hustle that becomes a massive crowdfunding success.
Words of Wisdom
Why is a pre-launch so important for crowdfunding? Three reasons: building momentum, creating social proof, and capitalizing on a sense of ownership.
It used to be possible to see crazy, viral Kickstarter campaigns just happen. These days, most of the one that really take off are a work of art in terms of strategy. You have to put in a lot of effort on the front-end to achieve the best possible outcome.
Both of David’s grandmothers were entrepreneurs. One started a nursery, that grew into a school, and eventually into three schools with 100 kids in each of them. The other was in the fashion industry in downtown Boston. He loves that the entrepreneurial spirit is in his veins.
Notes from Chris
Episode 888Around Valentine’s Day of 2017, David Stevens was looking for the perfect gift for his girlfriend, Kersti. A few months before, she had mentioned how much she missed having a garden. Living in a California city with little room outside meant that it was really hard to grow plants. David started researching and came across something called an indoor (or hydroponic) growing system. As the name suggests, it allows people to grow plants inside. He thought it would be the perfect fix, but he soon realized that it too came up short. Most of the options he discovered could only hold a few small herbs, but Kersti wanted to be able to grow fruits and vegetables too. David kept searching and eventually found that some people were making bigger growing systems out of PVC pipes—but they weren’t very attractive and most people kept them in their basements. David wanted a product that could be part of the house to bring some greenery into their living room or bedroom. He never found the perfect indoor gardening system, but he did find something else: an idea. He knew that Kersti couldn’t be the only person who was searching for a product like this. More and more people were living in urban areas, all facing the same issues. Not only that, but many of these city dwellers were becoming more health conscious and concerned about where their food came from and whether or not it had been treated with pesticides. After seeing people online making their own large-scale indoor growing systems, he knew that there was a significant, untapped market for a better indoor gardening system. He had always wanted to start a business of his own, and this was an opportunity too good to pass up. David started pitching his idea for IGWorks to as many people who would listen, but potential investors turned him away because of his product’s steep price. To be sustainable, it would need to cost well over $500/unit. Then, one of his advisers from the Founder Institute introduced him to a group who specialized in helping people launch Kickstarter campaigns. They had already raised thousands of dollars for other hydroponic products. For David, a lack of money was the one thing that kept his business from really blooming. By creating a successful crowdfunding campaign, he might actually be able to get enough cash to really get it going. As they prepared for the campaign itself, David learned how important it was to build up an audience before launching it. He knew that 20-30% of the total funding typically comes from the very first day, so email reminders and press releases are vital to the success of the overall campaign. Not only that, but it was important that they created the right incentives for donors. In this case, David promised to sell his products for a reduced price. Rather than the normal $850 for a unit, backers would get it anywhere from 18-47% off, depending on how much they donated. This spring, David officially launched his Kickstarter with a goal of $20,000. On May 17th, the final day of the fundraiser, he had brought in $226,542 from 409 backers. Because David hired professional help and was strategic about how to launch his Kickstarter, he was able to make enough money to grow his idea into the blossoming business he had first imagined a year earlier.
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
- IGWorks: Learn more about this growing side hustle over on David's website!
- Kickstarter | iHarvest: Check out the Kickstarter campaign that started it all
- Financial Analyst Unearths Organic Plant Shop: After growing up with a green thumb, this full-time analyst digs her way to fun, part-time foliage profits
- A Side Hustle with Succulent Growth Potential: A Houston mom digs into a side gig with creative and community benefits
- Plant Lover’s Tiny Terrariums Take Root on Instagram: When one man’s love for terrarium building blooms, he uses his marketing skills to make $10,000 and become a “plant influencer.”
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