This is the first in a series of posts from a first-time crowdfunder – an insider’s perspective of the before, during and after of creating and running a crowdfunding campaign … from the surprises to the challenges to the milestones throughout the life of the campaign from beginning (April 5) to end (May 3). The Boys at Grillin’ and Chillin’ launched their first crowdfunding campaign today on Kickstarter for The Ultimate BBQ Grill Cleaning Brush – the Grillinator, the world’s first BBQ grill brush that doesn’t completely suck.
Find the Grillinator on Kickstarter: http://kck.st/1RMuzDT
How did we get here? Well, it’s been a long strange trip (to quote the Grateful Dead) and the story is still in progress.
We became the Boys at Grillin’ and Chillin’ almost 2 years ago and have built a robust BBQ Tools and Gadgets eCommerce business with all of the blood, sweat and tears we could muster up. We’ve had great success launching the 6 products currently in our offerings. We knew all along that we would find/design/create a full line of BBQ grill products because we love barbecue and want the best tools. So, we are well on our way.
One of the most important tools for us to get right was the cleaning brush. We tried many of the existing products out there and nothing quite measured up. So, we just custom-designed a brush that we LOVE and even got a couple of patents on it. We now have one final prototype that we like. But there are 3 of us and we can’t share the same brush, so we needed to get at least 2 more made at the very minimum. If you’ve ever taken on a project like this, you know the first inventory order is no cheap date and we just didn’t want to cash flow one more product.
We decided to jump in with both feet (as always) and tackle the wide world of crowdfunding this time around. So, what did we know about it? The short answer … NOT MUCH. We attended a couple of live events that included crowdfunding presentations and took copious notes. We then took everything we heard and learned and then did a whole bunch of nothing :) for awhile, until now.
Well, here’s what we have learned so far and think will work:
- Start early and work often. We have contacted bloggers, run lead-gathering social media campaigns and communicated regularly with our list. It may not seem like a lot to accomplish at first, but the closer the date gets, the more work seems to pop up.
- Research all of the time and save “make a small business look big” apps, programs, systems and services that fit your style and will make promoting so much easier (i.e. Boomerang for Gmail).
- Let people help you.We have talked with, chatted, texted, Skyped and sent notes back and forth via carrier pigeon with other crowdfunding experts and implemented little bits and pieces of everything along the way.
- Find your voice.You can be dry, boring and matter of fact, but where’s the fun in that? We embrace the Chillin’ and Grillin’ lifestyle and try to let that voice speak for us with everything we do.
- Promote, promote, promote … we have tried to leverage as many ways to get our story out as possible and stay in front of the people who are interested (yesterday, we even had a “tweeter” run with our message and we added 25% more subscribers to our lead list with that one tweet).
So, on launch day, we are going to cross our fingers and toes and ask for help from a higher power, set all of our plans in motion, stay engaged by responding to every piece of feedback we receive from everywhere and most importantly … HAVE FUN!!!!
Now go grill something!!
Drink in Hand, Toes in Sand,
–Brad and The Rest of the Boys at Grillin’ and Chillin’