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Starting a business to sell what you really love — your time, a special service, or a product — requires money. But thanks to the Internet, you can rely on a wide variety of people to help you get started. It’s called crowdfunding and it’s enabling people (friends, neighbors, family, and complete strangers) to help fund your dream.
A variety of crowdfunding resources are available — Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Crowdfunder, AngelList and more. (Keep watching Sage Advice for more information about these options.)
How do you know how to get started or what to do? Enter the Doubleclicks, a band made up of musical sisters in their twenties (Angela and Aubrey Webber) from Portland, Oregon. They create what they call “snarky, geeky and sweet” music, including songs about the Mars rover and Dungeons & Dragons. The band, a business in and of itself, was already trying to recoup costs: preselling albums, selling merchandise, and touring. But to record their third album, the Doubleclicks decided to go to their fan base.
What happened? The Doubleclicks raised more than 450 percent of their goal using Kickstarter. Here's advice from Angela Webber.
There are so many choices when it comes to crowdfunding. With a little research, the Doubleclicks found what worked for them, their funding goal, and how they wanted to engage with their fans.
Angela said, "It’s extremely important while fundraising to set the right amount."
Some things to consider:
In the Webbers’ case, they wanted to fund a specific project they could deliver on — an album. It just so happened that their fundraising enabled them to do so much more.
“It’s enabling us to really focus on our music,” Angela said.
In the Doubleclicks case, they already had a strong social media presence as well as a loyal fan base. So they took to Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and email primarily to let people know they had a Kickstarter campaign and why. They also told people when they were playing venues about the campaign. They communicated about it. Often.
Even if marketing isn’t your thing, by telling people about the campaign, you’re letting your fans and loyal customers take part in something they already believe in. You'd be amazed at how many people want to be part of campaign.
They followed up with communications using Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and more to let people know how much they’d raised, how much they had left, or had already exceeded. They also thanked them. Thanking them was important.
“Be friendly. Be nice. These are your backers ... and the whole reason you have your business to begin with. In our case, our customers are our fans,” noted Angela. She should know. Angela and Aubrey sent photos, images, and videos to thank their donors.
Although this could be considered more marketing, it deserves a separate mention. The Doubleclicks also offered donors special gifts that wouldn’t break their bank, but would still entice people to contribute.
It made donating fun and provided more song opportunities and schwag for the Doubleclicks.
Thanks to their success on Kickstarter, the sisters can concentrate on their music by writing and releasing their songs as well as touring. They have more time to do what they love.
“Thanks to our incredible fans, it’ll be an awesome year full of music now!” Angela said.
Maybe it’s time to use crowdfunding for your business idea, too. Read more Sage Advice to find out about tools you can use to start your business or help it thrive.
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The Doubleclicks are a pair of sisters — Angela Webber and Aubrey Webber — who sing about Dungeons & Dragons, dinosaurs, and Mr. Darcy. They play cello, ukulele, and sometimes cat keyboard. Their latest album, Lasers & Feelings, includes songs about Mars Curiosity, meeting people on the Twitter, and Geek Girl pride, and debuted in the top 10 on the Billboard comedy charts. Their single for that album, a geek girl anthem called “Nothing to Prove” has been viewed over 1 million times on YouTube. The Doubleclicks tour the country regularly, playing at game stores, comic shops, and conventions, and have shared bills with nerd and comedy superstars including Jonathan Coulton, Paul and Storm, and Wil Wheaton. In early 2014, the Doubleclicks raised over $80,000 in a Kickstarter campaign to fund a new album and a music video project.
See where the Doubleclicks are playing near you, read more about them, or listen to their music.
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