Do you ever get so overwhelmed and just want to ask someone for help? If so, that’s actually a good sign. To run a successful business you should be getting lots of help from many different places. As they say – it takes a village. And, a village, indeed, is what it takes to run a business, launch a product, and make an idea come to life! Especially when it comes to crowdfunding.
Did you know that there are actually agencies designed specifically for aiding people in crowdfunding? In this episode, Nalin goes over the positive effects an agency can have on your crowdfunding campaign and three key tips to keep in mind when looking at moving forward to potentially hiring one.
[0:40]: The Myth of the Entrepreneur
What is the “myth of the entrepreneur” and how it negatively affects your campaign.
[1:08]: It’s OK To Ask For Help
Ever feel like asking for help? You’re not alone.
[4:01]: So, Why An Agency?
Exactly what an agency can do for you and your crowdfunding campaign.
[8:13]: 1- Know The Types Of Projects The Agency Works With
Why being involved with an agency that handles your type of niche/category is pivotal to your agency/crowdfunding success.
[11:05]: 2- What Will Communication Look Like In Your Working Relationship?
The weight that communication has on the partnership between crowdfunding and an agency and what to look for to ensure it’s the best it can be.
[14:27]: 3- What Happens When Goals Aren’t Met?
The importance of knowing how an agency responds to goals not being met and the questions to ask to predict it.
[18:04]: Recap of 3 Things To Look Into Before Picking An Agency
Recap of the three recommendations to pay attention to when looking for a potential agency to work with.
Resources From This Episode
agency, work, launch, project, crowdfunding, entrepreneur, communication, type, product, expertise, relationship, talk, podcast, kickstarter, indiegogo, campaign, dollar industry, revisiting, people, plan
This is the crush crowdfunding podcast, the number one place for people who want to launch on Kickstarter and Indiegogo. My name is Nalin and I invite you to join me for tips, hacks, and insights to get you launched and fully funded.
Welcome to another episode of the crush crowdfunding podcast. Thanks for tuning in today because today I really want to talk about the fact that we all need a little bit of help sometimes.
Now I am living in Seattle, Washington in the US but I’m actually originally from Thailand. One thing that has really bugged me is the myth of the entrepreneur. The myth of the sole entrepreneur, the founder, the one person who, against all odds, can fight every obstacle and bring their company and their business to success. They bring their product to life and make all this a reality. It bugs me because it doesn't talk a lot about this myth.
There's this myth in American and Western society that oftentimes doesn't talk about the fact that we all need a little bit of help sometimes. Like myself, I'm an entrepreneur, I've started my own business with crush crowdfunding and I'm spinning off a second business right now. I'm going to be completely honest and say that I don't do all this by myself. I don't do this alone.
I have people who help manage the day to day operations. I have people who help and work on the content. Besides the content, I have people who help edit my podcast, the one that you're listening to right now! I have people who help edit this and I thank them. I thank them so much for helping me get through all this because it takes an entire village to run a business to launch a product and make an idea come to life.
It takes an entire village.
That's why I shun the myth of the sole entrepreneur just kind of pushing this rock up a hill until they get to the top and they IPO and make millions or billions of dollars because it takes a village. I really want to talk about how it's okay to ask for help and how it's okay to need to get help from a lot of people from a lot of places.
That's kind of the premise of starting this particular episode of this podcast - that we all need a little help sometimes. And, it's okay!! There's no way that you can do everything by yourself. There's no way that you're an expert at everything. Just to use me as an example again- I don't know how to edit videos. I don't know how to edit podcasts. I don't know how to effectively create content for the right social media channels all at the same time. I don't have that expertise. What I do know is that there are people out there who have that expertise and there are people out there who know how to get these things done. So, I made sure to bring them on so that they're able to complement my expertise in crowdfunding and help me get the message out to people and help me help more people and help me help other people succeed.
All right. So, again, there's no shame in asking for help and there's no shame in asking for people to help you on your journey to launch on crowdfunding. The little secret is that everyone does it. No one goes at it alone. Everyone has help. Even the biggest entrepreneurs and most successful crowdfunding campaigns. The founders of those million-dollar crowdfunding campaigns and billion-dollar companies did not do everything themselves. They always had help. They always had a team or they always had people pitching in with their time or pitching in with their money or pitching in somehow just to help them succeed.
When it comes to your crowdfunding campaign, don't be afraid to ask for help. If you need help with graphic design, marketing, reaching out to press, creating a video, or anything- don't be afraid to ask for help. There is help out there and people who are experts in what you need. There are experts in the crowdfunding niche who can help you succeed. That's the premise of how I'm going to start this particular episode because I really wanted to talk to you about crowdfunding agencies.
I know crowdfunding agencies are not for everyone. You know, a lot of the time working with a crowdfunding agency requires a lot of upfront budget because what essentially happens is that you have this idea and you give them your baby and they take your idea and run with it. They run with the marketing, the photography, the videos, the gifts that they create, the tone, the copywriting, and they help you bring this idea to life.
Again, it's not for everyone but it's for some of you who are listening out there. A lot of people have reached out to me to ask about this so I decided to do a podcast about it because - one, there's no reason to go at it alone if you don't want to, and two, there's no reason to go it alone if you're struggling and having a hard time doing some things. There's no reason to go at it alone because there are people and experts out there to help you. The great thing about being in the crowdfunding business and doing what I do right now is that not only do I get to work with you, the amazing entrepreneurs with all these crazy ideas, but I also get to meet a lot of brilliant people who, like myself, help others launch and run successful crowdfunding campaigns.
As you can imagine since crowdfunding is not even a billion-dollar but a multi-billion dollar industry, there are a lot of agencies out there that you can work with when it comes to crowdfunding. When it comes to launching a Kickstarter or an Indiegogo campaign there are a lot of agencies to reach out to who could potentially help you launch if you want that type of help.
I've worked in an agency. I started off working in a crowdfunding agency. I've worked with different agencies around the world to build up their crowdfunding processes from the ground up. Processes such as - intake to project management to launch and outreach. I've helped agencies build that up. I've also been on the client-side and worked with an agency to launch crowdfunding projects and had them help a little bit in the launch process and see what that's like. Needless to say, I've had a lot of experience with agencies myself. I’ve also had a lot of experience even working with agencies now as a crowdfunding consultant. I'm not going to be the first one to admit this but, I can't do everything myself. I will help you launch to the best of my ability and sometimes that means onboarding a partner agency or an agency that you want to work with so that we can best work together and mesh all our expertise to make sure your project launches to the market in the best way possible. As well as make sure to get you the funding that you need to make your idea come to life.
So, with that said, I have a lot of experience with agencies and so I wanted to look at this from a potential customer perspective. If you are considering working with an agency, I believe there are three different things to look for as a potential customer and I want to really dig deep into that. Some of you out there listening have been toying with the idea of working with the agency and getting help with your project for your launch. I want to address that. So what's the first thing?
1- Know The Types of Projects The Agency Works With
Number one, you have to really understand what kind of projects the agency is working with, likes to work with, or prefers. The reason is that every single agency out there has different expertise. Yes, they all work with Indiegogo. Yes, they all work with Kickstarter. But there's very specific expertise that they bring to the table. Some agencies mostly work with campaigns that are hardware tech that launch on Indiegogo. That's what they specialize in. Some agencies work with campaigns that are on Kickstarter and only during the campaign phase. Some agencies work with products that have a sustainable twist. Some agencies work with only apparel projects. Some agencies work with only board game projects. So there are so many types of agencies out there. There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to an agency.
When you're looking at what kind of agency is out there, make sure to look at what kind of projects that they're working with, what categories they work in, and also what platform they work in. It's really important because one- they'll actually know the ins and outs of your particular product and of your particular niche. They'll have all the connections that you need and all the people that you need to know for your particular needs. There's no reason to work with an agency that works in hardware tech on Indiegogo if you're trying to launch an apparel project on Kickstarter. There's really no reason to do that because that's not where their expertise is. All right.
Another reason that's really important is that it determines how much time they'll be spending on you. It determines how much time they'll be spending on your project. Think of it this way - if the agency is partnered with you and another project that is within their niche/specialty and that has a large working budget, they'll probably be spending most of their resources on that other project rather than on you.
Because - one, they're more comfortable with that industry and in that particular niche and category and they're less comfortable with you. So, they're less versed in what to do and how to go about launching your projects. You want to make sure that you're working with an agency that will put effort into your project and it all starts off by matching the type of expertise that they bring to the table with the type of product that you want to launch. As well as the type of audience that you want to be gathering for your particular campaign. Again, there's a lot of agencies out there and you have to make sure that the one you want to work with and the one that you end up working with focuses on your particular type of niche and your particular type of product.
2- What Will Communication Look Like In Your Working Relationship
The second thing I really recommend you to really know before going into an agency relationship is what communication will be like throughout the working relationship. This one's really important too. A lot of people don't think about this. As a crowdfunding consultant myself, one of the key things I look at when I'm trying to decide if I want to work with a project, product, or an entrepreneur or not is literally if we'll gel and if we will honestly love talking to each other every single day of the week and love chatting with each other on Slack, WhatsApp, or whatever other chat platforms there are. I really look for that because if the communication flow is easy, is two-sided, able to have a conversation, able to disagree and agree, brainstorm, and work together in this way then the working relationship is going to be very smooth. The working relationship will be one of respect and one where we can trust each other on what we're doing and where we're going with the project or campaign.
At the end of the day, I want to make you succeed as an entrepreneur. So, that's what I look at when I'm trying to determine who to work with when it comes to crowdfunding. What communication will look like for you and your agency is really important when you're trying to decide. Especially if there are the last two proposals left on your table - what communication will be like is very important because some agencies treat creators and entrepreneurs like partners. You know, in this type of relationship things are researched, recommended to you, and then you take in the information and discuss it. On the other hand, other agencies take the route of “my way or the highway” approach. With these types of agencies, you give them your ideas and they just run with it because they know what's best. They test the market, figure out the audience, and do everything for you while you just sit back and relax. They create your tone and your emails as you sit back and relax.
You can probably figure out what communication is like between these two extremes, right? The companies and agencies that do the discussion versus the agencies that take the “my way or the highway” approach. There are agencies that are on each side and all along this particular spectrum. So as a creator, entrepreneur, and someone working to launch this idea that you have and have been working on for years and months, you must determine what you're comfortable with. Whatever the type of communication is at that beginning phase is what will happen throughout the duration of the campaign and the pre-launch.
Be sure to ask probing questions about this because if you love to discuss and brainstorm and then go back and forth for hours on an idea but the agency is looking for more of a - “Hey, give me/us your idea and be hands off and we'll figure this out for you.” If there's that disconnect then the working relationship won't be great. The working relationship will break down from both sides and things will turn sour really quickly. So, before you go in, just make sure to know what communication will be like throughout the working relationship.
3- What Happens When Goals Aren’t Met
The third thing and final thing that I really think that people should take into account when working with an agency or when deciding which agency to work with is what the agency does when projects they're working with do not meet the ideal goals that were initially set out. Let me say that again - you need to make sure that you know what happens when your goals aren't reached. What happens to you or your agency? What happens with the relationship and what happens in general? When you have a $100,000 goal and by day 18 you're still at $50,000 - what happens?
From my perspective, it's what agency’s do in times of crisis such as: if you're on launch day and everything breaks down- email marketing isn't sending out, ad accounts aren't working, the videos are not playing, the page is down, and Indiegogo or Kickstarter goes down. What agencies do in times of crisis really matters. When it comes to this, some agencies collect their retainer or the upfront fee and leave you high and dry. It's unfortunate but this does happen. If your project doesn't take off as planned some people or agencies just leave you and do as minimal work as possible just to keep the project going and keep the relationship going.
It's really in their best interest to do so since putting research sources into a dying project typically does not make the best business sense. Especially since a lot of agencies have structured their particular contract by taking a percentage of what you raise on crowdfunding. If they see that the project isn't taking off as planned, they're going to back away because, at the end of the day, they won't get as much revenue from that particular project. The agency won't be able to navigate resources and that won't be the best in their perspective.
However, the truly classy agencies will stand by you, their client, and do whatever needs to be done in order to turn the project around. Maybe it's revisiting the marketing channels after collecting the preliminary data. Maybe it's revisiting the type of creative to better work with the audience. Maybe it's revisiting the positioning of the project to become more relevant. Whatever it is, the agency that's one of the good ones will actually do that and work with you to make it work.
So before you go into an agency relationship and sign a contract, make sure to ask about the worst-case scenarios and ask for examples of worst-case scenarios that happened before in their working relationship. Ask for the worst-case scenarios that have happened before when it came to launching, marketing, audience creation, testing, and finding and helping with communications. Ask about the worst-case scenario and how they dealt with it. Ask how this all happened because this will help you determine if things don't go according to plan how those people would react. I think that when things go awry is when you see people's true colors. Getting to the bottom of this before you actually sign a contract will be especially helpful in case things do go sour or things end up not going according to plan.
So, again, these are the three things I would really recommend anyone to look for when they're looking for a potential agency to work with. One, what kind of projects do they currently work with? Is it in your particular niche? Is it in your particular category? Two, what communication will be like throughout the working relationship? Because everyone works differently and has a particular style. Everyone gels with different people in different ways when it comes to communication. So, make sure to ask that. Lastly, three, what happens when things don't go according to plan? What happens when things kind of hit the fan? What do they do? Going into an agency relationship knowing all three of these things will help you be way more comfortable because they're going to know the ins and outs of that particular category. You'll be in good hands because you will have a great time talking every week with your agency to hash out different ideas or get reports. And, you'll have a great time knowing that if things don't go according to plan, there are ways around it. There are ways to work together to turn things around.
So at the end of the day, if you need help figuring out which agency to work with or if you just need help - feel free to get in touch and we’ll figure it out for you. If you’re thinking - “Hey, I have this type of product - which one should I actually get in touch with? Who should I know? Who should I talk to?” If you need help in any way to figure out which agency to work with, we'll figure it out for you and figure out who the best fit is for you based on your working style for your product and your budget. You can be well on your merry way.
Thank you so much for listening to this episode of The Crush Crowdfunding Podcast. If you found that this episode was useful or helpful in any way I would really appreciate you leaving a review so that other people will be able to also find this podcast more easily. Thank you and I will see you next week.
Thanks for listening to The Crush Crowdfunding Podcast at www.crushcrowdfunding.com. Tune in at the same time next week for more ways to crush your launch.
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