Before you do anything else for your Kickstarter or Indiegogo launch, you must set a goal. Why? Because the only way to know if you’re getting where you want to be is to actually tell yourself where that destination is.
Let’s think about it in a more tangible way. There’s no way you can adequately prepare to travel somewhere if you don’t know where that somewhere is.
You won’t know what type of weather you’ll face so won’t be able to pack the right things (is it cold? Hot? Warm? Raining? Snowing?).
You won’t know what currency you’ll need to exchange to, or if your phone plan works.
You won’t know if you will bring the right adapter for your electronics.
You won’t know which language to pick up the basics for.
In short – you need to know where you’re going in order to best plan how to get there.
The same goes for crowdfunding. Without knowing your goal, you won’t be prepared to go where you want to be. Define your goal so that you know how to measure “success”. Always refer back to your goal to determine if you’re on the right path to get there.
What should be my crowdfunding goal?
Every single project is different. Your goal won’t even be the same as another similar project you’ve been eyeing and taking pointers from.
There are two goals I encourage all campaigners to set – an external goal and an internal goal.
External crowdfunding goal
The external goal is the one that you will list on your Kickstarter or Indiegogo page. It is the public-facing goal that you will rally your audience around. This is the goal that, by hitting it, activates certain algorithms on the crowdfunding platform that propel you to more organic views for your campaign.
Behind the number, the external goal is the funding amount you need in order to make this entire project a reality. It’s the absolute minimum you must achieve. This is where you have to really do the work to determine your project costs.
What you need, that absolute minimum, is completely different for each category and each project within the category. If you don’t know where to get started at all, start reaching out to other successful projects in your niche (yay market research!). Other entrepreneurs will be more than happy to help point you in the right direction. By asking other campaigners, you’ll start to get a ballpark for your project and use that as a framework to hone down your own number.
Once you have the number, your mission during the pre-launch phase will be to work your butt off to get a large enough audience to meet that goal.
Internal crowdfunding goal
Here is where things get even more exciting. The internal goal is where your wildest dreams run wild. Once you’ve achieved that absolute minimum, everything else that you do for your project is the extra cherry on top.
Your hard work during the pre-launch phase might have you reach your external goal of $15,000 to print a batch of graphic novels within the first week. Once you reach that absolute minimum, tell your backers about your next goal and what you’ll do with the extra money raised. By getting your backers involved, the next few weeks you can set your sights on larger internal goals of $20,000, $25,000 or even beyond. That way, you’ll be able to create a project which will raise its absolute minimum to get it off the ground as well as continue raising funds for more successes.
That’s where the difference comes in – the external goal is the one goal you absolutely need to hit in order to make the project come alive, while the internal goal is a warm welcome from extra backers and extra funding for your idea.
What crowdfunding goal should I set for myself?
That’s a great question I often get. When someone asks me this, I often fire questions right back at them.
Below are some things I typically ask:
- Is there a minimum amount of money for you to make this idea work?
- Are you trying to hit a certain number of backers to meet manufacturing minimums?
- Do you need the funds, or are you just trying to get preliminary feedback before you go to mass production?
- Are you trying to determine if your product has staying power?
- Are you trying to build a business off of your one product or launching a project as a creative side endeavor?
- Do you need to show your potential investors a certain number of backers for your project? A certain amount of funding?
- Are you trying to gather enough people to strength-test your entire production and distribution system post-campaign?
Everyone will have a different goal, so don’t beat yourself up if what you come up with drastically differs from something else you’ve seen within your same niche.
As Chris Guillebeau always says, “inspiration is good, but inspiration combined with action is much better”. So I ask this of you – do the work this week to set your goals!
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