What's Up Wednesday

Pomegranate Kitchen



Refugees face major hurdles in just getting to New Zealand. Unfortunately, for many that’s not where the struggle ends – finding a job, a support network, and a place in the community can all be difficult for those new to our country. This is where Pomegranate Kitchen comes in.

Pomegranate Kitchen is a social enterprise dedicated to serving the people of Wellington wonderful food – and in doing so, helping to train, employ, and provide support for former refugees. Starting this month, they’ll be delivering lunches, providing catering, and popping up all over the place with incredible cuisine for Wellingtonians to take advantage of. They just need your help to make it happen.

We wanted to hear more about why places like Pomegranate Kitchen are such a wonderful way to welcome former refugees into the community – so we got in touch with General Manager Rebecca Stewart:

How are you finding the campaign so far?

We have been blown away by the generosity of our crowd. It’s such a buzz seeing all the pledges come in, as well as the encouraging messages. As some have been directed at our cooks I have been reading them out in the kitchen on their mid morning breaks. People have been sending messages of welcome to them, and it’s a nice feeling knowing that others think our idea is as good as we think it is!

What do you have planned for the rest of the campaign – anything for us to look forward to?

We are workshopping a lot more menu items at the moment so there may well be – watch this space!

Anything you want to shout out to your crowd?

First, if you have any questions about us or the way we run Pomegranate then do get in touch – my contact details are on the website, or you can reach us through Twitter or Facebook. I had someone contact me recently who wanted to know more about our financial structure and the involvement of the cooks before they Pledged, and we are absolutely happy to answer those questions or any others.

Also, if you’re not sure yet if you’d like to Pledge (and you live in Wellington) then come down at taste our wares at the Moore Wilson’s Tory St pop-up until the 23 October! We are there every day from 11am-3pm.

To find out more about the great people behind Pomegranate Kitchen, take a look at their campaign page right here.

What's Up Wednesday

Zen’s Kitchen

oct-5A few years ago, Zen and his fiancé Polly had a dream. They wanted to serve food from all around the world to the people of New Zealand, and they wanted it to be organic, nutritious, and environmentally sustainable. So they packed up all their things, moved to Murchison, and Zen’s Kitchen was born.

They’ve been delighting the Murchison markets with international fare for a while now – but now Zen wants to step things up, and provide alternative food options and catering to the people at the top of the South Island. He has already spent 12 weeks and a lot of his own money developing the caravan, but he needs your help to take it to the next level. Zen and Polly have a wealth of experience between them – originally hailing from the Czech Republic, Zen has worked at five star hotels in Edinburgh and spent several years working here in NZ at Commonsense Organics, and Polly has a background as a vegan baker. The two are determined to translate this wealth of food knowledge into wonderful offerings for the people of Polly’s hometown.

We loved the picture this campaign painted, so we got in touch with Zen to hear a little more about it.

How are you finding the campaign so far?

The campaign has been great so far.. Its only been running for about 5 days and we’ve raised over $2000 dollars.. There has been awesome supportive, inspirantional feedback from our friends and strangers. It’s amazing to see the power of sharing and reaching people who love our project and want to eat our food.. Because FOOD MATTERS BIG TIME!!!

What do you have planned for the rest of your campaign?

I am working on the caravan while the campaign is running to get as close to finishing it as possible.. I am currently building the kitchen cabinets, draws and benches. I will install the kitchen sink and once all that is done, the rest of the commercial floor vinyl will be laid. I will instal the kitchen stove and one of the fridges and do some of the finishing touches.
By that time the pledge me campaign should be finished and we shall do the rest of the work to finish it off.. In between I will be working on our web site plus keeping our followers updated with photos from the building progress. So keep an eye on this because you guys gonna like it!! I’m considering printing off some mean Organic cotton teeshirt with our logos on it as another reward option..

Anything you’d like to shout out to your crowd?

I wanna give massive thank’s to our pledgers and sharers for supporting us and believing in what we do!! It’s so good to know that there are people out there who are about “REAL FOOD” which is what we wanna provide.. I believe that I won’t disappoint you and I will make sure that you are going to be a happy customer..:o) Ciao for now and see you soon!!!!

To help Zen’s Kitchen become a reality, pledge to the campaign right here.

Hitting the road (again)

Earlier this year we went on a road trip to the South Island, meeting with companies and organisations from Invercargill to Westport (and lots of towns in between) to talk about equity crowdfunding and crowdlending.

It was an eye opening experience for us. We met so many founders and doers, who were extremely interested in how to do capital raising, and excited about the idea of going to their crowds.

Over 10 days, we met with over 200 people. We learnt a lot about the local initiatives, and shared some stories of inspiring things we’ve seen too.



Now, we want to do it again, but across the North Island. Here’s our plan (currently):


Do you want us to come to your town? Flick us a note and we’ll see if we can add a stop for you in.

Like last time, we need to raise $400 for each centre to cover our costs to get there.

We’re excited about the opportunity to meet you all.

xx Anna and team PledgeMe

What's Up Wednesday

Sophie Feels Big!


Ever found it hard to explain the concept of feelings and virtues to your kids? An apple or a ball you can point to, but the abstract concept of “disappointment” is a little trickier. That’s why last year, Adam came up with the idea for “Jack Feels Big”, a picture book to give kids the tools to talk about their feelings. And it’s why he’s back this year, with a new volume for a new character: Sophie.

Adam wanted to create stories for Sophie so that young female readers would find the books easier to identify with. The feelings Sophie will feel in each book are voted on and selected by pledgers to the campaign – so this is your chance to help determine how a book gets written!

More than that, Adam has been matching pledges with donations to Duffy Books in Schools and releasing illustrations as he goes. The stories Adam tells are sweet and sincere, and his illustrator Matt Haworth is a real talent. We wanted to find out more about why they’re back for more, so we got in touch with Adam to hear about the campaign:

How are you finding the campaign so far?

Actually really hard. I haven’t been tracking well against my expectations for funding milestones. We’ve passed 10%, so I ran a poll asking backers to choose one of the feelings to feature in Sophie Feels Big. They picked disappointed. I’m really happy with that, since I think it’s an important word for kids to have in their vocabulary. But it also sums up how I’m feeling.

I’m asking myself a lot of questions. Should I have waited to build more of a crowd? Should I have waited to prepare more content for during the campaign? Have I made things too complicated with the re-cast + new stories? Did I set too high a goal trying to get both of those books in one campaign? Is what I’m making even good?

In all this, I’m being persistent (another word taught in the books) and I keep on promoting. I took a drive down to New Plymouth and visited six primary schools and ECE centres. A journalist who wrote about the first book wrote an article for this campaign on Stuff.

One thing that I’ve done that was really worthwhile was send emails or facebook messages to people when I see them pledge. This is easiest with friends and family, but there’s also people whose names I recognise from my mailing lists. As well as being a genuine expression of my gratitude, it’s also a marketing thing, but I discovered an extra reason why it’s worthwhile. Someone I’ve never met, who won a copy in a promo, replied to my thank you email, saying “We’ve loved our copy of Jack Feels Big and yesterday I found it hidden in my son’s secret lair so he must have chosen to read it to himself!”. At a time when I’ve got a lot of self-doubt going on, that was a much needed ray of sunshine. I know that the value of the first book was worth the work and worry of the first campaign. I can stick it out and make these books happen too.

What do you have planned for the rest of the campaign? Anything for us to look forward to?

Even though I’m not where I wanted to be, I know that the first time I crowdfunded I spent a lot of the campaign despairing and not knowing where I’d find more backers too. So now, like then, I’ll just keep trying whatever I can. I had a teacher ask about a recording of the stories from the first book being read, for use with her special-needs kids. That’s something I can probably do this weekend in one form or another. I’ll take any opportunity I can to share the campaign, and with some help from Kiwis who think that teaching kids the names for their feelings is important, I think we can get there.


Anything you’d like to shout out to your crowd?

Part of me dreams of someone helping me make a connection to a morning TV program or a parenting blog. But I think the reality with crowdfunding is that those sorts of broadcast aren’t what gets you there. It’s the individual, personal, word of mouth referrals and pledges. If you know someone who has kids with feelings, please tell them about this book :)

To help Sophie Feel Big, head on over to the campaign here and get pledging!

What's Up Wednesday

The Wanaka Bag


By 2050, there will be more plastic in our oceans than fish. Every year, we are each (on average) responsible for 350 plastic bags, which are each used for a total of about 12 minutes before being thrown away to end up in a landfill. The group at Plastic Bag Free Wanaka were sick of seeing plastic pollution clogging up their town – so they decided to do something about it.

And so, they created The Wanaka Bag, a limited edition, eco-friendly and super-trendy handmade bag. Each one is unique, and hand-crafted by dedicated locals, who want to see Wanaka free of single-use plastic bags by 2019. With the funds raised from this first run of limited-edition bags, they can fund 1000 more Wanaka Bags to be produced commercially, and sold to stop the people of Wanaka creating more plastic pollution.

They’ve already shot past their $5,500 dollar target, but you’ve still got 19 days to get on board and support a future free of plastic pollution.

We loved not only the innovation of this team, but also their enthusiasm – and so we got in touch with Anna from the team to hear more about it:

How are you finding the campaign so far?

We knew our town would be supportive but we’re totally blown away by the support so far. We’ve even had folks from far and wide who share our love of Lake Wanaka and who have pledged. It’s very cool to think of them sporting one of our bags/bottles/karma cups on the other side of the world.

What do you have planned for the rest of your campaign? Anything for us to look forward to?

Creating 200 really high-quality bags has been a huge project in itself and keeping the town spirits up, the incentives high and the ball rolling has been a project in itself. Admittedly however, we didn’t expect the bags to get snaffled up quite so quickly so we’re currently conspiring amongst our committee to see what else we can offer to our amazing community so those that missed out on a bag don’t feel left out. We want everyone who wants to support to have a way to wave the banner.

Anything you’d like to shout out to your crowd?

As cheeseballs as it sounds, we just want to do a shout out to our town and community. We’re in a really unique environment and position, with a town so full of community-minded, pro-active and positive people. We get that not every town is like this, and we’re incredibly grateful for the wonderful locals who have jumped right in behind us to sew, support, sneak in and clean our sewing spaces, offer fabrics and food to share. You name it! No one has missed a beat! It’s one of those happy-glow moments where you can only revel in the warmth of the moment. Thank you Wanaka! The joy of bringing this opportunity is hugely amplified by having so much encouragement and support!

To provide even more encouragement and support, head over to Plastic Bag Free Wanaka’s campaign and get pledging while you still can!

I used to think sales was slimy

I used to think sales was a yucky thing that men in suits with slicked back hair did. Really, every time sales came up I’d fight the urge to gag, but would then go on to do exactly that. Sales. Getting people using our platform, educating our users and the public, and gently bringing our view of the world and their view of the world together.

Sales can be genuine, sales can help people, and sales doesn’t need to make anyone feel used (or abused). And, you don’t need to call salespeople ninjas.


(We promise you don't have to look like this. Photo cred: Ryan McGuire)


The thing that really got me thinking differently about sales, was this article about Adam Grant’s study on salespeople. In the study, Adam Grant shows that extroverts don’t come out ahead in sales, ambiverts do. You have to be equal parts talker and listener, to really solve the problems of your customers. Adam also wrote two of my favourite books of all times (Give and Take, and the Originals) so I listen when he blogs. Which made me realise what I thought I knew about sales was probably wrong. 


In the last few months, we’ve realised that while we were doing sales pretty well on our own, we needed someone to come into the team to own (and drive) the whole sales process. So we’ve been tweaking our thinking on how this could work, and what you’ll find below is our plan. The role will be part salary / part commission based. How much you make is really up to you, but here’s the main points:

  • $40,000 base salary
  • $100 for every CrowdfundingU paid for
  • $900 for every launched equity or lending campaign
  • 0.5% of the total amount raised by a campaign
  • 20% sales bonus (of your base salary) if you make your sales target in the first year.


Are you interested in working with us? Read the job description below, and then send me an email by 5pm Friday 30 September with:

  • your take on how crowdfunding will change the world,
  • why you’d like to work with us and
  • a bit more about your approach (and success) in sales.


We’ll be setting up interviews for the first week of October, and hope to have someone on board from early November (if not sooner!).


PledgeMe Sales Manager

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Role: Sales Manager (though: you can set your own title)

Location: Auckland

Rate: $40,000 base salary + commission

PledgeMe is a New Zealand focussed crowdfunding platform, that launched in 2012 and offers project, equity and lending based crowdfunding.

What we do

Crowdfunding is as simple as it sounds, you go out for funding. You set a specific goal, a deadline, and offer your crowd something in return for their pledges. We have three types of crowdfunding: project, equity and lending. Project campaigns offer rewards, equity campaigns offer shares in a company, and lending campaigns offer loan notes from companies or organisations. Campaigns need to meet their goal by their deadline to be processed, this pushes the campaigner to share and their crowd to pledge (or it doesn’t happen).


To help Kiwis fund the things they care about.

What it means to be our Sales Manager

PledgeMe has a great market reputation and attracts a regular stream of Equity (and increasingly, Lend) leads, but dedicated resource is needed to convert those leads into committed campaigns. Our Sales Manager is responsible for nurturing Equity and Lend leads so we have more campaigns launch and succeed, ultimately growing PledgeMe and helping more kiwis fund the things they care about. 

Part of the nurture process is signing leads up to participate in CrowdfundingU. CrowdfundingU is an important revenue stream and organisations that participate in CrowdfundingU are more likely to run successful campaigns.

From CrowdfundingU we need leads to make a contractual commitment to campaign with PledgeMe. But we also want to maintain our 50% campaign success rate. We’re looking for quantity and quality.

To achieve PledgeMe’s objectives, our Sales Manager will:

  • Generate leads alongside our Chief Bubble Blower, Rad Debtor, Board and PledgeMe Friends.
  • Work with our Chief Bubble Blower to prioritise leads based on likelihood to commit and run a successful campaign
  • Create design collateral with our in house designer
  • Nurture leads through the sales process, including selling in CrowdfundingU as a critical step to becoming campaign ready
  • Engage the Chief Bubble Blower and Rad Debtor when needed to provide expert guidance to businesses through the sales process
  • Identify barriers to organisations committing to campaign and work with the lead and Chief Bubble Blower to find innovative solutions to help close the deal
  • Secure commitment from leads to campaign with PledgeMe
  • Ensure businesses that commit to campaigning with PledgeMe complete all of the necessary contractual documentation
  • Identify improvements in the sales process to enable more businesses to commit to campaigning with PledgeMe.


What you’ll need in your hipster tote bag

To be successful as PledgeMe Sales Manager you will need:

  • Enthusiasm for crowdfunding and be able to communicate what crowdfunding has to offer effectively to leads
  • Superb people skills – ability to nurture leads through the sales process (rather than hard sell them!) but still drive outcomes
  • Broad understanding of and interest in businesses of all shapes and sizes, including business financing
  • Ability to close a deal.
  • To back yourself! Your remuneration is tiered based on a successful sale and campaign so you’ve got to be confident you can do the job!

How we’ll pay you

Our Sales Manager will receive a base salary of $40,000 plus sales commission structured as follows:

CrowdfundingU Launch campaign Successful campaigns
PledgeMe Equity $100 $900 0.5% of total raise
PledgeMe Lend $100 $900 0.5% of total raise


And if your sales targets of $6 million for the year are met, you’ll get a 20% (of base salary) bonus too.


One more thing…

We hold our values pretty close to heart in the office, and they are:

  1. Support transparency and trust
  2. He tangata, he tangata, he tangata
  3. Be seriously fun(ding) humans
  4. Do good and do well
  5. Be constantly evolving

We want someone to come into the team who resonates with those values, but brings their own perspectives and skill sets. We don’t all need to think or act the same way, but we all need to be care and pushing towards the common mission of helping Kiwis fund the things they care about.

What's Up Wednesday

The Misprint Co.

Sept 7

Back in design school, Kareena and Jenny were just two students creating good-looking notebooks for a university project. But then they began to notice how much paper their creations were using up. After some research, they discovered that it takes 10 litres of water to create just on A4 piece of paper – and they wanted to do something about that.

So they founded The Misprint Co, a Wellington company that offers paper repurposing services to local schools and businesses. These organisations provide the paper, and the Misprint moguls turn it into beautiful custom-made notebooks, which they then sell back to the organisations. To date, they have repurposed 61,169 sheets of paper – which amounts to 611,690 litres of water saved.

The Misprint Co. is growing already. They’ve been through both Lightning Lab Manufacturing and the Low Carbon Challenge, and now they want to take their business to the next level. They’re expanding their office, their reach, and their team (they need more than 2 people to get it all done!) And so, they’re turning to you to make it happen.

Kareena and Jenny are looking to raise $20k with their campaign, $15k of which will be matched dollar-for-dollar by the Wellington City Council, thanks to their success in the Low Carbon Challenge. They’re already over half of the way there, but they need their crowd to get behind them – so we had a chat to Jenny about why you should be getting involved in this campaign.

How are you finding the campaign so far?

The campaign is going really well so far! We’ve been overwhelmed by the amount of support and generosity we have received from our crowd. We are super stoked to have made it over half way in just under two weeks. What really helped us was our launch party, which really kicked things off.

We’ve found we have had a lot of engagement through our social media. All our big supports such as Wellington City Council, Flick Electric, Creative HQ and The Low Carbon Challenge (the list goes on) and even Justin Lester who’s running for mayor have tweeted about us and shared our campaign! With 11 days left in the campaign there is still time for us to reach our target. But at the same time it’s quite nerve racking.

What do you have planned for the rest of your campaign – anything for us to look forward to?

We have a few things up our sleeves. We will be launching a new reward in our last week, I won’t say what it is but it will definitely be interactive. We are also planning some new marketing, potentially in a guerrilla form. Keep your eyes peeled for fun things happening.

Anything you want to shout out to your crowd?

We would love to say a massive THANK YOU! Everyone has been super supportive and are really backing us for our crowdfund to be successful. A big shout out to our current clients too who are ordering their next round of notebooks through our campaign. We are forever grateful to those who have pledged and shared our campaign so far. Our crowd is amazing!

To find out more about The Misprint Co. and help these paper people reach their goal, check out their rad campaign right here.

How to PledgeMe.

$2 mil in 2 days

ParrotDog made history two weeks ago, as the quickest equity campaign in New Zealand to hit the $2 million mark.

How did they get there? It wasn’t luck. It was 5 years of growing their business and brand, five months spent creating their campaign, 5 weeks communicating it, and a clear vision of where they wanted to go (and what they needed to get there).

Here’s five things that we saw that they did really well, that could inspire some of you aspiring crowdfunders out there:

1) Have a plan


We talk about having a campaign plan, and even have a Google Doc that we share out, but the Parrot Dog crew went next level with their planning. They had a wall chart with daily tasks.

Matt Stevens was the mastermind behind their plan, which had a page for every day in the lead up. It included everything from when they needed to have their directors indemnity insurance in place through to when they’d post on social media (Mondays and Thursdays).

Everyone was part of delivering the plan, and everyone could see it as it took up a whole wall in their office.

Remember: it always takes longer than you think to pull together a visually pleasing business plan, and a kick ass pitch video.


2) Get in touch with your crowd

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You can’t raise your money, if your crowd doesn’t know what’s happening.

The ParrotDog crew created a newsletter in the lead up to their campaign, with their first major announcement being that they were crowdfunding. After that, they had specific key messages they wanted to talk about each week, from announcing what the funding was for to the location of their brewery through to a copy of their IM.

Here are the newsletters they posted out to the world

They talked to everyone from their suppliers to their mums, and started asking folk to sign up to their newsletter weeks in advance of their launch.


3) Be yourselves

This was a big one for the ParrotDog crew. They didn’t want to become flashy or corporate. They wanted to bring their own strengths, but not try to become something they weren’t. So, they refused to do a traditional press release to announce their campaign – they made a quirky video instead.

ParrotDog Beer. nice. | Press Conference from ParrotDog on Vimeo.

Everything they did was on brand, and really showcased who they are as people and as a company.

4) Have a clear goal

PD event 8

The ParrotDog crew were super clear on what they needed money to do – build a bigger brewery. With a brew bar included, it really inspired their fans (especially those based in Lyall Bay) to get in and support. Having a really tangible plan, and vision that your crowd can embrace (or drink) is a big part of having a successful campaign.

5) Meet people #IRL

PD event 11

We sort of pushed the Matts into this, hosting the ParrotDog crew in our space for a meet and greet with potential investors a few days before they launched. It was a great opportunity for their crowd not only to ask questions in a group setting, but meet each of the team and ask them questions individually as well. With just a few days notice, the ParrotDog crew had over 90 people attend either in person or online. Many of the people there that night were the first pledgers to get in to the campaign.


Well done again to the ParrotDog crew, for funding their vision and inspiring a new wave of Kiwi crowdfunders.



We get by with a little help from our PledgeMe.Friends

We first wrote about the idea of PledgeMe.Friends in our blog two weeks ago. Here’s a bit more about how we see our new friends-powered referral system working.

2014_07_08 PledgeMe equity launchOne thing we’re blessed with here in the PledgeMe office is a great circle of friends – be it our alumni, our shareholders, our personal networks, or our professional contacts. We’ve been around for a few years now, and have gotten to know people up and down Aotearoa New Zealand. We’ve talked at 100’s of events, met 1,000’s of people, presented to over 10,000 attendees and helped over 1,000 campaigns fund through our platform.

And, now we need your help. We need help finding and nurturing crowdfunding campaigners that might not come to us direct. Companies, organisations and teams that you think would be a natural fit for going out to their crowds, but they might not see it.

They might be so deep in the delivery of the work that is in front of them, that they haven’t had time to think about raising money to expand, or time to learn more about crowdfunding.

Great campaigns are already coming through our doors – but we know there are so many more awesome campaigns out there that just don’t know what they don’t know.

Project successes in last week

Things like ParrotDog are happening, things like Eat My Lunch are happening, things like The SpinOff are happening. These are all campaigns, across our three types of crowdfunding, that have done what our platform does best: activate their own networks to make their plans happen. And, their plans are so much more than just about making some investor they’ve never met a 30 times return. They’re about strengthening communities, building brands, and making a change in the world (even if it’s a beer based change).

But, these campaigns can be hard to find, hard to nurture, and hard to support. So that’s where you come in.

We’ve launched PledgeMe.Friends. We think there’s really nothing more powerful than our own crowd. You’ve shown us time and again that you back us: when we ate our own dog food (twice), when we made a magazine, when we wanted a new board member, and when you all decided I seriously needed a holiday.

What we really need most right now is more companies and organisations we can help through project, equity and lending campaigns. That’s where you come in:

If you are the first person to shoulder tap a company to run a campaign, and they end up running a successful campaign, we’ll give you a $500 success fee (either direct to you or pledged towards the campaign for you). The campaign needs to meet its goal by its deadline, and it needs to raise more than $50,000.

How is this going to work?

  • Fill out this form here (or email us on contact@pledgeme.co.nz)
  • If you’re the first person to recommend that company, we’ll get in touch and ask for an intro (if you can do it)
  • The more details about how we can help the better
  • You could even help them get to their goal – support, share their campaign, be their cheerleader (with benefits).

Yep – you can be from the company. If you aren’t the first person on board to recommend someone we’ll let you know, and send a high-five your way.

What does a potentially successful campaign look like?

  1. Something that has been around for a little while (eg. people have seen the work the creators are doing)
  2. A great crowd around the company or organisation – be it customers or friends
  3. Great communication – they should pride themselves on being awesome at communicating with their crowd
  4. A plan (or ability to create a great plan) – something that a crowd can get on board to make happen

Here’s to the next great campaigns that come through our doors. Hopefully with your help, friends!

Confessions of a Crowdfunding Enthusiast

Our latest guest post comes from crowdfunding enthusiast, Adam Millen. Engineer by day, children’s author by night, he went from backing campaigns to running one of his own. He’s hooked and planning another campaign. You can find out more about it at jackfeelsbig.nz/sophie. He tweets about crowdfunding @crazyideasnz and blogs at crazyideas.nz.

What would you do if your friends and family offered you a couple thousand dollars? They say they want to support that thing that you’re really passionate about, and the money is for you to produce something cool to share. What would you do with it?

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At the start of last year I had the idea of creating a book to teach kids the names for their feelings. And I crowdfunded it. I’ll tell that story, but first – why? Why do I care about crowdfunding ideas? Why should you care?

I care because I’m excited about the way that crowdfunding forms a bridge between people’s ideas and reality. A bridge for ideas that otherwise would never have come to be.

You should care because you could be one of those people! And it’s really rewarding to do! Both the creating and the backing.

So let me tell you my story. It actually starts even before I had the idea. I had backed crowdfunding campaigns and I already knew that I wanted to create something, but I didn’t know what.

Then, at the start of last year I stumbled across inspiration. I read an article laying out how important it is to teach young children to name their feelings and I saw a gap – it would be easier to teach these words if there were books with stories that specifically used these words. It seemed like something that I could put together. I couldn’t draw well enough for a kids book, and I don’t have the equipment for printing and binding. But I could find people to do those. I could use my engineering brain to analyse a complex concept and break it down to simpler parts. And I could come up with a suitable scenario to illustrate each feeling. I got pretty excited about this useful thing that I could create!

Coming back  to my first question – what would you create? Have you had ideas like this? Have you seen something missing from the world? Maybe you thought “someone should definitely make that”. Maybe you could be the one to do it!

I shut myself in my room over the Easter long weekend last year and wrote up a dozen stories and laid the groundwork for some more. I came up with a defined project. I would get illustrations done for 15 stories and publish them in three volumes.

Next I did some research on how much that would cost and got quotes from printers and illustrators.

If I set my crowdfunding goal at $20,000 that would mean I would need to pre-sell eight hundred copies of the book at $25 each. That balanced the fixed cost of fifteen stories worth of illustrations with the variable costs of printing, postage and crowdfunding fees.

I hadn’t done books before. I didn’t have an existing customer base or relevant community to go to. I had friends and family, but the $20,000 goal was not realistic. No worries. I just had to re-package.

I redefined and resized the project – to get illustrations done for just five stories, and with those in hand, publish “Volume 1”. For me, crowdfunding would be a stepping stone. Maybe the thing you’re passionate about is too big for a couple thousand dollars. Can you make part of it become a reality on this budget? It could be the first step to something awesome.

For my campaign, the main reward would be a copy of the book for pledging $25. For $5 and up, backers would be kept updated and would get to choose which five feelings went into the book. For $50 they would get a signed copy. There were options all the way up to a thousand dollars. The $25 reward point tends to be the most popular, but it’s important to cover the whole range to leave all of your crowd satisfied.

So what about your passion? If you packaged up a project with a budget of a couple thousand dollars, what would you share? Something tangible – like a print of a painting of yours? Or an experience like tickets to your big show? A virtual reward maybe – like an mp3 of your song? Public appreciation – like a place in the credits at the end of your documentary? Or involvement – like being part of the crew, getting inside access or VIP (Very Important Pledger!) treatment? If all else fails, how about some merchandise – like a tshirt with the name of the community group? There’s so many options if you think freely about it.

Ok. So I had my plan laid out. Next, I spent a weekend putting together a video. I had the technical know-how, and I had my idea pretty well condensed, both of which helped. My delivery wasn’t the greatest though, and it took hours of recording to get just a few minutes of not messing up my lines. And then a whole lot of editing!

If you’ve got an idea that you want to crowdfund, you’ll need to make a video. And you need to be in it. Why is this so important? People need to see your passion for this thing. If you don’t believe in it, why would anyone else? But I’m sure you can get excited about your big idea! You also need to keep it short and to the point, and it helps if your camera is stable and your shot is well lit.

The next thing I needed was a crowd. I made sure that I started talking to people even before I launched, trying to make sure I had a list of core backers that I could depend on to pledge immediately. My closest friends, immediate family and other friends who also happened to be in my target audience. When the campaign opened, it was people from this list that gave it a running start.

The sooner you start building you crowd, the better. Even before you have all the rest planned out, it helps if you make a habit of talking about what you’re passionate about. Post on social media, join relevant community groups. It all helps.

After that I reached out wider, direct messaging every single Facebook friend I had. The second push was enough that the first few days got me to about 30% of my goal. This is a typical start for a campaign that’s going to make it. It’s is a very exciting time. And then things leveled off. In general, a typical successful campaign will spend the next ten or twenty days steadily plodding toward the 60% mark. This part tested my perseverance. Someone who really liked the idea pledged $500! Then several days passed with nobody at all pledging. Then  I got an article on Stuff! But it didn’t bring in any new backers. There were definitely times when I wondered if I would even make it!

I made sure to send updates out during the campaign. I engaged with my backers and encouraged them to help spread the word. It was hard work keeping at it, even when the early optimism flagged.

Most campaigns that reach 60% by the 5-days-to-go milestone will get to the mark. As the countdown approaches, if you’ve got enough funding that it’s looking credible, the fence-sitters jump on board. The despair of the middle of the campaign is suddenly replaced with joy! All your hard work has paid off!

I reached my goal, and actually managed a little bit more. In the end about three-quarters of my backers were friends and family.

Even after the crowdfunding campaign was a success, I still had a lot of hard work to do! Producing and shipping a quality children’s book took plenty of time and effort. I spent most of my Easter long weekend this year personally delivering books to backers (a great experience in itself). Now I’m all done and I’m selling the book on my website. A book that might never have existed.

I’ve made my crazy idea a reality. How about yours? If you don’t have a project of your own, get on board with someone else’s. Help them make the video, share their page. Or back it!

Crowdfunding is going to be the bridge to reality for a whole stack of ideas that otherwise never would have gotten there. And that’s exciting.


Keep your eyes peeled for Adam’s upcoming campaign, Sophie Feels Big.