Do I Really Need to Use an Existing Crowdfunding Service?

We live in a DIY-era. With the Internet at our fingertips, we look up how-to articles on everything from home improvement to fixing a car. When we’re sick, we even try to diagnose ourselves before heading to the doctor. It might seem like approaching a crowdfunding project would be no different when it comes to the “I’ll try it on my own” mentality—but using an existing service can actually be enormously beneficial. And don’t worry, there is still plenty of work left for you to do yourself! Keep these important steps in mind when approaching your next crowdfunding project.


Confirm Demand

This step is all you. Before launching your crowdfunding campaign, tap your network to confirm that potential customers are willing to support you. Show a working prototype of your vision to potential supporters if possible.  Some of the most successful crowdfunding campaigns, such as the pebble watch that raised over $10 million in funding on Kickstarter, had pre-launch working prototypes. Crowdfunding is about helping you produce your product at scale after you already have demand—demand that you should establish long before your launch date.


Be Discoverable

Existing services boost your discoverability factor. Notice I didn’t say “generate traffic” or “build interest”—those are things you should have done long before your launch. However, these platforms can help others discover you, which may be the additional bump you need to hit your funding goal. In addition, these platforms have credibility and a record of success, which will work in your favor. Just as many people prefer to buy a product from eBay than from a one-off seller, funders may feel more comfortable buying into your idea via a popular service like Kickstarter or Indiegogo.


Focus on the Right Things

Crowdfunding sites eliminate the (technological) middleman. Who needs to worry about being tech-savvy, building a website, or collecting money when it’s all done for you? This way, you can focus on marketing and perfecting your product. Kickstarter even offers a guide to help you optimize your campaign.


Try, Try, and Try Again

Being an entrepreneur is about persistence in the face of adversity—so don’t worry about rejection. Even if you are turned down by a crowdfundiung platform or miss your funding goal, you can always try again. Focus on learning from your mistakes, so you can continue to refine your approach. Did you wait too long to build your audience before you launched? Did you not have a working prototype for potential funders to see? Go back and analyze why you didn’t hit your goal and learn from it. Then try again.


In the age of Internet empowerment, it’s easy to think you can do everything yourself. But when it comes to crowdfunding, the DIY element comes in the beginning, long before your launch: generating buzz, creating a prototype, and establishing demand. Then, when you’re ready to launch, existing services can help you get to the next level and build upon your do-it-yourself foundation.


Image Credit: Esparta Palma

About Bhavin Parikh

Bhavin Parikh is the CEO and co-founder of Magoosh, an online test prep company that provides video lessons and practice questions accessible anytime, anywhere for exams such as the GMAT, GRE and SAT.