Episode 164 – Making It in the Art World by Brainard Carey / Kickstarter


Kickstarter.com is now the largest funding platform for the arts in the world. When you go to Kickstarter, you will see a format that looks very much like YouTube. There are different artists and creative people like inventors, writers, artists, and musicians showcasing their projects on Kickstarter. They make a short video explaining what they want to achieve, like the funds to make a CD of their music or maybe the funds to make the prototype of their invention or some art project about a road trip, a painting series, and anything else you can imagine. Then after you see their pitch in a video, you can pledge money to their project. The amount can be as little as one dollar. In each category, starting at a dollar, there is a description of what you will get for your donation. It might be a thank-you letter or a CD or a print, a book, or something else, depending on what the category amount is and your project. But here is the unusual part, so pay close attention and be sure to see the site as well. If you decide you need $5,000 for a project, then unless you get a total of $5,000 in pledges, you will not get any money, and the donors who pledged money will not give it. That means if you get a total of $4,500 in pledges for your project and it ends after a time of thirty days, you will receive nothing, and the project will be over.

The reason this works so well is that you only get the money that you actually need because if you did get the money before your goal was reached, you would be in danger of not being able to complete a project and disappointing the funders.

Starting a Project on Kickstarter.com

Now what I suggest to get going is not that you begin a project today, but that you begin funding other people’s projects, which will give you a clear insight into how it is all done. When you go to kickstarter.com, start looking around at projects you like. Then pledge a dollar or so to one or two. That is a small amount of money to pledge, but it will serve several purposes. One, it will show you how people thank you for the pledge. Also, it will show you how the system works financially because you will have to create an Amazon account for this. Most of all, you will have the pleasure I was describing of being a philanthropist for very, very little money! You will see the joys of being thanked and knowing that you are helping a truly good cause. The amazing thing here is that if you are pledging an amount like a dollar to ten or twenty projects a month, you will find that most of them never get funded. That means that your pledge is never actually taken out of your account because the target for funding was not reached.

So go ahead, explore that website, fund several projects, and you will get the perspective of a donor and the pleasures that come with it. You will also learn what kind of letters you like to see, what kind of thank-you notes work, and what doesn’t. Then you can start your own Kickstarter project. They make it easy and very personal, though not all ideas get accepted. All you have to do is go to the section of the website that says “start your project” and write a brief description of what you would like to do. Once your project is accepted, you can sit back and watch the money roll in—just kidding. Once your project is accepted, you must tell your friends and begin to promote your project. That means getting the word out there through emails, phone calls, and more. The best way to begin thinking about your project or designing it is to look around the Kickstarter website. Look at the most popular projects, the ones that received the most funding, and look at the projects that didn’t get their funding. Then, ready or not, launch your idea into the world.

To learn more about Brainard Carey and his services for artists, or to take a class from him, click here.  To join one of his free weekly webinars, click here. To download the workbook mentioned in this series, click here.


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