I’m Laura, an environmental engineer and sustainable living educator based in South Australia.
I founded my first online business Sustainababy, an eco-parenting shop, and blog, in 2009 and managed it for six years before selling it in 2015.
Along the way, I responded to the questions my customers were asking about how to create a healthier, more sustainable home and lifestyle by developing my online eco-living programs. I first ran my Home Detox Boot Camp, an 8-week program that guides participants how to reduce toxins in their home, in 2014. A couple of years later I launched my membership club Self Sufficiency in the Suburbs, following a successful crowdfunding campaign where I raised over $15.5K upfront to cover the production costs.
My first crowdfunding campaign was in June 2016 when I raised over $15.5K upfront to bring Self Sufficiency in the Suburbs to life.
Following the sale of Sustainababy my business no longer had revenue flowing in from retail sales every day. I recognized the risk of just having two big pay days a year, when I launched Home Detox Boot Camp, and wanted to create an online membership club where I could support members to create a more sustainable, self-sufficient home in the true sense of the word.
However, I didn’t have the finance at hand to invest in the project and develop it to the quality I wished and knew my followers expected.
That’s when I decided to crowdfund the project and the rest is history!
Just a few short weeks later I not only had the money required, I had the first 54 members of Self Sufficiency in the Suburbs.
Crowdfunding is simply the process of raising capital for a project upfront by receiving monetary contributions from a large number of people via an online platform. The supporters “pledge” their monetary support in exchange for a reward. Rewards can be a product or service, or even just a public acknowledgment of thanks.
Since my initial campaign, I’ve run a second crowdfunding campaign which was also successful. In June 2017 I raised over $22,000 to secure my ship berth to Antarctica as part of the Homeward Bound program.
Early in 2017, I was chosen as one of 80 scientists worldwide to travel to Antarctica for a climate change and women in science initiative.
It’s been my lifelong dream to work in Antarctica and was thrilled to be selected, yet the project came with a hefty price tag. After trying to raise the money within my business but not getting there fast enough, I decided to ask my online following for support.
I’m so glad I did because not only did I raise the funds to secure my ship berth, I helped 200 supporters be part of something special!
There are so many great platforms out there and they all have their pros and cons.
I chose to host my campaigns on Pozible, a popular platform in Australia. I figured that as 9 out of 10 pledges typically come from traffic you send to the platform, the smaller platform would enable me to trend high and perhaps attract some angel investors. My theory was that my campaign could have been less visible on a platform such as Kickstarter.
It’s been reported that over 70% of crowdfunding campaigns fail to reach their target.
The main reason why campaigns fail is simply the lack of preparation. You can’t make improvements to your campaign or compensate for a lack of preparation you’ve hit the launch button.
I also think that many crowdfunding campaigns fail because the creator makes the campaign about THEM rather than the CAUSE. People love to get behind a cause.
And lastly, so many campaigns fail simply because the campaign creator gives up before the campaign is over, not realizing that in many cases, the bulk of support flows in during the last few hours. Without a doubt, I think the biggest mistake is choosing a flexible funding campaign over an all or nothing campaign.
It can be scary to go All or Nothing but the statistics are very clear – All or Nothing campaigns are the most likely to hit their target.
I think this is based on the simple principle that your supporters and those who pledge don’t want to see you fail. They want their rewards and would hate to see the sum of cash raised go to waste if you didn’t get there. This contrasts to Flexible Funding campaigns when you’re basically telling everyone that you’re happy with whatever you can raise.
The urgency is missing in these campaigns and there’s not the pressure to get behind them.
Crowdfunding has so many benefits beyond simply raising money and this is one of them.
Not keen if your idea will fly? Crowdfunding will quickly give you that answer.
While many people fear a failed crowdfunding campaign, the astute business owner knows it’s a much better alternative to investing thousands of dollars of money, and months or years of time, into a business or project upfront, only to have the venture fail.
A successful campaign gives you the confidence that there’s a market for your product or service BEFORE you run off and create it and better still, it will harness a group of passionate supporters who believe in your vision and will cheer you along every step of the way.
You can engage with pedgers by thanking pledgers and keeping them updated at every step of the journey, including (especially including) the weeks and months after the campaign has ended.
Throughout my campaigns, I have a philosophy of “no pledger left behind”.
I’ll list and tag, where possible, every pledger in social media and provide regular status updates. For every person who shares the campaign in social media I also personally thank them for the share. This makes them feel appreciated and further inspired to share the campaign.
Measuring the success of a campaign is simple: you will know quite simply by whether it reaches its target or not.
An unsuccessful campaign can also be successful as it’s confirmation that your project may never have had legs.
Finding that out in the early stages of your project is much better than discovering it after years of work and thousands of lost dollars!
I want to give you need for every step of the way in your successful campaign.
The Crowdfunding Checklist FREE Resource is ready for download at CFchecklist.lauratrotta.com. I also have a recorded webinar people can access here. This masterclass is on “How To Use the Power of Crowdfunding to Raise the Capital You Need to Fund Your Big Cause or Idea”