How We Made Over $150,000 on Kickstarter

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Cash - Kickstarter Money

What’s Kickstarter?

Kickstarter has become an increasingly popular way to bring ideas to life. A couple years ago I came across the site and was amazed to see people raising money using this unique crowd funding concept. So, I thought, “why not give it a try?” So I did.

Getting Started.

I kept seeing people raising thousand of dollars with seemingly simple ideas. So originally, I thought about it like a numbers game. I thought, “if each one just did a hundred or a thousand, that would really start to add up.” Not the case. After submitting about 7 projects on Kickstarter, they contacted me to let me know how it all worked. Ultimately, all of those projects were rejected, so I was forced to start over. I continued to study the projects that came up everyday on Kickstarter. Soon after this small setback, I noticed a successful project where someone was designing logos. This seemed like something I could do, so I did. The first project was finally up and with each new backer I grew increasingly aware that this new venture could really be something. That project ended up raising around $5,000. One of the reasons I decided to start with something like this was because there wasn’t going to be anything that physically needed to be produced, shipped, supported, etc.

And Then What?

After that successful project, I thought, why not try the same thing? I setup another project, nearly identical, which was promptly rejected by Kickstarter. Back to the drawing board. I would browse Kickstarter every morning to see what new things were being manifested. I came across a number of poster projects that seemed to do pretty well. After a few more successful projects, my wife (Stacey) became interested and started creating her own poster projects. Each project was inspired by things we enjoy in our own live. We love to travel, so City Prints was created. We love our dogs, so Hound Prints was created. From there it was a series of poster projects that were launched allowed us to earn 6-figures, on the side.

Small Wins Make Big Wins Click To Tweet

The Bad and The Ugly.

Not all the projects came together like we had hoped. Believe it or not, the second project that was launched finished without being funded (raised $189 towards a $500 goal). Additionally, there we’re a number of other failures sprinkled along the way. With each project that finished unsuccessful, we took what we could a moved on. Looking back on our journey, we don’t really consider any of these failures. It’s simply an experiment. The great thing about Kickstarter is you’re able to “quickly” validate your concept across an network of millions of people who are eager to provide their feedback; often without huge startup costs that are typically part of creating a product on your own. For products that are no good, you’re able to discover this much quicker and either adjust or abandon the venture. Sometimes it’s best to cut your losses.

Anything not worth doing is not worth doing well. Click To Tweet

After almost 30 projects, we’ve continued to adjust our processes. From materials and production to packing and shipping, just about every aspect has changed some way or another.

  • 28 Project Submitted
  • 6 Ended Unsuccessful (1 Canceled)
  • 7 Rejected by Kickstarter (Never to see the light of day)

This goes to show you, not everything is as it appears. When you read the title of this article, you probably weren’t thinking about how many projects had been so ill-fated. But at the end of the day, we count our wins – not our losses.

So, What’s Next?

Most of our projects have been “printed artwork” projects. We have just about perfected the process and we’re currently in the process of diving into other types of “more physical” products. Our shop now has all sorts of machines to tinker with. We’ve recently added a 42″ Epson plotter, CNC machine and Dye Sublimation machine.
West Elm / Crate Style via Kickstarter
We currently sell just about all of our artwork on our own website called cratestyle.com. We also sell some of our prints on Etsy and Amazon. This has been a great way to earn an additional passive income from work that was done years ago. With each new project, we gain a bit more exposure and support. We’ve also begun to attend trade shows and pop-up events at places like West Elm. Plus, we’ve partnered with flash sale sites, like Touch of Modern to sell thousands of units in a matter of days. The process is slow, but well worth it.

Project Roster:

Grand Total (so far) $150,025.00