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The Big New Idea: Crowdfunding

blog-13-aaA couple of weeks ago, over at Copper Boom Studio, we launched a Crowdfunder campaign to raise some money for our expansion.

Now, I’ve never done a Crowdfunder myself before. I’ve worked with a couple of clients on similar things, but I’ve never done one myself.

I started thinking about it when I was figuring out financing the growth of Copper Boom. We’ve taken on a big studio space and we’re aiming to grow the business quite quickly in order to keep up with demand. It seemed important and exciting to involve clients of the business and create some brilliant benefits for being early supporters of the business.

So I created packages for VIP membership to Copper Boom, allowing for annual discounts, support and more. There are a few different levels for different business needs, and of course some smaller packages for smaller businesses and family and friends who want to offer support.

Why Crowdfunder?

The most popular platform is Kickstarter, but Crowdfunder is based in the UK (which I like) and has more general business projects, rather than focusing on funding an end product. I also chose to keep whatever we raise, rather than having to reach a target in order to get any of the money people pledge.

Setting a target

So I set a target for £15,000. It’s ambitious, especially considering I’ve never done this before. But the theme of Copper Boom has become go big or go home, so I figured we might as well aim to raise enough to buy equipment and props to last us a really long time. While £5,000 would get us a really long way in terms of lighting and set build, £15,000 would allow us to get way more specialised with the props and set-ups we create. It also means I can invest time training the team on creating amazing copy and marketing content.

My intention is that by expanding our capacity we will also extend our quality because the team will be more specialised. We’ll be able to get super mega lenses for working on jewellery, and we’ll be able to build sets so that we can photograph bigger pieces.

Creating pledges

I decided to offer VIP year-long packages as pledges, giving discounts, first refusal, my Planning With Purpose course, and lots more. The idea is that pledgers will be on our radar at the studio, and we’ll give them the VIP treatment when they book in work with us. We’ll create mini style guides, boxes of props and backgrounds, and tone of voice documents for every VIP backer.

I’ve also put together helpful PDF guides on conversion rates, photography and writing skills (love these so much!) to offer our expertise to small businesses, not just bigger companies.

And of course there are some BRILLIANT Gilmore Girls enamel pins and a gorgeous investor certificate for every single person who supports us in this launch period. Because seriously, I’m grateful for every single penny right now.

Progress

We’re currently nowhere near our target. That’s okay, because we get to keep whatever we make, but I’m also thinking about ways to spread the word in the last remaining weeks. I’m thinking about showing the value of what we do. I’m thinking about sharing more and more on social media (so prepare to be inundated!) and asking people to spread the word.

We’ve had 25 backers so far. I love every single one of them. If you haven’t already backed us, I’d be honoured and humbled if you’d consider it. Each pledge makes a big difference to us: £5 gives us more mountboard colours for backgrounds, £100 means we can get another desk to work and shoot on, £300 means I can get the team another laptop so we can stop borrowing ancient and heavy personal laptops, £1,500 would allow us to get shelving and storage for EVERYTHING, making us more efficient (and less messy).

How you can help

Honestly, I’m nervous. I’m excited, of course, but right now, cashflow (as many of you know) is challenging as I balance work coming in with being able to grow and afford rent for the first time.

So. Every single share, pledge, investment, comment, click, positive thought (and did I mention pledge?) makes a HUGE difference to getting this thing firmly off the ground and supporting small businesses.

Is there a pledge you’d like to see?

Let me know. If we can offer support in a different way, I’d love to hear about it!

Jx

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