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57 Secrets of Crowdfunding

This guide unveils everything you need to know about successful crowdfunding

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  • Create a Compelling Campaign
  • Raise Money to Make Your Exceptional Idea a Reality!
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Ivaylo Kalburdzhiev

Crowdfunding Consultant, Founder of dayonefunding.com
#Growth-hacks #Contentmarketing #Emailmarketing #Crowdfunding

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“Crowdfunding Consultant” is putting it mildly for Ivo, who has been involved hands-on in everything from PR to email marketing, ads campaigns to design, SMM to video.

Joining the crowdfunding movement in its infancy, over the last 9 years he has a proven 100% success rate, raising millions of dollars for his clients on Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Multi-million dollar campaigns he has managed include Cubetto, Superscreen and Winston.

A knowledgeable PR manager, he has also had his campaigns covered by the media 100s of times, including CNET, TechCrunch, TheVerge, and DigitalTrends. 

Ivo believes in advancing the industry, and rather than hoarding all the skills and knowledge to himself, gives back to the community at every chance. A popular writer on Quora, people have viewed his answers over 150,000 times, making Ivo the "Most Viewed Writer" in the Kickstarter, Indiegogo and Crowdfunding categories. 

AMA with Ivaylo Kalburdzhiev

Questions

TraceyVaughan

18.11.2019

Hi! I am now working on a product I want to crowdfund. But I only have $10,000 to spend. What should I spend it on?

Ivaylo Kalburdzhiev

Great question, Tracey. Unfortunately, $10,000 is not enough to get a physical product off the ground, especially if you are spending money out of pocket, and expect satisfying results on crowdfunding at the same time. I would strongly advise to spend someone else’s money and actively seek hardware accelerators, angel investors, risk capital etc. If none of it is an option, I would stay as lean as humanly possible, not spend a cent where it’s not needed, and focus on building an appealing prototype (it doesn’t have to look or be perfect, or even work exactly as advertised - you can always fake it), then run a professional photo/video session within a tight budget, and finally put up the product on a website like https://jungleproof.io quantitatively test the demand with advertising. Once you have the data that your product is working, you can more easily convince others (investors, founders etc) to jump on board. You’ll also have more confidence to move forward. You’ll be surprised how many founders build products in isolation and waste months and years of their lives on things nobody wants - take it from someone who’s been there :) If you don’t get the desired data, you’ll know whether to move on, or iterate until you do.

Anais Bermann

19.11.2019

What's your opinion on Google ads for crowdfunding? Why are Facebook ads more popular in crowdfunding ?

Ivaylo Kalburdzhiev

Anais, generally, Google ads haven’t performed well for crowdfunding and we rely heavily on Facebook ads for both prelaunch and launch processes during our campaigns. I think the main reason in broad terms is that Facebook has become the dominant player in the ads space with the enormous amount of data they hoard now, hence making advertising there much more effective than their competitors. Another main reason is that Google ads are more expensive and have tough competition and at the same time we’ve seen Facebook ads work better, at a lower cost. What we usually do is consider Google ads when already scaling a campaign.

Lynne Hale

19.11.2019

Kickstarter or Indiegogo? Why? Thanks:-)

Ivaylo Kalburdzhiev

Hey Lynne, this is a tough one - it will take me quite some time to compare both platforms, but I would say they have their pros and cons. Indiegogo have made the shift recently towards technology and hardware projects where they offer services and tools to support startups from the beginning of their campaign in prelaunch, all the way through launch stage, taking pre-orders with InDemand, helping with manufacturing and fulfillment by partnering with companies like Ingram Micro and Arrow. Kickstarter, on the other hand, is the bigger platform with more traffic, better reputation and substantially more engaged community of over 5.5M repeat backers https://www.kickstarter.com/help/stats - for more lifestyle/design focused type of products I’d say their platform is performing better. They also have an excellent ranking algorithms that can substantially boost your project (if it’s going well). For technology campaigns, you can also consider Indiegogo and I would also suggest to get in touch with their teams to see the level of support they can provide. This has played a crucial role for some of the decisions of our campaigns.

Lilit

Hi Lynne, There is a great article about it on the blog: https://blog.thecrowdfundingformula.com/2015-11-13-kickstarter-vs-indiegogo-2/

Mike A.

19.11.2019

I think my product will sell itself. But do you think I still need to hire an agency?

Ivaylo Kalburdzhiev

Hey Mike, let me address the first part of the question - why do you think so? :-) This is a common mistake among founders, often thinking “build it and they will come”, i.e. the fact that you had this great idea means everyone will buy it the minute you announce it. This couldn’t be further from the truth. You need to be very strategic about your project in terms of planning the pre-campaign and executing the launch day by day. We spend an extreme amount of time and energy on building a list of people interested in the product. This process usually takes between 6 and 8 weeks before the campaign starts, sometimes even longer. Without this effort, you are almost certainly launching to crickets. Think of it this way - to have a concert, you need an audience. If you are an unknown band, no one will show up to your concert. Spend time on building that crowd (play in clubs, meet people in person etc.), before you announce the concert. To your second question about hiring an agency - the answer is, it depends. If you are looking to raise up to $50,000, it might not be worth the agency’s time and your money. If you are looking to raise multiple six figures or even seven figures, then you are almost always going to need someone who has done it before as it can be a deep jungle if you are just starting out and don’t want to waste time and experiment. A more important question to touch on is - *how* to pick an agency or a consultant. My #1 advice would be - talk to their past clients. Every single one of them. Don’t take website claims as a given, but do your research instead. You’ll quickly find the rotten apples.

Albert Chobanyan

19.11.2019

Hi Ivaylo, I would appreciate if you can answer the below questions. 1. Please tell a bit more about your role as a Crowdfunding Consultant and what it means for the crowdfunding campaign owner. 2. What qualities and skills crowdfunding expert or manager should have to lead the crowdfunding campaign to success? 3. Could you please share the list of the essential tools that you use every day to make your work productive and more organized and fund campaigns on day 1? Thanks in advance for answers :)

Ivaylo Kalburdzhiev

Hey Albert, thanks for jumping in :) To your first question, the consultant probably has the toughest job of all, which is to make sure the campaign is successful, no matter what - after all, this is how they get paid and what aligns with their client’s interest. First and foremost, the consultant needs to understand the product well and why people need it. Then, he can translate all of that into the messaging and positioning which will ultimately help sell it. Then, they need to have broad experience ranging from understanding the community building and prelaunch processes, the careful planning of the campaign and its day to day strategies and activities. He or she also needs to know how to build a high-converting page and also take an active part in advising on the main video. Finally, the consultant needs to know all the marketing strategies that they will follow throughout the campaign, including understanding the PR and journalist outreach, and the most effective tools, services and website that will contribute towards success. What does all of this mean for the creator? Well, you guessed it - if the consultant does a good job, a fully (over)funded campaign and a happy client.

Ivaylo Kalburdzhiev

To your second question, the campaign manager needs to have resilience in tough situations, I’d say this is the most important of all. Sh*t happens more often than not, and one should be able to withstand the winds of (unexpected) change. Hard work comes second - no successful campaign manager stayed in the office 8 hours a day :-). Next - never stop learning - this may sound trivial, but the campaign manager’s skills are so broad that he needs to step up his or her game all the time and build on top of their existing skills, in addition to improving where they are lacking. Positive mind-set is also a must - it’s hard to stay positive when conditions are rough, but when you always see the light at the end of the tunnel, you’ll come up with ways to turn things around. And last but not least, be a people’s person, always show empathy, nurture the team, and be strong when they aren’t.

Ivaylo Kalburdzhiev

To your third question, you might be surprised to learn that I don’t use fancy tech or tools or software to stay productive. I mainly rely on Gmail, Calendar and Slack for organizing work routine, and I am also a heavy bookmarks user - for each project I have a folder with dozens of links which allow quick access - simple, but effective and time-saving :-)

Anjelika Grigoryan

19.11.2019

The role of marketing in crowfunding?

Rodrigo Stevens

20.11.2019

Hello! How do you know that the positioning of the product needs to be changed? Did you do that during a live campaign, and what are the steps of doing it?

Ivaylo Kalburdzhiev

Hey Rodrigo, I would say it's both art and science. It's art because you can feel something is missing, and it's science because you can see the numbers and that the results are not there. The simple rule I use is this "Do I get it easily and can I explain to someone in a way they can relate?" If not, then something probably needs to change to make things simple and easy to understand for the average person. The process is long and includes a deep dive into the product to really understand the core value proposition and then translate it into meaningful changes on the page so that cold traffic will start converting.

Boris Kobalt

20.11.2019

Are there any products youve turned down? And why? How do you choose which ones you work with? I got a speaker I wanna do crowdfunding with but I'm scared because theres a ton of them now

Ivaylo Kalburdzhiev

Hey Boris, yes, we turn down many products and it can be because of different reasons. 1/ For example, product design, technology, and overall potential - if we don't like what we see, we don't take it :-), so yes, there's a big chance that if it's 'more of the same' without a stand-out factor, that we might turn it down. 2/ A team that we don't feel a connection with - it's important to have synergy between the campaigner and the agency/consultant. 3/ Lack of resources for campaign preparation and execution - this is secondary but important - we only aim for big campaigns and this is often a deal-breaker.

Daniel Pavliv

21.11.2019

Hey! Thanks for this opportunity. How to make a kickstarter video? Especially interested in how long should a Kickstarter video be.

Ivaylo Kalburdzhiev

Hey Daniel, the rule of thumb for Kickstarter videos is between 2 and 3 minutes. That being said, there are campaigns with less than 60-sec videos that have raised 7 figures, so it all comes down to 1) product 2) creativity 3) professionalism of shooting the video. I would say, hire a video agency that has a proven track record and you like their previous videos of similar products.

Daniel Pavliv

21.11.2019

(I ask this separately as this one is not connected to the previous) How much does Kickstarter cost? I mean an average campaign spending? I mean all Kickstarter costs not just the percentage it takes.

Ivaylo Kalburdzhiev

Hey again Daniel, great question - usually you would be break-even or at a loss after your Kickstarter campaign. This might sound scary, but it's the truth. It usually costs up to 20% in pure marketing spend from the total raise to get the word out about your product during the campaign and to also build the prelaunch buzz before launch. This doesn't include Kickstarter, Stripe, agency, and influencer commission % that you will have to take care of from the total campaign amount. And then, you also need to produce and ship all the rewards. All of this excludes any salaries, rent or office, and operational expenses.

Ivaylo Kalburdzhiev

21.11.2019

Hey everyone, thanks for all the great questions, this has been really fun - I'll see you next time!