7 Tips For A Successful Crowdfunding Project

Posted by Harshad

7 Tips For A Successful Crowdfunding Project

7 Tips For A Successful Crowdfunding Project

Posted: 25 Mar 2014 08:01 AM PDT

Crowdfunding is the ultimate expression of connection and democracy. The Internet allows this phenomenon to continuously grow. Crowdfunding means people contributing money to a certain project, be it a show, event, cause, business, game app, etc. There are usually rewards for the backers: they get promotional materials, or to try out beta-versions of the product, and if it is an event, they get exclusive backstage access.

In this way, the creator of the project raises capital to actually do it, and the contributor gains the rewards for supporting a project he or she believes in. Sounds too good to be true? Well, there’s a catch. In order for the project to actually raise money, it needs to follow certain guidelines. Here are the 7 best practices for running a successful crowdfunding gig.

1. Build It Before Launching

Many crowdfunding campaigns go under because they fail to lay the ground work before introducing their project to the masses. You want to have a social presence. Either a Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube account already in place.

Have your own website describing the project you’re doing. This will help you harness the power of your audience for getting the campaign off the ground and it also helps people who don’t know you to trust you more.

Nobody likes giving money away for no reason, so having your name and your campaign’s site pop up on Google when a potential pledger is searching for you outside the crowdfunding site will help build trust in your project.

2. Know Your Target Audience

There are tons of crowdfunding sites out there. Know which site your potential pledgers (the people contributing to your project) are browsing. That means understanding each site’s audience. Look at what sort of projects are featured on the homepage, and what campaigns are most successful on the site.

If a certain site raises the most money for music projects, and you are doing a piano recital, that’s the place for you. If you have a cause awareness campaign, you should check out Razoo or RocketHub. Go for the ol’ behemoth KICKSTARTER for projects involving tech. On the other hand, appsplit, the first app crowdfunding site launched in 2010, is great for mobile development.

Reminder: Make sure you read the terms and conditions for the site you choose. Some take a significant portion of the money gathered and/or require you to be a US citizen. Others have more relaxed terms.

3. Storytelling and Psychology

Believe it or not, the crowdfunding model is older than the Internet. During the 19th century, newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer (yes, the inventor of Pulitzer Prizes) raised more than $100,000 in six months. The goal? The pedestal restoration of the Statue of Liberty, which resulted in 125,000 people pledging towards it. Why? Because they cared and could identify with the story.

Most people browsing KICKSTARTER are looking to support things they believe in or care about. There are also certain psychological trends all humans fall into. Tony Robbins talks about this in an awesome TED talk.

How To Tell A Story

Think about this when you’re presenting your project’s story. Remember to make it emotional. The 6 keys elements you’ll need to address in your overall project presentation are Certainty, Variety, Significance, Love & Connection, Growth and Contribution.

Most of the people want all of those things, so talk about them. The trick is to convey the ideas to the eventual pledger by hinting at them. Make sure they get it within the first minute. Let’s say, I’m trying to raise money for a social job platform for Android. Here’s an intro that works well:

“My project is certainly significant because we are trying to connect young people with their potential future jobs, contributing and improving to the overall employment rate here in Romania. We will impact more than 10,000 people in the first 4 weeks, and with a minimum conversion of 2%, our app is bound to drastically change the lives of 200 people”

The combination of real numbers, overall tone and the 6 elements make for a compelling story. What takes it to the next level though is the human element involved.

4. Video? 100% Yes!

What better way to tell a story than through video? Having a video for your project is an absolute must. “More than 50 percent of crowdfunding projects with a video are successful. Conversely, only 30 percent of those without a video succeed.” says Kendall Americo, CEO of ClickStartMe.

First, let the viewer know who you are, then jump right into the story. Your video should have a catchy title such as: “Would you save the app world with me?” as opposed to “New app to be launched soon”. The story being told should be short and precise.

You need to convey the following:

  • Who you are
  • How your story is connected with the 6 key elements
  • What the rewards for the contributor are
  • Asking exactly for what you want and explaining where the money will go
  • Thanking everybody in advance, already assuming they’ve pledged

Consider making a professional video as an investment and if you’re not comfortable with your accent, maybe hire a voice talent.

5. Lots of Rewards

Rewards are awesome and offering them is a no-brainer. Try giving rewards, for even the smallest of donations. Here are a few ideas:

  • Behind-the-scenes photos or videos
  • Autographed materials, photos, t-shirts, mugs and other souvenirs
  • Including the pledger in the product’s credits
  • The actual product (free or largely discounted)
  • Invitation to launch parties, events, social gatherings
  • Unreleased beta-versions of the product
  • Including the pledger’s name within the game/product
  • Access to the team or one-on-one talks with you
  • Direct involvement in the script/features of the campaign

6. The Inner Circle

Competition for funds is fierce nowadays. That’s why you’ll want to make sure you have a few friends or family members as first investors. People often imitate others in order to belong to a tribe. Take advantage of this “group mind” by planting the first seed yourself. Once you have your 1st round backers, others will come.

7. Get the word out

The Internet is full of blogs and publications about every topic under the sun. Immediately after your campaign starts to grow, contact as many as possible. Once you reach your first milestone, your project can become a story. Especially if you are raising money for a cause.

Media attention spreads like wildfire if it’s an interesting project. Best to not contact anybody on launch day and wait until you hit your first milestone. That will prove some interest in your idea and you’ll be more likely to score an article.


Photoshop Alternatives: 12 Free Image Manipulation Tools For Windows

Posted: 25 Mar 2014 06:01 AM PDT

Due to the popularity of digital cameras and mobile phones with cameras, there are more people who crave the capability of editing their images to their taste. Adobe Photoshop is certainly the best photo-editing application available, but it’s also quite expensive.

It’s often a requirement for professional designers but not the best deal for editing or enhancing your home photos. Don’t worry though as there are plenty of free options available for Windows users. From simple editing to adding great effects to your photos, there are lots of things the followng 12 Photoshop alternatives can help you with. If you know of more great software like these, let us know in the comments.

Adobe Photoshop Express

Adobe Photoshop Express for Windows 8 enables photo magic at your fingertips. It’s a small pack of essential everyday photo-editing tools from Adobe to help you create better-looking pictures. It has many exciting features to enhance your photos and allows easy touch-ups through functions like crop, rotate, flip, brightness, etc.

PC Image Editor

PC Image Editor is a solid but simple image-editing application. It’s built for beginners and professionals who like to customize or enhance photos with minimum effort. The super intuitive interface brings many editing tools and options such as unique filters, crop and rotate functions, colors and image adjustment features just to name a few.

Magix Photo Designer

Magix Photo Designer is a free alternative to classic image editing programs. It lets you edit and optimize your digital picture thus making it easy even for amateurs. With just a few clicks, turn your photos into paintings or fun caricatures. It comes with handy features such as quick optimization, photo effects, collage maker and you can even make panoramas.

Funny Photo Maker

Funny Photo Maker is the best photo editor for enhancing digital photos and making funny pictures. There are several options and tools for customizing your images. Some of its features include artistic photo effects, decorative frames, funny picture templates and various other editing tools. It supports most popular image formats.

Picasa HD

Picasa HD provides a more powerful and vivid image viewing experience. It lets you browse your Picasa albums and photos in high resolution with beautiful, full screen slideshows and detailed information. Use it to access and manage your Picasa albums, and also add, delete, search and share the photos. Only for Windows 8.

PhotoPad Image Editor

PhotoPad Image Editor is an easy digital photo-editing application which brings a remarkable set of features and support for all popular image formats. It comes packaged with basic editing tools, dazzling photo effects, photo adjustment tools and various other capabilities. It also allows you to make stunning photo collages and mosaics.


Photopus is a fantastic batch photo editor which eases the customization of a large collection of images. It’s a powerful application with user-friendly interface and lots of options to edit photos with desired customization. It comes with a watermarker, image transformation tools and an image converter among other things.

Pos Free Photo Editor

Pos Free Photo Editor is a simple but feature-rich batch digital photo and image editing application. It lets you enhance, edit, print and manipulate pictures easily to create eye-catching graphics. It comes with various basic and advanced image enhancing tools and functions, special photo effects, rich text tools and supports many picture file types.


SuperPhoto for Windows 8 turns your digital images into awesome-looking photos. Your photos can become incredible art pieces with outstanding photo effects. It’s feature-packed with 100+ cool effects to enhance your photos. Filters, combos, textures and patterns are among some of its supported editing features.


PhotoEffects, as its name suggests, is a powerful photo editor for easy and quick photo editing on-the-go. It comes with a simple, clean and beautiful user interface with lots of built-in image manipulation tools. It offers you features such as photo effects, image filters, color and contrast, cosmetic tools and image sharing options. Only available for Windows 8.

Photo Booth Pro

Photo Booth Pro lets you take your photos through your webcam with special photo effects. It comes with various photo and camera effects, a snap timer and even photo sharing options. It runs on Windows 8.

Viscom Photo

Viscom Photo is an easy to use batch photo editor and collage maker. It comes with drag and drop features, Office 2007-like clean user interface and support for reading and writing various image file formats. Some of its features include an easy collage maker, background templates, image editing in batch mode etc.


How To Hire & Build An Awesome Team

Posted: 25 Mar 2014 03:01 AM PDT

At some point in your design career, you’ll likely be placed in charge of other people. These might include writers, marketers, programmers, engineers, and other corporate employees. This can be an incredibly rewarding experience which can enhance both the project you’re working on, as well as your overall career as a creative professional. Or, it can be a total nightmare, with clashing personalities and a muddling of the overall vision into an unsalvageable mess.

We’re going to look at how to handle being the boss of a team-driven design project, so that you, your team members, and your clients are all happy with the end result.

Don’t Make Them Read Your Mind

Be direct and tell your team your exact expectations. What, specifically, do you want from them? What will happen if they don’t deliver? Never, ever assume people will automatically know what to do in any circumstance if you haven’t told them. Especially if they’re new hires on an unprecedented creative project.

If they do know what to do, that’s a plus, but most people won’t know half as much as you think (or hope) they will.

Working Without The Manager

Give step-by-step instructions. The key here is to automate the process of creating the work as much as you can. In the book The E-Myth by Michael Gerber, there is a large emphasis on “assembly line style” business practices – that is, setting things up so that you, the manager or business owner, are needed as little as possible in the day-to-day activities.

This may seem counter-intuitive, but the less your team needs to rely on you for little things, the more great things you can all accomplish together.

It’s always better to assume less knowledge and be pleasantly surprised than to assume more knowledge and be screwed come crunch time. I know I sound cynical, but after working with dozens of teams over the years, this is just the simple truth of the matter.

Be Free With The Compliments & Praise

Your team is working long, thankless hours to make the company dream a reality. They made the choice to be there, sure, but weeks or months of relentless work on a single project will wear down even the most tireless worker. Sometimes, all it takes is a simple compliment to keep someone engaged and willing to put in just a little more effort. People like to know they’re doing a good job and that their hard work is appreciated.

If your team is kicking ass, you owe it to them to say thank you in whatever way you can. This isn’t just HR psychobabble, by the way; it can literally make the difference between a project being a success or a failure.

I can’t tell you how many teams I’ve been on that have started out strong, and devolved into squabbling, demotivated groups of people completely alienated from each other and disenfranchised from the creative process – all because the manager was a jerk.

Defend Them & Take The Heat

If you’ve never been in charge of other people before, there’s some bad news I have to break to you: everything is your fault. You may have heard of the expression “the buck stops with you.” What that means is that you are the final authority when it comes to all decisions, whether good or bad. You’re the judge, jury, and executioner, but your head is also on the chopping block when things go awry.

Specifically, this means that the mistakes of your team are your responsibility, not theirs. That’s why you’re the supervisor and they’re the employees. They expect you to protect them from the brunt of your client’s or boss’ wrath, and in return, you lead them to do the right thing for the company.

Filter Your People

This rule is non-negotiable, as it should be. There’s always a cost to power, and there are responsibilities that come with leading people. However, there’s a responsibility that your team has to you as well. My personal rule is, if someone screws up more than 3 times, I immediately replace them with someone else. You only want winners on your team – all the losers can go goof off somewhere else.

Don’t Let People Get Away With BS

As the saying goes, you should hire slow and fire fast. If someone isn’t working out, it’s better to let them go sooner, rather than later. Hanging on to a bad apple will only cause problems, not the least of which will be with other team members who are pulling their own weight. You owe it to the “A” members of your team to get rid of the “B’s,” “C’s,” and “D’s.”

The goal here is to have a team comprised of nothing but A-listers. That way, things will go much more smoothly, and you can focus on giving your team everything they need to be as successful as possible. It’s a little like cutting off the diseased parts of a plant.

The dead weight will do nothing but sit there and slowly poison the healthy leaves and flowers. You can’t afford that if you want to be the best.

They Must Earn Their Keep

Always make sure your team members are making you or your client a profit. Never pay someone more than what they’re actually bringing in to the enterprise. Team members need to earn their keep, and if they’re not doing so, fire them.

It may sound harsh, but remember, you want “all A’s” on your team – not someone who will drag down morale and make everyone else less productive.

If you’re working for a client or a boss, you have a responsibility to them to make their business as profitable as possible. If it’s your own business, your responsibility is to yourself and anyone who has a vested interest in your business’ success.

This will require some type of record-keeping of the profit margins and such, and if you’re not good at that kind of thing, hire someone who is.

What Do You Think?

Have you worked as a team leader before? What other insights do you have about choosing and bringing out the best of the best in the people working under you?


How To Skip Windows 8 or 8.1 Login Screen [Quicktip]

Posted: 25 Mar 2014 12:01 AM PDT

The login screen is an important security feature present and used in all your laptops and mobile devices. But if you work in a secure environment and are the sole user of your computer, you might think about taking liberties when it comes to skipping the login screen. On Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 there is a way to bypass the lockscreen.

Automatically sign in

There is a way to set up your computer to automatically sign in into your account upon a restart. All it takes is a few steps to setup this automatic login for Windows 8.

Enable Automatic Login

The first thing you need to do is to open Run by pressing WIN + R keys. Next type in netplwiz and click OK.

Run netplwiz

Untick "Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer". Then click on Apply to bring out a window pop up.

Click on apply

In this pop up, you have to fill in User name, Password, Confirm Password according to your Microsoft account or local account details.

Note: If you’re using Microsoft account (e.g hotmail.com) for the user name you have to type in your email address instead.

Fill in your account details

Click on OK and you’re done. Restart your PC and you will see your PC automatically login to Windows.


Writing Content That Convert Readers & Deliver Sales

Posted: 24 Mar 2014 11:01 PM PDT

Conversion Rate Optimization is one of the most complex forms of writing in e-commerce. That is why very few writers claim to be able to do it. The fact is they are afraid to claim it. CRO is not just about writing. The psychology of sales actually scares most writers because there are so many elements involved of which writing is just one small part.

Of all writing, only CRO incorporates 3 of the 5 senses and depends upon influences outside of content to work. There are also 5 elements of CRO writing that have to be spot on in order for it to be effective when combined with other influencers.

This graph shows how all of the elements of CRO work in conjunction to turn a casual visitor towards and into the purchasing funnel.

There are 5 elements of content writing that the freelancer must learn to use together in order to start the targeted website traffic and random visitors down the path towards a sales decision. This style of conversion rate optimization content can be overwhelming for the content writer who is not familiar with content marketing.

The five elements of CRO writing are:

1. Attraction

This can be done both in the flash page that draws the traffic to your ecommerce website and in the title and first paragraph as well as liberally throughout the writing to create an attraction for the potential customer to the product or service.

This stage of the writing can incorporate the use of the senses (Sight, Touch, & Sound) which are used more heavily and with greater effect in the Retention (see below) process of conversion rate optimization.

2. Weeding

Weeding is for many the hardest part of CRO content writing as it focuses on those who are really interested and weeds out those who would otherwise waste a salesman’s time. They are either prolonged page bouncers or extremely polite people who will read anything interesting.

The good freelancer, like the good salesperson, will spot these time wasters quickly and focus their attention where it counts.

3. Retention

Once attraction has been established and the bouncers and Klingons weeded out, the content writer ensures the potential customer remains in place by showing further value and providing the reader with information. Retention information is knowledge that the reader did not know which causes the reader to express their interest through research or by asking questions. It is the second stage of the sales funnel.

This can be done in a variety of ways. The most reliable retention information shows the reader new ways to use the product or service or benefits of the product or service above and beyond the obvious. Then, we move on to the conversion process.

4. Conversion

Conversion content is the most challenging of the process as it involves convincing the reader to commit to a positive act, like following a link to continue or making another form of commitment affirmation. This is the first yes that the content writer will attempt to solicit from the potential customer.

Many content writers who are brave enough to write CRO content will tell you that once they reach this stage of the game, they are confident of a sale. Others believe that this is the point where you are most likely to lose sales. Whether you are a glass half full or glass half empty content writer makes no difference here. Conversion content incorporates emotion and is the second stage of the sales funnel process.

5. Inspiration

Inspiration conversion content is different in that it begins on a new page of the process. During conversion, inspiration begins when the reader is convinced to click and follow a link that takes them further down the Rabbit Funnel. This is the page that inspires the customer to take action and encompasses the 3rd and 4th stage of the sales funnel.

The Senses

Of the 5 senses, 3 are used in Conversion Rate Optimization content in at least two of the steps towards leading a potential customer through the Purchasing Funnel.

This is done through convincing content that allows the reader to visualize the product or service using the senses as a guide through their imagination. While this may not sound as if it would be difficult, and it is, in fact, pretty simple if you are selling a barbeque grill; try it while selling a toilet plunger and see how far you get.


A good CRO content writer must be familiar with various forms of psychological writing in order to succeed at conversion rate optimization. The most common of these are:

  • "Yes Building" which assumes the process of getting the reader accustomed to saying yes will lead to the final yes
  • Using the reader’s emotions to build positive momentum leading into the purchasing funnel
  • The use of colors on the webpage, in particular, the psychological aspects of certain shades that stimulate positive responses and lend themselves to higher sales

Conversion is a Team Effort

While these are effective sales tools when used separately or in conjunction with other techniques, in Conversion Rate Optimization content writing, these elements used together create a powerful tool that converts traffic into sales and puts money in ecommerce pockets. It takes a very good freelance content writer working with social media and the webmaster or his design team to pull this off successfully.



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