Launching a Kickstarter campaign is an exhilarating, terrifying experience. In one sense, it’s the most exciting rollercoaster ride I’ve been on. In another, I want to punch it in the face. It’s stressful and nerve-wracking and everything is scary, different, and new. Putting my passions and myself out there in such a real and raw way makes me feel stripped down and naked in the middle of Times Square. Much like being in your twenties and moving to a big city and starting your ‘real’ life for the first time. Something my co-author (Corinne Barlow) and I are very familiar with.
In our book How to Survive New York on Three Dates a Week, the two protagonists, Emma Grace and Lizzie Blackwell, quickly learn that if they want to have a fabulous, fun, rich life while earning little money in one of the most expensive cities in the world, they gotta surround themselves with people who are connected. It’s all about networking, baby.
Funnily enough I’m finding out that launching a Kickstarter campaign is the same. You have to depend on the support of your friends and family and you have to dig deep into your network.
Like Emma and Lizzie unwittingly learn in How to Survive New York on Three Dates a Week, you can’t be greedy. Even if the rewards for your Kickstarter campaign are pretty fabulous (ours rock the Casbah) and the project is amazing, you still need your network working for you before and after you launch. As long as you aren’t a crappy friend, it shouldn’t be hard.
When I was a bartender in New York City I was happy to give away free drinks here and there or connect my friends with club owners and promoters I knew from working in the late night industry. And when I worked for a record company, I gave away CDs, t-shirts, music downloads, tickets to concerts, and other goodies. In return, my friends gave me nice swag like a pair of Michael Kors sunglasses, a Prada bag, VIP tickets to a Katy Perry concert, or a cheap room in a beautiful house in the Hamptons.
I didn’t give away drinks and concert tickets to get anything in return. I did it because—like most decent people—I like to help out my friends. It makes most of us happy human beings when we make our friends and even strangers happy. That’s why crowdfunding is such a success. People like to help people. They also like to feel special, involved, and on the cusp of something new. Like having your name on the VIP list of a hot new club or being one of the first to read the next big thing.
My favorite quote from How to Survive New York on Three Dates a Week is, “Year one, New York will kick your ass. Year two, you recover. Year three, you kick its ass right back.” That’s how I feel about our upcoming Kickstarter campaign. Month one kicked our ass, month two we recovered. Month three, here we come!