I haven’t tried it, but I thought about it.
I think it is a very interesting approach. If you do meet your funding goal you get:
- a list of people who love your idea
What’s not to love? This solves so many of the initial hurdles of bootstrapping.
I think the downside is that not all products will be a good fit for crowdfunding. Also, from what I’m reading it’s actually quite hard to succeed unless you have a killer idea and you know how to present it. In that sense you’re back to square one.
Nonetheless it might still be easier to do a successful crowdfunding campaign than to build an MVP and start selling. And at least the work you do to create your campaign (developing your message, getting the word out, etc…) is directly helpful to your business later if you get that far (unlike blogging or ebooking which are more tangentially helpful).
Then there is the question of what do you do if your campaign didn’t succeed? Is that a clear indication that the idea won’t fly? Seems like a harsh test. Or do you take what you learned and build an MVP anyways? Great, now you’re back to square one again.