Validating: If you've considered using KickStarter but haven't, why not?

I’m nearing what I think is the end of my validation round as I’m definitely not hearing anything new anymore but this bit I’m asking here is more specific and the answers I get still vary widely.

If you’ve considered using KickStarter (or Indiegogo) to presell your product but haven’t, why not? What’s keeping you from doing it?

(Also, thank you to @SingleFounder and @Ken for helping me promote the original survey on Twitter. It’s still up if any of you have a minute and would like to add your thoughts.)

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I think Kickstarter only works for certain kinds of products, things like physical products or games that strike a chord with people, probably stuff they can’t get elsewhere. I don’t think it’s well suited for software since there is already a lot readily available. Looking at what packages people select on Kickstarter projects, it seems to me they’re pre-ordering a product at the lowest price as a consumer rather than investing in it’s creation.

Thanks for your thoughts Mark. What do you mean by this:

I think it means it is a lot harder to demonstrate “wow” factor in a software product that has not been built yet when there are probably so many competing products already out there.

I’ve seen people unsuccessfully try to fund the development of mobile apps on Kickstarter. Why would a consumer fund that when they can get something similar on the app store for free or 99c.

It’s probably a bit of an over generalisation - this software for creating mobile apps was successful, though it’s not aimed at consumers.

Gotcha. Thanks for clarifying. I appreciate it.

I’ve had a successful Kickstarter which got me several thousand dollars in sales. But I would most likely not do it again:

  • I not only had to pay KS fees, I had to pay Kickstarter’s tax on that and credit card fees as well. Which meant in practice I only got about 80% of the money I raised. Mind you, I still had to pay my own tax. If I sold directly, I could have kept 90-95%.

  • Most of the people who bought were from my own mailing list. And I was like, why am I giving up 20% when I could just have sold from my site?

  • You need to do a lot of marketing. As in hundreds of hours. In just a short, tense month.

  • KS only works for a few things, as others have noted. There are a few things that are popular. I just did some research on what was selling, and based my idea on that. But that limits your choices.

And finally, not as important, but KS really ties you down. Since you have committed to something, you can’t really change track. I was writing a book, and realised that some topics were better covered in a different way, but when I announced that, some people asked me for a refund. BTW, you don’t get the credit card fees and tax back on that.

In summary, KS isn’t a quick and easy way to raise some money. You really need to do a lot of work to get anywhere. And for me, if I’m doing that much work, I’d rather do it on my own platform, on my own terms.

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Great insight. Thank you so much. I truly appreciate it.

You’re the first to mention having to pay tax on KS’s fees.

On the KS fees page, UK is the only location listed that says anything about tax. I’m in the US so I’ll admit to being somewhat “VAT ignorant” but shouldn’t that be an issue in other European places as well?


I agree 20% off the top is huge. Since you already had your own site and your own list, what led you to KS in the first place? What advantage did you expect to get from being there?

I was young and naive. :slight_smile:

Also, I didn’t know the value of my own email list.

Hey Brandi,
In this interview on The Nights & Weekends Podcast (episode 9), Adrian Rosebrock (@adrianr) details how he used KS to successfully fund his project. He took a really unique approach to it. I don’t want to ruin his insights by trying to paraphrase them here, but I really liked his approach. Especially his thinking on how to choose a funding goal.

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Funny you mention that. I actually reached out to @adrianr about 5 seconds after finishing that episode. He made some pretty specific remarks that align perfectly with what I am working on. We’ll be setting up some time to talk soon and I’m very much looking forward to it.