Big news, Kindred crew. We are crowdfunding!
We started out two years ago, when our founder, Alex Butler decided that she was going stir crazy working at home all the time. So, she persuaded a friendly creative hub – the wonderful Centre for Creative Collaboration – to give her space for a small group of freelancers to come together to work for the afternoon. 8 complete strangers came together, having found the event online and KindredHQ was born with its first pop-up coworking event.
Since then, we’ve been running a very popular blog at KindredHQ.com, hundreds more of our pop up coworking groups, meet ups, training days for creative graduates looking at freelance careers and peer support groups where you can share your freelancing niggles with people who’ve been there before. It’s all grown into a highly engaged, supportive community of over 4000 people who work for themselves or independently.
But it’s become clear that there’s room for us to do more and we’d like to grow so that we can provide more support and connections for our community. The more people that come on board, the more value it adds to the freelance economy.
We think we understand the unique way that freelancers work better than any bank and we don’t want to go down the traditional funding routes. After all, we want to be a very different kind of organisation. Crowdfunding is the perfect vehicle for us. We can take you along with us on our journey, meaning that if you fund us, you aren’t just handing over money; you’re instantly going to be part of something truly amazing.
And in true KindredHQ fashion, we’re going to share our experiences before, during and after we launch our campaign on crowdshed.com, so that you can pick up tips for your own campaign, and join us for the ride.
Today’s list is written by Alex, as she puts the final touches to our campaign which launches next week just after Crowdshed launch their own crowdfunding platform in the UK– so it really is right in the moment!
1. Don’t leave it all to the last moment.
Let’s face it. We’ve all got lots to do. Not least keep our clients happy. But one of the things that I’ve learnt is that even if you get lots of help, the responsibility is all on you to coordinate your campaign.
And it is a campaign. So you need to think about what you are going to ask, communicate and do for the entire time that your campaign is up on the site. As I speak, I’m thinking about what I will tweet, how I will update sponsors and what buttons I’m going to need to press.
I’m starting to feel that I’m running out of time….
2. Don’t be shy in asking for help
It’s ridiculous to think that you can do it all yourself. The great achievement of KindredHQ over the past few years is that we’ve built up a magnificent network of talented freelancers and partners who are itching to see us succeed. But of course, it’s not easy to ask for favours and on a few occasions over the past month, several people have asked me why I didn’t ask for help from them before.
The campaign that you’ll see when it launches next week is a melting pot of contributions from filmmakers, artists, writers, marketing experts and crowdfunding gurus. I’ll be shouting out some names throughout the campaign – but thank you all!
3. Don’t make it about the money
I didn’t start this process by thinking about the money that I could raise to help with KindredHQ. I’ve always said that it’s a welcome bonus. I just happen to think that crowdfunding is a really cool way to get more people on board with the freelance revolution and I believe that we can help a great deal more people find and sustain successful independent careers.
That’s proved to be a good way to keep focused on what the campaign should be about, and I recommend that anyone embarking on a crowdfunding project takes a similar approach.
4. Do keep the energy and communication up
Much of the advice I’ve taken on board over the past few weeks has been about how I keep up a sense of energy around the campaign. To be honest, at the moment, I’m so excited to be getting the message out there, that doesn’t seem to be an issue.
But I do know that it is going to require my commitment for the long haul, now, throughout the campaign and into the future. It won’t be enough to sit back and hope that people will find the campaign, let alone make the decision to part with their cash.
5. Do keep asking yourself why anyone should listen
Obviously I am completely passionate about building the Kindred community and giving freelancers everywhere the tools and confidence that they need. But I do need to convince people that I am the right person to drive this for now and why they should care about my campaign when there are so many other worthwhile causes.
So I’m putting effort into thinking about all the different ways I can reach people and articulate the benefits to them in a way that resonates with each individual.
I’ll be back in a few days to let you know how the launch goes and how you can get involved. If you’ve got any ideas, contributions or comments in the meantime – I’m all ears!
Premierline and some of the biggest business organisations – CBI, Nesta, UK Crowdfunding and Trillian Fund have written this very useful document. It’s a fully comprehensive online resource just launched, answering all questions SMEs/entrepreneurs may have about crowdfunding. Take a look:
*Expert tips from professionals and the advantages/disadvantages
*Ways of maximising success and the vital resources SMEs need
*Acts as an essential, go-to resource for those in business.