What happened on your journey so far?

You need to build a platform to establish your authority and visibility, but what works and what no longer does?

 

Drawing a curious crowd
Maybe the original estimate of how many patrons or fans it takes to succeed just doubled.

 

Final Installment in a three-part series.

Part One: What’s Going On? Why?

Part Two: Where Are You Going?

What Happened on Your Journey So Far?

  1. What did you discover?
  2. What surprised you?
  3. What insights have you learned?
  4. What are new opportunities you are better positioned for?

What did you discover?

Well, first off data and information ages.

If you are like me articles randomly pop up that I believe will be important when I have time to review them.

One source for me is Medium.

Another is Flipboard.

Oh, and another is Apple News.

So you save them, tag them, and retrieve them sometime in the future when you’re ready for them.

When you can apply  the tips or secret know-how they describe.

And, of course by then, you discover the source disappears.

Which is a hard lesson to learn.

If you curate back up the originals, or lose access to pearls of wisdom you so desperately need now.

The best example?

Sign Up Before It’s Too Late

AnyWired missing in action.

Next discovery?

Figuring out which tools you should  use.

Do the “aging” tools still work?

Are they evergreen?

You need to build a platform to establish your authority and visibility, but what works and what no longer does?

Turning to crowdfunding, what did I learn?

I discovered I was at least 6 months behind.

While riffing on  self-publishing and marketing in 2016 Katherine Milkovich summed up  my journey so far.

It all just takes trial and error.

What works for somebody else, may not work for you.

What surprised you?

Maybe the original estimate of how many patrons or fans it takes to succeed just doubled.

The initial number ballooned from 1000 raving fans to 2000.

Behind again.

The biggest surprise?

At the beginning of 4th of July summer weekend, roughly a month and a half ago, I logged in to one of my 6 sites.

Clicked on its dashboard like I do everyday to write and rewrite and upload photos and link and …

WTF?

Out of nowhere I received 10 times more views than spam comments.

I’d been running an experiment on Flipboard and LinkedIn.

How did my post attract 592 followers of KnowLabs on Flipboard; 840 in LinkedIn.

It’s still a mystery how 404 people visited my site when only 10 to 12 on average bother to stop by.

Take a look for yourself. I’d love to duplicate it somehow.  Let me know what you think.

What insights have you learned?

WordPress help and support sites are outdated. 

It takes a long time for me to understand why things don’t work.

Administering the technical aspects of the six websites drains my energy.

That continuing steep learning curve steals time away from writing – what I love to do.

And, puts me into a failed-problem-solving frame of mind.

Not so conducive to creativity and clarity. Or maintaining a consistent 60-minute writing habit.

But, writing about the trial and errors encountered (know banking process) help me understand why something goes wrong. 

Those lessons could provide how-to steps for Millennials, 45+ Empty Nesters,  55+ year olds and Baby Boomers ready to move to a resort, quality-of-life community.

And, take their mobile, remote work with them.

What are the new opportunities you are better positioned for?

In the original book content, I skipped over the details for making money while you sleep. 

I assumed readers would already know how to do that, but not how to pick out the best place  to live – where other birds-of-a-feather liked them flocked. 

When this knowledge laboratory is more complete the content guidelines will be more detailed and maybe more marketable.

Some future topics – how to:

Business Ideas
  • Conduct a laboratory.
  • Bank new knowledge and expertise mastered.
  • Package and repackage your deposits into new products.

Next Steps:

  1. On Amazon / Kindle publish “On Your Own Terms: Pack More Meaning and Passion into Your Life” 
  2. Promote it as Book One of a five-book series in Volume One on all of my sites and on Flipboard and LinkedIn. 
  3. Join the Writing Cooperative and take their challenge covering all the mistakes I made in my first year (plus or minus) as a reluctant website administrator. 
  4. Repurpose those and drafts from The Knowledge Path – Volume Two and Three on Patreon. 
  5. Get MailChimp working as my primary vehicle for getting subscribers and supporters to review and leave comments on Amazon. Add Patreon link to my websites and my email, Flipboard and LinkedIn. 
  6. Automate a consistent process of content aggregation, curation, composition, and circulation. 
  7. Master the chain reaction  of Awareness – Interest – Liking – Desire – Trial – Repurchase and Regular Use. Make it easy for your fans to buy a piece of you, and then advocate on your behalf.
  8. Achieve the long-term goal of subscribing, sponsoring, then buying books and reports, joining membership.

What have you discovered on your journey?

Where Are You Going?

I strongly feel you have to stay relevant and more marketable than your competition.

Periodically I revisit my approach for creating new (for me) knowledge that I can apply more efficiently and productively.

 

My approach unfolds in three phases:

  • What’s Going On? Why?
  • Where Are You Going?
  • What Happened on Your Journey So Far?

Part One: What’s Going On? Why?

Where Are You Going?

  1. What if?
  2. What will you be able to do?
  3. What are your expectations?
  4. How will you feel?
  5. What will you know or understand?

What if?

With so much stuff out there, how do you know what to trust?

What if I apply the research I’ve already deposited into my knowledge bank over the years?

The Knowledge Path Series

What if, then, I can engage a following, both locally and online?

What if I can attract a large enough fan base to build other products they find unique and valuable? The second volume of “The Knowledge Path” series will be about finding the right fit in company cultures for you as you compare 16 organizational talent cultures.

What will you be able to do?

Cultivating “True Fans”

Subscribers, members and patrons learn from my experiences and follow step-by-step details for packaging and repackaging their expertise to generate passive income.

By creating a community, I’ll be able to learn from their experiences too.

We’ll find out what worked and what didn’t work together. 

They’ll follow along to learn from my mistakes and I’ll be able to incorporate lessons they learned as well.

What are your expectations?

Only modest income once the websites are fully functioning and attract enough followers.

Mostly from crowdfunding rather than from book sales. 

This lifestyle business serves as startup with tax write-offs and low initial costs.

My ROE (Return On Effort) slowly and incrementally builds to a longer term sustainable income stream.

How will you feel?

Knowledge Products for Making Money While Your Sleep

Email subscribers will become more accomplished having mastered social, digital media, crowdfunding and self-publishing skills.

I’ll feel gratified, helpful and proud.

What will you know or understand?

As an amateur muddling through and testing my self-help, do-it-yourself process I’ll finally figure out how to offer websites as products through WordPress multisite.

By following along email subscribers  can profit by following my steps and missteps.

With a member community we can refine our learned lessons and offer in the virtual world what I offer to executives in the real world.

Conduct a laboratory. Bank new knowledge and expertise mastered. Package and repackage your deposits into new products.

Where are you going?

Part Three:  What Happened on Your Journey So Far?

 

 

Bill from Colorado Springs, You’re on the Air!

I have to admit for an amateur like me, it felt good when LinkedIn analytics showed I reached 487 views of “Are You Ready for Natural Beauty and Awesome Adventures” .

 

 

Akismet has protected your site from 40 spam comments already. There’s nothing in your spam queue at the moment.

 

WTF?! Apologies to Marc Maron.

In my amateurish way it felt like capturing lightning in a bottle. 

The electrical charge felt good, I have to admit. 

But, then it propelled me into new territory where I felt uncomfortable, unready and anxious.

You know, 30 steps forward, 360 steps backwards.

Goal:

Build an email list of opt-ins of 2000 fans.

Objective: 

Figure out how.

Gap:

I don’t even have a network of 2000 people, let alone raving fans.

  • Not in Facebook.
  • Not on Twitter.
  • Not on Instagram or Pinterest.

Not on …

Wait a minute.

What about LinkedIn?

What about Flipboard?

What if I combine them?

How would I … ?

Honestly, I’d been too busily curating, composing and publishing organically without drawing any visitor traffic to speak of.

Not focusing on building a network as an urgent, gotta have it done today task on my project plan.

Here, I’m juggling too many balls in the air already.

Self-publishing kept me busy.

FREE ignites your WOMB.

Your Word of Mouth Buzz.

Marketing isn’t my strong suit, but I convinced myself I’d better figure out how.

Conventional wisdom in self-publishing says I should offer free pdfs as incentives to join my opt-in email list.

Right?

So a whole bunch of questions flooded my strained brain.

  1. I need pdfs ready to go – better finish them.
  2. When they’re done how do potential fans find them?
  3. If they find them what has to be set up in advance so they click on something to unlock access?
  4. Do I set up a page on my site with a special code, or what?

My brain ached.

First things first, I thought, finish the pdfs and worry about 2, 3 and 4 later.

It’s not like any of my sites draw volumes of traffic anyway.

So my works-in-progress:

Why what you thought you knew about tried and true career development may actually prove to be harmful to you.

This approach challenges the myths of networking that everyone hates anyway in favor for cultivating introductions and referrals to decision-makers without any competition.

In favor of being passed along from one circle of trust to another. Taps into the secret value-producing combination of doing what you enjoy with what is marketable to your new boss.

 

  • Major disruptions in our lives force us to change our normal habits. …
  • dictate where and how you retire,
  • the value of your house,
  • where you live,
  • your children’s education
  • and career choices,
  • your hobbies,
  • whether your are starting, buying, or selling a business,
  • your estate and tax planning, and even your charitable giving.

 

I discovered that mastering new rules is like trying to cross a swift moving white-water river.  

How far upstream do you need to begin?  You don’t don’t want to be swept too far downstream past your destination.

We drove over 3,000 miles through portions of California, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado and Utah, having hatched the idea sitting on the beach in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

 

What was her biggest fear when she left her old life behind in the big city? Becoming isolated and irrelevant.

With the right knowledge products producing multiple streams of residual income, you can overcome the challenge of having to make it in local rural markets.

Stories about Wireless Resorters and High Country Eagles leaving urban life.  

 

Craft a vision and challenge the early change-adopters with a call-to-action.

These leaders sponsor strategic, enterprise-wide changes required to reinvent the fortunes of their organization. 

Secrets of introducing enterprise-wide change into a cultural immune system by designing Knowledge Laboratories as small, incremental experiments designed to create new knowledge.

Get in on the ground floor of an emerging trend where there is very little competition.

 

Back to my anemic social media efforts.

What about LinkedIn? Here’s what I said to myself.

“Maybe, I’ll post this post on LinkedIn just to begin the process and see what happens.”

I wasn’t prepared for the jolt when I logged back into my Know Laboratories dashboard to edit and publish my next essay.

Why?

Here’s how I’m routinely greeted:

Akismet has protected your site from 40 spam comments already.
There’s nothing in your spam queue at the moment.

From “Artificial Intelligence, Quantum Computing and the Future of Work

“Hi Steve, I first noticed your name as a good friend here in fort Collins, now a local judge shares your same name.

Then I started reading your bio and saw some really interesting overlaps in our work.

Notably: 1. I have been applying new economy skills since 1990 and the lessons learned are still lessons corporations have yet to figure out today.

2. I have been toying with a great AI platform “Shaping Tomorrow” and love how responsive it is and its range of cognitive search.

But I already theoretically shaped 2 major uses that would put AI in a very positive light by enabling millions.

One connects education and industry on an even keel so students graduate with current or advantaged skills. The other provides startups with a far better option than incubators or accelerators by creating a complete online support ecosystem.

Love to at least chat with you by phone. I am in Fort Collins, CO and was strongly advised by digital guru and author Brian Solis to hold off retirement as he says the brightest people out there are trying to figure out,

What I experienced between 1990 and 2002 for my last 12 years leading a more conscious marketing effort for HP. Have advanced well beyond that now.”

What the … ?

It took me awhile to read and reread it and to double-check Akismet.

Looks legit,” I concluded.

Wait, if it is, then I’ll have to respond, right?

All I could think of was Amy Poehler’s description of improv work.

To whatever you acting partner throws out at you in the scene, you come back with “Yes and …”

“Thank you for taking the time to comment.

Sometimes I feel it’s like that old joke that if it weren’t for bad luck I’d have no luck at all – only in my case it’s spam comments.

Yes, I agree we traveled some of the same paths with many overlaps. For instance, I’ve been a member of Shaping Tomorrow for years and recently rediscovered a cache of emails from Michael Jackson which updated me with major leaps in their service and access to their AI robot, Athena.

Your two initiatives sound fascinating, timely and very worthwhile, Bill. Oh, and Fort Collins is one of my favorite places in Colorado.

If anyone else is interested, here’s the link to Shaping Tomorrow”

Where did that comment originate?

Organically, here on WordPress?

Or, from LinkedIn as I’m building my audience to 2000? 

I’ve been inviting roughly 100 at a time on my LinkedIn’s gallery of “people you may know.”

So far, I’ve doubled my network from 800 to 1612  “Followers”.

Good news.

In LinkedIn I’ve been consistently getting hundreds of views. 

But no difference on my site. 

One of my Executive MBA students lamented the same thing to me recently.  

She’d circulate her blog articles, but was consistently disappointed when very few readers actually clicked through to her website.

Though still anemic, the spike from my normal “views” in the teens to hundreds of views on Know Laboratories wasn’t normal.

To be honest, I paid little attention to my site analytics.

Hmm.

Was Bill from Colorado Springs non organic?

So, I continued posting  curated articles (same type of post) but one from Know Laboratories and the other from Best West Road Trips to LinkedIn.

First, Best West Road Trips.

My LinkedIn viewership sky rocketed.  

I have to admit for an amateur like me, it felt good when LinkedIn analytics showed I reached 487 views of “Are You Ready for Natural Beauty and Awesome Adventures” .

 It didn’t last very long.

It was quickly back to reality for me when after returning to the dashboard in my Best West Road Trips website:  only 29 visitors read the curated article.

Well, what if I join some LinkedIn groups, maybe that will stimulate site traffic, right?

I searched  LinkedIn Groups and discovered two.

Hospitality & Travel Forum with 291,014 members and Travel & Tourism Industry Professionals Worldwide with 284,820 members.

Second, Knowledge Laboratories.

Back to Bill from Colorado Springs.

He left a comment on Artificial Intelligence, Quantum Computing and the Future of Work

Something was different.

Why?

Now that I’ve been paying more attention and comparing analytics, something flipped the pattern.

Almost always viewership on LinkedIn is orders of magnitude more than on Knowledge Laboratories.

But there it was:

Know Laboratories website: 404 views.

From my LinkedIn audience of 1612: 360 views.

Now, what’s that all about?

It’s all good, right?

Still, why?

Steps:

11) Maintain a consistent process of content aggregation, curation, composition, and circulation.

12) Nurture your audience of followers striving to increase the number of your raving fans to 1000.

13) Make it easy for your fans to buy a piece of you, and then advocate on your behalf. 

14) Synchronize your selling process to your their buying process — master the chain reaction  of Awareness – Interest – Liking – Desire – Trial – Repurchase and Regular Use.

 

 

 

 

Skip These 6 Self-Publishing Truths at Your Own Peril

FREE ignites your WOMB.

Is it just “Phake Gnus” picked up and circulated by unsuspecting wannabes like me?

 

So far I’ve made it through Day Fifteen, halfway through AnyWired’s 30-day plan for building a viable freelance business.

Then I nearly lost it when I found out I was 180 to 365 days behind in my crowdfunding campaign.

Seriously.

I had to ask myself,

Why was I going through this grind in the first place?

How did this all start?

What was I thinking?

So, this was my dream.

Follow my passion.

Write a book.

Somehow get it published.

And, live happily ever after.

Look it was a dream, right?

Apparently, you can’t just publish a book and then do nothing.

In my field of dreams, I so wanted to believe that I could publish an awesome book and that would be enough to sell it. 

But, it doesn’t work that way out in the cold cruel world, unless you’re already famous. 

And I’m not. 

So what should I do?

Wake up.

Get out of bed.

Drag a comb across my head.

Make my way downstairs and drink a cup.

Or two.

And …

1. Give it away for free for a limited time, such as 30 or 90 days. 

Why, are you crazy?

Yes, but …

FREE ignites your WOMB.

 Your word of mouth buzz.

And momentum to boost your confidence and kick off your covert authentically real sales process.

But, wait there’s more. 

Seems like everyone quotes Seth Godin’s unconventional wisdom.

Is it just “Phake Gnus” picked up and circulated by unsuspecting wannabes like me?

Or a purple cow?

Yes.

Anyway.

You may not be as good a writer as you hope you are.  

The best way to find out is to ask your friends and relatives to share your FREE book.

If they decline, maybe you aren’t ready for prime time just yet.

But if you ask them “pretty, pretty please” to share with twenty of their friends, and they do.

And if each of their friends shares  your work of art with twenty more of their friends. 

And if each of them do too, and so on and so on, then the multiples of readers you can reach can be staggering.

In theory, right?

20 x 20 x 20 x 20 = 160,000.  

Not bad, eh?

If all goes right, when you bring your next book to market, you’ll have a strong, raving fan base.

Since it’s free with a capital FREE you can test your content without draining your bank account.

Especially if things don’t go according to plan.

Or your friends aren’t really your friends.

Or you relatives still haven’t gotten over your gaff during last Thanksgiving dinner.

But, realistically it’s the only way a first time author can publish successfully.

Or so I’m told.

What else?

2. Amazon sets the price structure.

On Amazon most ebooks fall under the $9.99 price ceiling. 

Pricing matters.

Low pricing attracts readers. 

At the right price point it motivates your potential audience to take a chance on your book.

Treat pricing as a knowledge laboratory.  

Huh?

Experiment with it over time to assess your readers’ response rates.

For you (and me) the price may have to be $0.99 to encourage (fake ) friends and non-friends and relatives to take a chance on you, an unknown author.

If your first time readers give you rave reviews, then you may succeed with a lower price but at a higher sales volume.

You may not make mortgage-paying income (yet).

But with an enthusiastic base, you’ll be better positioned to receive a publisher’s advance next time.

And pay off some of your growing credit card balances.

Or at least offer your next book at a much higher price.

3. Partner with the In Crowd 

Find and participate with large-traffic blogs, websites, newsletters, and social media writers.

On July 9, 2013 almost 5 years ago Rob Eager, On Digital Book World, wrote “How to Sell Ebooks: 5 Proven Tips” and listed seven of the most influential back then.  

According to Eager in 2013, getting your e-book mentioned help gets the word out leading to more downloads than you could have grown organically on your blog.

Basically, he said, “You can write to the administrators of these e-book blogs and request a feature on your book. 

Look for sites with free listings.

Or those that will feature your book for a fee. 

He also  said “Kindle Nation offers author sponsorship opportunities to promote your book for $99 to $400” (check for today’s fees).

Don’t overlook web-based ads.

You can run them on GoodReads and IndieReader.

4. After experimenting with all avenues  of “Free” and “near Free” check out  paid book reviews.

Besides book mentions and paid advertising, independent authors can pursue literary reviews of their work for a fee. 

Why?

You boost your legitimacy as an unknown author. 

While a lot has changed over the last five years, here are two of Eager’s recommendations to get you started on your trial and error testing:

If you’re like me, I hope you’re not for your sake, you’ll find that writing a book takes so long it impacts your ability to make a living. 

And apparently that’s not the half of it.

5. So wouldn’t it make financial-survival sense to find a sponsor? 

Like receiving an advance from a traditional publisher someone pays you to create your book. 

Even better than crowdfunding.

The mutual benefit accrues when you agree to offer your sponsor advertising space or promotional activities for them. 

Eager profiled Al Pittampalli who “landed Citrix Systems as a sponsor for his new ebook called, Read This Before Our Next Meeting. 

Citrix invented the popular GoToMeeting videoconferencing service (www.GoToMeeting.com), which is used by companies around the world. 

As a sponsor of Al’s book, Citrix got exposure to thousands of potential new customers. 

Likewise Al got funding through Citrix, legitimacy from their brand, and exposure to a much wider audience”

Great gig if you can get it, right?

How do you get it?

Begin by jotting down all the likely suspects you can even loosely associate with your book’s content.

  • People. 
  • Companies.
  •  Nonprofit Organizations 

Oh, right, you may need to do a little Googling or ask Siri and conduct a little market segment research too.

The key is to surface what each might have in common with you.

Like they want to reach their customers or donors with something new to keep them engaged, that you want to reach as readers and purchasers of your book. 

Then you contact  those organizations and pitch your value proposition.

That you’ll become a spokesperson for them.

Or your book is the ideal product placement opportunity for them. 

Really? 

Wait, what’s in it for them?

An avenue for marketing in a non-threatening, more authentic manner to their potential customers or donors. 

Seriously, you can do that?

Yup.

But the burden of proof falls on your shoulders. 

You have to convince them that your book’s audience appeals to their target market.

And that you can sell a lot of books.

6. It takes a knowledge laboratory to test what works and doesn’t. Now you tell me.

According to Eager:

“There has never been a more interesting time to be an independent author. The opportunities to self-publish and sell books are unprecedented.” 

Is interesting time enough?

Run a Knowledge Laboratory

What worked well 5 years ago may end up wasting your precious time  today. 

In fact, what worked well even a year ago might not cut it.

However, some of the fundamentals probably remain the same. 

  • You must write a great book that provides tangible value to the reader. 
  • Test that assumption with 20 of your friends and relatives.
  • Start small, use a low-cost pricing approach to gain new readers, 
  • FREE or near-FREE.
  • Grow your platform.
  • Connect with the in crowd of influencers. 
  • And if you dare, find a sponsor.

But,  keep Katherine Milkovich’s comment in mind (written in 2016).

There are always some new strategies, some of them are good while the others are not really worth my time because I saw no results. 

But there are some basics that never change, such as starting your blog and building your audience, using forums, guest posting… 

There are some useful tricks on https://katherinemilkovich.wordpress.com/2016/08/05/marketing/

(Oops, no longer.)

But I would suggest trying EVERYTHING and testing what works for you. 

This is what works best for me.”

What works for you?

Steps:

4) Nurture your passions and express your uniqueness — no one else can or will, for that matter.

11) Maintain a consistent process of content aggregation, curation, composition, and circulation.

12) Nurture your audience of followers striving to increase the number of your raving fans to 1000.

13) Make it easy for your fans to buy a piece of you, and then advocate on your behalf. 

14) Synchronize your selling process with their buying process — master the chain reaction  of Awareness – Interest – Liking – Desire – Trial – Repurchase and Regular Use.

How To Choose the Best Crowdfunding Platform for You

I Wikipedia-ed “crowdfunding” and stepped into a fire hose of choices. There were a gazillion. Oh, okay maybe not a gazillion. But a half a gazillion.

 

Funding Your Creations
Luckily, Jamey summarized the pros and cons of nine in addition to Kickstarter

 

On Day Fifteen, halfway through AnyWired’s 30-day plan for building a viable freelance business,  it recommended:

 “Read ‘Freelance Switch’s guide to Getting Started as a Freelancer.’”

Which, to tell you the truth I couldn’t find, but this seems to be a pretty comprehensive replacement, The Ultimate Freelancer’s Guide.

Emphasis on “Seems.”

I can’t really vouch for it.

But if you’ve joined me by taking the fork in the road at Jellystone Park on your way to “Crowdfunding Town,” then here’s one more thing to put on your to-do list.

I recommend you begin reading, “A Crowdfunder’s Strategy Guide: Build a Better Business by Building Community” by Jamey Stegmaier, sooner than later.

Why?

His 8 crowdfunding campaigns have raised over $3.2 million, and he shares his insights, mistakes, and lessons learned on this blog.

Stegmaier advises you to start building your crowd six months to a year before you intend to launch your crowdfunded product.  

Oh no.

I hadn’t completed the first 30 days and now he’s telling me I’m already 180 to 365 days behind?!

Look I knew crowdfunding loomed ahead in my not-too-distant future.

It was another lower priority get-smart-about task on my project plan.

Now what?

But, how are you supposed to catch up?

What are you supposed to do in the meantime?

Jamey moonlighted until he created a working prototype for a new board game.  

By the light of the silvery moon before and after his normal work day he practiced what he called writing long-form content and connecting with people online.

He had a goal in mind.

Build an email list of opt-ins of 2000 fans.

For Jamey, blogging established an online presence and a symbol of commitment and legitimacy.

As he explains it, context gives your growing opt-in fan base something to share while keeping them in the loop about your progress. 

And, of course strangers who aren’t already in your Facebook or LinkedIn networks can find you using search engines and finding your blog.

He highly recommends joining your chosen crowdfunding community to back other projects like yours and to actively participate without promoting yourself.

Spend time every day in forums that cater to your product.

So on top of following AnyWired’s advice of spending at least an hour daily just developing your skill, I’m supposed to spend even more time writing comments in a community?

Yup.

Why?

You’ll be building a trustworthy reputation over time.

And, it’s not just a numbers game.

Notice he upped “the game” to a goal of 2000 “opt-in” fans.

How?

You earn it the authentically old fashioned way.

By generously supporting other projects. 

While you do you pick up clues from other “creators in their backer communities.”

And you experience how they’ve built their high levels community engagement first hand.

It’s all good.

When it comes to crowdfunding, almost everyone recognizes Kickstarter, right?

Which is where Jamey funded his game.

But is Kickstarter right for you?

One of your first choices is to pick the best crowdfunding fit for your product, project or cause.

Until you do, you can’t build your reputation over time in its community, duh!

I Wikipedia-ed “crowdfunding” and stepped into a fire hose of choices.

There were a gazillion.

Oh, okay maybe not a gazillion.

But a half a gazillion.

Luckily, Jamey summarized the pros and cons of nine in addition to Kickstarter in his book on pages 21 through 23.

  • Kickstarter
  • Indiegogo
  • GoFundMe
  • Patreon
  • Crowdrise
  • Quirky
  • Ulule
  • Tilt
  • Pozible
  • Crowdfunder

Let’s start with Kickstarter. 

  • Jamey points out it’s easy to use because backers can quickly browse and
    Funding Your Creations

    discover new projects – yours, right?  

  • He likes the sense of community.  
  • It feels like all the crowdfunding backers come together to make you successful – their common goal. 
  • Compared to some of the other platforms, Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing funding community.  
  • You set your goals and timeline and nobody’s credit card is charged if you don’t meet your milestones. 
  • Oh, and it is reward-based.  Supporters actually get the product you create.
  • The next closer to Kickstarter may be Ulule since according to Jamey is a “Kickstarter-like” European version. 

Similar to Kickstarter, Indiegogo offers a little more flexibility.  

  • You can fund your life and charity projects in addition to products. 
  • But your backers will find charges on their credit cards when they decide your project, product or cause merits their financial participation. 
  • So money flows to you even before meeting your goal. 
  • A little less important difference concerns your project page.  
  • You can move your current featured level to the top of your sidebar.  
  • That may seem cosmetic.  But, just the position may turn out to drive more funding your way.

Before moving on to other life, cause, or charity funding platforms, lets review Tilt, Quirky and Crowdfunder for idea people and entrepreneurs among us.

Got what you think is an awesome business idea or new product, Quirky might be for you.   

  • Especially, if you’ve got ideas but are clueless like me about how to design or actually manufacture it.  
  • No problem.  Here how it works in a nutshell.  
  • You participate in two basic ways.  Propose your epic idea.  
  • And vote on ideas that other members submit. 
  • You get to influence product designs. 
  • And if Quirky’s team actually manufactures and sells the product, you earn a stake in its future revenues.

Crowdfunder operates essentially an equity-based platform most similar to what traditional angel investors do.

  • And, you get to participate in startups, but for a pledge of several thousand dollars – traditional angels need to pledge $50,000 or more.  
  • So while it’s not a cheap date it Crowdfunder gets you in the game for considerably less out of pocket.

We haven’t mentioned fees for creators using platforms to attract supporters.  

  • Tilt, what Jamey calls a tipping point-focus resembles Kickstarter in that no charge hits your backer’s credit card until your goal is reached.  
  • But the fees for creators are low — free or 2.5% versus what other sites may charge in the 8-10% range. (The platform is being retired in June 2018 having become part of the Airbnb family)

More like Indiegogo than Kickstarter are three platforms that allow creators to keep donations and pledges – GoFundMe, Crowdrise and Patreon.

GoFundMe allows any kind of project – product, charity, life or causes.  

  • You aren’t marching against a set time for a deliverable and you don’t offer rewards for funding support.  
  • As donations flow in you get to keep pledges almost immediately.  
  • And some creators appreciate the option to accept pledges through a widget that you can include on your own website.  
  • No need for potential supporters to visit your GoFundMe page on their site.  
  • If they land on your website, they can pledge on your website.

What about Crowdrise?  (by gofundme, now?)  

  • If you’ve got a cause or a charity campaign this platform might be for you.  
  • Like GoFundMe you don’t offer rewards for supporters.  
  • You don’t need to develop funding goals or campaign time limits.  
  • And, you get to keep all funds.

What about Patreon?  Who is it for and what is it like?  

  • Turn to Patreon if you’re creating something new like the others.  
  • Or, if you want to raise money for continuing making content you already produce on a regular basis.  
  • Like subscriptions to a podcast.  
  • Jamey wrote about the “Secret Cabal Gaming Podcast” campaign.  It generated almost $550 per episode produced from just over 225 patrons (supporters).  
  • You may consider $1 a month request for a subscription to help defray software or hosting costs.  
  • Once patrons pledge their small amount to support you, they are charged in small increments on their credit card which continues on an ongoing basis.

And finally, how does Pozible stack up?  

Pozible combines some of the elements from both Kickstarter and Patreon.

  • In the Spring of 2015 Pozible claimed a 57% project success rate.
  • Much better than some of the most popular platforms
  • It supports one-time pledges.
  • Like Kickstarter, projects include rewards for different levels of pledges.
  • It also supports a subscription model like Patreon in a flexible payment system.

So, some crowdfunding platforms are changing.  Being repurposed like Tilt which is now part of the Airbnb family or Crowdwise operated by GoFundMe. 

Lessons are being learned driving pivots to emerging business models.

And competition is making products more efficient and productive for creators and sponsors.

Popular functions and features on one platform show up on another.

But, unless you’re in the business of reporting on the changing scene the best advice still boils down to moonlighting.

  • Choose the platform tailored to you. 
  • Participate as a supporter 
  • Engage with other creators in your niche category.  
  • Learn how they convert a crowd into their community.  

While you activate your before, during, and after launch campaign strategy.

Oh, and  travel six months back in time to when you were younger, smarter and build your opt-in fan base. 

Day Eight: With Two Yogis at a Fork in the Road

Day Seven:  Is It Worth All Those 3 am Wake Up Panics?

Day Six: Who Should Take the First Step the Chicken or Egg?

Secrets

“Alas, it’s not a get-rich-scheme and doesn’t work that way.”

Get Your Piles of Cash
A Subscription Authority Site – Avoiding Scams, Schemes and Serial Secret Sellers

 

An excerpt from Book Two in “The Knowledge Path Series” dedicated to helping you make more money from a lifestyle businesses you’re truly passionate about.

You’ve built your “subscription authority site” which is a fancy way of saying you’ve opened up a place where readers and viewers can follow what you have to say and show.

Master Tools at Your Disposal

When visitors from LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, YouTube or any search engine or social media channel follow a link and arrive for the first time, they need to know how to get the most out of your subscription.

Like job-seekers who want to find a paying job at a networking event, many consultants and self-published authors want a website that turns the income streams on from day one.

Like a “Knowledge ATM.”

  • Alas, it’s not a get-rich-scheme and doesn’t work that way.
  • Instead, you write something not to make an immediate sale, but rather to gain an audience.
  • You want readers and viewers to sign up to receive your newsletter, subscribe to your feed and eventually become one of your “raving” fans.
Sign up for future releases

But, who could blame artists, authors, freelancers, consultants and moonlighters?

To me, in my “get-up-to-speed learning phase,” the Internet felt like it was overrun with Get-Rich-Quick Schemes.

Sign Up Before It’s Too Late

Face it.

  • If you’ve been struggling you’re especially vulnerable to pitches promoting secrets to success, unrealistic wealth, achieved in no time at all.
  • Especially if all you have to do is to agree to pay upfront fees to learn formulas only the pros know.

Wikipedia even weighs in:

“The get-rich-quick scheme will heavily imply that the consumer will be able to earn much more than this small investment when they apply the special, secret techniques revealed in their training material they will send.
Such training material is typically in the form of e-books or training CDs.”

Age Old Pitches, Different Media

Wikipedia does a great job of summarizing what took me years in fits and starts to identify:

  • “They will imply that anyone signing up will become rich within months to a year.
  • They will tell potential victims that the route to success is by following “secret formulas” that no one else knows about.
  • They will often claim they have been seen on various websites such as Google and YouTube, causing the viewer to assume said websites endorse the product.
  • They will use pressuring tactics to get the victim to sign up quickly, such as claiming that there are only a certain amount of copies of a CD left, or using special discount prices that are only available for a short amount of time.
  • Schemes such as this will often employ the tactic of displaying testimonials from ‘previous users.’”
  • When trying to navigate away from their website, users are often presented with popup windows offering further discounts, in an attempt to make the user feel special.”
Ponzi Pyramids

Another indicator is the way the schemes are advertised.

  • “Many schemes will post so-called “success stories” on post-your-own-article websites.
  • Schemes like this will also be advertised through serial promoters.
  • Serial promoters are individuals who are not directly affiliated with a given scheme, but will promote from one to the next almost everyday.
  • In return the owner of the scheme may do the same for them, or if the get-rich-scheme is a Ponzi scheme, the serial promoters will be invited to join early in order for them to make money from new recruits.”

Steps:

(5) Choose the “Preneur” business model that brings out the best in you – freelancing, consulting, franchising, Internet marketing or establishing a Knowledge ATM.

Fans

“The long tail is famously good news for two classes of people; a few lucky aggregators, such as Amazon and Netflix, and 6 billion consumers.”

“The Long Tail” by Chris Anderson
Connect with Your  Fan Base: Why You Need to Build and Nurture Your 1,000 True Fans.

An excerpt from Book Two in “The Knowledge Path Series” dedicated to helping you make more money from a lifestyle businesses you’re truly passionate about.

Here’s the “secret.”

“To raise your sales out of the flatline of the long tail you need to connect with your True Fans directly. 

Another way to state this is, you need to convert a thousand Lesser Fans into a thousand True Fans.”

A word of happy-ever-after caution.

“Who Owns the Future?” by Jaron Lanier

Customers looking for deals at commodity prices recommended by friends, and people they don’t even know, win with the long tail model.

But by far and away companies that own what Jaron Lanier calls the “Siren Servers” in his book, “Who Owns the Future?” make out like bandits.

Kelly agrees with Lanier:

“The long tail is famously good news for two classes of people; a few lucky aggregators, such as Amazon and Netflix, and 6 billion consumers. 

Of those two, I think consumers earn the greater reward from the wealth hidden in infinite niches.”

Kevin Kelly: http://kk.org/thetechnium/1000-true-fans/

But for the rest of us, Kelly reveals the reality about living and creating in the Long Tail marketplace.

“Individual artists, producers, inventors and makers are overlooked in the equation. 

From Premium to Commodity Pricing

The long tail does not raise the sales of creators much, but it does add massive competition and endless downward pressure on prices. 

Unless artists become a large aggregator of other artist’s works, the long tail offers no path out of the quiet doldrums of minuscule sales.”

The gist of “1,000 True Fans” can be stated simply:

“A creator, such as an artist, musician, photographer, craftsperson, performer, animator, designer, video-maker, or author – in other words, anyone producing works of art – needs to acquire only 1,000 True Fans to make a living.”

Seriously?

Where do you find them?

Closer to the curve that splits the long tail from the head of the tail.

These raving fans are ready and willing to … pay you!

How do you know when you’ve found one?

Cultivating “True Fans”

Here’s Kelly again:

“A True Fan is defined as someone who will purchase anything and everything you produce. 

They will drive 200 miles to see you sing. 

They will buy the super deluxe re-issued hi-res box set of your stuff even though they have the low-res version. 

They have a Google Alert set for your name. 

They bookmark the eBay page where your out-of-print editions show up. 

They come to your openings. 

They have you sign their copies. 

They buy the t-shirt, and the mug, and the hat. 

They can’t wait till you issue your next work.” 

Making It in the Long Tail

Here’s the rub.

The key challenge is that you have to maintain direct contact with your 1,000 True Fans.

“Not every artist is cut out, or willing, to be a nurturer of fans. 

Many musicians just want to play music, or photographers just want to shoot, or painters paint, and they temperamentally don’t want to deal with fans, especially True Fans. 

For these creatives, they need someone else to manage their fans.“

How does it work?

How Networking Effects Works

By taking advantage of networking effects.

“As your True Fans connect with each other, they will more readily increase their average spending on your works. 

So while increasing the numbers of artists involved in creation increases the number of True Fans needed, the increase does not explode, but rises gently and in proportion.

The number of True Fans needed to make a living indirectly inflates fast, but not infinitely.

Once you are in that mode, the actual number will become evident.”

Are there creative ways to make it work for you when you have a fan base?

Why not crowd-source your next book?

Funding Your Creations

Before there was Kickstarter there was Fundable, a web-based enterprise which allowed anyone to raise a fixed amount of money for a project, while reassuring the backers the project  happened.

They acted like an escrow account until the full amount was collected, and they return the money if the minimum is not reached.

Kelly says to try the street performer twist.

“Using the logic of a street performer, the author goes directly to the readers before the book is published; perhaps even before the book is written. 

The author bypasses the publisher and makes a public statement on the order of: ‘When I get $100,000 in donations, I will release the next novel in this series.’

Status of Crowd Funding Campaigns

Readers can go to the author’s Web site, see how much money has already been donated, and donate money to the cause of getting his novel out. 

Note that the author doesn’t care who pays to get the next chapter out; nor does he care how many people read the book that didn’t pay for it. 

He just cares that his $100,000 pot gets filled. 

When it does, he publishes the next book.” 

Steps:

(12) Nurture your audience of followers striving to increase the number of your raving fans to 1000.

Appeal

“Find one or two lifestyles that describe you, then the logic goes other neighborhoods that attract the same  “Birds-of-a-Feather” lifestyle would appeal to you.”

Peel Away the Outer to Find Your Inner Appeal
An ongoing case study: How to convert thousand lesser fans into a thousand true fans, so they buy enough to support you and make a little profit?

Here’s the part I’ve always hated.

Crafting the sales message.

And, there’s a little irony.

To be successful you have to appeal to human motivations and I earned a masters degree in psychology.

The problem for me has always been that as a professional knowledge worker — in my case a consultant, coach and trusted advisor — we were trained not to advertise or to market ourselves

The path to a thousand raving fans was taken one referral step at a time.

No Advertising or Sales

Not by running ads.

Or by selling.

But by transforming clients with so much value they became enthusiastic advocates.

Can you advertise and sell online without crossing over into the “scam territory?”

Sure.

For the last few years I found plenty of information and inside intelligence that online marketers and other less scrupulous “Make Money Online” entrepreneurs misused.

But some of it could and should be used by legitimate consultants and lifestyle business owners.

Formula for Attraction

How can you convert a thousand Lesser Fans into a thousand True Fans?

So they buy enough to support you and make a little profit?

Keep these tips in mind.

One of the things that motivates you is to avoid unpleasant things.

Will your “knowledge product” – book or ebook, for instance – save your true fans from making a fool of themselves?

If Only You Knew in Time

Remember high school and how embarrassed you felt from time to time because you didn’t know or understand what everyone else did?

Television ads reminded us how bad our breath smelled or our stinky body odor offended the those around us.

We didn’t have a clue.

Others did though.

Or so the ads implied

There’s that whole wall of worry.

Stuff that makes us uncomfortable.

Things like worrying about having enough money …

  • for paying our monthly bills,
  • for our doctor visits,
  • for the car payment and
  • for what the insurance company won’t pay because of our high collision deductible.

As an entrepreneur you wake up abruptly at 3 a.m. in the dark doubting your ability.

  • Money is running out.

    Gotta Get Back To Sleep
  • Did you seriously underestimated the market for your product or service?
  • Can your knowledge product or service offer peace of mind ?

During the Great Recession we all worried if we would keep our jobs.

If we lost them we worried we might not find another one that paid as well located within a reasonable commuting distance.

Just before the Memorial Day holiday a couple of years ago one of the Chief Marketing Officers who volunteers to mentor our Executive MBA students shocked me.

I knew he lost his job, which comes with the territory when you reach age 50 and finally pull in the big bucks.

What I didn’t realize was how traumatic his situation was.

Now What?

He lost his house because he couldn’t make payments on his mortgage – a wapping $6,000 a month.

And he had to find and move into a two bedroom apartment that long weekend.

Plus lease a storage unit for all the stuff that wouldn’t fit.

Not only did he and his wife suffer the loss of their home and their wealthy influential lifestyle that came part and parcel with it, but their basic feelings of security disappeared that weekend.

Neither he nor his wife could qualify for for social security or medicare coverage.

At least not for another 12 years.

But, the truly shocking part he told me was he had taken out and spent equity loans while he drained his 401K accounts to make his lavish lifestyle “ends meet.”

In my chapter, “Why Careers Are like Real Estate Markets,” I described the dilemma many like my CMO friend faced.

They find themselves at the cross roads between “Doing What You Love vs. Doing What You Hate” and “Living in the Same Geographical Location vs. Moving to a New Preferred Community.”

“My passion and location stories described four different communities …  ‘Wealthy Influentials,’ ‘Wireless Resorters,’ ‘High Country Eagles,’ and ‘Permanent Temporaries.’”

Here’s a snapshot of each.

Permanent Temporaries don’t anticipate the future well and have a hard time adapting to new work realities. 

Many become consultants and entrepreneurs because they can’t find full-time employment. 

Guarded Gate Communities

They aspire to live in, or return to, the guarded-gate communities of the Wealthy Influentials. 

What if they’re forced to relocate, where do they go?

When forced to move to lower cost-of-living neighborhoods they choose small university towns populated with High Country Eagles in higher quality-of-life communities. 

But, they long for face-to-face project-based work as a way of affiliating with other people on a more regular basis.  

Succeeding at interim work demonstrates their value in a new organization. 

What about the trade offs?

Between projects they miss the teamwork and seek to counterbalance the isolation and extreme independence they are forced to endure being on their own – no matter if they’re  interim middle managers, trapped urbanites or just starting over in a new marriage, neighborhood or way of life.

Wealthy Influentials live in neighborhoods that showcase their status and affluence

Viewed from the outside, it’s as if they’ve cornered the market with a wealth-generating machine. 

Like my Executive MBA Mentor once was able to afford …

They find a safe haven for high margin income, pay for a high cost of living, accumulate peak real estate appreciation, and live in a secluded, secure, and mature suburbs or an upscale metropolitan center. 

Selling products or services to this group means offering highly personalized, luxury, and one-of-a-kind experiences.

What if you found yourself in a similar situation?

How about …

Quality-of-Life Lifestyles

Wireless Resorters share the love of a new quality-of-life community with High Country Eagles. 

They realize that with the ability to operate anywhere there is Internet access, anyone can move to unspoiled smaller towns and rural regions. 

Many moved to the mountains areas that became destination vacation  areas like the ski resorts in Colorado.

All four lifestyles populate thousands of thousands of communities from coast to coast.

Across the western region of the United States you’ll find residents in Wealthy Influential neighborhoods like Del Mar or Coronado in California; 

High Country Eagle towns like Sedona or Bisbee in Arizona or Angel Fire and Taos in New Mexico; 

Permanent Temporaries parts of Reno, Nevada or Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; 

or, in some of the better known ski resorts attracting the Wireless Resorters like Breckenridge and Steamboat Springs in Colorado.” 

What if you could find the perfect town for you with just the right kind of neighborhood you’d love?

Claritas, now Nielsen Segmentation, helped pioneer market segments initially based on each new census update.

They linked consumer behaviors for “shopping, financial, media and much more …” with household lifestyles living in specific zip codes across the United States.

Household Shopping Lifestyles

If you’ve ever received direct mail addressed to you or “current resident” those marketers are taking advantage of household data.

The key to their business model unlocks a specific zip code.

In their PRIZM segmentation you can slice and dice over 60 different lifestyles ranging from high to low degrees of affluence and status.

By age and life stage.

Type in your current zip code and they’ll supply you with the top four or five lifestyles in your community.

Find one or two lifestyles that describe you, then the logic goes other neighborhoods that attract the same  “Birds-of-a-Feather” lifestyle would appeal to you.

Try to search for that lifestyle in their segmentation database and build a “Bucket List” of awesome zip code neighborhoods.

Can’t do it.

Doesn’t work that way.

  • But, what if you devoted the time to reverse engineer it?
  • And, you “mobilized” your lifestyle business?
  • Once you authentically built your virtual community of a 1000 raving fans?
  • You could move them with you, right?

And, you’d be able to zero in on regions and communities varying from …

  • high to low  density,
  • from urban to suburban, exurban, rural and
  • remote populations.

You wouldn’t have to worry about making a living solely from the locals.

Instead, you’d live that quality-of-life that can bring out the best in you.

More on that later.

An excerpt from Book Two in “The Knowledge Path Series” dedicated to helping you make more money from a lifestyle businesses you’re truly passionate about.