How Erin Grujic of Sensational Path leveraged the crowd to get the most out of their crowdfunding campaign.
This is the fourth article in Leveraging the Crowd Crowdfunding Series. If you haven’t read the previous articles, click here to start at the beginning to expand your arsenal of tips and tricks for crowdfunding.
In her 18 years as an occupational therapist, Erin Grujic recognized her love of working with children. She also identified an important need for specialized therapy services in rural communities like her own. Many of these services for children are only offered in urban centres, and for a lot of rural families, getting out to them can be a near-impossible task. Grujic decided it was time to take action and create something that empowered families and children in rural communities. She launched her crowdfunding campaign for her business Sensational Path, a mobile sensory integration clinic that would allow her to bring specialized sensory care to rural communities in Southern Alberta.
During the course of Erin’s crowdfunding campaign, which was launched March 2018, she was able to raise $11,310, exceeding her original goal of $10,000 to put towards converting a school bus into the mobile sensory clinic of her dreams.
Use your existing network
Networking is absolutely critical to the success of crowdfunding campaigns, but as a concept, it can be easier said than done. Where do you start? How do you engage without coming across as inauthentic? Start from those close to you and work your way out. “To try and keep track of who I should be talking to, I made a big list of everyone I knew, and then just started asking them for support by telling them what I was doing,” says Grujic. “Let them know why you’re doing what you’re doing, and what’s in it for them. That could be the rewards your offering, but depending on who you’re talking to, the services your business offers could also be enticing to them.”
Sometimes you don’t even fully realize how impactful the people in your circle can be on your business; there may be someone out there who will be able to add additional value to your business even after your campaign is over. “Once my campaign was complete, I had to figure out how to convert a bus into a mobile sensory clinic. I had to find someone who could take my idea and move it forward. But no one knew how to do it,” Grujic recalls. “In the end I didn’t give up. I kept asking for help and it was my childhood friend who said, ‘hey I know how to do that!’ Don’t give up!”
Find your people
If your business is based around a niche service like Grujic’s was, not everyone is going to see the importance of buying in. And that’s ok. “I used the crowdfunding platform to validate my business idea. I had to be prepared for it to be rejected by some, or even by many, as a major reason for launching the campaign was to see if others would buy in,” Grujic explains. “You won’t be everyone’s cup of tea but don’t take it personally. Surround yourself with good emotional support.”
There’s always someone out there who needs what you are selling, it’s just a matter of locating them. “Find the ones who love what you offer and get them to support you and spread the word. I found people who I didn’t know before the campaign who loved what I was doing. They offered rewards on my campaign and cross-promoted my product with theirs. In short, find your people!” adds Grujic.
Take time to reflect on your accomplishments
When you’re building and constantly working at growing your business or crowdfunding campaign, it can be all too easy to focus on what you haven’t gotten done instead of what you’ve already accomplished. Grujic noted that it’s important to stop for a second and remind yourself of all that you have achieved. “When you’re living it, it’s easy to feel like you’re not progressing. I was feeling stuck in the construction phase, and it wasn’t until I was asked to talk at an event about my journey that I really reflected on just how far I’d come,” explains Grujic. “It’s good to have a goal obviously, but have patience and definitely make sure to celebrate the wins often.”
And if all goes well, you may come out of your campaign with more than just capital. “Through the crowdfunding campaign, I gained some great contacts who have been instrumental in my journey. Network, express gratitude toward those who help, and just enjoy the journey!”
Looking for more tips on how to crush your own crowdfunding campaign?
Check out our other articles about crowdfunding and accessing capital, alongside the other articles in our Leveraging the Crowd series with our crowdfunding role models.