How Tracy Persson of Cozy Intentions leveraged the crowd to get the most out of her crowdfunding campaign
This is the first article in our Leveraging the Crowd Crowdfunding Series. Click here to read the second article with advice from Hannah and Dave Cree of Common Good.
First, a brief introduction to crowdfunding
Crowdfunding can be a fairly nuanced, all-or-nothing way to raise funds for your business. If you’ve never heard of crowdfunding, it is an exchange between the entrepreneur and the crowd (a collection of everyday people). The crowd gives money to the business in return for something it finds valuable (such as a product, service or unique experience). Popular crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter or Indiegogo have really increased awareness about crowdfunding. However, there is a catch: the entrepreneur only gets the funds if their campaign ends up fully funded. So if the business doesn’t reach 100% of their funding goal, the entrepreneur walks away empty handed and it’s back to the drawing board.
In this series of articles, we’re showcasing entrepreneurs who have gone through the process of creating and running a crowdfunding campaign, asking them to share their own tips and experiences so that aspiring entrepreneurs can learn how to crush their own campaigns.
Spotlight on Tracy Persson and Cozy Intentions
Tracy Persson’s campaign ran from July to August 2018, raising just over $22,000, more than doubling her original goal of $10,000. Her business - Cozy Intentions - brings clothing to the women’s market that can perform double duty as both sleepwear and everyday cozy clothing. So many women just crave the feeling of changing into pajamas at the end of a long day, but still want to look good while in them. This idea for Cozy Intentions inspired her nearly two years before she started her crowdfunding campaign, and as of today she’s nearly finished production of her first run of clothing pieces.
The success of the Cozy Intentions campaign is definitely something to strive for, and so she’s shared with us her personal advice on how to knock your own crowdfunding campaign out of the park.
Do your prep work
Ever heard the phrase “If it was easy, everyone would be doing it?” When it comes to launching a successful crowdfunding campaign, such words have never been truer. As much as it feels like you can just submit your application and get straight to work taking on the world of business, it’s crucial to start prepping your crowdfunding platform well in advance, and get feedback from friends, family and professional mentors.
“I have an amazing network of people that I talked to for months and months before I even launched the campaign, telling them what I was doing and sharing details about my business and my goals,” Persson says about her own campaign. “Really network that way with your friends and family, and then set up your social media.” Persson used Instragram for her business, setting up sneak peeks and encouraging a targeted audience to stay tuned and sign up for email notifications to make sure she was able to stay in touch with and excite potential backers. “You need to make sure you really understand your business and what you’re going to be doing going forward,” she advises.
Invest in your media
Whether you have a great business idea that you want to test or bring to market, or have launched a business that’s already up and running but needs more exposure, you need to have a way to showcase what you’re trying to achieve. Most crowdfunding platforms require you to have some sort of video to show off your business and entice people to fund your product or service, but if you’re selling products, having quality photos is a great idea to get the crowd excited about what you’re selling.
“Those first three minutes is key for someone watching to see what you’re putting out there. So working with someone who has some skills or a professional background to help you piece it together can be make or break. In my case, with the clothing, having the right photography to be able to showcase it better really helped,” Persson encourages. “I really think that initial investment really helped enhance and showcase my campaign.”
Networking is everything
Networking and self-marketing doesn’t stop once the campaign gets going. In fact, it’s may just be getting started. “Even though I had reached my goal within the first four days of launching my campaign, I also had a personal goal that I wanted to reach,” Persson explains. “And so it really became about just staying on top of it every single day, replying to comments, sending texts or messages, updating my social media status daily, sending out emails. Sometimes I felt like I was spamming people with all of it, but at the same time you have to to keep momentum up and keep your audience engaged, because you might get a little discouraged.”
This is especially true over the course of a crowdfunding campaign, as most campaigns experience a dip in engagement during the middle stretch. “There’s excitement at the beginning and excitement at the end, but there may be a few weeks in between where it feels like nothing’s happening, so keep that motivation up for yourself by networking with your community.”
Trust the entrepreneur in you
Believe in yourself. “If I could go back and give myself advice, I’d say to trust myself, to trust my instincts, to not always second guess everything,” she says. “It actually took me a few months from the time I sent in my application before I went ‘ok I’m going to go for it and do it,’ and I wish I would’ve done it sooner,” admits Persson.
“So I’d say to start before you’re ready. There is a lot of preparation that goes into the actual crowdfunding campaign, but also starting before you’re emotionally ready is key. I don’t think you’re ever going to feel 100% ready. That’s the advice I would give: just go and do it.”
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.