Tyson Cable certainly wasn’t underpaid as a mining project manager in Western Australia’s Pilbara region, but when he decided to take a 12-month motorcycle trip from Perth to Estonia, he went to Kickstarter for funding.
Cable left his job at iron ore producer Atlas Iron in December with a $75,000 budget for the trip.
He launched a Kickstarter funding campaign in February, seeking a total of £1,000 ($1,660) by April, when he was due to leave.
Cable ended up raising a total of £4,181 ($6,942) from 53 Kickstarter backers, of whom almost 1 in 3 were strangers, he said.
“It might seem obvious but £1,000 isn’t much,” Cable told Business Insider. “The project is not-for-profit … It was a bare minimum target designed around participation.
“I was planning on doing something so big and life-changing that I felt intimidated by the scope. I wanted to feel that I wasn’t alone when I took it on.
“The limit had nothing to do with the costs involved but everything to do with indicating whether enough people liked the project for me to run it throughout the journey.”
Cable, who describes himself as a “world traveller and photographer”, offered 8 rewards packages to his funders.
These ranged in value from two digital photographs for pledges of £5-£9.99 to a customised hardcover photo book, digital photo book, 10 digital images, and 10 “photo challenge credits” for pledges of £750 or more.
“Photo challenge credit” holders can ask Cable to take a custom photo along his journey, for example: a photo of Angkor Wat at night, or a photo of an old Indian man staring at the camera.
Cable provides all his backers with GPS location updates so they may track his movements on Google Earth.
“The project combined three important elements; adventure, motorbike and photography,” Cable said.
“It doesn’t take long to realize that everyone loves to travel. Its almost a universal cure for unhappiness because it injects a positive, powerful experience into our lives that we cannot help but be buoyed by.”
“Nearly all of the rewards were sold on Kickstarter while many more packages were sold offline.
“This resulted in a fairly significant project requiring a serious suite of professional skills to manage it effectively. This is something I know a lot about from my career in mining.”
Cable’s Adventure Photo Challenge isn’t the only Australian trip to have been funded through Kickstarter.
In late 2011, Sydney-based photographer Louise Hawson raised $21,421 to travel the world with her daughter and photograph 52 ‘unfamous’ suburbs around the world.
Oregon-based Daniel Evans last year raised $2,401 to travel to Australia and New Zealand, to film his friend Kevin Kowalski participating in a series of skateboarding competitions.
Most of Evans’ backers were fellow skateboarders who he had met over the years.
“Ultimately, I think somewhere around $150-$175 was taken by Kickstarter [in fees],” Evans told Business Insider. “My airfare was $1,900. I used what was left for food while working on the project … the whole trip was some $3,000.”
“I have been fortunate enough in my years of travel to meet some of the greatest people ever. And when it came time to ask for help they stood up and put their hands out.
“Honestly I was very nervous, at first, of how people would react to my asking for money … I must admit it was really heart warming to receive such earnestness and kindness from people who I only met once. They reached out to me and said very kind things about my work.”
Evans and Cable credited the promotional videos they each created for Kickstarter for their success.
Here are Cable’s tips for attracting Kickstarter funding:
Create a video that’s entertaining and describes the project, its goals and engages people emotionally – without a video a project will not be as successful.
Make sure that you set project goals that you could realistically achieve … Pledgers must assess the risk against the project failing and you should respect them enough to be honest about your abilities to improve their assessment.
Provide reasonable evidence that supports your character and skills in achieving the goals. Business is about people so people want to know that you have the moral fibre and professional skills to deliver the success criteria.
The credibility angle begins with the usually neglected processes of marketing and public relations. This is something that you’ll have to become proficient in if you want the project to grow.
Create a business cost-benefit analysis for yourself. Know your expected costs and round them upwards, then estimate your expected revenue and round downwards.
Sometimes motivation isn’t financial (as is my case) but if it is, make sure you’re happy with what you’re getting paid.
Build fun into the project. People often pledge because of the entertainment and novelty of being involved of your project so make it fun for yourself and you’ll make it fun for them too.
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