How Does a Solo Artist With No Following Raise $8000 on Kickstarter?

Is Stacy Lee a Kickstarter Genius?

She has 195 Facebook fans and 100 people on her email list. How the hell did she raise $8000 on Kickstarter?

The answer shouldn’t surprise you…

View Stacy Lee’s Kickstarter

Few “fans” but lots of deep human connections

“I was able to raise the $8k through the amazing support system I have here in the Minneapolis, MN area! I have a large family, and a very large group of people I can call friends who were extremely generous.

I have many friends in the volleyball community (which I have been in for 10 years), the musical community, friends from growing up, High school and College. It definitely helped that I had a couple huge pledges and a volleyball friend who was helping motivate our volleyball pals to consistently pledge $50-$100!

I have a pretty large following via my Facebook page (776 friends on my personal page and 194 fans on my Stacy Lee page), and it doesn’t hurt that I sent emails out to about 400 people every week. (yes mostly friends and family) Many of my contacts shared the information with their friends and family too!”

She chose fundraiser over pre-order

When Ian and I started our quest to analyze 100 Music Kickstarters, the very first misconception we had was something that Kickstarter actually tells you before you create your project:

“…if it’s a manufactured good, then it’s a good idea to stay reasonably close to its real-world cost.”

We were appalled that some very successful music Kickstarters were charging $25 or $30 for a CD!  But then we began to see a pattern.  Some people were framing their project as a pre-order, and some were framing their project as a fundraiser.  As you can imagine, the outcomes can be vastly different between these two mindsets.

Here’s an example of Stacy’s “fundraiser” pricing:

  • $10 single song download
  • $20 the digital album download
  • $30 physical cd
Stacy got one pledge for the $1000 private show and one pledge for the $750 signed acoustic guitar.  The rest of the pledges were between $10 and $150.
These backers pledged with emotion, not for goods sold. Which leads me to the third component of Stacy Lee’s Kickstarter success secrets.

She felt extreme passion and let show

“To tell you the God honest truth, I am completely shocked that I even reached my goal let alone raise $1000 over it!

…I was just so excited to share with everyone I know that I wanted to make an album, that it got others extremely excited to help me!”

This excitement, passion, and belief in your own project should not be overlooked. We can contribute the lack of this single element to many failed music Kickstarters we’ve seen.

The important thing to note here is that we’re not just referring to her video or project description.  Her passion and excitement came through in each one-on-one human interaction that took place on the campaign trail in that 30 day period.

Take Away

If Stacy can do it, so can you.

In the early stages of your artistic career, people won’t buy the product you make, they’ll buy why you make it. Stacy couldn’t be a better example of this philosophy.

BONUS: Stacy’s Minimum Viable Video

As a little bonus to this Kickstarter profile, I want to talk about how Stacy overcame an obstacle that nearly every project creator struggles with: her video.

Arguably one of the most basic, non-fancy, home-made looking Kickstarter videos I’ve seen, I’m proud of how she didn’t let the challenge to make an “awesome video” cloud her message. In the quote below, notice how she doesn’t even reference worrying about the video quality, let alone worrying about making something funny or entertaining…

“Making the video and deciding what to say on the main page was also a challenge. I wanted my message to be clear; that I had been wanting to make a childhood dream come true by recording a full length, fully produced studio album, and wanted them to be a part of the journey with me. Making sure my message didn’t seem to needy, or rude, or desperate. I wanted people to see how excited I was so they could get excited to back my project and be a part of this album!

The biggest frustration was the many hours spent figuring out all the details, making the video, proof reading over and over again, and getting feedback from some key people. After all that time and effort it still took me a little over a week before I finally had the courage to push the launch button!”

The lesson: Most people over think the video which can lead to a muddy message because they’ll try to be too clever or too dependent on “video quality”.  It’s the message that counts.


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