Kickstarter for musiciansLessons learned in the middle of a Kickstarter campaign

[This article was written by jazz pianist and CD Baby artist George KahnRead part 1 of the series HERE, and part 2 HERE, part 3 HERE, and part 4 HERE.]

The Jazz & Blues Revue is now 35 days into our 40-day Kickstarter campaign: Five days left. We just hit $15,891. It feels like an amazing achievement, but we still have $2,109 to go to meet our goal. And, since Kickstarter is an “all or nothing” fundraising site, we have to still hit the $18,000 number or it all turns to dust.

I remember having a discussion with the band members months ago when we were planning our launch. How high should we set our target? When I ran the numbers, I felt it would be realistic to set the target at $18,000, since Amazon and Kickstarter take almost 10% of the total in fees. So our $18,000 goal is really only a $16,200 budget, and I knew that producing and manufacturing the album of 13 songs would cost at least that. I did not want to short-change the process in the hopes of hitting a lesser goal. We set it at $18,000, and I am still confident that in the next 5 days we can raise $18,000.

Are there moments of panic? Absolutely. Is there fear and embarrassment? You bet. But there is no time to waste on doubt and false evidence that appears real. It is time for action.

By the time you read this, our project will be ending (it ends on Friday July 11,2014 at 2:00 PM in the afternoon), and I know it will be successful. Why do I know? Read these last lessons I learned during the process:

1. Stay Positive

I am not a big fan of positive affirmations – I think there is a fine line between always being positive and being delusional.  But I think it is important to surround yourself with positive, like-minded individuals, so at times like this listening to Brian Tracy, W. Clement Stone or Jack Canfield can’t hurt. My favorite book to listen to this week is “The Success Principles” by Jack Canfield, the founder of the “Chicken Soup For the Soul” Books. I listen to it while I drive, and I always come home with a new idea to promote our campaign.

2. It’s Time To Delegate

We are the smartest. We are the best. We are unique. Only we know how to talk to our fans.

Time is running out – it is time to lose this lie. A lot of what you do to promote yourself (emails, tweets, Facebook posts) could easily be delegated to a minimum-wage employee with some simple directions. So what are you waiting for?

What is your highest and best use during the next 5 days? (HINT: It is item #3 on this list). It is time to hire a friend or a high school or college student to work for minimum wage, sending one last email to everyone in your database that has not donated to the campaign yet.

3. The 10 Most Likely People

If you are like me, you have been putting off the difficult “fundraising” phone calls.  Time’s UP! People want to get on board your project, and they are just waiting for a little nudge from you. Look at the “backer report” from Kickstarter, and compare it to your list of best/most financially well-off fans. Who’s missing? Make a list of the 10 most likely people to donate at a high level to your campaign and then call them first thing in the morning. The missing money is just waiting for you to ask.

4. Everyone can use a “rich uncle” to help out

Everyone needs a “Plan B”. You don’t want to get to the last day and be a dollar short. My attitude from the very beginning was if we could get close, I would make it happen. I can’t disappoint the 175+ people that believe in our project and already donated money. I believe in the album to the extent that, if need be, I will beg or borrow the money to get across the finish line (I draw the line at stealing). In my case I have a “rich uncle” I can call if I need to at the last minute, ready to help. If you don’t have an uncle like that, and you believe in your project, you might want to check your credit card limits, and see where you can borrow the money from to get it done.

*NOTE:  This is not the opinion of Kickstarter, or anyone else; Kickstarter does not allow you to donate to your own project to reach your goal. Just sayin’…

I still love the Kickstarter platform – I feel like we would not be where we are today without the help and support of the people at Next week, when the dust settles and we total up our winning tally, I will post one more blog to wrap up this adventure.

Check out Gorge Kahn’s music at To get involved in this Kickstarter project, click HERE.

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[Finish line image from Shutterstock.]