Author Q&A: Crowdstart by Ariel Hyatt

Crowdstart:The Ultimate Guide to a Powerful and Profitable Crowdfunding Campaign is a complete guide on how to execute a successful crowdfunding campaign. The overall purpose of the book is to make sure whoever reads it is as prepared as possible to win at a rewards-based crowdfunding campaign.

Ariel Hyatt has been a fierce entrepreneur for more than 20 years and runs Cyber PR, a dynamic social media & content strategy company based in Brooklyn.

Her agency places clients on blogs & podcasts, establishes their online brands, and coaches them to create influence. She has spoken in 12 countries to over 100,000 creatives and entrepreneurs and is the author of four books on social media for artists, her newest book Crowdstart comes out on October 25, 2016.

Book blurb:

Want to rock a crowdfunding campaign? You're in luck!

The game changer that allowed author Ariel Hyatt to take her brand and business from $500K to $1 million per year was raising money specifically, a crowdfunding campaign which raised over $60,000.

Ariel already had a successful and profitable business, but it was the extra cash that helped her put strategies into place and create products that made a massive impact.

In CROWDSTART, Hyatt has culled everything she's learned about running a successful crowdfunding campaign and coaching others do the same. The book outlines includes killer strategies, sample emails, social media posts and a day by day action plan that takes you through your entire campaign.

CROWDSTART really is the ultimate guide.

Book excerpt:

Why Do Companies and People Crowdfund?
Of course, cash is the main reason why crowdfunding is popular, but there are three other critical reasons as well.
It gives fans (customers) a rich experience.
You may not know it, but you probably have fans willing to give you a lot more than they’ve ever had the opportunity to give. For many, crowdfunding offers not only an opportunity to create an experience around the launch of a new product or idea, but as the crowdfunding campaign progresses, it becomes less focused on money and instead transforms into something that involves people on an emotional level, uncovering fans and a community you may not have known existed. By the time the campaign ends, your contributors are invested in both the idea and the journey, increasing their loyalty levels to “superfan” status. This opportunity didn’t exist before crowdfunding.

It proves market worth/demand for an idea.
For a creative entrepreneur looking to seed a new idea, crowd- funding offers the opportunity to do a smaller scale test of a proposed concept. A successful campaign can be used as a sample test to prove the market demand for an idea, which can then be leveraged into larger-scale funding by a bank or a venture capital firm.

It achieves conceptual innovation on a large scale.
Because it allows creative and innovative ideas to be tested and proven, it is forcing innovation in everything from the way that companies and creatives are being funded, to the way products are being released, to how companies are continuing to evolve their products.                   
You could see this in action with the Pebble Watch. Apple, Samsung, and Google (among other tech companies) all were dragging their feet when it came to evolving the smartphone/apps model into something even more accessible (i.e. “wearable tech”). In 2012, the Pebble Watch beat ALL of these companies by being first to market, pre-selling 275,000 units through a Kickstarter campaign (they also raised more than $10 million). Now all of the major companies have released their own versions of the Pebble Watch because it proved market worth and demand.
The lesson: you don’t need the next big idea to have a successful crowdfunding campaign. All you really need is: (1) an idea or a project that you are passionate about; (2) a group of people to share your passion; (3) a campaign that will engage the emotions of your crowd enough so they will happily give you money.
I’m not going to tell you what kind of project to crowdfund because people have tried to raise money for almost everything under the sun. I hope that you are reading this book because you already have a great idea, cause, project, or desire. We will take a deep dive into both your crowd, and your campaign. When you get those two pieces in place, you’ll be well on your way to successfully achieving your goal.

Deb Bailey: Welcome to the Secrets of Success blog, Ariel! Please share what your book is about.

Ariel Hyatt: Thanks for inviting me, Deb. In Crowdstart I share a specific, step-by-step guide to how to plan and execute a successful crowdfunding campaign.  In it I walk readers through exactly how to prepare for and execute a 30 day crowdfunding campaign and I explain how to identify your tribe and get your online house in order before you attempt to raise money.

It's important to understand the science behind crowdfunding campaigns. There have been thousands of them and there are some important statistics and techniques to understand which will give you clarity, so I start with some facts. Here is a great statistic to know: crowdfunding campaigns that get to 30% of their goal within the first week of launching are much more likely to succeed. This means you need to make sure you have some guaranteed funders identified way before the first day of the campaign so that you can complete your first week at 30%.

Coming out with a fully-funded campaign is obviously the goal and having this crucial piece of information will have you preparing and behaving in a much more effective way during the early days of your campaign.  This and many more insights are provided to set readers up for success.

Deb: It's extremely important to understand the strategies behind setting up a successful campaign. Is that what inspired you to come up with the idea for this book?

Ariel: When I launched my own crowdfunding campaign I knew it would be challenging but I had no idea it would be as hard as it was! It was one of the most challenging things I've ever done in my life. After raising over $61,000 in my own crowdfunding campaign, I felt deeply compelled to share what I learned.  I did a good amount of research and found many helpful books and articles on crowdfunding but there was not a step-by-step guide that walks readers through exactly what to do during a 30-day campaign.

As a social media strategist and digital publicist I also knew that a key point is  that in order to reach your financial target, it's necessary to start building rapport and an audience online way before your campaign launches. So, this book includes a social media and online presence tune up to get you prepared and a guide on how to get PR for your campaign ( to increase awareness.

Deb: Who do you think will benefit most from reading Crowdstart?

Ariel: Crowdstart is a comprehensive, step-by-step guide on how to plan and execute a successful crowdfunding campaign. It also is a guide to help you remove your doubts and fears (which will come up during the process!) This book is perfect for entrepreneurs, start-ups, small business owners, authors, artists, musicians, non-profits and anyone working on a rewards-based crowdfunding campaign.

Deb: There are so many people who want to write a book. They have information to share, but they're reluctant to move forward. Any tips to share with someone who wants to be published?

Ariel: My advice - don't wait for anyone to publish you -  go the self publishing route at first. One of the smartest things I have ever done on my career was to publish my own book.  Back in 2008 I self-published Music Success in 9 Weeks and it changed my whole career.  Having a book (even if you don't sell million or even thousands of copies) establishes you in ways you can't dream of until you do it.

Of course half of the strategy around self-publishing is figuring out what you want to do with the book - do you want it to help get you speaking or consulting gigs, do you want it to help establish you as an expert in your field or do you want to help more people that you ever could without a book?  Whatever the reasons (and I suspect that you will have a combination of these three) a book is a fantastic calling card. And if you prove yourself through self-publishing you will eventually get a publisher on board.

Deb: Great answer! So, what inspires you to do the work you do?

Ariel: I want to help everyone succeed at crowdfunding. I gathered my intel and collective experience from coaching many clients and friends through their crowdfunding campaigns as well as raising more money than I expected in my own campaign. When I realized first-hand how many challenges arise and how involved crowdfunding really is, I became inspired to help others avoid the mistakes I made and help them use the systems I devised to achieve my own crowdfunding goal. 

Deb: Where can people find your book?

Ariel: Crowdstart is available on Amazon

Deb: Thanks so much for stopping by, Ariel! Please share your website and social media links!

Ariel: It was great to be here, Deb. Here are the links:

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