August 29, 2012

Need to raise money for your yoga project? Indigogo makes it possible.

The cutting-edge of entrepreneurship is alive and well for yogis in ways defying conventional business wisdom.

Typically when launching a new product or service, business owners are told: “Go to a bank for a small business loan.” But banks aren’t loaning money.

I’ve paid biz coaches to tell me how to raise funds by selling my project to investors, which I resisted. Then I heard about two websites—Kickstarter and indiegogo—where entrepreneurs pre-sell products, often with no more than a clever idea and video to pitch the project.

What amazes me is how some unlikely projects take off with bewildering success far exceeding their goals. Take for example The BugASalt. This is a miniaturized shotgun using a pinch of table salt to kill flies from a distance of two feet. Lorenzo Maggiore came out up with a prototype & set a goal of $15,000. How much do you reckon Lorenzo’s BugASalt has raised? Let’s see. With 13 days remaining in his campaign he’s raised $415,404 with 8,447 funders. Isn’t this just an insanely innovative way to grow a start-up?

Okay, so Lorenzo might not be a yogi. I mention BugASalt because he’ll raise over a half million dollars without a retail or internet store… without any distribution network… without incurring deb … without investors owning his ass(ets)… without hiring lawyers or consultants to figure out how to grow his biz.

So what did Lorenzo give up by going with indiegogo? I’ll get to that in a minute.

But… wow! This is absolutely amazing.

Out of the 150 indiegogo yoga projects, 31 are live and running today. My HotCore Yoga eBook, Dvd & App is one of them. The others are archived so you can check out how past projects performed. However, most of these campaigns are not actually business ventures. Unlike Kickstarter, indiegogo allows charitable projects. So if you have a decent social media network and need funds to either attend a teacher training or heal your body, you might want to consider shooting a video telling your story and uploading it onto IndieGogo along with some creative perks. Typically these campaigns raise anywhere from zero to $2000.

Among Yogi entrepreneurs you’ll find “Erica Jago & Elena Brower’s Art of Attention: Yoga Practice,” a yoga book that’s raised $50,000 of $60,000 with 19 days still left (Wow)… Kirtan Singer Sean Johnson attempting to raise $30,000 to record a CD… The Little Yoga House (a kids-only yoga studio in Austin) reached their goal of $10,000) … Lisa Haley’s Club Yoga combining Yoga & Club Music raising $1,000 of $7,000 with 35 days … Yoga, Addiction & Recovery (seeking mats & blocks for yoga at a drug/alcohol rehab facility raising $190 of $500 with four days).

You’ll see beautifully crafted projects with great stories/perks, slung together projects with little artistry or business acumen and projects asking for funding without offering significant perks. To peruse the yoga campaigns offers a broad sample of what constitutes success and failure in the business of yoga.

For my HotCore Yoga eBook, DVD & App IndieGogo Project I spent a week studying intellectual property fundbusters of all kinds. I copied and pasted perk offerings of successful campaigns and started drafting my own perks. I tapped the shoulder of my video editor Ron Rodriquez to design and shoot the video. Then I wrote and re-wrote the script. Ron did fantastic work in post-production bringing pizzazz to the video & graphic images in the written story. Five days ago I launched my campaign and I’ve raised $936.

My weak areas are working social media and conducting a steady drizzle campaign to keep reminding the world about the project. But I’m learning.

The skills to succeed as a yogi entrepreneur are varied and require using different parts of the brain:

  1. An authentic yoga practice/product.
  2. Capacity to guide others into this yoga practice/product.
  3. Creative team to reproduce experience guiding others into the yoga practice/product using one or more media (i.e., DVD, eBook/book, cd or app).
  4. Business team to distribute, market and sell the product which includes branding, packaging, fulfillment, creating sizzle. All the while remembering that I’m doing all of it because I love serving others and sharing nuggets from my yoga practice.

What does indiegogo get out of the deal?

Four percent of gross income if the project meets its goal.  Nine percent if not. Indiegogo uses this pricing to encourage realistic goal-setting. In addition, merchant processing fees range from  three to five percent. Launching a project takes two to four weeks depending on the quality of content and presentation in your pitch. So you can launch your special project with the world allowing consumers to decide if they want to contribute before you have a finished product. What are you ready to create?  Please share your ideas and experiences.

Next I’ll write “Tips for creating a successful indiegogo Project” and “Kickstarter versus Indiegogo and Other Fundbusters”

Editor: Lynn Hasselberger

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