Lessons Learned from Kickstarter Success with Andrew Hagen – AOTK 234

How can you take advantage of the insights and lessons learned by an entrepreneur who’s enjoyed multiple campaigns of Kickstarter success? What if all of those tips and lessons were compiled into a book? Look no further! Special guest, Andrew Hagen joins the podcast to discuss his new book, “Kickstarter Success.” In our conversation, Andrew touches on his first Kickstarter campaign, what makes a product a good fit for crowdfunding, why it’s vital to connect with influencers, and much more! You don’t want to miss a minute of this engaging episode featuring Andrew!

A product that will perform well with the crowdfunding community.

Have you ever wondered what is it that makes some products more successful than others with the crowdfunding community? Take this opportunity to hear from Andrew Hagen as he opens up about his Kickstarter success and the common thread he has seen with products that go the distance. According to Andrew, it all comes down to the ease with which a seller can package and ship their product to their buyer. If a product causes packaging and shipping difficulties, it is less likely to gain momentum with the crowdfunding community. To hear more insights from Andrew and his experience with launching successful crowdfunding campaigns, make sure to listen to this episode!

Connecting with the right influencers can make all the difference!

Once you’ve chosen the right product to bring to the crowdfunding community, you’ve got to figure out how to best position it for a successful campaign. What would be your first step? On this episode, you’ll hear from Andrew Hagen as he reveals the one practice that he points to his Kickstarter success. In Andrew’s experience, connecting with the right influencers and getting them to speak about your product can end up making a significant impact on the chances for your product’s success. Andrew encourages entrepreneurs to go after the top five influencers in their space and work hard to get their support and adapt to their feedback. Learn more about this important step in the crowdfunding process by listening to this episode!

Three components of a successful crowdfunding campaign.

If you had to boil it all down to three components that consistently lead to successful crowdfunding campaigns, what would you include? Would you choose innovation, product quality, marketing, or a something else? On this episode, successful entrepreneur Andrew Hagen shares the three components that he has identified as vital to a campaign’s chances of success.

  1. Planning
  2. Preparation
  3. Research

To hear Andrew expand on each of these components and how he’s seen them play out in his crowdfunded campaigns and others, make sure to listen to this informative episode!

Advice for crowdfunding success.

While you’ll be immensely better off for having read, “Kickstarter Success” what other advice does Andrew Hagen have for entrepreneurs looking to put their best foot forward with their upcoming crowdfunding campaign? On this episode, Andrew shares his advice that leaders like you can use to make the most of your pre-campaign efforts. While it may take some time, Andrew stresses the importance of thoroughly researching the platform that you’ll use to launch your product. Know your platform inside and out by interviewing and researching past campaigns to see what worked well and what led to failure. Learn more helpful tips from Andrew’s wealth of experience by listening to this engaging episode!

Key Takeaways

  • [1:05] Andrew Hagen joins the podcast to discuss his book, “Kickstarter Success.”
  • [2:00] What was the first product Andrew launched? What did he learn?
  • [3:00] What makes a product a good fit for crowdfunding?
  • [4:30] Why connecting with influencers can make all the difference.
  • [5:30] Andrew talks about why he wrote his book and what he hopes people get out of it.  
  • [6:30] The critical role of planning, preparation, and research.
  • [8:30] Getting the marketing aspect right.
  • [10:30] Advice for first time crowdfunders.
  • [11:20] Andrew enters the Launch Round.
  • [13:00] What does the future of crowdfunding look like?
  • [14:00] Why you should check out Andrew’s content.


Connect With Andrew Hagen


Art of the Kickstart is honored to be sponsored by The Gadget Flow, a product discovery platform that helps you discover, save, and buy awesome products. The Gadget Flow is the ultimate buyer’s guide for cool luxury gadgets and creative gifts. Click here to learn more and list your product – use coupon code ATOKK16 for 20% off!

backerkitArt of the Kickstart is honored to be sponsored by BackerKit. BackerKit makes software that crowdfunding project creators use to survey backers, organize data, raise additional funds with add-ons and manage orders for fulfillment, saving creators hundreds of hours. To learn more and get started, click here.

Connect With the Art Of The Kickstart team

View this episode’s transcript

Roy Morejon:                    Welcome to Art of the Kickstart, your source for crowdfunding campaign success. I’m your host, Roy Morejon, President of Enventys Partners, the top full service turnkey product development and crowdfunding marketing agency in the world. We have helped startups raise over a hundred million dollars for our clients since 2010. Each week, I’ll interview a crowdfunding success story, an inspirational entrepreneur, or a business expert, in order to help you take your startup to the next level with crowdfunding.

Roy Morejon:                    Art of the Kickstart is honored to be sponsored by BackerKit and The Gadget Flow. BackerKit makes software that crowdfunding project creators use to survey backers, organize data, and manage orders for fulfillment by automating your operations and helping you print and ship faster. The Gadget Flow is a product discovery platform that helps you discover, save, and buy awesome products. It is the ultimate buyers’ guide for luxury gadgets and creative gifts.

Roy Morejon:                    Now, let’s get on with the show.

Roy Morejon:                    Welcome to another edition of Art of the Kickstart. Today I’m joined with Andrew Hagen. Andrew, thank you so much for joining us today.

Andrew Hagen:                 Thanks for having me, Roy.

Roy Morejon:                    Andrew, you’re on the other side of the earth, over there in Perth, Australia. You’re an entrepreneur and author of an upcoming book called Kickstarter Success. You have now completed three campaigns and raised over a million dollars on Kickstarter. Let’s talk to our audience a little bit about your background. How did you end up getting into crowdfunding?

Andrew Hagen:                 Well, it actually started when a good buddy of mine was riding by himself, and some young guys drove up next to him, leant out of the car window with a elasticated slingshot, and popped him right in the ass at pointblank range. That was the light bulb moment for an idea that led us to get on to Kickstarter to build awareness and raise a bit of cash.

Roy Morejon:                    What was the first product that you ended up launching with them?

Andrew Hagen:                 It’s called Fly6. It’s a combination of a GoPro and a very bright flashing red light for the back of your bike. It basically records everything that happens on your bike while you’re out riding.

Roy Morejon:                    Interesting. Well, what would you say were some of the biggest benefits of bringing the first product to market then, using crowdfunding?

Andrew Hagen:                 Well, for us, it was a combination of trying to be in stealth mode whilst we’re developing up this invention, and we thought, launching the product on the same day as you’re building awareness of it seemed like a great way to avoid having to spend a whole bunch of money on marketing that you would otherwise have to spend to get the same reach.

Roy Morejon:                    What do you believe makes a product a good fit for crowdfunding? Obviously you had that aha moment with your friend, but what else do you think may make a product a great fit, specifically in the hardware realm, where you focused?

Andrew Hagen:                 Sure. I guess one of the first things that I talk to people about when they ask me about Kickstarter campaigns is, “How big is your product, or how much does it weigh,” because I think a really important factor with hardware products is the ability, or the ease of ability, for you to ship it around the world to potential backers. If it’s too big or too heavy, and I guess we all know the campaign Coolest Cooler, I think one of the reasons why that didn’t work so well was because it was just so big and so massive, from a shipping postal perspective, and that’s one of the reasons why it failed.

Roy Morejon:                    What would you say is the most important thing that a creator should do before launching a crowdfunding project?

Andrew Hagen:                 Develop up their product to a point where they know it works, where they know their customers want the product. Well, I think one of the things that we did very successfully was to build enough prototypes, give them to people to put on their bikes to give us real feedback, and to prove that the product works. Knowing that your product works, knowing that there’s a market for it, is a really big factor.

Roy Morejon:                    As you know, Andrew, all crowdfunding creators are usually on limited budgets. What would you say if they can’t get those initial prototypes created would be the best investment for them to make?

Andrew Hagen:                 Somehow, building some sort of MVP, bootstrapping it as much as you can, and just proving, from a third party, that there’s a market there for it, that there’s some sort of market fit for it.

Roy Morejon:                    Now that you’ve run three campaigns, of all the different marketing tactics and strategies that you’ve applied to the success of your crowdfunding campaigns, what would you say had the greatest return [crosstalk 00:04:23]

Andrew Hagen:                 By far, the biggest and best part that we had, that led us to our success, was to put our prototypes in the hands of specific influencers, and I’m talking picking the top five influencers in your space, and making sure each one of them has got a working prototype, and get them to tell you what they think, and that’s by far the biggest and best thing that you could do.

Roy Morejon:                    You’re writing a book right now titled Kickstarter Success, A Tactical Guide To Crowdfunding, and obviously, given your expertise, running multiple campaigns, you’re sharing all of your experiences and advice on how to run a successful crowdfunding campaign. Let’s talk about why you chose to write the book in the first place.

Andrew Hagen:                 Well, I’m sure, like most people who’ve run a successful campaign, you get loads of people asking you how to do it. They want to know in 15 minutes how to have a successful Kickstarter campaign, and I always used to say to them, “Look, I’ve got a 15 minute version, I’ve got an hour long version, or I’ve got a three or four hour deep dive. What do you want?” I found most people wanting that deep dive, and it sort of chewed up half a day every time I went through it with someone. As it happened, recently I had a bit of time on my hands, and I thought, why not put it on paper so that I can share it with the world.

Roy Morejon:                    What do you hope people will get out of reading the book?

Andrew Hagen:                 I hope we’re going to get a lot more successful campaigns, and by my definition of successful campaign is where the backers all get their product, so a successful campaign can’t just be a great idea but bad execution, or a great idea, great execution, but no idea about shipping and international logistics. You’ve got to package all these things together so that the person who backs your project can get a product that they’d be happy with, on time and on budget. I’m hoping that putting all these factors together, and there’s about 10 or 12 of them, that anyone who does a Kickstarter campaign, if you follow the guide, you go through all those steps, you’ll actually be able to deliver a great product to the customer, and then, we, as the general Kickstarter community, are going to get a lot more accreditation for doing the right thing, and customers will be getting their products on time much more than they would if they just went it alone.

Roy Morejon:                    I was really excited to read through the initial scripts of the book, Andrew, and see that one, the initial foundation had to do with planning, preparation, and research. Can you touch on that a little bit?

Andrew Hagen:                 Yeah, absolutely. I think with Kickstarter, the plethora of topics and genres and types of things you can put on Kickstarter is enormous, and I think if you focus in on your topic, you do a lot of research on other campaigns, and you try and understand what are the success factors that those campaigns had, and try and make sure that you emulate them into your own campaign. You just cannot do enough preparing, and I know, Roy, I listen to your podcast all the time, and I sometimes hear people say they take two or three months to plan and prepare a campaign, and some of them are successful.

Roy Morejon:                    [crosstalk 00:07:17]

Andrew Hagen:                 My personal opinion is that if you want to really hit it out of the park, you’ve got to spend a bit more time developing up a lot of the factors that make it a success, and to me, even with a team of people working on it, it’s hard to do in two or three months. I personally think you need to prepare a bit longer than that to get a real success.

Roy Morejon:                    Well, absolutely. So you’re coming from the manufacturing side and, right, going through what are those MOQs, and how long is it going to take to make, and package it, and the manufacturing piece, certainly, especially if you’re going to get those initial product samples out there for reviews, right?

Andrew Hagen:                 Correct, correct, and you can, even with nine months of preparation, there’s still many opportunities to run over time, and be late, and have other people, like a factory, chew up months and months of your time that you didn’t plan for, so yeah, I agree. I think it’s a really important part.

Roy Morejon:                    I love towards the end of the book, your title of Bits And Bobs, where you kind of go through some of the minutia, but obviously, these things are critical to the campaign itself, in terms of, you had a whole chapter on when to launch your campaign, and how soon to start planning for your campaign, and talking about friends and families, and knowing your audience. Can you go into a little bit more about how you guys went about on the marketing side of the campaign, once you sent the products out there for review, and then doing the follow ups, and then securing more coverage and getting your crowd excited about the products?

Andrew Hagen:                 Because we’ve done three campaigns, the early campaign we had, obviously, less understanding and knowledge, and then the latter campaigns, we were really fine-tuning the marketing side of it. But what we found in each one of the campaigns was, getting the products into the hands of those specific and perfect influencers was just so critical.

Andrew Hagen:                 For example, we had, with our second campaign, we gave a prototype to Wired magazine. The guy in there was using it on his bike, and he was giving us feedback, and here I was, someone who’s 15,000 miles away from the Wired magazine head office, talking to him regularly, getting feedback, and just getting a sense that he loved the concept of it. Sure, he picked out things that were wrong with it, and he gave us good and honest feedback, but he also gave us that real sense that he’s going to write a good article about it, and because they’ve got such a big reach, well, I kind of knew that that part of the marketing, with that one particular outlet, was locked in. We did that same thing with a whole bunch of outlets that were targeted to our target audience, so I think that was the best thing.

Roy Morejon:                    What was your favorite part of writing the book?

Andrew Hagen:                 Putting a full stop at the end of it was pretty good. It does take a lot of effort, and a long time, and lots of reviews, and I think just finishing it off. I’m pretty proud of what I’ve done. I think it’s going to be very comprehensive, and I kind of wish I had that book as a guide when I first started, because I know we would have done a lot better with our campaign, so I’m hoping that readers of the book can get the same benefit.

Roy Morejon:                    What would be your biggest piece of advice for someone planning to launch a crowdfunding campaign in 2018, outside of picking up a copy of your book, Kickstarter Success?

Andrew Hagen:                 Okay, that was my first answer, but I’ll go with my second answer. I think that preparation and review, and really understanding the platform you’re going to pick, whether it’s Kickstarter or Indiegogo, you have to select what you’re going to go for, and once you do, do that research. Look at 10, 15, 20 other projects that are similar to yours, and just try and map out what success factors you think you can achieve based on what worked well for them. That can be sort of like a guide for how you begin your campaign, and what things you might need to start preparing for.

Andrew Hagen:                 One of the things that I put into the book is some bonus content, and some spreadsheets to help people actually articulate those processes and those reviews and that preparation, so that there’s a bit more of a physical guide for them outside of the book itself.

Roy Morejon:                    Solid. All right, Andrew, since you’re an avid listener, you know that this is the launch round, where I’m going to rapid fire a handful of questions at you. Are you good to go?

Andrew Hagen:                 Absolutely.

Roy Morejon:                    What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?

Andrew Hagen:                 It was a friend of mine gave me a book by Robert Kiyosaki called Rich Dad Poor Dad. Well, now, it’s quite a long time ago now that he did it, but it was quite inspiring for me at the time, because I just had my first child, and I’ve got five of them now, but when I had my first child, I got given this book, and it inspired me to want to do something better than just working for the man, which is what I was doing at the time.

Roy Morejon:                    If you could go on a bike ride with any entrepreneur throughout history, who would it be?

Andrew Hagen:                 It would have to be Elon Musk. I’d like to go out and spend a couple hours with him.

Roy Morejon:                    Well, he’d probably be on an E-bike, right, motoring through the woods. What would be your first question for Elon?

Andrew Hagen:                 You know, everyone knows that he’s going to Mars. He’s going to take us, humanity, to Mars with him, but he’s a big thinker, right? I bet you he’s already thinking well beyond Mars or anything, like that plan is underway. I’d want to know, what’s next? Where’s he going to go from Mars, or what’s the next planet?

Roy Morejon:                    Interesting. Who did you look up to, growing up, as a kid?

Andrew Hagen:                 I loved to travel a lot as a kid. We lived in New Zealand, we lived in America, moved around in lots of different houses. I think having a very varied upbringing, lots of different experiences, I think I got to be inspired by lots and lots of different people.

Roy Morejon:                    What book would you recommend to our audience?

Andrew Hagen:                 Well, I’ve just finished reading The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A Frick, let’s call it that, and really enjoyed it. Loved it to bits, so I’d recommend people downloading and listening to that one.

Roy Morejon:                    Yeah, we only have so many bleeps to give, right?

Andrew Hagen:                 Yeah.

Roy Morejon:                    Where are you headed next?

Andrew Hagen:                 Well, at the moment, I’m helping a lot of other people with their Kickstarter campaigns, so I’m a professional director of publicly listed companies, and a mentor on startups for a lot of accelerators and startup companies.

Roy Morejon:                    Awesome. Last question, Andrew, and I’m really interested to hear your advice on this, as, what does the future of crowdfunding look like?

Andrew Hagen:                 I think it’s going to become ubiquitous. I think crowdfunding, as a principle, maybe not specifically like a Kickstarter or Indiegogo platform, but I think the principle of crowdfunding is probably going to change basic, fundamental finance in the world. It could ultimately change the way banks behave. Banks might not be where we go to for funding in the future. It might be crowdfunded loan systems. Then I think it’ll pervade our every day. I think we might not even know that it’s going on, but every time we use a service, it might have some crowdfunded backing to it.

Roy Morejon:                    Well, Andrew, this has been awesome. This is your opportunity to give our audience your pitch, tell them what you’re all about, where people should go, and why they should check you out.

Andrew Hagen:                 Thanks, Roy. Well, look, Kickstarter success, as you said, is a tactical guide to crowdfunding, gives you all of tools you’re going to need to create your own successful campaign. It’s comprehensive, it’s detailed, and it actually draws on my experiences through the three Kickstarter campaigns that we did, so that it gives you case studies and real life examples about the things you need to know to have your own success, so you can check it out on KickstarterSuccess.com.

Roy Morejon:                    Awesome. Audience, thanks again for tuning in. Make sure to visit artofthekickstart.com for notes, transcripts, and links to everything we talked about today. And of course, thank you to our crowdfunding podcast sponsors, The Gadget Flow and BackerKit. If you liked this episode as much as I did, make sure to leave us a review on iTunes.

Roy Morejon:                    Andrew, thank you so much for being on Art of the Kickstart today.

Andrew Hagen:                 Thanks, Roy. Really appreciate it.

Roy Morejon:                    Thanks for tuning into another episode of Art of the Kickstart, the show about building a business, world, and life with crowdfunding.

Roy Morejon:                    If you’ve enjoyed today’s episode, awesome. Make sure to visit artofthekickstart.com, and tell us all about it. There you’ll find additional information about past episodes, our Kickstarter Guide to Crushing It, and of course, if you loved this episode a lot, leave us a review at artofthekickstart.com/iTunes. It helps more inventors, entrepreneurs, and startups find this show, and helps us get better guests to help you build a better business. If you need more hands-on crowdfunding strategy advice, please feel free to request a quote on EnventysPartners.com. Thanks again for tuning in, and we’ll see you again next week.

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