Being a female entrepreneur is hard. Being a solo founder is even harder. Running a company that allows indigenous women in Colombia to make a living? Well, that kind of pressure sends me rushing to eat chocolate more than I’d like to admit. So, when I decided to do a Kickstarter to support my company Castellano, which makes bags and bracelets, the pressure I felt was immense.
My vision for my company has always been to cut out the middleman by working directly with the women who create the products, meaning people can get luxury products without the four-figure price tag, and I can pay the Colombian women who make them what they deserve. I saw Kickstarter as the way to do that. So, I spent two months preparing. I contacted everyone who had ever bought from my company previously. I asked all of my friends if they’d be willing to pledge on the first day.
I began to warm up my email list using Jeff Walker’s “Product Launch Formula” (Four emails: First one: Why I’m launching, Second email: What I’m launching, third email: How they can buy it, fourth one: We’re live now!). I launched a Thunderclap, where so many people agreed to share the status after I launched that a total addressable audience of nearly half a million people could have seen my message. As a solopreneur, I didn’t have time to warm up any press contacts along with the mountain of other tasks I had to. But I did get this Forbes article after I launched! Score!
But even for all of the above, I honestly had no idea what was going to happen when I hit that launch button on Kickstarter. I had to hope people would care enough to support what I’m trying to do.
I’m ecstatic to report my #girlboss moment happened. Almost immediately after launching, I started seeing dollar signs. There are few better feelings than refreshing your Kickstarter page to find a new pledge. And another one. And another one (as DJ Khaled says).
We raised over $12,000 in the first 24 hours! It was an amazing feeling. I had so many people tell me “Quirky products are the only thing that sell on Kickstarter,” and “Kickstarter is mainly for tech products and guys,” and “Fashion products don’t tend to sell that much”... but I had to ignore them. It was too important that I made this happen.
I feel so humbled when people tell me how excited they are to receive my bags and bracelets. Kickstarter allowed me to bring my tribe together in order to make something amazing happen.
I haven’t slept much since the launch, trying to keep up with all the backers and continuing to push to make this Kickstarter into a life-changing event. I still have two weeks left, and I hope as many people as possible share my vision and want the unique designs on my Kickstarter project. It has given me a ton of stress and anxiety, but moments like this make it all worth it. Shoutout to everyone else hustling for moments like this!
Three pieces of advice for aspiring entrepreneurs:
1. Be patient; don’t run before you can walk. Ask for advice and work as hard as you can to achieve your goals. Nothing comes easy, and especially in the hard moments, you’ll need to ask for help, so don’t rush into decisions; pause and think carefully before you put your money into something. Have a calm and analytical mind; it’s better than one ruled by desires and feelings.
2. Be confident. Stay 100% focused and believe in your idea. If you are not confident enough to sell what you have created, no one will buy it or believe in you. I have had so many setbacks, but what keeps me on track is the inner force, passion and strength I was born with. If you don’t have that inner fire inside you, it is very hard to succeed, no matter how much funding or how many people are on board. You need to be aware that you are your best asset and best champion.
3. Treat others as you want to be treated. Be humble and always know your values, your rules and that you are in control of your own life.