Starting a Successful Coffee Kickstarter

Experience from my recent Kickstarter

I made a Kickstarter for my coffee data science book, and it was funded in 7 hours. So I thought it would be good to share how that happened because I didn’t have any advertisements before launch aside from a few of my own posts.

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Backstory

I’ve been writing about coffee data science for a few years, and I decided to extract the very best from 1,200 pages of writing. I made a first draft of my book, and then I went about finding people to do graphic design, editing, and printing. By find, I mean, I asked someone I knew who had been successful for their contacts, and they graciously gave me them. Coffee doesn’t have to be a zero-sum game where to win, others have to lose.

Coffee doesn’t have to be a zero-sum game.

I connected with these people, determined what they could do, how much it would cost, and a rough timeline.

Why Kickstarter?

I could have self-financed the book, but the reason I went to Kickstarter was because I didn’t want to finance a book that not read by many. If only a few people were interested, I could have published a PDF version on my own. By using a funding campaign, I could mitigate the financial risk and gauge community interest. I had a lot of followers on Medium, but that doesn’t mean people are ready to buy a book.

Set Up

I made the Kickstarter as best as I could with some samples, and I announced two weeks before launch that this was coming. I got a lot of interest, and a friend (Micky at I’m Not a Barista) reached out to offer some tips.

Little did I know, he provided far more than just a few bits of advice.

Relationships

I wasn’t successful because of what I did once I prepared to launch my Kickstarter; it was the personal relationships I had built over the past three years.

I became friends with Micky a few months prior as we started talking about some other things in coffee, and we had some nice conversations. Once he reached out about my Kickstarter, he helped me in understanding how Kickstarter works, how to launch a successful Kickstarter, and how to organize the story.

He also designed the concept book cover with the inclusion of an image from some filter hole analysis I had done, and he helped promote the book quite a bit.

Additional to him, I had become friends with a few other coffee people because I’m friendly. I also have a deep curiosity, so I have reached out to people to ask what they know, have conversations about what we both know, and share with them what I have done.

Finally, there was one community on Facebook that was huge for me, Home Espresso Aficionados. I’ve been very active in that group for four years, and I’ve made a lot of friends. I share my articles there whenever I publish, and they have made a big impression on me, especially in being supportive.

Launch Day

As a result of these friendships, when I launched, people shared my post. I sent it to these friends without asking them to share it, but just to give them a heads up if they were interested. Not only were they interested, but they also went about to promote it.

Their help wasn’t much effort in terms of time, usually just a few clicks, but it meant the world to me.

The best thing about launching was that I made so many new friends. I met people that hadn’t heard of my work, and they were so excited to talk.

When I shared this launch to the Home Espresso Aficionados group on Facebook, they went bonkers. I felt like I was at a party and a celebration.

Results

I hit my funding goal of $5,000 in 7 hours, and at 36 hours, the goal was almost doubled. By the end of a month, I was just over $25,000.

I think success in Kickstarter is the same in most areas in life where it comes down to personal relationships built over a span of time. If nothing else comes from the book other than more friendships, I will have succeeded.

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