Queens-Based Inventor Crowdfunds Innovative Product

Mladen Lijesnic is a beloved Queens-based inventor and craftsman. His hard work and neighborly support has left a positive imprint on many of the most important venues in Queens, Brooklyn, and beyond - including Cranky*s Cafe and The Bedford restaurant. Over the past few years, Mladen has developed and patented an ingenius product. His idea is called 4LTX and it’s a radically simple bracket system. Mladen is utilizing RocketHub to crowdfund the first line of production to get 4LTX in to the world. 4LTX is inspired by modular furniture but what we designed is even better because we made connector/brackets that give you the freedom to make your own pieces or rearrange existing furniture. It is a simple strong solution. The Inventors Institute tested the 4LTX and the results were the “highest scoring patent” by them ever. The RocketHub team will order these for our offices and maybe we’ll finally be able to put some nice furniture together. How is your project progressing and what suggestions do you have for others looking to do the same? Since I am doing this for first time I do not know how it is supposes to be, but I have received a positive response so far. Prepare as well as you can but do not be a perfectionist, you can improve as you develop. Mistakes are not a problem because they can be fixed and often innovation comes from trying to tailor something to a persons specific needs. Great advice - thank you Mladen. Get your first edition 4LTX set. -Vlad

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  • October 20, 2011

From Brazil, Armenia, and the United States, João Kouyoumdjian Brings an International Flavor to NYC

Praised for his elegant and expressive musicianship by Grammy award winner Sharon Isbin, João Kouyoumdjian is a Brazilian-Armenian guitarist of distinction. In the words of guitar virtuoso Paulo Martelli “João Kouyoumdjian is one of the most extraordinary Brazilian guitarists of his generation. His interpretations always displayed refined sensibility and profound aesthetic meaning.” We agree! Ever since we first heard João play, the RocketHub team was captivated. So we’re very pleased to have João launching his upcoming Carnegie Hall performance through an elegant and captivating campaign on RocketHub. I connected with João to learn about his background and outlook. The inspiration behind my project - the concert “Brazilian Guitar in New York” (also known as “Brazilian Guitar: Tradition and Tendencies”) - was the desire of performing and advocating for traditional and new Brazilian classical guitar music at Carnegie Hall, the legendary venue where only a few exceptional artists perform. With partial sponsorship of the Consulate General of Brazil in New York, this concert aims to make the Brazilian community in New York vibrate, as well as to bring the joy of Brazilian music to New Yorkers. In addition, I want to push the Brazilian classical guitar repertoire forward with premieres of new works and establish a continuous working platform for Brazilian musicians in New York through future new editions of the project. You are successfully bringing together a lot of different ideas and goals. What has your experience been so far? Are you getting the response you expected for your crowdfunding campaign and bigger goals? The experience has been super exciting because everybody loves the guitar and wants to see it performed all over. In addition, supporters are always thrilled to contribute to the difficult endeavor of bringing Brazilian guitar music to such an emblematic venue as Carnegie Hall. People can feel that that is the dream of a lifetime for me (and it probably was the unmet dream of many…) Thus, when they see a young fellow like me battling against all odds for such a noble ideal, they are happy to contribute. Supporters also often get excited about accompanying all the steps of your career, from a young local artist to an internationally recognized performer. I struggled to be based in another country, to perform in great venues, to graduate from the highly selective Juilliard School. So when people contribute to my project, I can tell they not only want to contribute to this particular project but they are also happy to recognize my success with this supportive act. Therefore, they are more interested in who you are and what you have consistently been doing over several years than in just one particular project. You take a lesson out of this: write and spread your bio nicely! A wise lesson! What’s your advice for others trying to replicate your online and offline success? My advice doesn’t go too far from what other artists suggest: start your crowdfunding from your own cycle of friends and family and then your network will grow naturally. However, quoting the movie “Field of Dreams,” do not believe in the saying “If you build it, they will come” (I actually stole the usage of this saying from RocketHub’s founder Jed Cohen, who used it in a presentation). Crowdfunding may seem as simple as posting a project on RocketHub but that’s just the beginning: you’ve got to have a LOT of discipline to make it happen. I found out it was extremely important to map all my potential supporters so I started writing down all my networks, placing people I know in groups. For example:  -Network from my native town: Roberto, Joseph, Peter, etc. -Network from NYC: Mattias, Courtney, Hamilton, etc. -My girlfriend’s network: Sandra, Cristina, Edward, etc.  -My Politicians’ network: Sergio Pimentel, Paulo Fonseca, etc. (so on…) I first approached people that I thought that could be interested in making large contributions. Then, after some time you can try to make your most interested friends and first supporters spread the word for you. Everything grows exponentially from there and when you realize the campaign gains a pulse and rolls on its own.  Finally, have materials such as flyers and virtual links (in your mobile and tablet devices) always ready to show to anybody at any time. The most efective way of grabbing someone’s attention, rather than email and social networks, is still establishing a one-on-one-eye-to-eye conversation. I hope that was helpful! Good luck to everybody! RocketHub Rocks!!! You are a wise and talented man João. Thank you for your presence and support. Listen to João’s music and support his Carnegie Hall dream. -Vlad

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  • October 19, 2011

Emerson Filmmakers Crowdfund a Chilling Tale

The Devil and Harm is a chilling story of life and death. The Devil visits a sickly man named Harm in the late hours of the night and forces him to make a choice: accept death or bestow it upon another. Led by two innovative Emerson College students, Daniel Hillel-Tuch and Silas Robinson are engaging a global community to make a great and edgy film. I spoke with Daniel about their victories and challenges. I’m a Film major at Emerson College, but I also took a minor in Psychology. In my Developmental Psychology class the professor Eline McBridge, a lovely lady with a delightful Scottish accent, discussed death and dying including the famous Kübler-Ross model: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. For days I was obsessed with the notion ‘what if I knew I was dying?’ I imagined myself with only two weeks left of life, and how I would react to it. Originally I wrote out the concept as a monologue, but as the idea developed I became fascinated with the contradiction of the super-natural forcing a moral choice based on nihilism.  I wrote the original draft of the script almost two years ago, it was eventually accepted into the Emerson Script Anthology “Thread”. As I was preparing it to be published, my cinematographer and then roommate, Silas Robinson, mentioned he thought it would be worth making. His encouragement made me follow through. That’s quite a spectrum of emotions and themes. How has your experience been as a crowdfunding pioneer in the world of film at Emerson College? Has it mirrored the filmmaking process? What a lofty notion. I wouldn’t call myself a crowdfunding pioneer, as I am definitely not the first one to utilize the tool at Emerson College. However, I have noticed that RocketHub, which is unfortunately not incredibly well known around the school, has struck a lot of students interest over some of the other websites. The ability to keep the money you raise no matter what, and the freedom to alter your main page including your videos, has definitely convinced people of the potential of RocketHub as well as crowdfunding. I plan to use RocketHub and crowdfunding for most of my future projects, and I know that others who have seen what can be done, will gladly follow this example. Well thank you for the kind words. What advice do you have for fellow up-start filmmakers looking to experience the same crowdfunding success? Most of the money that has been raised so far has been through family, and close family friends. My parents have been a great assistance thanks to their list of contacts. Using family friends, I realized I would be able to raise the most of amount of money in the beginning. People with jobs, families, and a real disposable income are more inclined to contribute than say, college students who would rather buy a 12-pack. Also, my mother can be quite tenacious and was very useful in reminding people who pledged to contribute, that they should. Originally, I designed an email that informed people of the project, I tailored each one specifically to the person I was writing to, and encouraged not a “donation” but rather a “contribution” in exchange for a reward. I’ve also been maintaining a blog devilandharm.tumblr.com thanking my contributors, as well as regularly posting on Facebook. I noticed that once I did, every now and then a small contribution would quickly follow. I passed on a guide to those on my crew, encouraging them to reach out to people as well. I also sent out thank you message, to those who contributed, along with those who didn’t. It serves as a reminder, and a demonstration that I am appreciative and paying attention. Soon I will be contacting my close friends at Emerson College, as well as those back home in Holland, from who I imagine will give smaller contributions yet will help us reach our final goal. I wanted the project to look healthy before I contacted the more cynical younger generation, for who a $20 contribution means a little more than it does to a family man with three daughters. To them it should seem exciting to be a part of this project, a chance to influence what could be a great film. To them, it has to seem pretty cool. Fortunately, it is. That’s great feedback - gaining those first-followers is a crucial step. The “thank you” blog is brilliant and pretty simple. Thanks for the candid answers - the whole RocketHub team is stoked about seeing this film. Show your support. -Vlad

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  • October 17, 2011

Meditation Master Makes Crowdfunding Magic

Dada Nabhaniilananda is a yoga monk, a meditation teacher, a musician, a writer, and of course a lion tamer. In 2006, Dada published his first book, and is now completing his second: a comic fantasy - think of a cross between Alice in Wonderland, Lord of the Rings, Monty Python and the Bhagavad Gita. Dada has positively impacted the entire RocketHub community and is successfully progressing through his crowdfunding campaign. I spoke with Dada about his long journey and current ambitions. I first learned meditation in 1975 when I was a university student in New Zealand. I quickly realised that this was something that could change everything, and not just for me. I discovered in myself a sense of serenity, confidence and inspiration I’d never imagined was possible. As a musician and writer I also found it really helped me tap into my ‘muse’ – it took my composition to another level. Yet rather than being thrown off balance by this sudden flood of creativity, I felt connected to a deep, calm place – I seemed to be getting to know a wiser and happier version of myself. This dramatic shift in my inner landscape led me to re-evaluate my whole life plan. I’d fantasized about becoming a rock star or a fantasy writer, but now I’d finally found a life purpose that actually made sense. So I went to India where I studied under a great spiritual master and was ordained as a monk and meditation teacher. I’ve spent the last 30 years teaching meditation and using music to inspire people to change their lives through this beautiful practice. The project I’m funding through RocketHub is the result of two years of research and planning. I will publish a new edition of my meditation book, create a new product, a Meditation Home Study Kit, and promote them both through a ‘guerilla’ marketing campaign, focusing on radio interviews, online video, blog reviews, mailing lists and affiliates. We’re proud to have your project be a part of the RocketHub community. What inspired you to jump into crowdfunding and become a pioneer in the world of meditation, publishing, health & wellness? I was inspired by the success of a friend who raised $5000 to publish her first book through a crowdfunding campaign. It has been great being able to talk to her during my own campaign – it’s nice to have someone who understands exactly what you’re going through because  it’s been a roller coaster ride.  I’m a bit of a perfectionist, so I agonized over my profile page, especially the video. I drove 400 miles to LA to film a second video, and ended up using the first! But I finally got it out there, and it was slow getting started and I was concerned, but I followed my plan and after a while it began to pick up momentum. Now I’m pleasantly surprised by the response and I’m cautiously optimistic about reaching my goal.  I’m on 38% of my target with 19 days still to go. Your hard work is paying off and you’ve built a lot of momentum very quickly. Any advice for Creatives looking to crowdfund a similar project? Well it wasn’t that quick actually, not at first. I’m glad I chose a 60 day rather than a 45 day time -frame, because I more or less wasted the first ten days. I found the articles and advice on the RocketHub site very useful – particularly the idea about starting with a small group of close contacts and getting them to contribute something before promoting to your larger circle.  You have to find a balance between reminding people (some theory of marketing says that people don’t act until they’ve seen a message seven times!) and bugging them. My solution is to use humor. My reminder messages are really funny, so people seem to forgive you for hassling them. This is where you can use your creativity to your advantage. This approach seems to be working well.  I’ve noticed that when I send out a reminder, a bunch of people contribute, but it only lasts for one day. Then nothing. Hopefully this will work every time. Over the next few weeks I have to come up with five more funny messages for my long suffering friends! I personally called a few key people and that’s where two of my larger contributions came from. Personal phone calls can make a big difference, and it is actually nice to have a reason to get back in touch with some old, dear friends. The campaign has also led to some unexpected bonuses. Now someone in India is planning to translate my book into Telugu language (!) and a colleague in Italy wants to publish it in Italian. I’d like to thank you folks at RocketHub for helping to make this possible for me. You’re very welcome! Thank you for your positive energy and wonderful project.  Help make this project into a reality. -Vlad

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  • October 13, 2011

RocketHub and CIRAA Partner To Bring Crowdfunding To Independent Recording Artists In Canada

We are excited to unveil our partnership with The Canadian Independent Recording Artists’ Association (CIRAA), Canada’s only national non-profit organization dedicated exclusively to Canadian independent recording artists. "CIRAA and RocketHub are both about helping independent artists find new and creative ways to navigate the current do-it-yourself music industry model," said CIRAA President Gregg Terrence. "RocketHub’s crowdfunding portal is an important contributor to the independent music scene, and their sponsorship of the Groundbreaker Grant program is a meaningful investment in our collective efforts to help artists build sustainable careers and develop stronger connections with their fans." CIRAA has launched the micro-grant program for Canadian Independent Artists. The program distributes $2,600 each month to Canadian independent artists in the form of twenty-five $100 “micro-grants,” rewarding them specifically for live performances. The CIRAA Groundbreaker Grant is generously supported by XM Satellite Radio, Bandzoogle, as well as now RocketHub. As part of the micro-grant rollout, RocketHub will empower CIRAA members to seamlessly launch crowdfunding campaigns via RocketHub’s global fundraising platform. RocketHub is proud to empower Canadian artists with the ability to supplement their income and grants with innovative crowdfunding.  Our own, Brian Meece exclaims: “We continue to search for new ways to empower artists and their fans across the world. The CIRAA partnership is the next step in this international rollout. We’re excited to welcome the community of CIRAA artists into the RocketHub ecosystem.”  As part of the roll-out, CIRAA has graciously agreed to share their custom crowdfunding tutorial with the world: Welcome to RocketHub to all the new artists from Canada. -The RocketHub Team

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  • October 11, 2011

Spreading Knowledge About Influenza, Rob Wallace Crowdfunds a New Book

Rob Wallace is an evolutionary biologist and economic geographer. He has published on the evolution and spread of pathogens, including influenza, in a variety of publications. I noticed Rob’s project pop up a few weeks ago and was intrigued by the scientific publishing angle of his campaign. He is making something important with the help of his community and the wider RocketHub crowd. So I reached out to speak to Rob about the unique nature of his scientific project. Using bird flu’s genetic sequences I helped produce one of the first maps for the virus’s spread. We were also able to identify a specific Chinese province from which several strains of the virus likely emerged. However, no matter how much I looked at the viral sequences I could learn nothing of the reasons why bird flu emerged there. As my loyalties lie more in answering questions than anything else, I moved to studying agriculture’s economic geography. What did I learn? I found it is no coincidence that to a one the wide variety of new influenza strains now circulating have emerged out of livestock and poultry. Stockbreeding is increasingly dominated worldwide by an agribusiness model which has reorganized the sector in its entirety. My book will argue the new influenzas have emerged hand-in-hoof with the new agriculture. So in a way, we’re to blame for these new strains. How has your experience been as a crowdfunding pioneer in the world of science, education, and the environment in Minnesota and beyond - how are your supporters responding? Despite its reputation as a cash cow, even science today is under considerable funding pressure. And that has had a fundamental effect on the kinds of scientific research conducted. Much of it today—not all of it, mind you—but much of it is built on an industrial model of production, the factory lab as it were, even in a university setting. There’s good work being produced, but the system selects for a particularly safe kind of science. My project is decidedly ‘dangerous’ as I directly take on an industry which, along with acting as a source of pathogens, acts as a major source of scientific funding.  That’s forced me into more of an artist’s life. Fundraising on the go. Not an easy model, indeed, a whole different ballgame. But the freedom is exhilarating. I get to say exactly what I mean, conduct intellectually fulfilling research, and, I hope, position myself to help change the world for the better. And isn’t that why anyone would enter science in the first place? I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the response. I’m not sure I’ll reach my goal this first time around but what I raise will be critical to completing my book. It certainly helps that RocketHub permits its Creatives to keep most of what they raise even if the goal isn’t reached. It helps too that I can accept contributions from just about everywhere. Influenza is a global problem and people from around the world want to see it addressed. We’re proud to have your cutting edge project. You’ve built a lot of support pretty quickly. Any advice for Creatives looking to crowdfund a similar project? A unique project is critical, yes. An appealing video is important, yes. Creative rewards are helpful, too, yes. But the key I think is in the networking. You really have to organize your own support across multiple platforms: social networking sites, professional listservs, and personal emails. It would seem shameless except people from all sorts of walks of life want to contribute to interesting projects.Scientific colleagues have contributed, but also everyday people. It’s that kind of breadth which reminds me why I took on this project in the first place. Spot on advice - the network is one of the most important pillars of successful crowdfunding. Support Rob and his innovatively important project here. -Vlad

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  • October 8, 2011

From Toronto to the World, Lindy Rocks RocketHub

Lindy is a musician’s musician. Just ask any of Canada’s most beloved indie darlings. Leslie Feist, Ron Sexsmith, Hayden, Tegan & Sara, Serena Ryder, and Luke Doucet are not just aware of Lindy’s music – they are fans. He has conquered RocketHub through a creative capaign to crowdfund his new record. So I had to chat with Lindy about his fans, his creative path, and his crowdfunding campaign. It has been a few years since I made my last solo album. I have been writing songs but I haven’t recorded any of them yet because I’ve been busy with other music projects like my band Major Maker. The band knows about these songs I’ve written and has finally vowed not to play another show until I record a new solo album. It was just the kind of kick in the butt I needed. I am really proud of these songs and I want them to be recorded in the best way possible, which is why I put them up for funding on RocketHub. Sounds like the right time for a campaign! How has your experience been as a crowdfunding pioneer in the world of music in Toronto - how are your supporters responding? Crowdfunding is a brilliant new way to fund any project. It’s a great feeling to see those first contributions come in. The feedback has been amazing too. Everybody thinks it’s a fantastic thing that I’m doing. It has been bringing inspiration to the project that will spread to everyone involved. I tried to put together rewards that I believe have the most value for the money. Also trying to keep things interesting for people. A friend offered to make some really cool belt buckles and that has helped get some people to contribute more. If you have a friend who makes cool things, see if their talents can be used to help your project. Also try to get interviews with local papers and reach out to sites that can help you spread the word. When in doubt, go back to the instructions on RocketHub and see if there is something you haven’t tried yet. Great advice about leveraging the value of talented friends. Grab a copy of the album or a cool belt buckle. -Vlad

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  • October 6, 2011

Carla Rose Fisher Takes Her Music to the Movies

After winning first prize in the ASCAP/Lilith Fair Songwriting Competition, Carla moved from her hometown of Erie, Pennsylvania to New York City, where she became a member of the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop. After much success in the musical theatre world, Carla is now looking to crowdfund her music into television and film. Carla spoke with us about her project and the important career jump she is looking to make. These songs represent a new direction in my songwriting, which over the years has gone from me-as-artist pop songs to musical theatre to now focusing on the songs themselves (which are now lyric-driven pop) for placement in film and TV. Getting my songs licensed for use on the big and small screen would be a dream come true, because movies and TV shows have helped shape who I am. When I’m watching a movie or a show and there’s a moment in the soundtrack that truly elevates the scene, it rattles me in ways that might not have been possible had music not been present. I want these songs to move others like that. It’s a demo I’ve been working on for years, and I’m using this campaign to see it through. I know that in this digital age pressing CDs is not so common, but these aren’t for sale; they’re to be used to pitch my tunes, and it means a lot to me to be able to hand a copy to someone and say, “This is what I do.” That’s very cool - what you’re building is essentially a modern promotional tool. How has your experience been as a crowdfunding pioneer in the world where music and film/television intersect - how are your supporters responding? Well I wouldn’t go as far to say I’m a pioneer, but the response to the project has been wonderful, and I hope other budding songwriters find it encouraging that I’m 81% of the way there and still have 6 days left! What’s great about RocketHub is you can set your rewards to accept contributions of as little as a dollar, so it makes it much easier for people in today’s economy to support the arts. The whole concept of my campaign, “Send a Hamilton to Harrison,” is that 10 bucks, or even 5 bucks, can make a difference. The response to the songs on this demo has been thrilling as well. So many of my supporters are friends and family, and they’re so excited to see me make headway in my career. One song in particular, titled “Go On” (which will be on the 7-song EP we’re printing as part of a short run), was written in response to a friend’s grieving over the death of a parent. The song has helped her cope, and I know that if I can get it placed in a storyline that has to do with loss or recovering from loss, those lyrics can help others, too. I can see how you’ve build such impressive support so quickly. What advice do you have for Creatives looking to crowdfund a similar project? My biggest advice is to not be afraid to put yourself out there. Knowing that a video makes a big difference in getting Fuelers on board, my good friend Sheldon Senek and I made a silly video about the frustrations of making a video! I’m not technologically inclined when it comes to editing software (luckily, Sheldon is), so I decided to have a sense of humor about it. That meant being myself on camera and getting over any qualms I had about unflattering camera angles or what I was wearing that day (it all came together so quickly, I didn’t have time to really plan that out). So you’ll see in the opening shot that I’m wearing a “Forza Blu!” T-shirt, which is Italian for “Go Blue!” — the cheer for University of Michigan athletics. I’ve been a Wolverines diehard since I was a kid, and that’s what I happened to be wearing the day we suddenly decided to shoot, and I didn’t change outfits because college football is a big part of who I am. I’d also advise crowdfunders-to-be to thank each Fueler both privately and publicly, so that you get to express your sincere thanks through the former, and then possibly draw more attention to your project through the latter. Social media is great for this, but don’t assume that just because you post about your campaign as a status update on Facebook that all your friends will see it. Status updates are fleeting, and some people don’t scroll through them all, so your friends could miss it. I took time initially to email close friends privately, then I branched out with social media (creating an event on Facebook for it) and posting on my page and my profile, then sent a mass email to friends and colleagues (which got a great response). But don’t forget about posting a link to your campaign on your Web site or blog, and even including it in your email signature, which 20 days into my campaign I’m just now doing — such a simple tactic, but one we overlook. Lastly, be sure to follow RocketHub on Twitter and Facebook and tag them in your posts. You never know when the staff may give you a big “Like” or share it themselves! You guys are so incredibly supportive and I can’t thank you enough for not only helping promote my project, but also for providing a platform for musicians, artists and makers to find a way to fund what’s in our hearts. Thank you Carla for your music and passion. Check out Carla’s project, because you’ll be hearing her tunes on some of the biggest film and TV shows in the very near future. -Vlad

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  • October 4, 2011

Kiva Fellow, Sandra Pina Goes to Honduras

Sandra Pina is a Kiva Fellow who will be travelling to Honduras to do good work. She is engaging her network of friends, fans, and strangers to crowdfund her positive journey. I spoke with Sandra about her experiences and anticipation. What makes you tick? My inspiration? Kiva! It’s a fantastic organization that allows people to connect through lending to alleviate poverty. Kiva lenders log on to the site and lend as little $25 dollars to a micro-entrepreneur in need of a loan. For me, Kiva was a way in which, a recent college grad (me) with very limited funds, but strong convictions about access to affordable financial services and poverty alleviation, could contribute and support the superb work being done in the microfinance sector. Kiva Fellows serve as volunteers and are the “eyes and ears” on the ground that work directly with Kiva’s field partners, local microfinance institutions. I’ve had this fellowship in my mind since 2008. As a result of the financial meltdown, I couldn’t afford to finance my trip nor could I bear to ask friends and family for their support either – everybody was strapped. Flash forward three years to 2011. In the middle of attempting a career change and hell-bent on working in microfinance, I convinced myself that if I was accepted into the program, I would find a way to pay for my trip. I was accepted into the 16th class of fellows and so began my RocketHub journey. We’re big fans of Kiva here at RocketHub HQ - and have learned a lot from their approach. How has your experience been as a crowdfunding pioneer in the world Kiva-based philanthropy and travel - how are your supporters responding? I had no idea that crowdfunding existed until this past February. I logged on to RocketHub to support a friend who created a project to support his band’s first US tour. I was immediately impressed by how professional his project page was. Clean, visually pleasing, great information, video, links, and surprisingly enough, rewards! I bookmarked the page because, well, I had an inkling RocketHub would come it handy and it did. RocketHub provided a super professional and modern way of articulating my project and presenting it to fuelers. It also helped me to clarify my goals and motives and set realistic expectations. I can’t forget to mention how EASY it was to use. It took a few hours and a bit of trial and error to get the Lempira Project off the ground. The support has been tremendous. I’ve heard not only from family and close friends, but high school and college classmates and even a few strangers. It’s been incredibly humbling to receive encouragement and support from acquaintances I haven’t seen, emailed, spoken to or Facebook messaged in years. I think it has really put my relationships into perspective and led me to truly value the network I’ve managed to create. Creativity comes in all forms! You’ve built a lot of momentum. Any advice for Creatives looking to crowdfund a similar project? I find fundraising to be extremely difficult, because, let’s face it, no one likes asking for money. I know going into it, that being shy would be the death of the Lempira Project. Despite that, it took some courage to get the ball rolling and send out those first emails. Personal emails and messages were very effective. As RocketHub suggested, I first reached out to family and close friends. After the initial wave, I was all about blasting my project using social media; I even included a link in my email signature. It can feel a bit awkward to email someone out of the blue and ask for their support, but I got over it and so will future project leaders. It’s part of the process, don’t lose much sleep over it. There’s nothing to lose but potential fuelers.  Remember to be consistent throughout your campaign. Most people aren’t going to fuel right away. Find ways to keep plugging your project without being too obnoxious. I was careful to leave the window open for all types of support- be it monetary, advice, travel suggestions, or passing my project on to others. You will be very surprised at what may come your way. For example, a friend linked me with her parents in Honduras and I am living with them throughout my fellowship. They have shown me great hospitality and allowed me to live life here as a Hondureña and not a tourist. The awesomeness does not stop there. Another friend generously provided a Delta Buddy Pass to get me to Honduras at a discount, so now I can spend that extra money on things like food. So, my advice is to reach out to EVERYONE because you will never know who will be willing to help and in what way. The “asking” gets easier once you realize how dedicated you are to your project. Your apprehensions will fade away and it will become more about sharing this really cool piece of yourself with people in your circle, money will become secondary.  Your passion and dedication will come across and fuelers will sense them both. I think that’s what draws people in. Infuse your project page and your communications to fuelers with your passion. With that, you’ll be well on your way. Thank you for your extremely candid and insightful answers! We wish you much luck in Honduras and beyond. Support Sandra, here. -Vlad

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  • September 30, 2011

From South Korea, Celebration and Crowdfunding

We regularly get all sorts of outstanding out-of-the-box projects on RocketHub. The Hangeul Day 2011 Exhibition project is one of those gems. I spoke to Hyunwoo Sun, the leader of this event and crowdfunding campaign that looks to celebrate language through art. What was the motivation behind your artistic/pro-social project? Where is does your energy come from? For the past few years, I have witnessed that a language (even if it’s not one of the most popular languages in the world) can really bring people together, and when you learn a new language, you have new dreams and goals related to the language. If not everybody could fly to Korea in the near future to experience life over here, I thought I could give them some more motivation and inspiration, by creating an event that would make them feel that they are there.  For this project, to celebrate Hangeul Day, the day that the writing system of the Korean language was created, anybody can submit their own art, writing or drawing, even if they don’t really speak the language well and I will display it in an exhibition here in Seoul. Local people as well as travellers will be able to view the work of people around the world who are learning this language and get inspired. So far I’ve only done this online through slideshow videos, but this year I thought “why not try something extra awesome?”… et voila!  I really like how you’ve combined art and language into one celebration. How has your experience been as a crowdfunding pioneer in the world visual art, exhibitions, in Korea and beyond - how are your supporters responding? It’s been amazing! Right after I posted this, I received a lot of comments from friends and supporters telling me that this is a great idea. I was very happy to see that they all understood really well, not only my inspiration and motivation behind this proejct idea, but also the fact that this project needs support from them. As I’m writing this, I’m only on Day 2 of my campaign and I’ve reacedh 34% of my goal [at 40% as of today]. This is amazing!  What’s you’re advice for other international Creatives looking to crowdfund similar projects? I am not an expert on this but I think people will always show support (either by contributing or by spreading the word) for something that they can have a vicarious experience from or something they find some value in. As long as you help them understand clearly what kind of value you are hoping to create from your project and how they can have the experience WITH you, I think you will get a lot of support from many people.  Very solid advice. Fuelers look to go for a fun ride and successful crowdfunding projects enable this journey. Get involved with this project, here. -Vlad

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  • September 29, 2011