Dear indiegogo diary, ISITaYES?

Entry 5, October 8th, 2012

Here we are…three days out from the closing of my crowd-funding adventure. The last week seems to have flown by and as of now I sit at $7,395. It’s crazy! I’ve seen quite a few larger contributions come in this past week, and I’m still feeling the social love and support. Right now I am sitting in a hotel room in Florida after just wrapping up a presentation for tomorrow at Affiliate Management Days. I just opened a bottle of wine and I am just taking it all in…the last 27 days…of donations, comments, emails, and more. Can you say crazypants?

 

So let’s break that down…

  • I’ve raised 16.8% of my funding goal in twenty-seven days.
  • That’s been raised with 84, which means on average each funder has given $88. That’s not actually the case, as its been all over the board, but thats the average.

On average per day I’ve made $273, which is a pretty sweet daily average if you think about it. I mentioned in the previous journal entry I was hoping to hit 10k as my new realistic goal. I think it’s STILL possible, but maybe not realistic. I would need to raise another 2,800 in three days to hit that goal. Maybbbeeee not gonna happen, but a girl can dream.

So How Is It Going?

OMG so good. I’ve already had my first working session with a top-notch mobile developer and app designer in the Seattle area– David & Thom {more on them and our plans in an upcoming post!}. We talked for hours about customer personas, business objectives, and user flows. They are sharp when it comes to all this (they’ve pushed out dozens of apps) and with my passion for the project we are grooving right along!

They’ve already sent the first round of personas over and I’ve included them for you to all check out (let me know what you think in the comments below)! We are trying to really get a sense of who will use this and how they will engage with other user types. What kind of device adoption, income, social media presence, etc. the different types have. It’s been a very cool exercise.

Next steps include collating all of the app ideas (from you smart people) into a roadmap, and making sense of it all. We have a great sense of an MVP, and we are actually hoping to kick off a prototype sooner rather than later! The three of us have a goal to have the app ready for download in the app store by Black Friday! Ahhhhh snap.

What Surprised Me?

I continue to be surprised how quickly this has all moved along. From admitting an idea, to crowdfunding, to email exchanges with smart people, to getting in a room to talk prototypes, to coffees on weekends about monetization strategies — whoa.

I’ve also been surprised to have a long-time friend in the industry reach out to partner more seriously on the app idea. We are talking more about it now, but he has a ton of great ideas, a “get after it” mentality I just adore, and lots of experience to lend my way. To say I’m stoked is an understatement.

One thing is for sure I am reminded how willing people are to be creative with each other. It’s been inspiring to get your late night rambles via email, and to have you all offer up introductions from your network. We are creative people. We are, at our core, willing to share that creativity and we love to see it ignite in others. I love that. I love it so much.

How Am I Feeling?

I’m feeling really good! I’m going to do the “final push” as they say (which is kind of a strange analogy but whatever) and shoot for 10k, but if I don’t hit it than I am just stoked to have raised what I did. The money is going to go to another round of design and some preliminary marketing/branding to get it up and grooving in the app store. My partners on the app and I haven’t talked too formally, but it’s likely much of V1 will ready to go in the next few weeks!

I am also {to be totally transparent} pretty happy to have the crowd-funding part behind me. It’s been hard to balance the journal of the progress, the inquiries, and my day job. With that said, I think this sort of social experiment reminds me just how entrepreneurial we all are. I also think this sort of platform is a great way to kick your ass into high gear and “get after it.” It’s a great way to meet new people, to push past your insecurities and just do it. Just do it {sorry to get all Nike on you just then, but I mean it.}

In Closing… 

Dear diary,

With only three days left I am humbled by the support and donations. I feel lucky to be a part of this community. It’s full of creativity lovers, big dreamers, and smart ass people. Super thankful for all of it.

Much love,

Joanna

—> Looking to throw a few dollars my way and help me reach my new goal of 10k? I’d love your help. Contribute here.

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Entry 4, September 24th, 2012

So we are approaching the half way mark. Craziness!  Over the past 5 days I’ve had a few hundred come in, and I’ve been spending my hours mocking up a scaled back version of the app I’m going to start circulating with my developer leads. It’s pretty clear I’m not going to raise when I need to move forward with SeattleAppLab, but the cool part is out of crowdFUNDING came crowdDEVELOPING (I’m coining that one!). As of tonight I have raised $5,445 of my $44,000 goal.

So let’s break that down…

  • I’ve raised 12.4% of my funding goal in thirteen days.
  • That’s been raised with 72, which means on average each funder has given $76. That’s not actually the case, as its been all over the board, but thats the average.

On average per day I’ve made $418, so if that rolled along I’d end just over 12k raised. That would be pretty sweet. I am thinking it’s more likely it will be less, BUT I am really hoping to hit the revised goal of 10k even. I wish Indiegogo let you adjust a goal downward, I’m a fan of crossing finish lines, but hey what can you do? :)

So How Is It Going?

I had a great conversation with a few fashion lovers over the weekend. I keep hearing two main concerns from those I would consider my *target audience.* The main two concerns are:

  1. Can they share with just one person, or just a few people. The answer is yes.
    I plan to have a “your private circle” function where you share to only those you invite. Depending on the cost it would be cool to just work right into your contacts somehow. I’m not a mobile developer, so I don’t know how that works. I am pretty sure I can get it integrated with text messaging, so maybe once you take the pic you can choose to text the image with the question to just one person or a few, and then the answers can feed back into the total. Hmmmm, I’ll have to look into that.
  2. How will they get answers quickly? I’ve thought about this. The short answer: it will work.
    There is definitely a “network effect” at work (which means the more people using it, the more valuable it becomes). With that said I plan to use push notifications, so if you push it to your friends, they should get notified that you need a response asap. I am thinking maybe there are statuses as well like “level or urgency” … I’m not totally sure. I’m open to ideas here friends!

What I love is those two concerns do keep coming up, so I feel like if I can solve for those two friction points amazingly, the rest is as simple and intuitive as I had hoped! I am still feeling {and loving} the response to the idea.

What Surprised Me?

Not too much these last few days to be honest. I haven’t spent as much time pimping the Indiegogo page or app idea these last few days. I took the weekend to take in Seattle in the fall – its pumpkin time friends!

How Am I Feeling?

I’m feeling okay. Obviously I’m a little disappointed not to be as far as long as I could be, but I am still really happy to have over 70 people believe in the idea enough to donate! I am hoping to nail down which developer I want to work with in the next week or so. It would be great to have the contract in place by the time funding ends so I can move right into development. The holidays are upon us, and it would be great to have the app in the app store under shopping for that time of year!

I’m also loving the creative waves I get when working on mockups of the scaled back app. I love the design and color so much, it feels super personal but techie to me. I might need to lean on my original design resource for a few other elements, but I think its going to come out pretty beautiful when all is said and done. I think this app only stands a chance for adoption if everything feels super easy and compelling. I’m going to continue to focus on that.

In Closing… 

Dear diary,

About half way through and realizing this wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be. I think many things end up this way. Must remember this for future big jumps into the unknown.

Much love,

Joanna

—> Looking to throw a few dollars my way and keep the buzz going? I’d love your help. Contribute here.

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Entry 3, September 19th, 2012

Okay we are eight days in! That’s almost a third of the way there, wowzers. I was recently down in San Fran speaking at DreamForce (which was tons of fun, love the SF tech scene) and came back to see that my app has raised over $5,000 as of now! While it’s now pretty clear I won’t be hitting the lofty goal I put it up, it’s been great to see the support trickle in from friends and web connections, and just cool cats. As of tonight I have raised $5,135 of my $44,000 goal.

So let’s break that down…

  • I’ve raised 11.16% of my funding goal in eight days.
  • That’s been raised with 69, which means on average each funder has given $74. That’s not actually the case, as its been all over the board, but thats the average.

On average per day I’ve made $642, so if that rolled along I’d end just under $20,000 raised. Unfortunately the first two days were huge, and since then things have been more up and down and all around. It’s way more likely I’ll continue to see some support jump in here and there, and won’t hit the total goal, but that is justtttttt fine. :)

So How Is It Going?

It’s going well! I continue to receive positive feedback and suggestions for features, monetization options, etc. I had a great conversation with a friend in the ecommerce world down in San Fran, and he had lots of ideas to bounce my way. I find that more people know about the app idea than I thought would. This darn social web…so fast it is.

This is great because it gives me a whole new project to think about, stretch my brain on, and explore. I’ve always been a firm believe that if you can diversify the projects you spend your effort on you will learn so much more and so much faster than you would have if you only focused on one thing. There is some law of exponential thinking/exposure/exploration or something I am sure. Either way, things are going well and I have been super excited to see others so excited and willing to brainstorm.

What Surprised Me?

Funny enough I am surprised on how slow the days seem to be ticking by. Normally months fly by in a second but since I have something that I am checking often {and they send you an email when someone donates} I find that I am very aware of time right now. I can’t believe it’s only been up and out there for just over a week and we still have three more to go. Kind of crazy.

I’m surprised by how kind people have been in the comments and emails they send me. They’ve told me I have inspired many of them to “do that thing they’ve been thinking about” …which is crazy awesome. I def didn’t set out to remind people how awesome they are and how opportunistic the *now* really is but since we are all here let me just say — you are all awesome. you can do what you want to do. start now. now. now.

How Am I Feeling?

I’m feeling good. I have a few open conversations about collaboration when this is all done, and I still feel positive we can move forward with the funds raised and me chipping in {maybe more than I had planned}. I still feel this is a great idea, and {with all your suggestions} have thought of a million other ways this app/idea could be useful.

I’m a little worried about time commitment. I have a job I love, and I’m not looking to turn this app into a company and become a CEO in the fashion world (maybe some day way down the road). I actually turned down two different opportunities to talk to investors about this idea and where I want to take it, because I don’t really want to take it anywhere. Well uhmm other than the app store :) So I am feeling good, but always acutely aware I’ve committed to a lot of work over the next few months, and between you and me (and you know… the web) I’m a little nervous I’ve overcommitted. Alas, that’s kind of my thing, and here we go!

In Closing… 

Dear diary,

A good friend told me once I had to “find my own balance” and that it might be balance between “work and work.” Friends are smart. I’m rolling with it.

Much love,

Joanna

—> Looking to throw a few dollars my way and keep the buzz going? I’d love your help. Contribute here.

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Entry 2, September 14th, 2012

Three days down. What a fun three days it’s been! I have been nothing but floored by the response from friends and strangers on the idea. Seems like many of you think that you would actually use the app — ain’t that grand! I am not crazy. Well, not AS crazy as I may have thought. As of tonight I have raised $4, 450 of my $44,000 goal.

So let’s break that down…

  • I’ve raised 10.11% of my funding goal in three days.
  • That’s been raised with 55 funders, which means on average each person has donated $80.00. That’s not actually the case, as its been all over the board, but thats the average.
  • On average per day I’ve made $1,483, so if that rolled along I’d make $44,490 by the end of this. Unfortunately the first two days were huge, and today I’ve only raised $50. I anticipate it will be slow through the middle and then toward the end we might see a bit of a spike.

So How Is It Going?

I think it’s unlikely I will hit the total goal, but I do think it’s likely I will hit 15k or so (which would be awesome!) and if that is the case I am going to explore some other options for development. I’ve had about half a dozen mobile peeps reach out wanting to discuss some sort of partnership (they dev, I market, we both win!) which is exciting since this is very much a side project for me. I am definitely welcoming those sort of partnership conversations, so send them on over!

What Surprised Me?

I am surprised by the demand for more info. I think I was naive to assume people would invest in an idea that isn’t 100% flushed out. I have been burning the midnight oil to better formulate the monetization options and tier out development so it might fit a tighter budget (assuming I don’t hit my funding goal). I’ve been doing more competitive research into the stickiness of fashion apps (ughhhh so many of them suck!) and I’ve been trying to read as much as I can about mobile development (holy snap, talk about a whole new world!). I’ve been surprised by how willing people are to intro me to other fashion, mobile, tech lovers. Those intros, and email exchanges (while they have consumed all of my potential sleep hours), they have been so invaluable. People… you rock my world. Like seriously.

How Am I Feeling?

Quite awesomely actually. I get this wave of anxiety every time I think about having 55 people throw money toward my goal. I have been a bit up and down the last few days because I feel this, somewhat unexpected, weight jump on my shoulders. I just try to remind myself — its fear. Fear is an emotion. I control my emotions. After all, this app is going to get built…somehow. There may be v1 (less features than I first planned) and then v2, and so on…but it will get built.

I’m feeling confident because the idea has been received so well, but also leary that I will reach my  goal. I think this speaks volumes to the idea that “having things go as plan” is very often NOT the case. I think it’s now my challenge to stay positive and scrappy as I adjust my plan. I kind of love this part of the challenge, and I look forward to finding my new road as the next 27 days roll by.

So What’s Next?

I think I might stop checking the page for the weekend. SAY WHAT? I think I might actually stop hitting refresh, and just let it roll through a weekend as it should. If people give…great. If they don’t…Ill start pimping it on Monday. While I love the idea of a continuous climb I love my community and social web more. I will not interrupt their weekends with requests for social shares and donations. It’s not my style. So enjoy your weekend friends, and come Monday I might just be tweeting your way ;)

In Closing… 

Dear diary,

Things don’t always go as planned, but we are defined by how we react. Babysteps are still forward progress. #positivethinking

Much love,

Joanna

—> Looking to throw a few dollars my way and keep the buzz going? I’d love your help. Contribute here.

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Entry 1, September 12th, 2012

I’ve been playing with this idea that I would try to enter daily, if not close to daily, how the campaign is going. I’m hoping to document my feedback, feelings, feature suggestions, and thoughts through-out the whole crowdsourcing process. I put my mobile app idea up on @indiegogo a day ago and as of now I’ve raised $3,340 of my $44,000 goal.

So let’s break that down…

  • I’ve raised 7.5% of my funding goal in one day.
  • That’s been raised with 36 funders, which means on average each person has donated $92.00. That’s not actually the case, as its been all over the board, but thats the average.
  • If I were to have this sort of day, every day, for the next 29 days I would make – $100,200 but let’s be honest…that isn’t realistic. Instead it’s more likely it will ebb and flow, with a little spike at the end.

So How Am I Feeling?

I’m feeling okay. I was overwhelmed today with the support for the idea. Strangers on all sorts of platforms told me this idea was a good one, and they would download and use this app. It was a nice burst of customer validation, albeit somewhat theortical. I also received a number of “I had a similar idea but never executed on it” emails from people I really respect, so again that lent some weight to my inner battle on whether this app would be a hit.

I feel pretty good about having the initial “freak out” over with, and now feeling much more myself because it’s somewhat out of my control. Sure I can push it, and ask people to send to friends/family but I’m not going to take it down, I’m not going to postpone getting it up, or change how it appears. The idea is up there for the world to see, and while it is terrifying on half a dozen levels, it’s also refreshing to be so vulnerable.

What Surprised Me?

Transparency is key in diarys. I think I was surprised with how weird I felt having people  help me. I panicked when I realized the karma plane has shifted, and I find myself uber motivated to ask others what their dream is…which is an amazing side effect.

I was surprised with how people reacted at work – so supportive. I was afraid they would think I was waivering on my love for SEOmoz, or on my dedication to our projects. Instead, they were high fiving me all day, asking how they can spread the word, and donating. That was the best surprise. I’m one lucky lady.

What Am I Worried About?

Less than I was before last night — which is unexpected. I am thinking it might be unlikely to hit my full funding goal but that doesn’t terrify me anymore. A close friend sent this over to me today:

“Not that I don’t procrastinate on all kinds of ideas, but I’m slowly learning to just face the worst that can happen. Worst that can (realistically) happen is that you fall short of your goal. The world won’t end, and the vast majority of us are glad to support you, even if the final product doesn’t materialize. You may even find a solution – if you raise $10K, there could be a different developer or an MVP approach that still gets this off the ground. Until you take the leap, you’ll never be forced to find those solutions.”

Well snap. Ain’t that the truth.  I’ve had so many people today reach out to partner on the app or talk further offline that I truly believe now it will materialize…which wasn’t necessarily the case 24 hours ago. So that is a huge win. Now it’s just the execution, and luckily for me, I’ve been practicing how to be scrappy and “make it work” (as Tim Gunn would say) for years. That’s my comfort zone. So I’m not worried about too much to be honest.

So What Now?

Right now my focus is to respond quickly to those that support me and let them know from the bottom of my heart that I appreciate it. I’m keeping a list of all the feature suggestions people are sending in because DAMN you people are smart. I have ideas for v2, v3, v4, and v5 at this point! I’m hoping to push out a post with those ideas soon and get feedback. Why just crowdsource the funding when I can crowdsource the functionality? Combined brain power FTW!

Other than that I am going to try and keep the buzz going. Its going to be a long 29 days! I’ll be reaching out to tech peeps I know, fashion blogs I read, and big brands on twitter to see if they can help out. If any of you know someone who might find the idea interesting, feel free to connect me. If not, no worries, Ill just keep chugging away until we see where we are at 29 days from now.

In Closing…

Dear diary,

Throwing ideas into the universe can be scary, but the energy from the spark of commitment is like no other. #letsdothis

Much love,

Joanna

 

—> Looking to throw a few dollars my way and keep the buzz going? I’d love your help. Contribute here.

 

7 Comments
  • http://twitter.com/kristy Kristy Bolsinger

    I’m so glad you’re documenting this for other people who may have ideas they don’t know how to act on. Or adventures they’re afraid of. Or shoot…even for yourself some day. When someone is writing a book about you this will make it so much easier ;)

    You can do this. You got this. You can make it happen. 

  • http://twitter.com/ISITaYES ISITaYES

    Excited to get it out there though!

  • Joanna Lord

    Thanks Kristtyyyyy! I have some hopes to compare the different platforms I considered too but likely on the Moz blog. Its pretty crazy. I think the strangest piece of all this is not knowing what to expect, like was this a good first day? what will the next 29 look like? Very “out of my control” which is a nutty place to be :)

  • Gordon Gates

    Hi Joanna,

    I was happy to contribute. Just wondering why you did not use Kickstarter…

  • joannalynnlord

    Hey Gordon! This is a great question. I actually had planned to go with Kickstarter and got the page all up! However, Kickstarter didn’t approve the project they said it was too much like a true business and had too heavily a social component (both of which are against their terms of service). Indiegogo was suggested to me as a great alternative, and so I went for it!

    I am hoping to write a more complete blog post on the comparison pretty soon!

    Joanna

  • http://www.perfect-tennis.co.uk/ Jonathan

    Interesting, how much of your own money have you put into this?

  • joannalynnlord

    Hey Jonathan! I’ve put in some up front money to get the video together, the domain/website stuff grooving, and the design prototype. I anticipate I’ll be putting in money as needed from here on out, guess how much depends on how quickly I can monetize the idea. :)