Written by Grant Albert
In the world of college obsession, it sometimes seems that the only way to get any job is with a college degree; however, there is a new internet commodity that runs on thoughts and innovation. We are talking about crowdfunding, and the best part is you can start as soon as an idea pops in your head.
Crowdfunding’s foundation is built on ideas. Anyone from anywhere who has an idea from starting a new fast food restaurant, to selling a new indie album or simply in need of economic help, can create a profile on a crowdfunding website such as kickstarter.com, gofundme.com, and indiegogo.com to name a few. The individual elaborates about their goal in great detail as well as how much money they need to start. After this point, their profile is posted on the site for anyone to read and contribute (back) to their goal. There is a fair amount of competitiveness in the websites. You need to be more creative and different from the rest of the profiles to attract backers. Backers are the key to a successful profile and to have your idea became a reality. After thirty days on the site, backing is over and the person can keep whatever money was contributed after a usual 5% fee from the website.
Some sites, like Kickstarter, offer the “all-or-nothing” campaign where if the total number of contributions does not pass the set goal after 30 days, the money is gone. It is risky, but Kickstarter states a 44% success rate in “all-or-nothing.”
Success stories are constantly blooming in this flower of web entrepreneurship. One of the many leading examples is the LuminAid. Anna Stork and Andrea Sreshta created the LuminAid, a solar charged, flat, waterproof, flexible lamp that can be used in the midst of a natural disaster or a late night hike in Yosemite National Park. The idea was fantastic but raising awareness was difficult, that was when Anna and Andrea posted their campaign to Indiegogo. They set a goal of $10,000 with different amounts the supporter, or “backer,” can contribute.
Usually, campaigns offer rewards for donating in different ranges. For example, with a $25 contribution the backer will receive a LuminAid while a $1000 contribution will send 50 LuminAid’s to an orphanage in India. By the end of the campaign LuminAid raised $50,000 and Forbes Magazine declared it: “a possible alternative to Thomas Edison’s 1879 electric discovery that has the potential to change, not only the light bulb, but also the world.”
Crowdfunding is growing exponentially and could be the new face of business startups; however, it could be marked as unappealing to some, since there are pressures of having the backer feeling satisfied in their contribution as well as internet scams. With that being said the figures are still outstanding. According to Forbes Magazine, the crowdfunding economy grew to over $5.1 billion in 2013, and thousands of entrepreneurs have already used its power and reach for launches and growth. Crowdfunding may be the new frontier of career opportunity. People can now startup a campaign and in just thirty days aspirations can become true with the power of the Internet.