When launching his first crowdfunding campaign, Shane Thompson, Founder of Afternoons With Albert, never imagined that he would more than double his fundraising goal in less than a week.

However, only five days after the campaign kicked off, already more than US$15,700 has been pledged to support Afternoons with Alberts’ first product – the Cord Roll — which enables you to live a tangle-free life in a world that requires you to carry a suitcase full of cords to function.

Thompson, who is a pilot by trade and an adventurer by nature, came up with the idea of the Cord Roll after getting sick and tired of always having to deal with tangled chargers when flying. It’s a simple concept but it solves a problem – the essence of a strong business model.

It’s the first of many products that he will release as part of his brand Afternoons With Albert.Thompson says: “Afternoons With Albert is us being passionate about the little things so that you can think about the big things. Jump on a plane, start an adventure and live in the moment.”

When he started in The Entourage Scalable & Saleable programme, he initially planned to develop a fitness app. However, through his time in the programme, he was inspired to do something that resonated more deeply with his passion and personal values – from this inspiration ‘Afternoons With Albert’ was born.

We caught up with him to get some advice for other early-stage business owners who want to use crowdfunding as a platform to launch their products.

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What has been your biggest challenge since starting your business?

Accepting imperfection.

As a serial perfectionist, this has served me well in some areas of my life, but I have found it to be a completely inappropriate mindset for the startup space. Learning to execute to a point, where the task is done well enough so that it allows the next most appropriate job to be done in time, has allowed the business to go from an idea that was destined to stay in my head, into a living breathing (awesome) reality.

Focussing is another problem. Being addicted to multitasking, the uncomfortable, and fidgety feeling of giving one task my full attention has been a huge learning experience.

What has been your biggest win since starting your business?

The biggest win has been a personal one.

The feeling that comes from doing something that is completely and unequivocally aligned with who you are. The feeling that you are giving the world what you were always meant to. The self-acceptance that this brings, and seeing how showing up as my honest self resonates with inspires and excites the people that I talk to about Afternoons With Albert. Jumping out of bed and being stoked that I have a whole day ahead with my passion.

You decided to make the decision to change paths and roll with a new concept after joining our Scalable & Saleable programme. What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs who want to switch directions?

Ask yourself, if you made no money from the new direction, would it matter? Would it be OK to take the new direction to the world and just ‘give it’? Does existing in this new space make you tingle a little bit?

If the answer to the above is any shade of yes, then change.

What do you love about running your own business?

The ability it gives me to wander around and get lost in my passion on a daily basis. And the spinoff this has for my customers, friends, family and strangers that I meet. It makes me a better person every way. And giving my gift to the world is a ridiculously amazing feeling.

What advice would you give to others for running crowdfunding campaigns? What kind of marketing did you use to reach your goal so quickly?

If you don’t know what to do, start building an audience and learn the rest while you are building this audience. Building an audience means identifying who your target market is and then giving them value, for free. To do that, you need to know where they are – both in an offline and online sense, so that’s a big part of it as well.

The offerings are small (word/video blogs, Instagram pictures, research, advice) which means it doesn’t take you long to put together. So spend 30 minutes a day on this.

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Once that is running nicely in the background work on ensuring you have product to market fit. Once you’ve done that, move onto researching other crowdfunding campaigns in a similar space to yours. Learn from what others are doing well and not well.

Have faith that what you are bringing to the world is made up of you. You are unique and there is leverage and strength in that. If your campaign doesn’t reach your funding goal it basically means you don’t have product to market fit – so you go back to step two and follow the process again. Learn. Iterate.

In terms of my marketing, I built a following on Instagram initially. But ultimately, I think the success was born from making it easy for people to share the campaign. It’s easy to share when people want to share it when it looks good. People in my market appreciate aesthetics and enjoy the attribution from sharing things that look good. I focussed on a genuine but professional video, and made sure my still images were flawless. It felt natural because it came from a place of passion for me.

Click here to support Shane Thompson’s crowd funding campaign and find out more about his unique product, the Cord Roll.

The article HOW I RAISED DOUBLE MY KICKSTARTER GOAL IN ONE WEEK first appeared on The Entourage. 

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