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Launch and Scale

Release Date: 05/14/2019

Hey everyone, welcome to the overview episode of the Launch and Scale Podcast. I'm Khierstyn Ross, and I am so excited to be officially kicking this off. For those that have been following the Crowdfunding Uncut podcast for a while, you know that I did that for the last three years where that podcast focused really heavily on how to bring physical products to market through the Kickstarter route. Over my last four years being in the trenches with creators, really bringing products to market, managing very large crowdfunding campaigns of multiple six-figures, and advising E-commerce brands on how to bring new products to market, I felt that it was time to evolve the brand. And really evolve the conversation to taking everything I've learned from the Kickstarter route, and bringing products to market successfully, and really applying that to any product launch online.

Because what I've noticed is with Kickstarter launches you have one chance, really, to make a great first impression. You have one chance to position your product properly, one chance to make sure that your message is right, the pricing is right, and not only that, but that you have an intimate understanding of why your customer is going to buy this product so that you can have a great sales message, a great video and all that. What I've found is that with Kickstarter campaigns, because it is, traditionally, people have a very high failure rate on Kickstarter whereas the success rate on Kickstarter's about 37%. The big factor with that is to make sure that you not only have an audience of people ready to buy your product when you're live but the other side is making sure you have the right audience because you want to make sure you're building up the right audience of people that are actually going to resonate with your product and love your products so that they buy it on your Crowdfunding campaign when it goes live.

And so because of that and because of the whole getting to know your customer and how much it builds into positioning your product properly, I find that the work that we've done and why I have such a high success rate of campaign success on Kickstarter is because we do a lot of due diligence leading up to a launch of who is your customer. Let's prove that hypothesis through Facebook marketing, let's prove that hypothesis through customer interviews through a structured beta test, which we talk about in episode two, and through different things like that to really make sure that the assumptions we make about our product and who is going to buy and why people love it, we make sure that that is market tested and proven so that when we go to spend so much time and resources launching this product that we get it right the first time.

So, I've found that after working with beginner brands who were using Kickstarter for launch that first product versus an eCommerce client that maybe selling a dozen or so products on Amazon and they know want to build up their audience using Kickstarter as an addition platform, I noticed a trend in that the things we do so early stage with beginner brands to really scope who the customer is, market test demographics and make sure that they are predictably setting up the way we position our product. I realized that that in a lot of the eCommerce brands like the current ones that we approaching me didn't have that locked in. So, I thought, okay, well, I want to take this conversation more mainstream and everything that we have done with Kickstarter campaigns to make sure that we have a six-figure launch, to make sure we are positioning the product and the message we have really resonates with the person we put it in front of.

I wanted to take that conversation more so that people who are looking at taking their product off of Amazon and selling on their Shopify site or building a physical product or even looking to create that round two of a product for a launch, if you're on the Kickstarter side of things, you can use this information to make sure that you are going to have an even more successful product launch. So, what we're covering in Launch and Scale Podcast is, really, how to build a strong foundation for your eCommerce physical product even if you're using Kickstarter, you're using Amazon or whatnot because ultimately there is a reason why I've had such a strong track record bringing products to market and I want to make sure that information is available to more of you guys.

So, what you can expect of this podcast where Crowdfunding Uncut was heavily focused on the interview side of things, this time around it's going to be a less formal approach. So I'm looking to doing a mix of shorter episodes where it will be led by questions submitted by the audience or I'll do a 10 to 15-minute segment on answering that question. We'll be doing behind the scenes experiments. If there is a topic through an expert that I want to bring on then we will do a more long-form interview. So, the format is going to be loose, it's going to evolve with the show and evolve with feedback. What I've done is I've created the first few episodes off of questions that were emailed in from the Crowdfunding Uncut family. So we're in for a really juicy start. Thank you so much for your support. If this is the first time listening to the Launch and Scale Podcast, please be sure to head over to khierstyn.com/podcast and in there you will be able to select iTunes or Stitcher and go in and subscribe to the show.

And if you love the content, please do leave an honest review of the show. It does help other people think the content that is helpful for them and their unique situation. My name is also impossible to spell so it's K-H-I-E-R-S-T-Y-N.com/podcast. Apart from that, if you are not familiar with my story and how the heck I got into product launches, this is where I'm going to talk about that. So, about four and a half years ago, I went to a networking event and I had a little bit of experience online and I ran into this founder of this quirky product that he eventually sold me on it and he got the idea, because we were talking about Matt Ward from Art of the Kickstart before he sold it to Aventis with Roy [Morjan 00:06:47], and a few days later, Adam came back to me and he's like, "Hey, so this product, I've been thinking more about it and I want to bring it to Kickstarter."

And I was like, "Huh, interesting. I don't know anything about Kickstarter." And so the conversation goes back and forth, he's like, "No, no, no, I think it could be really good if we partnered up on this. You know the marketing side of things and I'm the product creator. A perfect world." I was like, "Okay, cool." So, eventually, a few weeks go by and I commit to helping him market this product. And we go and we spend about three months preparing for it, really not knowing anything of what we were doing and if what we were doing was right and we went up to this launch. And that very first launch we did on Indiegogo and it was an absolute disaster. We made every mistake in the book but at the time we didn't know that. So we pressed the launch and then nothing happened.

So, over I think it was a 34-day campaign we ended up failing horribly so we set our goal at $50,000 and by the end, we only raised about $17,000. It was a disaster, to say the least. After that campaign failed we had two options. We could quit and pack up shop or we could really explore and see what we did wrong. After feedback from a few marketing professionals, we realized that it actually wasn't the product. The product was pretty good and it was most likely to sell. What was wrong was how we approached the campaign. So we used that time, about four months, to readjust and redo our marketing plan. So we realized where we went wrong was a classic mistake. On Kickstarter, you have to go in with an audience of people ready to buy so that the algorithm picks you up and shows you to more people and creates a snowball effect. So there's that.

But the other thing is we completely butchered the product positioning. Here we were, two skinny people, trying to sell a weight loss product in an industry that neither of us really understood and we didn't take the time to really talk to our customer and get to make sure that the product positioning and I guess the sales pitch and the video we'd put together to make sure that it was actually in alignment with what would get people to buy and it really wasn't. So we took this feedback and we ended up going to our market, getting feedback to completely change our product positioning and building up an audience. So we did those two things really differently, really focused on that for the next three to four months and then we relaunched that product. And when we launched it, that time, the thing explodes. We end up raising just shy of $600,000 on Indiegogo for this product.

And that really launched my career. I was in denial at the time because I was like, "I hate Kickstarter. I don't want to do it." But it's funny because a couple of months after that point, I was forced to do a talk in Toronto because the founder didn't want to do it and so I did the talk on the transition between how we went from a $17,000 failure to a $600,000 success. And there was the founder of my second official campaign or client in the audience, David from Tapplock. And he's like, "I really like what you did with this product. Can we talk?" And so I ended up working with Tapplock and that was my second big win where Tapplock went and raised $342,000 on Indiegogo. And then from that, I got partnered up with Maneesh Sethi of Pavlok where we launched the Shock Clock 2 and that ended up doing another $350,000. And then I eventually met Chris from Jam Stack. Again, he's one of my most talked about case studies.

We did an $82,000 launch and then a $362,000 launch and it just kind of went from there. So, that's when, about three years ago, I committed to niching completely into Kickstarter Indiegogo launches and built the podcast and really here we are today. So, over the time that I've spent in the trenches in the last four years, I've had some major wins bringing physical products to market. I've been in the trenches with people and success speaks for itself and that's really my backstory. If we ever get on a call, if you're listening to this, if you want to find a little more information, happy to share but that's kind of like the Cliff Coles Notes version of what the brand was with Crowdfunding Uncut and the reason I've decided to really create this new brand Launch and Scale is because I absolutely love products that are different and unique and serve a specific purpose in the market. And I've noticed that Kickstarter is an amazing platform to give your brand momentum.

So, it's been a great way to literally kickstart a couple of seven-figure brands that I've worked with and multiple other people. And so I thought my sweet spot is not only in product launches but is really helping with that early stage development of fast scale, fast growth, from zero to $5 million points of strong foundations and building an amazing product off of customer feedback, really that is what I've been doing in the field. And so I felt that in keeping the Crowdfunding Uncut podcast to be specific to Kickstarter but now we're really talking about launching and scaling profitable, eCommerce physical brands with predictably and success. So really excited. As mentioned before, episodes are crafted off of your feedback so if you have a question, a topic or you just want to say hi, the best thing to do is to send our team an email at support@khierstyn.com. So again, it's K-H-I-E-R-S-T-Y-N.com.

And if you actually schedule a call with me to talk about your product, please head over to khierstyn.com/schedule. Apart from that, I am going to wrap up this intro episode and jump into the first official episode where we are handling the debate between brands or me too products.