Crowdfunding a Dream: The First 12 Hours

The Truth about ServiceIt took me three weeks to flesh out a plan. Three more to assemble a team. Three days to create the campaign. Three seconds to launch it. And all along the way, I trembled and shook at the power the vision I held in my head had to change not only my life, but every single life it touched along the way.

Conceiving the Vision

The idea itself – to put together a reality tv show where writers compete to finish, polish, & pitch their ideas to publishers – came out of trying to find a strategy to serve more writers by building a retreat center. It was, as many good ideas are, an idea that was born out of problems I faced and needed to overcome. However, I was not convinced it would be a good idea, so I let my fears talk me out of pursuing it. Who was I to put together a tv show? I’d never done it before. I didn’t know enough.

Perhaps the idea would have gone on undeveloped if it were not for a moment of great need and a desperate plea for answers. The idea, long buried in my mind, rose to the surface and this time would not go unheard. I decided to take it a little further. I did the research and put together the actual plan for how I would raise the money it would take.

Testing the Waters

Then I reached out to someone I found who used to be in the industry. I didn’t know what to expect. I wasn’t expecting a response a few hours later, and not to turn it down but to ask for more information. Clearly I was on to something.

I put forth my proposal and sent it back to him. A week went by and I heard nothing. I thought maybe my idea had landed in the trash bin, and I was trying to decide whether to give up on the idea or pursue it when his email came in to tell me he loved the concept and would be interested in pursuing a partnership with me once I was further along in the process.

It wasn’t yes – but it definitely wasn’t no.

Recruiting Help

Validated that my idea not only had merit but was business worthy, I set out in earnest to find a team. I’ve got a lot of experience trying to get major projects completed without help. I’d failed a lot of people doing that. I wasn’t going to fail everyone this time, but in order to succeed I knew I would need help.

As if by magic, the help I needed began to appear. First, an old friend of mine who was very successful at raising awareness for my husband’s company when he was starting it agreed to be part of it.

Then, I ran into a fellow author online whom I offered to help by the name of Surai Sparks. I didn’t know who she was when I first met her. I just knew she needed help and I had the tools to do it. I was astonished at her social media saavy and the way she’d built a multi-million dollar enterprise using, at first, just Facebook alone. She accepted my offer to join the team.
Then, I met a gentleman named Bobby Kountz, a man who could not only see my vision but take it further and guide to the project the right people to help make it a reality.

Finally there was Lucia and Joseph Dietrick, owners of Lucia’s Visions Travel Agency. I’d made arrangements through them before and had received such excellent service I knew they would take care of the writers, agents, and publishers I would be transporting. They agreed to help support the project by being in charge of travel arrangements and accommodations.

I hesitated to launch, though. Would this, could this, work? It was just so big. It felt so much bigger than me, and it is. Advice I’d gotten from Surai during our hour long conversation came back to me. “When you find the why that makes you cry, you’ll find the thing that gives you wings to fly”.

Finding My Why

Why was I really doing this? What did I care, beside the potential for my own business, whether or not other writers succeeded or failed? Why did it matter to me to help publishers and agents find more great authors? Sure, I’m a book lover and I do believe that more books is always better than fewer, but that why wasn’t big enough to get me past my fears. I could tell myself they might do that on their own.

I stopped, and I prayed about it. I asked God to help me see why this was important. Why did this project matter, not just to me, but to the world at large?

I realized that the answer to that question was in the very things that motivated me to start it in the first place. This wasn’t just about getting me out of poverty. This was about helping all of those people just like me get out of their poverty, too. This was about helping everyone who felt defeated, whose voices were going unheard because nobody was helping them.

And that was something worth devoting my life to doing. It was worth facing my own fears and dealing with whatever obstacles I faced, because they needed me to be brave enough to do it. They needed me to step forward and make it happen.

So I did it. At just around midnight on January 27, 2015, I launched it out into the world and I posted it on Twitter and on Facebook.

The response thus far has been better than my worst fears and less enthusiastic than my highest hopes, but I have caught the attention of 17 new followers and had several people retweet.
New followers: @s1mdZine, @AirDXP, @Valoa_tech, @BackerHack, @5toclose, @ProCrowdfunder, @mcfly_motors, @CfMasterclass, @Crowdfund_media, @theairbolt, @DreamsdotBuild, @NextLeftStudios, @JorgeOlson, and @smUnscrambled

Those who liked and retweeted: @LiveTweetTV, @Foundersuite, @CrowdToolz, @BackerClub, @benuagency, @OGrowth, @CrowdTT

Sparking a New Idea

The decision to document the journey of raising $1.5 million in just 40 days was a natural. It was great fodder for a blog where I’m trying to help writers figure out not only how to write their books but how to succeed in doing so, and what it takes to succeed. As with many efforts to serve, it often leads me to see some other way that I can serve.

As I was documenting the list of new followers and those who liked and retweeted, it occurred to me that I could give back to every single person who decided to contribute to the campaign by listing their name, the amount they contributed, and giving a link here to their website. Then, I would not only help them build SEO credentials to boost their website, but I would also give them promotional consideration on my home page and in my Twitter and Facebook feeds. They wouldn’t have to spend a dime, but just send me a message letting me know where they shared the campaign.

I could do more to help more writers and business owners than I ever had been able to before!

So that is my offer to you. Visit the 40 Day Writer Reality TV campaign. Like it, share it, blog about it, post about it, use the hashtag #40daywriter and then contact me and let me know what you did and where. I’ll include you in the next blog post, along with a link back to your site, thanking you for your support.

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