Jae laffer

Jae Laffer

Singer-songwriter - The Panics

CROWDFUNDING GIVES YOU CREATIVE CONTROL

Crowdfunding meant that I could I could make a start on my project without having to wait for other money or to borrow other money.

It was a way for me to do the recording, the basic recording of the record on my own terms and in my own time. I had to balance between not disrespecting my label, but it just enabled me to get on with the project, and I didn’t have all this money to pay back, and the label could focus on promoting me and my work. It’s all good if you get the balance right.

HAVE CLEARLY DEFINED GOALS

I knew that I just wanted to use crowdfunding to get started. Even though it’s a good little amount of money, it’s also hard money to borrow. I just thought: What do I need to do to make sure this project gets off the ground? It just meant hiring and rehearsing with a drummer and a producer and a studio and some different people. I just did a bit of maths to draw up the budget for that.

Crowdfunding is good because it solidifies your goals. It’s very easy to say I’m going to make an album now, but as soon as someone gives you a dollar, there’s an album at the end of it. As soon as your project’s up there, you can’t let people down so you’ve got to go through with your project and do a really good job.

PRESENT WELL

I did things like I made a film about what I was doing, and I made sure that I looked serious about what I was doing. Crowdfunding places have a number of people who are just trying their luck, so I think it’s important to show people that you’re very passionate.

TAP INTO YOUR COMMUNITY

What crowdfunding did was give me the opportunity – by default – to get in touch with probably hundreds, maybe thousands of people as I was trying to get the message out. So for people I respect, whether they’re photographers or writers, for them to be putting up my link and sharing it with their friends I know people will be going, ‘Well, if they like it, that’s a good thing.’

It’s just nice to spread the word about your project even before it exists, because it’s something you pay PR people to do for you. I’m amazed already about how many people know what I’m doing.

PACE YOURSELF

I didn’t just go to everyone I knew straight away, and I saved asking any friends and family til the very end. It’s very easy to surprise yourself in the first week and that’s everyone you know and then you pretty much fall on deaf ears.

If your campaign’s six weeks, perhaps think of a different kind of group of people for each of those weeks. There’s your friends and family at the end, then there might be contacts in your industry at the start, and in the middle you have friends and the Facebook variety of friends as well to spread the word.

GIVE BACK

When I first found out about crowdfunding I got on and I decided that the best thing for me to do would be to donate to a few people as well.  Putting money toward someone’s record is a really good way to be involved. At the end of the day, most donations are not much. What you’re really putting on the line is just having faith that someone you respect is going to make something that you like. And that’s a good feeling.

Also think hard about what you can give back to your supporters, I didn’t have a great array of things I could offer people, but I did offer artwork and records and the chance to come and hang out and talk to me if they desired that. It might only be a few bucks but people have still looked you up and put in their credit card details and all the things that you don’t do every day and you need to respect that they’ve helped create the team that is making the project happen, and that’s worth far more than the $10 they may give you. It means your project is going to happen if you’re successful.