How will you use the crowd?
Have you noticed the latest trend of going to a crowd to source money, information, answers, and even an opinion in some cases. I find it fascinating and a little disturbing that people have become so conflicted about having their own opinion that they need to consult “the crowd” first. Regardless, the trend is everywhere and heading full steam ahead!
Startup companies have started using crowdsourcing to find team members before going after investment capital. This solution allows people with a specialized, high level skill to be found for an opportunity that may not otherwise be offered. Granted these opportunities are typically in return for equity stake in the startup company, it is, nevertheless, a growing segment of getting work these days.
Product development teams can go to the crowd to alpha and beta test instead of paying for those services.
Service companies can go to the crowd to explore new solutions to old problems.
Trend: skipping capital investments, going local
Product companies are using crowdfunding (i.e. kickstarter.com or indiegogo.com) to fund new product development instead of going after investment capital. The premise is that this “crowd” will front the cost of development through either supporting the project with a small donation or pre-purchasing the product on a crowdfunding platform. This takes bootstrapping to a whole new level.
Crowdfunding has taken on an entirely new spectrum by going hyper-local with sites like texasenetworks.com that works specifically with startups looking for investment capital in the Texas area or wilcofundingportal.com that will setup and host a campaign as long as your company is in Williamson County Texas. These hyper-local crowdfunding projects use their local influence, lists, and community spirit to help each campaign get attention and funding. Pretty clever if you ask me.
Trend: crowdfunding specific niches
It doesn’t stop there; sites are popping up offering crowdfunding for a specific business niche, like celebrateplus.com that offers crowdsourcing campaigns specifically for people running an event. Let’s say you are putting on a conference and need the ticket money upfront (which isn’t going to happen in time by selling tickets on their own site). With CelebratePlus you can pre-sell the tickets and/or sponsorships through a crowdfunding campaign and get the money you need.
You can even crowdfund your relocation to a new city, your honeymoon, a trip to another country because you need an adventure… gofundme.com runs the gamut of what can be crowdfunded. Need another option? If you have a WordPress website and a few dollars you can set up your own crowdfunding platform in about an hour – there really is no limit.
If that wasn’t enough, Freelance Conference decided to step in to the world of crowdfunding and use it to allow people that want to attend the event to crowdfund their ticket. We crowdfund everything else, so why not set up their own platform and allow people the opportunity to attend the training they need but may not otherwise be able to afford? I’m looking forward to seeing how this works out, no other conference is doing this yet!
The world really is your oyster – if it’s money, help, or affirmation you need, there is a crowd to help you get it.
Note from the Editor: Emily Leach is the founder of Freelance Conference but not affiliated with any other aforementioned company.