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Patreon: Sustainable Income for Creators

The Internet has introduced many new career opportunities into our culture. However, it wasn’t until recently that “YouTube star” was a viable career. Thanks to an internet based startup, content creators can have a truly sustainable income. Patreon is a platform that connects content creators with their fans financially. Creators retain 100% ownership of their content and Patreon keeps a 5% fee of all revenue brought in. This is a great way for fans to support artists and creators they love. Fans can pay a few dollars per month or per post to support and thank the creators for their work. John Green, host of the YouTube channel CrashCourse, said, “Patreon is our only source of funding where passion matters more than views.” This is a revolutionary model that reaches across the boundaries of views and ads – connecting artists to their audiences and involving them in the creation process. Patreon isn’t limited to just video content – artists, photographers, writers, animators, comedians and musicians have all used Patreon to successfully connect with their fans in a way that encourages them to keep producing art.

As the Internet becomes more and more engrained into our culture, it will be interesting to watch how entrepreneurs channel its characteristics into business models. A business like Patreon would never had been possible before the interconnectivity offered by the Internet, and there wouldn’t have been as strong of a need for it before the Internet, either.

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Flow Hive: How Bees Went Viral

Flow Hive Beekeeping

Bees didn’t used to be a topic of conversation. These days, we’re hearing more and more about how the bee population is in danger, and the repercussions of the bee species dying off. For years, not much was done in the consumer world to combat this. We all worried about prices of honey rising, and maybe planted some wildflowers in our backyards, but that was about it. At least, until the Anderson family came along.

The Andersons have been beekeeping for three generations. Father and son duo Stuart and Cedar Anderson recognized a problem in the beekeeping industry – harvesting honey was disruptive to the bees, and often resulted in the beekeeper being stung. “There must be a better way,” Cedar remembers thinking at a very young age – he began beekeeping when he was only six years old. Stu and Cedar tinkered with designs for almost a decade before coming up with the Flow Hive.

Stu and Cedar launched an Indiegogo campaign in February 2015 that would quickly become one of the most successful crowdfunding campaigns in history. Their humble goal of $70,000 was reached within minutes of going live. Flow Hive holds the title of the most successful campaign ever launched on Indiegogo. So, what’s their secret?

For starters, they had identified a problem and pain that seriously lacked a solution. Bees were already on the forefront of people’s minds – Flow Hive offered a way for people to be connected. Stu says, “I think people saw Flow as a sort of drawbridge to connect them with the natural world.” Nothing like this product had ever been offered before, and they had an already established niche market of beekeepers – but their market extended past that because of the usability of the product. With Flow Hive, anyone could be a beekeeper.


The Internet played a massive role in the success of Flow Hive. They started a social media campaign less than a month before their Indiegogo campaign began. The goal was to tap into their personal networks and gain a few beekeepers, but the videos Cedar had made for the campaign went viral – the Andersons attribute it to help from friends and family and a genuine interest in bees and the concept of beekeeping. Their campaign page was clear, descriptive, and showed the passion Stu and Cedar had for their project. By the end of the campaign, Flow Hive had raised over $13 million from 38,000 contributors.

Flow Hive is a perfect example of how the Internet can exponentially grow the success and reach of a start-up. Without it, there’s a slim chance we would have heard about a normal father-son duo from Australia and their groundbreaking idea to innovate beekeeping.

Check out the Andersons’ story of the Flow Hive invention process:

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Crowdfunding Surprise

Before you continue reading, pause and guess how much money was raised worldwide by crowdfunding in 2012.  For real, stop and think before you continue.  I’m guessing $2.7 billion was not your guess.  This was an 81% increase from what was raised the previous year, and projections for 2013 lie around $5.1 billion.  Most of this came from North America and Europe, where I thought philanthropists were a dying breed.  Only 45% of this $2.7 billion was to be paid back to lenders in money or product.

It turns out that there are three main types of crowdfunding: donation-based, lending-based, and equity-based. Equity-based?  Yes, equity-based; it means investors receive a share of the company in exchange for funds.  Last year it was the smallest sector of crowdfunding, at a meager $116 million.  But this trend is changing.  Thanks to changing Securities and Exchange rules in the U.S., entrepreneurs will be able to more easily sell equity in their companies to non-accredited investors.

What are the applications for entrepreneurs, aside from the obvious fact that people are increasingly standing behind what they believe in with their money?  Entrepreneur Magazine reports that communities will increasingly use crowdfunding to support innovative entrepreneurs who are involved in solving complex, social problems.  These crowdfunding communities will be increasingly localized, supporting community members in their endeavors to make a difference in the area.  And finally, women stand to capture more investment dollars as investors prefer to more personally understand who they are backing; women are typically more active on social media, and more collaborative when they invest.

No matter the type of crowdfunding, no serious entrepreneur should ignore it as a viable funding option.  Thanks to modern technology, anyone can succeed with a business; the only start-up required is a dream and a little persistence.

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How Much Does a Dollar Do?

It’s hard to count all of the valiant causes I’ve had the opportunity to support over the years–from 5ks to post-disaster help, to outreach in undeveloped countries, to joining the fight for human freedom. I only wish I had the money to contribute in enough of a way as to make a difference in each and every one of these missions. What if there was a way that we could afford to contribute to all of these causes in a meaningful, yet still reasonably cost-effective way. Introducing Begun by young visionary Mark Wilson, Philanthroper answered this dilemma. Every day, the site featured a new nonprofit from six different categories: arts, education, animals, environment, human rights, and health. Site visitors had a $1 max spending limit per day. Though this seems like an extreme limitation, the site’s $1 rule actually encouraged more philanthropic spending, since it was so reasonable and so easy, with a one-click payment system.  Additionally, the site offered free promotion to hundreds of nonprofits in all spheres of charitable work. This adaptation and reversal of Groupon’s easy, daily-deal system was brilliant, to say the least.

So if the idea is so amazing, why is this description written in the past tense? A little more than a year after its launch, Philanthroper went up for sale. Founder Mark Wilson found himself overcommitted and underfunded. Unfortunately, no one saw fit to accept the challenge and pick up the torch, so the life of this brilliant idea found itself cut short. For some reason this story saddens me. This idea had so much potential. Is there a chance to revive the vision?


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Kickstarter for Entrepreneurs

Kickstarter is changing how creative ideas are funded. For example, Pebble raised more than $3,000,000 in just over four days for their E-Paper Watch. The owners of Pebble didn’t have to turn to venture capitalists or dilute their holdings through another offering of shares in order to receive funding; they financed their project with pre-orders.

Although most projects aren’t receiving $3 million on Kickstarter, it’s a great place for entrepreneurs to attain some funding for specific ideas.

Justin Kazmark, Kickstarter’s communications director, offers some advice to entrepreneurs:

Funding must be for a specific project – “Clearly articulate what it is you’re trying to accomplish in a way that inspires people to want to back it.”

Projects must give something in return – “Come up with a compelling rewards structure that brings you closer to your audience. Projects that offer behind-the-scenes access are very compelling, and that’s part of the Kickstarter experience.”

Projects should expand your support base – “Don’t be afraid to get the word out to your friends and family and networks.”


Source: “Pebble Raises $3 Million+ in Four Days, What Kickstarter Means for Entrepreneurs

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A Innovative Way to Crowdfund

People Fund it is a crowdfunding website that allows people, who are interested in helping a cause, to not only support it finantually but also by volunteering their time. It’s a great way to help non-profits succeed! Check out their video!

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