Since becoming a crowdfunding consultant in 2015, Nalin Chuapetcharasopon has helped developers raise over $ 13 million and count on Kickstarter and Indiegogo.
How did it start? Well, their experience may sound a bit like someone else you know.
"I started like Pat because he was fired from his job and then he said, what am I going to do?"
As a marketer for a fast growing startup in the San Francisco Bay Area, Nalin had a “good” job that gave her a lifestyle that many would envy. But she felt that something was missing.
When the company switched from selling to consumers to a B2B model, Nalin's job was suddenly in danger. She was released not long after.
"When I was released, I thought that was a sign." This sign pointed them in the direction of building something of their own.
The world won't go down
Growing up, Nalin's father had always been an entrepreneur, someone who took every failure or stumbling block as an opportunity to try something new and see what worked.
Nalin grew up in Thailand at a time of great economic instability. During the Asian financial crisis in 1997, her father's business went bankrupt and went into debt in the millions. "And instead of just giving up, he just looked at the world and thought: What else can I do?"
Nalin was seven years old at the time. “That was my first insight into the idea that 'Hey, the world is not going to end; Things happen. Just go on. "
After she was fired from her job, she jumped in with both feet and tried to find a business model that resonated.
"I tried all things. I tried drop shipping, printing on request and building a Shopify store. "
She even tried to turn her dog Rory into an Instagram influencer with some success. “However, I sold some things through it. People contacted me. It was kind of cool. "
But it wasn't so cool that this would lead to a permanent deal. Overall, "Nalin probably failed four or five times within those few months after leaving the job."
Trying different companies had helped Nalin understand what she wasn't best suited for or what was the most exciting. “I didn't want to be the person who just posted something on Instagram and wrote a really cool little post. It didn't feel like me because I don't use social media that way. "
In the same way: “When I did print-on-demand, it was simply not a natural extension of myself. There is not much innovation. There's not much to bring cool new ideas to the market. "
In every business, she had tried up to this point: "I didn't go to bed to find out these problems. I didn't wake up to solve these problems."
Nalin had a degree in marketing and some experience in crowdfunding from a previous job.
"Crowdfunding is pretty much just marketing to find out where a cool product that someone wants to bring to the market meets with an audience, and how do you marry that together to bring this cool new idea to the market?"
One day, she received a message on LinkedIn from someone who wanted to chat about a crowdfunding project for half an hour.
In the end, they talked for two hours. "I paced my living room and was just super excited when I talked about crowdfunding."
At that moment everything clicked for her. When she hung up, she said to herself, "Okay, it's right there. Here is the passion. "
She quickly realized that crowdfunding was something she went to bed about.
"And that's how it was for me when I kept thinking about something and happily thinking about it."
So she got to work. She turned a blog, "and it's just a little snowball from there."
Find the right business model
Before starting her entrepreneurial journey, Nalin had also worked for a crowdfunding agency, which brought her even closer to knowing what she didn't want to do with her own business.
First she tried an agency-style model, "where I tried to get a lot of people on board to deliver a complete project. But then people didn't seem to want that. "
Why? Costs. “For example, if you’re working with a crowdfunding agency, there’s a $ 25,000 upfront cost. And before you even put the product on the market, it is scary for an entrepreneur with a new idea that has not been tested to spit so much money. "
"And I thought it didn't seem to be a model that worked."
To find a model that would work, you would have to listen a little more. And to hear what your audience wants, you need to know where to find it. Luckily, all the trials and mistakes in the run-up to starting your business helped build the foundation for a great network that could determine the direction of the company.
“I tried different things because I think it made me connect with people on LinkedIn, with people on Facebook and Instagram, and to expand my network to find what I was looking for , People who stretch out. "
"When I started getting a following, I just asked people what they wanted and I had these conversations – what do you need? – and went from there," she says.
By putting her ear on the floor, Nalin got a better idea of how people needed help to control their options for the most effective use of crowdfunding.
Learning these nuances helped her to make crush crowdfunding an individual advisory model that would eventually complement her with two online courses – one for beginners and one for advanced learners.
"It pretty much grew out of listening to what people wanted and simply delivering it."
Have this traffic
In the SPI country, we like to talk about the importance of email marketing. Why? Because there are so many advantages to creating an email list early and maintaining dedicated email subscribers.
Fortunately, starting her email list was "definitely the first thing Nalin did". "I thought hey, I need to put something together to have this traffic."
Now that Nalin is on a track she loves, she relies on her email list as an important source of audience feedback and engagement. She said she learned a lot about effective email marketing by reading other newsletters like Pat & # 39; s Smart Digest and a daily financial newsletter called Robinhood Snacks.
People sign up to receive their lead magnet, a free “crowdfunding guide,” and she emails them every week. From time to time, these emails may contain a question or survey. It also runs a Facebook group for people interested in starting their own crowdfunding campaigns, where they occasionally share questions or surveys.
And sometimes people contact them directly on LinkedIn and ask for help – resulting in conversations like this magical two-hour phone call that got everything fixed.
You will never be a "board" and do something you love
Nalin's business has been going for almost three years and she has recently started expanding her team.
"It's so much fun because you meet people from all over the world. Via a Facebook group, she found her first virtual assistant (VA), who lives in Austria but originally comes from Nicaragua." She is in Austria and is doing now her second bachelor's degree in music theory. And then I have another Oregon person who works with me and manages my content and there is a podcast editor.
"So there are a lot of different people I could meet and somehow get together, which was really fun."
With a team, she is also free to take advantage of another opportunity that takes her even deeper into the crowdfunding area.
“I usually work with hardware companies or clothing companies. But I've found that I really like board games. “As an enthusiastic board player in her spare time, Nalin saw an opportunity to work with people who would like to use crowdfunding to start their own games.
"So now I have two sides, which makes it even more exciting every day."
Your original plan was to earn $ 500 for the board game project within 30 days. If she achieved that goal, she would go on.
"I did it within two weeks and I thought, okay, there is a market."
Personal brand, no quicksand
Only Nalin and a VA are currently involved in the board game. In the meantime, the original business continues to develop so that Nalin becomes even more important.
Crush crowdfunding started as Nalin's favorite project: "Just me and my idea." Regarding branding, however, she originally decided to stay away from it.
But she recently reconsidered this decision. "I want to be the face of something. I really want to speak to people directly and I want people to just speak to me directly when I do. Because that's one of the things that I enjoy the most. "
And so Crush Crowdfunding is about to become a more personal brand, with a new website that focuses on Nalin.
At the same time, Nalin is still learning how to share the burden. Although she attributes her entrepreneurial spirit to her father, she admits that she grew up in a family of workaholics. Her grandfather is 93 and still works three days a week. Her mother travels to work for almost half a year.
“I grew up with that kind of mentality that you just don't stop at. You just keep going. As an entrepreneur, it is difficult to find a stopover. "
Having a team was helpful, but Nalin feels that the old impetus to do everything yourself continues from time to time.
When she started her first VA shortly before Christmas 2019, she asked the new employee to do her a special favor by handing over some of her duties.
She said to the new employee: "I've been holding on to it for two years now, and it's going to be hard for you to hold on, but just tell me to let go." So blame me. I come to you for a reason. "
Nalin still has to remember when she tends to put a task on her own to-do list that she should instead write it on the Trello board for her VA. "And so it's a constant struggle in which I'm not perfect. I still have problems with it."
What success looks like
Nalin recently read a book called Paul Jarvis' Company of One that encourages entrepreneurs to consider whether growth is the best or the only way to succeed.
"(The book) really impressed me because it really redefines what success is and what it means, and introduces the concept of" enough "as an entrepreneur, so to speak. A lot of people think, okay, if I spend more time, I'll make more money, you know, and I'll build it, and I'll do it, and I'll have an eight-figure deal. ”
Reading Company of One helped Nalin come to a simple conclusion: “This is not me. I wouldn't want that. And what I want in life is success, but in a very different way that culture doesn't really talk about – US culture, entrepreneurial culture doesn't really talk about it. "
The book "really opened my eyes to another world of what entrepreneurship can be."
This insight is in line with the understanding that building a successful business doesn't have to mean outperforming the competition.
Nalin played competitive sports and college rugby throughout high school. "I've been out there all my life trying to" get "people. I was a competitive person. And when it comes to business, I also had to be competitive. I have to win."
Crowdfunding is a huge, multi-billion dollar industry, and Nalin didn't have to look far to find others who stand out and get part of the action.
“There is a lot of competition. There are tons of agencies. There are tons of consultants. "
And so she initially operated with the attitude "Oh no, everyone is a competitor". But gradually she began to question this caution.
“After a while I got the feeling: why? Because I see you doing something, but it's not the way I do it. “In early 2019, she decided to connect with the competition rather than fear it.
And since then it has been “so much fun. I address everyone because everyone has a different system. They have a slightly different niche ”, regardless of whether it is hardware products, comics or social non-profit organizations.
"It just opened a whole new door." Many of their unique competitors are "now like friends", and some of them even regularly share guest posts on their blog.
"So the plan is not to take over the world. The plan is to only help people who resonate with me. And wake up and enjoy that."
What it is about
Nalin loves the time and freedom that entrepreneurship – and especially working with a team that can take things off her plate – has given her back. She and her partner are thinking about starting their own family soon, and she knows that if this happens, time will be even more valuable.
"So success for me? I don't think it's IPOs. I don't think it's more money, more success. I think it is for myself to find that sweet spot where I can wake up and work on products that I love. I can have a team and my team likes to do what they do and they can support themselves and their families. "
"And only being able to have time for myself and my family, because why are we here in the end?"
Nalin and her partner Anna
In December 2004, Nalin and her nuclear family sat on a boat in the waters off the coast of Thailand, hanging out and snorkeling. They were also on the path of the deadliest tsunami in recorded history.
Fortunately, they all survived, but they were not intact. Nalin's mother was seriously injured on the right arm and Nalin had to undergo several operations. After the ordeal, they spent "literally as a family together in a room every few weeks, pretty much healing from our scars and just talking …".
"I really had to think about what's important. It has strengthened us as a family and somehow the idea that family is what it's about is strengthened. "
Nalin Chuapetcharasopon helps people launch Kickstarter and Indiegogo products. Since 2015, she's been working with entrepreneurs and businesses to raise millions of dollars. As the founder of Crush Crowdfunding, she offers No-BS strategies, marketing resources and campaign tactics to bring products to the market and finance them. With a double master's degree from Stanford University and the University of Virginia, Nalin uses her interdisciplinary skills to make the best products and market them to the right people. She is deeply excited about giving entrepreneurs the opportunity to make their dreams come true. In her free time, you can find her on the soccer field, try beer or play board games.