Crowdfunding and the Question of Paying Consultants on a Percentage

The other day my acupuncturist and pal and I were talking about the ups and downs of running our own businesses. At one point he said that when he first started out even though he knew his business would profit, he made a decision he’s never regretted: not to take on clients who had weight-loss or smoking-cessation goals. At first I thought it was because he didn’t feel he could in good conscious reduce this noble healing art for such superficial ends.

I was wrong. He told me he turned down client after client because he soon came to realize these people were looking for shortcuts—gain without pain—and with these types of medical problems, he said, client compliance is at least 80% contingent on their recovery. In other words, all the needling in the world from the most masterful healer, which he is, isn’t going to help if the client didn’t follow the lifestyle change regimen he laid out for him or her.

Warning! This post will not be popular with everyone, but I’m okay with that

As a crowdfunding consultant, that really struck a chord with me. Anyone who’s contacted me about working together already knows I’m not in this business just to tell you what you want to hear to get your money. (My acupuncturist and I also talked about the downside of this policy is turning away business…but the upside is good karma and way fewer headaches!)

Weeding is Not Just Gardeners’ Work

When someone contacts me about working together I ask them to fill out a brief but telling questionnaire. The answers give me an insight in not only their readiness but also their work ethic and the chance that they will comply with my recommendations on what they need to do to be successful.

Because of the questionnaire, I end up with some of the most motivated clients ready to roll up their sleeves and work; it’s a great collaboration that’s fun for me.

If they wind up flaming out—crowdfunding is hard work, after all—I can say with all respect that it’s really not my concern. I have put my best foot forward, have shared all the knowledge I’ve accumulated, but doing the work is on them, not me.

Money for Nothin’ (Chicks for Free)? Nah

It’s become more commonplace to field requests from people who want me to work on a percentage basis. Usually they add that working with the promise of payment will be motivational for me and keep me honest. They note how beneficial it will be for me when their campaign succeeds!

I say no because about 99.9% of the time requests come from people who have got the no-pain-all-gain attitude about crowdfunding. And because I happen to like to get paid for my work as I go.

So You Want to Pay on a Percentage

I know there are companies out there that will work on a percentage, but I’m pretty sure they’ve got a list of criteria the potential client must meet in order to qualify that goes something like this:

  • They should have an existing, active, and engaged social media following
  • They should already be creating marketing content to prove authority and trustworthiness
  • They should have a good idea that’s well thought through, truly innovative and have already expended considerable personal capital, both in sweat and some financial investment
  • They should have a solid understanding on how this tool called crowdfunding really works and plan to be an active working participant from beginning to end

Assuming the idea is good, an exception that even I would make would be to work for a well-known person/celebrity because what they might lack the list above they make up for in name recognition that can be harnessed successfully to attract media attention. But alas those come around rarely. (Okay, never. So far.)

Final Warning

Oh, and if you do find someone who’s more than happy to work for you on a percentage basis without asking anything of you in return? Be afraid. Be very afraid. Because there are no shortcuts and reputations are a two-way street: yours could suffer in ways that you will end up paying in more costly ways than dollar-wise.

Photo credit: DodgertonSkillhause from morguefile.com

 

 

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