Ariel Hyatt has been a fierce entrepreneur for more than 20 years and runs Cyber PR, a dynamic social media & content strategy company based in Brooklyn. Her agency places clients on blogs & podcasts, establishes their online brands, and coaches them to create influence.
Ariel has spoken in 12 countries to over 100,000 creatives and entrepreneurs and is the author of four books on social media for artists. Her newest book, Crowdstart comes out on October 25, 2016.
In this entrepreneur interview, Ariel talks about her new book at pre-launch and how it simplifies the process of starting a crowdfunding campaign. In her book, she uncovers tips on how to successfully raise funds and how to overcome your own demons.
Her biggest piece of advice for new entrepreneurs:
If you want to succeed over the long haul as a startup or an entrepreneur, it is vital to be adaptable. The adaptable entrepreneur stays relevant.
After you're done absorbing Ariel's insight in the interview below, be sure to follow her on Twitter!
Congratulations on the new book – what's your book about and its purpose?
Thank you! Crowdstart: The Ultimate Guide to a Powerful and Profitable Crowdfunding Campaign is a complete guide on how to execute a successful crowdfunding campaign.
I realized as I started writing a step-by-step guide about what to do during a 30-day campaign, that in order to reach your financial target, it’s necessary to start way before your campaign launches. So, this book includes a social media and online presence tune up to get you prepared and a guide on how to get PR for your campaign to increase awareness.
The overall purpose of the book is to make sure whoever reads it is as prepared as possible to win at a rewards-based crowdfunding campaign.
What inspired you to write the book?
I want to help everyone succeed at crowdfunding. I gathered my intel and collective experience from coaching many clients and friends through their crowdfunding campaigns as well as raising $61,000+ in my own campaign.
When I realized first-hand how many challenges arise and how involved crowdfunding really is (it was one of the most grueling things I had ever done), I became inspired to help others avoid the mistakes I made and help them use the systems I devised to achieve my own crowdfunding goal.
How can Crowdstart help startups or entrepreneurs?
A major part of being a startup and an entrepreneur, whether you have been in business for 6 months or 6 years, is that it takes money to expand, launch new ideas, or manufacture products that can help up-level your business.
For those of us who don’t qualify for VC money or business loans (or don’t wish to go those routes) crowdfunding is a fabulous way to raise extra money to create or test a new product or idea. The additional bonus that has a striking impact on your business is that a campaign helps you identify your biggest fans, advocates and cheerleaders.
Over the long term, the people who support your campaign can help you achieve many more things if you build and foster those relationships.
What are the interesting parts that can help us start a crowdfunding campaign?
It’s important to understand the science behind crowdfunding campaigns. There have been thousands of them and there are some important statistics and techniques to understand which will give you clarity.
Here is a great one to know: Campaigns that get to 30% of their goal within the first week are much more likely to succeed. This means you need to make sure you have some guaranteed funders identified way before the first day of the campaign so that you can complete your first week at 30%.
Coming out with a fully-funded campaign is obviously the goal and having this crucial piece of information will have you preparing and behaving in a much more effective way during the early days of your campaign. Here is an article I wrote that you may find interesting about how to avoid some pre-planning mistakes. (Read it here!)
What are the advantages and disadvantages of a crowdfunding campaign?
There are two major advantages. The first and most obvious advantage is the money you get from your effort, which is of course the main reason to launch a crowdfunding campaign in the first place.
The second advantage, and this happens whether or not you succeed in raising all the money you were aiming for is the community that’s built during the course of the campaign. You may not have realized you have friends and cheerleaders who came forward to support you simply because they were invited and asked to do so.
There are two major disadvantages. The first is the uncomfortable feelings that arise during a crowdfunding campaign. It takes guts to ask everyone in the world (so it feels) for money. And the second? If you don’t succeed it may feel like you have very publicly failed.
In Crowdstart, I talk about how to reframe this mindset so it doesn’t feel like a big, fat, embarrassment and what to do to conquer the internal demons that may act up and try to take you down during a campaign.
Besides writing, what else do you do as an entrepreneur?
I run Cyber PR a digital PR firm and marketing agency. Our clients consist of creative entrepreneurs and artists. We create and execute long-term marketing and social media growth plans, and conduct digital PR campaigns to expand online influence and growth.
What does your day-in, day-out looks like as founder?
My day-in, day-out as a founder is spent communicating with our clients, leading my team, strategizing our ongoing PR campaigns, and I also prepare proposals for potential incoming clients.
A few hours a week, I write my newsletter and blog post, work on a new book, or create presentations for my talks and seminars. And of course, there is always a constant stream of email.
What is the most exciting moment of your entrepreneurial journey?
I’ve learned a ton from being an entrepreneur for just over 20 years now. This journey is made up of many little exciting moments. Releasing a new book is always a thrill. But here are some that stand out:
I love writing books because I love organizing what feels confusing and difficult (as social media, marketing, and crowdfunding can be). It is deeply rewarding when people reach out to me to report that my books, videos or talks made a difference in their relationship to these critical tools.
I am deeply honored to say that my agency’s methodology is taught at Middle Tennessee State University - a top music industry school in an official Cyber PP course. We offer an official Cyber PR certification, which has helped many young people add skills to their resumes.
Many of my students are now working full time in the music business. To know that I had even a tiny part of that is an incredible feeling.
Finally, I am enormously proud of the fact that I became a 7-figure business and I am also deeply grateful for the enormous lesson that I learned from getting there. This video explains what it takes to get to 7 figures and what you may just need to reframe.
Have you encountered troubles or mishaps when starting a business? How did you fix them?
Of course, I have! Troubles and mishaps are all part of any business landscape.
I could go into detail about exactly what happened each time, but the lesson is this: if you want to succeed over the long haul as a startup or an entrepreneur, it is vital to be adaptable. Goods and services need to be upgraded, employees will come and go, and market demand will always be in flux. The adaptable entrepreneur stays relevant.
If you would like a sample chapter of the book, please download it here.