Giles Dawe is the 40-year-old entrepreneur, owner of Hyperstarter, a web-based analytics tool that offers marketing guidance for Kickstarter campaigns. His monthly income has climbed to $6,000 per month since the business started in 2016, thanks to recommendations and word-of-mouth. He studied painting at the University of Wales and the L’ecole de Nantes in France, and added to his income by working at a grocery store register and selling Nintendo 64 consoles on eBay.
Previously, Giles Dawe was a skilled painter who sold his creations to directors of photography. But a few years ago, he changed into something new. He created Hyperstarter, a tool that offers marketing guidance for Kickstarter campaigns. His monthly income has climbed to $6,000 per month since the business started in 2016 thanks to recommendations and word-of-mouth.
What is your background and what are you concentrating on right now?
We are grateful for the interview. Giles Dawe, the 40-year-old owner of the Hyperstarter firm with offices in the UK and China, is my name.
I used to be a semi-retired fine artist in Hong Kong, selling my paintings to people who didn’t need to work and to film makers.
Hyperstarter, a web-based analytics tool that offers guidance on how to manage a successful Kickstarter campaign, is what I now do for a living. We provide support for crowdfunding campaigns at every level in a sector that generates more revenue than venture capital.
We have worked on more than 300 projects since 2016, raised an additional $6 million for campaign owners, and are listed by Crowdcrux as one of the top nine Kickstarter marketing companies worldwide. Even so, we’ve started to write a comprehensive guide on Kickstarter marketing that contains all we know.
We make about $5000 a month on average, but we nearly made $10,000 last month thanks to new business with campaign owners.
What is your background, and how did you come up with this idea?
Having studied painting at the University of Wales and the L’ecole de Nantes in France, I come from a creative family. Early in my 20s, I came to the conclusion that holding a degree in fine art was pointless, so I added to my income by working at a grocery store register and selling Nintendo 64 consoles on eBay.
I picked up web design quite quickly in 1999, when it was in its prime. ThisIsBristol, a regional news website connected to the Daily Mail, recruited me. I spent three months there, learning all I could, before moving on to a government organization in the UK, where I spent two years as the head of online design and development.
We both agreed that I should quit after talking with the company’s leaders. I worked on the £4.5 million Planning Portal for a highly paid post that regularly needed me to fly to London to interact with key government officials. I believed working alone would allow me to do much more.
I took the decision to go to Hong Kong to be with my partner, where I performed a lot of freelance work and earned a lot of money by buying and selling websites and domain names. Since freelancing was challenging, I built my own websites to earn money through sponsorships, Ask (Jeeves), and Google Adsense. Since elites make up the majority of the population in Hong Kong, I developed my social circle, started doing personalized paintings, and was represented by galleries.
After not having many setbacks in my web career up until this point, I ultimately moved to China. Individuals looked to have much greater discretionary money between 2004 and 2008. I remember getting close to $3000 for the domain name Mobiles.org.nz! About $50 is the current price of this domain.
My decision to become a full-time father and rely only on the income from my websites during the roughly four years I was unemployed was the most crucial event in my life to date.
Later, when my kid started going to school full-time, I was able to restart my job and get rid of the websites that didn’t bring in a lot of money since Google changed the conditions of their Adsense program. In 2015, I established the website presents and Coupons, which features a list of the newest and greatest presents that are currently on sale. As it was tough for me to find good gifts, it was the kind of website I wanted to frequent. I started getting emails from people running crowdfunding campaigns asking to be listed on the website, but because their offerings weren’t tangible goods, I politely denied.
Due to the escalating number of requests, I looked at rewards-based platforms like Kickstarter and crowdsourcing. Only 30% of all projects for crowdfunding, in my observation, were successful and achieved their objectives! I established Hyperstarter because I thought I could help. It focuses on the campaign page for free and then offers premium services like site advertising and “hands-on” labor.
How did Hyperstarter get made?
Within a month, the present iteration was built. It was created internally by myself and a few folks I’ve known for a long time. Four people work remotely at Hyperstarter, with most of the staff coming from China.
The homepage of Google and online tools that offer recommendations for enhancing web sites served as inspiration for this site. We added a single form field in the page’s middle for users to enter their current Kickstarter URL because our target audience is Kickstarter campaign owners.
I only wanted to make it; I would find out how to make money from it afterwards. I justified this by saying that if someone used my product for free, I would already have “my foot in the door” and could start to gain their trust. I didn’t take this into account when I developed the website, even though this is how we make money.
We formally started in April 2016, but I solicited support for our launch from all of my contacts and campaign owners because we had previously worked on Kickstarter projects, and they valued what we had done for them. We spent weeks getting ready to launch exclusively on ProductHunt, but due to scheduling conflicts, we were unable to be featured in the well-known newsletter in time.
In conclusion, our work is time-consuming yet beneficial as a substitute for paid (Facebook) marketing. On the Hyperstarter submit page, where we provide a listing on our platform or “hands-on” services that may involve PR outreach, determining who they should engage with, and pitching, you can see our price details.
The majority of the challenges we encounter have to do with Kickstarter and trust, as I will go into more depth in the part below.
What marketing techniques did you use to grow your company?
In contrast to the previous businesses I’ve led, I approached Hyperstarter with a unique strategy. I didn’t want to squander time boasting about how great we are or engaging in the same self-promotional BS that all marketers engage in. I wanted specific references and articles that praised how great we are.
I joined a number of crowdfunding forums to get clients and gave campaign owners free consultation services. They got in touch with me after reading what I had written, and I originally dropped my fees to take part in these projects in order to get experience.
I wanted customers to understand that Hyperstarter is friendlier and more reliable than its rivals. Money is great, but we also wanted to give real value to our customers, as shown by our referrals.
Within two years, we helped the Virgin Voom, the runner-up to the over $900,000-raised Neck Hammock, become the British Invention of the Year.
I’d say that online communications and recommendations account for 95% of our business. The rest of our revenue comes from direct tweets or emails to campaign owners based on similar successful efforts we’ve worked on (while also offering references). This approach has proven to be quite successful, and we have a stellar reputation on forums, Trustpilot, and our website.
The fact that Hyperstarter collaborates closely with both its clients and its closest rivals is, in my opinion, one of the advantages we have over our rivals. We all bring a different set of skills to the table, thus I think Hyperstarter belongs to a select group of crowdfunding firms that can, in certain cases, work together on a campaign.
What were the biggest challenges you faced, and how did you get beyond them?
It seemed from reading this interview that everything was going smoothly and that I was changing jobs. In fact, there was no support system accessible to test ideas against or find collaborators.
Most of my professional career has been spent working remotely in Asia, usually alone from home, bootstrapping, and trying to manage work and personal life while spending time figuring out what I should be doing.
It was challenging to run an online business from China. I had to look for alternatives because several of the most prominent Google, Facebook, and Twitter sites were blocked in my country.
I work the majority of the weekdays from 9 a.m. to 1 a.m., which is not a very healthy schedule.
In terms of the niche of crowdfunding, Kickstarter has a bad image. There is no assurance that backers will receive their goods on time (or at all!) even if the campaign owner meets their funding goal. Currently, the Kickstarter site adds 160 new projects every day, but if the issue persists and the success rate stays low at 30%, I envision business owners resorting to non-crowdfunding strategies soon.
What are your biggest flaws, exactly?
My location used to be my biggest drawback. I was eight to twelve hours ahead of them because the majority of our clientele lived in the US or Europe. This required me to make calls in the early morning hours when my attention was not at its best.
Every component of the Hyperstarter website and each campaign we run involves me. As we tracked what worked and what didn’t for campaigns, it has been easier with time, but right now I can’t let go of control.
We do not employ Facebook advertising in comparison to our rivals, and as a result, we do not make as much money. Most of our rivals demand a fixed payment plus a share of any sales generated by ads; this can result in a six-figure commission for a single campaign.
Trust is the basis for our decision to employ a flat price as opposed to a commission. International contracts are challenging to enforce because we are situated in the United Kingdom and the bulk of our clients are in other nations. I don’t want to worry about whether or not we will get paid for my freelancing work with clients from years ago.
We are giving up a large sum of money since the risk is not justifiable.
What were the worst blunders you made when building and expanding Hyperstarter?
Not activating Hyperstarter Version 2 is the worst mistake. We might have started a year ago, however adjustments and improvements caused the debut to be postponed.
At the moment, it is not necessary because the website is automated and consistently producing weekly sales. Since Version 2 has the ability to produce hundreds of automated transactions every day, we must prioritize our own website above daily campaigns when developing V2.
At first, we could have done a better job of recording communications. Users could see their Kickstarter URL before this upgrade, but many were unsure on what to do next. We put into place a free PDF report download in return for an email address, and this works really well to gather email addresses for our newsletters.
What actions would you do differently if you had the chance?
I think I’ve learnt a lot over the years, from asking for help when I need it to connecting with as many people as I can while looking for new chances.
I wish I had reached out to influencers and made better use of the high net worth people I met in Hong Kong.
In contrast to prior years, when I detested some of the online work I was in charge of, I think you should value what you do. Since every project is different and we only spend one to three days developing a campaign, I greatly like my present role.
I’m worried about where the next consumers will come from, but we can easily address this by using outreach and advertising more frequently. At the moment, every single one of our clients contacts us on their own initiative.
What additional learning tools besides mistakes would you suggest for new business owners?
Think about the people you admire and learn about them. Make an effort to integrate yourself into the community they are active in. Find the key players in your industry, or do what I did and contact your rivals to introduce yourself and your work.
I just took part in the Natwest Business Accelerator in the UK, and I believe they’ll be opening additional locations abroad. They oversee a network of like-minded business owners, which provides a fantastic venue for involvement and idea exchange.
I’ll reaffirm what other interviewers have stated regarding books by Peter Thiel and Eric Ries.
It’s a special recommendation to read “You’re Hired: How to Succeed in Business and Life from the Winner of The Apprentice” by Bill Rancic. He is the first winner of The Apprentice with Donald Trump and a skilled businessman!
For further information:
Please get out to me via the Hyperstarter website.
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