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Brighton Journal | June 25, 2019

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Jes Bailey – Crowdfunding Wizard!

Jes Bailey – Crowdfunding Wizard!
Hannah Midgley

Brighton Journal caught up with a much sought-after crowdfunding guru, Jes Bailey, who enjoys a superb success rate of 83%. Jes unveiled a few of her secrets to us, and and told us a little about what attracted her to crowdfunding in the first place.

What is it that you do Jes?

“My company Crowdfund 360 helps socially focused organisations run a successful crowdfunding campaigns. Because we don’t have the capacity to work with everyone that want help we’ve chosen to focus on campaigns that have social awareness.”

“My background is in the charity sector, but I also work with for-profit businesses if their angle is right. A good example would be an electric bike campaign [I managed] which is good for the environment, London is really polluted so that is a good thing.

I’ve also worked on zero waste packaging for male grooming products which again is good, as it cuts down plastic. It’s a commercial project but still beneficial for the world. I’ve also done a lot of charity campaigns for refugees, healthcare and dogs.”

What is your success rate?

“Our average success rate is 83%, which is really good, because the average success rate [for crowdfunding] in the UK is 21%. On Kickstarter the crowdfunding platform the success rate is 34% and on Indiegogo it is 10%.”

Do you recommend one platform over another?

“No, it depends on the product and the audience. If it’s a shop in Brighton then go for a local platform, but it if it’s a shop in Brighton that could ship globally, then why limit your self to a local platform? Go for the international option.

It wouldn’t be worth being on a global platform if you’re local, as you’d get so lost among the many projects on display. Whereas if you’re on a UK-focused platform, then you’re more likely to get promoted and you won’t get lost in a sea of projects.

Imagine if every community in the world had a local project on a global platform. You might be placed next to one in a small town in America or even China so you wouldn’t reach a relevant audience.

At the moment I work mainly with global brands and I’ve had clients all over – South America, North America, Africa, Europe, Asia.”

How do you go about your work?

“A lot of people that approach me have seen me in conferences or workshops. It sometimes takes them a while to think about it. Last Wednesday, for example, I got a call from someone that I had met in a workshop in 2017. She wanted me to deliver an online training course.

Some of the clients I’ve never even met, but I usually try meet them at least once face to face.

I do work with local companies as well. I’ve had a couple of conversations with local organisations. It’s about getting the awareness out there that what I do exists. Most people think that you can go to a platform, but the reality is that the platforms don’t provide any help.

Hopefully I’ll be able to work with more Brighton businesses. Then I can leave my laptop more often and have face to face brainstorming and conversations. The more involved I am, the more likely statistically the campaign is to succeed.”

How involved do you get when you take on a project?

“The project becomes my baby. We always do all the strategy, but we can also do the content, which means that we write emails, social media posts, the client’s script, the project page and devise their rewards.

We also help them clients with their financials and make all of their imagery for them if they can’t do that themselves. We can get really involved, and those are the campaigns I like the most. I don’t really like just telling people what to do. It’s more fun to be creative.”

What makes a great crowdfunding campaign?

“Having every single element well thought out before launch. It’s all about the planning. There is no point in having a really great video if you haven’t identified your target market because then who’s going to watch it? There is also no point having a great video if your email list is empty. Who are you showing it to?

Equally there is no point having a good sized mailing list if you’re rewards are overpriced and people think that they are rubbish. Every single thing needs to be good. Once you launch you have five weeks to get money and you don’t want to waste that time writing emails and social media posts when your time could be better spent meeting people for larger amounts of money.”

How do you promote those campaigns?

“Emails, social media, Create an Event, PR and guerilla marketing. Those are our five main strategies.”

Do you turn clients down based on their social strategies?

“Not usually. If it’s a client I like, it can be framed in some way, unless it’s a company like Coca Cola – then I would not work with them. I think most companies today have a social focus, but I’ve turned clients down if they only want to crowdfund for the money, if they don’t see the wider benefit and don’t see the platform as a tool that could actually help them.

I might also turn a client down if their business isn’t ready. Then I usually give them a few points and tell them to come back when they are ready.

Another scenario would be if crowdfunding isn’t for them and I don’t think it would work. Crowdfunding isn’t for every product. If it’s a product I can go and buy right now, then it’s not likely to work because you have to wait until the campaign ends and you might have to wait 6 to 9 months after a campaign has ended. If you’re launching a new Coca Cola that tastes just like Coca Cola then I’d just buy Coca Cola now.

It needs to be a product that people want, shares in a company people believe will make a return on their investment, or a charity people feel are making a difference to the point that they get that warm fuzzy feeling that they’ve really done some good.

If it’s just “Help me start my business. Give me ten pounds“, then you don’t have much chance as nobody parts with their money without good reason. The world doesn’t work like that. If it did, everyone would crowdfund.”

Are there many people who do what yo do?

“I think I fall in the middle type of crowdfunding. There are several men who work on the big campaigns. Those are mostly for equity and they don’t care if it’s good or not. Then there are a few women who work on small charitable campaigns. Our campaigns strike that middle ground, around 60k – but only working on projects which are for the greater good. I haven’t seen many companies who manage as many campaigns as we do.”

Do you work with a team of people?

“Yes, I work with a couple of freelancers who run campaigns with me because I want to be able to do workshops as well.

That is another thing we do. We want to see you continue to succeed after your campaign. If you have great social media while you’re doing a campaign, then we want you to continue to having great social media and a good PR side. I want you to be sustainable, and your audience wants you to be sustainable. All those crowdfunders (and that could be 1-200 people) want you to succeed.”

What is your background?

“I’m originally from Bristol but I went to university here in Brighton back in 2010. After I graduated in 2013 I went to Holland. I lived in Holland for a while and then Egypt, Bangladesh and Turkey. In 2016 we moved to London and I spent the whole of last year working on crowdfunding workshops
in twelve different countries .

When we came back I really wanted a place to call home, and to buy a lamp and a plant and a blanket for it. Originally I wanted to move to Manchester because it looked good on paper but then I went there and I wasn’t feeling it.

Then one day I took my mum down here for her birthday and she suggested I live in Brighton again, as Brighton ticks all my boxes. It has the ocean and it’s close to London. She went into I shop and I opened Rightmove and saw the nice apartment that I live in today. I love it, I love going home. I don’t have the lamp yet though. I have the plant and I have the blanket.”

How do you like working in The Projects [on Ship Street]?

“I’ve worked in so many co-working spaces around the world and seen so many different types of them. I didn’t know anyone here and I hate staying at home all the time even though I love my apartment.

I thought of Platform 9 at Hove Town Hall but that was just too close to home. I really like it here because I get to cycle along the seafront every day and it is a good location. People here are all so friendly and I just thought to myself, “I really like this“.”

Jes Bailey is running a crowdfunding workshop at The Projects in Ship Street this Thursday (11th April 2019), tickets are available here.

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