What is the one question to remember when meeting new people?

“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you”
- Dale Carnegie -

It has been a while since I went to one of these big industry networking events. I used to hate going to these events. I was the one who stood near the food table (at the corner of it!). The one who looked lost. I wished for someone to come and speak with me. I wished this person would inspire me. I wished it would not be a person like me, a person whom no one else wanted to talk to.

“Why am I here?” was a question I kept asking myself. You know this lonely feeling, right? I remembered telling myself, “Liz, you are not good at it, why are you coming to these events?”

The funny thing is that most of the time, I did find someone to talk to, and then I would just talk non stop about myself. I talked about my business, my life, I was so afraid she would leave and I would be alone again, I just kept on talking. I never heard back from the people I talked to. Read more

5 Simple steps for a successful Kickstarter project

“You can either sit at home waiting for your reward, or you can go out and get what you deserve. It’s your choice!”
- Liz & Amir -

It is very inspiring and rewarding to be part of making a dream come true! That’s exactly what I have been doing during last month. I helped my friends at Lemonade Stand Animation create a legend, the Legend of Novo comic book.

Few years ago, it would not have been easy to fund your dream, today it’s easier. Today you have a great crowd funding platforms such as Kickstarter which enables creators, creative people, tinkerers and dreamers to fund their dream.

Is it really that easy?

Amir and his partner set to raise $10,000 within 30 days to produce their first comic book. In 2013, three million people pledged $480 million to kickstarter projects! Should not be a problem, three million people, you only need few hundreds and your dream is funded. Should not be a problem.

The reality is a bit different. Kickstarter is a brilliant and important platform. However, not every project is successful. In the Comics category, 3,490 projects were launched, 1,680 were successful and 1,748 failed.

I followed the Legend of Novo project as it progressed. I witnessed the amount of work it required, the long nights, personal phone calls, emails, texts, posts, tweets and interviews. I asked my friends to share their learnings of making a successful project. Here are their 5 simple rules.

Step #1 – Invest time and create an amazing project
The first step is easy, make your project memorable, make it exciting, pour your heart and soul into it, make a great video, create exciting pledges, add great images so when people discover your project they feel the same excitement you do!

Step #2 – Set your daily Goals
Raising $10,000 in 30 days is a big goal, instead of letting the $10,000 number intimidate you, set daily pledge goals which are more manageable to pursue.

Step #3 – Come up with a daily “asking” plan
After establishing your daily goal, plan how many people you will need to contact to achieve your goal. If you want to raise $400 a day, assuming each backer will pledge $20, you will need 20 people to pledge on any given day. In order to get 20 people to pledge you will need to contact at least 60 people a day. Write down the names of at least 60 people to contact every day.

Step #4 – Ask, Ask and then ask some more
Now for the fun part, you need to call, email, text, ping, or use any other way to get in touch with your contacts, tell them your story, excite them, and ask for their support, ask for their pledge. No way around it, you need to ASK. Yes, you can do press release and interview but your chance is much higher with people who know you.

Step #5 – Get even more exposure
Kickstarter have different categories in which projects are presented to the site visitors. One of the key ones is “Most Popular”. This category is mainly driven by…well popularity. Popularity is mainly driven by the number of people who pledged. Many small amount pledges amount to more than few large amount pledges. Time to ask everyone you know (and some that you don’t know)

At that point, I remember Amir paused for a long minute. He was thinking and then said. “I forgot the most important rule for success”. You have to believe. He continued and said “You cannot succeed in achieving your project goal without believing you will achieve it.”

Sounds simple right? Well not so much. What you do when you raise only $147 in your latest 3 days? I remember those 3 frightening days. I remember asking Amir, “How could you continued?” Amir looked puzzled and told me “how can one give up on his or her dream?”

He told me “You must believe. You almost need to be delusional about it. You must continue to tell your story, to ask for support. You must because you understand how unique, creative, inspiring and wise your story is. It is your dream.

Amir finished telling me his rules. He paused for a second, smiled and said “You know Liz. There is another way, a better way. You first go ahead and build your tribe. You do it before you launch your Kickstarter project. Create your web comic site, post regularly, build your audience and only then launch your Kickstarter project”.

He smiled again as he was about to leave and said “Next time Liz, next time”

Liz

As of 1/12/2014, Only 455 Comics project have ever raised over $10,000 on Kickstarter, the Legend of Novo is proud to be one of them. Thanks guys for the inspiration and for all the support. Go Ashley! Go Novo!

Who am I to be great?

“Insists on yourself; never imitate”
- Ralph Waldo Emerson -

As part of my worldwide trip (seriously, I am on my third continent in one week), I met a good friend of mine. My friend is a brilliant lady, a mother, and a business owner, who reminded me again the special secret of becoming successful. It’s the secret of getting the type of work you want. It’s the necessary step to get the right people to purchase your product. It’s the necessary step of moving you forward toward your dreams.

It’s really pretty obvious. The secret is to believe in your capabilities. Believe in yourself. Insist on yourself.

“What? That’s it? Common Liz, I do it all day long and I still don’t get my fair share.” Do you? Do you really believe in yourself? Read more

Why shall we continue to push forward?

“Energy and persistence conquer all things”
- Benjamin Franklin -

Last week I went for the first time to the 2013 NY Comic-Con! No… I was not dressed up like wonder woman. It was just me and my best friend. I was exposed to so much talent, so much art and a lot of amazing people. I went looking for inspiration. I went looking for creativity and ideas. I never thought I would find it in one of those small panels (discussion groups).

In that panel, there was a young guy named Ryan North who spoke of his experience as a webcomic person. I probably didn’t remember the exact story, however, Ryan, in his own funny way, told the crowd about his early days as a struggling artist. The days he was trying to sell 3 t-shirts a day (his benchmark for paying rent and getting food) and slowly getting to the higher mark of 4 t-shirts a day (at that point he could afford eating meat as well…).

I thought about it a lot. I hear quite a bit of stories about struggling artists and I got to know many of them. Many just give up. They drop their passion and just did “what is expected”. They got a “regular” job. They ignore their talent and aspirations. Read more

Will your wishes come true?

“If you keep on believing, the dreams that you wish will come true”
- Cinderella -

It is my birthday today! I am … years old :-). Every year, I take some time to reflect on my accomplishments over the past year, my life and to express my gratitude to the people who helped me make it all become a reality. I do one more thing, early in the morning, when the house is still quiet, before the celebrations begins, before the sun rises, I renew my beliefs and plan what I need to do to make my wishes come true.

I remember when I was a little girl, I loved watching Disney movies. I would dream of being a princess in a castle. I would dream of white horses and beautiful dresses. I would dream of many great things. My mother used to tell me that every year on my birthday, I used to detail all my wishes before I blew out the candles on my cake. She told me it took over 30 minutes. My mom always quoted Cinderella and told me that if I believe, my wishes would come true.

Well, it’s not that simple, right? It‘s not easy to just spread the pixie dust and poof, your wishes will come true. We all wish for better. We all have our dreams. We all really want to achieve them. We sometimes feel we deserve to have it. We deserve the castle. Why not? Read more

The little secret of keeping your clients (and your friends)

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”
- John F. Kennedy -

Few days ago, my good friend Dani shares this video with me, it is a 7 minute video about a little secret toward becoming happier. Spoiler alert, stop here if you want to watch the video! Ok, are you back? Great, so you now know the secret to increase your happiness level. It is expressing gratitude toward the people you care about.

I shed many tears during watching the video. The second time, I asked my young daughter Ashley to join me, and yes, I cried again when Ashley simply said “I think I would have called my mom”.

I thought quite a bit about gratitude. I feel so much better after expressing gratitude to my friends and the people I care about but why don’t we do it as business owners? We send thank you cards after a big purchase (do you?), and yes, we send once a year a thank you card during thanksgiving holiday (do you?), everyone is doing it. Is doing that really expressing our gratitude? Read more