There’s never been a better time to be an entrepreneur. Consider the extent to which technology, user-friendly and ubiquitous technology, is now woven into the fabric of our personal and professional lives. This is a game changer for anyone who wants to start a new venture. Whether you’re building a website, making a promotional video, or spreading the word about a new product on social media, many critical resources are available in a way they never were before.
Once you’ve got a product and you’re ready to share with with the world, that’s when Indiegogo comes into the picture: With the click of a key, you can launch your idea into the lives of millions of consumers overnight. In doing so, you can collect feedback, build a loyal base of customers, and most importantly, raise critical early financing. That process, repeated over 600,000 times since Indiegogo’s founding over eight years ago, has changed the lives of hundred of thousands of founders and millions of consumers.
Although it’s a great tool for full-time entrepreneurs, Indiegogo also empowers most anyone to become a part-time entrepreneur. Whether you’re a creator, inventor, or founder, it’s always wise to test your ideas before deciding whether to go all in. Not every campaign will be a runaway success, and testing the market before quitting your day job will save you from lots of heartache. You might also find that you can run a business on the side while maintaining the stability and the rewards of a steady day job.
That message lies at the heart of my new book, The 10% Entrepreneur: Live Your Startup Dream Without Quitting Your Day Job. In the book, I make the case for part-time entrepreneurship as a sustainable and accessible way to engage in new ventures. By investing at least 10% of your time and, if possible, 10% of your capital, inside ventures, you can give yourself upside opportunity and downside protection, all while holding down a day job. Not only does this approach make it less intimidating to take risks, it also reduces your chance of failure: a recent study out of the University of Wisconsin asserts that entrepreneurs who launch their companies while still working full-time as 33% less likely to fail than those who jump directly into a startup.
Indiegogo is tailor-made for a 10% Entrepreneurs. Just take the story of Diego Saez-Gil and Bluesmart. A few years after he founded the online travel agency, WeHostels, Diego Saez-Gil sold it to a strategic acquirer and joined the combined company. Even as Diego realized that for the first time in memory, he had a stable salary, he also had an idea. What if he set his sights on building the world’s first piece of smart luggage? He partnered with another entrepreneur, Tomi Pierucci, who took the lead. This time, Diego was going to be a part-time entrepreneur, serving as an advisor to Bluesmart while keeping his day job.
When the company launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo in late 2014, the suitcase attracted enthusiastic media coverage and generated a lot of excitement. USA Today even called it “The travel hack to beat all travel hacks.” By the end of its campaign, Bluesmart had sold more than $2 million worth of suitcases to customers in 110 countries. At the time, it was the seventeenth most successful campaign in Indiegogo’s history. I know that because I visited the “Most Funded” page obsessively throughout the entire campaign, constantly checking where we ranked against other highly successful campaigns of that moment like the Axent Wear Cat Ear Headphones and An Hour of Code for Every Student.
Based on this momentum, Diego joined Bluesmart full-time as CEO and co-founder. After such a stunning debut, the world took notice: Bluesmart joined Y-Combinator, the legendary seed accelerator that spawned companies like Dropbox, reddit, and AirBnB. Today, the company has raised millions in capital and recently announced that it is expanding its product line and unveiled a distribution partnership with Selfridge’s in the UK.
Without Indiegogo, Diego, Tomi, and their team, would have never built a powerful brand in the travel space, virtually overnight. I have been fortunate to have been part of his journey as a 10% Entrepreneur myself, both as an investor and an advisor. Plus, I’m a very satisfied Bluesmart owner. The suitcase is highly functional, innovative, and fun. Plus, it goes great with a pair of Axent Wear Cat Ear Headphones.