Us Brits are pretty good at inventing stuff. Telephone and TV; radar and jet engine; antibiotics and vaccination; pneumatic tyres and hovercraft; these are all great British inventions or discoveries. And don’t forget that new-fangled worldwide web thingy from Sir Tim Berners-Lee. We might be a nation of shopkeepers but we’re also a nation of cracking inventors.
Consequently, I’m delighted to see that Kickstarter is now allowing for UK-based projects, which if nothing else, will save on the typical $20 postage across the Atlantic. From today, proposers will be able to start putting together their Kickstarter projects for launch on 31 October (not October 31).
Intelligently, there won’t be separate UK Kickstarter site: all Kickstarter projects will appear together so brilliant ideas can be funded from across the world – you’ll just have to pay in pounds sterling rather than US dollars. I doubt this will reverse our trade deficit but every little bit helps.
The only obvious difference at this stage seems to be that payments won’t be made through Amazon but an unspecified “third party payments processor”.
I’m very much looking forwards to funding some truly British Kickstarter projects and I’ll keep GNC posted as I do.
(For pedants everywhere, I know that UK and GB are not synonymous but I really can’t be bothered explaining the difference to Johnny Foreigner every time.)
If you are an entrepreneur or entrepreneur-in-waiting, then you should have a look at this for inspiration. HSBC Business has produced a series of four booklets comprising a total of 100 real world mini-case studies on how to do things a little differently for success. Some of the examples are well-known companies such as Lufthansa and Red Bull, others are relatively unknown.
One tells the story of Richard Tait and the game Cranium. He and his partner had ordered 27,000 copies of Cranium with a manufacturer but couldn’t get any of the main toy distributors to sell it. His inspiration was to sell where the customers were rather than in toy stores. His target customers were trendy, young professionals, so he persuaded Starbucks to sell it in the coffee houses. From this initial success, the game was worldwide hit and and he went on to sell out to Hasbro for $77 million. Nice.
I originally got a hardcopy in the post but they’ve been made available on-line as PDFs so if you are searching for a little entrepreneurial creativity, download them now.
I have the entrepreneurial bug so I’m always checking out the latest news on successful business owners. I love technology based businesses. I salivate over the thought of someday working completely from home. So a few months back I was really impressed with a story I read in Inc Magazine about a teenager making money via myspace. It’s not what you are thinking…… no webcams and all that junk. This young lady was designing backgrounds and layouts for myspace pages. She had been using html since she was about 9 so she knew what she was doing. She started out making layouts for friends then expanded into getting paid. She also offers some layouts for free and makes money off of ads since her website is so popular. She made about $500,000 this past year! Not bad for a “kid” huh? This “kid” made more in a year than most adult Americans make in 10 years. She was able to do it because the tools were available to do so. The internet, cheap computers, and social networks made her business possible along with her ingenuity.
Stories like hers should be an inspiration to young people everywhere. Often, kids would like to have a job but cannot get one for any number of reasons. Either they don’t have a ride to work, don’t have time during the day, or are not old enough to be hired legally. But with an internet business they don’t need permission from mommy government, don’t need a ride from mommy, and can work at night after homework and sports. Obviously not everyone is going to make half a million a year but $5000 – $10,000 a year would seem like a windfall to a young person with no bills living at home. Elance is full of jobs for doing basic research online which would be a good fit for computer savvy students. Even though sites like Elance are very competitive due to overseas workers I think young Americans could compete on price since they are likely doing it for extra money.
I know some people think children should enjoy their childhood so they should not have to worry about jobs until after high school. But there are some that want to work badly so they should have the chance to do so. The kid growing up in a poor home deserves the chance to pull himself up by the bootstraps. And technology opens up another avenue for that person to change his or her life for the better.