I had hoped that by 25, I would have been living in LA, dating actresses, and getting bit parts in bad movies as "the ugly guy"... you know, in the event that the studio wanted a Steve Buscemi-type, but not the Steve Buscemi.
Instead, I'm 26, broke, and trapped in Glens Falls, New York. I vent my frustrations by writing comedy pieces for the Huffington Post, I run a blog about social publishing, and, for some odd reason, I'm more popular than Serena Williams, Newt Gingrich, and Stephen Colbert ... on Twitter. Sadly, this doesn't help my chances with Serena or make me any money.
I'd like to change that this year.
The Two Traditional Funding Options
I'm not big on corporate sponsorship. I'll work with a company if it makes sense, but I'm burned out from so many years of chasing sponsorships. Sponsorship is a game for the well-networked or those whose presence is so big that they can't be ignored.
Nor do I want to deal with investors. I could write a business plan, take it to some venture capitalists, and pull in the money, but at what cost? The last thing I want is a group of MBAs watering my project down to please shareholders.
The Third Way
I started researching crowdfunding as an alternative. I came up with the unusually bright idea of selling advertising space on the back of 300,000 business cards. $1 gets someone an advertisement on one card, and they buy as many as they want. The incentive is that the cards are being used to set a Guinness World Record for "tallest wall made out of business cards," which makes them desirable and a collectible piece of advertising after the record is set.
A Million High Fives (or #AMHF) is the project I'm attempting to crowdfund and form a new business around. Although #AMHF is supposed to accomplish many things, I also want it to make crowdfunding a cool thing to do. If I can do it, you can do it. And if we can do it, then who needs sponsorship or venture capital?
I'll be documenting the crowdfunding of A Million High Fives and my new business from concept to cash exclusively here on ReadWriteStart. I have no connections, no money, and no resources -- just a big idea and a platform here on ReadWriteWeb. If I fail, you'll see every step of the fall. If I succeed, we'll have plenty to learn along the way. Not to mention, we'll be setting a Guinness World Record together. How cool is that?