5 Days: Why I'm Glad My Kickstarter Didn't Go "Viral"

The clock was passing 5pm Chicago time…and I didn’t have anything left in me.

I slept from 1am - 5am the night before, and spent the entire day reaching out to new people, researching new ideas, and thinking about my plan for the last 5 days of the campaign.

Then my Pomodoro timer went off and I decided to check out something on Kickstarter.

There it was...$1,133 pledged for the Hero-Level Reward.

I could not believe my eyes. A man named Alex, who was one of the first 25 students ever in my online classes, just became a Hero – taking us 90% of the way to our goal.

Just 5 days ago, all hope seemed lost....and now, we are so close!

I seriously cannot thank all of you enough. There aren't many campaigns that come back after being so far away with 10 days left. And we did!

I know. You've heard that before. But today I want to show you why it really did look like we didn't have a shot. Why it seemed like we had run out of options and why it was pretty unlikely we'd be able to turn everything around.  

And why I'm glad I had to go through that struggle.

Here is an overview of the project's journey. Showing what I planned, what I anticipated, and what I learned at each stage to show why it's a good thing that it wasn't popular at the beginning.

DAY 1-5

What I thought: I have the perfect plan of action. I have a book I've worked hard for, a popular site with tens of thousands of subscribers, and - of course - the willpower! How can I lose?

My plan: Directly promote The Will of Heroes to close friends, subscribers, blogs/publications that care about one of the Heroes, and people who browse Kickstarter.

Anticipated result: $4,000, connections to the press, and for the book to start "going viral".

Actual result: $1,495, only featured on small blogs, and almost no pledges from people browsing Kickstarter. 

TOTAL RAISED: $1,495 (24.4%)


DAY 6-10

What I learned: This is not going to be easy. Direct marketing was a terrible idea and I didn’t think about how Kickstarter browsers wouldn’t know the value of my classes. However, personal messages sharing my story and passion are working well.

My plan: Focus on personalized messages to friends, subscribers, and blogs/publications. 

Anticipated result: $4,000, support from friends, and connections to bloggers because I'm sending them a more personal note. 

Actual result: $1,550, some support from friends, some support from fiercely loyal subscribers, nothing from bloggers.

TOTAL RAISED: $3065 (25.54%)


DAY 11-15

What I learned: I finally understood how my rewards weren't offering nearly enough value – especially at the lower levels. So I did the math and realized those rewards can make a huge impact!

My plan: Offer full access to my Strengthen Your Willpower course as a bonus for choosing any reward of at least $5.

Anticipated result: $3,000 - I started managing my expectations a little at this point – and an opportunity to show the value of the online courses.

Actual result: $2815, 60 new backers, and the ability to expose more people to the science of willpower.

TOTAL RAISED: $5825 (43%)


DAY 16-20

What I learned: I was a little behind the pace, but I finally found something that works! And I also learned that many of the backers for the bonus were coming from social media.

My plan: Extend the bonus offer and begin promoting it more through social media, guest blogs, etc.

Anticipated result: $3,000, which would set us up for a solid finish.

Actual result: $735, and a much needed reality check.

TOTAL: $6560 (54.7%)


DAY 21-25

What I learned: That improving any strategies I'm working on right now was not going to be enough to make it. If I was going to really see this through, I needed to venture outside of my comfort zone and take a risk. 

My plan: Use the challenge in front of me as an opportunity to show the value of the book. Instead of figuring out a way to sell people, I was going to simply share how I am using the book's principles to overcome a real challenge and beat the odds.

Anticipated result: $2,500, to at least give us a shot at a strong finish.

Actual result: $4,215, a deeper connection with you subscribers, and a wakeup call to support those in the online community and help them achieve their dreams.

TOTAL: $10,775 (90%)



What I learned: That I am grateful for the struggle and that my book didn't go "viral".

Imagine if my first tactic had worked? That the project did go “viral” and I raised $12,000 just through direct marketing...what would I have learned?

I would’ve stayed in my comfort zone, and not built a deeper connection with you subscribers or the online community.

Struggling is hard. Losing hope is hard. And failing is hard.

But, ultimately, you will look back on them as key moments in your development as long as you do not play “the victim”.

My plan: No one ever got a medal for finishing 90% of a race. This is far from over and there is no reason we can’t finish the last 5 days even stronger!

So here's my plan...

1.     Just like you have supported me so much over this time, I am going to reach out to and support the people who influenced my path as well. This includes authors like Kelly McGonigal and Charles Duhigg.

2.     I will reach out to the Kickstarter staff to get my story of the last 5 days in their blog to be seen by more people. That way more people can know the simple steps you can take to choose to work for your dream project.

3.     After coming this far in 5 days, the sky is the limit. Which is why I will give a FREE audio version of the book to anyone at the Professional-Level or above if we pass our goal of $12,000 and hit $13,000!

Anticipated result: $2,500, which will pass the stretch goal, get the audio version created, help more people finish strong, and prove the power of will.


  • What we needed today to reach our goal: $429
  • What we raised today from 11 backers: $1303
  • Key learning: I'm grateful for the struggle because through it I found strength.
  • Key takeaway for tomorrow: Set up the "stretch goal" for audiobooks if we reach $13,000!


Let's do this.