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How to leverage service marketplaces and crowdfunding markets to test your product

By: Leslie Youngblood

"Think Big, Grow Big.” That’s what some motivational quotes say. Yet others maintain, “Think Big, Start Small.” This latter approach may not be as exciting as the former, but it definitely makes sense. Think about it—even if you have the best idea since goat yoga (pretty wild, look it up!), if you’re not putting your effort in the right place, you’ll just be going in circles. Fortunately, there are some simple and effective solutions for you. Service marketplaces such as Fiverr and crowdfunding websites like Kickstarter offer a platform to promote/test your product or service so you’ll know what’s working and what’s not right at the get go.


Fiverr is one of the largest freelancing websites available in the world. It’s essentially a marketplace of freelancers offering to provide their services at prices starting at $5. Yep, for the cost of a latte, you can potentially have a skilled designer, editor, animator, web designer, writer, etc., work on your project. While the more skilled freelancers do request more than just five bucks, there are thousands of different people providing their services on Fiverr, so you can find the person who fits your brand and budget too.

Still in the initial conception stage and not sure about your product? You can still use the help of freelancers. With Fiver’s affordable rates, you can post an ad (buyer request) that asks for a freelancer to use your product and give feedback on it. You’ll be amazed that people will be sincerely game for this, and will offer some really useful insights on your product.


Arguably the largest crowdfunding website for talented technical individuals, Kickstarter needs no introduction.

It describes itself as a platform to fund emerging and ambitious ideas. So, if a person or a company is interested in getting themselves funded for their research or market based product, they post a project description on Kickstarter.

Kickstarter is super user friendly, and provides a simple step-by-step process to guide you through to present your ideas clearly. Before your project is even allowed to go live, it’s sent to be approved by staff members of the Kickstarter community. They’ll take a look at what you’ve put together and even provide a helpful assessment. Once approved, your project goes live and you’re in the competition amongst other Kickstarter projects.

Although not necessary, creating a Kickstarter “pitch video” is highly recommended. Video is a powerful medium that allows you to demonstrate your product and your passion, and it definitely ups your chances of getting your project funded. People want to see the people behind the ideas, so show them your stuff!

To further make the best go of getting funded, engage your community. Make links and give people a reason to fund your project. Create attractive rewards or bonuses for different levels of funding. And as mentioned above- tell your story! And if you sadly don’t reach your funding goal inside of the specified time, no one who donated gets charged and you don’t receive any funds. It’s a great can’t-lose opportunity for you to see if your product or service has an impact and is sending the right message.

One small note on Kickstarter though: Kickstarter itself takes a commission of 5% of the total amount funded on a project. That money is used for the upkeep of website which includes hosting, advertisement and payment of employees. Even still, that’s a small price to pay for the access and opportunity.

Have you used Fiverr, Kickstarter or even a community-based competition to help get your product or service off the ground? Tell us in the comments or even shoot us a line. We’d love to hear from you.

Leslie Youngblood is the Creative Director for Excelerate America, a community-driven business accelerator that helps small businesses excel and grow in the digital economy.

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