What do Airbnb, Shutterstock, Warby Parker, and Watsi have in common? On the surface, it seems like not much! But the truth is that the founders of each of these companies used unconventional, creative methods to finance their passion projects.
For example, the founders of Airbnb sold political-themed cereal that they called “Obama-O’s” to raise cash for their property rental company. And it turns out they did a pretty good job — they raised $30,000!
Meanwhile, the founders of Watsi, a funding platform, asked everyone in a bar to vote for them in a grant competition. They made $10,000 from that fun arrangement! The founder of Shutterstock used 30,000 of his own photos to start his stock photography company, and Warby Parker went around selling its eyeglasses out of a school bus.
If you’ve always wanted to start a small business or you’re one of the 44 million Americans who already have some form of side hustle, you’ll need money to make your dreams a reality! Of course, traditional methods of financing work just fine. There are also a number of creative alternative funding options out there, whether you’re funding a tech startup, small business, nonprofit, or just some creative idea you have.
For example, you can trade future earnings. This allows you to receive a lump sum of cash, which could be critical in getting your passion project off the ground, in exchange for a percentage of future earnings. Or, perhaps you can tap into the bustling freelance market, where you can make an average of $31 an hour on creative projects.
If you want to set up a nonprofit or a company with a socially good mission, perhaps you can use marketing to your advantage. Reach out to a corporation that could benefit from the positive publicity of partnering with you. Or, be on the lookout for competitions that may allow you to win big for your nonprofit.
Fundera created an infographic to inspire you with 16 creative ways to fund your passion project.