Kickstarter has been a game changer for entrepreneurs. It has allowed more people to create new products than anything before because it provides access to what has historically been a very scarce resource for new entrepreneurs: capital.

Unfortunately, Kickstarter is not for every business. To start with you must be 18 or older to create a project on it. (Note that an adult can agree to create a project for a minor.) Also, each project must have a definitive final product. So, it likely would not work if you are a service oriented business or creating a new website.

Should those not apply to you than Kickstarter can be a great, low risk way to get your first sales before you even have your product ready!

An additional benefit of using Kickstarter is that not only is it a great channel for raising funds but it is also a great channel for marketing. Kickstarter projects have a built-in audience that could take you months or even years to get through other methods (website, mailing list, social media, etc.). A good Kickstarter campaign will sometimes be featured in magazines, TV, newspapers, and generate buzz across social media and the blogosphere.

Usually when you use Kickstarter you are far enough along with product development that you will have images you can share on your project page. You are also going to want to write about who you are, why you are creating this product, why you think the potential backers might want it, how far along you are, what then money will go towards, and any product specs that you may have. Be clear about what people are paying for.

You can set up multiple tiers for project backing. The lowest tier need not even include the product. You can set up a sponsorship tier where $5 gets the backer listed on your website. Indie movies often have a tier where you donate $10 and you get listed in the credits. Donate $500 and you get listed as an associate producer (which gets you listed on IMDB). There is lots of room to be creative about what rewards you offer.

One note about Kickstarter is that you must set a funding date. If you do not meet your funding goal by that date, then you do not get any of the money pledged to you. To avoid that you should engage with your ideal customers and brand evangelists in order to get the word out.