From crowdfunding to building a community

As we move into our own digital space and move on from pozible, we can't help but reflect on the incredible opportunities our crowdfunding campaign afforded us. In March 2013 we launched a 90 day campaign to raise $35, 000 from Sydney's community of riders. We belived in the idea but had no idea how many people whose imagination we would capture, let alone the impact it would have on the the community on the whole.

This was sent to us from supporter and pledger Matt Kendall on the process of a crowdfunding campaign... Sums up the experience perfectly.

This was sent to us from supporter and pledger Matt Kendall on the process of a crowdfunding campaign... Sums up the experience perfectly.

Looking back, as with so much of the journey thus far, we plunged ourselves into the campaign blissfully ignorant from how much work it would take to be successful. I mean... really hard. Within the first hours of it's launch our first pledge was $500 (a moment we'll never forget thanks to pledger Brad Bennett) and thought "yes! we'll hit our target in no time!" and then a week later we're still trying to crack $2,000. The pledges drip fed for weeks after that, but what we realised really quickly is that EVERYONE had tried this idea out before and, it would seem, no-one managed to be successful. It was like entering into a relationship with someone on the rebound from a past lover who was full of empty promises. On one hand, they loved everything we were offering and on the other hand, were afraid to trust us for fear of having their heart broken... again.

All of a sudden, not only did we have to promote our existance, but that we could be trusted with this workshop space idea. We had to convince our future supporters and members that we understood why they were so desperate for the space to work on their machines, that we knew how much better you work with a real person to ask and that, perhaps most importantly, we'd thought about everything already... we were ready.

About half way through our campaign we were able to support the first builders showcase, Throttle Roll, and thus as a sponsor bought some cheap t-shirts and iron labels from Big W and smattered our logo on them for our volunteers (friends) to wear to the event to raise awareness for our campaign. 


Once the event got into the swing of things, Adrian, Daniel and I were being asked to answer the 120 questions from the crowd on details of our business plan. Questions like, "have you thought about insurance?", "how do memberships work?", "communal spaces don't make money so how are you going to stay open?"... man! Needless to say we all felt a little battered by the end of the day, where was the faith?

Without the time to allow doubt to enter our heads, we had to just carry on and realise we can't win 'em all... and fair enough to. I've been guilty of not supporting an idea until I see it in reality, and by the end we had more support than we knew to do with. The best thing about that experience was every time we had to defend, explain, define Rising Sun Workshop, the stronger the idea became and the more solid our conviction to achieve it. We were forced to triple check all those issues we were asked about, confirming everything we imagined is actually possible. 

So... the result? 90 days and one epic fundraiser event later, we raised $38, 500 (our target was $35K) and pre-sold 160 memberships! Off paper, we made some great friends, have built relationships with other relevant businesses and the wider industry in motorcycle riding is watching. 

We know we're on to something... we know it will work, and we know we are the ones to do it. For every sceptic there were double the supporters and we know who you are, we see you wearing your limited edition merch proudly. To those who are afraid of a broken heart, we'll be there always, and when you're ready to trust us, we'll have a bay (and a big hug) waiting for you.