Is Crowdfunding for Business Just Online Panhandling?

When does crowdfunding for business become panhandling? Do you think it crosses the line or are you OK with it?

Every day, someone we know is pitching the crowdfunding plea and the point at which it becomes irritating for me is when entrepreneurs hold crowdfunding campaigns to cover typical business expenses.

For example, paying for outsourced consultants, printing costs, prototype production, web hosting fees, etc. Some even ask for money to help pay for their time!

It used to be a given that if you were brave enough to sail your own ship and launch a business, you’d use your brain and work hard to pay for these things, whether it was through a private investor, a business loan, your savings, or just hard work. Crowdfunding a special project can be OK, but asking for money to cover your FedEx bill? Really?

Begging from friends, family and total strangers used to be taboo, it put you in the ranks of the homeless guy on the corner begging for money. And nobody wanted to be That Guy.

But thanks to Kickstarter, entrepreneurs have seen how easy it is to reap easy results from online panhandling, so they’re doing it in droves. Forget budgeting! Who needs to learn how to manage cash flow? There’s an easier way and we don’t even have to look people in the eye when we beg!

It’s mighty tempting to jump on the go-fund-me bandwagon. Jim and I have a ton of projects we haven’t done because we can’t afford to do them since we’re too busy trying to earn a living. I won’t ever say that we won’t do a campaign, but right now I’m just so irritated by the proliferation of outstretched hands popping out of my monitor each day, we’re not going near it.


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