Can You Create Your Own Job With The Help Of Strangers?

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Three brothers, Christian, Joseph, and Patrick Lane, had one simple idea: to completely revolutionize the way people shop. Americans produced 1.4 billion pounds of waste a day, and 40 percent of that is packaging used just once. Why do we need boxes around cereal, they wondered, and plastic around milk? They imagined a store where you would just fill up your own glasses and jars and Tupperware, then pay and leave.

Last August, the brothers opened In.gredients, a package-free grocery store, and they did it by raising $15,000 entirely from strangers on the crowd funding site Indiegogo.com.

Thousands of people have used sites like Indiegogo and Kickstarter to raise money for projects, but particularly with credit tight since the recession, entrepreneurs are increasingly using them to launch sustainable, brick and mortar businesses. With crowdfunding, not only can a good idea get you a lot of money, you also never have to pay it back.

Traditionally, bankers and investors have picked what companies get cash, "which is just a very inefficient process that has made finance fundamentally unfair since the beginning of time," explains Danae Ringelman, co-founder of leading crowdfunding site Indiegogo, "... where your success is based on how lucky you are to know a VC or to know an executive at a big studio."

Crowdfunding is changing all that, she explains: "It's putting the power back in the hands of the people... who are going to benefit from these ideas coming to life... and giving them the power to vote with their dollars."

On Friday, Ringelmann, Christian Lane, and Tim Stevens, the editor-in-chief of Engadget, appeared on AOL Jobs' Lunchtime Live to discuss the future of crowdfunding, its upsides, pitfalls and how you can "create your own job" off the generosity of strangers. Tune in to watch the highlight reel below, or click here to view the whole interview on YouTube.

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