If “asking people to buy” and “smoke tests” could have a baby, it would be crowdfunding. The concept behind crowdfunding is simple enough. You tell the story of what you want to build, and, if enough people are interested, they’ll pay to help you build it. Not a bad deal, right?
It certainly helps validate your idea. Just remember that successful crowdfunding pitches , so you shouldn’t look at this as an easy option. But, depending on your idea, it might be a good fit.