Editor’s Note: We thought it would be interesting to show, in detail, how a Kickstarter is run. Natasha has agreed to document her entire process in a 6 part series so you can see what is involved with setting up your own crowdfunding campaign.
Today is Kickstarter launch day.
I’m Natasha, the designer behind TechnoChic DIY tech-craft kits at TechnoChic.net. A moment ago, I clicked the big, green, “launch project now” button on Kickstarter.com to launch my new DIY light-up paper bow tie kits. It finally happened! The week leading up to launch has been jam packed with hard work, determination, and a deadline approaching at light speed. In this post, I’ll share the details of my final preparations to launch day right up to this moment. This is the sixth post on my journey to launch – if you missed last weeks post, check it out here.
The campaign is now live here:
Tuesday February 28 – Seven days to launch.
GOAL OF THE DAY: Make a detailed plan.
With one week to go, I wrote down every piece of the campaign that had yet to be finished. I prioritized, and set goals for each day. I did some research on what other Kickstarter creators had done while planning their pre-launch strategy. There is a lot of great advice on the web – check out these helpful articles that I found:
- Kickstarter Launch Day Checklist
- Kickstarter Project Timeline
- Unsolicited Advice for Project Launch Week (comes with a foldable printout – you bet I did it!)
- A Collection of Helpful Resources all in one place
Wednesday March 1 – Six days to launch.
GOAL OF THE DAY: Rest up.
With working the weekend a probable, I made this a rest day. I won’t lie and say I didn’t work on the campaign at all, but I did have a normal dinner at home and relaxed a bit to get my mind off the campaign. (woo hoo!) Boy did I need this, because the rest of the week was insanity peppers.
Thursday March 2 – Five days to launch.
GOAL OF THE DAY: Submit Kickstarter campaign for review and approval.
The Kickstarter website uses an algorithm to review projects before launch. If the algorithm doesn’t approve it right away, a representative from Kickstarter looks over the project and either gives you the ok or tells you what you need to fix. This process takes at least 2 business days (if not more,) so I needed to submit the project by Thursday to launch on the following Tuesday. (Admittedly, I should have done this sooner to be safe.)
I submitted the project for review without a video. I was having second thoughts about the video script, and I knew I could upload it later, so I submitted for review to be sure I’d be approved on time. The project was approved on Friday, the day after it was submitted. (hooray!)
Thursday’s Final Photoshoot – To show the bow ties in a traditional fashion, I arranged to have a photoshoot with a neighbor who has a classic look and a nice suit. It was a bit risky saving an important piece of the campaign until so close to launch, but I’m really happy with the pictures!
Friday March 3 – Four days to launch.
GOAL OF THE DAY: Email list with pre-launch announcement
It was time to share the Kickstarter info with my email list again. When I started writing these blog posts about a month ago, I sent out an email announcing the Kickstarter and sharing the first post – hoping that some subscribers would follow along (if that’s you, thank you!). I chose to send one pre-launch announcement on the Friday before Tuesday’s launch and will send one more announcement when the campaign launches. In the email, I included the campaign preview link (the same one I shared here last week) and asked subscribers to tell me what rewards they wish I would offer. I also shared a reason to pay attention – the first 100 backers will receive a BONUS – so it’s important to look out for the launch email and back the campaign early.
Saturday March 4 – Three days to launch.
GOAL OF THE DAY: Catch up day! Finish loose ends and get back on track.
I needed to take a day to catch up – I had fallen behind schedule. After recording my video a few weeks ago, I decided I no longer liked the script I had written. Like most art and design projects, as you learn more about the project as you go, and you get better at telling the story. So, I reconsidered my messaging and re-recorded my voice over – and I’m really glad I did! The creative pressure of putting yourself out there can be a good thing – I knew the right answer was to take everything apart, and rebuild it even better! Now I feel good and excited to share my campaign video!
I also caught up on mailing packages to bloggers. Since the first post in this series, I’ve been reaching out to bloggers that I admire and sending them bow-tie prototypes. I’m trying to share my products far and wide- hoping to make a good impression on anyone influential who may like what I’m doing. I even sent prototypes to the address on Bill Nye’s website – I’m a huge fan and he likes bow ties, so you never know! This process turned out to be way more time consuming than expected – it takes a while to hear back from the bloggers, (if at all) and I keep discovering new blogs that I want to connect with. I wish I had an extra month or two before launch to keep finding and growing these relationships, but I can keep growing them while the Kickstarter is live too!
Sunday March 5 – Two days to launch.
GOAL OF THE DAY: Upload final edit of the video.
With a new voice over, I re-edited a new cut of the video. It was an all day project, but uploading the video felt like starting the ignition in a rocket. I finally felt ready, excited and proud to launch!
Monday March 6 – One day to launch.
GOAL OF THE DAY: Be 100% prepared to launch.
Final preparations were in full swing. I spent the day making sure the presentation of the campaign is what I intended, and finished my day of launch action plan (pictured below) to tell me exactly what to do in detail after the campaign is live. (I can’t stress enough how helpful a detailed checklist is. Launching is such an emotional, exciting moment that it’s easy to get distracted and forget to do things. For me, going “one check at a time” will make my the experience a whole lot easier.)
Final preparations the day before launch:
- Review rewards (once someone backs it, you can’t change it)
- Check links
- Finalize Photos
- Check for spelling
- Google Analytics
Early Tuesday morning, March 7th.
GOAL OF THE DAY: Hit the launch button.
Up early. Good Breakfast. Coffee. Review Day of Launch Action Plan.
I’m so excited! I hope you will check out the LIVE Kickstarter campaign here:
A personal note
Since these posts are like a Kickstarter reality show, I thought I would end by sharing my feelings about the campaign and how the process is going:
This week, my only focus was Kickstarter. I do love working hard with a single focus, but every day blended into the next and weekends felt like weekdays – it was a little dizzying. I’m filled with so much excitement but also so much exhaustion — that it has me feeling pretty balanced.
There is a part of me that is terrified. This could all fail. And part of me that is so hopeful. This could really take off. By biggest excitement is to share the project and see what resonates with people – and also see what doesn’t. It’s interesting to me to try to make something and send it off into the world to become something similar, but never exactly what you thought. I first sketched this product idea a year and a half ago – hundreds of prototypes and hundreds of hours of work are behind it. I believe in it , and I’m preparing to fight for it.
Despite the stress an exhilaration, I’ve been sleeping surprisingly well. I ordered takeout more times than I can count. I forget what my kitchen looks like – maybe I’ll find it this week and make a nice meatloaf. Thanks for joining me on my journey to launch! :)