This week I'm launching my first Kickstarter product. As I try and get more into the mindset of enjoying the journey, I thought it would be fitting to share the things I've most enjoyed about getting our project to where it is.
The product may go viral – it may not. While I'd be lying if I said I didn't care how many sales it made, there are other factors that are more important than the material success of the product. Factors that I think are strong enough to motivate anyone to start a Kickstarter campaign.
In the modern world, so much of what we produce is intangible, slide decks, excel models, reports, business decisions. While I can't see a future in which we throw away our laptops, pick up our chisels, and go back to the life of the artisan producer, I do think spending some time to create something 'real' is time well spent.
The feeling of satisfaction I get when I look at myKanban is far higher than any digital product I've ever produced. It's something I can look at, touch, interact with, and say 'hey without you, this wouldn't exist.
Granted, you could get this feeling by, creating something for yourself, whether that's a piece of furniture for your home or a gift for a loved one, but there's something about the potential that this tool could provide value to thousands of people that gets me going.
Since creating myKanban I've started doing quite a lot more with my hands, mainly drawing and painting, something I had zero interest in before this project.
If you start a Kickstarter, I guarantee, like me, you'll get the 'creator bug' – you'll be constantly looking for ways to get your creative juices flowing, it's a lot of fun!
I worked on myKanban with a team, and I'm so glad I did. For starters, the product would be nowhere near the quality it is if it was just me muddling my way through, but there's also a deeper element to the joys of working with a team on a passion project.
I work with my sister and two friends on myKanban and we have all built a great relationship through myKanban. In lockdown, it's been hard to meet our social needs, and working on this Kickstarter has given us all a reason to have regular calls, to hang out in person, to work together on something we all care about.
As well as a great personal relation
ship, we also now know each other skills, weaknesses and ways of working, so if we decide to work on another project we are going to be starting from a much stronger position.
When you first look at a Kickstarter project, you probably think it looks pretty easy, get a prototype made, get some nice photos and a video. Jobs a good'un.
The reality is, launching a great Kickstarter campaign (which we think ours is) requires a hell of a lot of work. You have to learn how to validate your product idea, how to engage with your community, how to build an audience, how to run ads, how to iterate and build on your product. On the manufacturing side, you need to understand how to negotiate with suppliers, how to put together contracts, how to communicate clearly what you want. On the commercial side, you need to figure out pricing, budgets, marketing spend.
It requires all the skills you'd need to run any business, and for most of us, these are skills we have to learn as we go.
I've learned a tonne of hard and soft skills through putting together myKanban. These are skills I'm pretty certain are going to have a lot of value in other areas of my life.
I guess what makes a Kickstarter perfect as a first entrepreneurial endeavour is that the only thing you really need to invest is your time. There are some costs, of course, you need to get the prototype made, and you are probably going to have to spend something on marketing, but these costs hail in insignificance when you compare it to most startup businesses (especially if they require expensive software development).
If you have an idea that you want to bring into life, and you want to carve out the time to make it a priority, there isn't any reason not to start a Kickstarter campaign. The worst that can happen is that the campaign flops, and you'll only be left with the benefits I've outlined above. The best that can happen – well the upside is unlimited, a great campaign could change your life!
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