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EXECUTION Running my first Kickstarter campaign!

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Abrodos

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So, hi guys!!

I'm David, a sculptor. Since I read Unscripted and joined the forum a year ago, I've been developing a project about miniature 3D printing.
My first Kickstarter is about to launch.

The basic idea is: a lot of people are sculpting 3D miniatures for people to download and print on their own 3D printers. Apart from e-stores, the two main ways of making businesses are crowdfunding, either on puntual campaigns or through recursive payment/subscription models (patreon).
My strengths are in the modelling/sculpture aspect: I can produce better and more professional assets due to my knowledge of anatomy, and I'm good at making organic, flowing shapes. So I decided to do elven-style miniature terrain for wargaming. I've gone for a specific style involving abstract design, structures that flow and grow like bones or antlers.

Basically I created a Facebook page, during summer and autumn 2019 I started sketching some designs for them. I divided the projects in 4 main "themes" (a village, a temple, the bone structures and military/battle structures). I gained about 300 followers on FB. Back then I had very basic knowledge of 3D modelling, so I was trying to create expectation. But it backfired (kind of).
First I reduced the size of the first project (to make it more manageable) to just a 7 piece tower set.
Also, I had other unfinished commissions and on January I started college, so I had to postpone the launch some months. Then in April I still had those pending commissions (college had occupied al of my time those months) so I couldn't launch either.
Quick recap, on july I took some 3D course, learned to model more efficiently, and started producing some assets. I posted them on the fb groups anyway, they weren't "finished" but I wanted to avoid perfectionism and just wanted to get them out there.
A couple fans asked me for the release date, I had delayed everything so much that I said "fck it" and just announced that it would come out in Sept 20, which is, in 4 days.

At the moment the statistics are: about 300-350 FB page followers, 34 people subscribed to be notified when the campaign starts, 3-4 really engaged people (the ones that like the posts and comment), and I'm trying FB ads (a video has reached supposedly to thousands of people, but very little engagement.

I was planning on putting a goal of 5000$, but I have lowered the bar to 1200. The idea is: 30$ for the digital files, 90$ for the resin sculpture (a poll showed me half of the people want the digital version and the other half, the physical version), but the second one is probably too high.

The KS page is this one:https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/spiritwargamescenery/wild-bone-tower-spirit-wargame-scenery
And my FB page is this one:https://www.facebook.com/Spiritwargamescenery/

I'll continue later!
David
 

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Nick T

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So, hi guys!!

I'm David, a sculptor. Since I read Unscripted and joined the forum a year ago, I've been developing a project about miniature 3D printing.
My first Kickstarter is about to launch.

The basic idea is: a lot of people are sculpting 3D miniatures for people to download and print on their own 3D printers. Apart from e-stores, the two main ways of making businesses are crowdfunding, either on puntual campaigns or through recursive payment/subscription models (patreon).
My strengths are in the modelling/sculpture aspect: I can produce better and more professional assets due to my knowledge of anatomy, and I'm good at making organic, flowing shapes. So I decided to do elven-style miniature terrain for wargaming. I've gone for a specific style involving abstract design, structures that flow and grow like bones or antlers.

Basically I created a Facebook page, during summer and autumn 2019 I started sketching some designs for them. I divided the projects in 4 main "themes" (a village, a temple, the bone structures and military/battle structures). I gained about 300 followers on FB. Back then I had very basic knowledge of 3D modelling, so I was trying to create expectation. But it backfired (kind of).
First I reduced the size of the first project (to make it more manageable) to just a 7 piece tower set.
Also, I had other unfinished commissions and on January I started college, so I had to postpone the launch some months. Then in April I still had those pending commissions (college had occupied al of my time those months) so I couldn't launch either.
Quick recap, on july I took some 3D course, learned to model more efficiently, and started producing some assets. I posted them on the fb groups anyway, they weren't "finished" but I wanted to avoid perfectionism and just wanted to get them out there.
A couple fans asked me for the release date, I had delayed everything so much that I said "fck it" and just announced that it would come out in Sept 20, which is, in 4 days.

At the moment the statistics are: about 300-350 FB page followers, 34 people subscribed to be notified when the campaign starts, 3-4 really engaged people (the ones that like the posts and comment), and I'm trying FB ads (a video has reached supposedly to thousands of people, but very little engagement.

I was planning on putting a goal of 5000$, but I have lowered the bar to 1200. The idea is: 30$ for the digital files, 90$ for the resin sculpture (a poll showed me half of the people want the digital version and the other half, the physical version), but the second one is probably too high.

The KS page is this one:https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/spiritwargamescenery/wild-bone-tower-spirit-wargame-scenery
And my FB page is this one:https://www.facebook.com/Spiritwargamescenery/

I'll continue later!
David


Hey David congrats on getting your product ready to launch.

So some good signs is you have at least 350 people aware, got 10% of that to subscribe, and hopefully 10% of those will convert. If you could scale and could convert like that you would be winning.

Here are some thoughts that might help...

1. See if you can talk to as many of the 35 interested people as possible and try to pull insights as to why they are prospective customers. Sometimes we get to close to our product, and need to find out why someone is willing/not willing to take action. Once you do this everything will get better/clearer because it will allow you to build copy from their words. Build a customer avatar and look for common themes between those interested... then target those interests on FB with your ads. This is how you get traction with ads. Qualitative testing leads to quality marketing.

2. "If you don't make a plan you plan to fail."
4 days notice seems a little fast if you are trying to pull any momentum from your launch. Using email in your launch would be smart. You should also be aware of open rates and days they are the highest to get the most out of your launch... (Chat bots is another way to go)

I was planning on putting a goal of 5000$, but I have lowered the bar to 1200.

3. “When it is obvious the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps” - Confucius

This is why knowing your numbers are important... you need to know the EPL(Earnings Per Lead). This will tell you if your launch was a success or not. It will also give you an idea of the estimated # of leads if you run the numbers.

Calculate Cost Per Lead
Number of Clicks x Cost Per Click / Number Of leads = Cost per lead
200 Clicks × $5 per click / 100 Leads = $10 per lead

Calculate Revenue Per Lead
Total Revenue Generated / Total Number of Leads = Average Revenue Per Lead
$5000/100 = $50

Calculate Earnings Per Lead.
Cost Per Lead(CPL) - Revenue Per Lead(RPL) = Earnings Per Lead(EPL)
$10 - $50 = $40 EPL

So in summary...

Find out who they are exactly, talk to them, build your ads on knowledge from qualitative testing, run that into a funnel... and follow up with a well thought out/tested email sequence based on building trust/removing objections, and close it with an irresistible offer that has its own closing sequence. Then deploy on the best open rate days... you can even time them closer to pay days etc... this way you can plan an email sequence... Above all else your numbers won't lie... Use KPI's not excuses.
 
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AriAzran

Contributor
Sep 15, 2020
26
20
14
Israel
Hey David congrats on getting your product ready to launch.

So some good signs is you have at least 350 people aware, got 10% of that to subscribe, and hopefully 10% of those will convert. If you could scale and could convert like that you would be winning.

Here are some thoughts that might help...

1. See if you can talk to as many of the 35 interested people as possible and try to pull insights as to why they are prospective customers. Sometimes we get to close to our product, and need to find out why someone is willing/not willing to take action. Once you do this everything will get better/clearer because it will allow you to build copy from their words. Build a customer avatar and look for common themes between those interested... then target those interests on FB with your ads. This is how you get traction with ads. Qualitative testing leads to quality marketing.

2. "If you don't make a plan you plan to fail."
4 days notice seems a little fast if you are trying to pull any momentum from your launch. Using email in your launch would be smart. You should also be aware of open rates and days they are the highest to get the most out of your launch... (Chat bots is another way to go)



3. “When it is obvious the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps” - Confucius

This is why knowing your numbers are important... you need to know the EPL(Earnings per lead). This will tell you if your launch was a success or not.

Calculate Cost Per Lead
Number of Clicks x Cost Per Click / Number Of leads = Cost per lead
200 Clicks × $5 per click / 100 Leads = $10 per lead

Calculate Revenue Per Lead
Total Revenue Generated / Total Number of Leads = Average Revenue Per Lead
$5000/50 = $100

Calculate Earnings Per Lead.
Cost Per Lead(CPL) - Revenue Per Lead(RPL) = Earnings Per Lead(EPL)
$10 - $100 = $90 EPL

So in summary...

Find out who they are exactly, talk to them, build your ads on knowledge from qualitative testing, run that into a funnel... and follow up with a well thought out/tested email sequence based on building trust/removing objections, and close it with an irresistible offer that has its own closing sequence. Then deploy on the best open rate days... you can even time them closer to pay days etc... this way you can plan an email sequence... Above all else your numbers won't lie... Use KPI's not excuses.
You've got some incredible and practical advice in the above comment. I'd pay attention. In terms of your FB Ad not being engaging, learn how to structure and present your ad in a way that is effective. You may have something people are interested in but you don't convey it properly. There's basically a war on people's attention on social media. If I was you I'd offer premium products in premium prices as opposed to selling to the masses.
 

Abrodos

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Thank you very much for your replies!!
I can't still view who has subscribed to the campaign (42 people now!) until it starts, but I've been analyzing last posts and looking at who interacted with them. I've made a list of 12 super-followers (possible prescriptors) and about 60 people who had engaged with me quite regularly some months ago.
I have the sensation of control again, I know now what to do with them, so next step is speak to them one by one and see what they really need or miss in the campaign.

Regarding the FB ads, what happened is that, when I boosted the most engaging posts (the grey pic below, for example), I received about 150 likes from random people from east asia or india, but no actual page like, comment or KS subscription. In a sense they were low-quality interactions. So I've reduced the reach from "worldwide" to the 5 main countries my followers come from, mantaining the interests (3D printing, wargaming, elves, etc) and changing from just male to both genders. The likes have stopped completely though.
Also, as you said the newest renders are not as engaging as the old ones (grey=old, blue=new). Been trying some banners but they don't work as good as the gray pic. Maybe it's the low-res image...

gate.pnggate12.png

34919
 
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Abrodos

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5 hours to go!!
And 46 people (edit: 47!) interested on the launch.

Don't know why but the closer it's been getting to the launch date, the less engagement I've been having. At least, it hasn't grown. I've been trying to add value to my product (adding new pieces to the pack) but it looks like it isn't working.
Also, the usual percentage of those 46 people who actually back the campaign is 20-25%, so I can expect 9-11 people to back at an average price of 35, about 350. That doesn't get closer even to the lowered goal of 1200. Hope I can get the other 30 to back during the campaign...

I've lowered the overall entry price, the lowest pledges from 30 to 20, and the highest from 120 to 100, to be in line with my competitors, who are charging 20 or less for a pack of several models (mine was 30 for a single modular model). I've lowered the available discount units from 25u to 20u as well, and made them available just for the first week. Let's see how it goes tonight...
 
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Abrodos

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Hi!!!
591€ in the first 12 hours!!
Just wanted to share it. Things are going better than expected!

Also this super-backer has made a recommendation post in a group I'm not into, I just gained access to that group, and saw it, it is actually my first recommendation and it's amazing!
I'll try not to lose momentum and push those 2 first days as much as I can!591.pngrecom.png
 

AriAzran

Contributor
Sep 15, 2020
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Israel
Hi!!!
591€ in the first 12 hours!!
Just wanted to share it. Things are going better than expected!

Also this super-backer has made a recommendation post in a group I'm not into, I just gained access to that group, and saw it, it is actually my first recommendation and it's amazing!
I'll try not to lose momentum and push those 2 first days as much as I can!View attachment 34960View attachment 34961
Great news, man !! Awesome. Keep updating. Let's see how this goes.
 

Abrodos

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Second day, 1057€!!! Funding goal reached!
1057.png

Things I've learned:
Nearly half of my pledges have come from the KS user network. Very little from my Facebook followers. Very little follower-to-backer conversion (about 8%). Also, since the campaign has started, from KS traffic, I've more or less doubled the follower number compared to what I had reached promoting the campaign via FB. So definitely the Kickstarter network has to get from me, at least, the same attention than the FB one, if not more.
 

Einfamilienhaus

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Congratulations for the success you have right now and hopefully you get a lot more of it!

I'm not quite familiar with your art but have thought about to create your own "fantasy kingdom" like for the example the Warhammer series? I think there is a big market for it and it would be also "easy" for you to promote your products.

You can find on YouTube many people who made a video many hours long while they are just painting some little characters and they still have 100k -1 Mio views on them. So the chance that some of the Influencers are going to like and promote your arts is available and you can easily from here scale your business.

I mean there are some people on Kickstarter who find your work pretty unique and they are ready to pay for it [or st least support your idea]. If you create your own story to your buildings, it would be easier to sell your products.
 

Abrodos

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Congratulations for the success you have right now and hopefully you get a lot more of it!

I'm not quite familiar with your art but have thought about to create your own "fantasy kingdom" like for the example the Warhammer series? I think there is a big market for it and it would be also "easy" for you to promote your products.

You can find on YouTube many people who made a video many hours long while they are just painting some little characters and they still have 100k -1 Mio views on them. So the chance that some of the Influencers are going to like and promote your arts is available and you can easily from here scale your business.

I mean there are some people on Kickstarter who find your work pretty unique and they are ready to pay for it [or st least support your idea]. If you create your own story to your buildings, it would be easier to sell your products.

Yeah, actually my project is destined to fill a gap in the Warhammer-related products, especially in a very specific niche (sci-fi elven players). Creating a full world is a very interesting idea, also something I'd have no problem doing as I've helped in world design for several indie videogames. I thought about starting by creating a board game, as it's open to much more people it seems, but logistic challenges are waay greater (have never ordered anything from overseas manufacturers, for example). Dungeons and Dragons material is also very popular, maybe a bigger niche than Warhammer players.
 

Abrodos

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4th day of the campaign! It's starting to stall on $$ level, it's normal I suppose. It's been at the 1200-1300 range for a couple days, I had a 83€ pledge cancelled. It hurt me a bit, but I suppose the sooner I experience it the more prepared I am to react. I sent a message to the guy asking about the cancellation, if I could help with anything, he has not answered so far.
I've been working on producing and promoting the 1500€ stretch goals, as well as updating and celebrating that we are now 100 followers on Kickstarter. I've asked people to tell me about what they'd like to see if we reach 1500 followers (giving 2-3 options), to try and make a custom-tailored product for the audience.

I suppose it's now time to start telling friends and family (although I feel a bit like begging, also almost noone in the people I know shares this hobby, maybe some friends of friends...)
as well as trying to reach some YT/podcast channels/gaming clubs about the project.
Places like Reddit are not very welcoming to advertisement, you need to be an active part of the community for some time.
I'll also run some more Facebook advertising as well, more for a brand awareness/followers idea (that worked pretty well I think) than for actual converting.
 

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Abrodos

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1327€ now!!! or "how a pair of boobs made me earn 100€ in twenty minutes".

Had been some days without activity. Also the update I was planning (a bust of an Elf sorceress to motivate people get to the 1500 mark) wasn't getting much attention.
So these last days I decided to make it as finished as I could, partly to show off my skills and partly to have one less pending thing, and while doing her portrait, I decided to try increasing her breast size to something I'd never really sculpt, just to see how people would react. It's not grotesque or pornographic but it certainly is too much for the slender shape of an Elf.
I posted it on a couple groups, added a small flash fiction story (to actually add value with my post and not be spammy), some random guy criticized the sexualization of fantasy characters, and another guy increased his pledge.
 

AriAzran

Contributor
Sep 15, 2020
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Israel
Second day, 1057€!!! Funding goal reached!
View attachment 34971

Things I've learned:
Nearly half of my pledges have come from the KS user network. Very little from my Facebook followers. Very little follower-to-backer conversion (about 8%). Also, since the campaign has started, from KS traffic, I've more or less doubled the follower number compared to what I had reached promoting the campaign via FB. So definitely the Kickstarter network has to get from me, at least, the same attention than the FB one, if not more.
Bam. Just like that. Happy you made it through, man. I bet you learned so much from this experience and you're 10X better for it. Next step !!!
 

Abrodos

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Bam. Just like that. Happy you made it through, man. I bet you learned so much from this experience and you're 10X better for it. Next step !!!
Hahah well I'd been teasing the market with test designs and then delaying the project for a full year, to the point that people were starting to get angry. So I just had to stop doubting and jump straight into the pool. But yes, next one will be about planning in advance and making things the right way since the beginning.
 

AriAzran

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Hahah well I'd been teasing the market with test designs and then delaying the project for a full year, to the point that people were starting to get angry. So I just had to stop doubting and jump straight into the pool. But yes, next one will be about planning in advance and making things the right way since the beginning.
I know the struggle of doubt and inaction all too well. I think it's incredible you overcame all of this and created something real people are ready to put their hard earned money on, especially in this post covid economy. Keep pushing forward and growing. Really great job, man !
 

Abrodos

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I know the struggle of doubt and inaction all too well. I think it's incredible you overcame all of this and created something real people are ready to put their hard earned money on, especially in this post covid economy. Keep pushing forward and growing. Really great job, man !

Thank you very much!!! The struggle is there though. This week has been much harder and I haven't been able to consistently work on the project/update the followers about it, and the stuff I've shared has had almost no impact.
Basically update since last post:
- We're now at 124 project followers (growing at 1 every 2-3 days, not bad, at least there's some echoes happening),
- 1327€ (It was 1347 but a guy canceled their pledge)
- 3 cancellations so far, one big (83€) and two small (20€)
-32 backers,
- about 4 days with no new backers.
- And the early 30% discounts have gone (I put a time limit to them), the digital product (20€ instead of 30) have sold out, but just 6 out of 20 of the physical object discounts (70€ instead of 100€) were actually purchased.

It's weird how this 327€ feel like of very little importance compared to the first 1k, even though it's more than a 30% growth. The slowness of the process after the first initial push is a bit frustrating, but it's important that people don't notice that frustration, that you give the impression that everything is going amazing. And if you think it thoroughly, it really is amazing, the fact that almost 125 people are interested in something that you made and that 30 of them gave you 40€ on average. But then you go like "shit why doesn't anyone respond? why has this guy canceled the pledge? what do I have to do to make it work?" but the truth is that it really IS working, that people have actually responded, and everything is going at a normal pace, it's just that the initial high fades out.
Also last weekend and this week has been a bit difficult. Random stuff occupying my mind, several projects needed urgent managing, getting supplies, setting things up for next month, some family stuff I couldn't talk aobout with anyone (good there's the rant thread), and basically a lack of focus during my should-be-work time that was a bit desperating.
Anyway, yesterday I found time to work on another asset for my project (a house, the next stretch goal) and shared it with the followers, but it kinda passed unnoticed. I'll go for the stuff that people were really asking me for: some newer, smaller models, and a free 3D model sample for the backers to test print and adjust the printer settings/check the overall quality.
 
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Abrodos

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I just reached 125 followers in Kickstarter. I shared it with my followers and I received this message :)
Much more important than one 20€ pledge more or less.d.png
 

AriAzran

Contributor
Sep 15, 2020
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I just reached 125 followers in Kickstarter. I shared it with my followers and I received this message :)
Much more important than one 20€ pledge more or less.View attachment 35136
Wow, man ! This experience taught you so many valuable lessons not just in business but in life ! Don't let me start on how hard things can be when you start out, I KNOW. Of course our personal lives always have a plan of their own for us..."The best laid plans of mice and man...". So many things are out of our control and so much can go wrong in an instant. That is exactly why taking responsibility over our lives and taking action DESPITE our setbacks is EMPOWERING like nothing else. Reading your posts I got a glimpse into my own journey, the ups and downs, and I have come out inspired just like you did to push forward and keep on moving. I am happy for you. You get to do something you're passionate about and the world is responding... The rest is not as important. I think you should write a post about this entire experience after you process everything and map out your strategy. I'll be here to read it for sure. Again, happy for you and thankful you've shared your journey with us.

Blessings,

Ari
 

Abrodos

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Quick update!
Some more cancellations (meh), a 30€ pledge (ATM 1257€), and 15 new followers (we're 140 now!)
So basically: I was working on the 1500 stretch goal (a tent, lower right) but something wasn't working, almost no traction, several desertions, wasn't sure why, so I decided to try something more agressive. I asked followers what would they like to see for the next 150 follower mark, they said objective/event markers, so I made some colour sketches for those ideas and I posted them on the big Elven players facebook group. Asked for advice, lots of comments, the post worked pretty good, especially the most spectacular drawing (lower left). People like bright colours and possession more than boring tent houses. That means a new piece to sculpt next week but it's ok. I suppose that means I've actually added more value to the community with this sketch, even if it doesn't correlate to the change on income.

BTW, I will pm to all the canceled pledges to ask for advice/reasons. I'm not sure if I'm updating too much or too little. Or maybe there's no specific reason, maybe it's personal reasons (running short of money? Is there an opposite of payday?) or maybe it's how KS works. Anyway, I'll find out.

Also I had a small car accident and a sprain (or strain) on my surgery shoulder which is also my drawing hand, so I had to wear a sling for a week. I told followers as soon as I could so there has been no problem/cancellations this week. Today I've been finally able to draw/3D model again with almost no pain, so everything looks fine.
That's it!!! :)
Just six days for the campaign to end!!! I'll have to push this final period as hard as I can!
worked.png
 
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Abrodos

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Wow, man ! This experience taught you so many valuable lessons not just in business but in life ! Don't let me start on how hard things can be when you start out, I KNOW. Of course our personal lives always have a plan of their own for us..."The best laid plans of mice and man...". So many things are out of our control and so much can go wrong in an instant. That is exactly why taking responsibility over our lives and taking action DESPITE our setbacks is EMPOWERING like nothing else. Reading your posts I got a glimpse into my own journey, the ups and downs, and I have come out inspired just like you did to push forward and keep on moving. I am happy for you. You get to do something you're passionate about and the world is responding... The rest is not as important. I think you should write a post about this entire experience after you process everything and map out your strategy. I'll be here to read it for sure. Again, happy for you and thankful you've shared your journey with us.

Blessings,

Ari
Thanks!!! :) I will do it!! Next one needs a thorough planning. Thank you for accompanying me in this journey!
 

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Abrodos

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Small update!

36 hours left to end the campaign. 1257€, same as a few days ago, and I don't think I'll be able to push it further. I've posted a small update telling people about this "last hours to get it" but I haven't been able to work on any new piece. Also I don't want to push the follower stuff further. I've been promoting all the "more people to follow" stretch goals these last two weeks, we're now at 145 people following on KS, which will probably be good towards future campaigns, but there have been almost no new pledges in 2 weeks, actually about 100-200€ losses in cancellations. Getting to the 150 follower stretch goal would mean having to produce extra non-paid giveaway pieces. As for the 1500$ stretch goal (250€ still needed) I don't think it is achievable, given the small response/interest those rewards generated and the little time left.

A possibility would be including some of the unachieved rewards (the 2000 and 2500 ones had a very good response) into this 1500 one, to give it a final push, but at the cost of "sacrificing/giving away" two of the most valuable assets for future campaigns (and adding extra work and expenses in producing their physical counterparts).

So that's where I'm at! Nevertheless I'm still happy. I've learned a lot, 1250 is not a bad figure, and the most important thing is I've taken action.
My investing mentor usually says "el último duro que se lo quede otro", an idiom that is mainly about the 20/80 rule, don't try too hard to squeeze the last dollar, I feel my resources right now are better spent in finishing this campaign well, consistently delivering the products, and planning the next campaign thoroughly.

Edit: Half an hour after posting the "final hours!" update, instead of any new pledge, I got a 10€ pledge cancellation.
My friends suggested that maybe, by telling everyone of the last hours, I'm also helping insecure backers to make the decision of backing off.
 
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