Last summer I launched plans to start a small shirt company revolving around Charlotte. I had some shirts printed and started up a Kickstarter. Earlier today, that Kickstarter came to a close, falling far short of its goal.
I’m not a huge fan of failing, especially in front of my friends. This was mostly in front of internet friends, but internet friends are people, too.
I learned a few big things from failing.
- People who are successful have a lot of good advice.
I had a few people who’ve run Kickstarters give me advice, and it was really good advice. I’m really appreciative for the emails they answered, the meals they sat down and ate with me, and the phone calls they answered.
- Kickstarter might not be the best use of your time and energy.
Right after I launched my project, I totalled up how much time I’d spent getting it ready. If I’d been fully funded, I still would have “made” less per hour than I charge for freelance work.
- It’s OK to be blunt.
Part of my strategy was sending free shirts to people in Charlotte who I thought would talk about them and send traffic to my Kickstarter. But I didn’t specifically ask them to do that—I just kind of hinted at it once they mentioned getting my packages. I wish I had been more blunt.
- Bloggers really like things that have been featured on other blogs.
I actually had a few folks ask if other blogs were covering my Kickstarter. Initially I assumed they wanted an exclusive scoop, but I soon realized the opposite was true. If you ever have something take off and 'go viral,' take that exposure and run with it. Build off of it, and use it as a catalyst to make what you want to make.
- Failing isn’t that bad.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s not fun. But I’m very glad I decided to try to start up this shirt company and run a Kickstarter campaign.
I’m not an extremely adventurous person. I don’t enjoy taking risks, and I don’t enjoy when things don’t turn out like I want them to. But I did enjoy this process, even though it was a failure. I learned to embrace a teeny-tiny failure, and I think it’s given me the willingness to fail at bigger things.
Thanks for your support. It meant a lot.