The Least Interesting, but Maybe the Most Important Post of the Year.
How did I spend last week? What great work did I do to keep the wheels churning on my creative-output-enhancing BHAG? I did taxes.
To be clear, I didn’t DO the taxes, I use an accountant for that. What I did was untangle a more-complicated-than-it-should-be year of financial data so that what I turn over will be checked and double checked. If you think taxes take a long time, try getting audited.
In 2013 I did consulting for toy and computer game companies through Geek Dynasty (never simple when it comes to taxes). I also was a majority owner of Fun to 11 where we continued to do Kickstarter released games and sell those games through distribution and at trade shows.
My record keeping is very good, but due to a few missing statements, getting it all organized was a huge PITA. I also utilize cash based accounting which caused me confusion with regard to credit card expenses (“do they go in the year where I charged, or the year where I paid the credit card bill”).
Anyway, the long and short of the week was that I spent basically 1 day on Kickstarter related stuff, and 4+ days on taxes. I have one more tax day left, then probably a couple of meetings with the accountant before it will all be done.
When you engage in Kickstarter, there are many product related issues that can cause delays; customs, slow artists, printer issues, etc… But there are many – MANY – non-product related issues. Some of these are personal (“my kids soccer team is going to the state championships!”), and some are like taxes.
It is important to leave room for those non-product-related delays. They will happen. Some like taxes you’ll think “I should have known that was coming up” but others like the soccer example are pure life randomness. Also, understand that if you have a team working on your project, any one member of the team can cause delays with non-product-related issues. The larger the team, the MORE of a risk this is. With a large team, your risk of having folks quit mid-project is also much higher as some members of the team will not have the same sense of loyalty to the project/backers as the creator. Even if a team member is “loyal,” he/she might have an opportunity present itself that is so good that turning it down would be downright irresponsible for them and/or their family (“good” in this example might even be external to your team member, like a spouse who takes a job in another state).
Being late on a KS tends to snowball. Once you have to start dealing with angry backers, your lose even more control over the situation. Time spent stamping out fires grows, and your once loyal team members get itchy to move on. What should have been a 1 month delay turns into a 4 month delay.
This leads to the most relevant advice I can give this week, and perhaps the most important of the year…
Pad. Your. Schedule.
Meeple Deck: Several rounds of back and forth with the printer. All moving ahead well.
How to Human: We hit the stretch goal for adding Level Up! AFTER the campaign closed (we let PayPal donations count towards the goal). Jordan has started turning the graphics into a PDF file, which I expect we’ll be delivering in 2-3 weeks. I still need to get the rules document done and edited which always takes longer than you think it should.
For the main deliverable we had an issue come up where our contact at the POD printer went on a long vacation, but our schedule can handle it.
Upcoming Project Prep Work: Fun to 11 has three KS campaigns planned for 2014. The first one up requires a good bit of pre-work with a printer. Basically, we’re doing a kind of printing we’ve never done before, so it’s taking more back and forth on quotes than I would consider standard. If all goes well, we should be up by the middle-end of March. I’m looking forward to this campaign as it’s a test of a very interesting theory IMO.