21 June 2016 | 24 Comments
Since returning from Christmas break on December 30, I haven’t had a single day off. My weeks are Monday through Sunday, 70-80 hours a week, and I love every minute of it (well, almost every minute).
However, in a few days I’ll leave town for almost 2 weeks for a big family reunion (30-35 people) at the beach. I look forward to it every 2 years, and I almost completely unplug during that time (except for 30 minutes or so of e-mailing at night).
This year the reunion falls at an auspicious time. I had originally estimated that we’d deliver Scythe in August, well after the vacation, but we’re shipping early. Thousands of games are likely to be shipped while I’m watching ships pass by the Carolina shore.
Fortunately, the games are in good hands with OTX and the fulfillment companies. They have all the information they need to ship to backers.
But I’m doing a few things to make the vacation as seamless as possible for backers and general customers (I alone run the day-to-day operations of Stonemaier). The list below is not exhaustive–in fact, I’m writing this entry now in case you have any ideas of things that should be added to this list.
- Several weeks ago I informed my project manager at Panda (my manufacturer), my graphic designer, and several international partners with whom I’m coordinating localized print runs of our games that I would be going on vacation.
- I also arranged in advance for one of our Charterstone artists and a playtester for Charterstone to work on the game while I’m away. That way progress on the game can still happen while I’m busy making fish tacos for 35 people.
- Today I requested updates from OTX (my freight shipping company) and the fulfillment companies that have Scythe for (a) the current status of games sent and (b) an estimate of when the last few games will be sent. They’re prepared to answer urgent questions from backers who get their tracking notification and realize the game is going to the wrong place.
- Today I’ll prep my developer in Europe to handle social media while I’m gone, particularly questions on Facebook, BoardGameGeek, and Twitter.
- Tomorrow I’m going to share the news of the vacation on a project update with my backers. I’ll give them my business partner’s contact information for urgent questions. I’m posting the update close to when I’m leaving but not so close that I can’t address questions and concerns in the comments.
- On Thursday morning I’ll send out our monthly e-newsletter a little early (usually it goes out at the very end of the month).
- On Thursday I’ll end my evening by setting up out-of-office autoresponses on my e-mail accounts that direct people with urgent needs to my business partner or our developer in Europe. I’ll assure people that I will respond to all other messages when I return (I expect to get a few e-mails about people who received the wrong items or have a damaged box, etc.). UPDATE: The auto-response doesn’t work for messages sent from backers via Kickstarter.
- On Friday morning, minutes before I leave, I’ll tell my cats that I’m going to be away for 10 days. If I tell them any earlier, they get testy. I also get testy if I don’t get daily photo updates of what my cats are up to, so that’s a key responsibility for my house sitter.
With all of that, I feel like things are pretty well covered, though it’ll still be tough to completely let go (even if it wasn’t a shipping period). It’s interesting that I have to spend nearly an entire week planning just to take a week off, and I’m sure I’ll spend a week catching up when I return. Now do you see why it’s tough for me to go to conventions? :)
What do you think? Am I missing anything? How have fellow creators/business owners handled taking a day off, much less 10 days off?