The 7 Mistakes Crowdfunders Make the Day Before They Launch

12 October 2015 | 14 Comments

Today, the day before Scythe launches on Kickstarter, I got a great question from @SoloStoryGamer on Twitter: “What gives you the most anxiety the evening before a project debuts on Kickstarter?”

The first answer that came to mind is that I’m always worried that I’ll sleep past the time I said I was going to launch the project. I usually sleep exactly 7 hours a night and wake up at 8:30 without an alarm, and I usually launch projects at 9:30 am CST, so there’s plenty of time to spare. But it’s the main thing that makes me anxious–it’s a mistake I’d like to avoid.

So here’s a list of mistakes creators like me can easily make the day before they launch. Perhaps together we can help each other avoid these mistakes.

  1. Sleeping past the time you said you’d launch your campaign: Fortunately this can be solved by setting an alarm, which I will certainly be doing tonight.
  2. Not checking to see if your project has been approved: You probably know that you should submit your project for approval long before launch day, but always double check to make sure your project is still approved. If a project undergoes significant changes after the original approval, you may need to resubmit it.
  3. Changing elements of the project page that can’t be changed after launch: You’ve had dozens of people proofread and review your project page, but none of that matters if you make typo-riddled last-minute changes to things that can’t be undone after you launch (specifically, the rewards can’t be changed after they have at least 1 backer). These elements are project duration, funding goal, and the reward descriptions/shipping fees. Check the shipping fees multiple times! (UPDATE: Guess what? I made this mistake on Scythe! There is one country at one level for which I should have charged shipping, and for some reason it’s listed as $0. Those backers are getting a deal!)
  4. Not establishing clear expectations and responsibilities with your partners: Maybe you’re a lone ranger, but most of us have some kind of partner or support team. Be very clear with them about what their expectations are and how they differ from your responsibilities. If you expect them to be at their computer for the first 3 hours of launch day, talk to them about it before the project launches–don’t expect them to figure it out and then chide them when they don’t do it.
  5. Including the wrong names or links in your e-newsletter announcement. Perhaps this is unique to me, but maybe not. I always write my e-newsletter announcement the day before I launch, and it’s usually a rewritten version of a previous launch announcement. I’ve made the mistake of not updating the name or link in that announcement. People usually figure it out, but it doesn’t look professional.
  6. Not updating the links on your project page: When I’m creating a project page, when I read a word or phrase for which I don’t yet have a link, I type “(LINK)” next to it. That way I have something specific to search for before I launch to update those links. I just have to remember to actually search for it!
  7. Not having the current versions of the files uploaded and available: We’ve been formatting the rules for Scythe for a while now, and it’s easy to forget to actually upload them for backers to read (along with the other print-and-play files).

I’ve made all these mistakes, and I’m sure I’ll make these and new mistakes in the future. But hopefully this checklist will help you avoid some of them. Do you have any to add? Feel free to mention them in the comments. This isn’t for general tips about the project page or not having third-party reviews and all that. These are things that you can mess up the first last day before you launch.

Also read: Kickstarter Lesson #104: The One-Week Checklist


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14 Comments on “The 7 Mistakes Crowdfunders Make the Day Before They Launch

  1. Jamey, I’m curious as to how/why you pre-announce your launch? How far out do you plan ahead for the launch? Most projects I’ve backed never announced intention to launch a kickstarter (that or I’ve just missed all of them entirely). Much less a specific date and time. The thought of 1. never even crossed my mind so I’m curious.

    1. Ivan: That’s very interesting. I think it’s a pretty standard best practice to let your fans know well in advance of a launch so they can get excited about it and can be there on day one. I announced Scythe’s launch day and time back in April.

  2. Hey Jamey, best of luck on Scythe. Just wondering if you have any upcoming promo/ad posts? I’m learning a lot of this as I go, but an area I wish I had a better grasp of.

  3. Corporate take-over of your comments here today, but I thought of #3
    3) Second guessing yourself. – You put months and months of thought into these numbers and this text. Unless you find an outright error; let it be unless your gut is tearing your apart. Otherwise, let it be and trust your preparation.

  4. To add to the post, big last-day-before mistakes could be:
    1) Forgetting to confirm advertising schedules. Mostly reminding the folks to get it up on time (as many do it manually on the moment). – I’ve done that before and had ads not go up for 3 or more days. Uf!
    Stinks when you miss opening day for your campaign.
    2) Not getting ENOUGH sleep. I tend to stay up all night due to jitters and excitement. “MUST – GO – TO – BED *twitches* “. : D

    John Wrot!

  5. It’s good that Kickstarter now requires submission for approval first. There was a stint where you could launch without approval. It’s a good change.

    Just a heads up for a somewhat ironic typo in the “Including the wrong names or links” section. Last line, double negatives.

    I’m looking forward to tomorrow. Mostly for your sake, honestly. I’m interested in Scythe enough, but I’m really truly excited to see how well a friend’s Kickstarter is going to go. : )
    Best wishes!

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