It’s been a long time since the last update, almost 8 months actually! With all this time having passed now, and JUICIES having proved itself with thousands of happy users, I can really give you the final update on this project. Believe me, I am more than happy to be writing it! As some of you may know, this project was not easy for me, and it has been a roller coaster experience all along. However, it was a really remarkable and very important part of my life. Some of you have asked me how such an easy project could have been so hard to handle. There is more than just one reason, and I feel I owe you guys an explanation of what happened, what mistakes I made and what I learned. So here is a summary in retrospect.
Beginning of the project and Crowdfunding:
Like many other project creators on Kickstarter, I was more than happy when I reached the initial goal for the project. It was even overfunded! I thought I was able to fully finance my project. I had tested the market, and there was indeed a strong demand for JUICIES colorful cables. Success!
Crowdfunding is a great opportunity for creative people to realize their ideas and dreams. I have seen and backed many projects that are exciting, innovative and sometimes very surprising. After completing my own project I realized that I am not only interested in the final outcome, product or ideas of a project but also (and even more so) in the team that's behind it, and how the project is executed after the funding period is complete.
I can honestly tell you that things may look very easy from the outside, but the reality of “behind the scenes” is often very different. There are many articles, blogs and books that talk about all the great aspects of entrepreneurship. Having consumed a bunch of this Koolaid myself, it seemed to me that founding a successful company would be the easiest thing in the world. You would literally have to be somewhat stupid if you couldn’t manage to make it work. With all the new tools available, it is just so easy and simple nowadays.
It is not! Projects can fail, regardless of whether they are crowdfunded or not. In some cases, the mistakes are obvious and it is easy to spot the point at which the project went wrong. In other cases there are just tiny details that were neglected, or it was simply bad luck, or both. I am really happy to see that there are so many well planned and executed projects despite all of these obstacles. I have personally backed a lot of projects, and it’s interesting to see how others are doing their job. Seeing and learning from others was a great way to reflect on my own project. Here is a brief description what I have done wrong and what I have learned from it:
- I did not prepare sufficiently. I should have done more homework.
- I had no good pictures of the product prototypes.
- I had no media contacts and no PR prepared.
- I had never manufactured electronics before.
- I hadn’t even chosen a manufacturer yet!
- I didn't know the actual cost of the products I was going to manufacture.
- I was able to produce a non-certified prototype within a month, but a licensed MFi certified product was entirely different.
- Quality assurance was a big pain. I did not have the time or the money to go to the factory and monitor everything.
- I was afraid to share what was going on when things got hard and took longer than expected.
- I only wanted to post positive news and make it look easy.
- I waited way too long with some of the updates.
- I did not clearly communicate what was happening.
What I learned
- Plan more carefully and much further in advance.
- Apply the 80/20 rule. 80% planning, 20% execution!
- Pay attention to every detail and potential cost along the way.
- Always communicate clearly, even when problems arise.
- When things go wrong, face it, admit it, communicate it and move on.
- I can’t make everybody happy.
- Never give up!
I am very glad that I started the JUICIES project when I did, and I will never regret it. I gained so much experience from it and I am very proud that I did not give up. I kept my promise to deliver all rewards. Now looking back at it two years later, I realize that this was never meant to be just a single Kickstarter project!
My sincerest thanks go out to every single one of you for being part of this amazing adventure. For me in some ways, the end is always just the beginning. Keep your eyes open for great things to come!