Category: Articles

Regular articles all about everything The TARDIS Guy gets up to. The things he makes, the place he goes and the people he meets. What on earth is going on in his mind? Want to know? It’s all in the articles.

Another day, another Kickstarter

It took a little longer than a day but we finally got there.

After months of hard work and the sudden and quite dramatic excitement that is comes with launching a Kickstarter, I thought I would write a few things down

The first thing I want to say is, “Phew!”

The second would be, “OMG!”

The third is, “What next?”

The “phew” comes from finally being able to release the months of hard work out into the wild, where you have no control over it. That is a relief and scary AF all at the same time. It’s out there now and I can’t control that. In fact, this is only the beginning, and if all goes well there will a tonne more work to do.

This part between pre campaign and post campaign is a little island of calm. By which I mean a little island on which I run around trying to pretend I’m OK and not checking Kickstarter every five minutes.

Pro-tip: Go do something else for a few hours. I went shopping and bought some very snazzy new shirts and a jacket.

See, snazzy. 😉

The, “OMG”,part is the pride that comes with doing the thing you set out to do. The work involved in just launching a Kickstarter is not inconsiderable and I take my hat off to anyone who gives it a go. Most of what you do is behind the scenes and if you do it right no-one will ever know. Fail or succeed you still have to do all the work.

Pro-tip: See if you can get into a head space where you congratulate yourself for what you have achieved. This thing might not make it even if you have done a great job so if you can do that, you are a winner. Yeah, I know, that’s really hard. If you work it out I’m listening.

 

That’s me taking my hat off to you.

Lastly, “What Next?” I was planning my next Kickstarter and project even before this one was launched. That’s not confidence or being bullish. That’s just how my brain works. I’m always looking forward and planning the next thing.

The future is where it’s at but what we really have is the now. What does that mean? I don’t really know but it sound good hey? Don’t stop moving, because around here, if you do, the kittens will sit on you and then you are doomed.

Thanks for listening to me spill and I hope it was at least entertaining.

Cat Tax

              kittens and laptops

 

 

 

Five things that kept me going over the last five years. Part 3

Realising and coming to terms with the idea that “this is what I do now”

Edit: I’ve just reread this and it sounds a bit ranty but I’m leaving it alone as it is and you can have a read and let me know.

The thing about turning your hobby into your work is that it becomes work. It’s not something you do on the weekend for fun anymore and that comes with obligations.

There’s a transition between hobbyist and professional that is more than just getting paid. There is a point at which you realise that “this is what I do now”.

The transition happened for me a few years ago when I stopped making vanity projects and suddenly I was creating a new product and realised that if this doesn’t sell, I’m in trouble.

It was quite a moment. It stopped me in my tracks and made me reflect on what I was doing.

You may have heard the expression, “all care and no responsibility”. When you go from hobbies to full time work that expression changes to “all care and all the responsibility”.

Your own projects fall by the wayside and are replaced with the work you have to do for other people. It can take the shine off.

But…

And this is where I stop sounding like I’m having a big moan about how hard my life is,( it really isn’t ).

…that was when I found a deeper meaning to my work. Yes I was getting paid but the joy I was finding in my hobby, no in my work, was reflected in the faces of the people who commissioned things from me.

My name was out there , my creations were out there. I was out on a limb, but now when I made something, the joy of creation wasn’t just mine , it was shared , with one, ten, a hundred and more people.

Yes, my hobby has become my work, but it is work with meaning beyond the dollar and I can’t really ask for more than that. I share my passion now with hundreds and thousands of people globally, at conventions and on social media. Some of you even buy my stuff! It’s outrageous, but what constantly brings me joy is the happiness I see in people I share it all with.

If that isn’t worth the scary transition, I don’t know what is.

Next time: Still loving every piece I make, still getting that thrill.

Five things that kept me going over the last five years – Part 2

Five things that kept me going over the last five years

Part 2

Seeing the progress I had made , milestones

Working for yourself can be hard and sometimes you think it might be easier to stop.

I’m going to write briefly about five of the things that have kept me going over the last five years. If you haven’t read Part 1, have a look here.

 

Did you know that I keep the first of everything I make?
I have an overly heavy and poorly finished Mjolnir, a frankly shocking Captain America shield that I’m ashamed of and even an Infinity Orb, that isn’t spherical

They sit on my shelves in the workshop as a stark,(Tony), reminder of how far I have come.

When we begin making things the struggles we go through learning new techniques are exactly the same struggles five years later.

The accumulation of knowledge is like a growing tree, each ring adds more knowledge and if you cut me in half you would see all that knowledge, expanding out, over the years of practice. *Please don’t cut me in half*
It is also gradual, slow and often hard to notice.

These days, you don’t even think about it when you spray the shield, polish the hammer(not a euphemism), “do the other thing you find easy to do”. The thing you used to find hard has been replaced by something else.

Recognising your progress is very important. Reflect on how far you have come and allow yourself a moment to congratulate yourself and enjoy being good at the things you do well.

Yes there is always more to do, learn, try and that’s great, but right now, look at how far you’ve come.
Amazing.

Next time: Realising and coming to terms with the idea that, “this is what I do now”

Five things that kept me going over the last five years – Part 1

Five things that kept me going over the last five years.

Part 1
Working for yourself can be hard and sometimes you think it might be easier to stop. Beavering away on your own is often isolating, what if you are doing it wrong, how would you ever know?

I’m going to write briefly about five of the things that have kept me going over the last five years in the hopes that others out there read it and think on.

These are not the top five nor are they in any order of importance, they just came to mind and feel relevant right now.

That time a stranger came to my booth at a con and said she’d been “sent by her friends who couldn’t make it.” She was sent to take photos for them. It wasn’t really “her thing” but they were “into all this stuff” and had been talking about me, ME, at dinner the other night , discussing what I might make next and how upset they were that they couldn’t make it to the convention to see my stuff.

Validation is a huge part of why I do what I do. Every time someone likes my stuff, my art, it’s a shot in the arm. That’s all well and good and happens a fair bit at a convention. People are almost forced to see my shields as they wander around , but this was the first time since I had started making shields that I had actual proof that people I didn’t know, out in the wide world, had taken notice and liked what I do. They had talked about me, over dinner. They were upset they couldn’t see my stuff. I didn’t even do anything , or did I?

This has happened a fair few times now. In different ways and I like it. It means I am doing something right.

Just remember, you might have your head down working hard and think no one is looking but they are. Do your thing. Share it. Talk about it and people will pick it up. They just will.
Friends, family , strangers. When the last one happens , it’s a trip

Next time: Seeing the progress I had made, recognising milestones.

The Ritual is Complete!

 

Cthulhu Fhtagn

Thanks to dozens of backers, our first Kickstarter has been successfully funded. What a ride. It was amazing. You know what it’s like running a Kickstarter, the highs, the lows…

Wait, you haven’t run one?

Well I highly recommend it. The resources available to anyone wishing to run a Kickstarter these days include anything from professional help through to a huge community of enthusiastic people like myself, who would be more than willing to help your Kickstarter succeed. The Kickstarter platform and community has matured in such a way that it is highly accessible, if you do the right thing.

What’s the right thing?

Well, I can tell you what the right thing was for me.

  • I was very clear with what my goals were.
  • For my first Kickstarter I made sure I understood my product.
  • Mapped out my Kickstarter schedule ahead of time.
  • I read as much information as I could and listened to people who had been through the process already.
  • Communicated everything I could to the people backing my campaign.
  • I never took my eye off the ball.

That’s a pretty simplistic list really. There’s a tonne more to do but the things you already know to be true are the key elements. You just have to say them to yourself.

Here’s an even simpler way of putting it.

  • Be clear in what you intend to do
  • Communicate any changes
  • Do what you say you are going to do.

Isn’t that just life right there? The basics. If you can’t do those then you might want to take a close look at why not because the rest of it is just going to be harder and harder.

So what happens next? Well, just having your Kickstarter funded is the start. You then have to deliver what you promised. If you have done your homework then this is going to be easy. I kind of hate homework but I did mine and we are on track for our fulfillment deadline of Feb 2018 and that feels good.

Something else I discovered is that using professional third party pledge management software, such as BackerKit is an absolute boon. I’m a carpenter and an engineer by trade so I don’t know why using the right tool for the job surprised me so much and BackerKit is definitely the right tool for the job.

If you missed out on the Kickstarter and would still like to get in on the action, you can order one of the Call of Cthulhu leather document wallets here.

You can check the full Kickstarter Campaign here.

And you can find out exactly what Call of Cthulhu is here.

Cheers

Allan