Can you help me to the next level?
That's the first half of the year behind us, no, I can't believe it either, but it's true. It's officially summer here in the UK which is quickly passing us by like a speeding train with faulty brakes and no signs of letting up. This seems like a perfect opportunity to stop and take stock of the years progress and check in on any goals made at the beginning of the year. I am very sorry to report that for my own objectives, I have slipped way behind.
With early fantastic progress at losing weight and getting fit, I have slipped into bad habits and started to reverse my previous efforts. My social media growth which showed steady solid gains has also seen a dramatic reversal, despite my efforts to maintain it. But my biggest disappointment is the stagnation of my Etsy store reboot, despite all the hard work I have already poured into it. The first is all on me, the second I could probably bolster some of the blame there, but the latter is a combination of a little procrastination and some terrible events that I have little control over.
Back in January I had so much enthusiasm around the refreshing of my Etsy store and worked up a solid plan for the year, this plan has been discussed and developed through my blog here and I was on track to issue my first limited edition print. I had got as far as to test printing and was poised to order stock of my first print and packaging materials, but I stalled with our trip to Greece in sight, knowing I would be heavily distracted by the planning for, and the fall out from it.
This distraction could probably be more accurately labeled as procrastination as I couldn't help but feel I wasn't quite ready to put this single print out into the world for fear of failure. As my previous selling experiences had been so poor largely due to my lousy management and lack of preparation, I was anxious about how this single print would perform and if I am to be completely honest with myself, I was stalling the release of it for fear of disappointment.
After the trip to Greece, I was treated to further distractions which comfortably fed into my procrastination. I was engaged on a lot of band work which easily took my mind off the limited edition project. Furthermore, my second NAS (network attached storage) drive failed and had to be rectified. Fortunately, this was sorted within a week or so by Amazon, who it has to be said have nailed customer services, but until it was fixed I had no access to my archives.
With all these projects and problems behind me, there was no excuse to put off the limited edition any longer, but then we were struck by some really bad news. My 6-year old cat, affectionally named Trouble, became unwell and had to spend a night in the vets. Being an indoor cat I had foolishly decided against arranging insurance for him, which in hindsight proved to be a huge mistake.
His overnight stay, including various tests and medication for his sickness, generated a £1k bill that I had to stump up for and cleared out my cash reserves in one fell swoop. Now, sadly, I had a genuine reason for delaying the project as I couldn't afford to invest in printing and packing.
Trouble made a quick, but temporary recovery. He was back to his normal self for a short while but then began to become withdrawn, stopped eating and started to lose a lot of weight very quickly. Initially, I put this down to the very hot weather, but after a couple of days, I knew that something was very wrong. Another trip to the vets for more tests and he was sent back home with a referral to a kidney specialist with a provisional diagnosis of Lymphoma and another bill for £1k.
I was devastated. The financial set back was bad enough, but the thought of losing my little boy was truly heartbreaking. My sister has only just lost one of her beloved cats, who was half Trouble's age, to a similar condition so I can't shake the notion that he may not be long for this world.
Money isn't exactly free flowing in this household, so all available funds are currently being diverted to his treatment in the hope to restore some quality of life to him. He is on a course of antibiotics that are improving his condition, but we have no idea if this is treating the underlying case or just the symptoms. Any non-critical financial commitments are now off the table whilst we seek advice from the specialist about his kidneys and any treatments that are required. For now, we can but wait.
There is some time between our last trip to the vets and seeing the specialist, and with Trouble's condition marginally improving through the antibiotics, I needed a distraction to avoid my thinking of the worst. My attention was brought back to this project and my current financial circumstance, this forced me to think of another way to achieve my goal and get back on track.
It was then that I remembered Kickstarter, an online crowdfunding platform for raising funds for all manner of projects. If I could pull it off and raise the capital to print my work by people actually pre-ordering pieces, then I could see this project come back to life again. This is still a big if, as it does rely on the success of the crowdfunding campaign.
The single image being initially offered was the leading cause of my fear of failure and procrastination, but if I were to achieve crowdfunding for the project I would be able to finance a wider range, which should surely move my chances of success in a positive direction. Financing in this way would mean saving my own cash to fund Troubles health care and take an enormous weight off my mind.
Everything sounds good so far, but this is not my first rodeo. I attempted a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter back in late 2017, which if I am being completely honest, was an embarrassing failure. In an attempt to raise funds for a photo book showing the contrasts of Berlin, I rushed together a campaign that showed no forethought whatsoever and screamed amateur. You will not be surprised to know that it received 0 backing and flopped into the digital ether along with a chunk of my unwarranted ego.
If I am going to go through this again, I would have to do it properly and give the campaign every chance to succeed, because a failure to achieve funding would set me back and mean that I am likely to fail to meet all of my goals for the year. So I fired up OneNote and started pulling together research and making notes in preparation for the campaign. I've worked my costs again and again, and I'm pretty sure I'm looking for around £1,400.00 - not a huge investment for a business start-up, but way out of reach in my personal financial situation.
The campaign funds will be used to reward those who have backed the campaign, and to provide additional stock so that I can get back on track and sell my work through my Etsy store, website, and social media. The funding goal is based on purchasing 20 units, of 6 different images (120 units total, which includes the image opposite) all of which will be signed and numbered, as well as some smaller prints for lower level supporters.
There are over 11k photography projects on Kickstarter alone, so in order to make this work, I need to stand out from a very large crowd. To do this I am spending a lot of time drafting my 'sales pitch' and designing a video that I'll record for the campaign and increase my chance of exposure. The video is a project in itself as I have 0 filming experience, so requires a significant amount of planning and preparation.
As with everything in today's society, popularity is king. I have never been one for popularity contests, but unfortunately it just a fact of life and the game I have to play to have any chance of standing out in the world of photography. This is where I need your help. Crowdfunding campaigns that receive strong early support stand a greater chance of beating the odds and climb the rankings picking up more support along the way.
Most crowdfunding platforms operate on an 'all or nothing basis', meaning that the goal must be fully funded before the money is released to the project creator. Failure to meet full backing means I end up back at square 1, so I need all the help I can get in support for this project.
Reward levels will be set appropriately for the amounts pledged, but backing can be as low as £1/$1, just a few of these minimum pledges will boost my chances of gaining traction and meeting my goal. I will be setting up a Facebook group that gives a little more information and details of how and when you can get involved, but principally I would be grateful if as many of my supporters could back the project on its first day to give the campaign the early push and jump-start momentum so that we can gain traction and catch the eye of a wider audience.
There is still a lot of work to do behind the scenes to get this campaign off the ground, but if you want to lend a helping hand at this early stage you can by sharing this post on Facebook or Twitter via the sharing buttons below.
If there are any images you have seen in my collection that you would like to see issued as a limited edition print, then do let me know. I am still in the process of finalizing the series for this project which will be a selection of images from my travel portfolio. I am open to any and all suggestions so please do not hesitate to put your favorites forward.
Should you consider this a worthy cause and you'd like to throw your support behind it, please let me know through the comments below, or message me via the contact page or personally on Facebook and request entry to the secret Facebook group for further instructions. Any help you can offer will be greatly appreciated, as the smallest steps will compound into great strides and see my chances of hitting my goals increase significantly.
Until next time guys,