March 23, 2012
You’re about to begin a Kickstarter campaign. Well here’s a few tips, some things I’ve learnt, a few things to avoid, that could make the difference between success and failure.
1. Press “Go” without involving everyone
Do not press the “Go” button when your partner is doing dishes in the other room! No, that would be bad. May I even be so bold as to suggest pressing the button in style, maybe with a little champagne? Everyone involved in the project should be gathered around the computer, glasses in hand and some kind words said, maybe even directly to the person who created the project. Because maybe if she finds out her campaign was launched when she sits down at her desk and gets the congratulations email from Kickstarter, after she does the dishes, she might become what we call in our family “un-rope-able”. This early button pushing behaviour might also to lead to domestic disharmony that might last for days and a couch might be involved too, but I don’t know, this article is purely hypothetical… just remember rule number one… be inclusive. Please.
2. Start the campaign without a plan
Pressing the button is just the beginning, before you even press the “Go” button, you should have identified some evangelists to help spread the word. This saves you the embarrassment and humiliation of appearing like a non-stop billboard for a month and having people avoid you in the supermarket, from fear you might mention your project – yet another time. (Arithmetic Village, Arithmetic Village, Arithmetic Village…)
3. Assume a Kickstarter campaign will get you out of Jury duty
This one is important. The judicial system has not discovered Kickstarter or crowdfunding, they think it is something that involves jumper cables. If you do, by some lucky chance, get chosen to serve on a jury, there is no internet in the courthouse, so you might have to sneak off to a cafe to squeeze in five or ten minutes on Facebook. The worst thing is this: You also might actually get so involved with the criminal case that may or may not involve robbers who accidentally stab themselves while climbing into the getaway car with all of their loot (no kidding), that you may even forget entirely about your project and decide to be a detective instead.
4. Move house in the middle of the campaign (this might be obvious)
Moving takes time and energy, and running a successful campaign usually involves actually knowing where your computer is and having consistent internet service.
5. Have children
They are cute and all, and when they grow up they might even make you a cup of tea, or take you to a nice brunch. But when they are under the age of 18, they have teacher conferences, fundraisers, potlucks, plays, and like to eat three times a day, every day. They don’t drive until they are around 17 but have lots of places to go like school, ballet and gymnastics, swimming, etc. Definitely do not have three children in your home while running a kickstarter campaign, send them to their grandmothers for the month, that’s what grandparents are for.
If this free advice is helpful, please donate a dollar or two to my campaign - there’s still hope yet!
March 23rd – I’m halfway through the campaign and I can’t wait to get started, after I pack up a few more boxes…
BTW If you have some do’s and dont’s, things you learnt about how to run a great campaign, please leave a comment, as a gift to the next people looking for some wisdom.
January 27, 2012
Debbie was not a warm and fuzzy teacher.
She didn’t smile, but she didn’t frown.
She focused on the children, was firm, kind and direct.
I never saw anything like it.
One three-year old was having a fit. This child didn’t want to put on her shoes to go outside and it was a rule.
She wiggled on the ground squirming this way and that, she screamed loudly and pounded her fists.
Debbie ignored her. When she did stop, the teacher asked calmly, “Are you done?”
The child stared at her blankly.
“I’m here if you want help with your shoes… or are you going to do that kicking thing a bit more? Now that was interesting.”
The child stared at her, then said, “But I don’t want to put my shoes on!”
Debbie replies, “Oh, so you have a problem. I wonder how you are going to solve it.”
Sometimes I hear Debbie whispering into my ear, “It looks like you have a problem, Kim, I wonder how you are going to solve it…”. Then I stop kicking, regroup and figure out what I’m going to do.
I think she taught me more than my daughter.
February 2, 2011
“Are you a Christian?” There, I’ve been asked. It’s not really a casual question, is it? It’s not like, “Do you like chocolate, yes or no?” or “Do you want to go to the park today?” or “Aren’t you that girl from my French class?” It’s a loaded question, a “Does my bottom look big in this?” question. It’s a personal question, a “What color underwear are you wearing?” question.
It’s asking for a definition. Are you in the club or out of the club? I’ve lived long enough to know the ramifications of answering such a question.
I also know that answering “I believe that religion is a personal matter” might lead to inaccurate speculation, assumptions and judgments.
Answering this question is also an exercise in diplomacy and courage, as my main market for Arithmetic Village is American Home schoolers whom happen to be predominately Christian.
Let me begin by answering the question in terms of my business, since that was the context of the question:
Arithmetic Village is a simple math program created for all children of all religions and all cultural backgrounds so they may be gently introduced to math concepts. The characters represent their respective math functions. The Village is also intentionally positive. There are only kind words and respectful interactions. It has been suggested that I create conflict or more of a story in each books but many wonderful children’s books lack conflict or plots ..ie Goodnight Moon. The values represented in these books are not religiously based athough many reigions share similar vaues of love and kindness. If you find similarities with your religion or philosophical viewpoints, that is a bonus, I want to include everyone.
I hold transparency in higher regard than privacy, and because of this, I will attempt to answer THE question…
January 22, 2011
I’ve become one of “those” moms. You know, the ones who can’t wait for their child to go off to school or childcare. I was NEVER one of those moms. I was the Queen of attachment parenting. I nursed longer than I care to share via the internet. Although I spent a decade working in Child Care Centers, my children have never seen the inside of one. I hand make Halloween costumes and birthday cakes and crowns and invitations.
This is how I have defined who I am.
I feel the changes. Time and place have made me less judgmental, more easygoing.
My life has changed. I have a very, very busy four-year old. People tell us that maybe we should feed her some junk food and sit her in front of a TV for a while. She bothers her older sister who has constant sleep overs (at thirteen) so I try to keep them separated and busy and happy. Twenty-four seven. I don’t live near family. I don’t have a babysitter. (Her 15 year old sister is on an adventure.) I am closer to 50 years than 40 years old, but just barely. I am passionate about my new business that I have no time for in between pleasing everyone.
October 14, 2010
Your hallway will become a fortress.
There will be glitter in the carpet and in her hair. Sand will now be fairy dust.
Any reason will be a reason to paint. And to use real scissors.
Sometimes she will “disappear”, only to be replaced by a kitty, who will meow for days.
And there will be lots of stories, long stories. With a very, very long beginning and never a middle or an end. And they will be captivating.
She will change her clothes four times a day. At least.
Her name may change and so will her imaginary friends’.
Luckily for me, I’ve raised two other four-year old girls. I know that eventually, the glitter disappears, the hallway clears and the stickers stay on paper.
So, treasure the four-year old moments.
October 12, 2010
This person here, makes my life far easier than I care to admit. She is amazingly conscientious and helpful. She offers to take bags, and open doors. She is fiercely independent and rarely needs help, but always offers it. When she was very little, I used to tell her to relax. I would remind her that she had a responsible mother. That she could actually BE four years old. I had it covered.
I don’t think she ever believed me. She’s always wanted to be bigger than she was at that moment. She embraces what is ahead. When her half birthday rolls around, she seizes the opportunity to introduce herself as almost the next age. So, now she is “almost 16″. ”How old are you?” “Almost 16.” “So you are 15.” “NO, almost 16.” she’ll say with a smile.
I had a birthday last week. An old friend from high school sent me a note on Facebook and reminded me about a John Cougar Melencamp song that use to make me cry, Jack and Diane…”Hold on to 16 as long as you can, change will come around soon and make us women and men.”. Oh how I feared getting older. Oh how I feared what might await me.
I cried on my 17th birthday. I thought I was old. I thought everything would be downhill from 16. I then cried on my 18th for the same reason. 19 too. Somewhere along the line, I came around. On my 40th birthday (five years ago), the tears I cried watching the sun come up on a beach that morning were of pure gratitude and anticipation. And such a surprise! No one sings about sweet 45. No movies are made about how great it is to age. I think it’s a shame, I am far happier at 45 than 15,25 or 35.
I was thinking about this, about why our society idolizes youth, and middle age is drudgery, and all I could think of is this… that people aren’t doing what they are supposed to be doing. They might have jobs they don’t like or stopped being creative. They have bought into the idea of doing “what they are supposed to do” verses “what makes their heart sing”.
So, what do I tell my daughters? Be your best self at any age. And the older you are, the more power you have over your own circumstances! It is you who co-creates your reality, that you alone are charge of how you feel and react in a given moment. And it is wonderful! I might tell this to my 12-year-old and my 4-year-old, but the truth is I don’t need to tell this almost 16-year-old, she was born far more fearless than I.
October 8, 2010
I think I need to repeat that… I’VE JUST DECLINED AN OFFER FROM A PUBLISHER! Wasn’t that the goal? Wasn’t that the whole entire reason I started this blog from the beginning? Didn’t I spend years trying to get a publisher, before deciding to self publish? What am I thinking!?
Some information that you might need to know…
- The publisher is South Korean.
- The books would need to be translated. (Rhyme is one of the main components in Arithmetic Village- Using a right brain activity for a left brain function and I’m not sure this could be recreated with the translation.)
- The transaction would be handled by my amazing South Korean illustrator and the contract would not be in English.(I would have no way to know what I was selling and what the terms were, except through the illustrator and unless I had it translatedand brought to a lawyer.) Read the rest of this entry »
October 4, 2010
I got in the car and wondered where I was going. Funny really, because I was the driver. My car drove to the bay where this picture was taken 7 years prior. Seven years. How this girl has changed. How her mother has changed. In seven years, every cell in our bodies has regenerated. Every bit of my physical being is different.
I sat on the rocks an listened to the gentle waves glide in and out like breathe. Years ago, this is where I spent my days. Memories of the afternoons with two young children flooded back. Hours, just being, just climbing, just exploring. The tide pools seem unchanged, the girls and their mother are not.
I looked up and could see my former home. My former self. When I was a married woman, with two children, two cars, a mortgage, life insurance, a parent volunteer and a Sunday school teacher. I was the epitome of society. I was a success, I had a Tupperware party, I had a book club, I was normal. We almost managed to fool the world, two perfect blonde girls, best friend banter. We almost managed to fool ourselves. If we could have kept the realities of our marriage a secret until death, the facade would still stand. But that is a book, not a blog.
This day I noticed this tranquil bay is directly in-between my old home and my next home. Meandering paths leading to opposite directions from the place I sat. A transition. This beach was my catalyst to my next home, my next life. The path led away and up to a small home on a magnificent cliff. My simple little dolls house for girls only. We had front row seats to the most colorful sunrises and sunsets. We would dance. It felt sacrilegious to ignore the beauty. We were in its spotlight. A place so magical, if I ran off the cliff, I could surely fly.
It was there in that magical place that I gave birth to another child. A place where I told her father that I loved him and myself too much to marry. A place where I decided that honesty was more important than image.
I found myself at this bay, a different person physically, spiritually and circumstantially. I feel blessed and grateful for the turns in my life, for my children, for my travels, for my journey. I wonder what’s next. I look forward to my next incarnation. But in the meantime, I sat in the sun, a gentle breeze through my hair, birds and waves, and honored this place and how it served me.
September 30, 2010
I threw a bit of a pity party yesterday and I was the only guest.
I tried to stop it, I did. I even played this video from my friend Natalie Merchant. Well, not really my friend, but at a concert we made eye contact and she asked me if I had a request. I wanted to suggest “My Beloved Wife” or “Seven Years” or some equally less known recording that I love. I imagined that she would be so impressed of my knowledge of her music and invite me to a party after the concert . As I was daydreaming, she was waiting for my answer, so I blurted out “These are the Days” which was a popular song, but all I could remember, especially since it was my first dance song at my wedding.. So where were we?
Oh yes. I was pretty succesful at feeling sorry for myself. My list of complaints was long. I realized I was being ungracious, I tried to be bigger than myself, it just wasn’t fitting.Then, I thought of another longtime friend whom I’ve never met, Oprah Winfrey. Years ago, when I allowed myself the occasional tv show, Oprah was talking about gratitude. She said that one day, she was feeling sorry for herself and called her friend, Maya Angelou for some comfort. Do you want to know what Maya told her? Call me back after you’ve said thank you 100 times. She told Oprah to go into the bathroom, look in the mirror and tell herself 100 things for which to be grateful. So I pretended that Maya gave me that advise. (Because you know she would be one of my bff’s too if she only knew me).
I didn’t really go into the bathroom and talk to myself, or start writing a list, because I’m not literal like that, but I did start thinking about all of my blessings. They are many. And in the end, it worked. (Maya Angelou is a genius.)
I picked myself up, washed the dishes and my face, drove off the ferry where I got the best parking space ever, grabbed myself a glass of champagne on the boat and met my gorgeous daughters in the city to see a contemporary ballet. Very blessed indeed.
Thank you. Thank you.
September 24, 2010
Sunshine, rain, wind, puddles, talkative friends, fabulous food, overflowing buckets of foliage and flowers, spring fairy, bells on wands and a little baby lamb. What better way could you welcome the spring?
Here is a picture of my little Zuva (bunny) with her friends. Zuva is on the right – I love that little four-year-old face.