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 VillageArithmetic VillageArithmetic 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.

Hip!

March 10, 2012

The last month I have been preoccupied with a dilemma.

I write about it in “It Takes a Village“.

After realizing that we would have to come up with a plan to finance the next version of Arithmetic Village. We decided to apply to Kickstarter and we were accepted!

Kickstarter is a crowd funding online community full of very artsy movies, artsy projects, ideas and books. It’s very hip, it’s very young. I know that I am a middle-aged, mother of three, educator, and none of those adjectives are hip. In fact I know the word hip is not hip, but I have no idea what the new words are my teenagers wont share them with me. (it’s just wrong, they say).

I know my audience for the Arithmetic Village project, a sweet old-fashioned positive, playful introduction to math concepts, books and iPad applications might be laughed at by the other campaigners. When you are young and in your twenties, the last thing you are thinking about is math programs. This means I will have to educate a new demographic about crowd-funding. The busy parents, home-schoolers, educators who are just surviving day-to-day. My plan is to teach them something new, something hip. Just think, I can pave the way to creatively fund the fabulous projects of millions of other stay-at-home moms and educators!

It is so exciting, so inspiring to be a part of this new way of being, please have a look at our Kickstarter campaign and please help spread the word!

monk

March 6, 2012

As I sat at the bus stop, wondering if I had missed it, I realized that not only do I no longer have a cell phone to check the time, or a watch, or a car, or a computer, and I was on my way to see a the real estate person, because the house we rent was sold. It dawned on me, I am living the life of a monk.

The best thing about this sudden realization, is that I am content with my circumstances. Calm, cool and collected. Pretty impressive for a peri-menopausal woman, If I don’t say so myself.
My month has been full. As it should be. We are in planning mode- planning for a new home, planning for a kickstarter campaign, And living mode with bills and children and dance and swimming and friends and the beach etc. And I am in questioning mode. The biggest question for me now is true or false- It is better to give than it is to receive.
You can probably guess which way I am leaning, as I said, I am a monk…..

Brother.

February 5, 2012

He cried the day his third little sister was born.

Destiny sealed.

No one to play rough with, no extra testosterone to talk to.

A house full of kittens and dolls and screeching.

I tried to make it up to him, I really did. I worked for years to throw a baseball straight and far, but it flew high and slow. He would spend his life running twice as far as humanly reasonable to catch a Frisbee. Read the rest of this entry »

Teacher.

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.

The judge.

January 13, 2012

“We are so scared of being judged that we look for every excuse to procrastinate.”
― Erica Jong, Seducing the Demon: Writing for My Life

I used to judge people. It’s a long story of personal evolution. I like to think I don’t do it anymore, but honestly, sometimes I do.

The most recent wrath of my judgment was with a “sustainable home” in own neighborhood a few years ago. I watched as this huge “Sustainable Home” imported materials from over the globe and used heaps of energy to build. I tried to attend the open home with an open mind, but I was particularly upset by the plastic, the imported furniture and the cotton sheets from China. I hoped that a little more effort and consciousness would have been weaved into the final product. I wished that it had bamboo bathmats, recycled art, or at least, locally made furniture. I became quite self riotous and bitchy about the whole thing.

It wasn’t pretty.

These people were at least trying. Their focus was power generation, and on that front they did a relatively good job.

My tendency to judge is something that I think about with Arithmetic Village. Read the rest of this entry »

Walt.

January 5, 2012

As an anti-globalisation feminist, I know a lot about Disney. I’ve read the articles, seen the movies. I understand the innate racism, the sexism, the symbol of corporate sponsorship and the epitome consumerism gone mad.

I know, I know, I know.

But  I also know that I am a child of Southern California and my grandparents had an interesting job, they managed the Travel lodge next door to Disneyland.  So, whenever I visited my grandparents, I also visited Disneyland.  Luckily for me, that was often. Going to Disneyland , for me, is like me going home.

You could imagine my memories: The first time through the haunted house with my grandfather is one of my most treasured moments. The time I let go of my red balloon and blessed it on its way instead of crying, was my first lesson in detachment. Read the rest of this entry »

Next time..

January 4, 2012

Next time I go to the states I’ll…..

1. Make time to visit my friends. I have been blessed with lovely people who I’ve known for a long time and who I love at a soul level. Every time I see them is a gift. Next time I will give myself more than two days to drive from Eugene to Southern California so I can swing by and visit them.
2. Make time to visit Cyber friends. I drove right through neighborhoods of people I follow online. I would have loved to catch up and meet some  of them in person over coffee. I would love to thank people like wonder in the woods in person for all of their support this last year.

3. I’ll spend more time there. I know three weeks seems like a lot of time for an american, but the time flew by quickly for a Kiwi, I am used to a slower pace. I would have spent three days at Disney, more time with my parents, more time with my friends and family and more time to relax and to be spontaneous. I would have loved to catch a movie or go for a hike.

4. I’ll go to a grocery store more than once. There were so many new things like cranberry raisins and Advil that I can’t get in New Zealand. I will slowly go down the isles and indulge in some goodies.

5. I will make more time for some quality op shopping. The US has some awesome op shops. Imagine more people, more clothes, better deals..

This trip was perfect, but I wanted to write myself a reminder for next time… until then I am sorting out posts from my trip and planning an adventurous new year…

introvert/extrovert

December 12, 2011

The last few months have been more and more internal. I have forgotten I have a blog. I have weaned myself off coffee. I have tuned into myself, asked more questions and watched my behavior. I am quiet but learning. My Myers Briggs score still leans toward extrovert, but hey, I’m trying something new.

Some valuable insight I have gained these last few months:

I eat emotionally, or to escape the moment.

I am raising children who are more intelligent and enlightened than I (Please don’t tell them I’m not ready for this knowledge to be mixed with teenage hormones.)

I have to take responsiblity and  re-strategies  my company, Arithmetic Village. This includes funding version two  myself.  I have heaps of new ideas.

It seems the quieter I am, the more busy my brain becomes.

Good busy.

I am rejuvenated and  reenergized. 2012 is going to be an amazing year!

On the other hand, my little Zuva is fully exploring her extrovert side. She wants me to post this video of how she can now ride without training wheels. We live in the middle of a hill, so we haven’t given her the attention she deserves to foster this skill. Finally she talked us into finding a flat space on this hilly island. This is her second go…

Angels

December 2, 2011

“I have a request” she started the phone call friendly, but firm. “My request is : When we are talking at staff meetings, could you please use the word we instead of I when explaining the changes at the center? It is only fair since we share the job and are working together. ”   Then, she sat on the line perfectly patiently until I answered her question affirmatively.

This was the beginning of my journey into becoming a trustworthy woman.

Now, this woman could have said to me, ” Look you little egocentric snot, lay off the ego trip and get over yourself. We were hired to run this infant toddler center together, let’s get on with it.” But she didn’t. She role modeled grace and dignity and cooperation. She was exactly who I needed to work with. I was a dreamer, she was a doer. And together we turned around a dingy dysfunctional childcare and got it accredited by NAEYC within a year.

It was that relationship that encouraged me to always have a circle of women around to support my journey through motherhood and age and life. There are some people who are angels put on this planet at the perfect time to teach you a perfect lesson.

Today I send gratitude to all of those angels.. and there are many…