Lesson #22 – Time Management and a day in the life of a Kickstarter creator – Interview with Carla Kopp

Dan talks to our very own, Carla Kopp of Weird Giraffe Games, about her Kickstarter campaign.

Dan: Hey everyone!

Sorry it has been so long since my last post but it has been a busy few months! Between publishing games and other life things, I just have not had the time to compose some thoughts and write this blog. All of the crazy things going on led me to the topic of time management. 

Many people create a game and think “Oh, I should Kickstarter it” without ever considering how much work it is actually going to be to run a kickstarter campaign. There is a lot of prep leading up to the campaign but once you hit go, you are definitely not let off the hook. Things get even busier once the campaign launches! So today I wanted to discuss all of the things you have to juggle when running a campaign and how best to tackle it. 

My friend Carla Kopp of Weird Giraffe Games currently has a live Kickstarter campaign for her game Stellar Leap and she has been working her butt off running the campaign and helping to spread the word about it. I thought she would be a prime example to discuss time management and fill us in on how to handle all of the things you need to do with a live campaign. She was gracious enough to do an interview with me and cover a wide range of time management topics!

Check out this related TIGR story

Stellar Leap: Preview
Finally! All teams are ready to go, your cargo hold is readily stocked, and your species is Stellar Leap is a tabletop game designed and developed by Carla and Nick Kopp and published Explore the galaxy in search for asteroids and planets which have resources and Expand your reach within the galaxy by moving populations throughout space... read more...

Carla, you have been extremely busy during the Stellar Leap campaign, can you first just give a quick run down of all the things you try to fit in each day during the campaign?

Carla: Each day, I check BGG, try to post somewhere relevant, check Facebook, post something on my personal page, either post on the Weird Giraffe Games page or have a scheduled post or two, post in a Facebook group about stretch goals, promotions, or whatever new thing I can, post about the campaign on twitter, respond to all twitter mentions, facebook comments and messages, emails, and BGG posts that I can, check all my slack channels, send messages to new and canceled backers as they come in, respond to Kickstarter comments, and send at least two personal messages to people that I think would be interested in Stellar Leap.

I don’t always get to all of it, as I do have other things scheduled in, but in a good day, I do all that and more!

Wow, that is a lot to do! How do you do to stay organized to keep on track and finish all of the things on your list?

I use a tool called Todoist; it’s a todo list app. I have a bunch of tasks that I listed above as recurring everyday, in addition to all the other things I want to do. I could definitely not remember all that without a list!

I have never heard of Todoist but you can bet I will be looking into it ASAP! What is the first thing you do each day when you sit down and work on your campaign?

I start with looking at my todoist and seeing what the most important thing for the day is. Is there a demo, interview, or live video scheduled? Am I prepared for it? If I am prepared, then I just start checking things off the list and hope I can get as far as I can.

I can imagine that there are some days where there is just not enough time to do everything on your list. What do you do then and which items do you cut from your list?

It does happen, especially when I have a demo or interview. Being prepared for those is way more important to me than making sure my social media accounts are up to date.

You mentioned that you post in Facebook Groups. I actually have a few questions that stem from this. Which Facebook groups do you post in? Do you post in all of them on the same day or do you spread them out? What frequency do you post in the same group, once per week? When you hit stretch goals?

There are so many groups! Board Game Spotlight, The Board Game Group, Kickstarter Games, local groups, etc. I think I’ve lost track at how many groups at this point, but I make sure I don’t post too often by checking out my facebook activity log.

At the start of the campaign, I posted in all of them on launch day that I could. I’ve switched to more of a gradual schedule now, where I try to post in 1-2 in the morning and 1-2 in the afternoon and I post about the most relevant event; whether we’ve funded, hit a stretch goal, about to hit a stretch goal, announced a Kickstarter exclusive, only two weeks left, etc. There’s usually something to talk about by the time I get back around to the same group again.

How many questions would you say you receive from backers (or spammers) per day and what type of questions do you get?

I tend to ignore the spammers, as there’s only so much time in the day. Some days I get none, on average, I’d say I only get 1-2 per day. I’ve gotten a lot of questions on how the solo variant of the game works and questions on the print and play version of the game. There’s also been questions on upcoming stretch goals, like what the 5th species will be when it’s announced.

How often do you update the campaign page and what does updating the campaign page entail? 

I update the campaign page whenever a new review comes in, I’ve done an interview, or Stellar Leap has been featured in the media. I’ve also updated when I thought that the box contents image could be improved and whenever I thought rearranging things would help. I haven’t updated the page everyday of the campaign, but I’ve probably changed something every 2-3 days.

Check out this related TIGR story

Dan Goes Inside Stellar Leap
Today, Dan interviews TIGR's own, Carla Kopp, about her upcoming... read more...

Updating the page entails a lot of patience. The Kickstarter editor… is not my favorite and I always have the chrome console open just so I know if the page is working or not. It’s a unique tool that you definitely have to get used to so you don’t accidently delete your links.

Visit Carla on Twitter: @WeirdGiraffes

I will have to agree with that, I have a love/hate relationship with the campaign builders. You mention you update when you do interviews and you have done A LOT of them for this campaign. Were these interview done prior to the launch of the campaign or did you do some during the campaign? How did you set them up, did you reach out to them or did they reach out to you?

I set up 6 interviews before the Kickstarter campaign and I was approached for all of those. Once those were done, I had gotten enough experience with podcasts that I was no longer as nervous about them as I was when I started, so I decided to try to get more interviews lined up.

I approached several interviewers, either by filling out their contact form or just sending them a message. It was surprising how many people said yes to my offer to be their guest! I was turned down once, but that fine, especially since so many others were willing to have me on their show. I was approached for some of the additional ones, as well! That was always a great feeling.

I also posted to Tabletop Kickstarter Advice group asking about who did interviews, which resulted in knowing about more people who interview Kickstarter creators and offers to be on more interviews.

How much time would you say you spend each day working on the campaign? Per week?

I do work a full-time job, but on weekdays I try to put in a half hour to an hour before work, then anything from 3-5 hours after work. On the weekends, I tend to work basically all day, trying to catch up with all the things I didn’t get done throughout the week. I have taken some time to play games or have lunch with friends, but most of it has just been trying to do all the things that I can. I could relax more, but I’m the kind of person who would rather feel like I had done everything I could than take a break. Relaxing wouldn’t be really relaxing when I have such a list, if you can understand that.

As someone who is a rapid to-do lister, I totally get what you mean. What is the best piece of advice you can give about managing your time during the campaign?

Write down everything you need to do so you don’t forget, start at the most important, and just keep working. You only have a certain amount of days to make your project into a reality and get the highest funding you can, so don’t waste it!

Don’t get upset by all the things you haven’t done! Do what you can and be proud of what you’ve accomplished. Every campaign runs into issues and you can’t go a full Kickstarter campaign without making mistakes, so don’t let them bring you down. Acknowledge your mistakes and learn from them, then continue doing your best.

That’s great advice. Do you ever reach out to friends/collaborators for help when trying to manage everything you need to do?

I have reached out during the mid-campaign as I was concerned about how little gain the Kickstarter was getting. I should probably reach out to more people for help! I have asked for friends to tell their friends about the campaign or to evaluate my page, but I haven’t asked for much else. When I have questions, I have asked in Tabletop Kickstarter Advice group.

On final question on all the things you do during your campaign Carla, do you think you could get away with doing less during the campaign?

I could. Every post that I make doesn’t gain me an additional backer. I could probably limit my social networking by quite a bit and the campaign wouldn’t be much different. Doing far less interviews would also be ok. You can say that I’m somewhat of an overachiever, I want to do my absolute best, even if it means that I’m not having a lot of me time and that I’m pretty much exhausted constantly. I might be exhausted, but it’s an accomplished exhausted.

That is great advice and with that I just want to thank Carla for taking the time to walk us through a day in the life of Carla during a Kickstarter campaign. It is a lot of work and really takes up more time than you could ever expect. I always stress first-timers to start small so that they have less burden on their shoulders as there is a giant learning curve to prep and running of a Kickstarter campaign!

As always, please feel free to reach out to me if you ever had questions about running a campaign and please let me know if there are any topics you would like me to cover. If you want to find more about Stellar Leap, it is still live on Kickstarter and you will be supporting an amazing person in this community!

Until next time, happy gaming!

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