The prologue posts that I made were to show the background of my little company, how it began, how the ideas came about, and our approaches to the wonderful turbulent world of Kickstarter. Moving forward I’m going to address how I came to begin this new part of my journey by myself, and the lessons I’ve learned along the way.
In my last post I explained that Ketner had passed away and I was left there having no real idea how to move forward. I ended the post by saying that it was simply one day I was ready to start again. So with my new resolve to move ahead I started to revamp my ideas on how I was going to get going. It was now about March of 2016 and there were a lot of things that I had to take control over that had been Ketner’s responsibility. These were some big tasks because of my own liabilities. Firstly, I am not very technologically savvy. I know enough to get by but I had no idea how to build a website, had no interest in social media, and had not had any dealings with the ever important task of shipping. These were things that Ketner had been working on, and doing a good job of, and now it was all on me.
One thing I quickly realized was that I was going to have to pay a little bit more to get the help I needed and this started with the website. I finally managed to get the previous hosting website to transfer over to Go Daddy. Now a lot of people don’t like Go Daddy but that’s because they’re more expensive, and a lot of added features they offer are things that a lot of people already know how to do. I’m a bit older and just never was a part of learning all this website stuff, so my decision to go with Go Daddy was because they offered excellent technical support, something that I have taken great advantage of because of my lack of understanding. The lesson here is if there is something that you struggle greatly with then you have to be willing to pay out more than you may want to in order for the job to get done right. For me it was the website, for others it could be any number of things.
Once I had the website back up I hired a web designer, a friend of mine, and paid him to create my web page making it simple and not complex. My intention was to learn how to do updates and all the rest, and learn as I went along, and for the most part I’ve done an okay job, although I know that my website isn’t at a professional level like some other companies.
I then took over all the social media aspects to the company, and really struggled with this. First, I had deleted my Facebook account years ago and discovered I had to set up a new one in order to take control of the business page. Biting my lip I did so, but recently I discovered that Social Media isn’t really all that difficult to keep up with, and is an amazing way to get information in whatever field you’re getting involved in. Sure, I don’t care about who had what for dinner, or necessarily about someone’s grandkids going to the park, but using Facebook to stay in contact with other game designers and reviewers has been a tremendous help. I’m enjoying it more and more each day and so if this is something that you’re struggling with in doing I promise the more you do it the more you’ll come to enjoy it! I hated the idea but now I love getting online and seeing what others are doing in the world of board games.
I then started to contact the people Ketner had been dealing with on the business side of things and letting them know that I was taking over and basically severing ties with most of them because he had lived in Chicago and I was in Columbus. So once all the foundation aspects of the business were comfortably under control I then made the decision that I knew was coming but had been putting off. I had to fire the artist we had hired.
I spoke before about the work she had done and although it was okay at first, slowly the art she began to turn in was worse each time. It was easy to see that what was getting completed was being rushed, with no thought and very little effort. On top of that, it had been the previous year we had hired her and in about 9 months she had turned in 13 images. She was supposed to be completing images each week with a total of 3 each time, and what she was averaging instead of 1.4 images every four weeks. So I called her up and let her know that I was terminating the contract.
The lesson here is make sure you have good contracts. When we originally made her contract we set a deadline and then this changed. We were okay with it, trying to work with her, and after Ketner passed away I let her know that I was okay with a few more delays since I was in no mood at the time to push ahead. I never told her to stop, just that if she needed a few more months I was okay with it. Those months came and went, and the artwork came to a trickle. Once she was in breach of the contract is when I notified her that I was terminating the contract. Don’t set yourself up for lawsuits, or legal problems when working with hired help. Regardless of who they are make sure the contract benefits your timeline of when you need things done. Also, don’t make threats about terminating contracts, if you have made the decision then when the contract is ‘breached’ then follow through. When I told her she was upset and told me she could work more on the artwork but I had already made the decision, and I had already started looking for new artists. I never made a proposal or even had a conversation with a new artist though until the contract with the old artist was terminated.
The things to remember is that you won’t make the best decisions when you start out on your project. You may hire people who say all the right things and then things go south. When it happens, and it will happen, learn from it. If you’re hiring someone because the deal is really good then you’re going to end up with what you pay for. If you don’t hire a professional then don’t expect professional work. It’s a simple lesson and yet one that gets ignored every day.