Sometimes finish lines and starting lines look very very similar. Sometimes you can think you’re coming in to score at home plate, only to realize, you’re actually still just walking up to the plate.
It has been a little over a month since I last checked in with an origin story. Where have I been for the past 40 days? Well it started with excitement, and ended in wound licking and a world of questions.
It began with a full fledged marketing, promotion and PR assault to push out The VinylCast’s Kickstarter campaign to as many folks we thought would like it as possible. After a year in the making, we thought we were nearing the finish line of development and ready to launch into actually running the business, complete with happy customers. I thought I had beautifully targeted our customer, and come up with a product they’d love and a business model that could sustain us. I thought I had put together a bomber marketing campaign. Well….. As the theme of this series has been. Welcome to another hard reality check.
To save the rehashing. The simple fact is the Kickstarter campaign was a bomb, and very few people jumped in to support the project / purchase our vinyl series. To those that did, a world of gratitude and thank yous!
To say it was a crushing experience would be putting it mildly. I’d had setbacks along the way in this project and always come back stronger, but this felt different. This was rejection from customers. I wasn’t sure if there was a comeback. I had many, many questions I needed to ask, data to analyze and to figure out just why things went so different from expectations. That included on many occasions asking myself simply if I was good enough as an entrepreneur / person and the journey to finding answers dipped into dark territory at times. If I was doing this as a team of one, that probably would have been the end of the project. But I’ve got two great partners in this endeavour and my commitment to them to make this a success is what first said, get back up and give it another go.
I listened back to all of the content we had created so far, thinking of all the incredible bands, and the really amazing feats we had pulled off just to get to the point we were at to be able to offer it for sale. I also looked at the data available. For example one promotion for the campaign I put out was a series of 3 graphics depicting the 3 main rewards for supporting the project. That promotion received over 4,000 likes. 7 of those 4,000 converted to sales. That stumped me. Why would you like a post about a product and it’s price, but not buy? So I personally emailed 375 of our followers who had liked that post but not converted to sales and asked them for their input and thoughts on the campaign / why they didn’t buy and the like.
The answer that came back most commonly was that they loved the concept, loved the content they had sampled, but for various reasons including – too expensive, shipping too expensive, too much of a risk from an unknown seller, record producer and “I’m just not that into Vinyl.” That was somewhat reassuring. They liked the concept of the show and the main product, the show and music itself. They did not love the business model of distributing the podcast via vinyl on a monthly subscription. I’d love to hear your thoughts on that model.
So where to next? Well that’s when I had the realization as I pulled myself out of self doubt that this wasn’t the finish line of development and launching into business, rather this was just another starting line for a new concept. Just as record labels first said no and then helped me build a model that would work, and then lawyers said no and then helped me build a model that would work, and just as some bands said no and then others were stoked to be on the show this is simply the next hurdle in the race. Customers said no to the business model,but loved the content and have so far, and I hope will continue to help us build a better model that works.
So I spent several late nights in my garage/studio/home office, playing my guitars, making noise and letting the creative thoughts flow as I worked on a Plan B.
Where is it going to start? It first starts with getting the show out to you the listeners and followers of this project so far. With no strings attached, we’ll be releasing the first pilot episode free for all to have a listen and enjoy. Share it with your friends, share it as you please. What we want is for as many people as possible to listen to the show and let us know your thoughts. Where this goes next from there, we’ll find out, but step one… accepting that the Kickstarter crash and burn was not the end of the project, but rather just another critical learning step in the process and step 2…. Get the show and the music out to the people. So ladies and gentlemen, here is the pilot episode featuring The Tequila Mockingbird Orchestra. Enjoy, and please let me us know your feedback in the comments.
The show will go on,