The Reality of Running an NFT
Community is key
Let me preface this article by saying, I speak to many NFTs owners and prospective owners. Nothing in this article is directed at any single person or NFT project. It is mostly a reflection of my personal experiences.
The Cool Cats team didn't expect things to grow as big or as fast as they did. It was a huge shock and in the first few days, I don't think any of us got much sleep. I hope this article helps another team to prepare for a similar situation.
The NFT plan…
I see a number of NFTs starting as a quaint idea. Cool Cats, for example, we wanted to create a family-friendly NFT that featured some cool and cute cats. Clon wanted to share his art with the world and Lynq and I wanted to learn more about NFTs, widen our code knowledge base, and perhaps draw more attention to Faticorns.
Building the actual NFT and all the separate pieces was more challenging than I first anticipated. I wrote about that here:
However, as difficult as writing the code and learning solidity (I'm not done, still lots to learn) was, nothing could have prepared us for what came next.
The NFT reality…
Marketing is hard
One of the hardest parts of running an NFT is getting eyes on it in the early days. Sure you can pay for ads and influencers to promote you but ask the wrong influencer and a percentage of the community will instantly hate you.
Try the slow and steady approach. By dropping progress reports as you go, you run the risk of never building up hype, and come launch day, everyone is numb to your awesome graphics and mechanics.
Do nothing till you are a week from launch and then blast Twitter. I have seen this work but it is very risky. Your hype train may never leave the station and on drop day, no one turns up.
To be completely honest, the landscape of NFT Twitter is changing so rapidly. A marketing mechanic that worked 1 month ago, might not work anymore.
I can only suggest that you take some time to research your favorite projects and the methods they used to gain traction.
Stress, insane amounts of stress.
You will be surrounded by hundreds of people scrutinizing every decision you make.
If something goes wrong, you will be flooded with angry messages and your DMs will start pinging faster than you can respond.
If everything goes well, you will still be flooded with angry messages. Inevitably a number of people will not be able to buy due to gas or limited stock. As the NFT owner, you will be held responsible for everything.
Post-launch: Hours 1 to 12
Your new community should be happy with their new shiny NFTs, hopefully, most of them are. However, now new demands/questions start:
- when will you be listed on rarity.tools?
- where is your sales bot?
- why don't you have a Twitter bot yet?
- why doesn't the discord have channel x / y / z?
- why haven't you retweeted that celebrity x / y/ z has just bought your token?
- do you have a legal team I can talk to?
- what license does your IP fall under?
- can I sell t-shirts with my NFT on them?
Post-launch: Day 1–3
Hopefully, you have managed to get some sleep, but I doubt it. You are probably running on fumes. Luckily your community has been sleeping well and they have filled your DMs with endless questions, rage-filled messages, and hopefully a message or two of support.
The messages of support I received really helped me to stay positive and motivated.
Laying the community foundations
Once you have made it through the first few days, the whales and flippers have likely taken their profits and your holder base is starting to grow. Now is the time to really focus on what kind of community you want to nurture.
The choices you make now are the foundations for how the whole NFT space will view your project and will heavily influence the type of people that buy into your NFT — choose wisely.
Managing your new community
I cant prepare you for what you will experience, but I can offer some tips based on my experiences.
I have run a number of companies. Nothing huge, mostly small consumer-facing businesses. Being small, I inevitably had to be very hands-on and a lot of my job would entail dealing with upset and angry customers. In doing so I learned a few golden rules that have served Cool Cats very well:
- Always be honest: If you lie and the community finds out, they will tear you apart.
- Explain your actions and reasoning as soon as possible: The sooner you can inform your community about changes and the reasons behind those, the better.
- Always be thorough and think things through: If you can show that you have fully considered all points of view during your decision-making, that will help people feel heard.
- Never ignore a problem: Most anger stems from people feeling that their desires are not being met or addressed.
- Plan ahead: A reactionary response by nature will be ill-prepared and could cause more damage than good.
- Plan for the best and worse case: Things won't always go as planned and the NFT space has a mind of its own. It is important to have plans and backups for when things go wrong
- Involve the community as much as possible: If you have a tough choice to make, involve the community. They might surprise you and offer up a solution you never considered.
- Stay calm: If the community can see you losing your cool, some bad actors will try to bait you. Take a step away from the situation (computer), take a few deep breathes, and re-enter calm and collect.
Next time you are in the discord of a brand new project, spare some time to support the team. They are only human and I'm sure it will be greatly appreciated. It certainly helped me and the whole Cool Cats team.
Where to find me
I can normally be found in the Cool Cats discord channel
Or on Twitter
I feel silly saying this, but I have had so many messages I feel it might save you and me some time.
I have a full-time job IRL and coupled with Cool Cats I am swamped with work, so sadly I have to decline every job offer.
But I am always willing to help out by sharing resources and advice where I can.