⚓️ so you want to start an NFT project...
my experience with Cheeks
I did it, fam. I successfully (ok, that’s generous) launched my first NFT project this week.
so instead of recapping the news of the past few days, I’ll be “reclapping” (shout out Cinna for this joke) my experience in launching a derivative project and what I learned.
the origin of Cheeks
for me, this experiment was all about personal growth. I was feeling stagnant and after watching NFT folks around me go to the well countless times (looking at you, Ryan Carson), I thought why *shouldn’t* I take a crack at running a project.
I’ve been in the NFT game for 2 years now and I’ve made exactly $0 from my efforts outside of trading.
that doesn’t mean I haven’t come close to something. I’ve *almost* had sponsors for this newsletter. I’ve *almost* been in charge of marketing for a PFP project. I’ve *almost* had a job in Web3.
but I was sick of *almost*. I needed to take action for once. I had never taken myself to the market to see if people would actually *buy* anything from me.
so after losing my job Wednesday of last week, I took a seed of an idea I had and used resources I had in place to come up with an MVP…a minimum viable product.
in the startup world, this acronym is used often. it usually means something is taken to the market bare-bones. that way, you can test the waters first…and then adjust the product depending on what the market *actually* wants from it.
because it’s low-cost and doesn’t require too much overhead or time to get up and running, you can cut bait without *too* much damage.
this was appealing to me as an unemployed person because I do not have thousands of dollars currently to launch an NFT project.
so instead, I set up a new wallet, used Manifold to set up an open edition, and got my friend Kipz to design me a Jack Butcher-esq grid of peaches.
for about $20 in gas fees, I was up and off to the races.
overcoming my fears
I don’t want to make it seem like I wasn’t nervous about launching something like Cheeks. in fact, it was quite the opposite…I was *terrified*.
I didn’t want my “reputation” to be tarnished by doing something like this. I didn’t want people to FUD me. I didn’t want to lose Twitter followers. I didn’t want the collection size to be 0 when no one minted Cheeks.
well, you know what?
none of those things happened. much like most things in my life, anxiety created all those barriers.
so my advice is this: give yourself the chance to *fail*, but not the chance to *bail*.
since launching an NFT project was foreign to me, I know things were not going to go my way. and quickly they didn’t.
shortly after launch, I was told that *someone* else had already done a project called “Cheeks”. instead of peaches, it was actual butts, but it had been out for weeks already.
(luckily, Dos, founder of CryptoRayRays, was extremely chill about it. he even ended up minting one of my Cheeks)
gas also never seemed to drop below 50 GWEI during the 3-day mint window, which I imagine prevented some from minting (or at least that’s what I tell myself).
even worse, a few hours after launch I didn’t have a single mint.
I won’t lie…I felt like pulling the plug. I would simply delete everything, send Cheeks to a burn address, and pretend like this never happened.
but I knew I couldn’t do that. I had to roll through the punches. so to combat my own personal FUD, throughout the launch, I set deadlines and events for myself. I set up a Twitter Spaces for 10:30 AM on the launch date. a few minutes before, I found myself making excuses as to why I couldn’t do it.
“I was supposed to run today! I should do that before I sit on a Spaces."
“my wife has a meeting at this time, maybe I should move it so it doesn’t conflict.”
but I knew that was BS. I was simply scared. so I pushed through. no Twitter Spaces I hosted had more than 15 listeners at a time. but you know what? I had a blast with them. at one point, I went solo - radio DJ style - and just gave a listener the NFT new for the day.
(he eventually saved me from my own embarrassment and requested to come up on stage)
I was failing…but I wasn’t bailing.
I couldn’t control how launching an NFT project will go, but I could control how I reacted to the different factors at play. by giving myself *some* structure, I was able to stay on track and keep the chains moving.
I kept tweeting about the Cheeks, and I kept messaging my friends in group chats. it was uncomfortable, but I *had* to give my full effort.
at the end of the day, 100 Cheeks were minted.
was it a failure? by everyone else’s measure, maybe yes. but based on my goals, I am calling it a *huge* success for my personal growth.
ultimately, failing was what I was looking to do with this project. I haven’t learned as much about this space despite being in it for so long. why? because I was being a scared little baby.
my fear of failure somehow prevented me from learning the basics of the NFT space. so how could I be expected to be successful in Web3, if I couldn’t even do the most rudimentary of tasks?
the difference between ERC1155 and ERC721? was honestly a little fuzzy of a concept, but it doesn’t matter!
how to read Etherscan? I mean I *can* do it, but why would I? OpenSea shows that stuff for me!
tweeting about a project and shilling? you wouldn’t catch me dead outside my comfort zone!
but when I was in my comfort zone with my 9-5 job, it *still* didn’t work out. I had spent 4 years of my life at a job where I didn’t feel like I learned anything new…and meanwhile, I was falling behind in Web3 as those around me tried, failed, and most importantly, *learned* about this exciting new technology.
now? I’m still behind, but I’ve learned more about NFTs and marketing in the last 5 days of launching Cheeks than I probably had in the last year.
what does the future hold for Cheeks?
I will be updating the metadata and continuing to experiment with it (beyond all the obvious butt jokes). the whooping .3 ETH I’ve earned from the Cheeks will go into doing that.
however, I don’t want to be dismissive of that amount. that ETH came from so many amazing people in my NFT circle.
they minted sometimes up to $50 worth of Cheeks just to support *me*. they may have looked at it and gone, “damn…this is dumb.” yet they *still* used their hard-earned Ethereum to mint it.
it really made me feel good about myself.
thanks (from the bottom of my heart) to all those who minted and are now Cheek holders. I’ll see you again on Tuesday.