Posted By Kathleen David on September 20, 2013
I think one of the things that was unsettling to me about Heroes of Cos-play is how a majority of the participants either had a business or wanted to create a business based on selling to cos-player or costumers as we use to call them. Those that had a business already created have worked their rumps off getting to that point and they diversified from just selling to one clientele.
I own “No Strings Attached” which is my puppet company and have been since 1988 (huh this is the 25th year). Now I have never really made a profit but I have broken just about even about half the time. Some years have been better than others. I really have not explored all the places I could put my puppets and the like. It has been more of a side business rather than my main source of income. One of the reasons for that is I enjoy making puppets and the like but right now I don’t want to do it 24/7. That’s my choice and I might change my mind on it down the road.
Part of the reason that I haven’t gone down that path as much as I might, is that I really don’t enjoy the administrative side of things. Dealing with the day in day out details that must be done. Customers that need information. Waiting for information or payment from customers before starting work. Most of the successful artists I know either deals with all these details or has an employee/partner who does. Then there is the promoting so you can continue the work to flow so that you can earn a living. The creative can fall by the wayside under the weight of the business. I am not saying that it is always like this but in my experience I have watched very creative people burn out rather quickly.
The other thing I have seen time and time again is biting off more than they can do in a reasonable amount of time. You really need to stop and think how long it really takes you to do something. Can you get it done by the client’s due date? Taking on a bunch of projects without working out what you will have done when is the road to disaster.
Also taking money from one project to pay for another is a no-no. And that is a scary trend I have been noticing from younger or newer artists. They take on too many projects at absurd prices and then take on more work to refund customers that are tired of waiting past the deadlines. I am not saying that hard times don’t come along. Right now I think I am poster child for rather crappy luck considering the year I am having however that doesn’t excuse not being able to meet ones obligations. You have created a business and, as a business owner, you are responsible for your company and meeting the obligations of that company.
If one is going to go into business then one has to act like it is a business not just a hobby that happens to make them some extra money. That is the thing that all those people who want to turn their cos-play into business haven’t seemed to look at what it would mean as a business. They like the creative side but don’t care for the grunt work that goes with making money at what they love to do. Grunt work is the price of doing business and may be if more people thought about that before starting up their companies we would have a lot fewer complaints about fan run businesses.
I am grateful for people who have managed to create good businesses out of what they like to do and still love what they do.