When you run your own business……

you become a professional cat herder. Seriously. I kid you not.

I was having a conversation a few days ago with an acquaintance (a friend would have known better) when they said to me, “Man, it must be nice to work for yourself. No boss, all the vacation time you want, whenever you want….blah blah.”

I could go on. I won’t. What I will say is this:

  1. I do have a boss. She is a bitch. I know this because she is me.  She is the most demanding boss I’ve ever had in my life.  She is always whispering in my ear about my short comings and how I could work harder…..”Do you really need to take a break to eat lunch? You could eat at your desk….or you could just get a cup of coffee that way you could still work…” “It’s not that late, you’ve got a few more hours in you.” etc.
  2. While technically I do “have all the vacation time” I want, I can’t take any. If I don’t come up with new designs, or remake well selling pieces, I’m sunk. If I don’t have enough stock to get through any two shows at any given time, I’m sunk. If I don’t stay on top of my custom work, I’m sunk. It’s a fight to get me to take Sunday afternoons off for D&D with friends.

Yes, getting to travel for work is cool, but it’s still work. You start out a each day of a convention or fair with plans on how you’re going to spend the evening when in reality, when the con is over for the day, you end up eating take out and taking a face plant in your hotel room. Being on your feet for 14 hours straight, on a concrete floor, being “on” with people all day, while listening to people’s opinions of your artwork and craft (most good, some bad) all day is draining.  Not “I’ve been out in the sun working all day” drained, but more “my brain is no longer working as it should and is going to make me unconscious shortly…oh but wait, let me tear apart every comment made today about my craft…”

The ability to keep a straight face when someone tells you that their “8 year old niece could do that” or “I could totally do that” should be taught in school so you’d not have to learn the skill as a cranky 40ish woman.

Now, I’m not complaining, mind you. I worked too long in retail, factories, and restaurants to really bitch about this. I will say it’s different. It’s like being emotionally exhausted all the time. It’s all you. Schedule, Accounting, Human Resources, Sales, Design, Manufacture, Distribution, Facilities, etc.

I’m sure when I get a couple of more years under my belt doing this, I will come up with better processes and things should be a bit smoother.

If I knew then what I know now….I’d not change a thing. It’s been a hell of a ride thus far, and I can’t wait for the rest of the trip!

Rocks and rolling ankles

I have been out of commission for the last week.  I threw my back out when I rolled my ankle on a rock during my morning walk. I am not the most graceful at the best of times, and I probably should just wear a helmet all the time.

That postponed a lot of plans I had. I was kind of angry about it until it dawned on me that I wasn’t panicking. I have a list of what I have to get accomplished for the opening of my gallery (that is happening on Monday, 7/18!), along with having everything made (kind of behind on that what with the whole being flat on my back thing), inventoried, packed, and ready to go for our next convention, SuperToyCon. That’s the first weekend in August.

The first few days, I couldn’t hardly move. And let me just say that I’m cranky when I am prevented from doing what I want to do. So what did I do while listening to Dune play in the background? I started to set up my store on my website.

I really haven’t been happy with Etsy for a while. I feel I don’t have much control over what I can do with my shop. I like to be able to tweak things. The fact that I can’t seem to link to my blog annoys the hell out of me. That coupled with the fact that unless you pay them or watch your shop like a hawk, your creations get lost in the “stuff and shosh”*.

Jonathan helped me start a shop on my blog a long time ago, then we tried Etsy. Well, we’re revisiting hosting our own store on our own website. He gave me advice and pointed me in the right direction and I stared teaching myself how to use the WooCommerce software.

Much swearing, tears, running of cats, and a few “Eureka!” moments later, I found my groove and proceeded to totally rock the building of my happy shop.

I (and my shop) will be happier when I have more products listed. I think I’ve done well so far. My goal is to upload at least one item per day. That involves taking photos, quick editing said photos, writing a bit of code, writing (at least somewhat) interesting product descriptions, and using one of the least intuitive pieces of software that I’ve come across in a long time. Having said that, once you figure it out, you think: “Of course you do it like that! It makes sense now!” You find your groove and move on.

 

*Thanks Cathy for the turn of phrase! :^*

Back from Phoenix Comicon and Our Next Shows

Phoenix Comicon 2016

STCLV16-510x510We would like to thank each and every one of you for coming out to see us at the Phoenix Convention Center last weekend for one of our best shows ever. The good people with the Phoenix Comicon, the Phoenix Convention Center and everyone working there have really gotten things under control and it was a really smooth process for us (and you). We met so many new people and many have subscribed here.

Announcing SuperToyCon LV 2016

Look for us at the upcoming Las Vegas Super ToyCon at The Orleans Hotel in Las Vegas, August 5-7, 2016. We do not have our table number yet, but we will have 2 large tables in Artist Alley. This is our first time at this show so we are very excited to see how things go. Come on in for some awesome retro-vintage, see our new prop guns, and follow us on Facebook and/or Twitter for the latest products and promos.

Upcoming Venues

Phoenix Comicon FanFest 2016

Now at the Phoenix Convention Center in Downtown Phoenix. October 22 & 23. Don’t have a table assignment yet, but we’ll have 2 tables in Artist Alley.

Tucson Comicon 2016

Our 2nd year in a row for Tucson Comicon on November 4-6, 2016 at the Tucson Convention Center in Downtown Tucson. We will also have 2 tables for this show, but won’t have our table assignment for a while.

Keep an eye out for future shows! We can’t wait to see you there!