Saturday, May 27, 2017

Etsy Store Grand Opening!

Greetings!

I'm taking another plunge, and opened up an Etsy store!  It's mainly just digital prints, but it seems to be the most popular online store next to Amazon for merchandise.  So far twelve prints are available for purchase, some you may have seen on my TeePublic store.

Speaking of which, I may need to find another Tshirt store.  Prices on my prints are actually lower than I expected, the store keeps most of the profit.  It's like a 15% - 85% split, not sure if I want to keep going with that, so I'll be searching other avenues.

Tomorrow, I'll work on setting up a clip art and photo store and start publishing stock art.  I have a few good quality photos I could use.  Those who've done it for a good year have already seen some good results.  Even if it's a few hundred dollars, it's better than none.

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In some personal news, I may have found a place and I'll be starting the moving process in the first week of June.  My landlord doesn't know it, but she's anticipating everyone leaving after her rent hike. I'm hoping I won't have to hear the pitter patter of energized children in the apartments next to me, but that's apartment life for you.

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I'm hoping once my side hustles start making me some dough, I can ease my life stress by leaving my current job and take a small paycut working somewhere else.  It would be real nice to not NEED the job, but that's not being realistic, especially when you need health and dental insurance... especially in this rip-off of a country.


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Staying confident in the midst of hardship

So last post was pretty depressing, but honestly I have no one to blame but myself in retrospective, just felt like venting.

Regaining confidence is tough, but good thing the internet is ever so expansive if you know how to sift through the BS and the salesmen.

I found a couple channels that really helped me through some rough spots this past month.

Infinite Waters (Ralph Smart)

Life After Art School

The first one I'd HIGHLY recommend to anyone with depression, anxiety, or feeling lost.  Yes, he's a vegan, no, you never get to see the cat down the road, but he'll eventually get you to start saying "FEELS SO GOOD TO BE ALIVE, BABY!"  He's a psychologist, went to school and worked as a counselor, still does and this is the kind of advice you see people pay hundreds of dollars for.  

For some of you, this may be "well duh" but keep in mind many of us never had that "proper" upbringing.  So many life lessons that we should all know before graduating high school.  There are lots of takers in life, and I've allowed so many takers to take advantage of me only because I used to have the knack to give people the benefit of the doubt.  Over time the takers took their toll, and eventually you start to not trust anyone.  Which is a bad situation because it makes future relationships very tough.  People wonder why many of us become introverts, withdraw from society?  Well this is a very good reason why.

No, it's not healthy, sustainable, but not healthy.  However being a introvert doesn't mean you can be a push over, no, you have to start pushing back.  Keep pushing back.  Life is a never ending game of tug-o-war.  Sometimes you yank hard enough and win, other times life yanks you hard enough that you fall in the mud.  Speaking as a long time introvert, confrontation sucks.  You don't want to be that guy who causes a scene, but think about it, when you stand up for yourself your antagonizes will want to cause a scene and shift the blame on you and make you feel like the bad guy.  Be it the person who always wants to borrow money and never pay it back, or the one who steals from you and acts like it's no big deal, or cheats on you.  They expect you to not stand up for yourself because they're USED to it.  When you start speaking up, the shouting reaction is merely a defense mechanism in place because they can't handle this new development.  Eventually they'll get the hint.  They might break some of your things or talk smack about you, but they'll get it.  They might even want out of your life at some point.  Them's the breaks, takers can't have it all.

In the end though, the decision to allow takers to influence your world falls solely on you.  This is a hard lesson for anyone, myself included.  Once the damage is done you'll have to lick your wounds and start over, as long as you start the process of standing up for yourself, feeling worthy of yourself, and learning to say "no" to anyone and anything that wants you to do something against your best interests (though certain forms of employment can be trickier, might I suggest indeed.com, monster.com, or the local classifieds?)

The lesson I take from all my mishaps in life is that I was too nice for my own good.  This is to takers like blood to a vampire.  When people don't get their way with me they tend to get pissed and I'd back down, lately over the last few years though I've learned to reverse the situation and stand my ground.  I've had many shake ups at work due to this but once I explained my case I usually end up on top, and over time my antagonizer no longer worked there.  People are going to hate you for having a spine, but let them hate.  They'll get over it... or not, who cares.

As for the second channel...

Wow... every former student who got screwed by art schools, like the Art Institute need to check his channel out.  Perhaps screwed is to severe, more like "allowed to be misled by" since taking responsibility for being duped is the first step to ease anxiety.

Yes, many aspiring students were young and naive and were told sweet, sweet candied lies about job placement and top-of-the-line education, maybe we believed too much in ourselves that we'd be making the next (insert art product here) and live off the royalty, or work for another company.  The reality is, art jobs just aren't plentiful unless you get creative.  See what I did there?  Puns all day, but yes, the days of the steady graphic designer and high paid animator are behind us.  I've found a couple avenues worth looking into aside from print design, and that's clip art and stock photography.  

The deal is you upload it to several sites and you get royalties for it.  Many MANY businesses look for these things, like advertisers and marketers, heck even game developers looking for that perfect texture image.  I'm going to be real, but I remember not hearing much about HOW to do this and it's gaining steam as of late.  True story, we have a UPS guy, a senior one who's making 90k litrally quit, well he's on the papers for calling but he's made so much money on the internet and used his salary on other investments that he has no need for his job unless his passive incomes tank.  From what his co-workers told me, he's become obsessed with photography that it became his second career.  You know how you see job related blogs with various people doing those tasks?  Many of them are stock photos, most of them aren't models, just regular joes.  No one is going to take you seriously if you had a model in a lab coat pretending to be a chemist.  Or maybe you take pictures of starry skies in the middle of nowhere where you can see more of space unlike sprawling cities with too much light.  Maybe mountains, lakes, animals, people.  For the art side, silly little one panel cartoons you can actually sell.  I used to doodle lots, before my interest in drawing was beaten to a pulp by one too many critics see my year old post about it.

Once again, my fault for caving in to my bitter of critics, professional or no.  Now, the drawing landscape has changed.  People draw on tablets that you can see what you're drawing, far too expensive for my indebted arse but I'd like to work towards one... perhaps that's where affiliate marketing will come in, we'll see.

First things first, I have to finish packing up and moving out... figures when I get some ideas I'm in the middle of a huge life change.  But I have time to blog so there's that.

See you later!





Saturday, May 20, 2017

Has anyone ever felt, "stuck?"

Like, you're at a point in life where no matter what you try and do, you can't seem to get unstuck?  I know, it's another rant entry.  Though I'm hoping someone in a similar situation could share if they are in the same boat.

One of the things about growing up on a small town is that many don't have opportunities, especially for many with degrees.  Pay is low, hours are longer and the workload is hectic.  Maybe it's the same in a larger more diverse area, I don't know for sure.  Maybe I just have a lousy job for a lousy company, I've seen the complaints about them online and can confirm all of them... it's that bad, but I make too much (lol) compared to what other jobs pay to take a paycut anywhere else.

Now one could say, "just move?"  and you would be right, but it's not so simple as you get older.  Some of us have families, they wouldn't take kindly for moving because that would mean you'd have to go back at some point, yearly even to visit friends and family.

Debt could be another thing, like my situation where I thought if I get a BA in computer science, online, since I needed a full time job to take care of family at the time,jobs would be lining up.  At least that's what the schools will tell you, what they DON'T tell you is that most schools rarely hire online students, hell you have to go to an actual campus to have a shot at employment.  Which I couldn't do thanks to the demand of my family and job, so all that time became wasted, and I allowed it to happen because I was far too optimistic for my own good.  So now I have all this student loan debt that I can't even get temp relief now.  Can't save up to move.

My work is officially dead end, working to keep stock two buildings while working with very demanding nursing staff who can't be bothered to do their jobs but expect me to go above and beyond.  (lost charges) With admins who are admins, but with obnoxiously ludicrous titles so they're overpaid but far under worked who want me to waste my time to order some things online while trying to take care of my other tasks.  Been there for 15 years and barely above the new minimum wage, small towns are bad at wages by the way, even nursing doesn't pay well here. 

What's worse, I haven't had a vacation in about three years.  Always had to cash out my PTO.  Last time I took a vacation my boss turned into an unruly monster who complained at every little thing, even if some of it was his doing.  He also likes to do it infront of a crowd, to show he means "business" but in secret they too know he's a lying bully.  He's lucky he has a job because no one else would want to do it, let alone work for a company who pays nursing directors and admins low wages.  I'm literally the only one in my dept, and if I take an extra day off, that means more work is piled on the next day, and the admins don't care.  I'd quit, but it'd be dumb to leave without something that pays the same if not a little more... which seems to be very difficult to find within 300 miles.  Honestly though, I've been considering just leaving my job, no two weeks, pack what I can, that will fit in my car, sell everything else and pray my car makes it to Vegas, LA, or Austin.  Even if I had to be homeless for a few months, it's a lot better than where I'm at now.

Between financial stress and work stress, I've found myself at the mercy of severe depression and horrible anxiety and panic attacks.  Got some small medical bills to add to that frustration, on top of losing my cat, car accident, and being forced to move out, and this was just all in half a year's time.  There's more I'm probably not remembering, and perhaps I'm better off this way.

Did much research on Mohave County, and hoo boy... I'd say 80% of Arizona is a real wasteland.  Phoenix and Tuscon are about the only real places to get a "decent job" but other states with slightly less COL pay better.  

Now, before someone smugly says "shoulda took a trade job" let me shoot back with, I had one... sorta.  Trade jobs don't pay as good in smaller communities unless you're a contractor or management, where as you tell other people to do the work.  This country has a strange way of rewarding the desk jockies that don't do all the risk.  

So all these online ventures I've been doing, the video games, book, prints, what have you... I'm having a hard time believing they're going to go anywhere.  I'm going to stick with prints, since I can churn out more.  Marketing is a bitch though, like it's a pain and there are far too many marketing agencies who are eager to rip you off for a smidgit of exposure.  Seems the best ways to get the word out is word of mouth and controversy.  I do have a few good ideas for an "Impeach Trump" meme, but we'll cross that bridge.  I wish there was some online side job I can do to help whittle these bills down, but the internet is full of scammers these days.  I know better how to sniff them out, but so tired of running into them.

You know those scammers:

  • The one who won't tell you his "secrets" until you buy his expensive book/course that really teaches you something easily found on Google.
  • Marketing scams where you fly out somewhere to be a glorified door to door salesman while the scammer takes the money.
  • The old pyramid scheme, selling crap and getting people to sell crap under you and they sign on more people... yeah, no.  And it all comes out of your pocket.
  • Some jerk who rents out a Mcmansion, fancy cars and some IKEA furniture and pretends to be a millionaire by some internet marketing luck, dressed like he barely got out of bed, but he wastes hours of your time talking about marketing but not HOW to actually do it, be wary of them.


There are people who made it work, and they'll tell you it's a hussle, and they're very right.  When someone brags about how easy it is, that should be a automatic red flag.  I'm still trying out many things, even looking up real online work but man it's like digging through slime to find a gold nugget.

Feels like more and more failure one after another, years of bad advice, and people taking advantage of me finally took it's toll, and I'm trying my best not to give up but without real help, it's tough.  There are days where I thought of committing myself to a nut house, but I'm not there yet.

Anyway, if you're in a similar situation, feel free to share!  How did you manage to get out of a rut?

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

I'm selling prints!

Okay, yeah, it's a gig that many, MANY people are doing right now.  

Though I'm kicking myself not thinking of this sooner, then again, there weren't very many design-your-own stuff outlets way back when during college, or I was totally clueless about it.  

I started selling my own prints on TeePublic.com and have four unique high quality pronts uploaded so far.  I'm dabbling in work/student themed apparel and I'll make my way over to gaming, then inspirational, and whatever else tickles my fancy.  I'm going to grow this thing hard since creating logos and graphics is my most fun thing to do on my downtime!  Hard part is the marketing, I'm still working on that to the best of my ability shy of paying someone to do it.

See, TeePublic gives the artists 72 hours to promote their wares while they are 30% off, after that it goes full price.  I can already see the shirt market is oversaturated, some even using copywritten art (I saw some Rick and Morty and Sonic the Hedgehog prints.)  Social media and word of mouth is all I have, so even though if someone doesn't want to buy a shirt or mug, they could pass on to someone who might be interested.

Almost started one with Spreadshirt, but the royalty rate is pretty low so I'm giving TeePublic a chance.  There are people who are making pretty decent money, it will take some time and dedication but I hope that I'll get somewhere with this!

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In other news, I've almost secured a new place.  I'm moving by the way, seems my landlord jacked up all her rental properties by 20% so it's forced my hand to find a new pad.  Not really was up for it with all the stress in my life as of late, but that's life.  Not sure if I want to do Youtube right now as I'd rather be set up and hopefully long term.

Anyway, that's all for today, take a look at my Tee Public store, eventually there'll be a print you may like!

Until next time.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

FINAL FANTASY XIV - Revolutions

New theme for Stormblood, Susan Calloway knocked it out of the park, just one more month and I'll be Samurai-ing away!



Monday, May 15, 2017

Eureka!

Hello faithful readers, or those stumbled on to my page thanks to a link or suggestion.

So the weekend I did some practice runs on some videos.  Quality is pretty bad, but I did get a Wario impression out of it.

Actually, the reason I'm making a blog post is that I came on an idea that I'm working on at this moment.

So remember how I kept talking about my lost passion for drawing and graphic art?  Well I may of found and outlet that was right under my nose.  And that's merchandising.  I'm talking T-shirts, hats, coffee mugs, even small posters.  One of my old time past times was just making up logos and silly cartoons.

Before merch became mainstream, you had to go through a lot of red tape to get your prints out to the public, as in retail had total control and you were told what to make.  Now, the ball is in our court, and it all depends if the customer wants to buy it.  I've submitted a request to Amazon Merch, and it may be some time before getting an approval.  So, yeah its "e-commerce" but I didn't know the full meaning of it until recent.

Next I'm looking at Spreadshirt and CafePress.  Going to design some prints, maybe dig out some old stuff and rework it into something neat and see what happens.  I'll probably have to start a website, though it will link out to the sites, but I don't think a blog is going to cut it, so I'll be keeping all my info on social media.  Facebook will probably be the best place for it until I have something more central.

Yeah, the T-shirt market is oversaturated a bit, it's not as bad as Youtube, but I've had plenty of experience having some works stand out, it's all about knowing your audience, what's trending, and carving out niches.  Or maybe just have something that catches their eye.

That being said, I'm going to sign up for a couple places and get working on some prints!




Wish me luck.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Gearing for the weekend.

All right.  Last weekend, had some real world distractions keeping me from some short term goals.

This weekend, I'm going to practice making some videos.  One thing that stopped me dead in my tracks was hearing the sound of my voice.  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0WTbRTcJboI

Yeah, that's my rather stuffy, nasally voice.  Thought it was just bad audio with the mic, you know how those fast food speaker boxes muffle the teller's voice?  Unfortunately, this is what everyone else hears when I speak.

I think when did this video, my posture was bad and also I'm breathing through my chest and not my diaphragm.  I'm also sounding half asleep, maybe a little too focused.  I'll try some takes standing up, perhaps a means to perk myself up and sound a little more excited.  It's going to take some work.

Another issue I ran into when scripting is that I had no real clue what kind of channel to do.

Youtube has categories: Gaming, Drama, Educational and some of these are tougher to monetize, especially since many ads were pulled a month ago.  (I think some have came back?).  I'm a bit removed from the gaming scene, but always keep up with the news.  Thing is gaming channels are done to death like webcomics.  Game enthusiasts can only hold so many subs.  Also I ask myself, do people want to watch a middle aged man that no one has heard of play or talk about videogames?  I'm no Boogie2988, Markiplier, or ReviewTechUSA.  The gold rush of nabbing early adopters in gaming have passed so you have to have that special something to start getting views.

Also, gaming is a niche.  A large niche, but a niche nonetheless.  Not everyone is a gamer.  I'm slowed down my hobby in favor of pursuing other interests, like developing indie games, book writing, coding, even rekindling my long lost fondness for drawing silly cartoons. I can still do a video here and there about gaming, just as long as it's not the main focus.

What interests me more is just... talking about stuff, and helping those in similar situations or people that can relate.  I've had a rather "unique" life, but I don't want to make it all about that, but rather entertain it in a way that others can enjoy.   At this point, I'm going to throw some darts and see what sticks.

Also, yes I'm going to open up a Patreon (internet tip jar.), and a little affiliate marketing.  I'm not expecting fast results, Youtube is a gradual challenge as long as you trust the process and stick with it.  So far I've managed to finish college, an indie game, a long time webcomic archive, and a book so far.  This might be the next step.

We'll see what happens!