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Meady

Starting A Mini Business

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Ok, so I decided today that I would like to start painting up models and selling them to help sponser my hobby, as it is admittably a very expensive hobby, I was hoping to perhaps make the hobby pay for itself, as well as a little for me on the side. I got a few questions for the people out there that might have such a business:

 

>Should I have a personal web site for my business/commissions? If so, what hosting service do you use?

 

>Should I use E-Bay, if so do you have any tips to maximize the number of people who see my work?

 

>What else do you need besides the basing gear, paints, brush, and some degree of talent?

 

 

--Meady

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A website of your own is a great way of increasing exposure. It would allow you to create a portfolio of your work so that prospective clients can see what you're about. It would also be an excellent place to put your prices and policies so that you don't have to write these everytime someone is looking for a commission.

 

People may not like CMON, but it is an excellent way to advertise your ebay sales (especially the featured auction option).

 

A good camera and the ability to use it are a must. You can be the best painter in the world, but with poor pictures, no one is going to give your work a second glance.

 

I hope that helps a little. Good luck. ^_^

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Personally I've found it easier to work the local area... People who get to hold /touch/ drool over your minis are much more likely to buy. Plus local competition is usually a lot weaker. I'm one of the best painters in my region, but here on Reaper or CMON I'm probably not even in the top 75% (well, actually in CMON I would be).

 

Also this way you don't have to worry about shipping and stuff, or not getting paid. Work the hobby shop circuit, join a few gaming clubs, or just paint yer friends and neighbours armies.

 

EDIT: on what server to use... most internet accounts have access to a free one from their ISP. While usually the bandwidth is low, I imagine traffic would also be.

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EDIT: on what server to use... most internet accounts have access to a free one from their ISP. While usually the bandwidth is low, I imagine traffic would also be.

 

Ok, well I use Aliant...where would I go to get this free access??

 

--Meady

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I would imagine their ISP home page. Also might wanna call their 1-800 number, usually easier and you get a yes/no right away. Hmmm... mind you, since they are a phone company they might not bother to do this. Damn phone companies.

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Yeah most ISP's will give you a free 10+ meg website.

 

However some things to note.

-Most won't allow you to use a real web address... eg www.mymini.com It's usually a folder alloction system.

-Yup bandwidth is low, start getting too many people visiting and they charge you money. Maybe be better to get a low grade account first, with web name and increase if it needs to.

 

Also local weekend markets can be usefull too. Set up a desk, and you can paint mini's, with your painted ones on show. Gives you something to do out in the fresh air and possibly make some money. ::):

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right now for my business, I'm using Geocities - it has no popups, just one ad that is 'stuck' to the page, but can easily be closed. (it is a free website afterall ...)

And it's really really easy to build a website if you know nothing about html.

the url will be "www.geocities.com/whateveryournameis" and you do get a yahoo email with the same name (so, "whateveryournameis@yahoo.com")

And the bandwidth is pretty decent, I've used geocities a lot, and never had it tell me that I'm going over my bandwidth limit.

 

My one tip for setting up a website would probably be keep it simple.

This way there are less distractions from the product itself, and it's just easier for potential customers to browse.

(for example, my setup is a plain black background, and all the text is at a light/medium grey. My "company" logo and name is at the top of every page, along with the title of the page (services, gallery, links, etc.))

 

For the gallery, I'd suggest using thumbnails on the main gallery page, and trying to keep the full-size pictures approximately all the same size. It looks cleaner.

 

that's about all I can think of there.

 

 

umm ... I do agree with BunnyPuncher.

Setting up locally is best.

I'm still working on getting my website to the way I want it, and have never had an order through there, but I've had a half dozen through my FLGS.

 

I started my 'business' by painting miniatures for my FLGS, because they had a backlog of unpainted miniatures in the store gaming supplies, and wanted to get them all painted, before buying more. We worked out an agreement, so that I would get one free RPG session per miniature I painted (they charge $2 per session if you're in a game, and the money is kept separate from the store's income, and is used solely for purchasing new gaming supplies).

Then people in the store kept telling me they wanted me to paint their miniatures for them.

So I decided to start charging. (a very nominal $5 per basic paintjob (if the miniature is provided to me))

 

Right now, my FLGS has several of the miniatures I've painted, plus a small stack of business cards that I made (easy enough with a bit of creativity, some business card paper and a printer) in their display case at the cash register.

They've also got a link to my site under the 'gaming supplies' section of their website.

 

If you have a gaming shop that you are a regular at, I'd suggest trying to get them to do something similar for you.

It creates more income for them, because, theoretically, the people you paint for, or you, would buy the miniatures through said shop.

 

 

I haven't tried yet, but I'm planning on it ... ebay seems like a pretty good way to get your name out on the 'net, and you could potentially make more $$ than through having a set pricing scheme on your site.

ebay would probably also allow you to guage just how much your work is "worth".

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All great advice from everyone so far. You may not like CMON but it is an advertising tool and should be used accordingly. Put a few pieces up, get a ranking and buy some points to use for Feature Auctions on Ebay. Set up a good Me Page with Ebay that links to your webpage, provides info on your painting services, and what things you are going to auction soon, and some info on you as a painter. You can even load in some pictures so it's a mini mini-gallery. Think of your Me Page as a business card...keep it simply but put as much info as you can on it so people know who you are and what you do.

 

Remember to optimize your linking...website to CMON and to your Me Page and to your auctions and vice versa.

 

And do work the local shops, or at least post a business card at the shop, or see if they allow you to display some of your work with a biz card.

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Well, there are no local game stores around where I live. I know this might be asking a lot from someone, but here goes. I was wondering if someone might be able to give me a hand, get me on my feet so to speak. I was thinking, seeing as how I have no local game stores around, if someone would display my work at their game store, and perhaps put a few business cards there. I would be willing to arrange a little something, as payment I suppose for anyone interested in doing this for me.

 

PM me if your serious about helping me ^_^

 

*EDIT* Also, if perhaps someone has a painting service if I could perhaps partner with them, or even just get a small section on their web page just to get me going? Again, I would be willing to work out some sort of payment.

 

--Meady

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