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Penplotter profit/loss, month of November 2020

For people who are here for the first time, I've been keeping track of how much money I've sold things for, and how much kit I've bought each month, from when I started selling pen plots — starting with the sunk costs of buying the pen plotter in the first place and all the other equipment that got me to that point. With the aim of eventually recovering all those past and ongoing costs.

Previous posts can be found linked to from: https://revdancatt.com/penplotter/

(PS. The shop lives here: shop.revdancatt.com, someone mentioned that I didn't link to it at all last time so I guess now this is a thing I do)

Sales for November were: £748, which is pretty strong considering 🙃 here's the breakdown...

Sales:
£748.00

Costs:
£293.16

November Profit:
£454.84

Overall Profit:
-£993.52

I guess the milestone here is getting the overall loss down to under £1k, which honestly is amazing. I suspect December and the next couple of months will be a bit lighter sales-wise, which means perhaps aiming for mid-2021 as break-even point is a good target.

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The previous month (October) had a high number (for me) of sales in, so back then I took the opportunity to stock up on pens and paper, more than usual. Enough, in fact, to not have to buy any this months at all. I always try to convince myself that this is the month when I don't buy any new equipment, that surely I can't need any more pens or paper. Well, finally it's happened, I'm as surprised as anyone!

Here's the breakdown...

Postage & Packaging £129.60
Paper £0
Pens & Ink £0
Studio Rent & costs £159.16
   
Total expenses: £293.16

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Notes and observations

Once again, just sitting in my studio and posting things out cost nearly £300. But the calculation from one of the previous months still holds; if I sell two A3 plots in a month I just about break even and again that seems like a thing that's do-able. And honestly having my art cover the studio rent gives me the warmest fuzzies.

From research I've done into writing another (as yet unfinished) blog post, on how I've chosen to price my art I know that I'm currently generally undercharging. But that was something I was willing to do as I got used to my workflow and tried to iron out the kinks. The idea being: shift "units" to get used to the process, if the process becomes too time-consuming raise the prices to reduce it.

This month I decided to test the waters with a higher-priced plot, £150/€167/$200, one that I particularly liked and thought about getting framed for myself. It was a plot where I accidentally knocked the pen while it was plotting, so there's no way of practically repeating it, the accident not only made it unique but also improved the look of the plot. If it didn't sell, then I'd get to keep it, which I was secretly hoping for.

But it did sell, which means that's obviously a price point which is in reach and I can possibly shift up to over the course of next year. While also making smaller plots and various other things I have planned at a lower price so everyone can still buy my art if they want to.

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This month was a lot more about getting those systems and processes in place. There was a lot less art-hustling from the previous months to try and sell things, and a lot more just working with and improving the tools I do use. But, I think because I had things running more smoothly this month the sales just came more naturally. It all felt like a lot less hustle and generally more enjoyable.

The other thing I did this month was throw some money at "marketing" and being more intentional with what I was doing and how I was posting. But more on that in the "nerdy" post I'll be writing mentioned below.

Apparently, I have a lot more to say on workflows, toolchains and Instagram "Growth Hacking". So much so that I've deleted a whole bunch from here and going to make a separate blog post about it, for those get like to get nerdy about numbers and the like.

I also roped in a copywriter to help me with writing my bio. Which seems like an odd thing, but it's been kinda of a sticking point for me. I want to do a little more self-promotion, but I need to have the perfect bio, and I'm terrible at writing a bio about myself.

I've recently had offers to show my work in a couple of small places, and for those, I'd need a little blurb about myself. Which of course I'll never get round to doing because I just can't. In turn meaning, I've turned down opportunities just because I can't write a fuckin' bio.

Which is stupid, so I got Ali Strachan to write a bio for me*, taking a huge weight off my mind and allowing me to actually move forwards. I can't even begin to say how extraordinarily useful it was and continues to be. I guess it means, if you get stuck on something, seek help.

That's probably enough notes for this month, on with...

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Fuller-ish expense breakdown

Postage & packing
All the postage £129.60
   
Rent & Costs
Art studio £65.00
Shopify £22.16
People of Print Membership £12.00
Instagram ads (roughly) £60.00
   
Total expense: £293.16
   
November sales £748.00
   
November profit £454.83
   
Profit to date -£993.53

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I think I'm going to carry on taking it easy for the next couple of months, and again focus on streamlining my tools and process. There's that thing people talk about, how a swan looks graceful gliding over the water, while under the surface it's busy paddling away. I'm starting to feel a bit more graceful both above and below the water, so I think that's winning?

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* By which I mean chat with me on zoom calls, letting me speak my brains out, then asking me loads of questions, and then using fucking copywriting witchcraft or something turned it all into something that makes sense.

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