Turning the hobby into a job - Page 2
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Thread: Turning the hobby into a job

  1. #21


    Iono - I don't normally post on CMON, if fact it's been a couple of years I think.

    I've pretty much followed your entire process here.
    Recently come into some money, then thought about quiting a good decent stable job, to paint all day. I've got alot of commission work, which despite the recession seems to be going every day, even putting costs up, I'm still getting more work than I can handle, so there is definetly opportunity out there.

    I got my own business plan too, until it got scarry anyways (as I've got abig fmaily to feed).

    It's nice to know there are other people going through the same process, so good luck, I'll be following your progress with interest!

    check the Gallery.....!

  2. #22


    bon chance amigo

  3. #23


    Good to have supportive words. Thanks everyone.

    Mike - I plan on going to a variety of shows in 2012, including perhaps the odd overseas jaunt here and there too (as an excuse to do a little traveling as much as anything else, mixing work and pleasure). Not sure which, but I'll be hitting the road for sure.

    Uglybug - I work for Nottingham Trent University on their website. Not sure what'll happen exactly when I leave, still waiting to hear what sort of handover they want me to do.

    Generulpoleaxe - I'm not the sort to let myself sink into debt, and with the scale I plan to start things off at, there's no potential for any major sort of disaster with the mini company (touch wood). If it doesn't work out as a full time thing there's going to be no real reason I can't keep it ticking over as a side project and focus on painting. If I need any advice from a veteran I'll give you a yell!

    Pestie - good luck with your painting adventures too. I hope the commissions keep rolling in for you and you continue to enjoy yourself. I really believe it's a very viable option for a job, and it sounds like it's working ok for you, so that's great.

  4. #24


    It is always the toughest road to take, leaving secure for something you love......all the business planning is awesome, but might I add a word or two about the mind. Remember that what you love now at times will become so much that the love may wane some. When that happens and it will....really it will....you will be depending on your work ethic that you have recently discovered has changed to pull you through. Congratulations and all the best on your new path!!!
    Coolmini.............Cos I'm akward.

  5. #25


    Best of luck with the business. SOunds like you are going to have some great stuff so I am looking forward to seeing it.
    Now available for commissions.
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  6. #26


    You're gonna have to grow your hair a bit, to make it easier to pull out when the stress gets to ya.
    You spoken to other peeps that have ventured into the business? Andy of Heresy doesn't make it sound fun.

    Fingers crossed for ya mate. Who knows, after a couple of years you could end up on The Apprentice... or something.

  7. #27


    A good place to start from Notts, must have the largest concentration of mini companies in the world.. :P

  8. #28


    Wyrmypops - I actually have quite a bit of hair going on these days, so no worries there. It's thinning far to naturally though, so I'll try not to help it along! I'm kinda ready to follow it along as I want to and make it fun. If it's not, then I'll start working towards something else. At the moment, it's fun to build towards for sure.

    Alextheartist - Can't go bloody anywhere without bumping into someone assosciated with hobby geekery in this city! Plenty of old school and new school GW bods hang in all of my favourite pubs too. Should probably capitolise on that situation some time and get some insider info.

  9. #29


    I have to admit, I breathed a sign of relief when you said you had a plan. So many folks decide to hang out their shingle and don't do an ounce of research. That's just setting themselves up for failure then they wonder why it happened.

    But I'm curious, what made you decide to go for it now? Sometimes major life changes spur the action - job loss, family situation where you need to be home more, you know...stuff like that. Was it a type of thing - I really want to do what I love and I ain't getting any younger? Or something else?

    Like I said, I'm just curious is all. I really hope you succeed at this. That way when you're at the top of the pile we can say, hey, remember when he posted that thread on CMON....?

  10. #30


    There's a very easy answer - it feels like the right time...

    But that’s oversimplifying things a whole lot for the sake of being brief. It probably makes it sound like I haven’t thought this through as much as I should have too! I'll have a go at getting my head around the lengthy version some time when I'm not at work.

  11. #31


    Yeh its mad, I just got offered an interview as a mold maker in Notts next week so I might be heading over to the city of minis :P

  12. #32


    Quote Originally Posted by lono View Post
    I'll have a go at getting my head around the lengthy version some time when I'm not at work.
    Believe me, I understand how that goes all too well. I never have time to read anything on CMON while at work let alone form a coherent reply that's more than three words.

  13. #33


    OK kathrynloch - Why now? the long version.

    It's developed quite naturally over a fairly lengthy period. About 8 months for it to gestate and build the momentum towards me making the final decision, but the seeds were actually sewn well before that.

    Reasonably early in 2008 I had a little bit of a breakdown... and when I say little I mean a lot... when I say a lot, I mean an utterly batshit crazy fruit loop; isolating myself from human contact for several months; only emerging from my room under the cover of night to buy snacks and cigs from the nearby 24 hour shop; avoiding friends completely (still going through the slow rebuild years later there); breaking up with my girlfriend (she was amazingly good about it all and we ended up back together); threatening my family when they tried to help me (all good now); not going to work for several months (they were also amazingly patient and let me back with minimal fuss and maximum support). I was a proper mess! After a few months I started to scrape myself back together but it took ages for me to really get back to relative stability.

    When I was finally there, I found I was rather different. I'm much more self-aware and my levels of anger are so low compared to the wall-punching, antagonising mental I was becoming. My self esteem and belief are so much higher and so is my motivation. I'm thankful to all the people who helped me get there, and I've got drive from not wanting to let them and myself down. My Olympic standard procrastination ability has been almost completely eradicated. In work I went from a long absence to being a pivotal member of the team, assigning out all our work and doing loads of training. Out of it, I started to spend my time productively.

    In short, going through a total low has left me ready to go chase that beautiful rainbow. Clichéd, but there you go.

    I got back into painting around the start of this year. Instead of talking about what I planned to do for hours, procrastinating, more planning then moving onto something else that I'd also fail to get started on, I just picked up a brush and painted. This was very new for me.

    I applied a driven and fairly calculated approach to things and started to stick paint on models. Not only was I still ok at painting after a break, I was so much better. I was chilled, happy, in total relaxation, and I was fast. Really fast! I'd estimate that I paint minis about ten times faster than I used to, and probably a fair bit faster than most people here. And I don't mean that as a boast, it's just that something's clicked. I no longer spend hours going for perfection, I blast them out to a pretty good standard and move on to the next model. I've totally found my niche.

    After I'd painted tons of minis in a few months and was still hungry for more I started to think that perhaps 'pro-painting' might be for me. Making crazy cash on Ebay auctions and commissions pretty much firmed that up. Since then I've been clocking well over £10 per-hour on things that I paint to sell, which is enough for me to be comfortable doing it in a full-time capacity. It'll be less than I get in my job, but it'll be freedom and being my own boss is such a pleasing thought.

    So, that's why I started to think about leaving work. Since then I've been building to that, making sure I can keep at the painting and keep enjoying it. And I can. Hurrah!

    But then there's the mini company. Why that? Well, I had some ideas for models I really wanted, but they weren't commercially available. I started to do some investigating into how much sculptors would cost. It was far too much to get it done as a personal project, but if I could offset the cost by selling some copies, it would be different.

    And from there things went mad. I really started to look into it, balancing out costings for production, the run size I'd need to cover my losses, the different levels of profit I could make based on units of sales. And then I started to check out all the other companies around, what their USPs were, what sort of range and output they had, their prices.

    I realised, that just about anyone with good ideas, a strong will, some skilled help and some savings, could probably make miniatures to sell and certainly not loose any cash. And if done right, the potential to build a tight but viable business was there. And I think I have the right product and am of the right sort of mind to fit that niche. Hell, I've been prepping for this for the 22 years I've been into the hobby!

    And so my range has blossomed. It has a name, a world, a background, a wide cast of characters, there's even game ideas going around in my head. And the artists, sculptors, designers, etc involved are all really behind it and doing great stuff, so I'm just putting more and more attention into it.

    Over the next few years I want my range to become known for being amongst the very best around and I want to provide the best support to my customers. I can't do that if I'm still working a normal job, so I have to make the choice and throw myself behind this fully.

    Once things really ramp up at the start of 2012 it's going to be both terrifying and thrilling, but I have a strange belief that after 30 years on the planet I've actually worked out a few things I can do pretty well, and I'm driven to progress with that.

    Hopefully I can put more and more focus on my company and phase out the need to support it with painting.

    It's gonna be an adventure!

  14. #34

  15. #35


    No worries about being long - it was very interesting to read. So you did have a major life event to springboard you into your future. Although, I'm sorry to hear it had to come about in that fashion. It must have been very difficult! But it appears as though by hitting rock bottom you were able to strip away the behavior that brought you to that point and make a new start. Well done! It can be extremely difficult to make such major changes and all too easy to fall back into old habits.

    I too am working toward a business but I'm still in the process of developing the business plan, filling out paperwork, etc. So it's still in the very formative stages. That's the reason for the questions. One of the first things the experts on starting your own business suggest is to talk to people who have walked the path before you. In the US, as a "woman-owned business" I'm actually considered a "minority" and qualify for certain benefits and assistance so I'm gathering all of that information too.

    It sounds like you have a great plan! I'm really looking forward to watching your business grow and succeed. And hey, if you ever need any help with equine stuff - give me a holler.

  16. #36


    Interesting how in some of those darkest of times one can see some mighty bright lights and come thru with deeper perspectives on life. Glad you came through.
    Surrealism: You have two giraffes. The government requires you to take harmonica lessons.

  17. #37


    here's to adventure in enterprise, courage in your personal life and success in your work
    Coolmini.............Cos I'm akward.

  18. #38


    I'd say that the life event slowly ground me out into the person I am, and that in turn meant that several years later I was ready to spring into action more than I ever would before. Kinda a delayed cause and effect sort of thing...

    Good luck developing your own company. I'm sure you'll find it a fun and rewarding experience. I'm certainly enjoying it so far, and although there have been a few stark reality scare moments already, when the sheer gravity of it all kicks in, it's mostly been very positive.

    I'm feeling really amped right now because my Ebay auctions that just ended did amaaaaaazingly (very thinly veiled brag post here!) and I got £830.99 (before Ebay and Paypal fees) for the four Ogre models I sold. The £346 I got for my Thundertusk is the most I've ever taken down on a single auction. I am mega, mega happy!

  19. #39



    Thanks for sharing the long version.

    I'll be amongst those waiting and watching for new shinies!
    The Future Of Magic Wash is Klear

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  20. #40


    Really nice to read such a positive thread.

    I know entirely what you mean about spending more time talking and thinking about what to do and when it comes to the crunch ending up not doing any painting - and wow, have you turned that around! The speed and quality that you turn models around is remarkable and getting nice payments like you are on ebay is a real positive boost.

    If I'm honest, I'm a bit envious about your whole enterprise, I've been itching to start a small business selling things to a hobby industry and have baulked at it for fear of failure. Four years ago I went from doing websites & web apps as a hobby and small part of my job to doing it full-time, and completely lost the love I had for it. I think suddenly doing it professionally and *having* to do repetitive jobs and things that didn't interest me caused this. Occasionally I'll be allowed to undertake a new development on my own, and that little spark of enjoyment comes back. But I do have that lingering fear that I'll lose what I enjoy if I were to branch off into something in this hobby. However I think being your own boss and making your own decisions would keep the enjoyment flowing.

    Fingers crossed and great that things are finally looking up - clearly you've built up a decent supply of karma points

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