I need a little perspective. I'm a girl, in my mid-twenties, and I've always been a maternal, caring person (or so the people around me tell me). I love helping people when I can, and I do my best to never ask others for help if at all possible (though recently I've had to). I started a crafting business when I was a kid, and have made it a serious thing now, which has been really fulfilling for me. I offer most of my stuff at about 15% above cost, just so I can cover fees and everything without losing money. Some people have told me I should charge more, but I don't want to. I know how much it sucks to want to buy something pretty, and not be able to afford it because the person who made it wants ten times what it cost to make. I don't want to do that to people. I enjoy what I do, so it's not really a 'job' to me, so I see no point in charging like it's some really tough job.
Lately, I've started a donation program (you might remember cuz I emailed you about it too), where people who I would be donating to have the option of collaborating with me to create items specific to them, so that their fans can purchase something related to them, while still supporting them, and not just me.
The problem I seem to be having, however, is that people misunderstand, and just assume I want to make money off of their ideas. I think they think I'm trying to rip off their popularity and make money from it. It is true that I would be making a little bit of money from these items, but that's not why I offer the option of making them. It's not even a required option or anything, it's just that I thought they should have the right to tell me "hey make this thing that looks like something related to my webcomic/blog/art/characters/etc so people will be more inclined to buy it and thus raise more money for me" if they wanted to. Unfortunately, when you try to explain it to someone who is at all popular for the things they make/do/say, they just assume the former things instead, and take offense to it. I don't want to upset any of these people, I'm honestly just eager to support them in the only way I currently can. Can you think of a way I could go about telling these people what I'm trying to do without either making them think it's a crummy idea, or sounding like a preachy infomercial?
Thanks bunches in advance =3
* * *
Yes, we have spoken about this, and I am going to talk to you about it further because I’m interested in your services.
As some of my readers know, I put an excellent design by Dan the Bear onto goods sold at Cafe Press. A lot of people have looked at that page, but no one is buying because I guess they are a little too pricey for many furries. I have been accused of trying to make money off my advice column, but truthfully I am only trying to recover some of my advertising and other costs (fyi, I’ve spent about $200 on this column and haven’t made a dime, not counting the many hours of time I invest in it). Like you, I am not in this for the money; I am trying to do something fulfilling and meaningful and just break even on costs.
But let’s cut to the chase. The answer to your question is simple: create a written contract for each person who agrees to use your services. You don’t have to know Legalese to do this. Simply outline what you agree to do for the client and what they agree to do for you in return. Make two copies for each party, sign and date the copies, and have them notarized (although that’s not necessary, really, just something to reassure people), which you can often do for free at your local bank.
It’s too bad that the people you talk to don’t trust you with a verbal contract (also legal and binding), but these days I don’t blame them much, either. Having everything in writing should make all parties more confident that no shenanigans are involved. (Oh, and remember to include an “out” clause in the contract that explains how parties can get out of the agreement, and also include a clause that tells all parties which state the contract is being formed in so that the laws of that state apply and there’s no confusion there).
I know all of this is rather tedious, but whenever you want to have an agreement involving money, property, etc., the safest course is to have everything in writing so that there are no misunderstandings. Worse case scenario: you have a big argument and have to hand a copy of the contract to Judge Judy, who will stare at you sternly for a while, but then smile (or grimmace, kinda hard to tell with her, but I think she's hysterical) because you did your homework.
Hope that helps! We’ll talk soon, promise!
Leave a Reply.
A note on comments: Comments on letters to Papabear are welcome, especially those that offer extra helpful advice and add something to the conversation that is of use to the letter writer and those reading this column. Also welcome are constructive criticisms and opposing views. What is NOT welcome are hateful, hurtful comments, flaming, and trolling. Such comments will be deleted from this site. Thank you.