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  • Independent 3D Wargaming Designer possibly going into partnership for the first time… I’ve no idea what I’m doing!

    updated 11 months ago 0 Member · 1 Post
  • Margaret

    October 27, 2021 at 3:48 am

    Hi guys! So I guess my work’s rather niche, most people find it strange since it’s fairly uncommon. I design STL files for people to 3D print to use in tabletop wargaming. I first got started designing miniature ships, but since moved on to military figures. Here’s my latest Kickstarter, which I guess serves as a nice enough example! At any rate, I’ve been doing this full-time for about a year now and recently moved over to the digital nomad lifestyle, using the income I make from my Kickstarter releases and residual sales earned through a couple of digital storefronts to keep me afloat. But, for a variety of reasons, a really common piece of feedback I keep getting from wargamers who like my work is “do you sell physical models?” or “Where can I acquire prints without doing them myself?” While I was still resident in the UK, I used to avoid printing models for my customers myself (though I did do it on a few occassions) as I found it stressful and too distracting from my design work; providing someone with a digital file is so much less of a hassle than accounting for shipping, mishaps and the like. Since I became a nomadic worker it obviously became impossible as I no longer have access to my own printer. To cut to the chase, though, I’ve been approached by a friend of a friend (and longtime customer) who wants to work with me. I like him, he seems trustworthy and we’ve hung out and gamed together a few times. He runs a painting service (a company that paints peoples’ miniatures on commission) but wants to diversify into printing, but has no idea what he’s doing. We sort of informally agreed that I’d show him the ropes, he’s going to subscribe to my patreon’s merchant tier and be allowed to sell my models licensed (as I allow anyone who subscribes to that tier to do). However, he’s a bit more ambitious and I found him mirroring some ideas I’d had aobut actually trying to make “proper” boxed products. He also feels that my flat $35 a month licencing subscription wouldn’t be adequate enough compensation for me. Suffice to say, we’re both sort of floating the idea of coming together, with him mass manufacturing models that would be boxed up, and keeping a passive stock rather than doing things order-by-order, and with me being paid a % commission for each product sold. I should add, though, that part of the reason I only charge a $35 subscription is because my merchant patrons still need to buy my models as well – I don’t offer licensees my whole catalogue or anything. Problem 1: I have no idea how much of a % I should ask for! At any rate, that’s as far as we’ve got. We’re both in Ukraine, I’ve been living here for 3 months, while he immigrated from Denmark. The labour here is understandably pretty cheap, hence the attraction, and he’s had a proven track record with getting thousands of parcels sent to Europe with no issues (his company is quite reputable within our hobbyspace, so I have no worries about the logistical side of things). I guess where I’m looking for guidance is with… what should I be wary of? What steps should I take? I’m very much of the opinion that we need to have a proper agreement drafted and notarised, and that I should find a local English-speaking lawyer to hire to represent my interests and check over anything we look at. I also had these ideas for our joint venture and would like some feedback or general suggestions, please! -I should ask for a 25% commission on sales (revenue before profit); I could be argued down to 20%, but I was considering giving him equity in my digital activities to compensate? -I pay for web hosting, and for a site to be developed (using the URL of my existing website); I am trusted, well-liked and have a modest reputation within our hobbyspace. I think using my brand name shows it’s a venture that has my whole approval and endorsement, and I’d be happy to be frontman. -We should both have access to the website; so we can be 100% transparent. The site would work as the storefront through which customers place their orders. I can be on-hand to correspond with them, and my partner will be able to view the orders he needs to fulfill. -On that note; my partner’s contribution is printing orders and dealing with their fulfillment, while I deal with correspondence -I will do all the “digital” work; like supporting STL files, preparing custom orders, etc. -I send files to my partner as and when they’re needed (rather than trusting him with the whole catalogue at once). -I will train my Partner and perhaps stay in Ukraine for the first few months of operations, just to be on-hand to help with the technical side of running a print workshop. -I run/pay for online adverts -Perhaps I should offer my partner some equity in my entire business? I don’t know, I apologise if a lot of this is blathering. As I mentioned, I’m inexperienced and, to be honest, I’m just a hobbyist who found a way to do what he used to do for free and get money for it! I’m not really much of an entrepreneur. At any rate, the way I feel is – he could well just take my standard $35 subscription deal and run with it. Hell, my entire licensee system, even my entire business model, is trust-based (anyone could start selling prints of my work, without permission, and I’d be hard-pressed to do anything about it). But I trust him. Really, I guess I’m pushing for what I’m pushing because it works to my interests – I am constantly being asked by customers, several times a week, if I would sell physical products. As things stand I can only refer them to licensees – and then I don’t make anything off that transaction. It’d be in my interests to move to a commission system with at least one vendor, to whom I can refer all such queries (and that’s another advantage of involving me – as the designer, running my own social media groups, I can refer quite a lot of customers). What I have to do is try offer something of value, hence my undertaking to run the site, run adverts, etc. Other than that, all I can really offer is to be on-hand to do custom jobs for our customers. Anyway, that’s all I guess. Thank you so much for reading if you made it this far and I appreciate this was all very, err, “freeform.” I’m just nervous because this really is new ground for me. Would appreciate any guidance, perspectives, anecdotes or experiences. Have a good day! – by /hq/TeachMeAboutMoney – –

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