Part 10 within the publishing series.
10. Business Mind.
This part is age old. But do some math before you go balls deep on a project, even if it’s not your money. You’ll end up figuring out ways to save. The typical thing I see, is that folks work hard on an idea, they do the graphics, (let’s say it’s a magazine) and they write, get friends to help to put it together. This is all great stuff, but in the end, who’s going pay for this job? Again, are the ads just going to show up? The most unfun part is to figure out where is the funding coming from. If you don’t, then that project that’s sitting nicely on your mac will stay there, and that’s sort of a slap in the face to all who helped you. Do the math first.
A) If you’re alone on it, you have to know that in the worst case, it’s going to come from you. And in most cases, you should assume that. I would even have a big chunk of the funding first before you dive into designing, writing, and all that fun stuff, since if you have the funding, there’s a more realistic eye on the prize. GR started with $200 since it was a zine. The funds went to photocopies. The collating and stapling of the 64 page zine was done by hand by everyone I knew. This is called starting raw. Very few could start this raw and get to where we’re at. It was intentional… which brings us back to part 8… thinking ahead. We didn’t.
B) Stay out of debt. Credit cards aren’t really available in Japan for a reason. It’s to keep the people out of debt. This is debateable since great projects have been funded by credit cards only to be paid back with the enormous success later. But these are the stories that you hear about. What about the 99% of the credit card projects that fail? You don’t hear about them, because the person is either filing for bankruptcy or is working their ass off to pay for it all. No debt for GR, thankfully.
C) Be careful of borrowing money. You might have a partner who has some money but can’t really do the work. This is dangerous. Imagine one year later, and you’re growing, but the person who loaned you $1000 (let’s say) will expect an exponential payback. Can you afford that, and how much should it be? If you get large, even a 10 times return isn’t enough, and that person will own a chunk of your company. Good or bad? It can be either, but that’s something to consider. There’ll be people who think or feel that they have a part of what you’ve done. In some ways, they do of course if they helped…
D) KAWS put it simple when he said something to the effect of: Basically it’s logic. You put in money, and you get more back, you put that back in and you get more back. It’s just simple nuts and bolts business. Things have to financially make sense.
E) Save. You can cut corners. If you’re a DIY person, then you might already know how to save, but if you aren’t, then think twice before you but the most expensive tools to make something that doesn’t require them. Of course luxury is a need for some, so you might not help yourself, but consider it. Also save your money. If you’re launching something, you’re going to have to be disciplined.