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Things I must do Today:

• price brown kraft cardstock at Xpedx

call Mr. Niehaus about Tulsa Hub job he die cut for me

• cut paper for mini-valentines

• print mini-valentines

• layout address books

• Drink more water, i’m getting a headache…

So the last few days I’ve been figuring out this Alchemy thing on Etsy… Have you heard about it? its a fantastic feature and I’m REALLY liking it! i started exploring it when someone sent me (through Etsy) a request for a custom item, some business cards. I got a notice with a request, a desired price, a deadline and a brief outline of what they were looking for. What a great idea! Someone wants me specifically to make them something! We began discussing details and hopefully I’ll get them their cards by the end of the month. yay!

Now, what I discovered is aside from being able to request a custom item or commission someone directly, you can also place a public Alchemy Request. Its the almost same, but the public request is open to anyone who bids. There’s pages and pages of people looking for quotes and estimates to make everything from wedding rings to wedding invitations, journals to articles of clothing. If you see something that you think you can make for them to their specifications then you “place a bid”. Just like real businesses! Whee!

So I started looking around and saw a few Alchemy posts for printed and/or letterpressed items. A few of them seemed a bit out of my league and the prices they request (and I assume would expect) were too low for letterpress, unfortunately. I did bid on some of them but gave them a more realistic price, so I don’t know if they’ll like that. But a few others I put in some bids for along with an explanation that the price they requested would probably only get them the most basic of features and to contact me to talk more about the other options available. Then I started pretending I was going to do the job and began drawing up ESTIMATES.

Yes Estimates, the bane of my existence. I’ve been really wishy-washy about giving estimates, because I didn’t know how. A few weeks ago, I posted about it on the LETPRES listserv, and got some excellent responses. The folks who troll that list really helped me to outline a process of pricing, recommended reasonable mark-up percentages and labour rates. Now, I think I have it kinda figured out. At least, I’m satisfied with the method I’ve derived. We’ll see as I make these jobs (if my bids are accepted) if my estimates panned out correctly or not. I’m pretty sure that I was able to cover my costs and create a profit as well, without stiffing the client or myself. I’ve just got to remember to keep accurate time records and materials purchases!!! (ugh, so much math. I went to Art Skool so I wouldn’t HAVE to do math.THing is I’m good at it but I don’t like it. Like mucking stalls. I can do it, but who’d want to?)

I’m feeling a bit more confident and less over my head now. I’m gaining experience, learning and applying my knowledge. Its good.

So, bring me your jobs! I’m open for business!

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March 2017
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