Episode 2 Homework

In Illustrator Life Episode 2, Mark discusses building a business that works within your day job, that will be useful in transitioning to a full-time illustration career. Develop an annual plan with realistic goals for: contracts, diversified income streams, time management, and more.

Homework: Inside your sketchbook

#1.  Create a general business plan using these examples:

Professionals in any career require a basic income to exist: bread, water, cell phone, etc. Some professionals desire a more comfortable existence: reliable car, home, etc., while others choose a lifestyle: brand names, travel, etc. No matter your professional classification, define the value of your time with a desired monetary outcome by creating an annual business plan.

Example 1: 
4 illustration contracts:  120 days earn $24,000 annual deposit income (4 contracts x $6,000 deposit and 10% royalty = $24,000)
Day Job:  355 days to earn $45,000 salary
Vacation:  10 days to earn $0

Estimated Annual Income:  $69,000 (8-hour work days plus 120 2-hour nights) Note: This income is pretax, and based on timely completion of projects, hence professional.

Example 2:
4 illustration contracts:  120 days earn $24,000 annual deposit income (4 contracts x $6,000 deposit and 10% royalty = $24,000)
Day Job:  355 days to earn $45,000 salary
Public Speaking:  5 days to earn $2,500 (5 events x $500 = $2,500)
Royalties:  1500 books sold in 365 days to earn $1,500 in royalties. (Royalty based on 10% of a $10 Net Sale or $1.00 per book sold.)
Vacation:  5 days to earn $0

Estimated Income:  $73,000 (8-hour work days, 120 2-hour nights, royalties, and 5 days vacation allocated to public speaking) Note: This income is pretax, and based on timely completion of projects, hence professional.

Example 3:
4 illustration contracts:  150 days earn $30,000 annual deposit income (5 contracts x $6,000 deposit and 10% royalty = $30,000)
Public Speaking:  45 days to earn $22,500 (45 events x $500 = $22,500)
Royalties:  5,000 books sold within 365 days to earn $5000 in royalties. (Royalty based on 10% of a $10 Net Sale or $1.00 per book sold.)
Vacation:  170 days to earn additional income

Estimated Income:  $57,500 (1 illustration a day for 150 days, 45 public speaking events, and royalties). Note: This income is pretax, and based on timely completion of projects, hence professional.

#2.  Don’t quit your day job.

Yes, don’t quit the day job yet. For aspiring illustrators, the day job and illustration contracts are multiple income streams. If balancing these two isn’t possible, a full-time illustration career may not be for you.

Two incomes are better than one—ask my wife. With the additional income from illustrating, pay off or down debt while saving six months salary. After quitting the day job, deadlines become less demanding and laziness takes over. Minimal debt and a financial buffer are necessities during any transition. Marriage wasn’t a reliable financial buffer—ask my divorced friends!

#3.  Who is your perfect client?

Inside your sketchbook list three “perfect” illustration clients you would seek. For my transition roadmap, I concentrated my time in one area of illustration—educational picture books. My reason was, do something fun that I enjoyed after working all day. I committed to watercoloring one page a day for two hours. This commitment allowed me to illustrate a picture book every 30 days, if I wanted.

 

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