The New Year is upon us.
The holiday season is over, and the reflecting on past goals and setting of future goals season is upon us.
As you know by now, I am a HUGE proponent of goal setting. And if you’ve been with ComixTribe since our launch a year ago on January 1st, 2011 you know I’ve written plenty on the subject.
My inaugural Comix Counsel post was titled “Revisiting Past Goals” and I think every bit of advice in that article is just as valid now as it was a year ago when I wrote it. Give it a quick read and let me know if you agree.
I practiced what I preached and in this very column last year, I set three ambitious personal goals for 2011 for my comics business, and several of you joined me in setting goals of your own in the comments section of that article. This column is where I get to be frank and forthright with you fine folks (got bit by the alliteration bug…sorry), so hear, on the last day of 2011, I’d like to share how I did:
I came up short.
My goals for 2011 were the following:
- Write 220 pages of comic script.
- Net $1,532 in profit from my comic business.
- Triple my network of contacts in comics (creators, editors, publishers, columnists, readers.)
I came up short in each goal by a good margin. Let me take a quick look at each:
Write 220 pages of comic script.
A quick tally of my work for the year shows that I wrote a grand total of 137 pages of comic script in 2011, which is only 62% of my stated goal. The breakdown of my scripting is as follows:
Most of these pages are still just in script form, and in art production now.
Net $1,532 in profit from my comic business.
This one was the biggest whiff. Now, don’t get me wrong, I had a great year of operation for my business. My total sales revenue for 2011 was up 41% from 2010, and convention sales more than doubled. Alas, my expenses more than kept pace with revenue. Multiple projects, working with talented pros, going to higher priced conventions, and doing larger print runs add up quickly. I ended 2011 about $500 in the red.
Triple my network of contacts in comics (creators, editors, publishers, columnists, readers.)
I’m pretty happy with my performance here, as I feel like I definitely have expanded my network in comics, although I probably didn’t triple it. I more or less doubled my number of Twitter followers, and as you can see by checking out the TRENCHES archive, most of those columns came from new friends in the business. The 500% growth of the 30 Characters Challenge this year is the one above and beyond example of exceeding a goal. And NOT listed above (but should have been) is my networking with retailers, which has been a great, unexpected surprise of 2011.
Okay, so I came up short…why?
Basically, other stuff came up.
I certainly put in a solid year’s worth of work. But a whole lot of what I spent my time doing this year had nothing to do with the above goals. There were pages to be lettered, commissions to be drawn, conventions to attend, articles to be written, layouts and pencils to critique, talent to recruit, and on and on and on.
The 220 pages a year goal was one that was certainly attainable…however, I decided that getting ahead of artists on scripts was less important than other things I wanted to get done. Given that at year’s end, I’m still a full issue of scripting ahead of my artist collaborators on all of my projects, I’m okay with not hitting this one.
Likewise, as I mentioned above, I’m fine with my achievement in networking this year. The measuring aspect of “tripling ones contacts” was always a little dicey…so perhaps that wasn’t a well-stated goal to begin with.
So, really, it’s the profitability goal that is the only one that I see as a clear failure.
For this one, all I can say is the obvious…it’s damn hard to make money in independent comics. (Of course, if you read some of the blogs, tweets, etc. of many working pros, it seems it’s damn hard to make money in mainstream comics as well these days.)
Looking over my expense reports for the year, I don’t see much waste there. The fact is, nearly every dime spent went directly into the business…into coloring or inking or printing or web-hosting. There were a few conventions that weren’t worth the investment, and a few places I could tighten the belt on, but mostly, I spent what needed to be spent to be in this game.
Now…time to set new goals.
(Not surprised, are you?)
Nope, I believe in the goal setting process. So whether I came up short or exceeded this year’s goals by a mile, you better believe I’d be back at it, setting new ones for 2012.)
I wrote that last year, and I still believe it.
So, please, if you have the time, let me know how you did on your goals this year. Did you meet or exceed them? Did you come up short by a mile? More importantly, what are you taking away from the process this year? Let me know in the comments below.
And join me on Monday to see my new goals for 2012 and to share yours!
Category: Comix Counsel