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Old 08-14-2014, 11:56 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Using Gofundme to boost my business.

EDIT: And I've got it started, here.

A while back, I began a small business to try to fill some holes in my recent ability to pay bills. One reason I haven't been active around here for a while.
It hasn't been doing that, but at least it hasn't put me too much deeper in the hole.
Since this place has always been supportive and informative, I'm... well, I'm putting the word out everywhere I can. But I'm also opening up for anyone with experience, advice, or a willingness to offer support in the manner of spare change or good thoughts, or to educate me further on the process or as a businessman. Really, anything that makes me a little better person and tomorrow a little nicer is welcome.

It's a hobby business, in which I hope to supply the basic tabletop stuff (dice, mats, set pieces, books) and even custom pieces soon (I'm going to design and pour molds so I can cast precision dice). An Etsy store is started and getting stocked, which will include the custom stuff and tabletop and videogame-related artwork and jewelry, made by me or my mother (it's mostly to support her, but she's amazingly happy to have something productive to do), and I'm always looking for suggestions or holes in the market that the big producers won't fill.

It just needs the first boost to get things going and to buy some equipment in place.

The easiest way to see the business is through https://www.facebook.com/MorieartyHobbySupply and I'm planning to start the Gofundme campaign on Friday evening or the weekend, and will update everywhere I can, including here--and no hard feelings if it's removed or I'm told it's not the place. I'm just happy for any support, info, well-wishes, and signal boosts.

Okay, I've said my piece. Thanks for even reading. I'm all ears at this point.
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Last edited by Deus Machina; 08-17-2014 at 01:33 PM.
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Old 08-15-2014, 02:05 AM   #2 (permalink)
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So I'm no expert on funding, or e-commerce, or any of that stuff. I'm just a customer (and definitely the target audience). And it took me WAAAAAY to long to find stuff that could actually be bought.

As a non-facebook user I find places that use facebook as their primary contact to be extremely inconvenient and difficult to navigate. I'm not particularly interested in your discussions and commentary, I'm looking for WHAT DO YOU HAVE FOR SALE, and HOW MUCH IS IT?

That etsy link MUST be some where clearly visible, and not just on a status update. A few more meme posts and it will be off the page. Not good. At least stick a clickable link in that "about" box on the left if possible.

morieartyhobbysupply.com is available. Get it. Doesn't have to be fancy, it's more or less a cover page for the etsy account, but it's easy to remember. And for easy navigation if you're going to be using that facebook account a lot then I better be able to click to it from the etsy page (again, under "about" seems the appropriate place).

It's really just about navigation efficiency. I type in your name, I see your stuff, I buy your stuff, you send me stuff. Image going to a garage sale and before you're allowed into the garage you have to walk around to the back door (with no sign telling you to do this), take a guided tour of the house, hear four stories about the homeowner's cat, and you are asked to affirm that yes, they were cute cat stories, all to see even if there's anything you might want to buy.

Eh, but what do I know? I'm just someone looking for some interesting 10 siders for an old school Aberrant game coming up, someone thinking of maybe getting a new matching set for when D&D 5th edition comes out, and someone who could probably use a nice dice rolling mat so the players won't notice me doing a few secret spot checks on them when they're sneaking.
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Old 08-15-2014, 03:06 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I didn't mean to imply that's the way to buy, yet. I have an eBay page for that, and let that lapse between waiting on stock and my attention elsewhere. Sorry to give that impression.

Of course I meant to link everything together as soon as the projects settle down, and you just reminded me to bump that higher up the list. Facebook isn't a good sales site, it's just part of the marketing front.

I do plan on using some of the funding for a website, at least as a 'cover page' as you put it, but I'm also trying to settle things up and it will be another project.
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Last edited by Deus Machina; 08-15-2014 at 03:43 AM.
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Old 08-15-2014, 07:12 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I have seen hobby/gaming stores come and go. Those that are successful around here have places for people to game at their stores. Some charge a small fee to reserve a table, others have the tables available free. All of them have a calendar of events posted for different games on different nights. For example, Arkham Horror Friday Nights, Munchkin Saturdays, D&D Tuesdays, and so on.

From speaking with a couple of owners (notably from Firefly Toys and Games in Columbia, SC and The Green Dragon of Charleston, SC) you can make a ton of money in CCGs, but you have to be careful with the tournament scene as you can end up with a bunch of "tournament only players" who will only show up for tournaments, never support your shop, and will win just about every time scaring off new players.

One of the best suggestions I have seen is to keep the Wil Wheaton Tabletop show playing on a TV in your store. (I think it is available through geekandsundry.net) This show is sort of like a tabletop game version of the in-store videogame loop that is shown in your local gamestop. It will expose customers to games they may not have heard of, and then buy.

As you grow, have playable demos available. Most of the companies that make tabletop games (Steve Jackson Games, Fantasy Flight, Gale Force 9, etc.) will provide a playable demo if you just ask.

From researching a bit, it looks like tabletop gaming is making a pretty big comeback, and I sincerely hope you can make it! If you were closer, I'd come!
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Last edited by WebFisher; 08-15-2014 at 11:05 AM.
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Old 08-15-2014, 09:08 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Not certain if you were looking at a brick and mortar store front. But as it stands the advice about getting the domain and at the very least point it to etsy or ebay store. No Facebook for business except as the simply get the name out.

You have a customer in the dice and such when you are up and running.
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Old 08-15-2014, 09:51 AM   #6 (permalink)
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You know those times you figure someone should at least be given a heads up on something but you don't know how to give someone that heads up without sounding like you are a jerk? This is one of those times. I pray that you take what I am going to say in the spirit it is given and as intended advice rather than simply being someone who is being a jerk about your plans.

You don't have enough capital to run the business you dream of. The results are going to be far less financially impressive than you think they are.

Note 1: You are entering a niche market that has established businesses with large amounts of capital available. If you prove that what you propose to do can be incredibly profitable they will (at best) buy you out or simply directly compete

Note 2: If your intent is purely financial to make ends meet it is likely you will make much more money working overtime or a second job. Most owners of "side-businesses" are lucky if they make min. wage. Many would settle for breaking even.

Note 3: In a small business if you cannot capitalize it yourself you cannot afford it. The amount of pressure in a small business and demands on your time are incredible. Outside investors only complicate it more. If you are sure you want to build this business build it step by step concentrating on one thing at a time and growing as you can afford it. Outside money is likely to be the destruction of your business.

Note 4: You know all the times I have wondered why anyone would "purchase" something on a kick-starter because, as others have noted, the consumer basically acts as an investor if it fails and a customer if it succeeds. In your case, if you are going to do this, kick-starter is a great way to raise funds and gauge interest in individual products.

Go back and read the underlined part again... and again. I'm not in the dark on this. If you still want to continue read point 3 again... and again. If you still want to continue know this:

Great businesses are built by people pursuing a dream when nearly everyone said they would fail. Good luck.

Last edited by Lohman446; 08-15-2014 at 10:22 AM.
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Old 08-15-2014, 11:10 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks for the advice, well-wishes, and tough-love so far, guys. It's all going straight to straight to heart, right now.

As for the monetary front, I see this as just a away to fund a proper start of it. The local job market is nonexistant, and years of applications have only gotten a few hits, which told me I'd have to quit school. They wouldn't even leave me the opportunity to schedule for evening classes. After three years of study, I can't afford to do that to flip burgers.

So I see something like this as a necessity. Slow growth is fine. Or even finding a very small niche and not really growing out of it, as long as it stretches the paycheck.

And, no, it's not brick-and-mortar, at least not yet. Easier and less costly to do it all online so far.
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Last edited by Deus Machina; 08-15-2014 at 11:24 AM.
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Old 08-15-2014, 08:38 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Florida...home to some of the largest gaming stores in the country. Coolstuffinc is based there, and I get all of my stuff from them. It really is hard to compete against some one like that. Good luck, though. I would be interested in looking through all your stock.
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Old 08-17-2014, 01:33 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Alright, just to keep things updated and me hopeful, I've got it started here.
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Old 08-19-2014, 02:52 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I know it is not making miniatures or anything like that...but if you are crafty I bet you could get a market for some dice made from material such as Lapis Lazuli.

Specially after this years PAX East...
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