I started calculating my self employed income & deductible expenses in late December then paid my Sales & Use Tax at the end of January. I then started doing my state & federal income taxes in early February to give myself plenty of time before the April 15 due date. Soon after, the Covid-19 pandemic hit and the tax deadline was postponed till July 15th, which is 4 days away. Tonight I tried picking up where I left off 4 months ago. I spent most of the time reviewing the work I already did, going over old notes and taking a bunch of new notes. I was a little overwhelmed at first but ended the night feeling confident about what to do next and preparing to make future tax filings easier.
Today I and counted all my shirts after the Local Color Daytime Market on Sunday and updated my inventory online. This is the part of the job that sucks the most so I'm always trying streamline and improve the process to make it faster and easier to do. Everything from the way the shirts are folded, stacked, stored & logged has had some thought put into it. I recently made changes to how I log the info so I can see how many total shirts I have in stock per design/style and made it so I can quickly figure out how many of each size & style has gone out. Making those little tweaks are fun and the data it provides is valuable.
I drew this the other day. I wasn't crazy about it at first but now it's kinda growing on me. I didn't draw or do anything creative today. Instead I spent a good chunk of the day figuring out approximately how many miles I drove in 2019 for business purposes. The number I came up with was 1,586.5 miles.
I didn't do a good of tracking business related mileage last year. I downloaded a mileage tracker on my phone last year and never really checked it till this weekend. There are probably thousands of trips logged on the app and it just gives me the addresses at every stop. I have to click each address and zoom in to figure out the locations. I reviewed a bunch of trips today from 2019 and figured it would take me days to go thru all of them so I went and did all of 2020. I want to be better about logging mileage going forward so I'm gonna try and review my trips everyday before bed. Wish me luck.
Not really a problem, just more work. I earned more business income this year doing murals/painting, graphic design and t-shirt sales compared to last year just doing t-shirts. Now that I'm preparing my taxes I have to figure out the income and expenses for each type of work. I wasn't fully prepared for this so I've spent the last couple days going over all of my 2019 business transactions again, making sure I have all the data I need to calculate everything. Going forward I'll need to take even better notes on all business transactions for 2020.
I'm getting ready to file my taxes so I went thru last years tax stuff and found I picture I drew of myself. It was my first year filing business income & expenses for 2018 and it took me a few weeks to go over all my records and file. It sucked while I was doing it but felt great once I finished. I think I did better job at keeping records for 2019 so it shouldn't take as long as last year.
I waited till the last day but I paid it on time. All the sales tax I collected from t-shirt sales in 2019. I would have forgoten if my friend Arely didn't ask me about it. Last year was her first year vending so she got her first notice to pay from the CDTFA. This is my second time doing it. Any questions I had this year I figured out by looking at my old records. I'm glad I got it paid in time and that I saved the money to pay it. Next up are the federal and state tax returns. I'm just waiting on my W-2 from work, and maybe a few other forms. I can't wait to get it done & over with and see how much money I'll have left over for merch.
I am tired of staring at spreadsheets. The whole reason I started doing this now, instead of waiting till February, is because of Covered California. I have to update my information before the end of the year so I can continue getting healthcare coverage. I went and figured out how much money I made from DJing, t-shirts, murals and graphic design work. Then figured out my business expenses and how much I can deduct. Once I got those numbers I went to the Covered California website but kept getting stuck. I spent a couple hours trying to figure it out till I got frustrated and decided I'll just give them a call on Monday. At least when this is all said & done filing taxes should be a breeze.
I was almost done logging all my 2019 transactions. All my spending was done but now I'm working on logging all income. Every dollar made in 2019 from DJing, t-shirt sales & side jobs are being consolidated into one doc. I'm figuring out as I go what are the best ways to log things like fees & sales tax so it's taking a bit of time. Once this is done I'll have a complete picture where all my money went, and came from, in 2019.
Today I finished going thru all my credit card transactions from 2019, till now, and made sure they were all properly logged and categorized on a separate spreadsheet. After every purchase, I'd log the date, dollar amount, who I paid, how I paid, category, and notes on the doc. A lot of damn work. I made a Google Form and saved the link on my phone to make it easier. I mostly pay everything with credit card so this took me a very long time to go thru. I've already logged my business debit & checking transactions, all I have to do is go thru my personal checking transactions and make sure they're all been entered properly. Once I'm done I can start figuring out what's tax deductible and have a head start when I file taxes.
I'm going through all my credit card transactions from 2019 and making sure I log which ones where for personal use and which ones were business expenses. I've covered 7 months of transactions so far. I hate seeing how much money I've wasted on fast food and interest fees. I gotta be better about those things. I need to eat at home more (also good for my health) and make more money to pay off my credit card debt. Those are two good resolutions for 2020. I've also decided it's time to open a business credit card. Going thru all these transactions and figuring out which ones were personal and which ones were business takes way too much time.
I kinda got forced into starting my taxes a couple months before I originally intended. I'm not filing yet but I do have to figure out all my income and expenses asap. Figuring out the income was easy but going thru all my receipts, invoices, bank & credit card transactions, adding up my business expenses, is taking a long time. Once I gather up all the expenses I need to figure out what can & can't be deducted.I gotta come up with a better way of managing and logging all these transactions for next year.
Originally I thought about making zines from my Inktober drawings but recently I changed my mind and now I want to make books. Small hardcover books similar to Edward Gorey's. Black ink/print on white uncoated paper. Today I started researching how to get hardcover books printed and pricing. I would really like to get these made so I'm looking for a good vendor to make help make it happen.
Today I packaged and sent out some online orders. I've listed the process below.
There's plenty of room to simplify the process but the truth is currently don't have a lot of online sales going out the door. I'm hoping to change that!
There was a bunch of Halloween candy & mini comics leftover from last night. The comics are pretty rad, they come in 25 packs to give away to trick-or-treaters or use as party favors. Today I thought it would be cool to slip a comic and some candy into the bags of anyone who orders a shirt online. I also made shipping & handling free.
On Saturday I'm working a wedding in Soquel and Sunday morning I'm DJing a memorial in San Jose. This is a first. I've never worked a memorial before. All I was given was a loose timeline and bunch of music. Normally I'd be a lil nervous going into a situation like this but I'm working with a professional event planner, that I've worked with before, and after our phone call today I'm feeling alright. We'll see how it goes.
On Sunday night I'll be picking up my San Jose shirts from the printers. Then I gotta count, fold & sort them all and update my online store's inventory. There are a few people waiting on those shirts and I can't wait to get them out.
I got some good news today. I might be able to vend, for multiple days, in downtown San Jose over the next couple months. It would be indoors too and I wouldn't need my canopy. It should be a lot of fun if it goes thru! I'm still waiting on more details and confirmation. Stay tuned...
I went to check out Campbell's Oktoberfest today. I don't think I've ever attended one before and I heard it draws a lot of people. I went to see if my booth & shirts would be a good fit for the festival so I could come next year and vend. I learned at the Jazz Festival that my gear doesn't do well at all events. I walked past all the vendor booths today, starting on one side of the street then the other side as I walked back. On the way back I stopped at Recycle Book Store. It was my first time there and right when you walk in there were a few Edward Gorey books on display on the counter. I love his illustrations & wanted to bring them all home. I walked around the store and saw a painting on the wall done by my old roommate, Jeremiah. I then found a book called Street T that features tons of pictures and write ups on graphic t-shirt designers. I had to have it. I bought it instead of the Ed Gorey books. After leaving the bookstore I stopped by Mike & Niki's Honey booth. I know Niki from a networking meeting we both go to. I sampled some honey and bought a jar of their Double Chocolate Creamed Honey. It's so good! I almost ate half the jar already. I had good time at the festival, even though it was a reconnaissance mission. I think I might vend at next years Oktoberfest. We'll see.
I spent a lot of time today, and previous days, trying to figure out how many shirts I should reprint. I used to try and guess which sizes & styles would sell more. Now that I have more data I can see what sells faster versus what stays in inventory longer. And because I'm on a budget for the rest of the year (I'm setting money aside for income & sales taxes) I've decided to reprint in smaller batches, starting with my most popular design. I intended to reprint all EMNSJ styles but my supplier was all out of heather gray blanks so I just bought black shirts for now. That's ok since my two most popular styles are the Black/Blue and Black/Pink EMNSJ (San Jose) t-shirts. If I ordered the right amount, and sales continue the way they have been, I shouldn't run out of one style/size too quickly or have others sit for too long. They blanks should arrive soon then they're off to the printers. Hopefully it won't take more than a couple weeks to have the finished shirts in hand.
I counted my shirts today after vending at the Street Mrkt on Friday. I sold out of a few more styles & sizes last week. There are a lot of shirts I need to print to replenish my inventory. I have the money but I can't spend too much because we're almost at the end of the year and soon it will be tax season again. I'm setting aside 50% of this year's revenue for sales, state & federal taxes. That leaves me with little money to play with. So, instead of reordering all shirts at once, I'm going to do them in batches. I'm starting with the EMNSJ (San Jose) shirts then doing EMN shirts (circle.) Last will be least expensive to print, the 1.0s (logo tee)
I love the idea of posting a daily blog post and drawing something new everyday in October but Damn it takes me a long time. It took me a few hours yesterday and today to come up with an idea, sketch it in pencil then finish it with ink. Now it's almost 3 am and I've been in front of my laptop for atleast an hour thinking about what to write for my blog. I still feel weird writing and saying "I have a blog." A part of me doesn't want anyone to read these. I'm doing the daily blog posts, as recommended by Seth Godin, as an exercise in self discipline, to provide new content, become a better writer, and put more thought and effort into my business. The coolest thing so far has been watching the list of categories grow longer and my archives now span 3 months. (I started August 30 and we're only a week into October, so it's really only been a little over one month) Soon I'll have just as many blog entries as Inktober drawings. The current score is Inktober Drawings: 68 vs Daily Blog Posts: 38. They'll be tied up by the end of the year and by next Inktober, blog posts will be leading by about 270. That's a lot of hours... if I keep it up (It is now 3:18 AM)
I keep a checklist of all the gear I use at events. This way I don't have to spend time looking for things before the day-of. Just grab and go. All the smaller items go in plastic tubs, I got this idea from my DJing job. I used to use two big tubs (with orange tape in pic below) but recently switched to three smaller tubs. (yellow) It's a little easier moving around three smaller tubs than two big ones. I also used to carry a bunch of items I never used so now the big tubs are for storage. Today I went through my tubs and checklist and made sure everything was in there and left them ready for this Friday's Street Mrkt.
That's how I roll.
Earlier this month I designed & printed 100 flyers with my website info to hand out at the First Friday Art Walk. Last weekend I gave away the last flyer at the Viva Calle event. This week I worked on a new flyer to give away Sunday at the SoFa Street Fair. Like last time, I folded a sheet of paper into quarters and sketched ideas on each one. I took a picture of the one I liked most and digitally inked it in Adobe Illustrator Draw on my iPad. The last bits were exporting the drawing to Illustrator on my laptop to add the text and laying out the 4 copies to print. After making sure it looked good I printed 25 sheets at home and took them to Office Depot to get them cut. I'm happy the way they came out. Tomorrow I'll be putting them inside people's bags when they buy a shirt or hand them to people who come into my booth. I still have to design a new business card but I think these are a fun alternative in the meantime.
Last year, before I first went out to sell my t-shirts at an event, I had made two t-shirt displays from a long sheet of two-inch gray foam. I only had one t-shirt design, the 1.0, and it came in black or white. I didn't print any Smalls in white so when I went to go make the displays I was forced to use Mediums. One year later I'm still using the same displays but with more t-shirt styles. All is well until I realized that the Medium sized shirts sell faster than the Smalls. A couple times I've had to pull the Medium shirt off the display because it was that last Medium in that color. Now that I'm running low on inventory I thought it would be a good time to finally cut the foam displays down a size. If only dropping a shirt size in real life were that easy.
I crossed these things off my to-do list today: