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I've gotten a few notes/comments asking how to run a table at a con and how I keep up my business and I'd like to answer them!

We shall start with the more popular one and that is how to sell at conventions.
Well, first of all make sure you have the proper paperwork. Selling in the U.S requires either a sellers permit or a business license. The difference between the two is a sellers permit is free but temporary, and a business license you have to pay for but is indefinite. I currently use a quarter period sellers permit, so I can sell anywhere for 6 months without needing a new permit. At the end of said 6 months I report how much money I made and pay taxes. That's right, you have to pay taxes. Even if you are a minor, a sellers permit requires you to pay taxes on your earnings. Though most of the money you make is untraceable cash so the government doesn't know how much you make *cough* so you know... be honest and report %100 of all your earnings as a responcible adult *wink* *wink* *wink* don't just report what you make with credit card purchases *cough*. Aha... I report all of my earnings %100. (: (: (:
After the government stuff you have to plan for each convention accordingly! This is the hard part and will probably take you a few years.

Step one, make your table pretty! Much like you wouldn't walk in and buy stuff from a ghetto looking store, most people will walk right by a boring and dingy table. I spend like half a way planning my table, I find it a lot of fun to theme and organize my table though I will probably be moving to the exhibitors hall soon as the single artist alley table that most cons offer is becoming too small to house all my prints and merchandise. Conventions that offer two tables such as Anime Expo are my favorite aha.

Step 2, be prepared to spend A LOT on con prep. Give a little, get a little. Give a lot, GET A LOT BACK. I seriously spend around $3-4k per convention on posters, and table fees, and travel expenses, and merchandise. Going to conventions is not cheap by any means. I suggest starting locally and tackle smaller cons as large cons require lots of money and lots of preparation.

Step 3, over prepare! Never think you have enough of anything because you are probably wrong. Think you'd be good with 5 posters? Make it 10! Double what ever you think might be a good amount to have. Reason being, what happens if it's stupidly popular and you sell out on day one because you didn't make enough? I'll tell you, you lose potential money! If you're like me and you depend on conventions to pay for school then losing out on some money you could be earning can be devastating! Trust me I know, I could barely afford to breathe a few years back because I screwed up at Anime Expo.

Step 4, expect to do horribly your first year. I was fortunate and broke even my first con going year but most people do not! It takes a while to learn what to sell, how much to sell, and when to sell. I've kind've got the rhythm of the cons going right now and my original artwork and characters by some miracle of god sell better than my fanart so I know to stock up twice as much of my own work in comparison to my fanart. So for those that think I only make money off fanart, YOU ARE SO WRONG! In fact Mercrutio charms are worth m ore than gold at most cons and so are my OC prints. This is every artists dream, and I could not be happier. This only became true this last year though! It took me 4 years prior to improve my skills and find what I'm really good at, so don't give up!

Step 5, I know I said conventions are expensive but be smart with your money. If you only have $500 to your name do not for the love of god spend it all on con prep because you might not make it back. I'd say spend at least $100 on prints and possibly bookmarks. Its a cheap and easy way of entering the world of cons, don't worry about buttons and fancy charms and other doo-dads until you've been around the block a few times. Sure the other stuff seems to make more money but I spend $2000 at least on charms every time I make an order and I make several orders a year. Why do you think that company loves me so much lol! That's all the advice I can offer on conventions, good luck in your adventures!



Business talk! It's all about never breathing! With a business you can take all the vacation days you like, the only downside is vacations do not exist. If you are trying to run your own business like I am, you are the CEO, the secretary, the office dude with coffee, the mail person, and the customer service. You eat, sleep, and breathe with your phone. If items get ordered it's up to you to get them out to the customer! Something broke? You better fix it yourself! I have to keep up inventory, order new supplies, order new stock, locate and communicate with suppliers, keep track of my expenses, respond to customers, manage and keep track of every single order made, manage my website, market my products, research what products are popular, design new products, create new products, get rid of old products, put together and make all items, pack and ship all orders, deal with the evil that is the package losing post office, spend tons of money on postage and supplies, and drink coffee. All while attending an very work intensive art school and figuring out how to pay rent while still being able to eat! My business pays just enough for me to pay my ridiculous $35k a year tuition. Does not leave a lot of room for food, but ramen is my best friend and so is home cooking. I am the thriftiest person you will ever meet and the worlds greatest sales shopper. I know how to get my art supplies at %50 off every time.  So the first and only rule about business, you have to be determined and you have to be smart about it! Is very hard, but I prefer working endless hours on something I created and grew myself rather than mindlessly flipping burgers like my piers. I will continue to work hard at my dreams and so should you.

That is all the advice I can offer, good luck with your future escapades!
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:iconkaoppai:
kaoppai Featured By Owner Dec 18, 2013
Can you recommend some companies on where to get prints and charms made? :'))
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:iconlightgaiaphoenix:
LightGaiaPhoenix Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
How is it possible to sell fanart?? >.>
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:iconwhispwill:
whispwill Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2013  Student General Artist
ahaha........yes
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:iconlightgaiaphoenix:
LightGaiaPhoenix Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I didn't think you could do that because it belongs to someone else, you know? Copyrights and all that. :P
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:iconwhispwill:
whispwill Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2013  Student General Artist
copyrights in the US are really a gray area.........

so long as you claim to be selling your own artwork and not the series you can get away with it as the only thing the company can do is ask you to stop

it's really shady and I try not to support it but I need to eat OTL
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:iconmegaanimefreak7:
MegaAnimeFreak7 Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2014  Student Digital Artist
LMAO XDD
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:iconlightgaiaphoenix:
LightGaiaPhoenix Featured By Owner Nov 17, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
LOL XD Yeah, copyrights are so COMPLICATED. //exasperated sigh
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:iconstarlightangel-wolf:
StarlightAngel-Wolf Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
wow.
I'll have to make sure my buddy that wants to get an AA table at Sakura con knows about that seller's permit.
*applause for all your hard work and fun*
that is a loooot of money
my family barely makes 2/3 of that with 3 of us working =.=
note to self, hands and brain are slacking on creativity and money making
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:iconwhispwill:
whispwill Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2013  Student General Artist
is hard
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:iconcrickatoo:
Crickatoo Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Your advice has been priceless to me :D Thank you!! <33
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:iconsakurasadamewingz:
SakuraSadameWingz Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2013
This was really helpful and inspirational! Especially the seller's permit part. Thank you. TwT

You work so hard! You're my successful self-business idol now. QwQ I hope one day I'll be able to sell at a con and art trade with you. =3

Good luck with everything and stay healthy. ^^
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:iconkitedge:
Kitedge Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I wish my art style get there one day~ I'm not in a rush, but gosh that I love crafting keychains and such! It kind of may be the reasons I'd like to sell in con LOL (other than having the satisfaction of being able to sell something you created).

But all you said is very useful for new people to start! And this part of your first con will not work: can't be more true than that!
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:iconaquilonn:
Aquilonn Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2013
Wow, this is incredibly inspirational. And also super helpful in giving insight into selling art and running business like woah.
I feel like going out into the world and starting my own business now :iconexcitedblushplz:
Except I'd probably die in the first few days
:iconhahaveryfunnyplz:
Reply
:iconartabstraction:
ARTabstraction Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Wow, I think I'm going to bookmark this and read it whenever someone tries to tell me I should relax and not worry so much. Or when I'm feeling defeatist. Or.... you know... anytime really. :)

Thanks so much for posting this.. I mean jeez. It's just perfect. My first con actually was this past summer and I managed to make back twice my table and production expenses! :D And what sold the best by far was my original art! I was so happy... I hope I can do this well at the other cons I want to do!
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:iconpaperfleece:
paperfleece Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2013
oh i see i see ouo i want to table at AX one day, so i'll be sure to keep this in mind XD

though how do you become so.. popular i guess? how do you put yourself out here so that people buy your stuff?
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:iconaiedail-guardian:
aiedail-guardian Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
I don't really see myself doing this realistically but it was fun to read. :)
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:iconbricu:
bricu Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This post is really really useful!!  You sound amazingly driven and shrewd.  :)  Thanks for the awesome insider tips! I'm not sure I'll ever use them, but I'd been toying with the idea of selling things at cons and you brought the hard reality side into it.
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:iconcarcarchu:
carcarchu Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
oh man business permit what's that ;u; ahaha i've been selling at little cons and i've never actually needed one! 
another good tip is to make friends with the other artists! making connections is good and it's helps you out in the long run i think ;u; 
Reply
:icontaxikun:
taxikun Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2013
whoa that last paragraph was so intense!!! O A O Go go lexi! ;w; 

Mind if I ask a few questions concerning mailing out prints? I want to open a storenvy to sell my old prints but I'm totally lost with shipment.
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:iconxlightangelwolfx:
xlightangelwolfx Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2013  Student Artisan Crafter
This was probably the most inspiring thing I have read. Thank you so much whisp! I remember meeting you at AX for a friend to get a commission then found your work and was in awe that I hadn't been watching you. GIVES ME HOPE <3
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:iconwolfdesigner10:
WolfDesigner10 Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2013   Digital Artist
This is Perfect advice and just what I was looking for! Thank you for the tips! This is very informative! OwO
Especially since I hope on planning to have a Booth at conventions in the future! oWo
Would you say sharing a booth with friends would also help out on costs on a booth if I may ask? .O.
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:iconemberguard:
Emberguard Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2013   General Artist
Also remember that whatever is the worst item there, will effect how people judge your table. If you have stuff that isn't up to the standard of your friend then it could put off people coming to your friends items and vise-versa if their stuff isn't as good as yours. This also applies to if you only have just your stuff, you need everything to be of a similar standard to whatever you're displaying so everything will compliment instead of detracting.

  The best thing about sharing a booth is if one of you really needs to go to the toilet or get a drink you can leave without worrying about stuff getting stolen as easily as if it was completely unattended. 
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:iconwolfdesigner10:
WolfDesigner10 Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2013   Digital Artist
Oh wow! okay! That is very help full to know! .O. thankyou!
I shall keep that in mind! x3
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:iconwhispwill:
whispwill Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2013  Student General Artist
just remember tablemates are also competition
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:iconwolfdesigner10:
WolfDesigner10 Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2013   Digital Artist
Okay Dokey ^^
Reply
:iconurbangirl98:
urbangirl98 Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you! I've always wondered about this ^^
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:iconchrisbobomb:
Chrisbobomb Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
That's wonderful advice. Keep up the good work!
Reply
:iconyuri-senteria:
Yuri-Senteria Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2013  Student General Artist
My cousin has been pushing me to start selling at cons. I feel i should get better, and that's what I'm working on

Unfortunately, I'm not going to be able to afford any more school for now. //50k a year// so I'll have to get a job. Like a real job. //ew

>> but in my time off, i will be further learning by self teaching! I want to better my digital skills!

first things first: I'm going to save for a beautiful cintiq (i need a tablet that wont crap out on me after 2 years...)
second: just start planning. (i've already been writing out ideas for posters. and things i havent seen at cons but i know they are popular and people always ask for them!)

If i do get a table, i've got 2 other beginners who will join me! We will test the ropes together!

I'm used to running table and such b/c i've taken care of my Moms and Grandma's craft fair tables 2/3 times out of 5-7 shows, each year. And i've learned a thing or two. Breaking even, making table, all is a good thing!

Thanks for the advise. I enjoy learning from you Whispy-Sempai
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:iconalvi-chi:
alvi-chi Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2013
Definitely helpful especially for first timers. I'll for sure link this to those i know that want a table.
Reply
:iconhotpotudon:
hotpotudon Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
WOW this is really helpful. And at the same time, really scary. XD 
It seems like a lot of ridiculously hard work but it's what I think I want to do with my life, too. 
Thanks for the advice!
Reply
:iconxradioactivepixie:
xRadioactivePixie Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Wow this was incredibly helpful~ seems like a lot of work
Haha now I know I'm not going to try selling anything...broke + stupid $50k tuition gahh
May I ask when you first started selling?
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:iconwhispwill:
whispwill Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2013  Student General Artist
Fresh out of high school when I realized I needed money, only made $500 that year but I invested it into the next year and into the next and here I am!
Reply
:iconeu-saama:
Eu-saama Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2013
xD I learned about a lot from this~ Thanks Whispy!
xD I guess I should hold back for awhile.... xD and I wanted so much to sell but I forgot about the cons... //shot

Thanks Whisp! xD You saved me!
Reply
:iconmeiichiru:
Meiichiru Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This helps a ton. I'm going to be doing my very first table so I'm nervous on what to sell and what not. I've planned to sell mostly fan art as my ocs won't be so interesting. I want to do buttons and stickers and maybe badges. I was literally nervous about this but readying your advice made me prepare to expect the worst but learn from it
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:iconazaikar:
Azaikar Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2013
This is so helpful ;u; Thank you.
I never knew there was so much to consider. I am actually trying to save up to start making things but I'm so nervous ;-;
But reading this, has helped give me insight! ♥
Reply
:iconfaylenn:
Faylenn Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This is some pretty amazing advice :3

I am hoping to start Con stuff in a few years, maybe second year of College? So in about 3 years....

Do you think that is enough planning time to save for the Con entry fees, printing and the like? I wanna make sure I can do everything right the first time around~ (Even if I don't sell as much as I hope, just knowing I did everything along the right track will make me happy~)
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:iconwhispwill:
whispwill Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2013  Student General Artist
yes that is perfect, I would suggest trying to save at least $500-$1000. Shouldn't be too hard with a 3 year time span!
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:iconfaylenn:
Faylenn Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Not at all!!

Do you know of any Canadian Con's that would be a good start for myself?
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:iconmomon-sensei:
Momon-sensei Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2013  Student Digital Artist
sorry random person butting in but...I am Canadian and I sell at cons ; u ; /

i mostly know the ones around western canada //cough cough vancouver so this might not help
there's
anime evolution (was mid-sized but losing popularity) (vancouver)
anime revolution (mid-sized and growing fast) (vancouver)
comic con (vancouver) (large)
fan expo (vancouver) (large)
there's also a few one day university events that are really good if you just want to try selling at cons out but dont want to invest too much money

there's also Sakura Con in Seattle. It's very large and just over the border but you would have to do additional prep because it's in the states

and there's the largest con Anime North in Toronto but the competition to get a table is pretty extreme.

sorry i only mainly covered western Canada but there's definitely more. These are just the one's I know well

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:iconfaylenn:
Faylenn Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Ahhh, I'm In Ontario D:

I do occasionally go into Vancouver tho, so I will have to look for for them if I time my visits right ;3
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:iconmomon-sensei:
Momon-sensei Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2013  Student Digital Artist
aww sorry i couldn't be of more help. The anime ones are during the summer 

Apparently though there's a small one going on in toronto right now. I have a friend who's attending
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:iconfaylenn:
Faylenn Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Ahh, I didn't know about that o-o

And I am gonna wait a few years before attending my first con ^-^
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:iconmomon-sensei:
Momon-sensei Featured By Owner Nov 2, 2013  Student Digital Artist
just to clarify i mean that AR and AN are in the summer. ; u ; sorry!
the rest are throughout the year

good luck with your con preparation!
Reply
(1 Reply)
:iconwhispwill:
whispwill Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2013  Student General Artist
No I'm sorry, I'm from the US and I'm only familiar with the very large cons in canada
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:iconfaylenn:
Faylenn Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Ah, alrighty, just wondering if you maybe knew :) No problem that you don't ^-^
Thanks so much for your help :hug: It means a lot for you to answer my questions!

Much appreciated~
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:iconhao-le:
Hao-Le Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
in response to go "locally" *the closest con to me is Anime Expo* -_-
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:iconwhispwill:
whispwill Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2013  Student General Artist
that's not true, there are plenty of conventions in los angeles/southern california that are not anime expo! Anime Los Angeles (ALA) might be one for you to look into!
Reply
:iconhao-le:
Hao-Le Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
thank you for your sage wisdom *bows*
Reply
:iconmrfuddles:
MrFuddles Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This is perfect advice. And perfect timing. I'm actually going to be running my first table in artist alley with my dad and Comic-con and possibly A-kon this year. :iconheheplz: So I'm really greatful for this advice. ;v;
Reply
:iconwhispwill:
whispwill Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2013  Student General Artist
My lord this is wordy, I am sorry!
Reply
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