Blonde Seduce–O Power

Ah, the old “burn the candle at both ends” method of building a business. I know it oh so well. I’ve never tried to raise start up money for a business before. Well, I guess Puppy Cow counts (you have until 10:22PM tonight to contribute!). But in terms of getting venture capitol or angel funding or any amount of real serious money to start up a business, man, I’d have no idea where to start.

I think it’d be really interesting to see a webcomic project obtain that kind of funding treating the webcomic as a startup business rather than a hobby. Hell, if I knew anything about business, I’d do it myself. I guess the trick is to figure out how to make it worth an investor’s financing. It typically takes at least five years for a webcomic to experience any kind of a profit and even at that, it’s pretty slim even at that point. I guess that’s probably why no one’s bothered with venture or angel investors. Still, it’d be neat to see if that business model could apply to the webcomic world.

  • Stuff Artists Like

    A webcomic shouldn’t be a source of income in my opinion…well, in the old times comics DID get their authors paid, through syndication, so it does make sense a little. If you could get people to pay to view extra content online, like extra chapters or deep character profiles…”premium membership” type stuff, while the comic itself was free, that would be cool and make the comic more like a membership entertainment experience, like on-demand online sports networks, or online games.
    Still, I don’t think typical investors would have any incentive to support webcomics. What’s in it for them? Donor-funded projects are a different story.

  • Lyle

    Do yourself a favor, stay away from venture capital. It’s dot com-ese for “we’ll fire the founders as soon as humanly possible.”

  • Minato

    Capital. Ca – pi- tAl :P Not capitol ;D
    *Had to point it out*

  • Dale

    @Minato: I dunno, it might be a subtle dig at the influence of money on politics…

    Or just a typo :p

    Also, given that raise is in quotation marks, one has to wonder quite what she’s intending to do… and whether it’ll be appropriate for younger readers :D

  • Fren

    Truly, I don’t see how anyone would invest in a webcomic. It seems to me that most revenue is generated through shirt sales, perhaps the occasional “buy a print” sort of thing. Most folks aren’t going to go that route for awhile (five years is probably a pretty good point to ponder there). It also would seem that if you’re doing the work purely on a profit-driven basis you’ll end up losing that creative edge that drew people to your work in the first place. I think that most comic artists are putting out a product that they themselves enjoy, both in development and in the end result … just strikes me that if it was a “nine to five” sort of thing, you’d end up treating it like some “nine to five” job that you hate and down the hill we go. Were it me, I’d go with a “hobby/catharsis” sort of angle and if-I-broke-even-on-merch-call-it-a-win approach.

    And remember, if you get venture cap you’re selling a portion of your soul. Creative control goes behind that.

  • Jamie

    @Minato, ACK! My horrible spelling strikes again!!

  • Jamie

    On reflection, I guess it makes sense that no one’s really sought venture to fund a comic project. Most comic creators want to control their IP as they see fit and shy away from giving up any of that creative control.

    There’s got to be some kind of small business model that’s being used by internet entrepreneurs that can also be applied to webcomics. The selling shirts thing is certainly one method, but there’s gotta be something else out there. Wish I took some business classes when I was getting my art degree.

  • Stuff Artists Like is a pretty interesting blog where Koichi, yeah that panda hat learn japanese guy from Tofugu, talks about internet based marketing and business. I’ve learned a little from his posts lately.
    Johnny Cupcakes is a T-shirt store with locations in Boston and L.A. The founder was named America’s #1 Entrepreneur by BusinessWeek Magazine. His story is somewhat inspirational, although this was before internet shopping became incredibly popular. People are devoted to his company and designs because of his lifestyle choices and his attitude toward customers and keeping designs fresh–all his shirts are limited edition. He’s a young guy who made a multimillion dollar company by, as he’s maintained in interviews, “not being into partying”.

  • Drezz

    There’s a number of different business models you can employ – most of them come from the model used by at-home business bloggers.

    Again – it take upwards of 5+ years to even start turning a profit, because you need to establish yourself in the market, have enough content to promote, and then expand upon that promotion. Webcomics that use Comicpress or a blog platform of some sort end up having the greatest reach on the internet, provided the content is put out consistently and has some keywords relating to the comic.

    I hate to tell you this, but there’s no get rich quick method for comics. It isn’t a market that has a high return on investment, unless you’re a property that turns comics stories into bigger things like movies and high run publishing.

    If you’re looking to expand upon the current webcomics business model of merch, strip collections and original art, the next step would be to make the move to tutelage. That is what Brad Guigar and Robert Khoo did over at You pay a yearly subscription and you receive great insight on the industry and great information on how to make your webcomics more professional and presentable.

    DJ Coffman is starting a mentorship program as well. Once you have enough years in the business, you can easily market yourself as a teacher. For now, you have to duke it out in the trenches.

  • Jamie

    @Stuff Artists Like, good finds! I’ll be perusing those sites like a hawk.

    @Drezz, I’m not really looking for a get rich quick method. I’m really looking to see what other business models are out there that can be adapted since I’m convinced that I’m not a t-shirt guy. The mentorship thing is an interesting one. I’ve tried to keep up with my own illustration tutorial blog, but I haven’t made the time to get around to it in a while.

  • RemoteControlAxe

    What’s the name of the art style used on the characters’ faces in the last panel? I know I’ve seen it before, but I can’t remember what it’s called (if it’s even something specific).

    Also, I notice letters in the background of panels 1 and 3. 1 says “WIN”, but I can’t tell what 3 says. It looks like H___; I can’t make out the last 3.

  • Jamie

    @RemoteControlAxe, last panel is supposed to say “HAWT” but it’s slightly obscured. I think the style is kind of a super deformed exaggerated hybrid something or other. Kane’s over sized head is definitely super deformed.

  • RemoteControlAxe

    I actually thought it was “HAWT”, but I wasn’t sure if there was enough room for the A between the H and W.

    And Heh ok, if it’s just “super deformed”, so be it.

  • RemoteControlAxe

    Actually, let me clarify: as for the style, I specifically was referring to Kane’s eyes/jaw and Ally’s lips, not so much the size of Kane’s head or anything like that.

  • Jamie

    Oh. I’m not entirely sure there’s a name for either. But they are heavily influenced by the mangas and the animes.