Category: Business

My Etsy Store

After long thinking, I’ve decided to open my own Etsy store. I’ve been selling my cartoons through micro-stock agencies like Dreamstime and Shutterstock since 2008, however, I draw mostly cartoons for children, and I’d love to offer them to a new and more suitable audience – to the art and crafts crowd, card makers, small bloggers, moms with children, kindergarten teachers etc. People like that usually don’t have accounts on micro-stock sites, they use Etsy and similar marketplaces to get the artwork they need. And I want to get in:)

I need to do market research

So far, I still don’t know much about Etsy, but I’m willing to spend some time on learning about the marketplace, the customers and their needs. My plan is to bundle my older cartoons into different collections, sort them by themes, and offer them for a discounted price of ten dollars. I’m willing to grant people a license for the standard commercial use for every image, so they don’t have to worry about using my work in business for-profit setting.

I need to get some traffic

I heard that I should have about 50 product listings in my store before I can expect some traffic from the potential customers. Right now, I have four listings, I can create about eight to ten more if I use my current collection of cartoons, however, I don’t see myself getting to the desired 50. Every bundle will have around 20 to 30 cartoons, which would mean that I’d have to have somewhere between 1000 and 1500 images, and that’s a lot. Therefore, I need to find another way how to attract potential customers. I’m not really sure how I’ll do that.

I used to promote my old Zazzle store on tumblr, but I stopped using that platform four years ago. I can’t use Google and Facebook ads because I don’t want to become a business that has to pay value added taxes and I don’t want to break any law (thanks a lot EU, your laws really make sense!).

Storefront design for my Etsy store

I decided to keep the design of my Etsy store very simple. I sell cartoons, so I used only cartoons to define the appearance of my store. I also used images with white background to keep the store from looking overcrowded (which is easy to do when you use lots of brightly colored cartoons). In future I will update the store’s header and avatar depending on the season, holidays, etc.

My Etsy Store

The future of my Etsy store

I will keep you posted about my progress on Etsy, and about my potential successes or failings. If you have some advice or suggestion for me, don’t hesitate to comment. I’m always looking for other people’s thoughts and opinions.


Filed under: Business, For Sale, RF CartoonsTagged with: , ,

VAT MOSS, Article 13, and other miracles of European bureaucracy

Last year I wanted to offer some of my game assets via Unity 3D Assets Store. I thought I was brave enough to dive into the depths of the excessive anti-small business European bureaucracy. Now I know I’m not. The current business laws concerning entrepreneurs (and small businesses) in the EU are a total mess, and I will do everything to avoid doing business in the EU.

Unity 3D is based in Denmark. I’m in Czechia, therefore if I wanted to do business with Danish company, I would have to register as a VAT payer (thanks to one wonderful 2012 law). Thanks to another wonderful law (VAT MOSS from 2015), now I can’t even sell my work directly to end customers who live in the EU.

VAT Payers and VAT MOSS

Registering myself as VAT payer would be a total bureaucratic nightmare for me. I would have to fill loads of additional forms and submit them every three months. I would have to gather excessive (and useless) information about my customers. I’d have to keep that information safely stored and encrypted, and I’d still risk breaking some of the new EU privacy laws. I’d be required to pay VAT (value added tax) to 28 different countries and keep detailed invoices for every transaction. Every country has different requirements for what should an invoice of a VAT payer contain.

The bookkeeping that I would have to do was designed for big companies, not for me. I studied accounting, I have a business education, and I know how excessive and time-consuming it would be in comparison to the tax evidence system that I use right now – the tax evidence that was designed for sole traders and small businessmen.

Article 13

I’m just one woman, and the EU has unleashed a sequence of bureaucratic nightmares upon my businesses – first in 2012, then in 2015. Recently they approved a new law, Article 13 of the new copyright law. This article will probably bury my business completely. I won’t be able to do basic things that everyone outside of the EU takes for granted. I will not be able to promote my illustrations and designs, I won’t be able to share links, etc. I’ll be literally living behind a virtual Iron Curtain.

The craziest thing is that the same lawmakers who passed the law, are the ones who don’t understand what will the law cause. They want to punish and control big companies, but they don’t care that they’ll sacrifice people like me along the way.

I’m just a collateral damage, and so is freedom of speech. Freedom of speech won’t exist in the post-Article 13 world, but you won’t hear about it because we’ll be gone – disconnected like the citizens of China. The purpose of sites like YouTube or Pinterest directly conflicts with Article 13. Social media as we know it can’t exist in the post-Article 13 EU. Parody cannot exist in the European Union, satire cannot exist…, therefore freedom cannot exist. I feel doomed.

No Miracles For Me

Though I’m an agnostic, I pray for a miracle. However, I don’t believe that any miracle will come. The only hope I have of living in freedom once again is the fall and dissolution of the European Union. I will pray for that.

The miracle didn’t come for me in 2012. I had to leave the European market to avoid the nonsensical European laws. Then when VAT MOSS law hit my business in 2015, I had to stop doing business with American companies that sell directly to the EU citizens. The only companies that I do business with right now are companies that were based outside of the EU and were able to overtake the bureaucratic burden from me. They are the ones who invoice costumers, pay VAT to EU, etc. I’m just a creator who gets royalties.

I used to be a businesswoman… I used to be able to sell my work directly to my customers. Now I’m someone who’ve never wanted to be an employee but cannot afford to stay self-employed. Thanks a lot, European Union!

I Don’t Care About The Odds of Winning

I’ve already bet everything I had on my business and my freedom, and I won’t go down without a fight. Entrepreneurs all around me are starting to unite against the bureaucratic all-controlling oppression, and I will join them. We were not born to escape the eastern totalitarianism only to be enslaved by the western totalitarianism. I’m from a nation of survivors – I may be losing at the moment, but in the end, I shall prevail.

Filed under: Business, FreedomTagged with: , , , , ,