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Make Things Make Money: The Business of Illustration and Lettering

Lesson 2 of 29

Moving Beyond Trials and Tribulations

Dina Rodriguez

Make Things Make Money: The Business of Illustration and Lettering

Dina Rodriguez

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Lesson Info

2. Moving Beyond Trials and Tribulations

Lesson Info

Moving Beyond Trials and Tribulations

[Dina Marie Rodriguez] Let's talk about failure. You're going to fail. You're probably going to fail alot. But it's not about how you fail, it's about what you do after you fail. Because it's one thing to just keep making mistakes, it's another to know how to learn from those mistakes. So, this is my avoid failure checklist. Now I want you to go ahead and look at yourself while you're looking at these points. Have you started a business? Have you created a product or a brand and it failed? Why did it fail? Was it just because you weren't good enough? I doubt it. Maybe you weren't really enjoying what you were doing. Maybe you were doing the thing that I was doing, You were listening to everyone else tell you what you wanted, but you weren't really being true to yourself. Maybe you didn't have a long game mindset. Maybe you were just like "in it foe tha monaay!" and it wasn't really working out the way you wanted. Maybe you didn't have a base audience yet. If you create a product or ser...

vice, and there's no one around to see it, does it really exist? If no one knows about you or where to look for you, how do you expect to get sales in the first place? You can't just "okay, I'm gonna make a product and then create an audience", no no no no! You gotta work on your passion, build that audience, and then build a brand and then sell products. Now, why would you spend money you don't have? Right? We always want you guys to start cheap and simple. Because people are always like, "okay but you need to spend money to make money" No! You need to make money to spend money to make money. I don't want you guys going broke when launching these businesses of yours. I want you to work smart so that way you don't have to go bankrupt in your first year of business. I want you guys to give yourself goals, not just goals, but action items so that way you can check in with those goals to make sure they're working. Whether that's a quarterly check-in or a yearly check-in, where you actually look at analytics for different social media platforms, maybe Google analytics, to see what's working and what doesn't, 'cause you always want to keep on doing what's working and then don't waste your time with the things that aren't, even if you really enjoy it, if other people aren't resinating with you, you need to be able to move on to something that can. Last thing is get educated. This is why you're here right? You guys are getting educated! Instead of you hiring someone else to do it for you, you're taking your best tool which is your time, to learn this new trade, to go ahead and explore using articles, videos, tutorials, classes to be able to grow your skill set. You guys are doing the right thing already. Now if you guys do decide to purchase this class, I hope you do (giggles) You guys wil actually be able to get these slides, and a bunch of resources to help you more personally achieve your goals for your freelance business. So, we've gone over our failure checklist, now is there any of these that you relate to? Have you ever failed? Not just write these down, but write down how it effected you. Okay? So I'll give you guys a couple of minutes, if you have failed I want you to really write it down. Because the best way we learn is when we can tangibly hold a pen and put it to paper and write some stuff down. Now I've had two failed business guys. So I started an apparel company, It was called hipster ketchup. I really liked hot sauce, M.P.R. said sriracha is the new hipster ketchup, and the brand was born (laughs) So I was creating major pipe, pop icons and putting like hipster mustaches and the big old glasses on them, and I was really excited, it was one of those shiny object syndrome kind of moments where you see someone else doing all these cool T-shirts and you're like "I can do that too right?!" And you just drop everything and just I'm going to go for it. But, so I was enjoying what I did, I liked making T-shirts, cool, but I didn't have a long game mind set. I also didn't have any sort of goals, or base audience. Now you're starting to get why I didn't quite make it that first time. I wasn't starting cheap, I went ahead and I paid someone to design my website, I got letter-pressed business cards, first of all, letter-pressed business cards are like $800.00 for 100 cards, just to give you like an idea, where you can just go to Kinkos and get like $20 pack and get like couple thousand, just throwing that out there. 'Cause I was like hey all these other people are using products like Mama Sauce to do their printing, and I want to be like these people. But I wasn't making enough money to be able to right off those expenses. And I wasn't really getting educated. And I didn't have any goals. So a lot of these things would go unchecked, the only thing I had checked was I enjoyed it. Now this business crashed and burned in only six months. I spent, oh gosh, thousands of dollars buying huge orders of T-shirts, the packaging, all the things that go into creating a product, but I didn't have an audience, and I didn't make a lot of sales, and it was one of the biggest mistakes, and I had just graduated college, and now I had even more debt on top of student loan debt, and Full Sail aint cheap, that's like a hundred thousand dollar school. So I was starting to feel that drowning sensation. But I picked myself up, but I didn't really learn from my mistakes. I moved on, but I didn't look back before I did. Next business, this might be something a little more relatable to some folks. I started my first freelance business. When I graduated from college I had a brand called Dina Marie Creative. Not a very creative name, my name is Dina Marie Rodriguez, good job (laughing) and I was doing jack-of-all-trades designer, I was doing print design, branding, publishing illustrations, I was doing literally everything, if you needed to move pixels around, I would do it. Now, I wasn't enjoying what I did. I was just doing it because everybody else seemed to be doing it. If you went to a graph-designers website it said they did all these services and more, and I wanted to be like that all inclusive agency, but with a freelancer I thought that would be valuable. But I didn't actually like it. Now all these other things were checked, but I didn't enjoy it. Now notice the difference: the first one I only enjoyed it. The last one I did all of this work, I had a little bit of an audience, I gave myself goals, I was taking classes, I love Creative Live, a couple of these classes were from Creative Live, I started cheap, I learned the whole letter press business card probably wasn't the best idea, and I had a little bit longer of a game mindset. I wasn't just looking to get in and get out and make a buck, I was trying to think of, well how will this effect my business two years from now, five years from now, I'm starting to think a little bit smarter. But, I didn't like it. So it failed. And I was a little sad. I had a big audience. To be able to tell people I was closing up shop isn't the best feeling. But, I picked myself up, and this time I looked back before I did it, and realized you need to have all of these boxes checked, you can't just have two out of six, not 60%, a 100% in order for it to work for you.

Class Description

Do you have a passion for drawing and dream of turning it into your next full-time gig? Hand lettering artist and commercial illustrator Dina Rodriguez will show you how to create a career doing what you love. Dina shares lessons learned from her path to becoming a successful freelance artist–so you can grow your business without wasting your time or resources trying to get there.

In this class, Dina covers: 
  • Honing your craft through passion projects and social media 
  • How to attract clients through your online presence 
  • Three ways to make money for your business: Commercial Work , Commissions, and Products 
  • Creating a process that will get you the job every time 
  • How to charge what you're worth
She’ll provide detailed strategies, new ways to repurpose your work, and talk about planning for the future. After this class, you’ll know how to create a successful career and skip all that nasty trial-and-error.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Make Things Make Money Keynote

Make Things Money Money Resource Guide

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes



Wow! This class was fantastic! Dina did a great job at providing relevant information that I can use right away. I was particularly impressed at how she was able to explain licensing and royalties, she really broke it down into easy to understand pieces. I think this course would be a great foundation for any artist/freelancer but I liked the focus on lettering and illustration. Creative Live must convince Dina to provide more classes!

Elizabeth Matzen

This class is full of excellent information, and Dina did a great job covering everything from building a webpage to working with clients. She has a engaging delivery style, presented the information in a succinct and well-organized manner, and the pace of the course was perfect - not too slow! I highly recommend this course to anyone who wants to start or boost their creative business - great info!

Sharnika Blacker

Awesome class! Inspired and excited to improve my business with the processes and knowledge gained. Thank you Dina!!