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About GEP

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    full time potter / past forum moderator

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  • Location
    Silver Spring, MD
  • Interests
    biking, jogging, cooking and eating, veggie gardening, baseball (Orioles)

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  1. You’re talking about Quickbooks Self-Employed, which is a “lite” version of QB. It’s only $7/month for the first three months, Regular price is $15/month, which is still way more expensive than buying a desktop software.
  2. Not sure if you’re talking about forming an LLC or a corporation, essentially a separate tax entity from yourself. This isn’t necessary in order to deduct all of the expenses of a small pottery business. This can be done by simply adding a Schedule C (or a Schedule C-EZ) to your personal tax return.
  3. Oh wow, thanks! A few years ago Intuit announced that Quickbooks Mac 2016 would be their last Mac version, and they would stop supporting it in 2019. I guess they changed their minds. I had to call Intuit for another issue recently. They lectured me about my software being out and date and unsupported. They urged me to migrate to the online version. He never mentioned a current desktop version was available. Grrrr, That’s another reason to dump them if possible.
  4. First of all, congrats on making $2500 in pottery sales last year! And yes you have to pay taxes for the income. For IRS purposes, you don’t need to register as a business, you can file as a sole proprietor, which means the pottery income will be part of your personal tax return. Use a Schedule C to report all of your income and expenses from the pottery. If your records are simple enough, you can use a Schedule C-EZ. You said your sales were on Etsy, did you make any sales within your own state? Then you also need to collect and file sales tax for your own state. Put this on your to-do list for 2020: get a sales tax license. Depending on your state, you may need to register as a business entity within your state in order to get a sales tax license. But this is separate from the IRS and income taxes.
  5. I second everything Callie said. Once a month sounds like a good pace to me too. I send an email announcing every show, which is 10 to 12 per year, which roughly the same pace. I try to be consistent and concise with the content of my emails. Nice photo of recent work, show name/dates/times, my booth number. Maybe a quick blurb about the show. And a link to my website for the rest of my show schedule (always the most-often clicked link in my campaigns). If I have two or three shows on consecutive weekends, I’ll write all the emails in one sitting, and schedule their future send dates on Mailchimp. Love that feature!
  6. Their marketing pitch is “ditch the spreadsheet” so I have no doubt it’s better than using Excel. Probably not better than Quickbooks, except that it’s cheaper, which is nice. My qualm would be that it looks like a startup. I wouldn’t want to have my financial data stored in their online servers, only to have them suddenly go out of business. I don’t like softwares that you have to rent instead of buying. The reason it’s becoming popular is because the software companies make so much more money. I’m still using Quickbooks from 2015. Quickbooks no longer supports this version, and they have since stopped making anything for Macs. The next time I buy a new computer, I’ll need to switch to something else. They are pressuring me to switch to their online software, which I don’t like. (I spent $250 for the software 5 years ago. If I had rented it monthly for 60 months, I would have spent $1500 and counting.) My first choice is for my current Mac to run forever. My second choice is to find a different software that will run locally on a Mac. My third choice is to use an online software, but only if there’s no other option. I would consider CraftyBase at that time, because it is cheaper than Quickbooks. In reading the Craftybase website, I take issue with their pricing feature. Their software helps you figure out your pricing based on COGS and time, which is the absolute backwards way to do it for a craft business. Too many businesses make this mistake. Pricing can only be done by being realistically plugged into the market value of what you’re making. So I would ignore that feature. Maybe use it for analysis only, but not to drive my pricing decisions.
  7. I have a simple handwritten sign that say “Back in five minutes tops!” for when I dash to the bathroom. If I have a friendly neighbor, I will ask them to keep an eye on things while I’m gone, and offer to do the same for them. I would drive home at night. I do one hour commutes sometimes, and it’s not bad. You need to be well-rested and showered to be effective in your booth.
  8. I was once talking to a person who ran an art center that had an exhibition space. He said that for every call-for-entries they issued, they would get piles and piles of applications from people submitting work that was completely unrelated to the subject of the exhibition. They were all academics, looking to pad their CVs by mindlessly applying to every show.
  9. These types of shows have value in the academic world. Having a long list of exhibitions on your CV has value there. Outside of academia, they don’t have much value. Sometimes they can be fun, or feel like a nice feather on your cap, but that’s about it.
  10. I frequently do outdoor shows with no power supply without any battery back ups. A fully charged phone or iPad will last one whole day of processing credit cards, plus occasional emailing/texting. Even if the show day is 10 hours long. Just don’t be surfing the web all day. Be stingy about checking weather maps, only when you really need to. Be diligent about charging everything up at night. Remember, simple is better. Learn how to work with as little gear as possible,
  11. Good job, Liam! That sounds like a very smart next step. I agree with Callie that it's time to start collecting email addresses, and building an email list. If you have time to make more pots, rather than making tulip themed pots, make vases that are properly shaped for tulips. Tulip stems are shorter and thick, so the vase needs to be short-ish with a wide mouth. The same form that would work for a utensil caddy. This way, you won't be stuck with tulip themed pots that don't make sense at other shows. Don't think of yourself as a salesperson, think of yourself as the "host" of your booth. Make everyone who comes in feel welcome and comfortable, and glad that they stopped by whether they buy something or not. It's your responsibility to have positive interactions with your customers, not their's. It takes a great deal of energy, especially for three days. You can decompress in the evenings and when the show is over.
  12. This morning’s result, left to right, top zone middle zone bottom zone. All is good here. Thanks for the help everybody! When this is your income, equipment snafus can be stressful.
  13. Shelves. So I can see everything and do an inventory when needed.
  14. Thanks @neilestrick. Now that the kiln is powered on, the millivolts for all three TCs are the same as each other. Though slightly different from your chart. Now reading 13 when the chart says it should be 15. Is this due to the age of the TCs, being about half way through their lifespan? EDIT: I just remembered there is a 25° thermocouple lag. Never mind!
  15. I may have discovered the problem? Upon removing the panel, I found that the red wire of the top thermocouple was not connected. The set screw was not all the way tight. I bet the wire was in the right place and somewhat connected, enough that I didn't get a TC FAIL error. But still faulty at times. Then the wire got pulled out when I opened the panel. All three thermocouples look about the same level of cruddy, appropriate for their age. The top thermocouple is on the left. I don't feel like I need to replace them, at the moment. I'm currently firing the kiln with shelves and cone packs only. If it doesn't fire evenly, I'll replace the TCs after all.
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