Jetlagged HQ April Review & May Forecast
This blog post marks the first Jetlagged HQ Monthly Review. Huzzah! I want to keep a tally of monthly accomplishments not just for myself, but also for you to see what the day-to-day operations of a cartoonist are like, in addition to remaining transparent on how I’m utilizing patron funding.
For April I published 13 new cartoons, most of them for the Corona Series. I started off the month with two “old normal” cartoons, but quickly got requests from fans to start cartooning about COVID. As they say, you have to write for the times. Since the second week of April, all of my cartoons have dealt with some aspect of the Corona Virus and so it will continue until we reach a new kind of normal (or are we already there?).
April Showers Bring May…
Also at the beginning of April I saw a large drop-off in my patron support on Patreon. The COVID-19 crisis has people legitimately nervous about their own finances, so I understand why I lost some backing. In response to this, I launched a #SaveJetlagged campaign on social media in hopes to retain and gather a few more patrons to help with the cost of running the comic operations, as well as pad some of my own lacking paycheck from my volatile airline job.
The response was unprecedented. I nearly doubled my patron support and grew my profits by 120%! Having more monthly income helps in my quest to build up Jetlagged enough to start supporting myself from it, relinquishing my dependence on flying. But what really excites me was the outpouring of help and seeing just how many people want me to keep at it. So I will.
One of my goals on Patreon was to reach $750 a month, then I’d start producing a third weekly Jetlagged cartoon on Mondays. I surpassed this goal much quicker than anticipated and soon found myself trying to create more time to toon. The extra workload has actually balanced out my life a bit. Since I wasn’t flying much in April, I could use more of my morning energy, which would otherwise have been reserved for serving Diet Coke on Boeing aircraft, to making fun of serving Diet Coke on Boeing aircraft! So on April 13th I began publishing a third weekly cartoon.
My New Normal
Before COVID, I flew 3-4 days a week, mostly west coast turns. I’d check in around 6 or 7AM, fly to LAX/DEN/SAN/SJC/SMF/LAS then be home by 2 or 3PM. Once home, with what energy I had left, I would cartoon for the next morning. I’d usually be last minute with cartoons since it was tough for me to find time to create a backlog. A lot of my Jetlagged work was done on the weekends and evenings. Then COVID changed everything. By the end of March I was hardly flying, then in April I only flew 2 trips, the rest of my line was pre-canceled. With nowhere to go, I decided to “pretend” that Jetlagged was my full time job. I rose between 5-6AM, made myself a cup of tea, fed the cat, then headed right into my home office and finished a daily cartoon (1-2 hours). Around mid-morning I’d finally have some breakfast, take the cat for a walk (yes, I walk my cat), then head back to the office to check business emails and started crossing off administration tasks for Jetlagged like creating new ads, scheduling for the week out, coming up with new blog ideas (then writing them), responding to fans on social media and on Patreon, working on custom art projects, etc.
Maintaining this schedule M-F allowed me to bank close to 15 extra cartoons, from which now I can pull and schedule out, allowing me more time for other tasks like working on my website and creating more products. I couldn’t have done this without the lack of flying. It got me excited to think that one day I could possibly be cartooning full time.
Another thing I started doing more of in April was blogging. Previously the Jetlagged blog was very sporadic. Writing more blogs really help me make sense of what was happening in the current arena, and also helped me reflect on past hard times, like when I was furloughed in 2010. I titled that blog Furlough Fueled Jetlagged Comic, then later wrote another titled Humor and Hard Times (inspired by an article written about the creator of Pickles, Brian Crane). I wrote both of these mainly for myself, hoping that through them I could pep talk myself into a more positive state of mind. Luckily, and to my astonishment, it resonated with a lot of other people too and I got some great feedback and thanks from readers. Thus encouraged, I’ve decided to continue the weekly blog (published each Wednesday), giving you another bridge into my world.
Lawyering Up with Patron Funds
For April, a lot of the funding I received from my patrons has gone towards building a legal framework for Jetlagged. It’s high time Jetlagged had a legal safety net! A few months ago I received an email from a fan who also just happened to be a copyright lawyer. Kevin and I have been working closely together to get all Jetlagged cartoons registered with the federal government, as well as trademarking Jetlagged Comic. This will safeguard me in the future if any further infringements occur (which they have before) plus help strengthen the foundation on which Jetlagged is growing. Since I don’t foresee myself stopping any time soon, I figured it was time to scale up. So thank you to my patrons for helping me out with this! Other funds went towards maintaining the monthly overhead (mainly the website and email list) along with charitable donations. I’m not quite at a point to start actually paying myself, but hopefully I will be there in the new 6-12 months.
In April I began donating 10% (about $200) of all patron funds into three separate charities; the AFA Disaster Relief Fund, the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund and my own airline’s Employee Assistance Fund. I’m very happy to finally be at a place financially to make monthly donations. The 10% will continue to be a fixed deduction from my monthly earnings. Over time, the charities may change, but for now I will stick with these.
After 10 years of being a line-holder (for you non-airline peeps, that’s like having a set schedule), I’m back on reserve! Today marks day 3 in my first 5-day block of PM reserve (on call from 10AM-midnight). For the next three weeks I’ll then be on AM reserve (on call from midnight-2PM). Needless to say I’m checking my phone A LOT more. Old habits die hard though and I find myself forgetting to bring it with me when I go out into my garden, or leave it in the hall closet forgotten while I fold laundry or practice my violin. Not knowing if and when scheduling is going to call and where they’ll send me, I’ve done the best I could and have my bags packed and ready to go. Until I get a call though, I’ll be maintaining the office schedule I established in April. You might be seeing more toons about being on reserve! If things stay pretty quiet on the flying end, I should be able to pump out 12 new toons this month (3x a week) plus 4 new blogs. Patron Spotlights will continue to be posted every Friday, so stay tuned for 4 new ones.
Some other on-going tasks I hope to tackle this month (time permitting) will be…
- Start outlining my third book
- Create 5-10 new products
- Gain $100 in new monthly patron funding
- Take the online Quickbooks class I bought two months ago
- And last but not least….Keep my sanity!
Thanks for reading and stay safe out there!