1039
8 min 1 sec

Animator Re-Animates His Income Selling Graphic Kits

When a Los Angeles based animator looks to pay off his mortgage faster, he gets things in motion creating toolkits for other animators.
Niche Ideas Passive Income Product Retail Unique Ideas

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What It's About

An animator launches his hustle into action, monetizing his motion graphics.

Business Model
Product
Skills Required
Design & Marketing
Complexity
Medium
Profit Potential
High

Words of Wisdom

Peter discovered an unconventional way to market his products, "Funny is Money! I decided to think about an anti-marketing campaign to sort of mock the product. I found that self-deprecation was really fun to work with and as a result, I got some really good reactions from folks on social media and blogs."

Fun Fact

When Walt Disney created the first animated film in 1928 he did it with only two animators who hand drew cells. In 1995, Toy Story, the first computer animated movie, took 27 animators working exclusively on computers.

Notes from Chris

Episode 1039

Peter Quinn is a proud resident of Los Angeles. While the cost of living is high, the weather and job opportunities more than make up for it. Luckily for him, he was able to grab one of those opportunities a couple of years ago.

He’s currently the director of motion design, animation and photography at Dollar Shave Club. He gets to make funny promotional videos for ads on Facebook and Instagram everyday. He also animates anything else the company needs. Before this role, Peter worked in a range of different animation and design roles for companies, agencies, and sometimes freelance.

By his own admission, his job is pretty cool. But like any job, it has its downsides. Much of Peter’s work is repetitive and he doesn’t have a lot of autonomy over what he works on, when he does it, or how it looks. In fact, often an animation will need to be repeated over and over again in different videos. This can can be demotivating for designers.

Over the years he learned to be as efficient as possible. A big part of this was using predefined animations in Adobe After Effects—a popular software program for animators. These effects are loaded up whenever they’re needed, and can save him minutes or even hours per video.

As he added more and more predefined animations to his repertoire, his workflow sped up significantly. Eventually, Peter even created a huge inventory of effects that replicated the user interfaces on movies like Minority Report and Iron Man.

After a couple of years, he’d built up hundreds of time saving animations. Around the same time, he made the biggest financial commitment of his life: he took out a mortgage to buy a home.

Staring into a thirty-year financial commitment terrified him. He decided to explore ways that he could make money on the side, with the goal of paying down that mortgage faster and getting his freedom back a little sooner.

He instantly thought of his animation toolkit. He figured since it was so useful to him, there must be other animators out there who could benefit from it. So, with the help of a programmer, he packaged up all the animations into a software plugin for Adobe After Effects.

He was already familiar with the site AEScripts.com, a marketplace for people to buy and sell custom After Effects software products. AEScripts had a built-in audience, so it was a no brainer to try and sell his kit there.

In order to stand out from the crowd, Peter made a humorous video to sell the product. In it, he mocked the mundane parts about animating and poked fun at himself. He hoped people browsing the site would enjoy the video and be enticed to purchase.

He called his product pack PQ FUI Toys—pronounced foo-eee! Aside from his time, which he’d already spent on the job, his startup costs were practically zero. Within days, Peter had made his first sale of many.

It would have been easy to stop there, but Peter went back to the drawing board instead.

Once again he looked at the requirements of his day job for another product idea. He realized he spent a lot of time looking and creating textures, something all animators need. For example, to animate wood, a designer doesn’t have to draw every pixel. Instead, they apply a texture file to the animation which adds the effect for them.

Finding good textures was difficult, and almost always expensive. Peter saw another opportunity, and began designing his second product.

Using a high quality camera, he spent months taking pictures of different types of textures: concrete, timber, cardboard and anything that looked interesting. By the end, he had one hundred and sixty unique texture files. He packaged them up into his next product, PQ Grit Kit.

All these strategies have done incredibly well for Peter so far. In 2018 he made $34,000 selling his PQ kits. For 2019 that number is already at $40,000. PQ Grit Kit has sold over fifteen hundred copies and PQ FUI Toys over twelve hundred.

For now, Peter is still working his day job and plowing all his additional income onto his mortgage. He believes he can pay the whole thing off in as little as eight years instead of thirty. When that’s done, Peter can start designing his next act.



MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

  • peterqu.in: Checkout Peter's moving work at his website.
  • Dollar Shave Club: When Peter's not side hustlin he's producing content for his main hustle.
  • Learn more about Adobe After Effects, the software Peter uses to create his products and AEScripts.com, a market place to sell these types of digital goods.

SEE ALSO:

Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,

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Quote of the Day
"Try to solve a real world problem, however niche, and work hard to improve or fix it."
—Peter Quinn #SideHustleSchool

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To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau