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“I like making things happen, creating things. I learned early on how much more I could get done by putting together an amazing team”

Brian Wyrick, editor and publisher of Robot Paper, and partner in an interactive agency (“That’s my day job,” he says) is one busy man. Speeding along the highway between Indianapolis and Nashville, Brian talks about the comic book business that may not pay all the bills, but occupies a large place in his heart. Indeed, the small creative company now in its third year shows all the signs of a burgeoning success.

It’s a high–wire act, but Brian, a former graphic designer turned entrepreneur appears to have the brains, dedication, and initiative to make it work.

How does he do it? Brian likes jumpstarting things, but understands the power inherent in delegating and teamwork: “I like making things happen, creating things. I learned early on in my career how much more I could get done by putting together a team of people who were better at things than I am.”

And he knows how to overcome self–doubt and to ask for help, even when he’s uncertain of the response. This kind of overreaching of limitations is what makes dreams come true.

Robot Paper began with a leap of faith, when Brian’s high school friend Jamison Raymond pitched a comic book idea to him. The unique idea for a comic about henchmen grabbed Brian and soon turned into a reality with Jamison as Henchmen’s writer and Brian managing the business. They found artist Ryan Howe, who did all the artwork for the book, and got started.

Henchmen Comics
Each story in the Henchmen comics is its own issue, and all of them are complied into a collected edition book.

No stranger to business, Brian started using LivePlan to map out the project and launched a Kickstarter campaign in March of 2013.

Through Kickstarter, a fundraising platform for creative enterprises, they raised enough money to hire a different artist for the cover of each issue. Then Dave Dorman, renowned fantasy illustrator, agreed to do the cover of their first issue. Bingo!

The following April, just two years later, the first of a six–issue Henchmen mini–series officially hit the stores, and a collected edition has since been published. Next it will be time to figure out their capital needs, see where their cash is, and decide whether to go back to Kickstarter for another fundraiser.

It’s a fast paced, time–consuming business with a small profit margin. It’s also a labor of love. “You’ve got to stay up an extra hour sometimes when you want to go to bed, to proof the files so you can get them to the printer in time to get to the stores.”

No stranger to business, Brian started using LivePlan to map out the project and launched a Kickstarter campaign in March of 2013.

But the highs in a creative enterprise like Robot Paper justify the stress: “When the books arrive from the printer, there's something just amazing about cutting open the first case of books and seeing them and feeling them and smelling the smell of the printed page. I don't know. That ink smell, it's kind of amazing.”

“It's the same smell you get when you walk into a comic book store. But it's extra because these are all your books that you made. They're finally done and they're here and you have that moment when you realize, all right, that issue's done and the next issue's at the printer and now I've got to go sell these. That's always a fun moment; usually followed by trying to figure out where the hell you're going to store them...”

Henchmen Comics
Brian Wyrick is a former graphic designer, an editor and publisher of Robot Paper, and a partner in an interactive agency.

What makes Brian and Robot Paper run? “I think the secret to doing the things I’ve done really comes down to just doing them. I learned early on that you don’t have to do it all and knowing when to ask for help and when to just get it done is important.”

Brian is a great believer in establishing the business entity early on because that adds credibility to outreach.

“I always start with financials, probably because it's the hardest thing. It's the source of truth about whether the ideas you have are going to be profitable.”

A big piece of his success he attributes to LivePlan, along with a few other online tools that help him stay focused and organized.

“I love jumping into the financials and testing all the assumptions. That's where LivePlan is super helpful. It's a great tool just to figure out what your capital needs are. If you're self–funding or if you're going to go out and shop around to find an investor or a bank or whatever. That, to me, is a super easy tool.”

“It's funny,” he says, “I make business plans for fun now. If I have an idea, I always start with financials, probably because it's the hardest thing. It's the source of truth about whether the ideas you have are going to be profitable. Do people really want another comic book or do they really want another photo-editing iPhone app.”

Henchmen Comics
The cover artwork is done by renowned illustrator Dave Dorman.

“The best advice I can give is to make your business plan as conservative as possible while entertaining the idea of success. I would recommend that anyone who’s thinking about funding a business and about using a tool like Kickstarter, or raising funds in a traditional manner, or self-funding a project, to use a tool like LivePlan to figure out what your reality is from the cash perspective so you don’t end up burning through all your cash and putting yourself out of business. The thing that’s great about LivePlan is how you can go back in and adjust for whatever your scenario is.”

“The best advice I can give is to make your business plan as conservative as possible while entertaining the idea of success.”

Other favorite tools include “good old Google” for research. Google apps for stats. Quickbooks Online “for all of the businesses that I’ve been involved in and started, and projects I’ve worked on.”

“I think LivePlan and Quickbooks complement each other really well. We use Salesforce.com, as well, for our CRM and for business reporting. Evernote, for saving emails or things I find on the Internet for future reference.”

For his cyber secretary, Brian uses Apple’s Reminder app on his computer, phone, and iPad a lot. “That’s where I live in my list of things to do.”


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