Illustrator trying to relocate from Phoenix to Portland, having yet another hare-brained idea of how to raise funds for such a venture. Lots inside. Help!
I'm an illustrator living in the Phoenix metro area for the past four plus years; I've posted before about not being happy here, and have been constantly on the lookout for a way out. Last year I discovered Portland and fell in love with it-- seasons! Trees! Nice people! No 110+ degree summers!-- and coupled with the fact that I know a ton of people there, I've been wanting to move up there mighty bad.
The situation: my good friends are losing one of their roommates, and have a really nice space (with attic studio) that I could move into. The awesome: ~$500 a month including utilities. I have about $200 currently in phone and student loans to pay monthly, so plus cost of food, it's really not bad financially given that it's right near the Pearl. But I know the job market's rough, and with being a freelancer and owing quarterly taxes and the shakiness of the market, well, it's got me a little nervous. On the other hand, I've spent a lot of my life guided by fear due to not having the money to go to college, grad school, etc. I'm kind of tired of shutting those doors and wanting to take a risk. I currently have a part time job in a little grocery store, but picking up more hours isn't doable right now and there aren't many jobs near me (and unfortunately I don't drive). I'm nervous that I can't raise the money on my own in the next five months, though I'm starting to look into selling some of what I own and perhaps doing odd jobs like dog-walking. (any other tips of things to do to raise funds, I'm game to hear, but I have read through the Ask MeFi archives a bunch so I suspect it may be a retread.)
Anyway long story short I was thinking about developing a little subpage of my website that would be devoted to helping raise awareness and money for me to get out there and survive. I'm really inspired by Kickstarter, but I know there's probably very little of a chance that moving me just so I can be happy and around creative friends and grow myself as a creative fits within their scope. But I like the incentive idea, and I can produce things-- that's never a problem really. So I was thinking perhaps there could be a two or three-fold plan- 1), if you have money (multi-tiered, no need for huge donations), you could pledge me and I could then send incentives (screenprints, notebooks, original art, etc-- look Ma, I'm PBS!) that would be special, limited edition things. 2) If you know someone in Portland who could use me for work, whether freelance or full job, you could tell them about me. Others could spread the word, RT, whatever. Social media ensues, and you get the benefit of helping a very self-motivated person not fall on her face when making a big leap.
I don't know if this is weird, or kosher-- I just had the idea this afternoon, and I'm wondering how feasible it is. I don't want to just make something like a tip jar, because I feel like it's something that I will be ridiculously grateful for, and I want to make it up to the people that help me. I'm not looking to get rich, but I just want a cushion to help me feel like if I move there I'm not going to be losing my kneecaps to the IRS come next April.
So in short:
Is this a dumb idea? Do you think people would be willing to help me, even if it's just a buck but you get something from me? Or they can help me find freelance work, or even better, a job interview in Portland? I have a good following online, people definitely really enjoy my illustrations, so I'm hopeful that people will know that helping me will make me a happier and more prolific illustrator and grow my work over the next decade and beyond.
And logistics-wise, how do I do something like that? PayPal? How would the money be counted for tax-purposes? Do I have to register myself as something to be legitimate? It's not a charity obviously. But if I do something like this I want it to be on the up and up, and not get in trouble. Or is there something I don't know about that would be useful for my purposes?
If you've read through all this, I'm really appreciative and would love to hear your thoughts. If you need me to elaborate further or answer specific questions, I'll be happy to. Your help is so awesome. Thanks hivemind!