Changing things up a tiny bit, today, I am going to offer a lesson learned AND a little bit of a musings column.
At the time of this writing, Lagniappe Games is a one-man operation. Yes, I have amazing friends and an incredible wife supporting and encouraging me, but the actual work still falls on my shoulders. So, when I offer advice for others regarding almost any aspect of their little project – it’s not that I think I know everything, I just happen to be stumbling my way through a lot of the same stuff.
Anyway, the point is that I have already been working at this dream for just over a year. I still spend every day reading the blog at Stonemaier Games, The League of Gamemakers, The Cardboard Republic, Today in Board Games, and even Hyperbole Games. I listen to Richard Bliss and Miles Ratcliffe talk about Kickstarter successes and failures. I buy books about small, home-based businesses and marketing that small business. In addition to filling my head with all of this research, I’m still developing, mocking up, and testing my games, finding artists, and doing the graphic design work. AND I’m trying to lay the ground work for properly handling my company’s expenses / income, potential tax issues, and looking out for possible legal issues (Mr. Bliss had a great podcast about one company’s struggle over their game’s name). On top of learning / doing something I have never deliberately (or adequately) accomplished before: networking – which is tough when you can’t go to conventions and board games are nearly dead in your town.
The guys out there who have already been doing this successfully for a while are probably thinking, “Welcome to the club, kid.” Now, I’m not saying that I expected this to be easy – just look at my “Money Motives” post. I do, however tend to look at my performance and knowledge critically. Like, “If I know what to do, why am I not yet doing and succeeding at it?” Plus, with such a huge learning curve and producing games on a fairly limited budget, the extreme amount of time and effort can be frustrating at times.
*Now to the lesson learned* 😉
Just a couple of days ago, I was feeling a bit overwhelmed. Not enough to get a stupid idea like quitting, but enough that I wanted to vent. So, my wonderful wife sat there and listened to me vent about how I REALLY wish I had a business partner to handle some of this load. She loving looked at me. . . and called me stupid. Not really. She did lovingly point out that I had lost perspective. Instead of focusing so hard on the long road still ahead of me, I needed to look back and remind myself of just how far I’ve come. A year ago, I had NO business experience (a little knowledge), no website, I wasn’t contributing to any community, really. I didn’t even have an active role in my career – just coasting along, going to my job, and paying bills. Today, I may not have a Jamey Stegmaier following (4,300 backers for Tuscany) but I have started participating in the community. I have sort-of met a few other designers (online), communicated with and bolstered multiple artists (artists need a little encouraging at times), have 3 games vying for a spot on Kickstarter (still waiting for that art), 8 more waiting in the development process, this blog and website, and I have even *gasp* been able to offer help to a few people on their games and KS campaigns. Considering how much I love helping people and sharing knowledge, that last part was the best. I got to participate! I got to help!
I was being so silly. As she was talking all I could think about was my post about using design journals. At the end, I stated the best benefit was being able to look back on where your game started. Ugh.
There! My advice for this week: stop and reflect. Don’t just compare how little you know and can do know with how far you still need to go. Look back to where you started. You’ll be amazed at how far you’ve come