The Indie Game Dev Myth: The Single Biggest Reason To Failure

When Game Devs Go Indie, They Don't Realize This Big Problem...

Do you know the biggest cause of failure in indie game development?

It'll give you a hint: it's not lack of talent in programming, art, or not having a good game idea. It's not even lack of marketing or having money or not having enough game sales.

The real reason to failure is something that you've never thought of before.

It's called the "Indie Game Dev Myth". It's where most indie game devs believe that once they quit their job, and they're on their own, they get to work on programming, art, music, theme, mechanics, or whatever they want for 100% of the time.

But let me show why this is a myth, and why it leads to failure. Then I'll show you 7 ways on how to avoid this failure.

Do You Want To Be a Game Developer or a Business Owner?

That's the myth: that once you go off on your own, you'll spend 100% of your time developing. But the reality is, is that you'll spend about 70% to 80% of your time being a business owner.

Emails, customer service, hiring, managing people, finance, accounting, content creation, marketing, public relations, updating social media, answering to complaints...

...these are what you'll spend 70% to 80% of the time doing. And maybe, just maybe, you'll have time to sit down and code or develop all day.

But those days will be rare. Those days where you can sit and just program, develop, create art, think of ideas will be sukced up by other business responsibilities.

Oh, and hiring people to handle some of your tasks means MORE work. Another myth is that hiring people will reduce your business stuff. But the reality is, now you have to manage those people. You can hire a manager, but now you're getting into "big business problems".

Ok, all of these problems can will be solved if you attract a big publisher who will take care of all the business stuff for your.

But what if that doesn't happen?

That's the question most game devs face once they go on their own: do they want to be a game dev or a business owner? Is your strategy to attract a publisher?

So, why does this lead to failure and what can you do about it?

Why The Indie Game Dev Myth Leads To Failure

Most game devs love what they do. It's probably better for them to stay at a company because then they can spend 100% of their time doing what they love doing.

They don't have to worry about getting customers... they don't have to worry about finance and accounting... they don't have to worry about paperwork... they don't have to worry about admin work.

All that is taken care of when they work for a company.

But the minute they step out on their own, these game devs realize that it's not fun anymore. They quit indie game dev too soon because they didn't realize they have to play another role: business person.

They fail because they don't understand how to handle this new challenge. They don't want have to spend 70% of their time doing business stuff.

But there is a way to overcome this challenge.

So, if you want don't want to fail as an indie game dev, then I've put together 7 ways to help you overcome these challenges .

So, here's exactly what to do...

7 Unique Ways To Overcome Challenges as a Business Owner of Video Game Development Company

1. Business Is An Easy Skill To Learn

Business isn't hard to learn. It's like any other skill. You have put in the time, sure. But having a successful business isn't hard.

You've learned how to code, create art, come up with unique themes. You've learned how to combine game mechanics and theme and computer programming to come up with something unique that nobody has made before.

If you can do that, then my friend, business is an easy game to learn.

2. Get To The Magic Number: 3000 Customers a Year

Let's say you sold your indie game to 3000 customers next year. Say you charged, $10. That's $30,000 that year.

Not bad. Most companies LOSE money their first year.

If you think of business this way, it's less daunting. Getting 3000 customers a year is doable. Of course, there's no guarantee. But having a goal of 3000 gamers buying your game is reasonable, and achievable.

3. You're No Longer Just a Game Dev... You're a Business Owner

The minute you decide you own a company, and you're not just a game dev or a freelancer is the day you break the myth.

The myth stops a lot of game dev because they hold on to the idea that once they go indie, that all their problems will be solved... and the road to game development will be a lot easier because they aren't shackled to a boss or a company.

Then they realize that THEIR company are the shackles now. Having this new role as a businessperson is what makes game devs want to quit.

But this isn't true. Having your own business doesn't shackle you.

4. Even Though You'll Have New Responsibilities, You'll Still Have MORE Freedom

Even though I talk about how you'll have to take on new responsibilities now as an indie game dev, it's still worth it.

You still have MORE freedom than you did than when you worked for a boss and a corporation who dictated you on what to do and when.

Having this freedom is addicting. It's what motivates you to work on business stuff you rather not work on. And there are ways to reduce your workload.

When working for a company, you have no choice but to work a lot. But when you own your own games company, you can learn how to reduce your workload without penalty (which you'll learn how to, soon)

5. It's Better To Be Indie and Make Less Money Than Being Tied To a Job Making More

Another reason being an business owner of a indie game dev company is addicting is the money.

And it's not how much money... it's more about the achievement.

Your first game sale will be the greatest accomplishment you've ever made. A $5 sale feels a lot more valuable than a steady paycheque from some company.

You tell yourself, "Hey, if I can make 5 bucks, maybe I can make 50?" When you make $50, you'll ask, "maybe I can make $500...or $5000?".

It's addicting.

6. Automate Your Admin Tasks So You Have More Time To Develop Your Indie Game

I mentioned that 70% of your time will be doing business stuff. Is there a way to reduce that? Is there a way to manage that so you're doing admin work all day?

Yes. What you'll realize is that, most of what you'll be doing is trying to SELL your indie game. Marketing, promoting, answering emails, answer social media, creating content, making videos, writing blogs, podcasts.

All this is to help you SELL your indie game. And of course, when you start selling, you'll have admin work like taxes, keeping sales records, finance, and other record keeping admin work.

You can hire people, sure. But that adds more work.

When you start making profits, your money should go into finding ways to automate your tasks.

What I use to do is, I'd write my own software to automate my tasks. Then when I got too busy, I hired local programmers to build me custom software that solved my challenges.

I'm not talking about robust software programs. I'm talking about simple Java, PHP or Perl programs that automate a lot of my reporting, and admin work.

And I rather give $1200 to a local freelance PHP programmer than buy a $100 software that isn't custom to what I want.

There are ways to reduce your workload: automate your admin work by either learning how to build the software, or hire a programmer.

7. If You Learn How To Market Your Indie Game, You Will Never Fail as A Indie Game Dev

When you own your own company, more effort goes into trying to sell than anything else.

And game devs who work for companies, and want to go indie, don't realize this.

In a company, they are never close to the customer. They develop only a small part of the game. Then that part goes onto the next developer. Then the company takes the product and works to sell it.

But when you become an indie, all that buffers you from you and the customer is gone. It's now just you, your game, and your customer.

There is nobody lining up to buy your game. There is no guaranteed income.

It's just you, your video game, and your customer. This is scary for most indie game devs. And they fail because of this.

But if you want to succeed, then spending time on marketing is worth the effort because it leads to success.


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