I got this from a book by Harvey Mackay Beware the Naked Man Who Offers You His Shirt. It’s an old book, but it mentions this formula for success (I read the Finnish version so not totally sure if these are the exact words, but the same idea is there):
Not sure if this formula is 110% solid and covers everything necessary, but I feel that it indeed has many – if not all – the important aspects for success. Many of you readers mentioned that you are risk takers which in my books means you guys have courage.
If I think of all the rest of the elements, I realize that can ask myself a series of questions:
Is my business focused? Am I determined? How is my goal setting?
Then, I can start thinking of how to create a more focused business? How to become a better goal setter and more determined?
Terribly simple questions, but answering each of them can have a huge impact on me I believe.
Spotted this from Techcrunch. Financial Times run a story about a French entrepreneur. It’s an excellent article which has valuable information for any entrepreneur – whether you are making games or not.
Look what Le Meur has to say about competition:
“I tell business school students you should respect your competitors. I always meet them, and if Iâ€™d criticised France Telecom, I would never have sold them the company.”
Here are his ten rules for success.
Donâ€™t wait for a revolutionary idea. It will never happen. Just focus on a simple, exciting, empty space and execute as fast as possible
Share your idea. The more you share, the more you get advice and the more you learn. Meet and talk to your competitors.
Build a community. Use blogging and social software to make sure people hear about you.
Listen to your community. Answer questions and build your product with their feedback.
Gather a great team. Select those with very different skills from you. Look for people who are better than you.
Be the first to recognize a problem. Everyone makes mistakes. Address the issue in public, learn about and correct it.
Donâ€™t spend time on market research. Launch test versions as early as possible. Keep improving the product in the open.
Donâ€™t obsess over spreadsheet business plans. They are not going to turn out as you predict, in any case.
Donâ€™t plan a big marketing effort. Itâ€™s much more important and powerful that your community loves the product.
Donâ€™t focus on getting rich. Focus on your users. Money is a consequence of success, not a goal.
I really recommend reading the full article – it contains more valuable advice.
“You can accomplish anything, if you don’t care who gets the credits”.
I don’t know who originally said this, but I’m sure he doesn’t mind not staying anonymous.
Do you need to get credits for what you’ve done? It’s quite strange, but if you don’t – then you actually can accomplish much more than if you do.
Anyway, consider this. If you work for some boss, and let him use your ideas compared to somebody who always makes sure he must be acknowledged. The next time things get rough, your boss will prefer you (who give him ideas – and don’t care about the credits) over to the other guy (since he doesn’t give boss ideas). Putting others before yourself can be helpful for yourself.
That was a quite simple example – but that’s the way it can go. If you don’t care who gets the credits, you can accomplish much: and be remembered as a helpful guy.
It’s quite interesting how differently people can measure success. I believe many people would say that making loads of money must be a sign of success. Others might think making a famous game must be a sign of success.
I personally think that success should be measured like belt ranks in martial arts. If somebody has a black belt, it doesn’t mean that he is a better fighter than somebody with a green belt. Having a black belt means this guy has finished certain steps and trained so long that he now carries a black belt. Black belt cannot be compared with another guy. It’s only compared to person’s own past.
When I produced very simple puzzle game Highpiled in 21 hours, I was really pleased with it. For me that was a success. Somebody might think that’s not a big deal, and somebody else might think that’s a great thing. For me other’s opinions on whether it’s a success or not really doesn’t matter: for me it’s success and period. Seeing the game featured in PCZone strengthened this feeling.
It’s okay to compare your results with others – that’s one part of the fun. It’s good to check out how well others are doing and get inspired by them. That’s perfectly fine. Comparison to others is good when it inspires you and makes you reach your own goals. But even then, you should measure success from your point-of-view alone.
It’s like in martial arts. If you see a black belt guy doing a nice kick, take that as an inspiration and make your goal to do a similar (or better) kick. Whether the black belt guy can do the kick or not shouldn’t say anything about your success. Only by comparing what you do today with what you’ve done past you can tell about success. When you’ve expanded your own limits and reached your own goals – you can say you are successful.
I’ve been given suggestions to “create a business plan”, “have vision” and “make SWOT analyses” among hundred other things they teach at schools. Some people have asked me about what “a proper business plan looks like”.
I’ve created business plans that had nice charts displaying profits and nice numbers showing sales forecasts and all that stuff. There was “company vision” and that stuff they ask you to write. I have written lengthy business plans for games in the past. While the plans looked nice, that’s pretty much as far as I got with them. They were nice, but they didn’t quite turn in like I wanted.
Then I decided to create a much shorter business plan. It looks pretty same as what I saw at South Park. There was an episode where The Underpants Gnomes had a three-phase business plan, consisting of:
While in the show it was a joke, I unconsciously decided to use a similar plan:
I decided to do what I enjoy most: I decided to produce games and write about producing them. I decided to dream big and made a goal for having tens of thousands of people seeing my work (now I’m visioning hundreds of thousands seeing my work) and earn income doing this. I did some background research first before I started, but basically I just started working on what I enjoyed most.
I didn’t worry about how I would reach my goals. I didn’t know what I need to do to make profit, I just decided to do what I love and forgot the how part for now. I thought I would learn while as I go. I decided to do something every day and work on my goals.
That’s what I also suggest you to do: simply take a goal in the area of what you love to do, and start working on it. Sooner or later you’ll get good at it and will see profit if that’s what you aim. If you like designing games – then make your goal to make a living designing games. If you like programming, then set a goal to make a living programming games. Forget the “is it possible” or “how can I do that” for now, and simply take the first obvious step.
Set a goal, and every day take step to reach that goal.
About one year after starting this blog so I had about 15,000 monthly unique visits on this blog. Last month (about 6 months later) the site got over 36,000 unique visits. As you can see, the site visitor stats are going up. It has taken time to reach this point, but the growth is getting speed. It takes time to accelerate, but it’s going nicely.
Some people do a horrible mistake when they see no growth: they give up and don’t realize that the growth might be happening tomorrow. Some people keep going for one year (or two years) and not seeing the results they like, so they give up and quit. Little they realize that if they had kept going for one more month (or one more year), their business could have grown exponentially.
Dramatic growth requires patience and a mindset to keep going towards your goal no matter what. Don’t make the worst business mistake when something is not working. It requires the success attitude that makes you ask: How can I make this work?
I encountered one guy who was pondering how to market his website without spending much money. I suggested a contest and his first respond “I can’t afford that”. Basically he was limiting his options in the first meters – without even considering how he could arrange the contest. This type of attitude is much different from for example what one friend of mine has.
He was recently dealing with a small technical problem and asked my advice on the matter. It was a situation where 2 technical solutions couldn’t be easily used together. Anyway, instead of picking one solution he asked me:
How can I get both?
Notice how different approach this is to solving problems. Instead of saying “I can’t afford that” one can simply ask: “how can I afford that”. The problem solving attitude requires one to focus on ways to reach what he wants – not to state something cannot be done.
Jake introduced me The Secret movie (that comes with English subtitles, but not Finnish – at least for now). The product is all about the secret that all the famous and successful people in the world have used to reach their success – either consciously or unconsciously.
I had read about The Secret, and after reading book reviews and comments in the net (and after seeing some marketing material) I saw some very rough statements. Some people were praising it while some others were disgusted. I became very skeptic and thought that it would be pure “new age” stuff. I was very close to drop the item totally from my list (although I was still thinking whether to get it or not), when suddenly Jake approached me and suggested a deal that he would give me the DVD free, and in exchange I would write about the DVD if I liked it. I told Jake that I suppose that’s fine, although I replied that I would give my honest opinion about the product – whether it was bad or good. And no, I’m not getting any pennies from sales or from writing this post after getting the DVD.
I watched the movie, and turned out that I enjoyed watching it. There were some “new agey” stuff and some “facts” were perhaps bit misleading, but the whole idea of The Secret is something I’ve heard in many other places and something that successful people have used. I believe I’ve unconsciously used The Secret to grow my website and business. Napoleon Hill (in his book Think and Grow Rich) talks about exactly the same things, although he is not taking so “spiritual” approach, like they perhaps do in the movie. While some of the stories and ideas presented might seem too “spiritual” or “religious”, I’ve always believed that the outcome is what matters. It’s like driving your car: who cares if it’s spiritual forces or the fuel that gets the car going, as long as you reach your destination. Any help that can make you reach your destination is appreciated.
I think that for many realistic people, The Secret might look like “trashy new agey crap they sell to poor individuals who believe in wishy-washy things”.
Might be. But I also think that realistic people might keep doing the same thing they’ve done forever. Realistic people didn’t get us to the moon – it was those guys who went there even when everybody else was saying “it’s impossible”. Realistic people will be first to tell you that you cannot make a living as an indie. There’s lots of things “realistic” people “know” that “cannot be done”. And I suppose that’s true for them, the rest of us will go to another direction. For those others who want inspiration, motivation and help to become more successful (in the gaming business or other areas of life), I recommend buying the DVD and watching it with an open mind.
For those who are skeptical, I recommend buying the DVD anyway – because Jake is a nice guy and if you buy the DVD from him, you are also supporting an indie game developer. Besides: The Secret is one of the best selling products in the world, and by simply looking what they’ve done you can learn a lot about marketing. They are cross-selling, they are promoting, they are using curiosity to drive sales, they are using affiliates, they are using testimonials, true stories and much more. The Secret in itself is a great lesson from marketing, if you want to look it from that perspective.
The more I thought about it, the better I understood that ‘time’ was not actually a problem. I personally thought that one of my biggest problems is ‘time’, but I realized that it’s not actually the problem.
I was reading Rich Dad, Poor Dad 2 (fine book by the way) and noticed a sentence that was related to this challenge. Even when you have little time to use, this one tip applies. I think that the difference between a successful person and a non-successful person is this: “it’s what they do in their spare time”.
Think about it a bit. We all have our hobbies and interest, but in the end it’s not ‘time’ that is problem for us. It’s how you use that time. It’s easy to take a beer and sit on a sofa watching TV. It’s easy to find time and go out with friends. It’s easy to find time for fun hobbies. It’s easy to surf in the net rather than working on your project. And yet we keep saying that ‘time is my problem’. I’m not saying you should abandon everything else in your life and just concentrate building your business or working on your game – that would be quite stupid actually. I’m simply saying that you can find time, if you really want.
It all boils down to the ability to delay gratification. It’s the ability to concentrate on what’s important and where you want to go. That’s the solution.