Will I last another year as an Indie/Freelance dude?
On this date a year ago I was getting fired from my last job for “Financial” reasons. Happy 1 year of Indie/Freelancing life for me!!
If you’re in the corporate world you’re used to yearly evaluation, at least I was. Now having no boss to report to aside from my wife, I thought it would be a good idea to have a quick look back at 2012, see what I did and what I learned during that first year as Freelancer/Indie developer.
What I did.
Looking back at it I did a bunch…some would even say I was involved in too many things this year. I guess I could have done less and focus more on certain things, but quite frankly I think most thing I was involved in needed to be worked on. Here’s the list.
Freelance contracts: Got to pay the bills
Taking care of the family: This is priority for me. What’s the use of successful if you have no love in your life?
Taking care of the house: Somehow working from home equal doing more cleaning up. You take the Bad with the Good
Taking a business class: Not sure at this point if that one was necessary…the future will tell. Good thing its finished.
Shape Invaders development: My pride and Joy, and after 1.5 years invested in it I want to finish this game.
Tiebreaker Studio community management: I’m not the best at it but, PR has to be started way before the game launched in our case we’re ok. :p
Other personal project development: It’s a personal project I feel can help me bring some money in later. This one had to be worked on. More on that later.
Training: At 41, I’m not getting any younger. I have to stay in shape to be able to keep up at that speed. It also helped me get my mind of the job.
Having a social life: Seeing “real” people and having none Skype discussion is good.
Give Game design class: That one came up late in the year. At this point it takes me a lot more time that expect to prepare all the class material. But I’m investing in the future as next year will be easier once all the class material is done.
Looking at the list only the business class and the game design class is kinda not necessary. Sure I could have stopped training, having a social life, or taking care of the family and house, but I strongly believe that doing these things kept me happy and in good health, which is the most important thing to me. Doing all this, I learned/Realized/Re-learned a couple of new things.
What I Learned.
Have not drawn in years…it’s good to be doing it again.
Charging a lower fee, to get a new client is ok, but at some point you have to charge what you think your worth. So try to charge as close to that amount as soon as possible.
Help people as much as you can. Someday they will help you back.
You can’t expect everyone to share your dream/plan. You have to accept that and move on.
Having an awesome wife that believes in you is invaluable.
I have great In-laws! Thanks Jacques and Denise for all the food.
It’s surprising how going somewhere to work is expensive. If you count gas, the time you go out for lunch, the snacks you buy it adds up to lot and helps balance the budget.
Construct 2, Unity and ASE sprites are awesome software.
I still got some drawing skills.
Completing a game part-time takes a loooong time.
Doing PR is not that easy.
Making a business plan takes a long time…
…but nothing sells more than the actual product.
Preparing class materials also takes a long time.
Sometime helps come from unexpected person.
Site blocking plugins like StayFocusd are life saver.
Writing Blog takes time. (How can people work and Blog at the same time?)
That’s how 2012 went.
The plan for the 2013 stays the same, complete Shape Invaders, launch this new product, continue Freelancing and giving class. Hopefully all this will allow me to generate enough money to stay independent. Otherwise, I’ll have to go get a job…It could be worse, but I’d like to keep it that way.
Thanks everyone for the help and the support.
Many of us have projects we work a few hours a week working on. But often, we lose interest in a project and leave it or shutting it down. If it’s your case the question you mustask yourself is: How can I stay motivated and complete a part-time project?
I am currently developing a game with 3 friends, we call ourselves Tiebreaker Studio. The game is called Shape Invaders, it’s been in development for more than 2 years. Hopefully we will be able to finish it in the next few months. That said, I had developed a few tricks to keep me motivated through all this time and I’d like to share 5 of them with you.
Tip #1. Surround yourself with a good team
Before starting a project, you must be sure to have good teammates. Your friends are not necessarily good teammates. You must know each of them enough to be sure they will put as much effort as you during the various stages of the project. Teammates must have good communication skills and a good understanding of others expectations. As in a couple, the communication is very important in a team. A good team will be able to discuss problems and find solutions quickly. You should also setup some tools to help maintain good communication. In our case, our team has a Wiki, a bug base and we often use TeamSpeak to talk together remotely.
Tip #2. Keep a good pace (good frequency)
It is important to have good routine. You should book a few times during the week to work on your project. What is important is to work each week. You must be consistent and continue to invest efforts again and again until the project is completed. Personally, I often worked the weeknight and Sunday evening. I work when the children are asleep and when my wife listens to her TV series. In this way, I make sure to work a certain number of hours each week without losing quality time with my family.
Tip #3. Be well organized
In the team, it takes a person who is monitoring the project. It takes someone who plays the producer role. However, I do not think this is a full-time job. Using tools such as Jira from Atlassian or Trac from Edgewall Software, it becomes easier to empower every team member to keep their tasks up to date. Thus, monitoring is easier to perform for the person who is the producer. When every tasks are clear and the project planning is well organized, the team can clearly see the progress of the project and remains motivated.
Tip #4. Set goals every week
It is important to give you short-term goals to complete each week. Personally, it keeps me motivated because I set goals that I am capable of achieving. This way, it’s easy for me to see what I’ve done. Be careful, it’s better to attain a smaller goal than to miss normal one. So think small when setting your goal.
Tip #5. Meet from time to time to maintain a good team spirit
Remote working is great when doing a part-time project. It allows each team member to work when they want. However, it is important to stay in touch with all team members. I suggest planning meetings at regular intervals. These meetings allow the project to progress but they serve primarily to solidify the team. Meetings that are fun and productive forge a strong team spirit.
So I hope these tips will be helpful!
Here is a list of the tools we use at Tiebreaker Studio:
- TeamSpeak (http://www.teamspeak.com)
- Confluence (http://www.atlassian.com/software/confluence)
- Jira (http://www.atlassian.com/software/jira/overview)