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Happy 1st year of Indie/Freelancing life.
by Daniel Marcoux on 02/11/13 09:07:00 am   Expert Blogs   Featured Blogs

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The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.

 

 

Will I last another year as an Indie/Freelance dude?On February 8th 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 Freelance Game designer /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 :P
  • 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 2Unity 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. :P

Thanks everyone for the help and the support.
-Dan


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