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INTRO Ready to stop trading time for money

Thaumaturgos

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Nov 3, 2019
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Hello Fastlaners,

There’s a story halfway through Unscripted, about a game designer, that’s very similar to mine. The short version is that my dream was to be an artist in the entertainment industry. It was a tough road through an ultra-competitive field but I’ve made it and currently work as an art manager at a top game studio. Mission accomplished.

But I’ve been thinking. Reading. Seeing more clearly.

Getting paid to draw aliens and robots is a dream job when you’re a 12 year old comic book nerd but, as an adult, it becomes just another treadmill gig. All my 'passion', skill and experience are just making some other guy richer.

So I’ve accepted how the system works and have gotten clear on my priorities. I couldn’t care less about Lambos, designer clothes, fancy homes. I just want my freedom and my time back. I'm ready to stop trading time for money.

That's pretty much what brings me here. Hoping to have some great conversations and learn a lot,

Cheers
 

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Grace Shu

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Hello Fastlaners, I am a new one , a shipping agent in shenzhen , I am glad to meet you all here to learn more business experience from you ,thank you !
 

MJ DeMarco

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Welcome aboard, is there a plan to make it happen? To stop trading one's time for money one needs to create something of value, something that exists separate from you. Any ideas?
 
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Thaumaturgos

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Nov 3, 2019
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Hey MJ, good to hear from you man. And sure, I have some thoughts.

I had to move away from my woman to take the current gig, and the plan was to work here for about a year and then return. So, first step is to move back, which probably means taking another job. Then, I have to commit to a wealth strategy and start building something.


A ‘Medium lane’ approach could work but might still be too slow; I’m not getting any younger and I also have other concerns with this approach. But anyway -medium lane, in my mind, is simply an accelerated version of slow lane or FIRE strategies. Piggy backing of smaller streams of income into larger streams over time. It might look something like this:
  • 9 to 5 money into e-commerce store / micro enterprise
  • Side business money into real estate.
  • Real estate money into index funds.
  • Eventually, a critical mass in funds will generate livable passive income.

A faster strategy might look like:
  • Maybe take a low pressure job. Maybe just a part time job. Maybe do freelance art / game dev. But essentially keep entanglements to a minimum. Because…
  • Majority of time and attention would go towards starting a proper business. Something that can scale and has the potential of providing value to a lot of people or other businesses.
  • Once I tune in the business correctly, I should be able to quit the day job. At that point, it’d be full time into enterprise until I start hitting my milestones.

More extreme, more truly fast lane:
  • Quit my job out right. Move back to my woman. She makes good money and is ok with paying the bills. (I won’t feel good about her paying my way, but this is just a thought experiment for now)
  • Focus all day, every day on learning, researching and pursuing entrepreneurial ventures ‘til something gets traction. Expand on success. Scale up. Optimize.
  • Its high risk. I could bust my a$$ and never get anywhere. Could end up worse than I started. But at least there’d be some chance of finding that gold gumball. And as Cuban said: in business, you only have to be right once.

As for specific business ideas, I have a few. When I thought them through, many of my early ideas didn’t have enough potential to scale. Or would be difficult to automate. Or some other blocker along those lines.

Part of my process is figuring out how to best utilize my weird and pretty specific skillset. Making a game is probably the thing I’m most equipped to actually do. However, the market is literally overrun and I might as well try to become a movie star, in terms of odds of success.

An art training or mentoring business also came to mind. But that’s also a saturated market, like personal fitness trainers. Also, mentoring is too tied into my own time, and aspiring artists are not known for having deep pockets. So I’m avoiding this realm for now, until I can maybe come up with some kind of an angle.

Software or a digital product would be great, for the obvious reasons and for the world wide reach. I’m not sure I have a worthwhile idea here yet, but I’ll work on that.

People are always willing to indulge their children. And bringing smiles to kids faces is not something I'd feel badly about. So I have some ideas for toy / craft products that could potentially work in toy shops, craft stores like Michael’s, as well as Amazon, Target, Walmart, etc.

Solving everyday problems can provide real value to people, as you’ve mentioned. So I’m working on some laundry, kitchen, or pet related ideas.

Also, there are some specific things about the town I’ll be living in that I think can leverage. Marketing the products a certain way there could help me place them locally, giving me a foothold to possibly expand to other markets.

Anyway, I’ll stop rambling. Before any of this can get off the ground, I still have a metric F*ck ton of reading and learning to do about even just the basics. How to prototype these things, how to test if there’s a market for them, how to manufacture cheaply, distribution, etc.

Thanks for reading and I'm more than happy to hear anyone's thoughts.
 

msufan

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People are always willing to indulge their children. And bringing smiles to kids faces is not something I'd feel badly about. So I have some ideas for toy / craft products that could potentially work in toy shops, craft stores like Michael’s, as well as Amazon, Target, Walmart, etc.
This is true and seems to me like perhaps your best starting point. Leverage your art and design talents to create something for children.
 
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Thaumaturgos

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Nov 3, 2019
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This is true and seems to me like perhaps your best starting point. Leverage your art and design talents to create something for children.
Yup, thanks for commenting. This direction, and the particular idea I'm trying to think through, seems most promising at the moment. I'm also imagining that if it starts doing well, I could license an IP at some point.
 

moneytree3006

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Hello Fastlaners,

There’s a story halfway through Unscripted, about a game designer, that’s very similar to mine. The short version is that my dream was to be an artist in the entertainment industry. It was a tough road through an ultra-competitive field but I’ve made it and currently work as an art manager at a top game studio. Mission accomplished.

But I’ve been thinking. Reading. Seeing more clearly.

Getting paid to draw aliens and robots is a dream job when you’re a 12 year old comic book nerd but, as an adult, it becomes just another treadmill gig. All my 'passion', skill and experience are just making some other guy richer.

So I’ve accepted how the system works and have gotten clear on my priorities. I couldn’t care less about Lambos, designer clothes, fancy homes. I just want my freedom and my time back. I'm ready to stop trading time for money.

That's pretty much what brings me here. Hoping to have some great conversations and learn a lot,

Cheers
Hey! Just wanted to stop by and say congrats :) Making it in the arts is a big deal, so make sure you congratulate yourself and give yourself encouragement for coming this far.

I'm also an artist, but a musician. I read Unscripted too and realised I needed to stop trading time for money. This bit really resonated with me "I couldn’t care less about Lambos, designer clothes, fancy homes. I just want my freedom and my time back. "

Anyway wish you all the best of luck! Have a hard journey ahead but you can do it, wooho :)
 

srodrigo

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Making a game is probably the thing I’m most equipped to actually do. However, the market is literally overrun and I might as well try to become a movie star, in terms of odds of success.
Is it that bad? I know it's not easy, but I see game devs making good money every week.
 
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Thaumaturgos

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FASTLANE INSIDER
Nov 3, 2019
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Hey! Just wanted to stop by and say congrats :) Making it in the arts is a big deal, so make sure you congratulate yourself and give yourself encouragement for coming this far.

I'm also an artist, but a musician. I read Unscripted too and realised I needed to stop trading time for money. This bit really resonated with me "I couldn’t care less about Lambos, designer clothes, fancy homes. I just want my freedom and my time back. "

Anyway wish you all the best of luck! Have a hard journey ahead but you can do it, wooho :)
Hey Moneytree,

Yep, It can be difficult to make it as a creative and I don't take for granted that I have a good job. Current pay is decent and I get to make art and talk about art all day.

I just feel that I shouldn't have gone down this road 'til after financial Independence. Then, I could be pursuing my interests on my own terms -wouldn't have to live far away from my girl, could work only on the projects I truly believe in, etc.

Anyway, thanks for the vote of confidence and best of luck to you too !
 

moneytree3006

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May 10, 2019
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Hey Moneytree,

Yep, It can be difficult to make it as a creative and I don't take for granted that I have a good job. Current pay is decent and I get to make art and talk about art all day.

I just feel that I shouldn't have gone down this road 'til after financial Independence. Then, I could be pursuing my interests on my own terms -wouldn't have to live far away from my girl, could work only on the projects I truly believe in, etc.

Anyway, thanks for the vote of confidence and best of luck to you too !
Yeah I can understand that. It must be incredibly difficult to have to live away from your partner, I'm sure that is a motivator in itself.

This is just my opinion, but I feel that artists who truly care about their "art" are always striving to improve themselves and take the quality of their work to the next level. And it sounds like this step for you is a natural progression from the success you have achieved thus far.

I have similar thoughts to I just feel that I shouldn't have gone down this road 'til after financial Independence. In the process of trying to chase my dreams for the past 10 years or so, I accumulated a huge debt due to making a stupid decision to invest in my own art. I only finished paying it off at the beginning of this year. Which left me with 0 life savings. I lost 5 years of my life paying that debt off... so it's difficult not to look back and regret my decisions. But I have decided the best way to look at things is to try to make smart decisions from now on, to improve my future, rather than dwelling on what could have been. Hope you can see things that way too in your own circumstances :peace:
 
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Thaumaturgos

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FASTLANE INSIDER
Nov 3, 2019
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Is it that bad? I know it's not easy, but I see game devs making good money every week.
Hey srodrigo,

I haven’t had time to fully read your thread, but what you’re doing is great. So take my comments with a grain of salt because I’m not trying to stir up doubt –I’ll just explain why I feel it’s not the path for me, personally.

Yes I have some of the tools to make games and of course there’s enormous money in this space. But, for me, it’s more like chasing a dream and less like a viable fastlane strategy.

Like becoming an NBA player, a pop star, or a fantasy novelist, being a game dev is an extremely popular dream and the field is absolutely flooded with smart, talented people working just as hard as I am. All chasing their dreams too, all trying to innovate too.

Could I spend years building dozens of games until one finally hits and starts making money? Sure, but I could have worked on 7 other entrepreneurial ventures during that time, any of which could have offered much better odds. Thousands of games hit the market every day, and even excellent products will more than likely just drown in the sea of noise on the app store.

Of the indie game devs you mentioned who are making money, I wonder how many are actually becoming financially independent. How many of them have had a hit game or two, created a networth of a couple mil, and don’t actually need to work? Are now making games just for the love of it? I’m happy to be wrong, but I’m guessing few if any. Most of them are probably not making any better money than if they’d just taken a job at a big studio, where they’d have far less headaches and could go home at 5pm. I’m guessing even the ones with moderate success are not creating wealth for themselves –they’ve created a job. Which is a fine and 100% respectable outcome: finding a way to make a living doing what they love.

Anyway, that’s more or less why I’m currently avoiding game dev as a path to FI. It’s still my day job and I enjoy a lot of things about it, I just don't think it's going create freedom for me.

And again, I'm more than happy to be wrong, so please correct me if I’m totally off base about the odds of success and / or the kind of money indie game devs are making; you've obviously looked into the statistics more than I have.
 

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Thaumaturgos

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FASTLANE INSIDER
Nov 3, 2019
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Yeah I can understand that. It must be incredibly difficult to have to live away from your partner, I'm sure that is a motivator in itself.

This is just my opinion, but I feel that artists who truly care about their "art" are always striving to improve themselves and take the quality of their work to the next level. And it sounds like this step for you is a natural progression from the success you have achieved thus far.

I have similar thoughts to I just feel that I shouldn't have gone down this road 'til after financial Independence. In the process of trying to chase my dreams for the past 10 years or so, I accumulated a huge debt due to making a stupid decision to invest in my own art. I only finished paying it off at the beginning of this year. Which left me with 0 life savings. I lost 5 years of my life paying that debt off... so it's difficult not to look back and regret my decisions. But I have decided the best way to look at things is to try to make smart decisions from now on, to improve my future, rather than dwelling on what could have been. Hope you can see things that way too in your own circumstances :peace:
Yeah, debt sucks; sorry to hear you lost that kind of time paying it off. But glad to know you have a healthy, future-oriented outlook. Truth is that our journey, ups and downs, is what makes us and what creates our perspective on any given day. No regrets about the past - just remember the important lessons as you move forward.
 

moneytree3006

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May 10, 2019
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Yeah, debt sucks; sorry to hear you lost that kind of time paying it off. But glad to know you have a healthy, future-oriented outlook. Truth is that our journey, ups and downs, is what makes us and what creates our perspective on any given day. No regrets about the past - just remember the important lessons as you move forward.
Love this! So well said :bicep:
 

srodrigo

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Could I spend years building dozens of games until one finally hits and starts making money? Sure, but I could have worked on 7 other entrepreneurial ventures during that time, any of which could have offered much better odds.
That's exactly what I thought when I decided to try with mobile apps for a while. It makes sense and I agree with you, I just wanted to raise the discussion. Only a few people make good bucks, the rest either struggle or create a job for themselves. That's valid and respectable, but not the path to real freedom.

I'm not sure about you, but my only problem is that years pass and I can't see myself making games beyond my forties if I (ever) reach FI. I might be wrong, as I see a good amount of 40+ yo folks that are just as passionate as 20-30 yo ones, but it feels like a time race I need to win soon.
 
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Thaumaturgos

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FASTLANE INSIDER
Nov 3, 2019
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That's exactly what I thought when I decided to try with mobile apps for a while. It makes sense and I agree with you, I just wanted to raise the discussion. Only a few people make good bucks, the rest either struggle or create a job for themselves. That's valid and respectable, but not the path to real freedom.

I'm not sure about you, but my only problem is that years pass and I can't see myself making games beyond my forties if I (ever) reach FI. I might be wrong, as I see a good amount of 40+ yo folks that are just as passionate as 20-30 yo ones, but it feels like a time race I need to win soon.
You said 'mobile apps' which is different than games and has better odds, imo. Games are mostly 'red ocean' at this point, but an app has potential to solve problems for people and / or create real value. There will always be a market for that and the possibilities of doing it with software or an app are endless.

Age doesn't matter as a game dev. When I was in mobile, most people were younger, in their 20s and 30s. I'm at a console/pc studio now and the people are all ages, 20s through 60s. Age won't dictate your levels of passion and, as an indie dev, no one on Stadia or the app store will know or care who you are, let alone how old you are.


About age, as it matters in the greater scheme of life, I agree that it's a race against time and the sooner you create freedom the better. Money, in and of itself, doesn't mean shit. But it can certainly be the substrate of autonomy and happiness in our lives: the thing that allows us to pursue our interests and build the lives we want to live. That will never change, no matter a person's age, because FI is dream-agnostic. FI doesn't care what our dream was, is, or will be ...it'll support any dream at any given time in life.

So, if you're ever going to truly and earnestly pursue FI in your lifetime, do it early. Become free before 30 if possible.

And yeah, your goals will probably change over time. It's very possible that you'll lose interest in game dev in your 40s, and then realize you spent 15-20 years chasing the dream of your teenage self. Be careful about letting your younger self continue to make decisions on behalf of your current self. And, of course, be careful about letting your current self make decisions on behalf of your future self, a person whom you do not understand yet.

Again, these are just my views. Your mileage may vary.
 

srodrigo

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You said 'mobile apps' which is different than games and has better odds, imo. Games are mostly 'red ocean' at this point, but an app has potential to solve problems for people and / or create real value. There will always be a market for that and the possibilities of doing it with software or an app are endless.
That's exactly what I think. Apps can solve real needs, whereas games fulfil the need for entertainment, which is not as important for more people. Apps have a bigger chance to make a difference for someone.

Age doesn't matter as a game dev. When I was in mobile, most people were younger, in their 20s and 30s. I'm at a console/pc studio now and the people are all ages, 20s through 60s. Age won't dictate your levels of passion and, as an indie dev, no one on Stadia or the app store will know or care who you are, let alone how old you are.
That's relieving to know. I keep seeing people who get out of the games industry, but also mature and even old indie game devs that sound as passionate or more than the young ones. I hope I'll be in that group.

About age, as it matters in the greater scheme of life, I agree that it's a race against time and the sooner you create freedom the better. Money, in and of itself, doesn't mean shit. But it can certainly be the substrate of autonomy and happiness in our lives: the thing that allows us to pursue our interests and build the lives we want to live. That will never change, no matter a person's age, because FI is dream-agnostic. FI doesn't care what our dream was, is, or will be ...it'll support any dream at any given time in life.
Indeed, it's not about money, but freedom. It's just that freedom costs money. I feel like the older I grow, the more urgency I have for FI (because I'm more aware that time and life are finite), so at least things are going well in that respect. One way I found to keep this sane is to learn to enjoy the process towards FI. That way, you might get 2 rewards: the end goal, and the journey itself. Even the journey might eventually replace the goal.

So, if you're ever going to truly and earnestly pursue FI in your lifetime, do it early. Become free before 30 if possible.
Too late :) Already passing my mid-thirties. But, as The 1% Rule book states, there's never going be a better time than now.

And yeah, your goals will probably change over time. It's very possible that you'll lose interest in game dev in your 40s, and then realize you spent 15-20 years chasing the dream of your teenage self. Be careful about letting your younger self continue to make decisions on behalf of your current self. And, of course, be careful about letting your current self make decisions on behalf of your future self, a person whom you do not understand yet.
I might lose interest in game dev, but I see game dev as a means to my creative hunger. I love all of the arts involved in making games (specially music and graphics), and I love programming, so game dev it's just the best vehicle for me. I might get tired of video games, but I've been an artistic and techie person for my whole life, and that's not going to change, so the underlying passions are well-rooted. Anyway, great advice, and I'll keep an eye on getting sucked into the present and making the wrong decisions for the future.

Again, these are just my views. Your mileage may vary.
You can't imagine how valuable your post is to me. My last 6 months have been a roll caster of ups and downs, multiple changes of direction each week, being pulled from many directions, and even probably slight depression at some times. I really appreciate that you took the time to write this up. This post goes into my library of GOLD posts to read every now and then to keep my sanity and clarity.

BIG THANKS.
 
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Thaumaturgos

New Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
Nov 3, 2019
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Too late :) Already passing my mid-thirties. But, as The 1% Rule book states, there's never going be a better time than now.
Turns out we're not too far apart in age after all. I turned 40 recently.

You can't imagine how valuable your post is to me. My last 6 months have been a roll caster of ups and downs, multiple changes of direction each week, being pulled from many directions, and even probably slight depression at some times. I really appreciate that you took the time to write this up. This post goes into my library of GOLD posts to read every now and then to keep my sanity and clarity.

BIG THANKS.
Cool man, I'm glad you got something out it. Didn't mean to come across like I know any great secrets about the odds of success in the games business. It's probably not going to be my path, but might totally be the right thing for you. Sincerely wishing you the best of luck !
 

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