Sunday, June 12, 2011

Can you make an living in the gaming industry? First define "living"...

I just read Fred Hick's post "Dear Deadly: Making a Living in the Game Industry" and I agree he is right.  But there is another side to this. The side of what is "making a living"? I live is South Florida where I own a house, two cars, have a wife, one year old son and mother-in-law all living in the same house.  My wife and I do well financially (She's a therapist and I am a graphic design / web designer) and LPJ Design gives me extra money to do a few fun things.  But can I live off of it?  No.

But do I work it like a 40 hours a week job where I get full medical, weekly paycheck, 401k retirement planning, free use of internet, copier fax machine and roughly four and a half weeks off and 2 weeks of sick time? No.  But I do know if I worked the LPJ Design business as well and hard as I work my "real" job the out come would be different. I would have to be my wife and family would depend on it.  If my mortgage was dependent on LPJ Design sales, we would make a lot of products that we currently don't and make them MORE often.

If we go with the 1,000 true fans theory, I only need my fan base to give me $8 per month (the cost of 2 - 3 comic books) each and I would make $8,000 a month for a yearly total of $96,000.  Subtract 60% of that number to cover operating cost, taxes, freelancers, and heath care you leave with $38,400 a year.  Not a HUGE amount of money, but if you are working for yourself at home, that could still be "good" money.  You would be "making a living".  Hell, if you had a $2,000  a month mortgage ($24,000 yearly) You would still have $276.92 coming to you weekly with this formula.

Most of you are saying "I can't live on $276.92 a week! What about food? Gaming materials. Stuff like that!" Well in my case, my wife handles all the other bills like food, lights, electricity, water, car insurance, cable etc. In this situation, I would handle the $2,000 while she handles everything else.  Not the best situation, but you could "make a living" with it.  Hell I know some "small" RPG publishers who are making a living on their RPG business. Gareth Skarka being one.

All you need to do is find 1,000 true fans and convice them to give you money every month. It is that simple. Welcome to the world of business.  I think companies like Kickstarter will be helpful for people to develop business models where they can take some thing that would not normally be seen as possibly and profitable and make it VERY profitable.  Look at  Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple - A Storytelling Game as an example of this.  Fluke? Maybe. But they still raised $24,000 when they only asked for $4,000. Look at  Kris and Scott's Scott and Kris Show who raised  over $64,00 when they only asked for $50,000. Stop saying you can't and figure out how you can.  Talk to you later...