Be proactive. This is the reason as to why most people aren’t successful; they either haven’t gotten started or they quit early in the game when it comes to game development. Most people are too lazy, not confident enough, waiting for a break, or too focused on distractions. If you really want to make something happen you can’t just talk about it; strategize and make a game plan. Stop sitting around thinking about doing it, and actually get it done. There are so many people out there with amazing ideas but the problem is that those ideas usually just stay as ideas, and unfortunately, ideas by themselves are not profitable nor sustainable without great execution.
Focus on learning. Sometimes when you pick up a new concept you may be tempted to use it as a crutch and just rely on doing what works instead of trying to figure out how to improve processes. As long as you are proactively gaining new knowledge and understanding of both the world around you and your career aspirations, then you are taking steps towards your dream. Remember to take baby steps and to surround yourself with a group of people that understand your vision and will challenge and motivate you to chase after it. If you’re a programmer, hang out in programmer circles (there’s a lot of them on the interwebs). If you’re an artist, dig deep into online communities such as DeviantArt.
Be prepared for the unexpected. You’re probably wondering if you should quit your job in order to invest all of your time and energy into your side project making indie games. It’s a very pleasing idea and it means more creative autonomy for you. No more boss and no more doing things you don’t want to do (to a certain extent). However, you know by now that’s not how the real world works. The bills aren’t going to pay themselves and you may need a little cushion in case something happens. Having a reserve of cash for when something goes wrong in your business is critical for minimizing those failures. The extra funds will ensure that you can still provide for yourself and not have to instantly retract your idea of having a business. That’s why maintaining a job while starting and/or working your side gig is an absolute must in today’s society. If you can contract the tidbits of work that are too tedious, do it as long as it will jumpstart your business. If you can automate certain parts of your business, like marketing, then do it. If you can find ways to make your job in creating the business easier and cheaper, you should always take up the opportunity. Ultimately, a business should focus on your natural skill-set and expertise. No one is expected to be good at everything, but rather just really good at a few things. Delegating lesser tasks will let you focus on those things that you are particularly good at.
Things can and always will go wrong. Try to troubleshoot foreseeable pain points and errors if possible. If you know you will need more money than you originally thought, try to do some extra research for some additional resources or people out there who can get the job done for a budget that you’re comfortable with. Don’t sweat the small stuff and try to handle what you can control. If possible, try to have a little money stashed away entirely for your business as that cushion for when things just don’t go your way. One of the worst feelings in the world is getting the ball rolling on a game development project, then watching that ball stop abruptly because of a problem caused by your inexperience; avoid that at all costs by learning and doing as much as possible, without putting all of your eggs in one basket.
Important Takeaways: One huge reason why many developers’ careers never take off is a lack of proactive behavior. They end up giving up before they’ve started or really soon afterward. If you truly want to do something, you can’t just keep talking about it like it’s a dream; you have to strategize and make a game plan. There are some amazing ideas in the minds of many people, but if they don’t become something besides an idea, then there’s an astronomically high chance of the idea being forgotten and lost. Be motivated. If it’s hard for you to find motivation, read some motivational quotes, or do whatever personally gets you in the mood to get things done. Hard work is the only way to get anything that you dream of in life. Even if things seem like they aren’t moving with your side job and the start of your indie game development career, remember that is just a temporary situation and will change as long as you are willing to work for it. As long as you have knowledge, advice, a good attitude, and tenacity, you will eventually get to where you want to be… even if it seems like an eternity.