GameDev Protips: How To Level Up Your Game Industry Freelancing Skills
Trying to be a freelancer in the gaming space takes grit and a little bit of creativity. Being able to be successful is much like playing a video game. You have to have a certain level of intelligence, skill, a manner in which to figure out all the game’s secrets and nuances, and most importantly, the patience to take time in learning to figure all of these things out. Do you remember the first video game or super cool gadget you got? How long did you spend with this game or gadget when you first got it? Probably all day and night, right? Well, being successful in the indie game space and separating yourself from the crowd takes the same level of dedication. Only this time, the stakes are much higher, and there are a lot more distractions. These distractions include, but are not limited to having a spouse, kids, various full and part time jobs, hobbies, paying bills and just trying to survive. As a result, the whole “doing something out your comfort zone and taking a gamble on something you don’t even know will work” tactic sounds a little cliché and overrated. However, it will all be worth it once the ball gets rolling.
In order to get a shot at success, you’ll have to get into the mindset of success. The hustle game is fun and all, but you will never level up. You can be content with “getting money,” but unless you are creating individual wealth and changing your mindset, you are in reality setting yourself up for failure. Creating a wealthy state of mind from freelancing is a paradigm shift, and one of the first steps to take is to already have or make new like-minded friends. Of course, your friends are your friends and there’s no other people like them on this earth. You’ve probably known each other since high-school, college, through marriage, births, you name it. But there’s just one problem: if your friends are just like you, then they’re stuck doing the same thing you’re doing, and not really motivating you to do something extraordinary. You need to be around these extraordinary people who force you to level up if you want to be successful. For example, if you’re trying to find work as a freelance programmer, try to connect with others who are doing the thing that you want to do.
It would behoove you to connect in-person and virtually with like-minded individuals. This can be through LinkedIn, Facebook groups, educational seminars or other similar mediums. Connecting virtually means that you have to be more proactive than you normally would be. It means being assertive and already having a game plan in motion regarding who you would like to connect with, how you are going to connect with those individuals, and what you expect to gain from those new-found friendships. This could include meeting up with those individuals for a drink or a coffee if they live in your area, or if they don’t perhaps they could recommend different marketing practices in order to jumpstart your business through instant messenger. You never know who could be your next great resource. Sometimes you just need advice, and sometimes you need some kind of mutually beneficial partnership. Whatever the case may be, already having outlined a gameplan will most certainly put you ahead of the pack that’s not sure what they’re doing, but realize they need help.
Don’t go into this thinking that people don’t want to help you; they certainly do. Also, don’t assume that people immediately desire something in return. A friendship is based on reciprocity. If you already know what you can offer in return don’t be afraid to give up the goods and be consistent when you do. People don’t like feeling used, but they do love being viewed as an expert on any given subject. In the beginning, virtual networking will be akin to throwing a pebble in the pond and watching the ripples grow. It will take being assertive and nurturing those relationships for the ripples to expand as wide as they can go. Interacting with many types of people from a business perspective may feel icky at first. It’s not always the most comfortable thing for some people, but it will get you to where you need to go. However, if you’re a people person then this interaction will feel natural and it will get you to where to need to go much quicker. Remember that no man is an island.
We’ve talked about interfacing virtually, but not every professional is online, or they’re not exactly consistent with their social media profiles. Only a small number of profiles are active — you may need to schedule regular face to face meetups sometimes. People tend to remember people that they meet face to face better and more accurately than people they meet online. Try to research local events in your area and to fully canvass the room for new faces and people to chat with. This may take some getting use to at first, but it will be well worth the effort.
Important Takeaways: Starting up a freelancing venture is a risky endeavor and also requires a mindset change, but is very worthwhile once everything is up and going. Call upon or make new like-minded friends. If your old friends are ingrained in your former lifestyle, then they won’t be helpful for pushing you through the opening steps of starting and growing your freelance business. Place yourself in a situation where you are around extraordinary people and do your best to connect with them and draw upon their wisdom. People aren’t afraid to help a stranger asking for assistance and if you’re persistent you might just make a new friend! Even if you’re not really a person described as a “people person,” the help a second brain and new perspective can provide is undoubtedly essential in moving forward in your freelancing career.
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I’m Daniel, Co-Founder of Black Shell Media & Co-Author of The Definitive Guide To Game Development Success — a super actionable FREE eBook with the most self-explanatory title. Don’t forget to check it out if you haven’t already, it’s packed to the brim with my personal tips and tricks!