In this month’s reflection I talk about going full-time indie, setting up my business and managing my time well.
Every last Thursday of the current month I publish a report reflecting on the previous month. These reflections exist to demonstrate my progress, share my experiences and help transfer what I learn to others.
The Past Month
Woah, where to start.. This has been a very crazy and hectic month. Well, I guess I’ll begin by explaining why I’m restarting Z’s Laboratories.
On 8th March, 2018 I resigned from my job, and despite how much I liked my colleagues and working there my health was deteriorating rapidly due to stress and my already battered body couldn’t take the hit. But since IT jobs in Bahrain (I worked as a web developer) are generally very stressful, and I had enough cash to last a year + was confident in my small project and business management skills, I decided it’s time to give Z’s Laboratories another shot.
11th March was my last day at work, and on 12th March I started working on setting up a business.
My main focus for the month was to write a simple and feasible business plan for my first year of operations, setup my work processes, establish a new routine and get started!.
Throughout March, I accomplished the following:
- Planning my work/life routine and applying the new habit.
- Planning the gaming and game dev events I will participate in.
- Writing my 1st year plan using the Clean Canvas business pattern, and setting a clear vision for Z’s Laboratories.
- Building a small HTML5 game called Hooman is Yum!, and publishing it on Kongregate, essentially establishing my 1st income stream.
- Putting Hooman is Yum!’s source code up for sale on Scirra store, which became my 2nd income stream.
- Participating in Unreal Bahrain’s Bahrain Comic Con booth and showcasing 4 of my games.
- Setting up an accounting system for Z’s Laboratories.
- Signing a contract with myself to better manage the business and finances while holding myself accountable.
- Preparing an excel sheet to track my work hours, tasks and leaves.
- Setting up a YouTube channel for Z’s Laboratories and uploading the 1st video.
- Updating my portfolio, website’s content and layout to match my vision for Z’s Laboratories.
I’ve set my work hours to be from 8AM to 2PM, Sunday to Thursday while having 45 paid leave days that I can take anytime of the year. This is both to maintain a steady productive workflow while having a stress-free and balanced life style. I go to bed around 9PM and eat my meals at the same times everyday to keep my biological clock ticking like a real clock.
My current routine looks roughly like this:
|6AM-8AM||Morning Ritual*||Morning Ritual||Morning Ritual||Morning Ritual||Morning Ritual||Morning Ritual||Morning Ritual|
|2PM-4PM||Family Time & Lunch||Family Time & Lunch||Family Time & Lunch||Family Time & Lunch||Family Time & Lunch||Lunch||Lunch|
|6.30PM-7.30PM||Preparing & Having Dinner||Preparing & Having Dinner||Preparing & Having Dinner||Preparing & Having Dinner||Preparing & Having Dinner||Preparing & Having Dinner||Preparing & Having Dinner|
|7.30PM-9PM||Night Ritual**||Night Ritual||Night Ritual||Night Ritual||Night Ritual||Night Ritual||Night Ritual|
You may have noticed that I’m treating myself as my own employee. This may sound strange, but I did this for 2 main reasons:
- I have a very real tendency to overwork myself to death and self destruct while neglecting everything and everyone around me, so by setting strict boundaries I make sure to maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle.
- It makes managing and planning the business easier, while giving me stability in my personal life.
This setup isn’t for everyone, but it’s working extremely well for me and I look forward to each new day.
* My morning ritual consists of exercise, shower, breakfast and dressing for work ** In my night ritual I turn off all electronics, dim all lights, meditate, reflect and get ready for bed *** For this year I'm studying Japanese
The type of games I decided to specialize in as Z’s Laboratories is 3D stylized Open-World games for Nintendo Switch, that have a positive effect on the players’ real lives, either by teaching them a real world skill, exposing them to different view points and getting them to reflect or by making their day a bit better.
To prepare myself for this path, next month’s main focus will be to build-up my game dev skills by making a small game that helps players de-stress after work. I will aim to publish it on both Steam and mobile app stores for iPads and Android tablets, since that combination roughly matches the Switch’s hardware.
I plan on making all assets for my games by myself as part of my business model and put them for sale on asset stores, hence establishing small passive income streams while building games.
This is going to be a very exciting year for me and hopefully I’ll be able to at least break even, that will let me continue for another year without getting a “real” job.
This ends this month’s report. Your comments and feedback would be greatly appreciated, so do comment below. 🙂