Free Baby. Free.

 

I encounter it a lot when I’m working on a project on the marketing side of things.

How do we get eyeballs on the project?

How do we get reviews?

My answer : for free!

There’s almost an immediate revulsion. Give things away!? But we’re trying to make money here!

Yes, and the problem is, you need an audience. And if you don’t already have one (or even if you do) there’s a lot of competition for any given media project. You can’t expect someone else to get eyeballs on your thing unless they get to enjoy it with as little effort as possible.

Give things away for free, give them away freely with no strings attached. If they like it they will talk about it, and if they don’t there’s no pressure on either of you. They don’t have to avoid you or be uncomfortable. Always give people an out. Give things as GIFTS with no expectation. Host giveaways too, don’t just offer them to famous people in the hopes they will shower you with eyeballs! The people who were there for you and supported you even when your audience was very small are very, very important. They will follow you around the world and back again!

Bookmarks, Free copies of your project, videos, puzzles, stickers, postcards, you name it! They don’t all have to cost money to make and send either. Papercraft, doodles, livestreams,etc. Be creative! There is no one way to get the word out, but the point is to get people talking about your thing!
Remember that you’re not just advertising your current project, you’re advertising YOU. Be in it for the long game, and don’t worry about every individual dollar as that will hurt you in the long run. Your audience is not there to buy things from you all the time, their support can help push you up the hills you need to climb to turn it into a full time job.

You Are The Key, Man

If you’re going to start any media project be it a game, a movie, a website… you must first realize that simply being the “organizer” of the project is not enough to see it to the finish line, unless you have a lot of money, or endless time (and people) to go through.

The concept of the “key man” is something not really spoken of outside of insurance…but it’s essentially someone who if they were to get hurt, injured, or leave, it would crush that business. The smaller the business, the more important the key person becomes. We insure this person in a business because without them, there isn’t a business.

If you are running your project on a shoestring budget, or between friends, it is very important that if you want to be the leader, you also be someone the project cannot come to fruition without. It is not enough to have good ideas or be able to bring people together, you have to be able to build and fly the ship yourself as chances are, it’s going to be you flying solo most of the time.

You have to be that key person, on at least some of your projects.

You can’t be sure anyone else will take anything to completion, you can be sure your likelihood of sticking with it. If you don’t have money, you have to lead by example.

If you don’t have a skill in something, start with a project where attaining that skill is within your reach. You could write a visual novel and pay piece by piece for the art, make a game with simple art (yes simpler than the default sprites) in RPG maker, Learn programming and share your creations. Simply put, if you need 2 people minimum to make something, and you’re not really one of them, you need to lower your expectations or get better at your craft.

With any skill you will have to play the long game before it becomes a viable “job” and while it doesn’t hurt to work with others, always set aside time for you to build yourself up as an an independent designer who can bring a product to market on their own. This also helps when working with a team, as they know that it’s getting done with or without them, so it’s best they stick around and enjoy the fruits when it is done.

You will always be the key to your own success.

Just Get On With It and Succeed

One of the feelings most people lack is that of confidence. And yet it is something we all need to generate if we wish to succeed, regardless of what we want to succeed at doing. Even if you have zero confidence, present whatever you do with confidence, because if you don’t, nobody else can or will take you seriously.

It’s a mistake to attempt to generate confidence or belief in yourself by asking others for their opinion. It will always be subjective and therefore unhelpful, even if it is positive. Why? Because the best creations are novel. Nobody expects them and they usually appear only after a lot of hard work, mistakes, blood, sweat, and tears.

So create your own confidence, lie to yourself if you have to, and don’t seek the permission of others by asking their opinion. Just get on with it and succeed.