Upon hearing that I was leaving my job and chasing a dream, most of my friends would stop me and ask “don’t you have a family to support?” I’m sure I”m not the only one who has received a concerned/skeptical reaction to this kind of move. I knew I had a game that I wanted to pursue but also knew that it was going to involve several months of prototyping, experimenting, and likely failing a few times before I really locked into the final product. While I had savings set aside, the idea that every passing day would mean one less day to finish was just paralyzing.
Thankfully, a few months ago several opportunities started falling into place to allow me the breathing room to make this leap. Through a series of friends, co-workers past and present, and dumb luck, opportunities to contract started popping up. After talking to these amazing people, I realized that I could spend a portion of the month fulfilling contract work and significantly offset my burn rate, allowing me the freedom to stretch out my runway and experiment without the fear I was wasting precious days.
At first glance, this seems like I’m leaving one job for a less stable one and still not giving myself time to really do what I want. In order to prevent this, my goal is to limit contract work to 25-50% of my monthly time and preserve the rest for Prologue Games. Previously, our young family was leaving precious little time to work on anything other than maintaining family life. The prospect of even a few days a week to work on a project is exhilarating. Throw in the potential to still provide for my family working part-time and it seems like we may be in a sweet spot.
Big question marks still remain. Can I maintain a reasonable pace on my project if it’s only part time? How will client/contract work stack up? (these things are never consistently scheduled) Will my savings be enough to cover skill sets that I don’t have? (I am not a strong artist or musician and I would love to bring one of my writer friends on board for the script)
In the mean time, I’m taking the next 45-60 days to knock out a lot of contract work and provide an extra cushion for when the inevitable dry spell comes up. While I need to maintain patience on my pet project, I’m confident this will lay a good foundation to dive into my work this fall.
Stay tuned to see how things work out. Have you done anything similar with your own work? Leave a comment below! I would love to learn from other folks and avoid any common hazards.