Everybody has a finite amount of time. There are only so many hours during the day, my non-weekend days typically break down as follows:
- 8 hours of sleep
- 8 hours of non-game publishing emplyment
- 2 hours of eating/bathing
- 2 hours actively spent with my children
- 2 hours entertainment and time spent with my wife
- 2 hours game publishing related work
I have not specifically measured these, and they are only estimates. Additionally, much of this time overlaps. For example, most of our dinners are home cooked and eaten as a family, resulting in family/eating/children/wife combo time. Anyway you look at this, I surely need more than 2 hours a weekday to be able to take care of the needs of Tasty Minstrel Games…
Increased Efficiency, Automation, Outsourcing, and Time Machines
These are the ways that I allow for the completion of necessary tasks, and I will briefly go over each one. I have outsourced my fulfillment, warehousing, and marketing to distributors to PSI. They have done an excellent job and have allowed me to remain sane, continue to have fun, and concentrate on the highest profit work that I need to do for Tasty Minstrel. They have created an extremely cost effective turn-key fulfillment solution specializing in gaming related sales. I am extremely pleased with them and I continue to be happy that I choose to utilize a turn-key fulfillment solution. Of course
I have increased the efficiency related to numerous areas of Tasty Minstrel’s business. To make sure ideas get appropriately implemented, I make sure to do them as soon as possible after thinking about them. Recent efficiency increasing actions:
- Utilizing Google Calendar for reminders and tasks instead of loose note papers. I also integrated Google Calendar with Gmail so I would get reminders in my email box.
- Moving to use Gmail for an email interface for all of my email addresses. Additional Gmail efficiency increases include filters for automatic assigning of labels and the ability to sort email with visual ease for later batch processing. I run my own email triage system.
- Efficiency related to getting Free Game Friday announcements done on time. This way in the future I will not need to announce catch up winners.
As for automation, this is one area in which I have been lacking some good answers. I recently automated my Facebook and Twitter updates, which has increased my available time for other areas. I am currently working on some automation for interacting with retailers. Automation would be increasingly important if I did not have PSI caring for my fulfillment needs. Time machines are of course a very practical solution also. Although, I recently determined that I do not need to work on building a time machine. In the future if I am successful in building one, I fully expect that I would come back and tell myself how to build one.
The Problem With Distractions
My side effects of being actively involved with marketing and increasing exposure for Tasty Minstrel Games and the games we publish is that I get distracted. I get distracted because I view the activity of publishing board game more as a marketing job. While there are the necessary steps of choosing game designs, getting artwork, manufacturing, shipping, and fulfillment… I choose to concentrate the majority of my efforts on marketing directly to consumers. My preferred method of marketing is through the internet, because it is easier to reach my target audience and the costs involved are significantly lower than traditional methods.
Now that we suppose I look at myself as an Internet marketer who happens to be selling board games that I decided to publish, it is easy to see how other Internet marketing businesses ideas can be a distraction. Sometimes they are loosely related to gaming and sometimes they are not. Some examples:
- Gamer Twitter train to enable increasing board gaming twitter connections
- Online board game sales arbitrage with affiliate programs for webcomics
- Work on various outside affiliate programs
- Building other non-TMG related email lists, often while getting affiliate commissions
- Managing local Internet marketing for various businesses
While I was busy wasting some time speculating on these ventures, I was ignoring the most important aspect of improving the profitability (without a profit yet can it be called that?) of Tasty Minstrel Games. I did not and currently do not have an appropriate method for marketing directly to retailers. I figured that I would market directly to consumers, PSI would market directly to distributors, and we would meet in the middle creating numerous sales. I was not thinking about marketing directly to the middle step of retailers at the same time. On related news, we will be announcing and unleashing a retailer support plan in the near future.
I do have other possible projects, but to move forward with them I need to make sure that they will be done right and not interfere with my ability to do the most important things.
Additionally, I have quietly (until now) introduced a reviewer support email list. If you are a reviewer, please sign up and I will send you promo artwork, rulebooks, and other information as it becomes available. Also, please do not sign up if you are not a reviewer a non-BoardGameGeek review outlet.
Making good use of the time that you have for a project is going to be paramount to your success. Distracting ideas can be both a good and bad thing. Sometimes that distractions force you to look at what you are doing from a different angle, which can result in long-term positive effects. While it can be fun to speculate and perform thought experiments on distracting business ideas, just remember to do it only to the extent that it will improve what you are currently working on. If you skip from one project to another without successfully implementing, then you will have a bunch of unorganized, half-done, crappy businesses.
I for one, am tired of seeing a plethora of unorganized, half-done, crappy businesses. Do we really need to add more to the world? Do it right the first time and continually improve. Until later, keep playing and HAVE FUN!