Though I run in entrepreneurial circles (networking-wise, not, well, you know…), the vast majority of people out there have absolutely no clue what it means to be an entrepreneur. They don’t realize the trials & tribulations we must deal with on a daily basis. Five hours of furrowed brow just to get that three minutes of exaltation. How best can I enlighten those who care to know? I’ve got it! Let me tell you about my day:
Grandkids yelling wake me at 0746. I went to bed five hours ago. My first thought isn’t a good one. Then, I think of their smiles & laughter, and that I want to start the day feeling good. The intention leads to actuality. I then envision what my day will be like, and how awesome it will be, and I’m getting out of bed (well, maybe not that fast). My dutiful wife has already brought coffee (thanks, sweetie!). Time: 0823 (I never professed to being an “morning person”!) After putting my clothes on, whatever’s handy, I head to the kitchen, kiss the wife, say “Good morning!” to everyone (“Good morning, Pop Pop!” from the three-year-olds…) toss a breakfast sandwich into the microwave, and head to my home office - sandwich and coffee in hand. Time: 0831 The first thing I do is check my emails: 18 relevant, and 36 spam (three of which turn out to not be so). I respond to the most pressing, flag the next (for future responses), and delete the rest. Make sure my headshot is to the radio show I’m doing, next week. Set a luncheon appointment with a local tech entrepreneur, to mentor him for an hour next week. Make sure my new HR Director has all the access she needs to our HR-related documentation, policies & procedures, spreadsheets and online tools. Review updates from my five Clients & Producers, via email & Skype. Respond to their most pressing questions & concerns (e.g., collaborating with each other, making sure tasks are being completed on time, the art looks awesome, the coding is working properly, my Advisors are providing good advice & guidance, our marketing efforts are generating results, etc.). Time: 0918 Next, the top priority of the day - whatever that may be. Usually, it’s marketing-related: follow-up emails and calls to prospective partners, personnel, vendors, referrals, investors, etc. I usually set several appointments per day, either in person, Skype or Google Hangout. I discuss opportunities with a potential joint partner, who’s excited about the direction we’re going with one of my Client’s technologies. Check digital marketing efforts - post reach (89,378), people engaged (1519), likes (943), etc. Or, I’m developing marketing materials, like pitch documents, collateral, proposals, business cards, post cards (handouts), etc. I’m also researching thought leaders in the game industry - at the highest levels - to contact & establish relationships, before we begin our crowdfunding & marketing campaigns in earnest. Often, my top priority is a particular task - like, working on the business plan (our mission & company description - we’re a “venturator” which takes game ideas from zero-to-sales in six months or less”; our products & services - providing the people, resources and proprietary processes to ensure game devs are creating quality games in the shortest time possible; marketing strategies; our Team - 92 game entrepreneurs & growing; projects - eight projects, including one recently released game, another game that is the only game inducted into the Clinton Global Initiative, and VR & AR projects that will turn whole industries on their ear, etc.; our Client companies - six game start-ups, three of which we created; and, financials - how we will make money, what we’ll do with it, and what we anticipate for a return on our investment). Or, I focus on developing policies & procedures - the processes of which will ensure each of our Teams are operating optimally, with high levels of creativity and initiative (performing tasks, communications, human resources, scheduling, controlling change, etc.). Etc. Time: 1326 Time to come up for air (if I’m not already at a lunch meeting). I usually eat (yummy!) leftovers, while watching one of my favorite (taped) shows. Time: 1400 (I’ll finish the show, later…) Then, I hit the emails & Skype, again. One of my people needs to be paid by Friday. He has child support, and hasn’t put in the required amount of time - based upon his assumption of when he was supposed to work. I have my Spec Ops/Admin check our project management tool (thanks, Chad!) and, he’s put in lower hours than expected. Until we see that he started late (not his fault). So, I move the two weeks up & ask if he’ll have the requisite time in by the new deadline. No problem. I cut the check in advance & make arrangements to get it to him in time. Meanwhile, my new HR Director - with 16+ years as a game recruiter, she knows everyone - has started Linking me up with multiple industry heavy-hitters (thanks, Leesa!). I ask for more hours in a day. I set up more meetings. I also call several people, who are interested in joining us (at higher levels - e.g., be a PM for a Team, be an Advisor, or become a partner), and foster the new relationships (they’ll all eventually come to fruition). I check in with a couple Clients & Producers on Skype. Everything is copacetic. They’re all kicking ass & taking names (GSD!). Gotta plan my trip to the Game Developer’s Conference (GDC), in a few weeks. I purchase an “All Access” pass (man! I hope this trip will be worth it!). The airfare’s a little steep, so I accept a one-stop flight. I also find a place to stay. The Courtyard wants $594 a night!?! Yeah, and I wanna… (another blog…) I find a nice apartment a couple blocks away, for $123/night, via airbnb.com (thanks!). Sometime this week, I’ll establish my schedule for the conference - what sessions I want to attend (and learn!), what parties/events I’d like to get invited to, and set up lunch & dinner appointments for each day. Leesa’ll take care of that! Time: 1841 Going to attend a networking function. Starts in 19 minutes, downtown. Luckily, my wife isn’t using her parking pass. And, I have a fast car (honestly, that’s irrelevant - it’s the driver!). So, I zoom downtown, park in the garage, and walk a block to the event. One minute late. They have food, and I haven’t eaten. A good mix, don’t you think? I see a lot of new faces (which is good!), and, a lot of friendly ones (also good!). Two of my Producers are in attendance. Neither of them have a good Pitch - need to work on that! Glad they’re here, though. Hope they find some new opportunities! I introduce them to a few friends, who then introduce them to others. All you indie game devs out there: if you’re not networking with fellow entrepreneurs and business people, just shoot yourself in the foot! One person can mean the difference between getting a QA position at Naughty Dog, or being the next ND. Meet a college kid, who’s invented a nifty item, that I believe will sell well (IF he gets the right help). If I wasn’t so damn busy, I’d help. I offer to mentor him once a month - for lunch! He gleefully accepts. He reminds me a LOT about myself, at that age. I started my first company then, too. If he’s half as successful with it, he’ll be a happy camper. A lovely lady introduces herself, she’s the Director of a local angel investor club. I’ve previously met with two of her cohorts, and two member investors - casually, of course. She’s interested in hearing more, and asks me to lunch. (It’s a tough job, but, somebody’s gotta do it!) Also meet several people I’ve been meaning to meet, who have the potential for me to expand the services I provide my Clients. They’re all interested. Life is good! Some kid (anyone under 40 is a “kid” to me) then gives a presentation about how he came to Orlando eight years ago, tried a few things, then started a school offering online programming, then sold it a few months ago for $36 million. I’ve literally held $19 million in my hands, and it was taken away. You know, I’ve been rubbing that Buddha’s belly for YEARS. I’m due. This will be the year! Woot! Talk to a few more fellow entrepreneurs, and potential investors, then head back home. I take the scenic (cheaper) route. Time: 2223 All quiet on the home front. Kids asleep. Time to get back to my top priority of the day. Well, after I accomplish a few non-essential tasks. However, once I get cruisin’ on it, time flies. I write 2092 words. Now, time to begin winding down. Time: 0016 I heat up a little of my favorite sake, then go over my emails & Skype (and check our social media) one last time before bed. 982 “likes”!!! I know that, when I wake up, we’ll have at least 1,000 - a watershed event in social marketing. However, as my uncle (may God rest his soul) once said, “But, does it put money in your pocket?!?”. We’ll see, Uncle, we’ll see. Set up another appointment, review two resumés, post on the fb page, Tweet something nice, and, I’m done! Time: 0112 Put the computer to sleep, turn off the light, close the door, grab my favorite spot on the couch (my lap is immediately occupied by one cat, the other two take up stations to my left & right), and turn on the TV - to finish watching the show I started, earlier. I’ll even watch a couple other things, until it’s time to sleep. Turn off the TV, check all the doors & windows, set the alarm, turn off the lights. Wife fell asleep with the TV on. I crawl into bed & watch some more. Now, I’m ready. TV off. Lights out. Time: 0246 Remember reading about a study, that concluded that the smarter you are, the later you go to bed. I must be freakin’ Einstein! Well, at least I have (if I grow it out) the hair. Folks, I do this 6-7 days a week. I haven’t had a vacation (at least four days, someplace new, no family) in several years. Haven’t had a real vacation (same, at least a week), since our honeymoon, eleven years ago. Being an entrepreneur is more than all the glam & glitter you see on TV. For every Elon Musk & Kevin Harrington you see, there are literally millions of others, dreaming, planning (hopefully!), and slaving away - day after day - to achieve their dreams. It takes a certain kind of person (another blog!). Hopefully, this has helped you understand what that person does. Peace.