A new relationship

Discussion in 'Indie Related Chat' started by elund, Jul 27, 2004.

  1. elund

    Indie Author

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    No, I'm not talking about the Indie Gamer Forums, I'm talking about me. I fell into a new relationship a couple months ago and holy cow where did the time go? Things are getting a bit serious, but we're trying to pace ourselves, which is not all that hard when it's a long-distance relationship. (Or sometimes it's harder because the distance makes you want to speed things up.) We spend an inordinate amount of time on the phone, and I've signed up for frequent flier miles. This relationship comes hot on the heels of full time employment; my bank account went dry six months ago, and I went into the phase of my business plan entitled "S**t! I'm outta money!" which meant I needed a job. I was just getting into the swing of this new job and thinking about how to manage my reduced Gearhand time when I met Melissa. Well, it was a setup, at a wedding, by the groom. But anyhow, the point of this ramble is:

    I have no free time! :eek:

    My plan for full-time employment was work for 2 years, until the coffers replenished and I could quit and return to Gearhand full-time again. But in the meantime, I was to work on a couple other games and ports. Now I have no idea what the plan is, I may be spending a week of the month in another state now that I've worked out a tentative telecomutting agreement with my current employer. I may be moving to Atlanta outright. Who knows?

    How do you manage so many life changes and still get work done on your business? I don't want a "side business" -- a side business gets pushed to the side. A business you make time for.
     
  2. jaggu

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    If you can convince Melissa that she should work while you should stay home and make games that should be good for you. If not its again good for you cos she may do a 180* leaving you back at least to your old situation. Sorry if that sounded cynical but I was trying to think logically.
     
  3. patrox

    Indie Author

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    Get a laptop and code in the plane :D

    pat.
     
  4. GBGames

    Indie Author

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    I also have a new relationship, and it is also getting fairly serious. I see her everyday, so I have even less time to myself.

    I know that I want to work on my business, and she is pretty good about making sure I have my space. I just haven't taken advantage of her understanding yet B-)

    I think the key will be making it clear that when I am working, I am working. I can't really take the time to answer the phone or hang out just because I am not at my regular job. Kind of like the problem with working at home: everyone assumes that you have time to do laundry or wash dishes since you're just "playing around with the computer" or something.
     
  5. Redclaw

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    As Ziggy once said; "Hey... priorities, man."

    Your job
    Your girlfriend
    Your business

    Pick the two that are most important to you, then cut back on the one that's left. It really is that simple.
     
  6. EpicBoy

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    I guess I'm lucky in that my girlfriend is very understanding of the indie development that I do. She has no problem with me spending a few hours each night working on it. She understands that if it clicks, we're going to have a better quality of life ... it isn't like I'm sitting in there playing games or doing something unproductive. :)

    That said, it's important to find balance. Some nights I just want to spend time with her, and that evens everything out.
     
  7. Kai Backman

    Original Member Indie Author IGF Finalist

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    Hahaa .. Pat nailed it very well, you do have a lot of miles coming in .. :)

    Seriously, you need to prioritize somehow. It is pretty obvious that Melissa is number 1 (what do you have in life without love?) so you need to restructure around your daytime work and business. And keep in mind that it takes a few years for most businesses to gain an even footing, even if you keep working full time. Also, with a new person in your life you need to talk this down with her as well. It has been stressed time and again how important your SO is for creating a successfull business. You need her full support to even start thinking about working with Gearhand again.

    If you decide to go for Gearhand you need to solve the money problem somehow. A good way is to reduce expenses. Remember that one dollar saved is one dollar saved while one dollar earned is more like 10cents after taxes and other costs. Start doing personal accounting of all your receipts (MS Money or Quicken are good for this) to gain insight into you economy. Look hard at what you are spending on. Would you trade a few years of frugality for better financial position down the road?

    Even after reducing spending you probably need to get some money in. If Melissa is willing, you might try to live on her income for a while. She needs to understand that this will seriously cut down on her spending as well, except if she kept saving 50% of her income before you met .. :) Well, she really needs to be willing anyway because she will de facto provide for you for a while, so again, get talking with her. However, she will probably only be able to provide part way, so you still need some more to make it go.

    If you take on a second job, remember to pick something that has definite time and effort limits. Contracting work is nice, but generally swells to fill your whole time. I would seriously prefer a grunt job (in the general service sector. Eg. cleaning, burger joint etc..) for 10-20 hours per week. There are several pros for a grunt job:
    - Flexible in generating income. Need more money, work more. Need less, work less.
    - Easy to find
    - Keep reminding you that having a second job is a temporary solution

    And that brings me to my final point. You need to set definite performance criteria for your business. If you are going to take your primary livelihood from Gearhand it really needs to start providing for you (and Melissa to pay her back for all the sweat equity she put in..). You need clear realistic criterias how well you are succeeding. Set a time limit of say 6 months and a monthly salary that you should be paying yourself at that time. Be modest, be conservative but also be realistic. If the business isn't providing for you, you don't have a business but a really expensive hobby. You might not be out in the clear after 6 months, but the business should show definite progress by that time. This is why a grunt job is good, many people run a failing business but keep it afloat with unrelated consulting activities. Keep focusing on the primary source of income. It needs to work.

    Having a limit like that makes it a lot easier to chart out what you are going to do, both to explain it to Melissa and to yourself. You are making a honest try and the flexibility you are asking for has a definite limit. At 6 months you sit down and look at the situation and decide where to go.. :)

    I think you are looking at a real opportunity here. In general having a supportive spouse can boost your chances of succeeding several times. In addition to the material support she can provide she also makes you accountable to someone else. That in itself can boost your focus several times over.

    However, the most important part is probably that you have someone to share your life with. As the saying goes "Succeed at home first"..

    Good luck! (And a pat to Wednesday) :D
     
  8. Nemesis

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    The attitude and support of your partner can make or break the lifestyle that you wish to pursue. I'm lucky in that my girlfriend (to whom I'm getting married in june next year) supports me and thinks that what I'm doing is good, even if it were merely a hobby. She actually spends most of the evenings at my house since I cannot lunge my workstation around to work and well.. she likes it that way becase she gets some peace and quiet too! :)

    In short, it depends on your particular situation. As always, there are ways to make time, within limits if you're disciplined. If you manage to maintain a steady effort no matter how small, and persist to the end of your projects you should be successful!
     
  9. Mark Fassett

    Moderator Indie Author

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    I would hope, if you have a girlfriend that doesn't support the life you want to live, that you would never marry her. I don't call it being lucky at all. I call it a good choice.

    When my wife and I got together, we talked about a dozen different things (or more) that you're supposed to talk about on the first night we were together. Money, politics, religion, kids, expected lifestyle, etc... If we hadn't been compatible on all those items, she would have never even become my fiance. If your thinking about getting married, and you haven't found that stuff out... better do it fast before you wind up getting a divorce.
     
  10. Nemesis

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    Don't worry, I got all that stuff covered early on just like you did! :)

    On a related note, here's an interesting fact for your amusement:
    With Malta being "staunchly Catholic", couples intending to marry via the Catohlic church are requred to attend a sort of induction course that covers all the major aspects, including compatibilty, expectations, preparation, sprituality etc etc. They also have to put up with the usual narrow minded view of sexuality.. no sex before marriage, natural family planning / birth control yada yada yada... anyway.. otherwise the course is quite helpful in the sense that it induces the couples to consider their relationship more thoroughly. In some cases, some couples ahve actually quit during the course (2 out of 7 couples in my group in particular)!
     
  11. robleong

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    Yes, that happens in Ireland too. What's even more thought-provoking is that the guys who give these courses are not married themselves! It's like a non-programmer telling a programmer how best to program! :)
     
  12. Nemesis

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    It's not so bad over here. The course attendees are split in groups of say 5-7 couples. Each group is actually managed by a leading married couple that give talks etc. so at least we get someone with practical experience. We had quite a nice leading couple actually and we got on well it them, despite my more open-minded views on things metaphysical and sexual :)
     
  13. elund

    Indie Author

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    Heh, I'm already working on that plan. :)

    I don't see eating and sleeping on that list... But you're right, I have to prioritize. Obviously I'd rather pick the business over the job, but that doesn't seem practical at the moment. Identifying where I'm spend time in areas that are not on that list reveals I have a lot of hobbies (I'm a nerd, you know) that need further curtailing.

    Good points. I should note that I haven't been thinking with a full brain since I met her, so where before I had a plan to further Gearhand, now I have a cranium of mush. She's told me repeatedly that she's ok if I need time to work on things like Gearhand, but it's obvious there's more we need to discuss. Also I gotta get that brain working again, I'm trying, I'm trying...

    That's also quite a bit scary. It was a big mental leap for me to run Gearhand from my own savings, choosing a business instead of a house. Then I was only accountable to myself, my own expectations of where I should be in life at my age. Being accountable to another, especially someone I would never want to disappoint -- that's another big mental leap to make. This is a lot of food for thought.

    Wednesday the pug wagged her tail in response to the patting, which you may interpret as a "Hi" right back at you.

    It seems obvious to me that Gearhand will remain my #3 priority for the immediate future until I make some decisions and get my finances back in order. But that said, given a task that you can only perform in fits and spurts, what's the best way to maximize results? Obviously giving it fuller attention would help, but if that's not possible, how do you make progress at a lower priority task? Some ideas:

    • Set clear goals with digestible milestones that don't tax my other priorities.
    • Identify and remove (or cap) time wasters and non-priority tasks.
    • Eliminate procrastination.
    • Give perfectionism a break, and be happy when non-priorities are "good enough."
     
  14. Cartman

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    Funny story on the compatibility class our church wanted us to attend before getting married. My wife's preacher gave us a survey that asked us a series of questions to find out if we had discussed things that are important to us and see if we agree. Apparently people don't take the time to discuss the issues Mark outlined above.

    One of the questions was "how many kids do you want to have". The choices were:

    1, 2, 3

    Neither one of us wanted kids so I picked the lowest number. My wife penciled in "0". When my wife saw my answer she gave me a dirty look. The preacher was concerned that we had different goals (about children) until I explained that there was no option for "0" so I just chose the lowest.

    Apparently the survey had been written in the 70's and didn't take into account that some people don't want to have kids.
     
  15. GBGames

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    No, no! The pug wagged her tail ON Wednesday. B-)
     
  16. cliffski

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    jeez this all sounds horrid. Im glad I had a non religous wedding. a deeply non religous one in fact. We got married in Vegas by Elvis. It was truly the happiest day of my lfie, as well as the most entertaining. Nothing beats getting married by the King. I highly recommend it.
     
  17. Nemesis

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    Well.. Catholic dictum says couples have to marry for the purpose of having kids. That is, a Catholic wedding is not valid if the couple gets married with the intention of not having kids. I have my reservations on this of course, but it doesn't really matter to me really, as I plan to have kids anyway.

    That may be the reason why you had 1, 2, and 3 as an option and not 0. I'm assuming your church is Catholic of course.

    Oh man.. this forum should be renamed Indie Game Development and Life Philosophies Forum :)
     
  18. elund

    Indie Author

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    Baha, my girlfriend is non-religious, a tremendous Elvis fan, and she loves Vegas, so if we ever get married I imagine we'll be taking the same route. :D
     
  19. tentons

    Indie Author

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    My girlfriend lives with me, fortunately. If not, I probably wouldn't have a girlfriend because I spend so much time at the computer. We both love games, and she knows it's a business venture. She's all about it, so I hope your new girlfriend is the same way if you want to pursue indie game development. :)
     
  20. kerchen

    Indie Author

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    I would recommend that you put Gearhand on the back burner for a little while longer. Getting a new relationship off on the right foot is pretty important, so you don't want to make it more difficult by adding heavy financial worries right from the outset. The game market will be waiting for you if you turn your back on it for a year or two; the same may not be true for Melissa.
     

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