I’m about to say something that may shock you. Are you ready?
Video games are loaded with lessons for entrepreneurs, you just need to know where to look and how you want to play the game.
Take a look around the business owner communities you’re on. How often do members talk about the non-healthy leisure activities they participate in when they’re not growing their business?
Well, here’s that post.
Video Game Lessons for Entrepreneurs
I’m a business owner who focuses on helping my clients be more visible in their business as well as automated so they can do more of what they love to do. And what’s one of the activities I love to do? I love to play games with my family. Yes, I love board games, but more specifically I’m talking about video games.
Dave was SHOCKED when he discovered I played World of Warcraft when we started dating. He had never dated a gamer in the past, and his exes actually discouraged his gaming. Not only did I support his gaming, I also supported his dream to become a video game developer/designer, and it’s this encouragement which lead to our businesses being started. That’s a post for another day, so let me get to the point here.
Several months ago my ten year old introduced me to Slither.io. I had seen him playing this free, online game for some time, but in effort to connect further with him I decided to play with him to see what it was all about. If you haven’t played it, I need to warn you: It’s HIGHLY addictive. And if you’re looking for a game you can “win”, this is not the game for you.
In Slither.io, you are simply a snake, slithering around an area trying to avoid running into other snakes. When snakes run into you they break into lots of balls (I’m sure there has to be a better word for this) which you can “eat” to make yourself bigger. Likewise, when you run head-on into other snakes you also break into pieces. Game over.
What’s the point of the game? To get to the top of the top of the leaderboard. There is no winning. You can play forever as long as you don’t run into another snake. And that’s it. Watch where you’re going. Slither.io in a nutshell.
So what are the lessons to be learned from this video game?
I’ve come up with several lessons from Slither.io:
1. Don’t get greedy. There’s more than enough space for every player to slither around, grow larger and make their mark. When we crowd around everyone else and try to go in for the kill we risk being choked off by other snakes and dying. Give yourself some space – for creativity and growth – and you will thrive. When you insist on being where everyone else is you risk dying prematurely.
LESSON: There’s more than enough work to go around. You don’t need to swoop in on other people’s territory in order to make your mark. Instead, make your mark by being you, and finding a strategy and unique selling proposition you truly believe in.
2. Patience is key. I prefer to wander around and stay on the outskirts until my snake is big enough to be (almost) indestructible. I don’t mind spending 5-10 minutes (a seemingly long time in this game) wandering around aimlessly while I build myself up and get my bearings on where all the big snakes are and how they play the game. Using this tactic I consistently find myself on the Top 10 Leaderboard. My husband, however, prefers to dash right in to the center of action and get in people’s way. Sometimes is works for him, however more often than not he dies while trying to move too fast.
LESSON: Success doesn’t come overnight for most people. Learn to be patient, and when the time is right you can dive in for the indestructible big kill.
3. Set limits. It’s easy to get sucked in to Slither.io. I’ve personally found myself repeating “Just one more try” dozens of times until a higher power steps in and forces me to stop. You need to tell yourself how long you are going to play the game for before calling it quits.
LESSON: When our business isn’t doing as well as we would hope it’s easy to keep pouring money in thinking that “just another hundred dollars” will be what it needs. Before you know it, all those hundreds of dollars have added up to tens of thousands of dollars and your business still hasn’t succeeded. I’ve been there. Admittedly, I ran up tens of thousands of dollars in credit card debt trying to make an online retail store I had in the mid-2000’s succeed. Well, it didn’t, and I’m still trying to recover from the massive debt I accumulated.
Draw the line. Tell yourself when it will be quitting time, and hold true to your promises to you.
4. Not everybody is competition. Honestly, I don’t believe in competition. We’re all just out there trying to do our best and get to the top of the leaderboard. But even in the midst of all the other snakes you will find other players who aren’t out to get you. Even without in-game chat you’ll be able to work together to take out the obnoxious players and make yourself grow. Find these players and thrive.
LESSON: I’m in well over 100 Facebook groups and encounter numerous people on a daily basis who do the same things as I do. Whether they are digital marketers, Infusionsoft consultants or launch strategists, I never consider them to be competition. In fact, I make ever effort to get to know these people and see how we can work together to help our businesses succeed.
Just last week I interviewed a woman for my podcast who is a marketing strategist for coaches. She is the probably the first person I have met who does practically the same thing for the same market as me, and yes, I had her as a guest on my podcast. I could have gotten scared when I saw her website and profile, however I didn’t. In the end it worked out. While she LOVES to work with “Woo woo” coaches, these are a little too far out there for my Christian beliefs. And she doesn’t tend to work with Executive coaches because they walk a little too straight for her. I love this. Moving forward we will be referring these clients to each other – both to benefit the clients AND ourselves.
Lessons from Other MMOs
If you’re not familiar with what a MMO is, it stands for a Massive Multiplayer Online game. World of Warcraft, Rift, Slither, Minecraft, Guild Wars and Wildstar are all examples of MMOs.
With the exception of Slither, all the other games mentioned rely heavily on communication to achieve great success. Players in World of Warcraft, Rift and Wildstar especially will work together to defeat bosses and achieve great rewards. As players progress they learn to understand and predict the needs of their tribe/guild mates so they can better perform their specific tasks.
Essentially, a well constructed and cohesive tribe and work together like clockwork to provide what other team mates need before they even need them.
Are you and your team this well constructed and cohesive? Or are you constantly waiting on each other to develop and deliver?
Unlike these games, you will not die if you need to wait on others. May you suffer? Yes. Waiting on others to pay their invoices can result in major set backs. Waiting for your virtual assistant to respond to an email may cause delays on other fronts. But if you cover your bases on the front end to prevent these situations from happening on the back end, this should never be an issue.
In closing, I’m not going to tell you not to play games. Play them and be inspired. See how you can take the lessons you’ve learned and work them into your business. And heck, for all you know, you may find people in these games who wind up being major contributors in your next big project.
And speaking of projects….
If designing video games is your dream, don’t hold back. Go for it. Dave didn’t think it was possible to be a game developer due to finances. After losing another job I told him, “Baby, I think God is telling you it’s time.” So we struggled. He enrolled in a four year program, but due to the limitations of his GI Bill he had to get it done in three. But we made it happen. And due to the extra financial burden of him being without a job, our businesses were founded.
Game developers had dreams, and we as any type of small business owner need to have dreams too. Let these figures be the inspiration you need to push forward in pursuing your dreams…
- In 2010, Edmund McMillen released Super Meat Boy which sold over 2 million copies for $15 each. (Source)
- According to this Wall Street Journal article, Slither.io was developed by developed by Steven Howse who just three months prior to the game release was struggling to pay his rent. As of the writing of the article, the game was bringing in over $100,000 daily in revenue.
- Flappy BIrd was created by developer Dong Nguyen who actually removed the game from the app stores because the tremendous profits had killed his simple life. According to this article by The New Yorker, the game was making Nguyen over $50,000 a day at the time.
- Rocket League was designed by an independent video game developer and as of the writing of this article had made over $50 million.
Do you think any of these developers realistically imagined these types of earnings? I hardly believe so. But I know they had dreams or these games would never have been developed.
Go forth and dream. Dream big and make all your little projects soar larger than you ever imagined.
Kim Sutton is the Managing Partner and Chief Everything Officer of The Sutton Companies, including Sutton Strategic Solutions and Sutton Creative Studios. She is a graduate of The School of the Art Institute of Chicago where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Interior Architecture.
An avid reader and passionate learner, Kim is constantly researching, studying and developing business improvement strategies. When it comes to client work, Kim especially enjoys helping her clients develop innovative marketing strategies and sales funnels, particularly when they are using Infusionsoft to automate all the heavy lifting. To find out how you can further develop your company’s marketing and automation strategies schedule a 1-hour Business Boost Strategy Session by clicking here.
In her free-time, Kim cherishes the time she gets to spend with her husband, Dave (her business partner), and five children. She also enjoys reading, knitting, writing and playing video games.