The #1 Thing Holding Your Business Back
Are you putting in 50 to 60 hours a week, burning the midnight oil even on weekends, and still feel like your game audio career is getting nowhere? I admire your drive but there's something you should know: If you're working on the wrong things, even 120 hours a week won't be enough to get your business where you want it to be.
Stop wasting time and start making real progress.
First Things First
One of the main causes of overwhelm and stress in our businesses and in our lives is not the fact that we aren’t achieving our goals, but rather that we don’t even know if what we are doing is leading us in the right direction.
Similar to how we must prioritize the needs of our customers in our marketing and communication efforts, we must prioritize the needs of our business in order to make real, sustainable progress.
There's a quote from one of the masters of efficiency that we should all burn into our minds forever:
“Doing something unimportant well does not make it important”
Spending three days making the perfect tweaks to your two-year-old sound reel that was already pretty good feels important but in the grand scheme of things, it probably isn't.
Keep reading to find out what is.
Master of the Meaningless Task
Being a freelance composer or sound designer for games is a neverending cascade of work.
I like to joke but sometimes it really does feel like drowning, and that's not fun.
It seems every time you turn around there is another fire to put out, another email to read, and another distraction to keep you from making important progress.
So you work and work but you only seem to move forward at a snail's pace, if that.
Here’s a term for you that you may not have heard before but will certainly understand:
"The notion of doing more to feel productive when we are, in fact, accomplishing less"
In the age of the internet and social media, there are ten billion things beeping, buzzing, and flashing at us at all hours of the day to make us aware of every little thing we simply have to know about.
And it feels important to attend to all of them as soon as possible, right?
Before you know it you've spent four hours trolling through Twitter on what felt like meaningful interactions at the time but if you do that every single day, what good can really come from it?
Defining and focusing on the most important things you need to accomplish for your business has never been more difficult.
And yet it’s the only thing that will get you to where you want to be.
The person who does two hours of focused work on the most meaningful task for their business will beat the person who does 12 hours of meaningless work every time.
So How Do We Fix This?
You have to prioritize and attack the most pressing issues in your business (and your life) in order to even begin to move forward, but how do you do that?
This process involves a self-aware and completely honest review of the biggest problems facing your business.
Do you not have enough work to make ends meet?
You should probably prioritize getting new customers and maybe consider a part-time job if things are really tight.
Do you have enough projects, but they don’t pay you well?
You need to prioritize finding better-paying clients or other forms of income.
Do you have enough projects but work unsustainable hours and feel overwhelmed?
You ought to prioritize getting a system in place to help you get more done in less time or even consider outsourcing some work to other freelancers.
Do you have so many problems that you don't even know where to start?
I've been there. It sucks. Sometimes it's not possible to know for sure what to do first, but as long as you're working on what feels like one of your top three biggest issues, you're probably on the right path.
Only you can say for sure what problems face your business and in which order you should probably tackle them.
But if you never take the time to think about it, how will you know?
Prioritization = Freedom
Imagine how much more you could achieve and how much better you would feel if you woke up every day knowing exactly what you need to do to move your career forward.
It’s possible, but only if you prioritize!
I know the feeling of working constantly and yet somehow getting nowhere.
Taking the time to analyze your business and create a plan to address your biggest issues is a sure-fire way to get you out of a rut.
What are your biggest problems?
Are you actively working towards solving them?
Or are you working for work's sake wasting hours on meaningless tasks with no real plan of how to achieve your goals?
Getting things done doesn't lead to success.
Getting the right things done leads to success.
Make a list of your top priorities and work on the most important task at least a little every day. You'll be amazed at what this simple change can do for your career and your life.
Hi, I’m Ben Gallagher.
After struggling for many years to make it as a game audio freelancer, I created The Game Audio Pro with the goal of helping others understand the fundamental business skills that are often the difference between success and failure for freelancers.
If you're ready to take your game audio career to the next level, download my guide to The Most Important Mindset for Game Audio Success.