What the World of Finance Can Teach Us About Game Audio Success
Let me tell you a little story about my youth.
My father is a financial advisor.
Ever since I was young, he tried to teach me the value of investing early in life to take advantage of compounding interest.
But... I preferred playing guitar and hanging out with my friends.
My 401k and investment portfolio were the last things on my mind. Fast forward through 15 years of adult life and I'm only just beginning to truly grasp the power of this life-changing lesson.
And I've realized that the "compounding effect" isn't just the most important thing you'll ever learn about finance; it may be the most important thing you ever learn... period.
Stonks... not as different from your career as you think...
What is Compounding?
For those who aren't familiar with the "compounding effect", let's begin with a simple definition:
The "compound(ing) effect" is the principle of reaping huge rewards from a series of small, smart choices and a healthy dose of patience.
The classic example comes from the world of finance in which an investment can grow exponentially over time due to accumulating interest.
If investing jargon isn't your thing, let me break it down with a simple example:
Let's say you put $100 monthly into an account that pays you out 5% interest every year.
In five years, you'd only have earned $630 on top of what you put in.
After ten years, you'd have earned $3,000.
Not a lot considering you waited ten years, but stick with me because...
In 20 years, your earnings would grow to $20,000.
In 40 years, that number would be $100,000.
And here's the kicker...
In 50 years' time, you would have earned nearly $200,000!
If you did the math, 50 years of $100 monthly payments add up to $60,000.
With a total of $260,000 in your account, that means you've ended up with 4x the money just by patiently and consistently investing over a long enough period of time.
And if you noticed, the vast majority of those gains came only at the very end of that fifty-year period.
In the first five years, you only earn $630. In the last five years, you earn $80,000
Here's a chart for your reference
Now Ben, you might be thinking, this is all well and good but what the HELL does it have to do with my game audio career?
Compounding and Your Game Audio Career
Think for a moment about all the things that you can "invest" in when it comes to your career.
1 | You can invest in quality hardware and software
2 | You can invest in mastering your craft
3 | You can invest in events and meetups to expand your network
4 | You can invest in creating a nice demo reel
As you can see, basically anything you dedicate your time, energy, or money to that is career-related is an investment of sorts.
And when it comes to these important topics, it doesn't do to simply invest.
You have to make wise, high-quality investments
Because poor investments don't pay out nearly as well in the long run.
If you change the interest rate on the example from earlier from 5% to 2% you wouldn't even double your money in 50 years.
The metaphor for your career investments makes sense, right?
A crappy, thrown-together demo reel won't attract nearly as many clients as a carefully crafted reel will.
A voiceover artist who spends all their money on plugins but forgets to buy a microphone hasn't exactly invested their money wisely, have they?
That voiceover artist with no mic...
When we make high-quality investments in our careers, we gradually increase our chances of success.
And there's a magical thing about success that people don't seem to be talking about...
Success is NOT linear.
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Exponential Career Growth
There's a beautiful phrase that goes something like...
The more you have, the more you can have. The more you are, the more you can become.
In other words, the more you achieve, the more likely you are to achieve even more.
As you start your career, you'll notice that you're making all these little investments but they don't seem to be paying off.
Just like the graph from before, there is only microscopic movement at the beginning of any investment period.
It probably feels like this...
But if you keep moving and keep making quality investments, you'll start to get those little wins that ramp up into bigger and bigger wins.
Before you know it, the compounding effect has doubled, tripled, or maybe even 10x-ed the investments you made in those early times!
Imagine those $100 are the 100% of your available energy, time, and money you could invest into your dream career.
If you let yourself slack and give only 50% one month and maybe just 30% the next, you are stealing the success that the full 100% could have compounded into if you just stuck with it.
Be patient and let the power of compounding work its magic as you consistently invest in yourself and your career.
“Small, Smart Choices + Consistency + Time = RADICAL DIFFERENCE”
I'll say it again because I think it's worth repeating:
Success, especially in creative fields, is NOT linear.
So don't give up and don't be discouraged if you're not yet seeing the results you want!
This is simply how this process works... for EVERYBODY.
This gif has no point except that it makes me laugh. 🤣
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.