Welcome to Curious Business

Every Friday, I post a small insight into running Curio City and/or Blue Hills Editorial Services. My most recent posts are directly below. You can also start with the first post, or use the subject labels to the right to home in on particular topics. Feel free to comment on anything that interests you.
Add to Technorati Favorites

Friday, October 13, 2006

Money Doesn't Grow on Trees

If you’ve plowed through my past posts, you’ve heard about startup phases and my attitude toward debt. Most readers must wonder where I got the money to finance this approach – unless you’re my in-laws, who just assume that I stole it.

I am not a rich man, nor do I want to be. I scraped along for many years in subsistence-level jobs. I’m content with just enough money to comfortably pay my bills with a little bit left for modest luxuries. A couple of computer games per year, a nice vacation every couple of years, decent gifts for my wife and friends, the occasional computer replacement…that’s plenty for me.

In 1996, I left retail (which pays squat) for a tech job during the boom. My starting salary as a game tester was a small pay cut from being a book buyer, but by 1999, thanks to royalties and promotions, I had nearly tripled my income. Meanwhile, my needs and wants remained unchanged.

The PC game business is brutal. Burnout is common and employers are notoriously mercenary, trimming staff every time a product ships. I always expected that I – with no technical skills or education -- would eventually quit or be laid off.

So I saved a lot of money. I am a lousy consumer. I much prefer having money in the bank to buying things. I called it my Unemployment Fund.

In 2000, with my employer obviously failing, I angled for the generous severance package that came with the first round of layoffs. Combined with my savings, and large enough unemployment checks to cover my bills, I’d never been so rich in my life.

Fast forward: Further career crises unfolded as my money gradually dwindled. Then my mother died, and I inherited another year’s salary. This, I knew, would be the last time in my life that I would ever have a lump of money at my disposal. Now my slow-motion career crisis intersected with the resources and motivation to change it. With the generous support of my wife, I finally gave up on game development entirely, and Kraken Enterprises was born.

So here’s how you start a business without going into debt:

  1. Reduce your needs and wants to subsistence level.
  2. Earn considerably more than that, and save the difference.
  3. Marry a woman who will cover your personal living expenses while you pour your assets into the business.
  4. (Inheriting more money is optional, but recommended.)

It’s as easy as that!

If Curio City Online turns a profit in 2007, as it must, my current deprivation will have been worth it. If not, it was a terribly costly detour. I’ll have spent my life’s savings and walked around penniless for two years for no good reason. But at least I have a shot at the brass ring, and that’s more than most people ever get.

Other Forthcoming Topics:

  • Long-term Prospects
  • Planned features
  • O, Canada
  • Giving 110%
  • Credit Card processing fees

No comments:

Post a Comment

What do you think? Leave a comment.

Google Search