Entrepreneurship Is Hard. 

Glorified? Yes. Glorious? Not always. 

I wasn’t always handed the greatest cards, and have been on a mission to get out of a shitty situation more than a couple times. As life got better, perseverance was so engrained into my personality that being an entrepreneur was inevitable.

I wanted to share some of the ups and downs of entrepreneurship, in hopes that it helps somebody who is starting our their journey, or currently in the thick of it.

My initial experience in tabletop games business has had similarities to when I first began my dance studio in 2013. I had a lifelong passion for dance and was pretty good at bringing people together, may it be for a cause or for an event. I ended up teaming up with a dance instructor, who my teams often competed against, to create a dance studio.

Problem was – we were both technicians and lacked the management skills that one would have learned through university or by working their way up into a management position. We naively jumped into it and learned what we needed to through scraped knees, bruised elbows and a whole lot of burnout.  (Highly recommend the book E-Myth for small business owners).

I wouldn’t say that my nativity has been generally a bad thing because it’s offered me a sense of fearlessness. I’ve been able to achieve what others feel is impossible, because I don’t always realize how ‘impossible’ something is. I believe that being realistic and living to the confinements of what is average or acceptable often holds people back from even trying. And ultimately, this leads to a limited life, perhaps one of regrets.

Over the years, I had listened to many podcasts and read a lot of books about startups, e-commerce, marketing, sales, etc. That said, I didn’t have practical experience in the field. Despite all of this, Derek and I managed to succeed in Kickstarting our first game. And, thanks to Dereks experience with web design and mine in Amazon, a skill I’d picked up when the pandemic first hit, we managed to launch an e-commerce business. Our online sales were building momentum and everything was heading in the right direction.

Then an opportunity came up to get  into retail stores. *SWEET!*

We had already prepared wholesale accounts and contracts about one year prior, and this would allow retailers to buy directly from us. We had one main clause, and that was that they cannot compete against us on Amazon, as that was our primary sales channel and our means to continue funding our startup.  

After reaching out to some stores and getting denied faster than a fly being swatted off my sweaty summer face, we learned that it’s not that straight forward to just get into retail. We were going to need some help. 

Long story short, about one year later, we signed with a global consolidator who was able to help us launch with distributors and retail stores worldwide. It was a pretty surreal time.

But, we had overlooked one important thing in this exciting milestone-the non-compete on Amazon. 

As a result, our Amazon sales dropped to zero.

Our ads were still running and chewing away at what we had already profited because we were losing the sale to some retail stores who were were selling our game on Amazon (under our listing) at a lower cost. Essentially, we were advertising for other stores who were winning the sale. Brutal.

We’ve tried to gate our product, but Amazon hasn’t been able to help with that. So what do we do? Do we turn off our ads and sell nothing? It’s a tough situation considering this is our primary source of income.

This is one of those problems where I don’t yet have the answer. I feel like I’m walking on eggshells because we are one decision away from unintentionally burning a bridge based or one call away from defining our proper business model.

Running a startup is emotionally challenging, regardless of the industry you’re in or the experience you have. Regardless of some of these rude awakenings, we are by no means giving up. We will always fight the good fight and learn from our mistakes. All of this is growth and lessons in perseverance. Plus, every brand needs a good origin story, right?

Writing this, I’m honestly not sure what call we will make, but I wanted to share one of the many bits n bobs that we experience in this game of business. And for now, we just keep trucking forward as we build our next game and prepare for a 2nd Kickstarter this summer 💪

March 4, 2023

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