How one identifies and measures success can lead to self-deprecation or praise.
I spent 5 months in Mexico working remote, but that time needed to come to an end. I hopped on a plane to the USA with a plan to tour the USA and visit board game stores to demo our game. I knew it would be costly, but it seemed like the only answer at the time.
For the first 6 months of our e-commerce launch, we thought the KPI (goal) was to ‘get our game into as many hands as possible‘. We thought this would move the needle the most, to help spread word and get into local communities.
There was a problem. We had no way to control the narrative in how it was being received or explained. Mainstream players who played only Jenga and UNO did not understand how to play.
How does a trap card work?
How can I win if the aim is not to lose?
What’s the difference between playing a card vs. returning a card?
These were some of the all too common questions. Advertising to push sales was not the answer.
We changed our KPI to ‘Get the game into as many hands as possible who know how to explain it to others’. After all, who buys games from ads? I’ve only ever bought games from word of mouth.
I began making videos explaining specific game play situations. It was effective, because we stopped getting confused reviews. While it was helping, it didn’t pay the bills. Living and Ubering in Dallas was not cheap.
I became very stressed. How I was going to maintain our business growth, and find income to keep a roof over my head and food in my mouth?
It got so bad that I was staying in a dorm with bunk beds and could no longer afford my own space. My mental health was declining – how ironic as a mental wellness games company.
A friendly face was what I needed most, so I hopped on a plane to San Diego to visit a friend.
Long story short, this led me to a few contracts that brought in some income. I was working 40-60 hours per week for other people in a difficult environment. I won’t say much, but the environment was not healthy and was crushing my soul. I tried to stay grateful because it was income, but it took a hit on my ability to work on Right Wrong Game.
Failure is not an option to me. Failure is simply giving up. So, I decided to get resourceful and outsource our marketing. I sent our game to social media influencers who could make videos on my behalf. Our organic sales doubled, then tripled and they continue to grow.
While this was happening, we were in the closing days of our 2 month street launch for retailers. We got signed by all major distributors in the USA, Canada and Australia. They were increasing orders, and some got 5x more their regular quantity for first time games.
I knew we were on path, but my mental health had crashed. I realized that my happiness was critical and the place I felt most uplifted and empowered was in Mexico. I decided to head back in a couple weeks and work remote again.
I thought I was such a failure. I only made it to 4 board game stores in 2 months. Then, I snapped out of it and considered this one fact: Regardless of the details, we still reached the end goal. Get into the store shelves and into as many hands as possible who can explain the game to others.
I did not follow every step of the plan, but through resourcefulness, we achieved the same end result.
Not every journey is the same. Not every path is straight forward. Not every milestone is noticeable.
On a personal level, a lot of my fear and lack of self confidence disintegrated. Looking back, I don’t recognize the same person I once was. Through this process, an old part of myself died and who I’ve always wanted to become is emerging.August 3, 2022