3 Quick Tips About Creativity, Entrepreneurship, and E-Commerce

12 March 2020 | 12 Comments

Today I have 3 quick tips from various sources regarding creativity, entrepreneurship, and e-commerce.

Create Every Day, but Set a Low Bar

In an excellent chat on the Board Game Design Lab podcast between Gabe Barrett (Hunted) and Charlie Cleveland (Subnautica, Vampire: The Masquerade), they talked about the value of creating every day.

Two parts of this discussion (around the 40-minute mark) really stood out to me: First, I like the concept Charlie mentioned about how if you’re working, for example, working on game design every day, some part of your brain is always processing that creative goal. I’ve found that to be true for myself–when I’m walking to get coffee, brushing my teeth, or even sleeping, I’m thinking about game design.

Second, Gabe makes an excellent point about setting a low, achievable bar. If you want to write a novel, the prospect of writing 80,000 words is pretty daunting. So daunting that you may never start. But what if you set a goal of writing 250 words a day, every day? That’s just a paragraph or two. You can do that. And some days you’ll get in the flow and write a lot more than that.

I love this concept. Aside from just making progress, I find myself the most satisfied and fulfilled when I’ve even just spent 15-20 minutes on game design, opposed to the busy days when I decide to wait until tomorrow.

How to Start a Board Game Company

I love when entrepreneurs share their journey publicly as a way of adding value to fellow creators. Game designer Jay Cormier (Belfort, In the Hall of the Mountain King) decided to do this 9 months ago when he started a board game company to publish his new game, Mind MGMT, which is now on Kickstarter.

In Jay’s excellent YouTube series, he details step by step how he started his company. If you’re thinking about running a board game company someday, I highly recommend this series.

If You Use Shopify, Try Bold Upsell

I’ve experimented with a variety of Shopify apps to improve the customer experience on our webstore, but I don’t think I’ve ever been as surprised by the results as I have by Bold Upsell. In just over a month after implementing it, it’s resulted in 340 conversions (+$8349 in revenue).

You’ve probably seen something like this while shopping online. You add something to your cart (say, a copy of Euphoria), and when you do, the webstore lets you know that you could treat yourself and add a related product (Ignorance Is Bliss) to your order. It’s not pushy–it’s just a suggestion.

It’s easy to implement, and while it’s beneficial for Stonemaier Games, I also think it’s helpful for customers, as it’s essentially helping them avoid shipping fees for multiple orders. I think it will also help if we ever make multiple versions of the same game, as there’s a way in Bold Upsell that you can suggest a different product, and if the customer accepts the offer, it switches the two products in their cart.

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What do you think about these tips? Do you spend a little time creating every day? What YouTube channel have you been learning from? And what’s your favorite e-commerce app/plugin?

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12 Comments on “3 Quick Tips About Creativity, Entrepreneurship, and E-Commerce

  1. All of the items serve as excellent advice in many other areas of one’s life…not just board game design. On the “creative” side, I jot down one or two things that I want to mention in my monthly BGG blog. By the same token, I’m back to lifting weights and the incremental, do something every day is the key to success. It’s daunting to think that over the course of the year, you’ll lift 2M lbs in weights…but you will, just not at one time. I had a chance to chat wit Isaac Childress this past weekend, as he attends the same microcon (PiranhaPigCon) and he talked a bit about having to do something every day. His wife, a writer, is in the same
    space…you must dedicate yourself to small, incremental increases towards your goal.

    My go-to learning channels have been and shall remain Ludology and BGDL ~ both are excellent resources. As to my favorite e-commerce app/plugin? I don’t have one, but I do appreciate whatever algorithm is behind the scenes at Amazon…and while I rarely ever add to my Cart this way, I’m fascinated by the recommendations/suggestions.

  2. I stumbled onto your content while researching game design shen I was making a card game with my son. I was suprised to see you are in my hometown.I would appreciate it if you wouldnt mind taking a quick look and let me know what you think as i respect your opinion on the matter. I posted some pics and description atTorchfiregames.com. thanks for the great tips and content.

  3. I keep stalling with my games design. I listened to the board games design lab podcast and thought I should totally do that every day method. That was three days ago and I still haven’t started! I’m going to get my blank cards and notebook now.

  4. Hi Jamey, thanks so much for mentioning my YouTube series. Part of the reason why I made them was for the same reason you’re expressing here. I knew I need a new episode every week, and so sometimes early in a week when I wouldn’t know what my topic was going to be that week, I had to get off my butt and do something – just so I could make an episode about it! It really kept me on track and motivated!

  5. As a designer/illustrator I know I need to draw a little every day, and that a little over a long period goes further than a lot in short bursts. But sometimes you just don’t WANT to. One great piece of advice I read is — just draw a line. Just one line, one single line, every day. Of course you won’t stop there, you’ll end up doodling and sketching before you know it. But if you tell yourself “all I have to draw is one line,” it feels way more manageable.

    1. This! For the last two years I’ve had a daily sketchbook in which I draw one page every day. It’s only happened a few times, but If I miss one day I have to leave that page white. Some days it’s literally just some scribbles but it keeps me from not drawing anything which feels great.

        1. Steve: I don’t think Malachi is saying that you have an attitude. Another way of saying it–based on your comment–is that you’re already creating things, and that’s awesome. If you decide at some point that the things you create are worth bringing to market, there are ways to do so (self-publishing or submitting to a publisher).

        2. I was being a bit flippant I’ll admit, but Jamey’s right – saying you “don’t have any way” to bring your ideas to market is entirely a matter of your perspective. You are posting this on perhaps the industry’s single most encouraging, useful and resource-rich blog on the subject of exactly how to either a) learn to specialize in those areas, or b) find others to help you who do.

          If you have ideas, you can imagine possibility – and that may sound cheap but the ability to imagine possibility and move toward that one step at a time is literally all you need to do anything ever.

          You can do it!!

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