Rachel is an indie game developer, writer, tax law expert, business and B2B/B2C marketing adviser and content strategist, and freelancing coach. In short, she's a professional hustler who loves to help other people develop fulfilling careers and attain both financial freedom and self-worth.
As an IRS-licensed Enrolled Agent with a decade of practice experience, she wrote the first and only tax law book dedicated to indie developers and has frequently been called upon in the industry for her perspective on game dev tax matters. She teaches the best-selling Basics of Business For Indie Developers and Taxes For Indie Developers classes at Playcrafting NYC, and has spoken at Indiecade East, East Coast Game Developers' Conference, IGDA events, and guest-lectured at MBA programs on the business of games and career development for the self-employed.
As CFO and Executive Producer of Himalaya Studios, Rachel oversaw their six-figure Kickstarter campaign and has advised game developers, publishers, and clients in other industries on how to form a successful campaign. Rachel resigned from the company in 2017 to focus on Sonic Toad Media & Consulting's coaching and writing services arms which currently lay the foundation for Sonic Toad Publishing.
Frequently featured on the front page of Gamasutra, Rachel writes about business and lifestyle issues for game developers on the noted industry rag and is also an accomplished ghost-blogger. She effectively developed active and passive income streams that have enabled her to pursue game development without a full-time or part-time job and has made it a mission of Sonic Toad Consulting to help other indie developers and creative people do the same.
Rachel's strategies have helped freelance writers get paid more and indie developers transition from traditional jobs to full-time hustling and thriving in the process. Her clients will vouch for her knowledge of grassroots and email marketing that have helped their lists grow and become more effective at selling their games and services.
Gamasutra Page: https://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/RachelPresser/924879/
Other Clips: rachelpresser.contently.com
The Definitive Guide to Taxes for Indie Game Developers: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0197G82MK/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ll1&tag=sontoamedcon-20&linkId=13df7ff020d7aad50da2d79964a02617
People can be flaky with short attention spans. The followup process can be painful because you don't want to be a hardsell but a lot of times that deal won't close without you following up. Wait a week, check back if they're interested. Reach out again two weeks later. If they don't respond, move on to other prospects.
It could be totally independent of your fees since the problem you described doesn't mention them balking at what you charge or asking you for rate cuts or auditions. But your site should have a clear message and quality content with high engagement that shows you can be trusted-- case in point, I had a tougher time getting marketing and consulting work in games before I had a built up presence on Gamasutra then branched out to other sites in addition to my own blog.
It's sounding like an unsure buyer vs. fee-cheapskate issue here.
There’s no magic bullet solution for this—got some good answers here addressing both your site copy and lack of clear messaging within. Visuals are also important! Homepages are kinda dead, do you have nice looking landing pages that are easy to read and navigate? Good UX?
People also hate the feeling they’re being sold to. What kind of value are you providing them that would make them want to sign up for your email list? Having enough good content out there that’s leading them to your site is important.
Let me know if you need help with the content bit: it gets overlooked in lead generation, and definitely provides the best value for your money.
By content, do you mean things like updates/posts and stuff you share, or written content like Pulse posts?
Cold messaging on LinkedIn isn't going to drive engagement. You'll likely just be annoying the person receiving that message. Speaking as someone who's on LinkedIn as a business owner, I get tons of cold messages from people trying to sell me things, find a job, or ask if I can "just take a look" at their resume or project without paying for my time if I don't get some lame form e-mail I just throw in the trash. Not going to work!
You need content that speaks to your target audience. Are you creating and sharing things they'll find interesting and helpful? Something that hasn't been seen before?
Find out what your LinkedIn audience wants and deliver it to them whether it's via update post or Pulse. Once you get some engagement, try messaging people who've interacted with you by pointing them to your blog and other off-site stuff through direct message.
The best networking is slow-cooked, not microwaved. Find events where you can have some kind of regular presence.
Got nothing to lose by going to one-time events as they're good practice for meeting people, but you won't really cultivate long-term professional relationships that way.
It takes time which relies on that regularity aspect. Build trust and don't look at networking as a transactional thing.
Writing for hire.
I make anywhere from $2-5K/month doing writing work. There is a strong demand for solid tech and financial writers, including ones who have startup experience. I have quite a few clients in the entrepreneurial space who frequently have me write about funding, business planning, and the other aspects of starting a business.
You can get some bylined work at Inc, Entrepreneur.com, and various stuff through the Writer's Market maybe talking about what you learned from your experience with a failed startup. People definitely read that kind of content.
My line's open if you want to learn how to get paid as a writer. Consulting's definitely a viable option, but if you money like RIGHT THE **** NOW, I can tell you how to do it in the wonderful world of writing for internet.
Breaking out of the employment mentality is a BIG part of this. You know, "This is how it's always been." "This is what you do." "This is what you *have to* do."
People get things in their heads that they do things because they have to. But you don't.
You don't have to grind yourself into the ground when you own a business. Yes, there's times when you will have to do those 10,000 little things that pile up and deal with the kind of crap that your employment-minded friends and family will never ever understand. But you don't *have to* create this unintentionally unenjoyable process.
People are so used to the idea of just working all the time when you have your own business, or a job that's high in the pecking order, that they take it with them when they strike out on their own. It's that Protestant work ethic BS people have been brainwashed with from Day 1.
Entrepreneurship isn't a monolith though. It doesn't have to be forming the perfect startup and getting venture capital and putting in 80-hour work weeks so you can cash out on an M&A or IPO. Nor does it have to be this big brick-and-mortar startup that provides hundreds of local jobs. Of course, those are options.
But you have other options. You can be a solopreneur who works totally alone save for a couple other hustlers you contract stuff out to when you need it. You can grow to just 1-2 employees and you'll have happy, engaged, and loyal workers if you offer them the same kind of work-life balance you yourself are seeking.
You can create passive income through digital products like e-courses, e-books, games, memberships, and so much more. You can retain ownership of these things or always sell them off to a company who's interested in buying them from you and all without having to go through the arduous process of getting an investor and making that company YOUR LIFE.
My line's open if you want some ideas. I make a comfortable living in digital media and am not beholden to any investors, and have a sweet work-life balance.
Find ways to monetize your talents passively such as e-courses, Kindle books, etc. Build up something that you own while you drive and write to pay your bills-- whether it's practical like an e-course, or a creative IP like a game, novel, or totally new form of media that can grow a fanbase.
As someone who does a lot of writing for hire, I'd like to point out that there are TONS of writing opportunities out there- more than you can imagine. There's some great content writing platforms out there which can be better than working with private clients in many cases. (Just please, please tell me you're not spending time looking up writing jobs in the cesspool that rhymes with Dup Jerk...)
My writing income any given month is about $2-3K on the low end but if you get larger projects and negotiate your worth, that can easily become $4-5K or far, far more depending on what your skills are and where you look. Technical writers can earn well into six figures.
Diversify into other areas where you can charge a lot more for less time, like consulting and strategy.
My line's open if you need help figuring out how to get paid more as a writer. I was in a similar place as you at one time: I busted my ass with rhymes-with-ghost-hates until I could get my second biz off the ground. Now making a very comfortable living as a hustler with both active and passive income!
Both team and individual accomplishments need to be vitally recognized.
Contests and rewards are great. But have you recognized things on an individual level? Your sales manager maybe would like some PTO to do volunteer work while your star sales agent is really passionate about a hobby (which you demonstrate by say, giving them an appropriate gift card after a particularly big sale.)
Fostering companionship over competition can go a long way as well so you don't have people feeling bubbling resentment over that one goldmine territory/client/etc. This is why your employees still need to be rewarded on team efforts when times are good-- so there's no impression of playing favorites.
Balance is key.