Surviving the Meltdown

Entrepreneur Meltdown

I felt sneaky fear and doubt slowly creeping into my belly. That feeling of second guessing and questioning every move I’m about to make. The longer we climb this mountain, the less people we find that have actually made it to the top. Enter fear. Doubt. Should we keep climbing? Time for a gut check. 

When we started this board game and decided we were going to take it to the top, the definition of the top has changed. First, it was finding a company to buy the game, but that is actually quite hard. Then we thought that we would self publish and sell it to retailers ourselves. Which is also, super challenging. There is no right answer, and we don’t know what is at the top of our mountain, but we know we can keep climbing. As of right now, we are look at both options, which is why we’ve decided to launch a kickstarter campaign (coming in November!) and have a booth at the  Chicago Toy and Game Fair. Maybe one of those will the be the top of our mountain. 

It is not very often that you present yourself the opportunity to pursue the dream of creating something and bringing it to viability. Sometimes your own doubts about yourself stop you, and you kill your own dream. Maybe you run out of time, or energy. Sometimes finances kill your dream, you don’t have the money, can’t get the loan, can’t/won’t tap into your retirement, or you spend it all and run out. That’s one that people fear, but I think there’s one everyone fears more. That your dream (your business/product/invention/whatever) kills itself. It’s not good, people don’t like it, won’t buy it or support. I see so many inspiration quotes about not killing your own dream,


but there are not nearly as many as about how to keep yourself in check financially and how to know if your dream is worth pursuing. Those two are much harder conversations to have with yourself.


Every couple of months I naturally seem to bring us to a check and balance. I call it a freak out point. Hah, doesn’t sound very appealing, but I find it a very natural and important part of the process. I start to freak out about the progress that we haven’t made, the money we haven’t made, the money we are spending or are about to be spending, and I lose confidence in my ability to see this game through to the top of our mountain. I’ve developed a checklist that I run through to help with my quarterly freak out. 

  1. Don’t freak out alone. Freak out to a couple of people that can be 100% honest with you. I’ll tell a quick story so you know the kind of person I’m talking about. Last Christmas we had just started on this adventure, and Jake was gushing about it to his family. We are so lucky to be blessed with such a supportive family, and they immediately filled us with hopes and encourament. So when a family member said, “No offense, but how much money do you plan on putting into this before you call it quits.” I bet you can guess he’s not a board game guy. Which worked to our advantage, it allowed him a no feelings attached point of view. He’s also a tell-it-like-it-is-guy which a lot of people tend to take offense to, but I don’t. I find these people important and necessary, an important point of view to keep us balanced. We talked about the limits we put in place to keep us in check. No we’re not going to sell our house to fund the game, but we will tap into a bit of our retirement to get it going. 
  2. Do the math. I’m terrible at math, but I still have to do it. How much money have we spent so far? How much have we made? How much are we going to spend in the next 3/6/9/12 months. How much do we stand to profit in the next 3/6/9/12 months? I immediately feel grounded after I’ve ran the numbers a few times. While everyone loves to find that extra $20 they left in their pocket in the wash, they don’t love to be surprised by a large bill. I don’t want any financial surprises, good or bad.
  3. Feel all the feels. Believe it or not, it’s healthy and normal to feel self doubt, fear, and anxiety. Dwelling on them and letting them rule and cloud your judgment will not be helpful, so feel the feelings, and then release them. I like to go for a walk to help me work through my emotions. 

Today was one of those does where I wasn’t very productive. I was stuck in my head, feeling all the feels. I ran through my checklist, and just pushed through my day. Not every day is going to be productive, and sometimes you just have to push through the fog and keep climbing that mountain. 


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