In today’s post I would like to share with you some thoughts about surviving as an indie iOS developer. I started my iOS journey in August 2009 with the development of paintingWalls. However, I went full-time indie one year later, on August 2010. So currently, I’m living from the incomings produced by the apps you can see in the Projects page of this blog.
However, despite of being indie I’m still dependent of money… Usually, indies are romantic people passionate about what they do. To be happy with my job I only need to see my work completed, well done and enjoyed by people. Really. These are the only needs of my mind.
However, you know… you can’t live from happiness. It would be great but it is not possible. You need to manage to make some money. It is a frustrating paradox: I’m not interested on making money, I’m interested on making great games and apps. However, to be able to make great games and apps, I need to make some money with them. However, sometimes, thinking about making money, makes your games to be less great.
I only see two ways for breaking the paradox:
Way 1: the Noel Llopis way I think we all know Noel at iDevBlogADay, don’t we? Put “indie iphone” at Google and his blog is the first entry. Awesome.
Anyway, on his last blog article “My Next Game” he states: “It turns out the indie life is treating me very well, so making lots money isn’t one of the main reasons to make this next game. That means I can safely remove that requirement from my previous list, which grants me a lot more freedom.”
Ok, that’s way 1. This really blows out the paradox. Clear and easy. However, I needed an alternative… so here comes way 2.
Way 2: freelance is not indie, but is also cool! (notice that the title of both ways ends with a smiling face ). My personal projects produce about 40% of the earnings I need for everyday life. So, I needed a way to obtain the other 60% taking into account that what I really wanted was to keep myself self-employed.
During 2011 I have received a lot of employment offers. My iOS activity (specially this blog) during the last 2.5 years has given me some relevance in the little local iOS community, around Barcelona, Spain. So, specially from LinkedIn, I receive many employment and job offers.
During the first half of this year I systematically refused all of them. However… during the last months, the pressure of money is getting heavier… I still keep refusing employment offers but now I consider all freelance project offers I receive. And I have accepted some of them.
And that was cool! You know, Noel Llopis way is, by far, much better, but the experience of working with clients has given me some extra skills that I can use also when working on my own projects.
Keeping a confortable balance between self-projects and client-projects is not that easy, though. Client-projects tend to slowly take more and more of your time. The more client-projects you successfully complete, the more offers you receive. And it’s very difficult to refuse an offer because you are afraid of loosing clients and, therefore, not earning enough money for everyday living and, therefore, not being able to keep self-employed and, therefore, to eventually be forced to abandon the indie dream.
However, if you don’t refuse some offers, you don’t have time to work on your own projects. Isn’t that also a paradox?!?! OMG! The key, as in game design, is balance
What do you think?