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Why I recommend not to quit your day job while going through your indie game journey

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by dilmer, Sep 10, 2018.

  1. dilmer

    dilmer

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    Quitting your day job is probably one of the questions I get the most and many of us dream to do that, specially when we're so passionate about making indie games, working crazy amount of hours, and I know that you want to do it all the time. Watch this video and learn why I strongly believe you should keep your day job and still pursue your dreams of becoming a full time indie game developer with your own indie game studio.



    Thanks
     
  2. Billy4184

    Billy4184

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    With great risk comes the potential for great reward. I think the logic of keeping your day job during game dev is theoretically sound, but I wonder how many startups became successful while the founders kept their day job? Enterprises often demand a lot more attention than they appear to deserve in order to cross the threshold of success and failure.

    I think keeping your day job softens a failure a great deal, but it also makes it much more difficult to actually succeed.
     
  3. AkiraWong89

    AkiraWong89

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    @dilmer
    Agree. I also did the same way as I need to survive too. Making games is always not an easy task. We human never know the fate of future. Each succeed contains a bit of luck.

    Fun fact: People who have big business always said the same statement: "I never thought of this will be so successful now."

    Accept the cruelty of reality, act according to circumstances, slowly build your kingdom, stick to the end. Once you realized one of your game becomes a hit, then only quit your job and fully focus on it, you will know the time, you can feel it.;)
     
  4. AcidArrow

    AcidArrow

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    Yeah... I mean...

    "Keep your day job!"
    "Make a great game!"
    "Make sure you rest properly!"
    "Have a social life!"

    Yeah, sure, I'll do all of the above. Let me quickly invent a time dilation machine so there's enough time for everything.

    That's why general blanket advice/statements are more or less worthless.
     
  5. Lethn

    Lethn

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    I don't know about a day job but just keeping any kind of employment if you can is very sensible, minecraft for example was made by a guy just working on weekends while keeping his day job. If you can do games development that way then do it, but yeah, this kind of advice isn't always practical considering the hours needed to make a proper game.

    An alternative is always to create a crowdfunder to help you get funds for the idea rather than go through a publisher or just go it on your own.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2018
    dogzerx2 likes this.
  6. bart_the_13th

    bart_the_13th

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    Cloning your self should do the job... but most likely, you'll have to draw straws who'll do social life...
     
  7. angrypenguin

    angrypenguin

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    At face value, yes. But having a day job also gives you access to things like shelter, healthy living, and the ability to get software, hardware, and other stuff that helps you succeed.

    If you already have money or some other support that'll give you some or all of that then sure, go for it. Otherwise, you need to cover those things somehow, and if it's not a day job then it'll be contracting or asset sales or something else that'll take time away from your project anyway.

    The benefit of a day job is that, at least in theory, there are clear boundaries - when you leave work your time is your own. If you want to keep getting contract gigs or have more people buy your assets then you can't put neat boundaries on those so easily. The benefit to other approaches is that you might be able to get work that aligns with your own projects on terms that are mutually beneficial.
     
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  8. Billy4184

    Billy4184

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    Just to clarify, I didn't say it was a good idea to go into game dev penniless. The question for me is whether to save, prepare, and then jump into game dev completely, or to continue to divide one's time by keeping a day job.

    It's possible to do a bit of both, and try to work part time, which may be better than the other two options though I'm not entirely sure. It's what I'm doing though.

    But in my mind, spending eight hours a day working on something else, and then expecting to be able to work another three or four productive hours on game dev, sounds a bit better in theory than it is in practice. The main reason is that it's much easier to put in a twelve hour day when most or all of it is going to your dream project. Whereas spending twelve hours a day putting out effort, and getting part-time results on the things that matter to you, is mentally difficult to put up with.

    In the end, any enterprise like creating a game will demand significant sacrifices, and it's much easier to put up with sacrifices that efficiently convert into progress, than ones which simply provide a buffer for failure.

    And to be honest, I don't think it's entirely a bad thing, or indicative of any kind of mistake, if the failure to succeed at something of the magnitude of most games results in a fair bit of pain and hardship. That's just life. Some rewards were never meant to be obtained in comfort and security.
     
  9. changsaobien

    changsaobien

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    I know exactly your recommend, however, social often don't give you which you want, for my opinion, I am IT helpdesk for software company, my job day by day around receive call, answer email and listen complains ...bla bla In the past I can take advantage to learn unity at free time but my poor boss ordered package cameras and deploy everywhere in the company, even I can't surf web, not to mention to open Unity. I must decide, I must choose, if I remain work in company, how difficult to keep passionate for indie develop, work at night?! impossible, after 8 hours workplace, you wish you only want go to bed and have beauty dreams, anyway if someone look at me, they still think I am unemployment (they have right) but inside, I feel I live meaning every day, not to do useless jobs at company, I am happiness in every breath... well, maybe I have to continue write code for game right now, my wallet only have limited and actually I want get success from game development in the future.
     
  10. Antony-Blackett

    Antony-Blackett

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    IMO you need to answer these 3 questions:

    Do you have the Resources?
    Do you have the available resources (money and ability) to quit your job and work full time as well as have enough money available to do the other things you need to release, hire contractors for art sound etc, and enough left after all that to support your game for 6 months with updates and marketing! Think beyond finishing your game.

    How do you reduce Risk?
    If you have the resources (money) then do you really want to risk it all? There's a good chance you won't earn it back so is it worth giving it a shot to start with? If you fail have you still earned some valuable knowledge worth the money? A good university can cost tens of thousands a year so have you learn as much as you would up-skilling at a university? Here's also where you need to take an objective look at what it is you want to build. Is it actually viable? What's the minimum viable product? How can you accomplish that with the least possible investment in time and money?

    Will your Mental Health suffer in the Long Term?
    Many people forget this part. It's easy to quit your job and get absorbed into your project and while it's new and fresh and things are progressing well you think it's all roses and nothing could possibly go wrong and you feel great and happy! But.... When things start to drag and your ideas aren't flowing and your motivation starts to wane it's easy for that to compound into a seriously damaging spiral for you and your project. To combat that I seriously think you shouldn't work in isolation, if you have a team, work with that team at a physical location if possible, otherwise ALWAYS be connected through video chat! If you're not in a team that's also fine but I highly recommend finding a shared office space where you can interact with real people, not just your cat.

    If you're happy you've answered these three things then I think it's a reasonably educated decision to leave your job and pursue your dream. I firmly believe that if you have the resources and ability and the right idea then doing it full time is your best chance of making it a success.
     
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  11. angrypenguin

    angrypenguin

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    Well either way you're dividing your time, the question is over what span you're dividing it. Are you dividing it by the hour, day, month, year, etc?

    With that in mind I think there might be some advantages to the part time day job route.
    • Depending on country, you might get taxed less because you earn lower income in the tax year. So you could potentially get more money for the same amount of paid work hours.
    • You get to start working on your project sooner. This is useful in a bunch of ways.
    • There are advantages to spreading the same work hours over a greater period of time. "Nine women can't make a baby in a month", and it effectively means you're taking a lot of breaks (assuming you have the right kind of other work).
    Plus, while I absolutely believe you should be working to some kind of deadline anyway, this approach gives you a bit more flexibility than a dwindling bank account. By the time your bank balance hits zero you have to be doing something else. On the other hand, if you're looking at a self set deadline looming but you know you have a sustainable income whether or not you hit it, you're in a situation where you have the power to make a decision about what you're going to do - will the project commercially benefit from more time, or do you want to stick to the original plan and push it out? (And lets not forget how common it is for game projects to go over schedule!)

    The catch is that there definitely is a cost to "context switching". Having said that, I think it gets lower with experience and/or good planning. And if my day jobs have taught me anything it's that there's a good chance you'll be working on multiple projects simultaneously anyway.
     
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  12. Quingu

    Quingu

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    The problem with keeping your day job is that you will not have enough energy to make a good game. Making games is VERY taxing and requires A LOT of time. I can't imagine working 8 hour shifts and later working on some serious code during evenings. It's just to much effort. Very few people can pull it off. You would have to have stamina of an ox. It's just too taxing. You can't have a full-time job and build a game studio on the side.
     
  13. Murgilod

    Murgilod

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    Nobody's saying "build a studio."
     
  14. bart_the_13th

    bart_the_13th

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    8 hour shift leave 16 hours, let say you need to sleep 6 hours, and you spend two hours commuting, that leave you 8 hours you can spread on things like social life and/or game dev life.. So it should not be as hard as you imagined...
     
  15. ptcmia

    ptcmia

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    Considering how many games barely make enough money to be considered minimum wage, I would keep a day job or at least a part time job. At least until you have your first game out.
     
  16. angrypenguin

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    Or that "day job" = "full time".

    Figure out the overall lifestyle you want, then figure out how to build that.
     
  17. Quingu

    Quingu

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    You are not realistic. It's not about time. It's about the effort. After 8 hours of work, hour of chores, hour with your kids and two hours of commuting, 8 hours of sleep you have four hours left. This is your time when normal people watch TV, without a single thought, because they don't have energy for anything else. Try to make a great game when you have four hours per day and you are always tired.
     
  18. Murgilod

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    Yeah, capitalism's a bitch. You might just not be able to make games.
     
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  19. ptcmia

    ptcmia

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    Sounds like the life life of a CEO of a fortune 500 company.
     
  20. hippocoder

    hippocoder

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    Running your own business is something very few people in the world are equipped to do. It is probably considerably less than the amount of people thinking they can give up the day job and follow an indie dream even though they have finished absolutely nothing.

    It is deeply stupid.

    If you want to quit the day job and become a full time indie, all following must be yes:
    • you have self published a game already
    • you made $50K from it
    • it took less than 2 years
    • you know taxes or an accountant
    • you have resources that are reliable for art/sound/etc (as applicable)
    If you haven't done all those then do them first. Otherwise gamble, and the house always wins.
     
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  21. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    People lack perspective. They over-estimate themselves. This is why parents need to let kids do dumb S*** and get hurt from it. It's important to learn to be humble.

    Everybody knows the story of Alexander "Supertramp" who walked into the Alaska wilderness and died six months later cold, ill, alone, and full of regret -- as a young man. Still, completely inexperienced and unproven people speculate that if they did the same thing, they'd be just fine.

    People think they can do anything if they set their minds to it. That if they just try really hard, all their dreams can come true. Life isn't a disney movie though. Passion is important, but life will crush you if that's all you bring to the table. I really like to watch Planet Earth and similar nature shows. It is inspiring to see how amazingly tough and persistent animals have to be to survive in the real world. They are very humble creatures -- you never see a tiger take a stupid risk because it overestimates itself. The ones that survive display all the right qualities -- humility, persistence, boldness, intelligence, patience.... life for humans in the human world seems different on the surface, but it is not. Life has not changed. The same qualities animals need to thrive in the real world are the same humans need too. We've ensured that humans won't die from mistakes as often, but if you want to enjoy success, you have to master the same qualities every other animals must. For humans, because we have fewer experiences in which we suffer greatly, overcoming the ego is perhaps the biggest hurdle most of us face.

    You have to account for your weaknesses, more than for your strengths. You have to look at reality, and forget dreams and egotistical fantasies.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2018
  22. AndersMalmgren

    AndersMalmgren

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    I run my own company in a more secure market than game Dev, much smarter than having a normal dayjob, you can use money from your dayjob to tax-free hire freelancers and buy assets. Plus you can convert 100 procent of your revenue into sallery instead of having a employer taking a big part of the cake.
     
  23. Meltdown

    Meltdown

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    I landed a cushy work from home web dev contracting role a couple of years back, I worked 5 hours a day contracting, enough to pay my bills, and then spent the rest of the day on my game, it worked really well. If anyone is serious about getting their game done I can highly recommend this structure.

    I would also suggest if you’re going to take the plunge, cut down expenses as much as you can. The less your expenses, the less contracting you need to do and the more time you can spend on getting your game done!
     
  24. Murgilod

    Murgilod

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    You do realise that this just amounts to saying "get a better job" when this really isn't an option for most people right?
     
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  25. AndersMalmgren

    AndersMalmgren

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    Offocurse it is, just build a good network on linkedin with potential customers. It's much higher going rates for business developers than game developers.
     
  26. Murgilod

    Murgilod

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    It literally is not that simple in countries with limited upward mobility. (Pro tip: you are not in one of those countries)
     
  27. bart_the_13th

    bart_the_13th

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    It's quite realistic actually, my kids usually go to sleep at 9, so from there it's usually my 'me time' that I can do whatever I like, making game, playing games, etc etc... I usually spend an average 2-4 hours working on my game a day. Although I haven't make a masterpiece yet, I've managed to release a game or two last year (released more in the past during the flash game age, but that doesnt count as releasing on your own)
     
  28. hippocoder

    hippocoder

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    I don't understand why people don't set themselves tests, like small sample games - tiny retro game on mobile. Steam. Stuff that takes a ludum dare's worth of time is actually enough. Tack a week on for polish. Anyone can do this in their spare time.

    If you're going to risk everything why wouldn't you try it small scale first? WTF @ people not doing that, you know? Actually there's a lot of smart people on these forums who don't do that. People I like, and so I don't really know why smart people take risks. But they do.
     
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  29. angrypenguin

    angrypenguin

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    I might be one of those people. :p

    For me, I'd been doing enough small stuff at work that I wanted to take on something big. To some degree the scale is its own reward. We're informed and educated about what we're doing (which many people aren't), and we're doing it anyway because we want to.

    That said, ability to complete the project isn't in question. We've enough experience that we're confident of that based on past, tangibly demonstrated experience.
     
  30. AndersMalmgren

    AndersMalmgren

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    Funny thing is those underclass people always say I got everything served because of my rich parents so I guess they didn't get the memo they live in a upward mobility country :)
     
  31. AcidArrow

    AcidArrow

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    Yikes.
     
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  32. Murgilod

    Murgilod

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    Jesus christ.
     
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  33. angrypenguin

    angrypenguin

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    This is trolling, right?

    There's nothing wrong with being well off. But really, it'd be nice if your advice could take into account that other people are in different situations than yours.
     
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  34. Ryiah

    Ryiah

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    Was the inability to understand that not everyone has the same opportunities obtained from them too? Because quite frankly you seem to be completely unable to think outside of the narrow world you live in.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2018
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  35. AndersMalmgren

    AndersMalmgren

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    No but I often hear people that are underachievers excuse their underachievement with that they are not from a good family.

    I ran my own company while I studied to get my master of science degree instead of getting money from my parents or get a student loan (we have very beneficial student loans here in sweden).

    So when people tell me that my acchivments are thanks to my parents I get pretty annoyed, and I hear it often.

    Edit: only thing I have gotten is that I could live for free in one of my parents condos and save up to my own living.
     
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  36. konsic

    konsic

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    How to start your own company ?
     
  37. AndersMalmgren

    AndersMalmgren

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    Depends on the country in sweden you can register two kinds of companies LLC company, you need 5.5k USD for this but it's translated to revenue which you can use inside the company for example to buy hardware etc (tax free). Or you can start a private company for just a few USD in registeation fee
     
  38. konsic

    konsic

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    Where can I ask this for in the country? I haven't heard this can be done at all.

    For example I have minimum PC to run Unity. I would like to get funding for a PC to run Unity smooth.
     
  39. Murgilod

    Murgilod

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    Yeah uh

    If you can't honestly see how 5.5k USD is an unachievable goal for a lot of people, I don't know what to tell you.
     
  40. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    My dogs think all humans are wonderful friends. I try not to spoil their innocence.
     
  41. Billy4184

    Billy4184

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    There are a lot of ways to make money in this world. If you have a computer that works and some kind of internet, the internet is your oyster.

    So far I have done pretty much all my game dev (and other enterprises as well) on a Toshiba Satellite I bought for $200 from a second hand shop. Thankfully it has a GT540M and isn't too bad in most respects. It's going on 5-6 years now, missing a few keys, HDD is on the way out as well (sounds like a drone about to take off). But it has made me much, much more than I bought it for, and well over 5.5k. And on top of that, I spent a few years in Paraguay of all places (the third world of third worlds - don't ask me why) getting stuff done on this thing.

    I'm not saying many people don't have real difficulty getting out of poverty, but I think that in this day and age, blaming things is far more highly valued than putting together a plan to carve out your future from whatever you can start with.
     
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  42. Ryiah

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    There are ways that it can have an impact on their ability to achieve but only to a limited degree and generally only in the very early days when they're just getting started (at least in developed countries - it's a completely different situation in developing).

    I was able to start learning programming at a very young age only because my dad landed a job in a company that was largely staffed by engineerings who ended up giving him older computers, technical manuals, and software that cost anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars.

    Before anyone asks, no, there weren't any lawns to mow on the side of a heavily forested mountain in the boonies. :p
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2018
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  43. Murgilod

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    Again, I need to point out, that not only is this wrong and the sort of thing that only focuses on outliers, but that this is literally something I studied for years.
     
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  44. bart_the_13th

    bart_the_13th

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    In what time span are we speaking? 5.5k a year in some country(maybe including mine) is actually a luxury. that said, some dev in my country (me included ;)) managed to sell some flash games for 1 to 5k range per game in the past before we moved to steam and mobiles

    also I have to underline this, since in some countries internet is still a luxury that not everyone can afford...
     
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  45. Billy4184

    Billy4184

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    Well let me put it like this, in latin america I met a lot of quite poor people, but rarely did I find a household lacking a big TV, or someone without enough money for alcohol and cigarettes.

    In any case, I think that lack of education is the most important problem. Without that, it's very hard for anyone to conceive of even the most modest opportunities that are waiting to be taken. And one should not underestimate the psychological walls that are built from being raised in (and continuing to live in) the wrong kind of environment.
     
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  46. Murgilod

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    Yes, because a single TV is an investment of maybe $450 USD. That's a price you have to spend maybe once every 5 years. Probably less often depending on your income level. Cigarettes are incredibly addictive and pushed hard by societal pressures and advertising. Alcohol helps you forget you are poor for a while.
     
  47. bart_the_13th

    bart_the_13th

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    Right, how could I forgot that. Especially in the non-English speaking country. Language can be a bigger barrier than internet connection...
    btw, for comparison, here, you can have cheap big TV for maybe 50$ and it might last to at least 3 maybe 5 years, while a proper mobile internet connection could cost at least 5$ for 10GB of data connection (some better and faster could cost at least 10$)...
    [EDIT]
    *To keep my post on track*
    So yeah, having a steady source of income is needed while doing this indie game dev. Day job is just one example of steady source though...
    [EDIT] at least until you have one successful game that can replace that day job... But even then, I think I'll keep my day job if I could...
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2018
  48. Billy4184

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    I'm not arguing with that. But that's why education is necessary. Because it will give you the perspective to take opportunities that simply need to be taken, rather than wasting what you have.

    My computer cost less than half that TV, and was bought here in Australia. Unlimited internet in Paraguay goes for around 30 USD a month, if I remember correctly. Not exactly impossible.

    That's definitely a barrier too, although it varies depending on the type of job or enterprise you're considering.

    Anyway, yeah we're probably getting a bit off-topic. But I think it's important to not just consider statistics, but also what one can actually do to put themselves on the right path to achieve whatever they are dreaming of doing.
     
  49. AndersMalmgren

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    If 5.5k stops you then you deserve to stay on the bottom. Start a private company and work up the 5.5 and convert to a LLC when you have the money.
     
  50. Murgilod

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    It is not that simple. The capital and time required for a startup of any sort that has a chance of a decent ROI is outside of the scope of most people in low income situations.