It always amazes me how many people I know who make full use of their time doing projects or businesses for which they have a passion. Some do projects or are creative just for the pleasure it brings them. We all need to do things that give us joy, whatever that may be. Others have carved out time and money to create their own businesses. I hear all the time from people I have talked to or listen to people complain that they don’t have time or money to so something that makes them happy. I am stuck in this job or I have a family to take care of…I have found people who knew that you can make time for everything that is important. You would be amazed at how much time is wasted in an average day.
Adam Crockett works in the purchasing department where I work. He has a demanding job, a wife and 3 daughters. Even with all these demands on his time he managed to create a business creating supplements for role playing games without negatively impacting his work or family relationships. I interviewed Adam recently and this is what I learned from him.
Brenda: Tell me about your company and its products? Do you have a website?
Adam: Yes, we have a website it’s www.PuresteamRPG.com. We are licensed to create supplements for Steampunk, Americana role playing games (RPG). Here is the description from their Facebook page: “Pure Steam is a Pathfinder RPG compatible Steampunk setting. In the age of steam, coal is king. Play a moonshinin’ halfling alchemist in the Blue Ridge, a dwarven mechanical prodigy able to jury rig vehicles on the fly, and many more!”
Brenda: I am really only familiar with online role playing games and honestly It’s not my thing, but I hang out with lots of people who love RPG’s. What inspired you to do this?
Adam: I have always been into RPG’s and have played for 20 years. I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit. My dad owned his own business. So, as I was working through my MBA, we had a lot of projects and papers to write and I always did them on RPG’s. Through that process I found a niche that I wanted to fill. I meet a guy through mutual friends who went to school for game design. He had the desire to go into business, but he lacked the business side. We figured we would team up.
Brenda: I know you have a very demanding job, and your family is very important to you. How did you carve out time to start this business and keep it going?
Adam: My philosophy is that everyone has free time. I found out how much free time I had when we adopted our daughter. It is a very expensive process and I took on a second job to pay for it. I was working 40 hours a week at my regular job and 30 hours a week at my second job and I still ate, slept, watched TV and still saw my family. How I don’t let this interfere with my family is I wait until the girls go to bed at night, and spend time 2 or 3 days a week working on this. I have been married long enough where my wife gets sick of me sometimes, so it all works out. I do take a vacation day here or there.
Brenda: How do you distribute your products?
Adam: It’s an open game license through Pathfinder. You have to apply for a license, but that is the biggest selling point for this game is that there is so much modularity to it, because it is an open license. Other games are locked down so you can only buy them through the producer; this one allows us to sell our products separately. They even sell our products on their own website. It’s a very symbiotic relationship.
Brenda: Do you craft pieces yourself? How did you find someone to publish your books?
Adam: The main deliverable for us is a rule book. I have worked in purchasing for my entire adult career, so I just shopped publishers in the area. I found a local one in Dallas Balfour, who does small runs. They do year books for high schools. They are used to working with armatures and are very forgiving. They really helped us through this process. We also have the adobe electronic version which we sell also. We sub out the artwork to artists we have met at conventions. We have a couple of miniatures we created. One of the top miniature producers in the world is in Denton, Texas, Reaper Miniatures. I asked them who designs their sculptures and got a few names and decided on a couple people who 3-D design the sculptures, 3-D print and then cast the miniatures. We also produce props; my cousin is a prop designer. It is common for people who attend the conventions to dress up. He designs props for use to cross play or to sell to people. We found the path of least resistance.
The smallest run we could do was 1,000 copies, which we printed 2 years ago. I would just take a few books with me on trips and rather than doing dinner I would go out and hit gaming stores all over the country. I cross pollinated the northern United States. I was taking a trip to London and I contacted a store in London before I went and they said they would be happy to buy some books when they came out. We have been shipping to them. The first 500 took a year to year and half to sell; the second 500 only took about 6 months through distribution. We just sold out. We are talking about reprinting the first book. We are just finishing up our second book, which is a Wild, Wild West expansion to the first one. This will be available this summer.
Brenda: So you have used Kick starter to get funding for these projects as you come up with them?
Adam: Yes, so far we have been, but we are hoping to develop enough of a steady cash flow so we can get away from it. Kick starter is a really amazing tool for a little Indy company like us. It helps you gage market interest, get followers, generate buzz and funds it. Those who back it usually get something extra for their support.
Here’s a cool story, before we did the kick starter we wanted to have some of the artwork done, so to raise the funds for someone to create the artwork to show people. I had this funky idea I had this box of just random stuff that I went on Craigslist and traded up for other stuff until I have enough stuff to sell to fund the art work. I raise $600 for the artwork. I got the idea from this story about this guy called “The Red Paperclip” from a few years ago. This guy started with a red paperclip and in something ridiculous like 15 trades he had a house. So I thought I would see what I could do with this box of stuff.
Brenda: What’s your favorite thing about this business?
Adam: The coolest thing about it is that we go to conventions and complete strangers come up to us and know the games, have played them and love them. It is so amazing. We have customers from all over the world who buy our products. To have retold my family stories from Appalachia in a steam punk setting and people love it!
I want to thank Adam for sharing his story and experience with us. I am so inspired by what we are all capable of if we have the desire and are willing to work for what we love. Let’s all “Dare Greatly.”
This is one of my favorite quotes:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
― Theodore Roosevelt