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Life after AAA - the lessons learned by a new marketing agency founder

A few lessons I've picked up over the last year after I decided to leave the comforts of a AAA studio to start a marketing agency of my own.

This post originally appeared on PC Games Insider, a videogames industry publication. 

After working as social media and community manager at Techland, which included projects including Dying Light and Torment: Tides of Numenera, Michal Napora left the Polish games firm and set up his own games marketing agency, 32 33.

Here he tells us about the transition from working in-house to being at an agency, and the challenges he has faced in going it alone.

For the past year, I’ve been running my own agency, helping indie studios and bigger developers with their marketing efforts.

So, what I can say to someone that feels the need to go from triple-A stability to your very own marketing agency? Well, I guess what I’ll do is share a few lessons that I picked up over the last year, and let you see if that is something that you might want to do as well.

Lesson No.1 – You are your own boss which means…

… that if you get sick, there’s no one there to do the work for you – it will sit there waiting for you until you get back to it. Being your boss means that you are the one that has to find yourself work and organise a wage. Being your own boss also means that you are the one responsible for any decisions that you make. But more importantly, being your own boss means that there isn’t anyone above you looking at your work (and take that last statement in any way you wish).

Lesson No.2 – Promoting indie titles compared with triple-A games isn’t that different

The only thing that’s different is the budget that you have available - you can forget business class flights overseas to promote a game. Apart from that though, you still need to organise press coverage, take care of the client’s social media accounts, help them with organising events, and all the other number of things that a client might need your help with. So yeah, indie promotion is not that different compared to triple-A big-boys.

Lesson No.3 – You will get lonely if you work by yourself from home

Starting something of your own without anyone there with you can get lonely. I consider myself rather lucky; although I do the majority of my work from home, I do have a close friend with whom I work with together on projects. I also have friends who have their own companies/offices, and they gracefully offered me a place to come over and work with them whenever I feel lonely (thanks a lot guys!). So don’t be shy, talk to people, and find yourself a friend/friends. Getting out from home will help you keep sane. Trust me on this (and it's something I need to do more of).

Lesson No.4 - Know when to turn off

Having your own “shop” means that there is always something to do – the job never ends. However, set yourself limits/closing times. From 10 am to 6 pm, give it all you’ve got, go crazy. At 6:01, turn that laptop off and recharge. Your family will be grateful for it, as well as your own mental health.

Lesson No.5 – Read books

I know this is a bit of a cliché, but read books from people that have done this 'thing' before, or ones that will help you get motivated and stay “on track”. My favourite two books of 2017 were Rework, and Seth Godin’s Poke the Box. They are both fantastic reads.

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