Miner or Merchant?

Everybody’s heard the best way to make money during a gold rush is to be the guy selling picks and shovels to the miners. Very few people will “strike it rich” but even the guys who lose their shirts need the tools to mine.

I want to be a miner in the worst way — I daydream about what will happen when I hit the mother lode. And I know that big strike is right around the corner, so I keep digging and digging.

And yet, the money I make continues to be in the sale of tools to other miners. Sure, I come across a nugget or two in my mining (I do use my own tools), but the bulk of the money that pays the bills comes from tool sales.

That’s true now in the game development world and it was true a few years ago when I was in the “internet marketing” world. The mining is what I wanted to do — the tools were more profitable.

That says to me I should give up mining and focus on making the best tools I can for the miners who are heading for the gold fields.

That makes the most business sense.

Except that I’m a freakin’ MINER and I don’t want to stay home while everyone else is out there striking it rich!

I know most of them will come back empty-handed, but think about it — would you rather sit and listen to an old geezer tell stories about the thrill of looking for gold; about the mother lode he *almost* found?

Or would you rather sit and listen to an old geezer talk about inventory and stocking the right tools?

Give me the first old geezer any day! And I’d rather BE that guy than the other one.

Except when the rent is due. Or the car needs another tank of gas. Or a new iPad is released. Those times? I want the income from the merchant.

The good news for me is that I enjoy building tools — not as much as mining, but I still enjoy it. While only working on tools might be the “wise” move, giving up my mining on the weekends would just make a me a bitter old merchant. And that would wind up negatively impacting my tools.

My dream?

To get to the point where I can manage a game studio — I’ll design the tools to help make games and then use them to create the actual games. If a game makes it big, very cool. But even if not, the tools are still bringing in the revenue. I have a list a yard long of tools that would help make game/app creation faster and easier — just no time to develop them.

Because in my spare time I’m out there with everyone else, swinging a pick, knowing the biggest vein of gold is almost within reach. Right around the corner.

I’ll hit it any day now.

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