I have visions of one day being able to possibly, if everything works out, just maybe make tabletop games for a living (i.e., starting an independent company).
But I just want to know, is this possible at all? Will I be destined to always have to work a day job, no matter how successful my games are? Is it totally unrealistic to even hope to make a cent off tabletop games? Let me know what you think, and feel free to discuss as much as you want.
As they say - make sure you love your work and work at your love.
The bigger question, of course - can anyone make a living doing just one thing - creating tabletop games? And I hate to add - Can anyone make a living doing something that is not considered an 'essential life service'?
I would say to you - go ahead and live your dream, but keep your day job! Don't quit your day job and expect to make a living without a means of paying the bills - and creating a company takes an outlay of $$$$.
I have 14 self-published books, and 3 decks I publish here on TGC - please don't go looking for a custom Maserati in my garage! I write because I love to write - but my monthly royalties barely pay for my coffees.
It's been said that no comic artist ever made a successful body of work without another person (Wife, Husband, Parent, etc.) supporting them almost entirely as they did their work.
The real question I think is that can you afford NOT to live your dream? You only have one life. If you try and fail, at least you tried. The world rewards those who are crazy enough to create things. I bet someone told the owners of "The Game Crafter" when they started that their idea for a POD game company was crazy. (There are always critics no matter what you choose to do in life.)
Be smart about it... make sure you can eat food and pay rent. A side hustle of game design is a great way to expand your skills. It gives you something to talk about at parties. "What do you do?" "Well, I work at a office but my real passion is game design." "Oh, tell me more!..." And you're off to the races.
Its strange how things work out... I loved Transformers as a kid... It was all I wanted to do to animate the cartoon. I ended up working in a big city after highschool at a deli. I decided I would become the best god damn deli worker ever... so I was kind to the customers, etc. Then, since I took all the Friday shifts nobody wanted I got to know a few guys who would come in. I hid good ribs under dry ones and gave them discounts. One day I asked them what they did... they shrugged and said "We work for Hasbro. We design Transformers, Gi Joes, and Star Wars figures." My mouth HIT THE FLOOR. I was like "I LOVE TRANSFORMERS! I DESIGN MY OWN!" and they laughed and said "Want to visit the studio?"
That lead to a two year internship... I learned how to be a profeessional artistic nerd. I learned how your passions can lead to wonderous things. Several years later I was a finalist for an internship at Hasbro's Transformer team. I didn't get it... But it was cool to know my work got all the way in front of that team and I made it on merit not luck.
DON'T GIVE UP ON YOUR DREAM. But... As I interned each night for two years I didn't quit the deli! Know what I mean?? lol.