I’d like to take a minute to talk about addictions.

Another tip from my (slowly, taking forever, when will it come out) BOOK! If you would like to be notified when more sneak peaks come out, please email me and I’ll get you on the list!

I’ve been blessed to not have any addictions to drugs or alcohol. I stay away from these because I know my addictive personality. I would have would ruined my life in a heartbeat. I know I have an addictive personality because of a strong vice for video games.


Proudly proclaiming that I Turn Hobbies into 1099s. I was able to make an excuse of video games, because I excelled enough at a few of them to actually make money. One game in particular I made enough money to put a down payment on my house.


Eventually having a fair amount of attention-demanding work took over and the video games took a back seat to the addiction of accomplishment in my freelance life.


At this point, I was able to separate my ‘gaming’ from my work computer. “Only gaming on the Xbox.” I said! That way I wouldn’t have the little icon on my desktop just taunting me to come play.


This worked for several years. Some friends of mine, whom are normal 9-5’r workers, were playing this game. Looked really fun… so I installed a video game onto my computer. The evil I speak of is League of Legends.


LOL was the most toxic hate fueled game I’ve ever played. Probably not the most addictive game that I’ve ever played because I’ve played some doozies. This game was fun and challenging and most importantly I was not good at it. I’m sure being a total suck at it was a big reason I was so addicted to it. I wanted to be one of the best. Just like anybody that plays a video game.


Within minutes you could be inside a game that would last anywhere from 20 to 40minutes. More often than not I would be on the losing side of the game, making me angry, I would fire up another game. Sometimes I would win which would make me euphoric and I’d fire up another game.


The worst part about LOL is not the addiction or even the toxic hatred from other players, we can find that in our modern-day politics and news cycles. It was that it didn’t build to anything. The ultra-addictive games are the ones where you would level your character, and continue the progress. Going on quests. Finding loot. And achieving goals.


I probably realized I had a problem months ago. It took me a little longer to take action on it and I uninstalled the game. I was tired of working on something they had no end. No real world value. And nothing to build up on.


Easily three games each night totaling two and a half hours of wasted time. And nothing to show for it. I cringe to think how many days in a row I wasted.


I uninstalled and decided moving forward I could level up myself.


I could focus on growing my business. I could focus on being more of an asset to my own company. I can make myself more valuable for my customers. After making yourself more valuable to your customers you can charge more you get known to be that guy who delivers amazing results and quality.


The following two weeks after uninstalling, were the most productive and rewarding weeks I have had in nearly a year!


What addictions do you have? What addictions are getting in the way of you being valuable to your customer. What addictions do you have that are stopping you from growing to something greater?


Small business owner list for the next day

I’m curious, how many people make a to-do list the night before. I did last night. So far, success. This is day one. Let’s see how many days this lasts!

Just like every small business owner out there, I have a thousand things happening all at once. Hiring an employee didn’t really make things less busy either. In fact, I’ve never worked harder. This isn’t a bad thing necessarily, just more drive to succeed.

The messy part is, so many of these things are small. Post on 29 Pixel Studios. Record a new business tips podcast for Business Tips for Creatives. Don’t forget NickSchale.com!

Mix those with the ‘big ideas’ that I want to accomplish and you have a mess. Well, last night, I went ahead and took a yellow notepad and not only made a list, but dedicated parts of the day to each section. Yup, made an old fashion schedule!

On my schedule:

  • 8:00-9:30 product photography for a client
  • 9:30-10:00 recap meeting and email to potential client that I met with yesterday
  • 29 Pixel Studios adds a Ronin-M to the mix!10:00-11:30 finally open up my Ronin-M… which, I then had to RMA back to BH… because.. well, bought it used (((TIP ON BUYING USED)))
  • 11:30-12:30 Lunch
  • 12:30-1:00 Podcast work (which got skipped because of planning for a trip to the NAB Show… I blame YOU Sean! Buuuut, ended up finding a cheaper flight by $200, so. THANKS SEAN!)
  • 1:00-2:00 Post to all three of my sites, doing that now, but honestly, probably going to miss one.
  • 2:00-4:00 Work on a MASSIVE spreadsheet for a big ol gig opportunity.

So, guess I better get back to it! … or… pick out a hotel room in Vegas! Sean!!!!!


Level up your Life – Book Review

Over the weekend I told myself, “Self! Time to go through this book!” 5 XP earned!

Steve Kamb has crafted a master piece for anyone who has logged more than 50 hours playing video games as far back as the original NES. With constant references to Star Wars, Goonies, Jason Borne, Zelda, Lord of the Rings I started to think that I might have multiple personalities. One of which is a fantastic author!

“Never stop learning.” Comes out of my mouth a dozen times a week it seems, so I’m a big fan of self-help/growth books. Stroll through the hallways of Amazon.com under self-help and you will be bombarded with rows of great books. Written by gurus, some people just trying to make a buck, a lot of entrepreneurs, and ‘living the best you, you can’ type titles. “Level Up Your Life.” YELLS at me.

The content does not disappoint. Stop living your level 80 paladin’s life and start living YOUR OWN ADVENTURE. Why did we spend days, WEEKS, MONTHS grinding out crafting for our pixel characters instead of spending that time grinding in the gym for OURSELVES?

While this is the creator of nerdfitness.com it’s not just physical health through exercise. In fact, the work out section is maybe a few pages. This is about your life!
Seriously gamers… get this book!

Two good books on Wealth

Those who know me, know I’m fascinated by finances. Going into college as an accounting major I quickly realized that for a few more credit hours I could be a triple major and add economics and finances. *A couple years later I realized that for my happiness, my career had to be in the creative field. Freelancing for 7 years and now about to start year four of my own business, these classes were far from wasted.

Continuing education in your career is important, but continuing your education in personal finance is critical. Well, critical if you want to be financially independent, wealthy, retire early or just NOT live paycheck to paycheck.

Reading articles, listening to TED Talks, financial coaching, and books. These are my favorite ways to broaden my financial education.

The latest two books I went through are: The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealth by Stanley Thomas and And 100 Way$ to Create Wealth by Steve Chandler

These two make a great one-two-punch for wealth. I highly recommend getting both of these and starting with Stanley Thomas’ book first. The Millionaire Next Door is fantastic for those who are living paycheck to paycheck and need enlightenment for a mental shift. Keeping up with the Joneses is a guaranteed path to failure. It is easy to see big houses, nice clothes, friends going out all the time, and nice houses. What you don’t see is their credit card debt. Live below your means, frugality, savings are the most common themes among people worth 1-10 million dollars.

Notice that salary or inheritance are not in the most common themes. 80% of these millionaires are first generation millionaires. Following The Millionaire Next Door with 100 Way$ to Create Wealth is a great combo.

My personal favorite is to ask for something ridiculous once a day. I’m going to implement this every day for the next ten days. Then I’m going to flip through the book, find another thing to add and do both of those the next 10 days. I’ll keep you posted!

Oh and in the spirit of being frugal… both of these books are available on Hoopla. A free audio-book app provided by most local libraries!

Freelancer lifestyle design.

Freelancer lifestyle and designing a life with the golden years in mind.

Now that you’ve started, where do you want to go?

It has been over a year since leaving the full-time grind to focus on my business. It has been a huge asset to build my client list and experience part-time since 2003. I would recommend that those looking to make the leap from their ‘job-job’ to something they love should absolutely test the waters before diving in. (Probably not necessary to test the waters for ten years though!)

Recently I was shooting a wedding in Southeast Kansas. To arrive at the wedding fresh, I asked a very talented photographer/videographer friend of mine in Girard, KS if I could crash at his house. I’ve offered advice and guidance to this friend for the past few years, trying my best to help him grow as an artist and as an entrepreneur. Late into the night we were talking about ‘big picture’ things (no pun intended) and I asked the question, “What would be your dream job?”

His answer was clear. “Compensated for sports photography,” which is a fantastic answer because he is pretty darn good at it. I suggested putting a plan in action to arrive at the ‘level’ of sports photographer that he would want to become (high school vs. professional level, etc).

Then after further discussion, I fully admitted, I had no plan for myself. Is my current business my dream job? Not sure. On the journey home I reflected on that part of our conversation. What was Nick Schale aiming for?

Retirement! YES, that’s it, that’s the end game. After all, I’ve been saving since the mid-90s for it. Smart thing to do, but stupid answer. “Retirement” to someone like me is going to be a hard pill to swallow since I struggle to slow down in general.

So here is a thought and a fun exercise to do whether you are an entrepreneur, student, or even a full time-grind kind of person. Take a sheet of paper out and write out your dream WORK day (as an aside, this is also fun to do for your retirement ‘day’). Maybe write out your dream week, or quarter, or even year. Then look at that plan. How far are you from having that be your itinerary? How close are you to some elements? How hard would it be to get parts of it right now? Which parts are you a month away from achieving?

Here is a piece of my plan. I’m planning to combine two things I love: travel for leisure, and photography for business. My dream quarter includes one 5-day trip for travel photography (with a lovely assistant of course: my wife). I’ll be sharing my journey to becoming a travel photographer later as this is a five to ten year plan.

Exercise for at least three times a week, read a book a month, meditate daily… these are all elements to my perfect lifestyle design. They are also elements I can implement immediately.

Visualize your perfect day, week, and year. Write it down. How far are you from living your perfect life?

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”
–Chinese Proverb