Treating My Business Like I’m Playing a Game

When I say “treating my business like I’m playing game”, it feels a wee bit cringe to write.

However, if you give me time to explain, I hope it’ll all make sense. Plus, how it motivates me. This approach, has kept me sane, particularly since I’ve been in lockdown.

If you don’t know already, I’m based in Shanghai and have spent two months in lockdown. I’ve been running my brewery consulting business the best I can, within the restrictions I’m currently experiencing.

I work alone, and it can be hard to stay motivated, as I’m often working in my own echo chamber:

Living in Your Own Echo Chamber
Motivation is often hard, when working by yourself remotely
  • Creating my own content – Diagrams, articles, videos and social media
  • Communication – With client, manufacturers and my brewing network
  • Lead generation – Bring in clients through processes, like conversion funnels
  • Strategy – How to plan everything out, to fulfil my goals
  • Time management – How to complete tasks in a timely manner
  • Keeping track – What have I done and what do I need to do tomorrow, this week this month etc.

Approaching business like I’m playing computer game really works for me. Let’s start with what happens when we play computer games…

What Do We Do in Computer Games?

The type of computer game I’m referring to is a role-playing video game like Final Fantasy. In role-playing games you’re on a quest, which only finishes when you complete the final objective.

The final objective often being fighting and beating a final boss. In my life, the aim is to retire one day, and live comfortably.

—-> So, my ultimate goal is -> Retire comfortably (preferably living by a beach)

When you start a computer game, you begin with nothing. To complete the final mission takes time, with many facets to consider:

  • Level up your stats to get stronger – Defense, attack, magic, health and more
  • Complete side quests – Which often help you, on your main journey
  • Discover information on your quest – This material needed to complete the quest
  • Meet people along the way – Some you help, and others who help you, it’s all part of personal growth.
  • Items / Inventory – You need to pick up items on your journey, to complete missions and side quests. You put these items in your inventory, for safe keeping.

How does this tie back to my business, and treating consulting like it’s a computer game? Well, let’s begin with levelling up.

Treating My Business Like I’m Playing a Game – Levelling Up

I think “levelling-up” is easy enough to explain. It’s all about self-development and learning skills, which’ll help you in your business.

For instance, I recently set-up the first conversion funnel on my site. To implement it, I had to learn a new software (, to apply it to my website.

The funnel works something this…

Treating My Business Like I’m Playing a Game - Levelling Up

I spent days learning about/researching conversion funnels, lead generation and also tried several different email auto-responder clients, to find one which I liked.

I’m happy to share a behind-the-scenes workings of how clients find me, and sign up for my services. As I truly believe I’m great at assisting clients, and helping them achieve their goals.

To grow my brewing consulting business, I need to learn new skills and level up. Similar to when playing a computer game, as you advance through a game, the challenges become harder.

To overcome the challenges, you need to learn new skills and also improve those you already possess.

It’s like getting bigger clients, and taking on more complicated projects. You find you can assist those clients better, as you become more experienced gaining more knowledge.

Completing Side Quests

As I grow my network, other opportunities present themselves. It could be appearing on a podcast or collaborating on a side project. Which is only loosely related to the main services I offer.

Often these “side-quests”, don’t strictly help towards my end goal (retire to the beach). However, they can be fun within themselves, and offer some benefits:

  • Increase my reach into new areas – Introduce me to people, I’ve not had the opportunity to meet before.
  • Build on my authority – When approached to work with other people or appear on a podcast. It’s an opportunity to show you’re an expert in your field.
Here is a podcast I was on about brewery equipment sourcing
  • Build up your bank – It might be a small side-project which brings in some cash, you can either save, or re-invest in your business (level-up).
  • Learn a new skill – Often during side-quests in computer game, you learn a new skill. For me, appearing as a guest on podcasts, made more confident in many ways.
  • Receive a special item – Again when you complete a side-quest in a game you’ll receive a special item (like a powerful sword). In the real world, it could be a new network connection, which helps your business AND the other person’s company.

There’s more to side quests, but I think you get the picture. Often, it’s worth taking time away from the main quest to explore.

The rewards can be helpful, leaving you better equipped for the harder challenges to come.

Treating My Business Like I’m Playing a Game - Levelling Up for Meet Challenges
Leveling up in game makes you stronger

Treating My Business Like I’m Playing a Game – Discovering Information Along the Way

When playing a computer game, generally there’s a story arc. You discover secrets about yourself along the way. Usually, it’s about your family or the history of the local area, or even a story about the “baddie” in the game.

In my business life, I often discover aspects about myself with time. As I speak to more clients, often feedback is, “Neil, we really like the way you explain the technical aspects of brewing, in a way we can easily understand”.

I’ve found a way of communicating brewery processing in an accessible manner. Granted I’ve worked hard to level up my skills. However, with further experience, I continually improve.

When I started helping people remotely, I realized my 25-years as a brewer, had given me the tools to communicate in such a manner.

As I continue on my journey, I do discover different aspects of myself as I react to new tasks and challenges. It really feels like I’m in a video game!

Meet People Along the Way – Treating My Business Like I’m Playing a Game

When playing a game like Final Fantasy, you meet people along the way:

  • Characters who join your team – Some till the end or others for a short time
  • People who supply information – Either in collaboration or mentors who help you
  • Shop-keepers and travelling salesmen – To gain tools, weapon or knowledge to help you own your quest
  • Bosses – There are boss fights along the way, which you need to beat to progress

In life and business, you naturally meet people along way. They can become a life-long partners or work with for a short period of time, as it’s mutually beneficial to both parties.

At some point in your business, you’ll most likely have a mentor(s), who’ll share or teach you information, which’ll be invaluable in your main quest.

You may work on a side-project with someone, where it can be a fun new challenge. People will come and go in your business, recognizing who’ll be valuable, will come with experience.

When I refer to “bosses”, I see them as the big challenges, which rear their ugly heads from time-to-time. One example for me, was legally setting up a business in China.

To be honest, I needed the help of my wife on with this. She was awesome, doing the majority of the paperwork for me.

There will be some tough battles along the way. It might take several attempts to overcome the “foe” in-front of you. However, when you win, you’ll “level-up” and be much stronger for the further battles ahead.

Fighting The Bosses
Beating the Bosses – Makes You Stroger for the Challenges Ahead

Like I’m Playing a Game – Items / Inventory

In any video game, you will find items a long the way or pay for them. It’s the same in business, for example, you need a website.

You pay for auto-response email services and you can outsource some jobs like content creation too. You pay “coins” to add tools to your inventory, to complete your quests.

Some “items” are one time use, say paying someone to write a 1,500-word article for your site. Other items, you’ll carry for longer, like owning a website.

It’s all about assessing your need for an item, and if it’s worth the investment. It’s decisions we make every day in business.

Treating My Business Like I’m Playing a Game – Let’s Start to Round-Up

This article is a bit of fun, I admit. However, I honestly do see my business and personal growth like a video game.

I’ve got my end point (retirement), and I do assess my skills. To evaluate where I can make improvements, to be better at what I do.

I look at what tools can make my life easier, and help my brewing consulting work.

I ask for people’s help and opinions and willing to pay for the information they offer. If I think it’ll be a worthwhile investment.

I do take-up “side quests”, at times. Like the time I helped Norman for free with his beer carbonations issues. Why did I do it for free?

Well, Norman asked nicely, and it was a good challenge to take on. It was a good thought exercise, to fix this issue remotely.

Plus, I got to help someone who is genuinely a good person overcome a problem which helped his business.

I’ve had people help me throughout my brewing career. It’s good to help others to, like I’m giving back to brewing. A profession, which has served me well.

Getting back to where I started with the article, approaching my business like a video game helps keep me motivated, Plus, adds a bit of fun to tasks I carry out every day.

Treating My Business Like I’m Playing a Game - Levelling Up and The Beuty of the Side Quest
Side Quest Can Benefit Your Business

Treating My Business Like I’m Playing a Game – Conclusions

I take my consulting business seriously, when I gain a new client, I become invested in their success, as if it’s my own project.

Adding tools to my arsenal, means I can serve clients better in the future. Continuous self-improvement is what I strive for.

As I say, it’s hard to stay motivated, create fresh content and work strange hours to communicate with clients around the world. Plus, the hundred other things a consultant needs to do.

So, to visualize myself as a computer character, where I assess my skills, level, items in my inventory and choosing what side-quests to go on.

Brings some fun to what’s a solo pursuit, especially in lockdown, this outlook has kept me sane.

Furthermore, sometimes, it’s hard to take on advice or have people offer constructive criticism. I find it easier to take advice onboard, when I’m imagine myself as the video game character.

It allows me to be more objective, making it easier to take the advice onboard and implement it. Hey, it works for me. So, I thought why not share my outlook, if it might help someone else.

If you got any feedback or just want to tell me I dumb 😉 Feel free to get in touch!

Neil Playfoot

Neil is a brewer with 25 years international brewing experience. Based out of China (first came in 2010) he works as a brewing consultant helping brewers with their projects and brewing processes. To find out what services Neil can provide your brewery please click here. If you'd like to contact Neil you can email at
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Beer Snobs

That’s a great way of doing business tbh. Since it feels like there’s a road map, it feels like you’re always working on something, and every setback just feels like a challenge to clear so you can move to the next level.