This is a follow up story for Constructed Adventures. If you're interested in reading how they got started, published about 2 years ago, check it out here.
Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.
I’m Chris Waters, I go by “The Architect.” People hire me to build out seemingly serendipitous perfect days for special occasions. (Think “wildly elaborate scavenger hunts”) The business is Constructed Adventures. Some days are immersive with actors and happenings, others are filled with challenges and puzzles. One trend occurs with all of them: The day is unforgettable.
Tell us about what you’ve been up to! Has the business been growing?
Real talk, my business got absolutely crushed by COVID-19. I’m a traveling event planner and experience designer. No surprise that my business does well when things are going well. Before the pandemic, the business was growing quite a bit, I was booked out around 8 months in advance. I’d raised my prices and was taking on even more consulting clients.
Just Keep going and don't be afraid to ask for help.
Once the pandemic hit, 80% of future events canceled and I was completely sidelined. The good thing about event planning and experience design is that there is extremely low overhead. I flew home and started strategizing for the rest of the year.
Since then I have ramped up consultations, started a youtube channel and Patreon page, and gotten more active in my subreddit. It’s less of a money-making tool and more of a way to stay relevant and flex my creative digital muscle.
What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?
The biggest lesson I learned is that I need more streams of revenue. Before the pandemic, all my eggs were in the event basket. I’d run about 30 adventures a year and do just fine with the profit from those and the consultation clients. When I come out of this pandemic, I plan on doing fewer events so I can focus on creating merchandise and increase my online presence.
I’ve spent a lot of time connecting with other members of my industry. Every Friday I’ve been interviewing puzzle makers, ARG Creators, and other Immersive designers. It’s helped me connect for potential future collaborations and increased my following.
What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?
The goal right now is to survive in 2020. It's been an insane year especially in my hometown of Portland Oregon. This holiday season I’ll do my usual Reddit secret Santa adventure and then start prepping to travel again in 2021 when a vaccine is available.
I’m excited to run more adventures and get to adventure no. 100. I’m also excited to start working on collaborations and projects with other creators.
The short term is just to get back on the horse. Go out and run adventures for the clients who didn’t cancel and run some amazing
For the long term, I’m working on a book, I’m still working with Red Arrow Industries to make a TV show. I’m collaborating on a few projects with other creatives!
Have you read any good books in the last year?
I’ve had all the time in the world to read books this year. They’ve all been about my industry. Here are the following:
- Puzzlecraft By Mike Selinker and Thomas Snyder
- Game Theory in the Age of Chaos by Mike Selinker
- The Art of Immersion by Frank Rose
- The Complete Kobold Guide to Game Design
I really wanted to spend time learning from my colleagues and strengthening my abilities as a designer so I could come out of the pandemic as a better creator
Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?
Just Keep going and don't be afraid to ask for help. It’s a wild time in the world and it’s not weak to need a helping hand. Accept that luck is a factor and it’s important to take your opportunities when you get them.
Regarding my industry, I see a lot of people undervalue themselves early on. It takes many many hours to build and run a perfect day and sometimes I see people charging criminally low amounts. There’s nothing wrong with making money!
Where can we go to learn more?
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