How Playing Animal Crossing Will Make You A Better Entrepreneur

Animal Crossing

Animal Crossing is the ultimate entrepreneurship game. In this Nintendo Switch game, you take residence on a remote island filled with anthropomorphic villagers, where you buy, sell, catch bugs, fish, and participate in events. While the game may appear cutesy and simple on the surface, playing it every day can help you become a better entrepreneur. You know, provided that you take game breaks to work on your business. Throughout the game, you’ll learn new business skills that’ll help you make more money to create a better lifestyle for yourself. So, let’s dive into what lessons you can learn from Animal Crossing that you can apply directly to your business.

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Animal Crossing and Entrepreneurship Tips

1. Sell On The Stalk Market

Each Sunday in Animal Crossing, you have the option to buy turnips to re-sell later in the week. This Stalk Market has some similarities to the real stock market, but overall is just a mini-lesson on investments. The general philosophy, when it comes to stocks, is to buy low and sell high. So, the question should center around whether you should even be buying stalks (turnips) in the first place. This lesson only unfolds with experience. The more you play Animal Crossing, the more you learn the difference between a low and a high buying price. And if the price is too high, you can always choose not to buy that week. 

stalk market

2. Network With Friends To Find Best Deals

One of the biggest advantages in Animal Crossing is you can hop on the island of any of your friends. The more friends you have, the more opportunities you’ll have for finding the best products and deals. Your business is only as big as the network of people you build. Just as you easily add your friends (and sometimes even strangers) to your island, you need to have the courage to be as bold when it comes to selling products for your business as well. The bigger your network, the more money you’ll make long-term.

3. In-Demand Products Sell For More

Every day at Nook’s Cranny (the island’s general store), you’ll find the hot item of the day. This item sells for double what other products sell for. Why? Because it’s in high demand and there aren’t enough of them to go around, that’s why they’re buying them from you. Ultimately, it’s the trending products that people want but can’t get enough of that sell well. If everyone is buying a product and there isn’t enough supply, that’s when prices rise. That’s why real estate in some cities is so high. It’s also why items like toilet paper and hand sanitizer saw a price increase recently. This is a clear example of supply and demand. Those who sell in-demand products make more money. One thing I want to point out is that you can sell at a price people are willing to pay for. If you price too high, people won’t buy it. But if people do buy a product with a newly raised price, it shows that there is a price fit.  

4. Certain People Will Pay More For Your Products

If you’re looking for an easy sell, you can always sell at Nook’s Cranny. However, you won’t always get paid the best bang for your buck there. Every week, there are visitors to your island that will pay more for specific items if you’re patient enough. If you collect bugs and butterflies, you can sell them to Flick. If you’ve been catching a ton of fish, you can sell to CJ for a better price as well. This week I was able to make over 137,000 bells (Animal Crossing currency) selling butterflies such as peacock and Agrias to Flick instead of Nook’s Cranny. And that was with only one of my four bug runs. If you store your items waiting for the best person to come along, you might make more bang for your buck. In other words, sometimes it’s better to sell to a person for retail price rather than to a business, like a pawn shop, for a smaller amount. 

Selling to Flick in Animal Crossing

5. Money Can Earn You Interest

You likely already know about compounded interest. But the reality is it’s better to put your bells in the bank to collect interest than to store bags of money in your storage. This is generally good financial advice as well. You should probably keep your money stored safely in the bank, collecting interest, rather than taped to the back of your toilet tank. The more money you save, the more interest you’ll earn. In other words, your money will earn you more money. Thus, making it a passive income stream since you didn’t have to do any active work to earn that money. 

6. Doing A Bit Each Day Goes A Long Way

While this isn’t a direct lesson through any of the activities in the game, this holds true in both Animal Crossing and in business. In Animal Crossing, the goal is to play the game a little bit every day. You catch fish, collect bugs, dig up fossils, go shopping, travel to different islands, and make those dolla dolla bills. In business, the same concept applies. Working on different parts of your business every day can add up. It’s not about doing a lot at once. It’s about building for the long-term. You won’t make a lot of money your first day playing Animal Crossing, but by being an active Turnip investor, selling to the right people, and making trending products every day helps you earn more bells. In business, you’ll need to keep building and selling great products and investing that money to earn you more money. 

7. You Can Sell Anything

In Animal Crossing, anything you put into your pockets can be sold. An exciting concept in the game is the DIY recipes, which allow you to craft things with the supplies you have. Everything from junk cans found in ponds to sand dollars lying by the ocean shore, can be repurposed and turned into something new. One animal’s trash can lead to a whole lot of treasure. In business, the secret is to channel your creativity into creating something new. Often, DIY creators will hunt for garbage, such as old furniture to repurpose it, to create something new that can be sold. You can sell anything. It’s all about what you create with it or how you position it.  

Coelacanth in Animal Crossing

8. It Doesn’t Take A Lot To Get Started

In only a week of playing Animal Crossing, you could rack up over a hundred thousand bells from doing one of the many money-making activities on your private island. And while most people don’t make one hundred thousand dollars their first week in business, it’s also true that most entrepreneurs don’t create and sell as much in person as they do in Animal Crossing. Admit it, you’ve probably created more than dozens of products and confidently sold to various villagers, Nook’s Cranny, CJ, and Flick. In business, it doesn’t take a lot to get started either. If you swapped the 20 hours you spent playing Animal Crossing with building a business, you’d realize you made a ton of progress by the end of that first week. 

9. Sell To People You Know

In Animal Crossing, you can sell to local villagers. However, it’s less about selling and more about trading. When you gift a present to a villager, they’ll sometimes give you a gift back or give you bells in a trade deal. The bells you get from villagers can sometimes be worth more than what you’d get from Nook’s Cranny. While you might annoy friends and family members by presenting a sales pitch to buy your products to them, there is a way to sell them. The secret is to sell them something they actually want. In an Oberlo podcast episode, Mandy and Aubrey share how they monetized a Facebook group filled with their friends and family by selling products from Oberlo. 

10. You Need to Go Outside Your Network

One of the highlights of Animal Crossing is when you trade your Nook Miles (an Animal Crossing Air Miles kind of plan) for a Nook Miles ticket. A Nook Miles ticket allows you to hop on over to any deserted island to gain access to things you might not have. In the first few flights, you might use this to add villagers to your island to create a community. In later flights, you’ll find deserted islands with resources you might not have such as fruits, rocks, tarantulas, fossils, or rare fish. By being an explorer, you can check out these islands to bring back new items to your community. These new items can help you complete your museum or sell items for an even higher price. In business, this holds true too. Sometimes, you need to do some digging to find hidden gems. And other times, you’ll need to travel abroad to find things you can’t get where you are. By exploring other islands/countries/communities, you can really understand what a place is all about. 

Nook Miles Ticket

11. You Need to Test Things

In Animal Crossing, you’ll likely plant flowers to create hybrids to gain new bugs and butterflies on your island that you can then sell to Flick or Nook’s Cranny. While I’m sure there’s a cheat sheet floating around somewhere on the internet by now, the non-cheaters of the world will likely be doing a ton of trial and error to create new hybrids. This concept teaches an important business lesson of testing and experimenting. While you can use the internet to learn some new tricks, you can also discover a ton on your own (things people don’t even know about) by trying new things. You never know what you’ll uncover by doing something different. This concept can lead to your long-term entrepreneurial success. 

12. Your Store Needs To Be Easy To Use

So today, the most annoying thing happened to me while playing Animal Crossing. I had dozens of bugs in storage that I had to sell to Flick. The process was so tedious. I had to manually add them all to my pocket. Then, I had to manually give them all to Flick. What Animal Crossing needs more than ever is an Add to Cart button that makes these transactions easy. Same with your business. Your add to cart helps streamline the process a bit. But are there other areas of your website that customers find annoying? How can you solve those issues to create a better user experience for your shoppers? Some who want your product may still buy. But you might be losing money by people who find your website too difficult. Keep the website design simple. 

13. You Should Add New Products Often

When the Able Sisters store opens up on your island, you’ll notice that they sell new stuff every day. And so what do you do every day? Oh yeah, that’s right, you check their store to see what new items they have. This concept is so important in business. By adding new products to your online store every day, you’ll get people checking the website daily. The biggest brands online do this, and you should do this too. The reason why they became big brands is that they have so many things for sale. You can find everything you’re looking for on their website. Plus, you’ll find hidden gems you didn’t know you wanted. By putting in the effort to add new items and content to your website every day, you give people a reason to keep checking back. 

Able Sisters

14. Do Market Research 

Every week Label (one of the Able sisters) visits the island to do some good old fashioned market research. She’ll give you a challenge, such as creating your own outfit in exchange for a free gift. Now, free gifts is definitely a marketing strategy you’ll want to try every now and then in your business. But more importantly, you’ll want to do market research to test out new products. You’ll also want to get people involved with your brand. You might ask customers to test your website or give feedback through a survey. Be like Label in the sense of getting to know your customers to do market research but also to help better understand their sense of style. 

15. It Sets Realistic Expectations 

For the first few weeks of having the Able Sisters shop on your island, you’ve likely noticed that Sable is always way too busy to talk. She’s always at her sewing machine making new designs. And of course, she’s busy. With new designs added to the store every day, she needs to create a new inventory for you to enjoy. Sable sets a pretty realistic expectation of what entrepreneurship is like. You’re going to be busy working– a lot. There isn’t much time for breaks, especially when you’re doing the behind the scenes work. 

16. Storage Is Expensive 

One of the big business lessons in Animal Crossing is that storage is limited, and it’s expensive. To gain new storage, you’ll need to take on debt within your home. Plus, the small space you have fills up pretty fast. This is realistic for business owners as well. Unsold inventory takes up space, and it costs a pretty penny to maintain and increase your storage. That’s why it’s always good to sell what you have when you can. 

17. Buying From Local Stores Helps Your Economy

As you invest in the entrepreneurs and businesses in Animal Crossing, you begin to see business’ flourish. This week many Animal Crossing players will see their Nook’s Cranny store expand. New players will see the Able Sisters open up their shop on the island instead of being a regular visitor. The lesson we can learn is that supporting local businesses helps the community thrive. If it weren’t for local businesses, we wouldn’t have food to eat, clothing to wear, products and activities to entertain us, and so much more. On the one hand, you can have a big impact on your community as an entrepreneur. And on the other hand, you should also continue to reinvest in other businesses in your community as you succeed. 

Nook's Cranny in Animal Crossing

Conclusion

Playing Animal Crossing can be a fun way to pass the time, learn new skills, and unwind when you need a break. Still, this super addictive game can remind you how to step up your game as an entrepreneur. Take these lessons to heart as you run your business. You probably won’t make a lot of money as a professional butterfly collector. But if you focus on selling the hot item of the day, adding new products daily, and minimizing the debt you take on, you’ll be on track to creating a business of your own.

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