Being a self-employed printer has its benefits and rewards. But it can also be a tough way to make a living. This can be especially true if you are a 'one person' print shop and have no one around to give you moral support when you need it.
Staying motivated can be a real challenge. With no superiors or the support structure of a large business, mustering motivation can become a huge stumbling block, ruining the dream of self-employment. But no one should have to give up on their dream of being their own boss.
The key is knowing that motivation can be an occasional problem and knowing the necessary steps to combat it when the problem arises. Here are four tips that can help...
1. Set goals. A truly motivated, inspired person will always have a good idea of where they are headed and how their current activities will help them advance toward that objective. A goal provides something to look forward to and hope for. Goals, especially long-term ones, supply the structure needed for daily productivity. Without an end game in mind, all efforts will be haphazard, unfocused, and ineffectual. When a goal is at last reached, the feeling of accomplishment and victory that accompanies it will make further efforts that much easier.
2. Be disciplined. While one of the chief advantages of self-employment is the flexibility, too much can be a bad thing. For those who have no set pattern to their day and week, finding the motivation to start working can be almost impossible. Setting aside certain hours for work is still a good idea, even if those hours are different from a normal work schedule. Similarly, those who work at home would be wise to designate one room for work only. Following regular patterns will make working seem natural, and motivation will come more easily. The power of habit should never be overlooked.
3. Focus on the big picture. Everyone has something they are working for. Office workers can simply clock in and out every day, unmotivated by any real interest in their work, whereas the self-employed must be more driven. But oftentimes, the bigger picture can be lost in the day-to-day struggle for productivity. A self-employed person can get a motivational boost by remembering what inspires them and why they chose to set out on their own.
4. Get someone's help. It would be unwise to rely completely on yourself. Even the best self-motivators need an outside lift sometimes. A slump in motivation can often be relieved by advice from a friend, family member, former colleague, or other trusted, dependable figure. It can be especially helpful to seek advice from others who also work for themselves, as their experience may provide valuable insight.
Success as a self-employed person is not possible without a certain amount of motivation. Even with all other necessary qualities and traits, a lack of motivation will make working alone impossible -- which means the four recommendations seen above are critically important.
Carlton Ryan reporting for American Screen Printing Association.