5+ Print Owner Motivation Killers and How to Fix Them

Print owners are some of the toughest people on the planet.

Get to know a few, and you’ll quickly find undaunted passion, unwavering integrity, time-tested grit, and a deep love for small business and their families.

But as any entrepreneur knows, owning a business isn’t all sunshine and roses. There are times when the high highs are met with low lows, discontentment creeps in, and the motivation to keep going starts to dry up.

Here are a handful of motivation killers you have most likely or will most likely face and what you can do to overcome them.

1. An Unhealthy Mindset

First things first, your mindset is everything because your motivation battle begins and ends here.

How you think about the world affects everything you do in it.

Think about this: When your goal is to go on a diet, but you pass by that display case of donuts, your mind does two things. It sends you both a list of justifications as to why you deserve a donut and how one little donut won’t hurt you, and it reminds you of your diet goals.

The fastest way to kill your motivation is to let that voice of justifications become the loudest one in your mind and start listening to it.

A healthy mindset comes when you focus on contentment (“I don’t need a donut. I’m blessed with all these other amazing, healthier options I get to choose from.”) instead of discontentment (“I never get to have what I want.”). 

The fix: Instead of fixating your thinking on all the bad in the world or everything you think you’re missing out on, cultivate a mindset of gratitude, of contentment, and focus on the best that can happen.

2. No Vision

A lack of clear goals is a potent motivation killer.

If you don’t know where you’re going, you’re setting yourself up to be a wanderer. Wandering is great for weekends in the woods but a terrible print business strategy. Even the famous Proverb (Proverbs 29:18) speaks to this when it says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish…”

You may think people perishing is a little extreme, but consider this: without a vision, teams often flounder unproductively or move on to other things because they feel they are just wasting their time.

The fix: As the leader, it falls to you to set the vision and define the boundaries for your business and team. Knowing your why and understanding your print company’s purpose will drive your teams’ actions and help your business succeed. And for the boundaries? Set priorities and stick to them. Here’s a good reminder that you’ve probably seen before but is worth revisiting.

Your tasks, ideas, and goals will all fit into one of these four quadrants.

To be the most effective in reaching your vision, your order of focus should be:

  • The urgent and important
  • The urgent but not important
  • The non-urgent but important, and lastly,
  • The non-urgent and unimportant

3. A Bad Case of Comparisonitis

Looking to lose your joy? Start comparing your business to others.

If you’re spending your time obsessing over other printing companies’ marketing, social media, and website, you will quickly lose yourself and end up frustrated.

You are not meant to be (or called to be) your competition. You are meant to be you, serving your team and your audience exactly where you are. It’s time to embrace this fact and let the comparison go.

There’s a difference between studying the competition to keep your finger on the trends and needs of your print buyers and berating yourself every time you see a new promotion come out from your competitor.

The fix: Know your worth and know where you bring value. Marketing Ideas For Printers serves hundreds of printing companies, and each one is uniquely different and successful. Own your different.

4. Imposter Syndrome

“Why did I say that? That was so stupid. I can’t believe I made that mistake. My team must think I’m an idiot. I don’t belong here.”

Like comparisonitis, imposter syndrome is a silent, internal motivation killer that starts with you not believing in yourself.

And here’s the thing: imposter syndrome is not stagnant. You may have thought you had it mastered at the beginning of your print entrepreneur journey, but now with all this new technology and marketing tactics to keep up with, it can be easy to feel like you’re no longer on the top of your game.

The fix: Silence the disbelief in yourself. Embrace your strengths. Embrace your calling to be a print owner right here, right now. And those areas you don’t do well? Stop forcing yourself to try. Instead, surround yourself with help, with people who are smart differently than you. Remember, we’re not all smart in the same areas, and that’s a good thing.

One other thing to remember: imposter syndrome is like the junior high of the business world. We all think other people are looking at us and judging us for our inadequacies, but in reality, they’re not thinking about us at all. Instead, we’re all focused on how we stack up to our own imaginary expectations. It’s time to set yourself free from this burden.

5. Inconsistency

How many times have you sent out your direct mail marketing in the last year? Or updated your website? Or promised yourself you would take Fridays off to focus on the business instead of in the business?

Inconsistency, and the lack of progress it creates, will kill your motivation. While you may be tempted to think consistency is the magical unicorn that you’ll never see, much less master, keep a few tips in mind.

The fix: Sometimes, accomplishing consistency means relying on the help of others. If you’re not getting your marketing out regularly, pursue a solution or vendor that will help. The biggest thing to remember with consistency is you have to push yourself to move. For help with this, check out the book “The 5-Second Rule” by Mel Robbins. This incredible resource is based on the idea that “the moment you feel yourself hesitate on something you know you should do, count 5-4-3-2-1 to activate your prefrontal cortex and interrupt the habit of overthinking, self-doubt, and fear. Then, move forward on 1. If you don’t move in five seconds, your mental habits take over and kill your instinct to change, innovate, or step outside your comfort zone.”

6. Lack of Support

Isolation is bad for business and motivation.

Grow a group of people in your corner who will fight for you (and tell it straight) using networking, business growth groups, Facebook groups, and online meet-ups.

7. Perfectionism

While you might think you’re focused on quality, perfectionism can actually be one of the biggest motivation killers in business because nothing is ever GETMO (good enough to move on).

Instead of perfection, focus on other p’s, such as “progress” or, in the case of your marketing, “publish.” There will always be room for improvement but focus on getting things done rather than perfect.

8. Lack of Encouragement

Everyone needs encouragement. Everyone needs to know that the work they do matters, including you!

While you can’t force others to encourage you, you can encourage yourself. Challenge yourself to write down or tell yourself one praise or word of encouragement per week regarding one thing you did well. This running list of achievements, even the little ones, will be a valuable tool when you need to look back on it when times are tough.

Encouraging yourself also helps you strengthen your encouragement muscle and inspire others. You’ll be surprised at how quickly your work atmosphere changes when you foster an environment of praise.

9. No White Space

Finally, if you never have moments of nothingness, you’ll struggle to maintain motivation.

Give yourself the time and white space for self-reflection and development, or work on the other spokes in your wheel of life. Give yourself moments or even a minute to think. Remember, as Juliet Funt says,

“White space is the oxygen that allows everything else to catch fire.”