Productivity and Motivation for Print on Demand

I recently made a big decision (recently, as in five minutes ago). I turned down a job offer to pursue print on demand, and passive income on a self employed basis.

This may be the worst time to do it, what with the economy in an iffy state, but after weighing everything up, I decided to just go for it. As I now need to stay motivated, I thought I’d share some things I do to keep myself on track. I hope they can be of some help to you!

It really can be tough to stay motivated when you’re working on print on demand projects. There is a lot of monotony an the reward is often quite delayed, sometimes being months or weeks away.

I wouldn’t say I am an expert in motivation and productivity, far from it, but I’m happy to share some practices and thoughts I have on the matter.

Freebirding (or Chunking)

I have no idea what this is called in real life, but it’s a practice I’ve taken to doing in my general everyday life. Check out the video below, Free Bird by Lynyrd Skynyrd. It’s around ten minutes long.

‘Freebirding’ is the practice of doing something for the length of this song. I apply it in my real life in a few ways. Cleaning a room, tidying up the kitchen, just getting something done. If you can do something within the length of Free Bird, then it’s worth doing.

I’ll frequently play Free Bird when I’ve finished eating, and start tidying up the kitchen. It may sound silly, but there are a few benefits to it;

  • It’s a fun way to break up time into manageable chunks
  • I’ve associated Free Bird with energy, motivation and just doing stuff. I’ll often continue doing stuff after the song has finished anyway.

You can ‘Freebird’ your way through Print on Demand too. Ten minutes can be spent uploading a product, or starting and finishing a design. I’m actually doing this right now, writing this post!

You can read a more serious write up here. They call it the 10 Minute rule, which sounds a lot more boring than Freebirding.

‘Chaching’ sounds

Every time I make a sale on Redbubble, my phone makes a noise. It’s very nice. The noise itself is nothing special (it’s the Mario coin noise), but the feedback I feel is great.

As well as getting notified as soon as I make a sale, a sound also gives me a little bit of motivational feedback. It’s nice to hear. I am here to make sales and I want to know when they happen.

I use Gmail and an Android phone, so it’s quite easy to set up, and I’ll make a better post on how to do this later I think! (Expect a link here when it’s done!)

It can be nice to hear a number of dings in a day, and it really adds to that sense of satisfaction that you should have working on your own projects that is otherwise forgotten about. You should be happy when you make a sale!

In future I’ll do the same for TeePublic, but I don’t make enough sales to warrant it yet.

Chart your success, predict future success

I have a whiteboard on my wall. It lists a lot of goals and things to remember, not just for my passive income.

One part of the whiteboard is dedicated to Redbubble income, in the form of a line chart. I have each month on the X axis, and the amount I made on the Y axis.

Each month I plot a point and join a line. It’s nice to see it go up! Each month also has a goal, in a sensible rising fashion. Currently, I am seeing a linear increase, so I have predicted it will just follow this pattern.

Having a real life representation of your success is much more impactful than your Redbubble dashboard or payment page. Passive income is usually fully online, and by bringing it into the real world feels more serious.

Limit yourself

It can be tempting to say to yourself “I’m going to upload 20 products today”. In my experience this is a bad approach. Better to upload 20 products over 20 days.

I sometimes don’t follow this advice. Today I uploaded around 25 products, but I don’t make this the norm,

There are a few reasons to limit yourself. Firstly, you won’t get burnt out by doing the same process over and over. Uploading designs is so boring.

Secondly, it can help to get your product (and therefore store) in the ‘Newest’ filter frequently.

One product upload a day means one product in the ‘Newest’ filter every day for 20 days, which is a lot better that 20 products in the ‘Newest’ filter, for one day.

Vision for the future

For me, an end goal is great for motivation. We don’t all have the same end goal, but thinking about where you’re going to be in a few years is great for motivation now.

You won’t get there unless you put the work in. Stay on target!