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Self Discipline for the Self-Employed

Much advice has been given about the necessity of self discipline and motivation if you expect to be successfully self employed. You will be warned that unless you are a self-starter, are well organized, are a planner, a go-getter and more, you had better think twice about working for yourself.

Does it take self discipline to eat ice cream?

I don't want to completely belittle the above advice: it's possible that you are a complete sloth who needs someone to tell you when to get up, when to eat, when to smile, when to shut up, and when to go to bed so you can rest up for the next day of your miserable existence. If that's you, you aren't going to make it as a self employed person. But you aren't going to make it as an employed person either, are you? So let me ask once again:

Does it take much motivation to eat ice cream?

If you are doing what you love, and love what you are doing, it doesn't require any great effort to get up every morning and start doing it. In fact, quite the opposite: the ranks of the self employed are probably more filled with the kind of people you might call workaholics: you'll find them working constantly. But are they workaholics, or are they having fun, doing the things they really love doing, and making money at it? More often it's the latter.

Not that it's all rose petals and fine dining. But neither is anything else you do for fun. If you belong to an amateur sports team, does your team always win? If you play poker or Scrabble for relaxation, do you always trounce your opponents? If you bowl, do you always score 300? Your business has its challenges and disappointments, its stress filled times, and its moments of monotony and boredom too, but if the essence of it is something you enjoy, you aren't going to need to be forced into working at it. Your motivation is automatic when you like what you are doing.

Self discipline certainly is important for the self employed, but probably not as important as some will tell you. You'll need a little, sure, but if you see your work as a treat rather than a chore, you won't need much motivation to get going each day.

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It all sounds good from the pulpit,but come Monday morning all the sinners are back to business as usual writing crappy code. (Tony Lawrence)

People who are more than casually interested in computers should have at least some idea of what the underlying hardware is like. Otherwise the programs they write will be pretty weird. (Donald Knuth)

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