I am a 15 year old high school student who is a programming enthusiast. I have started a software & tech "company." I say this in quotes because we have not incorporated legally, we do not pay our workers, and we do not make money as of right now. We are the classic basement startup, with bi-monthly meetings literally "in my mother's basement."

Currently, we are developing a videogame. I am the main programmer of the game, but under my command I have many other high school students. Some of these do music, some of them do art, some of them do writing. (Our game is very story-centered)

I have a serious problem. My art team, currently consisting of three high schoolers, is very inefficient. (They procrastinate everything) Art team has been rocky from the start, with people leaving and others joining over time. As it stands, I have 3 artists in my art team.

My question is this: Without adding new artists, how do I motivate my artists (and my crewmen in general) to do stuff? I can't pay them, as we make no money and I would quickly run out of money. I guess this is more of a "club" than a "company," though we treat it somewhat like a company. I don't want to threaten to fire them as my only motivation. I want to somehow reward them for their achievements and promote EFFICIENCY. I really want to show them how much I appreciate their work, without making it weird or "cringy." What are some motivating factors?

Any help would be awesome!

  • 4
    What was their motivation for joining your team? It really helps to know what drives people.
    – Erik
    Jul 7 '18 at 5:40

As everyone has different motivators, the only realistic way to find out how to motivate them is to ask them.

For those who enjoy working with you, find out what they enjoy about it. For those that have left, ask them what makde them leave. But for all of them, ask them what they want to get out of it.

  • Is it just being in a club?
  • Do they want money?
  • Do they want to create something?
  • Do they enjoy being your "art team" or do they feel they are your equals or superiors?

Speak to them - they will give you far better indication as to what they want than we can over the internet :-)


This is a difficult situation and you have to consider the possibility that they will never deliver the amount, quality or at the deadlines you want. After all, the "main job" of all you guys is going to school. Everything else is either hobby or additional stress.

I don't know how you set up the tasks for your art team, but if the story is completely set and they have to produce images or animations following that story board, there is not much fun in that. Sounds to me like a boring job description and not at all like a hobby.

So make a special meeting for your art team. Maybe include someone responsible for the story line. Do some brainstorming with sketches and concepts, have some crazy and funny ideas together. Let your art team influence a scene or chapter with their ideas and record them in quick sketches. If the meeting went well and was fun, it should be enough incentive for at least some of them to work on "their" scene. Rinse and repeat until either they loose interest or are hooked enough that they cannot abandon "their" story now.

Make sure you set some basic rules for these meetings. Write down fixed plot lines that cannot be changed due to finished development. Insist that if someone has an idea, they should promise to actually deliver the necessary art work.


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