While the term solopreneur might connote images of a one-person operation, that is never truly the case. Sure if you own your own business you are the Chief Everything Officer (at least on some level) and the buck stops with you, but going solo is not the time for succumbing to lone ranger syndrome.
Most people like me made the leap to forge their own path because they are self-directed, ambitious, and go-getters. This only exacerbates the problem of wanting to do it all yourself. I used to be a control-freak and the words my father always said would go through my mind: “if you want it done right, you have to do it yourself.” The problem with this thinking is it isn’t scalable and it does not leverage your strengths. Instead you fall prey to burnout, wasting time and energy learning things that play to your weaknesses not your strengths, and doing a sub-par (or half-assed) job of the things you shouldn’t really be doing in the first place.
The antidote for this is to get connected and receive support.
Business runs on relationships. Nothing more and nothing less. Just as you need to connect with potential prospects and customers, you also need to connect with trusted colleagues, referral partners, and other people who own their own business just like you. If for nothing else to avoid going stir crazy! There is power in your network. Before I owned my own business I knew next to no one in my community. Once I started my business that all changed. I’ve been blessed to belong to some awesome local organizations (shout out to Women’s Business Forum and Network Now) that have enabled me to meet new friends, business partners, and trusted colleagues.
These are the people you will turn to when you need to:
- Give and receive referrals and recommendations on other service providers you might hire or organizations you might join.
- Give and receive a boost of positive energy during down moments.
- Collaborate for the greater good.
- Do just about everything…
I find that a combination of online and offline relationship building is crucial. As much as I love my online community, the clients I’ve served in vastly different geographic locations, and the colleagues I’ve met, collaborated, and worked with virtually (BlogHer being one of them!), there is nothing like an in-person, close-to-home, real live person to be able to reach out to on a regular basis. They can actually give you big bear hugs when needed. They are also the people that will be able to connect you with local service providers when you need them whether an accountant for your business or someone to fix your broken toilet. Connect with and love all your peeps.
It takes a village to build a thriving business. The village might be large or it might be small but at the end of the day we’re not meant to do this alone. You just cannot bring your mission and vision alive all alone. You and your business needs to be nurtured and cared for like a garden.
- Exponentially increase your impact
- Play to your strengths
- Leverage your time, energy, and resources by delegating tasks
- Shorten your learning curve
- Not work 24/7
Support takes many forms. It can be formal or informal. Paid or unpaid. Usually you need a combination of all of the above. Consider building your support team bit by bit. My recommendation is to build to where you want to be, not where you are right now. Otherwise you’ll stay in the Catch-22 merry-go-round of :
“I need help!”
“But I can’t afford it until I’m making more money!”
“But I can’t grow and make more money without the support – I need help!”
Wash, rinse, repeat.
I’m not suggesting you spend frivilously, just don’t nail your feet to the floor and drag your behind trying to be superwoman. You don’t know everything, you can never eliminate all risk, and you can’t do everything yourself.
If you’re not sure where to start here are some ideas:
Strategic and Personal
- Business coach
- Life coach
- Spiritual advisor
- Sales coach
- Marketing consultant
- Image consultant
- Life strategist
- Business strategist
Health, Wellness, and Household
- Personal trainer
- Health counselor
- House cleaning service
- Yard service
- Fitness coach
- Communications coach
- Holistic counselor
- Personal assistant/concierge
Operational and Backoffice
- Virtual assistant
- Webmaster, programmer, designer
- Client care manager
- Joint venture manager
- Project manager
- Sales team/support
- Computer consultant
- Financial advisor
- Human resources provider
- Graphic artist
- Insurance broker
Those are just a few ideas. You could literally have a hundred people on your extended team of resources. You might not use them continually but you’ve built the relationships so the support is there when you need it.
What has been the best investments in support you have made in your business? Would love to hear more in the comments…
Meanwhile – get out there and connect!
This post originally appeared on BlogHer.com.
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