The Importance of a Key Supporter for Success
Owning and running your own business can be a lonely place whether you are a solopreneur or have a team of people. You just can’t talk about challenges and issues in your business with people who work for you, and if you’re working solo, then there’s no one there at all.
I’ve been in both situations. I ran a business with six to ten staff members for eight years and during that time struggled with the boundaries between what you tell your employees and what you can’t. What I mean by that is, when times are tough, cash flow is a challenge, and you’re just not sure how you’re going to pay the wages, it’s not a good thing to tell an employee. Particularly the good ones as they will wonder whether they should start looking for another job.
I’ve worked as a solopreneur also and found that this can become an anti-social work type situation which is not good for one’s mental well-being.
Over the course of the years, I have identified a number of key lessons on how to handle running a business which apply in both situations.
Working with a mentor or mentors or a business coach gives you the opportunity to talk about your challenges and issues with someone who is outside your business. Find a mentor or coach who has experience in running businesses and with whom you feel comfortable talking about your most inner fears and challenges. This is the important component; you have to be able to talk freely without fear of judgement or criticism. You should feel that your mentor or coach has got your back.
A business mentor or coach will provide accountability as part of their services. When you are your own boss and answerable to yourself alone, it is easy to give yourself a free pass from time-to-time when you are struggling. With accountability to another person, you create a situation where you will want to do what you said you were going to do. It’s a bit like committing to meet a friend at 6 am outside their house to go for an early morning walk. Once committed you will always turn up, particularly as you don’t want to wake their family by phoning to cancel.
Join business groups where other business owners meet and connect. Meetup groups, Chamber of Commerce meetings, networking groups, the list goes on. Try out a few and look for the group where you find your type of people. This isn’t necessarily so much about creating sales opportunities, think of it more as a place to find friends who share the same challenges that you do.
The one key supporter.
I have all of the above, but even with them, there is another element that I find essential. It’s what I call my ‘invisible man’. You see, I’m fortunate enough to have a husband who understands that I need to be in business for myself. He also believes that when I’m going to business events that it is best for me if I go by myself as that way, I will talk to other people and not spend the time with him – hence the ‘invisible man’ tag.
Very few of my business colleagues have met my husband, and yet he is the reason I keep going. He’s the reason that I stay on track with my goals, and yet he doesn’t understand 90% of what I say about business. Having said that he’s learnt a lot about business in the 20 years we’ve been together but he has no desire to be anything other than an employee.
Recently I was on the Gold Coast for a conference on a Thursday and Friday. I decided to stay over and return home on Sunday, giving myself Saturday to do some work on the business. But without my ‘invisible man’ I found myself wanting to slack off and chill out and not do any work at all.
He’s my one key supporter without whom I could fall into a state of goofing off and not pushing as hard as I do to build my business and create the life for now and the future that we both want.
Business is lonely when you’re at the top. Find your mentors, an accountability system, join groups and if you can, find your ‘invisible man’ to support your business success.
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