“Anyone who works as a solo professional needs a lot of support”, a
fellow coach said to me recently. I couldn’t agree more. Any time you
are working by yourself it is isolating. How do you find what you need
to do your best work?
As a solo no one will hand you the resources you need. That is a task you must do for yourself. What kind of support do you want?
My coach friend was talking about people. She had a really good Mastermind Group that nurtured her and supported her. If you don’t have a team or colleagues to bounce ideas off of whom do you have? Is there someone you can call to discuss your plan for your business?
A Mastermind Group is ideal. Being a part of one gives you a safe place to discuss your business and ask your Mastermind colleagues what to do. Brainstorming many options is part of what makes a Mastermind Group useful. My group meets by telephone every week. Some groups meet face
to face. The members decide on the frequency, length of the meeting, the agenda and purpose for the group.
Another way that solo professionals get help is to put together an advisory panel and meet with them as a group or separately. You might have your lawyer, your accountant, your coach or consultant and others on the panel. Again they give you the kind of support you ask for.
Now here is what I see as ironic (at least for me). Many of us who chose to work solo chose it because we were tired of working for someone else and having them direct us. I know after working for almost 15 years at AT&T I was weary of following managers’ suggestions. I had other ideas that I never got to try! So in my own business I wanted to do it alone (no advice).
After trying it my way for a while however, I soon learned the benefit of support. That is why I hired a coach and joined a Mastermind group. Old habits die hard however and I still have the tendency to do it myself for too long. What about you?
Support also means delegating some of your work to others i.e. a bookkeeper, a marketing expert, a web designer etc. Many solo professionals think that they can do it all. It is particularly difficult to delegate when you are first starting and have little income.
It is an easy excuse though to say, “I can’t afford to hire someone.” The time it takes you to learn the job of an expert could be better spent doing the work you started your business for (law, coaching, accounting etc.). Do the things that you are good and that you enjoy. Hire someone else to do the rest. If you do this successfully, there will be money to pay for the expert and time to do even more marketing.
Support can come in many forms. It is the people you hire, the software you use, the equipment you choose, the systems you put in place and/or the colleagues and vendors you refer to. All these resources are necessary in any business. For solos they are critical.
1. Make a list of the people that support you? Where else could you use support? Make a commitment to find that support by a particular date.
2. What other kind of resources do you need? Make a list of these and a plan to acquire them.
3. Napoleon Hill wrote about Mastermind Groups in the book “Think and Grow Rich”. This book is a classic.
4. One free source of support for businesses is SCORE. SCORE is part of the SBA. The business counselors that are part of SCORE (score.org) have real business experience. I am a SCORE business counselor.