When you work in an office or workplace it is much more than just a group of people, it’s a support system for every individual person that works there. Each person has an expertise in some aspects of business and nobody is good at everything. So when you work for yourself, you need to realise that you don’t need to do it all yourself but you will need a support team to help you by lending you their expertise to free you up to do what you do best. Here are some ideas for your support team:
Good Information Websites
A good place to look for help and support is online. Look for information sites that provide real advice on running your type of business. Look out for professionals in your industry that you can learn from. There are many online forums for professionals and entrepreneurs – a good one to look up is LinkedIn which has many groups and forums. These offer a great way to connect with others in your area of expertise and get support from them and possibly offer support back. Make sure you only use reputable sites to ensure you only get good advice.
Mastermind groups consist of like-minded entrepreneurs who help each other with ideas and advice. They can offer a different view, inspiration, new ideas and feedback. Ideally they should have no vested interest in your business but genuinely be interested in helping you and the others in the group. The idea originally came from Napoleon Hill’s book Think and Grow Rich. The idea is that a group of minds together create a ‘mastermind’ that’s bigger and more creative than any individual. If you can’t find industry-specific mastermind groups online or in your community then you can form your own. It is not always necessary for them to know much about your business.
Having a buddy system with someone in a similar situation to you is great. The idea is that you coach each other and make each other stick to their word. Accountability buddies give you advice, but mainly they just listen. They provide a sounding board for your ideas and support when you find yourself slipping into bad habits or losing motivation. It will make you feel a bit guilty if you do not stick to your word. Accountability partners meet regularly either in person or on the phone or skype and discuss plans and set actions, and then follow up with each other to see how things have gone.
A Coach or Mentor
All high-achieving people have a coach or mentor and it is really important to have this sort of support if you are working alone. This is someone more experienced than you with no vested interest in your business but is there to help you keep on track. They share their long years of experience and they help you keep an eye on the big picture. Your coach or mentor should ask lots of questions to help you find the answers you need within yourself, but obviously they can also help with issues you have no experience of too. Ask other business people to recommend someone.
Know When to Ask for Help
Never be afraid to ask for help when you need it, don’t try to do everything yourself. Assess your existing skills and abilities to see where you’re lacking either knowledge or skills and get others to help you with these (for example accounts). When you are working for yourself you pretty soon find out what skills you are lacking but don’t just struggle, ask for help! That reduces stress for you, frees you up to do what you are truly good at and uses the expertise of someone else to help enhance your business.