Does this sound familiar? “I do better in my business and reaching goals with accountability.” or “I'm looking for advice, encouragement and accountability from others that have gone through the same experience.” or “I need vigilance and routine disciplines.” or “I need a good kick in the butt to keep moving forward.”
Statements like these are very common. You are not alone. These are straight from freelancers that have told me that they at times feel alone, but more so need guidance and accountability to move the needle of their businesses.
You have to have discipline to be a successful freelancer. Sure it’s nice to be able to make your own hours, but there are times when you need to resist Netflix and spend some of that free time working on the business, generating leads, marketing yourself, creating content around you and your business, even touching base with your current clients to see if there are more opportunities for work.
No one can do that for you. These are the building blocks of staying out of the famine part of the cycle. Sometimes we all need to have that someone who gives us that “kick in the butt.”
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I’ve been kicked a few times
As a kid I played on more teams and had more coaches than I could count. I played on multiple baseball teams in any one season, basketball, hockey, football, soccer (only a couple of times), and just about anything else that was competitive, even stickball and pickup flag football leagues.
Basically I had lots of people yelling at me as a kid ?. In fact, my varsity baseball coach has always stuck in my head. He was certainly one of these yelling types. One time he yelled at me as I ran safely into third base from first base on a hit from a teammate of mine.
“What the f$^@!?! What size piano do you have stuck up your a$$?”
I wasn’t the fastest runner on the team, but I guess he felt that at around 95 pounds and as skinny and small as I was, I should’ve been faster.
Sometimes we need this sort of motivation to get our butts into gear.
As a business owner, I still have people holding me accountable to the things I say I’m going to do. Curtis McHale and Chris Ducker have held me accountable for accomplishing things I say I will do and has pushed me to push my business. You as the reader are also part of my accountability as well.
There are plenty of times I would love to just sit on the couch and watch endless amounts of tv, but I also know that it’s up to me to push the business forward. Having some coaches in my corner has done wonders in being able to make sure I’m moving forward as well. The last thing I want to do is to admit to anyone that I didn’t deliver on what I said I would.
Having an accountability coach is great. I’ll be honest and say at first I didn’t think that it would help very much. I really just thought “why am I paying this person to basically tell me to do what I know I need to anyway?”
They do way more than that. Outlining plans, keeping things on track from a bigger picture, suggesting resources, offering advice in sticky situations, being a sounding board to vent to and the list goes on.
Coaches have more experience than you and that allows them to see you and your business from a different point of view. Good coaches, like in sports, can anticipate several moves ahead and help guide you to come out on the winning side.
Also there is this human nature aspect to having a coach. Of course your coach cares about what happens within your business, but not nearly as much as you do. When your coach asks you how your week went, you want to be able to deliver an answer that doesn’t disappoint.
This is just human of us. Just like kids don’t want to upset and disappoint parents, we as adults don’t want to disappoint someone else either.
When setting goals and accountability milestones with a coach you want to make them small and actionable. Time is something that we never get back. We are busy people, so you want to prioritize your time and make sure that you aren’t adding unreachable goals. Achieving even the smallest goals creates momentum.
Should I get a coach for my freelance business?
This is something I know every freelancer should do.
Not to dilute that statement in any way at all, but you need to know exactly what you want from the coach. Don’t just get a coach who is an influencer, successful in your space, or someone you hold high regard. (These definitely help you, but shouldn’t be the driving factor in why you get a coach.)
If you are looking to grow a team, make sure that’s something the coach has experience in doing.
If you are looking to improve writing and marketing it, make sure that the coach has written a book (several hopefully) and has some feet on the ground about marketing books.
See a pattern?
Seek out a coach that has the skills and experience in achieving what you want to do. The coach should also be someone in which they can readily give sound advice to you and that your personalities mesh as well.
Just like you set goals and focus on your business and clients, the same should be said about selecting your coach as well.
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Coaches cost money and I don’t have the money to pay
If getting a coach makes you not able to put food on the table, obviously choose to eat. Apart from that you should be investing in your business.
Investing in your business is something that you should be setting aside a budget for and coaching is part of that. Yes coaches will cost you some money every month, but staying the course and being able to move the needle in your business should bring a much higher return on your investment in no time.
I’ve seen freelancers who are not making a ton of money invest in a coach and within just a few months increase their revenue significantly just by being held accountable.
How long should I stay with a coach
I hate to say this but, it depends.
You really should stay with a coach for as long as you need to. Setting goals for yourself and knowing where you are within your business will tell you how long to stay with a coach.
I’m sure if you talk with any coach, they’ll want to make sure that you are getting something from the sessions. They certainly wouldn’t want to have someone not getting the most out of their sessions because it’s a reflection on them and their coaching business.
There are other ways in which to hold yourself accountable, but nothing is better than having that “someone” hold you accountable.
Having accountability allows you to feel safe
Most freelancers at least start out as solo business owners. Being held accountable is usually something that is felt after some time within the business. It’s usually because you are starting to grow your business in ways that you want to, but aren’t sure about how to work on the business instead of in the business.
So often you’ll push aside the work that’s needed for the business in favor of the client’s work. It’s natural. However it’s not how you grow a sustainable freelance business.
Having a coach hold you accountable to the goals you have for the business puts you in a safe environment to share ideas, vent if you need to, and get honest feedback. As a solo freelancer we don’t always have the luxury of being able to turn to a colleague and ask them their opinion on an idea.
Coaches after a short time understand our business and what we want to achieve. After a longer time they start seeing more and more into our business and where the gaps are. If we are honest with ourselves by sharing all aspects of the business, both financial and non-financial, with the coach, we will get more out of it.
The coach-mentor relationship is one that you should feel is a strong one. It need to be a safe environment where you can fully open up about your business. If it’s not, then address it with your coach, or find another one.
There’s a reason that successful companies have great leaders that can motivate, keep folks on track, and continually produce and grow. The leaders at the top are essentially coaches. They hold everyone in the company accountable to what needs to be done to move the business forward.
As freelancers, especially solo freelancers, we don’t have the luxury of having another person sitting next to us. Start reaching out to people who coach and see if they have an opening in their schedule to take a look at you and your business. Ask them if they can hold you accountable for actions you need to do.
Don’t sit around thinking about accountability. Start right now and take action. Be accountable for your business.
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