How Do You Hold Yourself Accountable?

Family And Friends are Great, But An Accountability Partner Will Push You to the Next Level

How do you hold yourself accountable?

You’ve surely got grand ideas for the future—as you should! But how are you going to get there?

Having an accountability system in place is the secret sauce that many successful people use to achieve their goals. It helps you keep your eye on the prize and continuously move towards your objectives, especially when you’re busy with the day-to-day activities of your small business… which is almost always! Without accountability, your plans can easily slip by the wayside.

So the question is, what are you going to do to ensure that the daily grind doesn’t consume you?

One fantastic way to hold yourself accountable is by having someone else hold you accountable!

Take the “Solo” Out of Solopreneur with the Right Support

Motivation is a funny thing. Sometimes you have it; sometimes you don’t. And as a solopreneur, you can’t afford to take the days off when you aren’t feeling inspired to work towards your goals. The whole thing can feel pretty lonely sometimes but just because you’re running a solo enterprise doesn’t mean you have to do everything alone.

A reliable, supportive accountability partner can be a complete game changer. Not only can they make the entrepreneurial life feel a lot less lonely but they can also motivate you to get sh!t done.

Your accountability partner isn’t just limited to keeping you on a timeline. They can also be a sounding board for ideas, a friendly shoulder when you’re struggling with something and voice of reason when you need someone to call you out on your crap.

Before entering into an accountability partnership, it can be helpful to define exactly how the relationship will work and what the responsibilities on both sides will be.

For example, they might be able to help you brainstorm ideas, check your work, or merely provide encouragement when you need it. It’s great to set some structure around how often you’ll meet and how you’ll check in with each other so that you really optimize the relationship and accountability system for the long haul.

And the best thing of all is that it’s a two-way street!

Unless you’re specifically working with a mentor who is far more experienced than you are, it can go both ways. You keep them accountable; they keep you accountable. It’s a beautiful, symbiotic relationship.

Being someone else’s accountability partner helps you take responsibility for both yourself and the other person, which can be very motivating. All that great advice that you each give each other rolls around in circles and multiplies exponentially when you join forces as an unstoppable accountability team. You’ll be forging a relationship that can pay off for years into the future.

Having this kind of relationship with another professional creates a level of trust and support that’s pretty hard to match. You come to know each other, count on each other, and if any opportunities come up in the future, you can be sure that they’ll give you great business referrals just the same way you would for them. You’ll both grow together and jump at the opportunity to help one another. It’s really teamwork at its best.

This two-way relationship is deeply rewarding. When they achieve their goals, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment too!

Beyond Business

An accountability partner isn’t just useful when it comes to achieving your business goals. They can be helpful for achieving just about anything your heart desires!

If you’re looking to lose some weight, quit smoking, save money for retirement, or start exercising more often, having someone hold you accountable is a great way to inspire you to action.

Why Family and Friends Don’t Make for Great Accountability Partners

One of the best things about having your friends and family behind you in any endeavour is their unconditional love and support.

If you’re feeling down about something in your business, or something isn’t going as you hoped, you can (hopefully) count on your friends and family to tell you all the nice things that will cheer you up. They’ll buck you up when you need it, making them invaluable for your drive and self-esteem.

But there are two things family and friends lack that makes them unsuitable as accountability partners: objectivity and experience in your business.

They want to make you feel good about yourself; to be supportive. They don’t want to have to grill you over the coals if you don’t hold to a deadline or blow off an important project. Their love for you will prevent them from being the dependable accountability partner you need.

And although your family and friends might know the broad strokes of what you do, it’s likely they’re not familiar with the struggles you’re facing as an entrepreneur.

For someone to really hold you accountable, they need detailed knowledge of what it’s like to run and build a business. The more they know (and really care) about everything to do with a project you’re working on, like what stage you’re at, what you still have to complete, etc. the more they’ll get beyond the fluff and into the real substance of your business.

In other words, you need a colleague or even a mentor who will hold you to account.

I Love My Accountability Partner!

I know from experience how having an accountability partner has helped me achieve my goals. They can be an invaluable resource when you just aren’t feeling like you can follow through. Often, only a few words of encouragement from an accountability partner can get you back to work with a renewed focus and drive.

Being an entrepreneur is just so different from “working for the man.” When you work at a company under a manager, you have a built-in system of accountability. You have deadlines and projects to finish. If you don’t complete them, your boss will hold you to account—not a good feeling! And you do what you should, or you risk getting fired, so the incentive is kind of built into the job. Being a solopreneur isn’t like that. If you don’t follow through, you’re failing yourself.

An accountability partner is a little bit like setting up an unofficial boss whose opinion and esteem you value highly, to help motivate you to follow through and excel. They’re someone who you “report” to with your progress. They can hold you to deadlines and milestones, helping you reach your goals.

And I’m not talking about deadlines for your client work; you’re probably going to hit those anyways, so you don’t lose the client. But an accountability partner will help you stay on track to build your overall business.

If you promise your accountability partner that you’ll have an updated business budget or marketing plan done by the last Friday of the month, you’ll be much more likely to complete it on time than if you’re solely relying on your own motivation.

Holding yourself accountable, though necessary, often doesn’t work as well as we hope.

On those days when we are feeling less than inspired, beating ourselves up about not doing the work can only make us feel worse. We might also say to ourselves, “Well, I can let it slip just this once,” with “this once” quickly becoming a habit. This is where having an accountability partner comes in.

Sometimes, if a project isn’t going as well as you’d hoped, you might even feel like giving up on it.

We’ve all been there; it’s just part and parcel of being a solopreneur. That all changes when you have an accountability partner. Working together with them is like having a rechargeable battery for your self-motivation! I highly recommend finding one and giving this accountability system a try!

Have you ever used an accountability partner to keep on track with your business objectives? Have you ever been someone else’s accountability partner? I’d love to hear about it! Tell me about it in the comments below.

Meet your host

Sandra Booker, Founder of Changemaker Inc. (home to Sidekick COO and The VA Studio) and creator of Scale Society and The Advisory Board, is a mentor, Fractional COO  and growth strategist. She specializes in helping overworked, overwhelmed, multi-hatted entrepreneurs become the CEOs of sustainably scalable, and powerfully profitable businesses. 

After helping local businesses thrive, and receiving accolades in her community (like the 40 Under 40 award) Sandra turned her attention to the world of online service providers, and her clients include familiar names like Chanti Zak, Tarzan Kay, and Laura Belgray.

In her (efficiently used) spare time, she teaches others how to build and grow their own 6-figure virtual assistant practices and is on a mission to create a million jobs by helping her clients and students scale their businesses.

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