The 'list' gets longer and longer. Ideas and goals fall to the wayside remaining incomplete or never even seeing the light of day. There's just no time; even less energy.
Sound familiar? You are not alone. I see it all of the time and I've experienced some of it myself. But why? We're passionate about our businesses and our ideas. We believe we can manage it all. And we certainly have the drive and desire to succeed, don't we? So with all of this going for him, why does a business owner fall into the frustrating and disappointing habit of letting himself down?
Working alone has many benefits, but just as many pitfalls. Entrepreneurial-minded people typically love the magic moment when an idea is born. We also enjoy creating the strategy. But implementation? Well, that's another thing altogether, isn't it? Structure, accountability, routine; these words may be foreign to your vocabulary if you are a creative, right-brained person. I'm not saying that hard-working entrepreneurs are incapable in these areas, but I do believe that implementing things from beginning to end and fine-tuning the process is often much more challenging – and yes, sometimes impossible for the entrepreneur. And if you are a solopreneur without a team to complete the details and some of the implementation, you might get pretty frustrated. It's like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole when you try to engage your brain in activities that just don't feel natural to you.
While lack of resources is often a problem, there is another obvious drawback to being a solopreneur - the lack of accountability.
Successful business owners most often engage a coach and/or participate in Mastermind groups or the like. There are so many benefits to these relationships that I can't even go into them all, but one that seems to be a common denominator for many entrepreneurs is the accountability factor. When the stumbling blocks are worked out and a plan in place, they feel more inspired to follow their tasks through to completion prior to their next coaching session. As one small success after the other leads to larger success and increased profits, the payoff really becomes obvious. This accountability seems critical to their success.
Making a commitment to yourself is a great start, but sometimes it feels OK to let ourselves down. You might find yourself making excuses (yes, they are typically excuses) and allowing things to elevate in urgency until you have so many fires to put out that the well runs dry. Instead of exhausting yourself like this, why not set up an accountability strategy?
If you believe that you can't afford coaching, there are other methods. Try to find a group coaching environment that may be more affordable. A Mastermind group may raise the bar for you as you challenge and support one another. Or, how about a simple 'accountability group'? Recently, a small group of my friends began such a group and each person simply commits to completing several tasks prior to meeting at the coffee house the following week. As a group of stubborn, like-minded ladies, no one is going to come to coffee having failed at their commitments!
Think about what motivates you to do the detail work and follow through on your ideas. Blocking out even one hour a week can make a huge difference if you block not only the time, but the interruptions as well. Turn off the phone, close your email application and focus on your 'to do' list.
Who do you know who will hold your feet to the fire? Someone who will encourage you and offer up the occasional 'atta boy' when you've stretched beyond your comfort zone? Success is a beautiful thing – even the small successes - and accountability could be the key!
Marla Tabaka is a small-business advisor who helps entrepreneurs around the globe grow their businesses well into the millions. She has over 25 years of experience in corporate and start-up ventures and speaks widely on combining strategic and creative thinking for optimum success and happiness.