As a solopreneur looking for an accountability partner, you might worry that you won’t find someone. While solopreneurs are a rare breed, there are plenty of them looking for accountability partners. You’re not alone in your search, and it can be helpful to have someone who understands what it’s like to work from home and juggle both home and business responsibilities.
So, how do you go about finding the “right” accountability partner?
Make a List
The first thing you want to do when looking for an accountability partners is to make a list of people you already know who might be a good match. Start by thinking of solopreneurs or small business owners who offer similar services to a different audience.
You should also think about any networking groups you participate in. Is there anyone there with whom you connected with and feel might be a good business match?
Of course, you don’t have to limit your search to offline networking groups. You can also look for a virtual accountability partner. Create a post in Facebook or LinkedIn groups to let people know you’re looking for one, and what your needs are.
Look for Matching Values
Carefully consider your potential accountability partner. You want someone who shares your values. If you have conflicting values, neither of you will benefit from your accountability sessions. For example, if you value customer service above all else, but your partner values making a buck, even at the expense of her customers, then you aren’t going to enjoy your partnership very much. You won’t be supportive of each other because your values are not in alignment.
Before you agree to jump into an accountability partnership with someone, take time to conduct your research. Look at their blog, website and social media posts. Are they always complaining about their customers? Do they share negative news constantly? Do you cringe when their name shows up in your news feed? These are all warning signs that you may not be a good match.
Keep It Short-Term in the Beginning
When you find someone you think might make a good accountability partner, make sure to keep things casual at first. You want to agree to a limited trial time of six weeks to three months. After this time, you can evaluate your partnership and decide if you’d like to continue it.
For the first meeting, you want to plan for an hour or so. This gives you and your partner time to talk about your core values, goals and business principles. It can be exciting getting to know your newfound accountability partner so take your time and don’t rush your first session together.
Consider Paid Options
Sometimes, you need more help than one or two partners can offer. In that case, you may want to consider paying to join an accountability group or business mastermind. These groups give you a chance to meet regularly online and talk with other solopreneurs and small business owners. If this kind of support still isn’t enough, consider hiring a business coach to guide you through this season of your business.
It can take some time to find an accountability partner with whom you connect. Just keep patiently searching and you’ll eventually discover one who’s a great fit for you.
What to Chat About with Your Accountability Partner
If you’re new to the idea of an accountability partner, you may wonder how to handle this new relationship and what to discuss. Don’t fret. Here’s how to get started:
Decide when and how you’ll meet. You need to schedule regular meetings with your accountability partner. These sessions might be in person at a local coffee shop or held on Zoom, Skype or Google Hangouts. Either way, you need to have a regular meeting place.
How often you meet comes down to what works for you. It might be helpful to start meeting two to four times a month. This allows you both time to report on progress or setbacks as you encounter them. But keep in mind that it’s okay to change your meeting place or time, depending on what’s going on in your lives. This is a normal part of any partnership. So don’t be afraid to periodically review your schedules to see if another time slot works better for both of you.
Talk about your goals. During your first session, you want to talk about your values and goals with your partner. You’ll probably have a mix of short-term and long-term goals for your business or your life.
Your accountability partner can help you break down your long-term goals into easy, manageable steps. For example, if your long-term goal is to publish a Kindle book on your niche, then your short-term action steps would include items like “outline my Kindle book” or “contact a designer to create my book cover.”
Follow up with your partner. In follow-up meetings, you’ll want to talk about what steps you took since your last session together. Did you complete all your action steps? Did you forget something or run into a problem that prevented you from completing one of your action steps? Can your accountability partner come up with ways to try to overcome this roadblock?
Don’t just talk about the hard stuff either. Be sure to celebrate when either one of you meets a milestone or accomplishes a goal. Celebrating accomplishments can be simple—like going out for dessert together or sending your virtual friend a small Starbucks card. By celebrating your successes together, you’re more likely to achieve even bigger goals.
Donna S. Vieira is a certified Gentle Trauma Release Practitioner and Astro-Empowerment Coach who uses her knowledge of Astrology in sessions with her clients. She’s also a published freelance travel and lifestyle writer, blogger, and editor who has traveled the globe. You can read about some of her travels at FromMyTravelBag.com. She and her chef husband, Fernando, own Globetrotters Bed & Breakfast/Gallery in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Canada, where they have been welcoming guests from around the world since 2002.