When you are employed and work for a company, you are usually accountable to someone. You can ask that person for help; you might have a mentor and your manager will usually help you climb the career ladder.
However, when you work for yourself and own your business, the buck stops at you. You are suddenly responsible for everything – not just the day to day running of your business, but the marketing, sales, customer service, your own training, training employees if you have them, and keeping yourself organised and efficient. You are only accountable to yourself…and that can be hard.
It’s not that you aren’t responsible to anyone, it’s that your goals become more subjective. Your diary fills up with things you ‘have to do,’ rather than things you should be doing…or even things you enjoy doing.
But there are ways to create self-accountability so that everything you do doesn’t depend on your willpower alone!
Get yourself an accountability partner
Team up with another small business so you can encourage each other. Share you goals and deadlines, so you can help each other achieve them.
Having someone you can talk to, perhaps just once a week – or even once a month – can really help you to stay on track. You can ask each other for advice, share your new ideas, run social media posts past each other, talk through any problems or issues you might be having with your business, and generally gee each other up to keep going.
This will help you in many ways, but mainly because you won’t want to let your accountability partner down, so you’ll find you get more done and with more enthusiasm. Give it a go!
Share your goals publicly!
By this, I don’t mean plaster your goals all over your social media and website! You just need to be reminded of the commitments you’ve made to your business. Tell your friends and family about the goals you’ve set yourself and your business. Not all of them will ask you about them, and some will forget you even told them, but you will find that a few will ask how you’re getting on – and it will spur you on.
Speak about what you want to do in networking groups or business groups that you belong to and share that you need a bit of accountability. You’ll always find a few people who will be willing to encourage you.
Community support can be amazing. For example, if one of your goals is to learn a new skill, find a training package that includes a support group – or create one yourself. Finding people who you can work with – who have the same interest and goal as you will really increase your chance of success.
Have a plan
I know I’ve said this load of times, but I just love a list! So, for me, planning is key to me achieving things. I always have a ‘to do’ list going, which will help me achieve the things I want to get done. I have lists for the month, for the week and a daily one too, which when I think about it, might be a bit excessive!
It’s about doing things that work for you. The best thing about having a plan of action, and a list, is that it feels so good when you can tick something off that list and see it shrinking.
If your goals are big, work out a way to cut them down in more manageable chunks, so you achieve that goal step by step.
When you can see that things are getting done, this gives you more confidence and will inspire you to keep moving forward.
Use a calendar
I’m sure that most of us will use a calendar to put meetings in, schedule work we need to do and deadlines we need to make. But do you use a calendar for yourself?
I’ve started to do this over the past few months, and it makes such a difference. I block out time to batch-make social media posts, write my blog and monthly email newsletter. I’ve started scheduling some of my social media posts so that I save time. I must admit I do like to post in real time too, so I don’t schedule everything. I like to engage with people as they comment, but I now block out time to do this – and guess what? My engagement figures are increasing and I’m getting to know more small businesses.
If you have a goal such as learning a new skill or completing a course – schedule time in your diary for that, so that you don’t forget about it or let it slide. It also helps you to avoid that Mr. Procrastination!
That does bring me nicely to Mr. Procrastination. One of the things that will help you is to recognise why you procrastinate. Some of the signs are that you will find any excuse not to get on with the job in hand. You might find yourself just doing the easy, quick-to-achieve work, instead of concentrating on the larger, more complicated tasks.
You might find yourself ‘popping onto social media’ for a bit, and then realise that two hours have passed!
Sometimes it’s just that you’ve lost sight of why your goals were important to you in the first place. So, being organised and having a plan can help you with that – and all the other things I’ve mentioned above to be accountable to yourself.
And finally…CELEBRATE YOUR WINS!
No matter how big or how small, celebrate your achievements. If you’ve cut a big goal down into smaller chunks, celebrate each milestone along the way. Cut yourself some slack and look at all the positive things you have managed to do.
Coaching can really assist you with accountability, and with an action plan to assure you achieve your goals. If you would like to book a free 30-minute consultation, we can discuss your situation and how I can help. Please email me – firstname.lastname@example.org