Being a struggling artist sucks.
It might seem romantic, but next time you see Joe sitting on a tube station with his open guitar box, playing a tired song and hoping for donations, imagine yourself in his shoes. It can’t be easy.
How often do you throw money into a guitar box?
Many online entrepreneurs do the same thing as Joe. Their boring, quiet blogs remind of open guitar boxes in many ways. And they don’t do much more than showing up at the tube station every day to sing yet another false, unexciting, over-played song.
That’s not romantic. It’s bull. If you’re such an online entrepreneur, you don’t have to imagine yourself being in Joe’s shoes… You are!
Imagine Bono was able to work with that struggling guitarist. Do you think some of Bono’s presence and skill would rub off? Imagine what Bono could teach him. Would Joe still be stuck on a tube station in six months time?
I doubt it.
In the same way, online entrepreneurs need support. They need people who have achieved what they’re trying to achieve to give them advice and feedback, and to keep them heading in the right direction.
And that’s why I use a coach (or two) to keep me accountable.
Can’t afford a coach? Don’t worry. At the end of this post we’ll get creative with some alternative solutions. Let’s first see why you need one!
An accountability coach will help you achieve many worthwhile results. Here’s a list of 12 of the most important ones:
1. An exciting yet realistic online business vision
I say this often, and I’ll say it again. Without a clear vision of what you want to achieve, you have a much slimmer chance of actually achieving it.
You need to know what you want from your business. How much free time do you need? How much would you like to earn?
The only problem is, you can’t just pull figures from the air.
Before you climb a dangerous mountain, you need to consult with someone who has been to the summit at least once, but preferably more than once.
An accountability coach has been there before. He sits down with you and helps you create an exciting yet realistic online business vision — something that’s possible given your chosen service or product offering, target market and set of skills.
2. A viable action plan to get you there
Just like showing up at the station every day to sing his same-old cover song won’t get Joe a record deal, merely writing articles isn’t a strategic online business plan.
You need an action plan that will get you from where you are to where you need to be. It needs to be sound, but at the same time executable inside your constraints.
An accountability coach will help you develop a strategic action plan, tailor-made for your specific situation. Thanks to the years of online business experience this plan draws on, it’s likely to be sound and get you the results you need.
3. A measure of and deadline for success
You’ll never be satisfied with where you end up unless you purposefully decide beforehand what measure you will use for success. When will you decide that your efforts were worthwhile or successful?
You also need a deadline by when you’ll apply your measure, or you’ll be left in the dark.
A good accountability coach is someone who helps you quantify what success looks like, and helps you set measurable intermediary goals and a final deadline for success for your online business.
4. A solid focus
A strategic online business action plan involves many things happening and unfolding simultaneously. You are:
- Developing your writing skills,
- Writing excellent articles,
- Setting up and sending out autoresponders,
- Developing products and service offerings,
- Growing your subscriber list,
- Building relationships of trust with subscribers,
- Marketing and selling your products and services,
- Refining your communication,
- Promoting your blog,
- Networking with other influential bloggers, etc.
It’s easy to get lost somewhere in this process and to end up feeling helpless and overwhelmed by everything that needs to be done. All this intensifies as you near the completion of a large project.
And sadly, without a solid focus on exactly where you are and what comes next, you might just bail at a crucial stage.
Project abandonment = Failure.
An accountability coach offers you focus. At any given time you’ll know what is the most important next step. And you’ll be free to do it. If you feel lost, you can simply ask for help.
5. Solid progress
An accountability coach will require feedback on your progress on a regular basis. This might seem like an annoyance, but it’s a very important part of the process.
He’s actually monitoring your progress over time. When he sees that you’re spending too much time on a guest post, for instance, he’ll intervene.
He’ll get right in there, enquire about your reasons for struggling, help you work out a solution, and get you going again.
You’ll no longer be allowed to procrastinate!
6. Encouragement, inspiration and motivation
So, when is the last time you lay awake late at night, worried about the results of your efforts? Or about your dire financial situation?
Have you ever wished you could lean on someone in such times? Ever wish you had someone to seek encouragement from?
An accountability coach is available for times just like these. When you’re running low on motivation, inspiration or enthusiasm, your accountability coach is right there to give you the boost you need.
7. Awareness of your true responsibility
Some people might be fooled into thinking that an accountability coach takes the responsibility for performance and results out of their hands.
When you work with someone who pushes you to achieve your goals fast, an awareness starts growing in you that you, and you alone, are responsible for the results of your business.
Someone wise and knowledgeable with experience you don’t yet have can help you, advise you and assist you to some extent. But the onus to reach your goals and make your dreams a reality is yours and yours alone.
Realizing this is very helpful for your progress. You sort of tend to shut up and get on with the important work.
8. A constant fresh perspective
Life and all the opportunities it offers you can become very one-dimensional if you have a limited point of view.
Having someone else look at and comment on your ideas and work is very helpful.
This has two important consequences.
You get validation when you need it. “Great Idea.” “Good work.”
But you also receive the necessary course correction when needed. “I don’t think this is such a great idea.” “Have you considered rather trying … ?”
Such feedback gives your overall, long-term progress an immense momentum boost.
9. An increase in creativity
Some people find that daily exercise and meditation or some other form of attentional training is all they need to maximize their creativity.
I found that talking to a knowledgeable person on a regular basis (even if the communication is written) is very helpful. You “hear” yourself think.
And when your thoughts come from that mysterious still, deep place inside you that’s so distinctly different from your chattering monkey-mind, your thoughts tend to be amazingly creative.
By offering you an opportunity to “hear” yourself think, an accountability coach not only makes you more productive, but also more creative.
10. Fewer limiting beliefs
When you work alone, negative thoughts can easily bully you into procrastination. If the inner critic’s voice is the only voice you hear, you’re more likely to start believing it.
However, when someone with authority — like a business coach — speaks to you and validates your ideas and efforts, the inner critic’s attempts to discourage you become futile.
You’ll have confidence and won’t allow limiting beliefs to steal your results.
11. You are constantly challenged to go beyond where you’ve gone before
Is there something that leading online entrepreneurs offer their customers that you haven’t gotten around to yet?
Do you have a helpful incentive in place to increase your subscriber numbers? Do you offer an email autoresponder course to bond with your newly subscribed readers? Are you interviewing the experts in your field? Have you written a solid sales page for your products and services?
If not, these things might be eluding you for a reason. The thought of doing these, especially if it will be the first time, might just be so frightening and overwhelming that you procrastinate.
An accountability coach will help you work through this, and force you to get it done! He will push you beyond where you can push yourself.
And going beyond where you’ve gone before is excellent for your business and your bank balance.
12. Rapid business growth
The result of all the above points and the added pressure to perform is rapid business growth.
And who doesn’t want that?
Every entrepreneur wants to have more than enough clients and customers. And a coach who is worth his salt would be willing to make this a measure for coaching success.
Who should use an accountability coach?
An accountability coach is especially beneficial to someone whose work elicits inner self-sabotage.
Experts like Steven Pressfield and Seth Godin tell us we get the full negative attention of the Resistance — the force of self-sabotage — when we try to achieve something truly worthwhile… something from our “higher nature.”
You will experience ample benefit from using an accountability coach if:
- You’re an entrepreneur trying to help people, innovate and solve problems, or create a better future.
- You’re some kind of an artist. Writers, bloggers, cartoonists, designers, programmers and other creative types get special attention from the Resistance.
- You’re trying to make the world a better place for yourself and others in some way.
The main job of a coach charged with keeping you accountable is to help you get through the rough patches.
You know that place where you’ve sabotaged yourself in the past and given up your project? That tough spot right before the breakthrough that you really didn’t enjoy? That’s where you need an accountability coach to step in and help you power through the dip.
That’s where Resistance lies in wait, to try and sabotage you once again.
How to be held accountable (even if you can’t afford a coach)
Your first and safest option is to hire a full-time online business coach. This person will be there for you every step of the way. Daily contact will get you the results you need, fast.
But, that’s not always possible. Having that kind of access to a professional comes at a premium.
Time equals money.
So, if you can’t afford a full-time coach to keep you accountable and work with you every step of the way, here are a couple of creative alternatives.
1. Ask a friend to keep you accountable
Surely you have a friend who does what you do, or at least understands what you do? If not, explain it to someone, give her this post to read, and ask her to try and offer you some of the benefits explained here.
2. Create your own little accountability group
If you know a couple of other people who are in a similar boat to yours, create a little support group, or hive, and meet regularly to discuss challenges and progress. This type of gathering will offer you many of the benefits explained above.
3. Join the Accountability Tribe
Yes, I started the Accountability Tribe, so I’m recommending that you support one of my products. Like my good friend and mentor Jon Morrow would say, “Let the sneakiness begin…!”
The thing is, the Accountability Tribe offers you all the benefits stated above, and monthly membership comes at a fraction of the price of a full-time online business coach.
It really is worthwhile for those who can’t afford a personal coach.
Monthly membership to the Accountability Tribe is $97 per month.
Click on the image below to join the Accountability Tribe.
Okay. Thanks for reading this far. Class dismissed… Now go tell your buddies that you’ve discovered the most-uncomfortably-long-blog-post-title for 2011…