For many, many years, I ran a solo business. More than eight years to be precise, and in hindsight, while it was a success, I was stubbornly standing in my own damn way more often than not.
Why? For me, I think as a solo show, I didn’t realize that I should be asking for help. Or that there was help even available to me. (This may be because I started as a freelancer and consultant before social media was a thing…and online communities were the norm.)
Over the past couple years, I’ve learned how to get out of my way and more importantly that I don’t have all the answers. Most of all, that I need to check my ego and know that it’s okay to rely on other people.
Even when you’re a solo show – it doesn’t mean you have to go it alone. In fact, you shouldn’t! Here are 5 times you need to ask for help in your business with no apologies or regrets:
#1. Creating New Offers or Services
If there’s one place in your business that shouldn’t be done in isolation, it’s when you’re creating offers or services.
What you may decide is the best thing ever, needs to be tested, poked, prodded and proved out many times over.
I see far too many solopreneurs create a package they “think” people want without doing their homework and then not understanding why it’s not selling.
The package or anything you’re selling for that matter shouldn’t be about you, but about the clients or customers you’ll be serving. Which is why you can’t create it in isolation and absolutely need help to validate the concept.
Typically, I like to sketch out what I’m thinking and then get input from a neutral third party such as a coach or consultant to work on the structure and details. With the basics covered, then I start talking to the people who the package is designed for – the actual end customers.
This could be in the form of Skype interviews and/or a survey, or even running them through a beta version, but you absolutely need feedback before you launch the full service into the world. (There are exceptions to this, but 90% of the time, particularly if this is brand spanking new, you need input!)
It will save you from spending far too much time/energy on something that people don’t even want or thinking you have the BEST thing ever when you need to go back to refine the master plan.
#2. Pricing Your Services
Most of us struggle to price our services and when it comes time to name our price, we waffle. We overthink it. We apologize. We undercut ourselves and leave money on the table.
There’s no magical pricing table we can refer to, so what’s factual becomes highly emotional as all our imposter complex and money mindset issues come into play.
You should NEVER price anything (especially the first time) without asking for some help. This may seem nuts, but I’ll tell you this – the reason I grew my 2015 revenue by 2.5x was in large part by learning to own my pricing.
When preparing proposals and quotes, I’d often go to one of my friends who works in a similar business and run it by her. Her response more often than not was “too low” and I’d increase it to what she told me. And the majority of the time, those projects would close at the higher price.
Her outside perspective gave me the chutzpah to charge what the project was really worth and not just what my emotions or gut were saying.
So, where do you get pricing help if you don’t have a smart business friend to call on? A really great coach can help with this, or even a mentor/consultant who works in your industry and really knows how things work. (What you totally want to avoid here is a cookie cutter charge X template price.)
#3. Thinking of Making a Big Change
If you’re a creative type or an innovator, listen up. You know that genius idea you woke up with and are SO ready to roll out into the world?
(I know this one well, as I’m blessed with an endless stream of ideas that are begging to see the light of day.)
Not every idea needs to be acted upon right now.
The bigger the idea, the bolder the change – you need at least one person to provide you with some sober second thought. Maybe a whole group of them, and this shouldn’t be your partner or your BFF, you need someone who “gets” your business.
This could be a coach, consultant, mastermind group, accountability partner or any other business supporter. Their job is to save you from yourself and act as the voice of reason. With their input, then you can make reasonable decisions and not get caught up in every awesome new idea that comes to mind.
#4. When You’re Ready to Work at Jamba Juice
Even with being my own boss for more than a decade, I still suffer occasionally from what I call the “getting a job fantasy”. For me, that job generally involves Jamba Juice, and for you it may be a 9-5 or simply going back to your “safe” career.
This is 100% normal. People who don’t occasionally think about getting a J-O-B, concern me more than ones who do because this type of thinking highlights that you have a choice. And that this choice is SO worth making.
There’s going to be days that suck. But think of how many more days would suck doing something else. There’s a reason you’re doing this, and if you’ve lost sight of this, you need to ask for help and talk it out with someone you trust.
This fantasy tends to show up when we feel out of control, so learning to identify what’s really going on will go a long way to helping you ensure you don’t give up on what you’ve been working so hard on. This is also why you need help – a little ego stroking and reminder of your why will help you get fired up and back on track.
#5. When Things Go Seriously Off the Rails
As a solopreneur, there’s an endless string of things that can go wrong from not getting paid, to a surprise tax bill to a client seriously going around the bend. And that’s just the business part of things not even taking into account the realities of “life” coming into play.
There’s not a single solopreneur or business owner I know that hasn’t faced some big challenges. No matter what form they take, the worst thing you can do is shut down and insulate yourself. This is EXACTLY when you need help the most.
This is one reason I’ve loved being in mastermind groups over the years as they’re my first line for when things go sideways. They can provide a perspective that in that given moment I just can’t even see, and help me come out the other side. Maybe you’re not part of a mastermind, but you can reach out to communities you’re part of, your coach, a consultant or a biz BFF to help you through.
When you’re running a solo business, there’s always the risk of thinking solo means doing it on your own. Take it from me, that’s only going to limit your growth and hold you back.
Asking for help is smart and will help you succeed in ways you may not even realize are possible. It just takes some courage to get out of your own way.