As entrepreneurs asking for help can be one of the hardest things to do. We’re go-getters who organize and operate businesses in many cases from the ground up. These are our babies, and because we often start out alone or at best under staffed, we have to wear a lot of hats. We learn to be self-reliant, which as entrepreneurs can often stymie us from achieving greater success.
Such was the case for me about six months ago when I realized I had reached my limit. My business was doing well, but I had a vision for how it could be even better. The challenge was I didn’t have the capacity for the climb. To expand would require learning a whole new skill set, parts of which I had no time or real interest to acquire.
I was at an impasse, where asking for help was my only option.
In the past this is where I’ve stalled out with my new ideas. You see, those of us running our own small business generally like to be in control. We’d rather wait until we have “more time” versus trusting someone else to help us get more done. Experience has taught us that paid or unpaid “help” can sometimes be more trouble than it’s worth…
“I hired someone, but it took me more time to get things done with them than without.”
“I hired an intern to help me but they threw stuff together. No attention to detail at all!”
“I spent a lot of money on a web developer but they under delivered big time.”
Sound familiar? I admit I’ve said all of these a time or two. But as I write them now I chuckle. Why did I let a few bad experiences keep me from pursuing better?
Hmm…perhaps it’s because I was already getting by. You see it’s easier to be self-reliant and successful than allow others to be a part of our vision and work toward greatness. Our success can become our sabotage, if we let it lull us into settling for what is instead of pursuing what could be.Our success can become our sabotage, if we let it lull us into settling for what is instead of pursuing what could be. Click To Tweet
There is a quote by Marianne Williamson that speaks supremely to this issue…
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. We are born to manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
As entrepreneurs this is our leadership calling, to bring visions and dreams into reality. It’s not just our own to which we are assigned, but also to serve as catalysts, inspiring others to achieve their highest ambitions. This is why asking for help is so important, because when we allow other people to play a role in our success, both parties grow.
The question is how to do so without having negative experiences like those above? The truth is there will always be some uncertainty when bringing someone new into our business. However, there are a few things we can do to mitigate the risks and set our selves (and those helping us) up for greater success.
- Focus on what you want accomplished, not just activity. Lots of entrepreneurs tell me they want help with social media. I always ask, for what? Do you want to grow awareness of your brand, create a sales funnel, or spur experiential marketing? Most people respond all of the above, to which I say rank them. The strategies are different, so be sure to give the person you’re asking for help a clear picture of what is to be accomplished and by when.
- Identify the skills needed to achieve success. Are you looking for someone who knows strategy or can simply execute according to yours? In my case I am adding a technology component to my business. Because I know very little about the field, I had to find someone who could develop a plan (based on their experience) and execute. (This is also true for vendors, such as web developers. Some are great at execution, fewer at strategy and creative envisioning. Be sure to be clear about what you need.)
- Create an on-boarding strategy. It doesn’t matter if it’s an unpaid intern or a sales person when you bring someone into your business, they need a clear sense of your core values, vision and operating principles. This can happen over days or months, as long as it’s an intentional process embraced by everyone. Remember – we can’t expect anyone to hit a standard of excellence that we’ve never stopped to outline.
- Develop a continuous feedback loop. As with any relationship time spent giving and receiving feedback is a necessary part of building trust. I know none of us want more meetings, but voice to voice is optimal because often it’s what people aren’t saying that give us the greatest insight. If that’s not possible written check-ins will work too. Just make sure that whatever mechanism is used, you have a system in place where both parties can effectively communicate
- Get counsel from your entrepreneur circle. Once you’re clear about what you want accomplished and the skills needed to achieve it, I strongly recommend asking for referrals from other entrepreneurs. It won’t completely eliminate the risk of selecting the wrong candidate, but your odds of success go up exponentially when you work with a person that has been vetted by peers, or at the very least, has good online reviews.
Let’s embrace the challenge of pursuing dreams that are too big for us to achieve on our own. By asking for help in areas outside our strengths, we allow others to achieve their goals by supporting us. The Universe has a wonderful way of pairing up people who need each other to fulfill their dreams.
If you’re an entrepreneur that needs a great recommendation for services, drop us a line in the comments below. Somebody reading this post may know just the person to meet your needs.
Hugs and Love ❤
PS – I’ve recently taken up the challenge and partnered with my son to build an online learning academy. It’s been scary, exciting, nerve-wracking, and fun as we take my business to the next level. Stay tuned for updates from our grand adventure!