The following guest post is written by Emily D. Tisdale. She is the Founder and CEO of LEAP for Women. Learn more about LEAP at the bottom of this post or on their website.
Like most business owners, I’m proud to be independent… but let’s be real: I couldn’t keep doing this without a support system of people who make it possible for me to do the work I love.
They’re the folks whom many business owners can’t live without — and unfortunately, it can be all too easy for us to overlook them during the (occasional) craziness of running our businesses.
Here are some of the people that we can’t live without… and how to keep them in our corner.
A Supportive Family
I’m not the first to admit that entrepreneurs are tough to be with. The bull-headed persistence that helps us succeed despite tough odds can also be the same thing that make it difficult to live with us.
I’m lucky: my husband gets what it means to be married to an entrepreneur. We’ve got two kiddos at home, and while they’re both too young to really understand what I do for a living, they know that my schedule can sometimes be a little bit crazy.
How to Keep Them in Your Corner: Schedule time to disconnect completely from your work — and stick to it. For a long time, my husband and kids got used to me working late nights and being perpetually “on the clock” for my business. (Yikes!) For me, the best way to ensure quality time with my family was to put a hard stop in my schedule where I absolutely had to quit working. I know it sounds simple, but I was surprised how often my “five more minutes, guys!” would turn into another hour of work.
Babysitters You Can Count On
Several years ago, I was still working full-time at my corporate job while trying to launch my business and wrap my head around the whole being-a-new-mom thing. Needless to say, my schedule was pretty crazy.
Out of everything that was on my plate in a day, my budding consulting business could have been the most expendable item… Except that I had my very supportive parents nearby, and they were always ready to watch the baby.
Whether they’re family, close friends, or paid care providers, having child care that you can trust is absolutely essential for your business and your sanity if you’re a business owner who just happens to be a parent, too.
How to Keep Them In Your Corner: Saying “thank you” every day can do wonders to ensure that your caregivers know how much you appreciate them. But don’t stop there — little gifts at random times can do wonders to brighten someone’s day. And you don’t need to break the bank, either. For example, if you’re heading home from a meeting, why not stop by a coffee shop to grab your babysitter’s favorite latte?
When you’re in the market for an attorney, an accountant, or any external professional expertise, it’s important to find someone who gets you.
Unfortunately, that’s not always easy. Finding an attorney who really understood my goals and appreciated my passion for entrepreneurship took some time. Same for my kick-butt accountant. But now I’m happy to say that I’m confident I can stick with them both for the long haul.
There are a lot of things that you can DIY as an entrepreneur, especially in the beginning. And while I’m all for keeping overhead low, I can’t overstate how incredibly helpful it’s been to know experts who understand what it takes to keep a small business ticking.
How to Keep Them in Your Corner: First things first… Make sure that you’ve found a professional ally that you can trust and that understands your goals. My accountant and attorney are both intelligent, driven ladies — no wonder they understand what LEAP for Women is all about! Once you’ve established your working relationship, make sure to keep the lines of communication open. Be candid about any questions you have, even the “stupid” ones. Remember, they’re here to offer their expertise.
Before we go, awesome entrepreneurial communities definitely deserve a special mention. Whether they meet online like LEAP for Women or offline like Launch Fishers, it’s vital for entrepreneurs to get personalized support. Membership to entrepreneurial communities can be an amazing investment in your business and your sanity.
We all know that running a business means doing a lot of stuff on our own — from finances to marketing to networking, you’re probably used to wearing plenty of hats. Even so, let’s not forget to give props to our awesome support teams.
The more we lean on them, the more important it is to show them exactly what they mean to us.
WOMEN + BUSINESS OWNERSHIP
…in real life. LEAP for Women is dedicated to supporting women business owners at every stage of the game. Support, connection, and networking at a national level starts right here.
We want your wildest, pie-in-the-sky, entrepreneurial dreams to come true!
We’re proud to offer friends of Launch Fishers a 15% discount on their first year of LEAP membership. (Use code LAUNCH15 at checkout.)