Even if your business is a one-woman show, that doesn’t mean you can do it all on your own.
Like most solopreneurs, 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 women 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 and limited hours can also be the same things 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 adorable 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.
For a long time, my husband and kids got used to me working late nights and being perpetually “on the clock” for my business. Even on my supposed days off, I sometimes had my nose buried in work. Yikes!
How to Keep Them in Your Corner: For me, the best way to ensure real, 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. Schedule time to disconnect completely from your work — and stick to it.
Babysitters You Can Count On
A few 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 incredibly supportive parents nearby, and they were always ready to watch the baby.
Whether I needed a half-hour to finish up client work, or so my husband could sneak away for a “date” at the grocery store, my parents always had my back.
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 mom, 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 will always 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?
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 as low as possible, I can’t overstate how incredibly helpful it has been to have found an accountant and a lawyer who understand what it takes to keep a small business ticking.
When you’re in the market for an attorney, an accountant, or any external professional expertise, it’s important to find an someone that gets you. In my case, I spoke with several attorneys, and while they were all highly qualified, I went with the attorney who best understood my goals and appreciated my passion for entrepreneurship.
As for my accountant, I was fortunate to find someone with a strong background in business finance, but was also an entrepreneur herself. That way, I knew she would understand where I was coming from, and that I could stick with her for the long haul!
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. Discuss any big financial or legal decisions with them. Be candid about any questions you have, even the “stupid” ones. Remember, they’re here to offer their expertise!
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 our tag teams exactly what they mean to us.
What about you? Is there anyone in your entrepreneurial corner that could use a quick shout-out?
About Emily D. Tisdale, Founder & CEO
Meet the brains — and heart — behind LEAP for Women. Emily is LEAP’s guiding force, committed to supporting women entrepreneurs at every stage in their journey.
She loves LEAP because:
A resident of Indiana, Emily prides herself on being a transplanted Hoosier and enjoys watching Colts football and spending time with her husband and their two children.