I have received comments over the years from family and friends who say to me that I’m independent to a fault. Is there such a thing as being too independent?
After a 20 year career in corporate America, I left about six years ago to start my coaching business and I’ve never looked back. Sure, there have been challenges; plenty of challenges. I would be dishonest if I said running my own business is a piece of cake. It’s not. It can be stressful and even scary at times. Why? Because YOU are the business and though you can occasionally take time off (as difficult as that is for me personally), at the end of the day, it’s YOU who makes all the decisions and charts the course for the direction of your business.
In the beginning, I would stress over every decision. It seemed to me at the time that every decision was a monumental one. What should I name my company? What should my website look like and say? What is my niche? I have to say now I make my decisions quickly and they are often based on my intuition. Sometimes I make good decisions; some aren’t so great, but I’ve come to realize that this is all part of the evolutionary process of becoming an entrepreneur. I celebrate the fact that I have the ability to make these decisions and chart my own course; to make some mistakes and hopefully learn from them and move forward. That’s what is means to be independent after all.
That being said, I think it is possible to be independent to a fault as an entrepreneur. You can’t build and run a successful business in a vacuum. It’s important to surround yourself with a network of supporters and mentors that you can tap into for advice.
I read recently that every business owner should have an advisory board for their business; a group of like-minded business people who can act as a sounding board when you need it. This advisory board can be a formal group or an informal relationship with colleagues who have the experience and expertise to help guide you.
Who should be on your advisory board? For my coaching business, I look for advice and support in finance, marketing, technology and design and often use a coach myself to keep me on track and move my business forward.
So, it is Independence Day and I am celebrating my independence! Being an entrepreneur is an amazing experience to me. Because I am following my passion to help other professional women be successful, it never feels like work. I love it and every day is a celebration of my independence. That being said, I think as an entrepreneur, it is possible to be too independent and we need to seek out the advice and expertise of others to help us grow. In the end, this gives us the ability to maintain our independence and flourish.
Happy Independence Day!
I love the idea of an advisory board — a mutually beneficial arrangement where business owners bounce ideas. Now I just need to think of how to form one!
Bonnie Marcus says
Think about what type of advice would be most helpful to you at this point in your business and then think about who could best give you that advice…maybe it’s budgeting and forecasting, sales, marketing, online marketing etc.
I find that I usually connect with the people who can best advise me through former business colleagues and my own network. And, if you need advise in a certain area, ask your network contacts if they know anyone who might be willing to spend a little time mentoring you.
Hope this helps.
I love that someone is finally asking the question of being too independent and I love even more to hear that it is possible. Being over-independent to me means not knowing when or how to ask for help which we all need especially when you’re running a business. And maybe the ego plays a part in it too. How many of us feel comfortable sharing the control of our company when we’ve been doing it on our own for so long. I know I could use a lesson in independence reduction. Thanks for sharing this post!
Holly Magister says
Great advice Bonnie! If I may embellish on your recommendation that it is always helpful to have an advisory board…I think it is especially important for women entrepreneurs to find the most capable group of advisors to draw upon whether the members are male OR female. While I enthusiastically embrace the idea that women business owners should work with as many other women as possible, I believe that it is a good idea to not exclude men from their advisory board. Several years ago, I formed such a group. It is comprised of six men and me. We meet at 7:00 a.m. on the first Wednesday of each month. The waitstaff looked at me a little funny the first time we met. Now they have the coffee ready as we pull into the parking lot! This group has been very helpful to me–and each of them have grown from the the experience as well!