There's No Trophy For Building Your Business Without Help

I just realized that this business of mine is having a birthday this week.

It’s been one whole year.

And how is that even possible, when it must have been at least 5, given everything I’ve learned and everyone I’ve met since starting this business?

A Little Background

Despite beginning my consulting career long before Process Mentors was officially a “thing,” the creation of this brand was the mark of a huge shift in the way I worked. Most obviously, it marked my pivot from focusing on curriculum development to process improvement, but the more important shift was something only I knew about: I had finally decided to make this one a “real” business. No more half-assedly dabbling - it was time to fully invest in making this happen. I reallllly wish I’d have written more back then so I’d have more evidence of what was going on for me back then. But alas - the importance of writing was also part of my learnings.

The first three weeks of my business were spent doing the usual website-prepping and trying to figure out exactly what to call the services I offered. I knew I needed to get something up and live…even if it was “wrong,” because I was about to start Seth Godin’s altMBA in January and I wanted to get the absolute most out of the opportunity. I didn’t want to spend 4 weeks figuring out what to call it and what it was…I wanted to go in with a plan and then see what kind of response I got. it seemed more productive. And terrifying. (I won’t do an explanation of this program justice, so please do check out the link above.)

I was right about the terrifying part, but I could’ve never guessed how much the altMBA would’ve changed me and my business forever. I could write a whole other post just on that, but my point in bringing it up here is that it flung me, head-first, into other people.

I am a Puzzler

I love puzzles and problems. I love to figure hard things out quietly and on my own. It’s one of the things I love most about running my own business. And that was exactly how I had been running my curriculum consulting business prior to Process Mentors. But during altMBA, I was forced to share not just my “brilliant solutions” to the puzzles of my business, but all the messy stuff that happened behind the scenes.

And these brilliant people were telling me I really had something with this business. But also…

Some of it didn’t make sense.

And maybe I was hiding or avoiding something.

And sometimes I’d missed the point altogether.

No one in my life had ever pushed me so hard. They were in it with me; helping me tear my ideas apart and put them back together again. Or sometimes just holding space for me to tear them apart and put them back together on my own. This was no longer a puzzle for me to go away and solve on my own. I could ask for help. I could give valuable help to others. Lo and behold, it worked better than my old “solo” way. As in, a lot better.

And so I leaned way into those connections I made during those 4 weeks and into every connection since then. Nothing has ever been the same.

Please Stop Trying to Do it Alone

This post is dedicated to the freelancer or entrepreneur who’s trying to build their business alone. May you also find the joy and magic of inviting others into your problems.

Maybe you think you need to figure everything out on your own for it to “count.”

Maybe you feel like asking for feedback will make you look weak or incapable.

Maybe you don’t have anyone you trust.

Whatever’s holding you back from collaborating with others to grow your business, I’m begging you…throw out the excuses. Nothing (and I mean NOTHING) has been more valuable to my business than the authentic connections I’ve made with other people. No one can do this stuff alone…not really.

Start simply: Call someone from your past whose opinions you respect. Ask for 30 minutes to help you solve a specific problem or answer a specific question about your business. Find out if there are ways you can serve them too. See what happens. As long as your focus is to learn and to give back, you pretty much can’t go wrong.