If you’re one of the many solopreneurs who work from home on a daily basis, then you know first hand that it can get lonely and it’s quite easy to get distracted with housework or errands.
Pairing up with an accountability partner can help keep you focused on your short term goals and gives you somebody to check in with, to discuss your productivity for the day or the week.
What Is An Accountability Partner?
Having an accountability partner has been really helpful for me because she acts as my butt-kicker but also my cheerleader. If I don’t feel like working one day, she’ll remind me that I have a daily plan for how many hours I want to work. She’ll also remind me that I have enough learning products sitting on my computer so I better not dare buy another product!
In return, she’ll ask my opinions about her to-do list or ideas for an autoresponder series and every Monday I’ll receive her weekly goals in my inbox. Sometimes we don’t need to give input to each other because it’s just enough to let someone outside of our secluded worlds know what we have in store for the week so the following Monday we can both say, “So, how’d you do this week?”
This partnership has worked so well for the last couple of years (or maybe 18 months? Honestly, I can’t remember when we started this!) that I wanted to give her a shout out here and fill you in on how you can find your own accountability partner to increase your productivity.
Meet Val Selby of Selby Media
I met Val maybe 4-5 years ago in the Solo Masterminds private mastermind group. We had always been friendly but something just clicked one day as we exchanged messages and the idea of being accountability partners was born.
It seems like a natural fit for us now but at the beginning we were both a little hesitant and I remember Val a few times asking me if I *really* wanted her to be honest because she’s a no-holds-barred-tells-you-like-it-is type of person.
Personally, I don’t know how an accountability partnership works if you’re afraid to be honest or afraid of hurting someone’s feelings so if you’re interested in finding a partner like this, really know ahead of time how much criticism you can take without getting upset.
So I wanted to lighten things up a little by having a cross-blog conversation with Val about how we got started online and about life in general. If you have any questions for us along the way, feel free to add them to the comment section below.
This is the first installment here and then I’ll answer some questions over on Val’s website and we’ll switch back and forth.
Between the two of us hopefully you’ll learn something new that you can implement in your own business (or just have fun conversing with us!)
Cross Blog Conversation with Val Selby
ME: How long have you been working online?
VAL: Well, working online, that’s not an easy answer. I got online towards the end of ’99 and got in with some incredible women that are still online making mucho bucks. It was part of a mommy business board. I learned a ton of info but didn’t apply everything. I think it was just too overwhelming.
I built my first site in Frontpage sometime around 2000-2001. I was with a company that sold candles but they didn’t have an online presence. So I built a site with cart and all. It was so much work to keep up all those HTML pages and so much more work to create more HTML pages!
From then until now I’ve done quite a few different things including a stint as a VA that I was glad to end. I was not cut out for that even though the money was quite good.
ME: Describe your online business.
VAL: My main biz now that was the first to make me regular money is Once a Week Cooking. I bought it in June or July of 2009. When I took it over there were just a few articles and a couple of weeks meal plans. This is a 6 month, 24 week meal plan subscription. The meal plans are built around cooking everything up in a few hours, one day a week and then reheating later.
I also have my coaching and business site. Ecourses, reports (coming soon) and business coaching.
ME: We’ve been accountability partners for a couple of years now. What’s been the biggest benefit to you?
VAL: Biggest benefit? Can’t I just list every single thing it’s done for me along the way and how our accountability partnership morphed as we needed it? No, that would be 5 or 10 posts on it’s own. lol
Ok, biggest benefit has to be having you as a non-judgmental eye to look things over. Also to reign me in when I’m overloading my to do list. I have such a bad habit of doing that. Isn’t that horrible since I’m the first one to tell others their list is too stacked to accomplish? We all need coaches lol
ME: What kind of work did you do prior to working online?
VAL: Mostly food industry, which I absolutely loved. I’m in the Seattle area and coffee is king here. I worked in espresso for over 13 years. I’ve just recently gotten a gig each year helping out at a pumpkin farm every October. I knew I missed the fast pace and the customers but I didn’t know how much until I did it last year.
My odd jobs as the kids were growing up were always customer service. I rock at it and I’m not afraid to say so. It helps a lot with owning my own business.
When I went back to school I got my degree in fitness training. Having the customer service experience and using all of the information I truly always knew because I had amazing coaches growing up… it solidified everything I’d been taught growing up and was easy for me for quite a few reasons.
This fitness degree, is now coming in handy for business coaching. It’s all about goal setting.
ME: What’s your biggest challenge with working from home?
VAL: Definitely focus. My husband has a non-traditional work schedule since he’s a firefighter. When he’s on his 4 days it’s way too easy to run off and play during the day.
ME: What are your tips for staying motivated and focused when a home office can have so many distractions?
VAL: LMBO as you can see I did not read the questions ahead. I’ve been really working on this and pulling the family into it more.
In one of our discussions last year hubby said it’s difficult for him to think of me working when I’m on my computer. For one thing I’m on it too much and I’ve battled to work on that. But the thing he said was there wasn’t anything tangible he can see. It’s not like I have an office he can visit or a cafe he can stop in and say hi when I’m working. So it doesn’t “feel” like work to him. It was one of those really good conversations
I’ve been working on telling him when I make new sales. Letting him know when I have a big goal and how I’m doing on that goal. I’ve also been working on saying no when he asks if I want to go do errands with him.
My kids are both in high school so I don’t have that distraction issue with them anymore. If anything that’s a bigger incentive to work from home than when they were younger. I can attend everything at any time.