Work + Life
and why it's essential to find people you can count on ASAP
by Brittany Taylor
published June 21, 2018
¶ Humans are a resilient species.
We can take a lot of weight on our shoulders before we begin to sag under the burden. In fact, we hardly ever realize how much we’re carrying around with us until someone or something comes along to help.
Humans are a social species.
It’s not just conversation we need. It’s not just a road warrior we need to drive with us up the coast. It’s not just a bar buddy we need to clink glasses with during happy hour.
We need more than casual friendship. We need more than “I see you” nods on the street. We need more than someone to share a community table with.
We need support, and we don’t understand how essential it is until we have it and we realize what we’ve been missing.
It’s a truth that comes with age, sweat, and a zipper gouge in your index finger. It’s a truth I wish I’d discovered before today, before I wrestled overstuffed couch cushions into very small slip covers in my parents’ living room. But as I plopped my triumphant behind down onto those cushions, I couldn’t ignore it: The support felt damn good.
I wriggled around, and I wondered: Why had I gone without this goodness for so long? The more I wondered, the more I wriggled.
As I sat there, thinking far longer about cushions than a human ever should, a question much more important occurred to me: If these couch cushions were this satisfying, what other kinds of support was I missing out on?
There on those glorious cushions, I began taking stock. What kinds of support did I already have in my work and my life? What kinds of support did I need to put in place ASAP?
This is the big list of support systems every online business owner should be looking for. They’ll keep you sane. They’ll keep you happy. And I’m pretty sure they’ll save your ass.
And hey, don’t get freaked out about the big-ness of it all. Chances are good you have a bunch of these support systems in place already, whether you’re aware of them or not. Phew!
Someone who will listen to your crazy ideas without calling you nuts, and also give you honest feedback.
For when life hands you wayyy more than you can handle, and you need help to clear the client work off your docket.
Someone who can help you suss out the missing puzzle piece in your next big idea. Or, you know, guess which word is on the tip of your tongue. Grab a great brainstorming strategy here.
Or a notebook. Your choice. For my favorite tools, click here.
For when your site inevitably goes on vacay right before your next big idea launches.
Someone who can proofread your copy to make sure you didn’t write “ass” instead of “ask.”
Someone with design skills and a style that jives with yours who can upgrade your look when you’re ready to stop DIYing.
Still DIYing? Learn how to design a better blog post.
For when you need to know exactly how sign-up forms, opt-in downloads, and email automations work together to make techie magic. And also: money.
Of everything: your website, your photos, your documents, your emails, your contacts, your passwords—everything. And back them up in more than one place, OK?
An assistant who can lend a hand when you’re overwhelmed with to-do’s.
Psst. If you're looking for the best way to keep your "to-do's" straight from your "to-dos," I have a tool that will help you out.
A coach or mentor who can help you figure out your next move when you get stuck.
Someone you can vent to about all the shit you have to do tomorrow, preferably over hot chocolate and cookies.
Someone who is great at coming up with exactly the right thing to say and do to handle a tricky situation.
For when you’re getting too comfortable in your work and you need help thinking big.
Why you have trouble being your own visionary.
For when you decide you can do better than selfies.
Someone who always knows the right person for whatever need you have.
Someone you feel comfortable learning from so that you can keep growing.
For when you have something to celebrate
Someone who believes you are a success, no matter what.
For when you can’t stomach the thought of going solo.
Someone who will take care of you when you’re too busy to take care of yourself.
Someone you can count on to talk up your next big thing.
Someone who will stand up for you when you’re under attack.
For when you can’t keep that secret any longer.
Someone to keep you current on the world while you’re buried under your to-do list.
For when taxes become more complicated than a non-CPA can handle.
For when theoretical problems become real-world problems, and you need someone with a letterhead and a JD to handle it.
For when you need to focus/can’t answer one more email right now/are one vacation.
For when you’re running your business from your phone and the WiFi sucks.
Someone who can calm you down no matter what mood you’re in.
For when you need to send a client a quick “you rock!” gift on the fly.
For when you forgot to order business cards ‘til the week before the conference.
For when you need motivation to finish the job
Thirty-three is a daunting number, I know. But I don’t want you to feel intimidated.
You are a key part of the online boss ecosystem. We need you, and you need us. If you aim to give more support than you get, you’ll always find any one of these 33 players eager to stand by your side.
Start by sorting out the systems—the people, the communities, and the tools—that are filling some of these positions in your life and work already.
Remember, one person, place, or thing can tick off many boxes.
For others you’re drawing a blank on, it might help to ask other bosses and friends for referrals.
Otherwise, keep an eye out. Look for individuals who have an energy or a point of view that makes you sit up and take notice. Follow their work. Slowly build a relationship. When the time comes that you need their support, call on them as a client or as a friend, depending on the situation.
To get, you must give. And when you give, do it without expecting in return. Unless you’re a paying customer, support is best when it’s given freely, not out of a sense of obligation. Give the best from your heart and soul, and you’ll find that others will do the same for you, too.
My name is Brittany, but my friends and clients call me "Britt." Online small business owners hire me to create content strategies and write their blog posts, email newsletters, and social media updates. I work with bosses around the world from the marshes of Charleston, S.C.
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