33 support systems online business owners need to stay sane

By Brittany Taylor

Work + Life

33 support systems online business owners need to stay sane

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.

Even the most introverted among us readily admits we’re herd animals. Even the socially anxious crave contact. Even the shy set aside their fears to sidle up others.

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.

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?

33 types of support systems online business owners need

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.

Read on for the full list.

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!

#1. A sounding board

Someone who will listen to your crazy ideas without calling you nuts, and also give you honest feedback.

#2. A second string

For when life hands you wayyy more than you can handle, and you need help to clear the client work off your docket.

#3. A brainstorm buddy

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.

#4. An eidetic memory

Or a notebook. Your choice. For my favorite tools, click here.

#5. A website saver

For when your site inevitably goes on vacay right before your next big idea launches.

#6. A second set of eyes

Someone who can proofread your copy to make sure you didn’t write “ass” instead of “ask.”

#7. A tastemaker

Someone with design skills and a style that jives with yours who can upgrade your look when you’re ready to stop DIYing.

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Still DIYing? Learn how to design a better blog post.

#8. A geek

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.

#9. A back up

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?

#10. A helper

An assistant who can lend a hand when you’re overwhelmed with to-do’s.

related

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.

#11. A guardian angel

A coach or mentor who can help you figure out your next move when you get stuck.

#12. A drinking buddy

Someone you can vent to about all the shit you have to do tomorrow, preferably over hot chocolate and cookies.

#13. A fixer

Someone who is great at coming up with exactly the right thing to say and do to handle a tricky situation.

#14. A visionary

For when you’re getting too comfortable in your work and you need help thinking big.

related

Why you have trouble being your own visionary.

#15. A photographer

For when you decide you can do better than selfies.

#16. A networker

Someone who always knows the right person for whatever need you have.

#17. A teacher

Someone you feel comfortable learning from so that you can keep growing.

#18. A partier

For when you have something to celebrate

#19. A cheerleader

Someone who believes you are a success, no matter what.

#20. A plus-one

For when you can’t stomach the thought of going solo.

#21. A nurse

Someone who will take care of you when you’re too busy to take care of yourself.

#22. A hype person

Someone you can count on to talk up your next big thing.

#23. A bodyguard

Someone who will stand up for you when you’re under attack.

#24. A confessor

For when you can’t keep that secret any longer.

#25. A pop-culture junkie

Someone to keep you current on the world while you’re buried under your to-do list.

#26. An accountant

For when taxes become more complicated than a non-CPA can handle.

#27. A lawyer

For when theoretical problems become real-world problems, and you need someone with a letterhead and a JD to handle it.

#28. An autoresponder

For when you need to focus/can’t answer one more email right now/are one vacation.

#29. A good data plan

For when you’re running your business from your phone and the WiFi sucks.

#30. A chill pill

Someone who can calm you down no matter what mood you’re in.

#31. A personal shopper

For when you need to send a client a quick “you rock!”  gift on the fly.

#32. A printer

For when you forgot to order business cards ‘til the week before the conference.

#33. A mantra

For when you need motivation to finish the job

What you should do now

Thirty-three is a daunting number, I know. But I don’t want you to feel intimidated.

Instead, try to look at this big, long list of support systems as an opportunity:
  • An opportunity to recognize what other people do for you.
  • An opportunity to cast your dream team of support system all-stars.
  • An opportunity to see how your current systems are serving you.
  • An opportunity to figure out what your weaknesses are before you’re tested.
This list is also a chance for you to see how you’re doing as a member of the online boss community:
  • A chance to realize how you support your friends and colleagues.
  • A chance to dream big about the types of company you’d like to keep and the dream teams you’d love to join in the future.
  • A chance to see what types of relationships and roles you excel in, and to figure out where you want to improve as a support system for others.
Trust me, you’re surrounded by more support systems than you realize, and you support more people than you know.

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.

Looking to build your support team? You don’t have to recruit right away.

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.

Some picks might come to mind immediately.

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.

And remember: Nobody owes you their support.

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.

About me

Brittany Taylor

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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