There are so many ways to measure success in our creative businesses. Of course, money is one of them (and possibly the most commonly used.) But there are others that I believe are just as important — if not more important! Like your happiness and fulfillment in what you do, your contribution to the world, being able to travel and do other fun things you enjoy, the number of hours you work each week, being able to be at home with your children, and work when you want to, etc.
I think everyone should define success in their own terms & build a business that is centered on living that definition.
But no matter what your definition of success, there is one thing I think everyone can do that will get you to it faster, and that is: having an accountability partner that you meet with once a week, every single week.
Grow Your Creative Business with an Accountability Partner
I’ve been meeting with my accountability partner since early 2015 and I have to tell you, my business has grown exponentially while the actual hours I work has gone down (possibly by half?) It’s amazing!
I believe that’s because I set weekly goals (and now quarterly and yearly goals) that I’m more likely to accomplish because I know that on Monday at noon, I’m going to have my check-in where I’ll talk about all I got done (what we call our “wins”) and everything I didn’t do (what we call “misses” – we used to call them “fails” but I don’t believe in failure so we came up with a more accurate name.)
I can’t tell you the psychology behind this and/or why it works, but let me tell you, it does! There are so many changes I’ve made in my business because of it, from small things like going from just writing down arbitrary “to do’s” on sticky notes and in random notebooks, to having not one, but TWO planners – a weekly planner and a daily planner (that also has a “month at a glance” section). To having more far-reaching reasons for even being in business, and my short- and long-terms goals for it. (Among others!)
How To Set Up Your Own Accountability Meetings
First you will have to find an accountability partner. (Duh! 😉 ) This could be someone you already know who is also serious about growing their business. But it could also be someone you’ve just met (if you’re looking for a creative accountability partner, why not post about it in the Creating Beautifully Community on Facebook?!) Or it could also be a creative business coach. (I offer this service as part of my Creative Coaching for Introverts program that you can read more about here.)
The way Adri (an artist and creative entrepreneur who is also a long-time friend) and I meet is, almost without fail (vacations and emergencies excluded) every Monday at noon my time (2pm hers – that’s the great thing about meeting online – you can be anywhere in the world, as long as you can agree on a regular meeting time) for our weekly check-ins. We also meet at the end of each quarter for our quarterly check-ins, and at the end of each year for our yearly check-ins.
We do our check-ins over Google Hangouts because that is what works best for us, but you could meet in person, on the phone, via Skype, or whatever works best for you. The most important part is committing to the weekly check-ins, and, of course, doing the work you set out to do.
We start by going over the previous week: what goals we accomplished and what we missed. We talk about anything that may have tripped us up, or even some “extra” things we got done because we were particularly productive that week.
I also track things like: social media followers, newsletter subscribers, art and product sales, website and Etsy visitor numbers. I like to keep track of these things to see how and where I’m growing, and what may need more attention. (It’s also just really interesting to see the growth throughout the weeks, months and years!)
Once were done going over the previous week, we share the goals that we have for the week ahead.
For example, this is what our goals are for the week of 7.24.17:
- Write and send the Creating Beautifully email newsletter.
- Write, schedule and promote a Creating Beautifully blog post.
- Post to the Creating Beautifully Instagram daily.
- Finish the email course for Art Sales on Autopilot.
- Test Pop-up Ally
- Create the sign-up form/landing page and email sequence for X (a top-secret project right now!) 😉
Adri’s (shared with permission!):
(Adri “batches” her weeks, so this week is dedicated to her website. This is also a short week for her, as she is about to fly back to her hometown to meet her new nephew!)
- Go through different website pages and try to see if anything is majorly off.
- Add that I will be donating a portion of sales to the ACLU.
- Create more pinable images for my free art.
- Start working on adding images to my portfolio.
As you can see, some of these things are regular items I do every week (like my weekly newsletter and blog posts) but if I don’t include them, somehow they end up slipping through the cracks. And others are one-off items, like testing software or adding specific information to a website.
I think it works out so well for both of us, because we not only know what we need to do for the week, but we help and support each other along the way, too. So if I have a question about Etsy’s newest policy, or if Adri needs feedback on a new blog post we can simply reach out to each other. (Again, our preferred method is via Google Hangouts.)
But we also respect each other’s time. Adri still works a 9-5 (for now!) so I understand if she can’t respond immediately. And I use Amy Porterfield’s “tiger time” method where I block 1-3 hours of totally uninterrupted work time throughout the week – especially when I’m working on videos for my courses, but other times, too – where I turn of my phone and email, and stay completely focused on the tasks I need to get done. But generally speaking, we get back to each other as soon as we can.
Grow Your Creative Business with an Accountability Partner
It’s great to have so much support while you’re building your business. And although I mentioned finding your own accountability partner (either someone you already know, in a Facebook group, etc.) I know it’s easier said than done. Adri and I have known each other for years (we met in an art class in 2007) and she really is a unicorn!
It’s not always that easy to find someone who is as committed as you are (not only to grow their business but to actually show up each week for your check-ins.) Which is why I also recommend a creative and/or business coach. Though you will have to pay for a coach, you’ll at least know you can count on their support and availability to you.
Based on my own definition of success, I would say that there is nothing more powerful and impactful in my own business than having an accountability partner I meet with each week. I’ve grown so much as a person and my business is thriving and growing because of it! I’m curious, how will you grow your creative business with an accountability partner?
I recently launched “Creative Coaching for Introverts” – a 30 day DIY coaching program that will also have an option to upgrade and have ME as your weekly accountability partner. If Creative Coaching for Introverts sounds like something you’d be interested in (with or without the accountability aspect) get more info here!
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