Why an Accountability Partner is the Secret Spice You Need

I’m sure you have probably read, or at least heard about, the book Sapiens.

One of the ideas that the author shares is how early cooperation abilities were one of the main elements that helped Homo Sapiens dominate their ecosystem and rise to the position we’re in today:

“Ants and bees can also work together in huge numbers, but they do so in a very rigid manner and only with close relatives. Wolves and chimpanzees cooperate far more flexibly than ants, but they can do so only with small numbers of other individuals that they know intimately.

Sapiens can cooperate in extremely flexible ways with countless numbers of strangers. That’s why Sapiens rule the world, whereas ants eat our leftovers and chimps are locked up in zoos and research laboratories.”

Yuval Noah Harari
why an accountability partner is secret to freelance success

Table of contents:

Humans have been working together since prehistoric times

One of the main driving forces behind human success and ingenuity is the simple idea of working together to achieve more.

When you are a freelancer or solopreneur, you can often feel a sense of loneliness, thinking that you have to carry all of the weight of your business by yourself.

Maybe you have a loose plan to hire someone or work with other freelancers at some unspecified time in the future to help ease the burden of your to-do list.

But if we take Harrari’s idea of working and cooperating together, what you really need is someone who can help you now. Someone who can help you work on the important things that actually matter and keep you on track to your goals. With this kind of cooperation you can fight distractions and avoid following shiny objects. You can use your time to do things that will move you closer to what you want rather than just filling time.

One of the best ways to achieve all of this, right now is to find yourself an accountability partner.

What is an accountability partner?

This doesn’t have to be too complicated. An accountability partner is simply somebody who you trust and respect, who you will share your business goals with.

By sharing these goals and ambitions with them, they will hold you accountable for actually taking action on them.

When you tell somebody you’re going to do something – even informally – you’re making a public commitment.

Failing to then do that thing doesn’t feel good. So the mind automatically pushes you to do it, so you don’t let yourself and the other person down.

Simply telling somebody else your plans can be game-changing for how likely you are to actually follow through.

Reasons why an accountability partner is a secret ingredient to success:

1. You will be forced to commit to high-impact actions

We all know that if you want to make something happen, you have to define it as a SMART goal and then start acting on it. 

However, too many people are focused solely on the first part, goal-setting, without committing to those goals and acting on them.

You can have the best plans in the world, but if you don’t follow through, they are completely worthless.

This is where adding a layer of accountability through your accountability buddy can really help.

When you share your goals with them, you are making a public commitment to your goals. It sounds simple, because it is.

Once you commit to someone that you will do something – assuming they actually care and will check in on you about your commitments – you will find yourself compelled to complete the goals you’ve committed to.

The numbers don’t lie, so let’s take a look at some stats. Research by the American Society of Training and Development has found that “people are 65 percent likely to meet a goal after committing to another person. Their chances of success increase to 95 percent when they build in ongoing meetings with their partners to check in on their progress.”

That’s right – a 95% success rate! Imagine the difference that would make to your freelance business.

2. You get a different perspective on the situation

It’s great to add your personality and uniqueness to your work and business. This can help you stand out from the crowd and attract clients.

You also need to be able to step back from your business, however. Working with an accountability buddy is fantastic for getting a more objective perspective that it’s possible on our own.

You know how easy it is to critique and advise how other people could improve? For some reason, looking at our own businesses in the same way is so much more challenging.

Getting an external perspective is huge for understanding where you could do better. You are the closest person to your business, and it can be very hard to sometimes observe the situations and opportunities with a cold head and objectively. It’s different for your accountability partner though.

They are in your corner and they want you to succeed, but they don’t have the personal involvement in your business like you do. So they can assess situations objectively, without any personal emotions involved. 

3. An accountability partner can ‘unveil blindspots’

An accountability partner can sometimes see the bigger picture of your business far better than you can, and point out the things you are missing out on or neglecting, that should be on your radar.

For example, a common trap freelancers fall into is focussing too much on marketing and building social media presence without having a bullet-proof service offering, website or portfolio that will actually convert those followers into clients.

A good accountability partner will help you see what is really important and what you should be prioritising.

Note: that don’t have to be a business coach or anything like that. Simply having a fresh pair of eyes can help to provide insights like these.

4. An accountability partner helps you keep your focus on your goals

You got an exciting idea and you can’t wait to turn it into reality. You broke it down into goals and enthusiastically started working on them…until you hit the first obstacle.

When working on big projects, the level of the initial excitement drops naturally each day. By the time you get close to ticking off the first goal, you’re probably sick of the project, and a new one feels much more exciting and rewarding.

So you begin the loop again.

We’ve all been there, and the temptation to chase shiny objects is hard to fight, especially when you have to rely solely on your self-discipline to keep your focus straight. However, if you have an accountability partner in your corner, one of their roles is to prevent you from drifting away from your goals and objectives.

Having regular weekly calls with your accountability partner, to check-in on your progress, will keep you focused on the goals and tasks that you should be really doing, and fighting the urge to chase shiny objects.

5. To push you outside your comfort zone

You might have heard that the best accountability partners are people you don’t know personally, and this is the reason why.

It’s completely up to you who you choose to form an accountability partnership with – it could be a friend, family member, freelance peer or an actual accountability coach. 

When you choose someone you know personally well, like your friends or family members, it can be hard to take the accountability from them seriously, however.

In addition, because of the personal ties, it can be easier to feel less social pressure to actually follow through. They may also be less likely to give you a kick up the booty when you need one.

But it’s a different game when you set the arrangement with someone you don’t know personally. 

Creating an accountability partnership with someone you don’t know personally can be a better plan.

As freelancers, we know the value of leaving a good impression on people. Our reputation is important, and nobody wants to look like they are unprofessional. So this adds to the positive pressure, which will make you do the things you have committed to. 

It can also help to pay for this service. It’s a weird quirk of human psychology that we value things that we pay for or invest in much more than those that we get for free.

So when you actually part with cash to pay for an accountability program, you value the entire arrangement much more from the start and take it seriously. Otherwise, it would be a waste of money, and nobody wants to waste their hard-earned money.

This all allows your accountability partner to push you outside your comfort zone when you need to, simply because you don’t want to let someone down, leave a bad impression or waste your hard-earned money without getting any results in return.

6. Building confidence

When you talk about your business on a weekly basis, share your goals, aspirations and the progress you are making on them, and celebrate your wins, your confidence starts to grow naturally. 

You feel good knowing that you are on the right track and doing the work that is actually helping your business grow, rather than keeping yourself busy with an endless to-do list of tasks that are not moving you forward.

Over an extended period of time that impacts other areas of your business too.

You feel more in control of your projects and client work, jump on to business calls without anxiety, and can switch insecurity for confidence when you talk about your services and position yourself firmly as an expert in your industry.

You’ll also be operating far more strategically than 95% of other freelancers, who tend to take each day as it comes.

7. Honest feedback and consistent improvement

An accountability partner is there to celebrate with you when you achieve your goals, but also to discuss what went wrong and how you can improve and adapt.

It’s not about making you feel bad, it’s about learning lessons from the previous week.

We put a lot of ourselves into our work, so hearing criticism, issues or problems with our performance can be really galling. But getting consistent, honest feedback from people we respect is the best way to move towards freelance growth.

Don’t forget – successful people seek good-intentioned feedback from people they respect. They consistently ask where they can improve, then use that feedback to change their actions.

8. You’ll have a cheerleader!

They say Monday sets the tone for the week.

When you start your week with a call with an accountability partner, to clarify your main three goals for the week, you know exactly what you are going to be focussing on. It builds momentum, motivation and determination to go forwards with clarity.

Having an accountability partner also gives you someone in your corner who is invested in your success. So they root for you to achieve your goals and celebrate your wins with you.

What makes an accountability partner good?

In general, when choosing your accountability partner, you want them to be someone you respect and take seriously. They need to be disciplined, trustworthy, patient, supportive, able to give constructive feedback and eager to challenge you.

But, whether an accountability partnership will work or not depends to some extent on the type of your and their personalities and the arrangement you make. The best way to know if an accountability buddy is good for you is to give it a try.

If you can find the right partner, it can work great. It can be tricky to casually arrange an accountability partnership with somebody though. Often they expect different things from you, are too busy to prioritise it, or don’t really understand the benefits.

So the relationship sizzles out.

If you decide to join an accountability program, you go through the introduction phase where your coach gets to know you a bit more so they can adapt their coaching and the partnership to your needs. Our accountability program gives you a free one-month trial, so you can take it for a test run and see if it works for you, completely risk-free.

If it’s not working, just cancel it, no harm done. We can offer that guarantee because it works unbelievably well for most people.

Red flags of an accountability partnership

But if you are choosing someone from your network to be your accountability buddy, here are some of the red flags that signal the partnership is not working:

  • They don’t show up on the weekly calls
  • You can’t communicate productively
  • They make you feel insecure
  • They compare you to them
  • Instead of keeping you focused on defined goals, they agree with everything you say

How do I find an accountability partner?

There are many accountability coaching programs available these days, where you can find options for both group accountability sessions as well as individual. They do come with a higher price tag, and can be a significant monthly investment. In addition, not many of them offer a long-enough free trial, so it can feel like you’re taking a gamble.

If you don’t want to invest in accountability programs, freelancing communities are a good place to start your search for a good accountability partner. 

If you are going to co-working, you can easily make a connection and ask other freelancers who go there as well if they are interested in making that type of arrangement.

There are also plenty of online communities on Facebook and LinkedIn, where freelancers tend to be very supportive and helpful to each other.

You can try our accountability program risk-free!

We have recently launched our own accountability program – Triple Your Output – that is specifically designed for freelancers and solopreneurs, who tend to have smaller budgets for this type of coaching.

You can give it a try with a free one-month trial, and see yourself whether our program is worth the investment or not!


Why We’re Launching Our Freelancers’ Accountability System
How to Cope with Feedback and Adopt a Growth Mindset as a Freelancer
Using Leverage to Impact More People With Less Effort As a Freelancer


Start your free trial and Triple You Output!

Our system has been extensively tested and it really works.

We’re so confident, your first 30 days are entirely free.

So you can see for yourself the amazing results of bringing real accountability into your business and your life totally risk-free. There’s no long-term commitment and it’s easy to cancel at any time.

We do have limited spaces and can accept only a limited number of freelancers, so don’t wait for too long and start your free trial today!


Until next time,

Maja

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Photo credit: Isaac Smith, “My Life Through A Lens”, Anika Huizinga, Markus Winkler, Benjamin Davies, Brett Jordan, Brooke Cagle

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