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No Solopreneur Is an Island

The past few weeks have found me greatly focused on VA's. (Virtual assistants for those not yet in the know.) When I decided to grow my freelancing into something more substantial, I knew from day one I could not and would not do this alone. I needed some kind of partner. Ramona, my puzzle business partner, had already set the bar pretty high, so I didn't expect it to be easy finding the right synergy with someone else. But find it I must; if I wanted to stay motivated, I needed someone not necessarily invested in my path, but still be on a similar path to walk this road with me. I just operate better that way.

My first thought was finding someone local who is also building a new business, but my life can be pretty solitary when I thought about it – going to work, running for and behind kids, home stuff, other family stuff. I’m not usually in a situation where I am actually interacting face-to-face with someone who isn’t a family member or co-worker. So who could I find? I already had to be intentional about doing anything outside of my routine, including staying in tune with friends. But again, even they aren’t necessarily building businesses or they are much further along than I am putting me back at square one.

So, I thought about masterminding, either with one person who did not need to be local or with a group. It was hard to decide, so I took both those tracks at the same time to see which would work out --

and they both did! So in addition to the CYDS leaders’ group I was already sharing some of this experience with but in a very focused way, I was able to find a great group via my Savor the Success circle (I’m going into a new 90-day cycle with 3 of them). I also sucked it up and asked a friend from Twitter who I connected with years ago and who I liked instantly. We’d emailed and talked over the years, and even though she was well into her business already and I was a little intimidated by her being on a higher level than I was, I decided to ask her anyway. She’d always been a down-to-earth straight-shooter. To my great pleasure, she said she had some things she was working on too and she’d be happy to see how it went. That was five months ago. As I recently told another friend who is just now finding out for herself, accountability partners – the right ones – are pure gold.

With these new partners, I now had the help I needed for myself. I had people to help me preserve. But my business needed help too. I knew from the puzzle experience that building a business requires other experts and coaches who can actually help you do what needs to be done. We had even had some brief time working with a VA who as phenomenal. So much so that I couldn’t keep up with her! And the money just wasn’t consistent enough to pay her like we needed, so I let her go hoping to revisit one day. Her business has grown since then and it’s more than I can take on right now, but at least I had something to aspire to. Good VA help is worth it. And yes, that means spending money, my friends. And if you balk at the thought when you think you can just Google what you need and do it yourself or ask your cousin’s best friend who designs on the side to hook you up just this one time (and maybe a second), then a change of mindset is in order. Of course I count the costs, but I have been more and more staying in the moment, setting my intentions and simply steering as I go instead of thinking too hard about the destination. Thomas Sterner, author of The Practicing Mind, would tell you to know the destination. Occasionally glance an eye on it to make sure you are on track, but then put your focus on what you are doing now, where you are in the moment so that you can eventually get where you want to go.

In this moment, I can do something, just not with my first VA. Previously, there had been talk about VA’s in my CYDS group. Possibly even sharing one. One woman there, Myisha Hill, has a service – a very good service – connecting you with people she has vetted for you. She found one for me and I interviewed her. She seemed worth the time to see how it would go so we started. She created a logo for me that I didn’t even expect; started a brand guide with great colors; created some memes; and did some research; but she became sporadic. Life was seriously getting in the way with illnesses she was dealing with and the like. Nice person, but I was on a mission. Back to Myisha I went. This time I went full on with her service and paid her to search (the first time was a favor). As she and I talked about what I needed, she even came up with a process I needed for something else on the spot. Yeah, she’s good and I liked the thought of her being the one to see if these people will pass muster. She vetted a few people for me, all Filipinos where a slew of VA’s can be found. I’ve interviewed two so far with one to go and now it’s just a matter of talking to the last person because candidate #2 blew me away when I totally didn’t expect her to.

Talking to my possible VA invigorated me. Having one of my Savor sisters point me to a VA service really put me over the top. This one is BizGenie and they are in the states. I took a look at what they do – not just research, writing and organization for you among other business things, they help with the life stuff too. They know we a crew of business-owning wives and mothers and women with other responsibilities. They offer that village that I darn well know it takes. They cost less per month than my VA did because this is a network of VA with a variety of expertise. Of course I’ll do the 3-day trial. the gamble isn’t that great and I have everything to gain.

So here I sit on the precipice of getting the consistent, reliable, quality help I need at a price I can live with right now. I am happy to try this because I had been thinking of getting two VA’s some time this year. Now I have the chance to have one be a backup for the other while I try them both out and if everything goes as I hope, I will have both of them to join my team for the long haul doing different things to complement each other and together help me reach my goals as efficiently and orderly and timely as possible. I know if the one doesn’t work out, I can always go back to the well. This is dating and it’s going to take some time and effort to find my match. I know that. And I’m excited to see what happens.

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