Cultivating Accountability While Self-Employed

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Cultivating Accountability While Self-Employed

Aug 10, 2021

Holding yourself entirely responsible for the direction of your life, taking ownership of your experiences, and staying accountable to your choices whether they’re wonderful or painful, can be scary. Still, we can all agree that practicing accountability is one of the fundamental reasons for personal and professional success.

In terms of professional success, accountability shows up differently when working for someone else versus working for yourself. When you’re working for someone, you essentially have no choice but to be accountable to your job responsibilities, or you’ll likely be let go for lack of productivity. Self-employment is different. There isn’t a boss making sure you meet your goals every day or a company culture to blame for your lacking performance. When you’re self-employed, it’s all on you to ensure your business is what you want it to be.

Many self-employed people struggle to hold themselves accountable. If you’re one of the many business owners having difficulty staying on track without someone looking over your shoulder, this article can help. Here are four tips for cultivating accountability while self-employed.

Shift Your Mindset
Becoming a successful entrepreneur requires many things, like being adept in business strategy, problem-solving, and relationship-building. Yet, strengthening any of these skills is impossible if your mindset is negative and flawed. On the other hand, a positive attitude, open mind, and solution-oriented way of thinking make self-employment that much more enjoyable and achievable.

When you’re achieving your business goals and enjoying the self-employment journey, it makes it easier to hold yourself accountable to your business plan because you’re sincerely motivated to keep going.

You can strengthen your mind by first learning to love yourself. When you love yourself, you can show grace when you fall short in your business, and you’re absolutely going to fall short often. Instead of beating yourself up each time, you’ll be able to learn from the experience and make changes in your business that help you grow. Practice interrupting negative self-talk and replacing it with affirmations, remain positive in how you communicate with others, and deem every experience an opportunity for growth.

Getting a grip on your mental and emotional strength also helps you create a clear vision for your business which you can and should refer to often to cultivate accountability.

Rely on Your Vision for Your Business
Whether you’re well into self-employment or just starting, the vision you have for your business plays an integral part in cultivating accountability.

Although many business owners only have their business vision in their heads, it’s best practice to create a real business plan. A business plan can help you solidify your concept, create realistic goals, develop a plan to achieve those goals, and keep you focused with a timeline for completion.

Additionally, you’ll identify any risks and challenges you may face within your plan as you grow your business. When you take the time to identify risks and challenges in your business, you can remain dedicated to finding solutions for those challenges and ways to mitigate the harmful effects of those risks.

Also, let’s say you manage these risks through preventative measures and tools or insure them when they do happen. Then, you can reward yourself for your performance and encourage accountability even more. For instance, if you were able to mitigate the effects of a cybersecurity attack, reward yourself with better online security technology and, more importantly, a day off to breathe.

Another way to cultivate accountability while self-employed is to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Be Just as Engaged in Your Life Outside of Work
Many business owners struggle with accountability because they dread running their business because of how much of their time, energy, and effort is swallowed up in it. They never have time for the things and people they love, and that can be depressing. As a result, they resent the business for what it takes away and put less and less effort into keeping it afloat.

To avoid this burnout and stay enthusiastic about and accountable to your business, create a healthy work-life balance. Ensure all of your time isn’t wrapped up in being self-employed and that you’re able to enjoy all of the people and things you love.

Also, ensure you’ve got a great business circle around you. Create a support group of other self-employed people who genuinely want to see you succeed. Feedback is huge when it comes to accountability. You want people around who will give it to you straight, especially when you aren’t making good choices.

Lastly, you can read a thousand books on how to be more accountable or listen to a million accountability experts. Still, nothing makes the lessons stick more than practicing behaviors and actions that promote accountability each day.

Practice Makes Perfect
If you really want to cultivate accountability while self-employed, you have to practice. Adopting the proper habits and combining them with deliberate practice results in you mastering the skills you’re after, in this case, accountability.

To practice accountability, you first want to observe people who you feel are successful at it right now. Don’t be afraid to ask them questions about how they’ve cultivated accountability.

Then, list ways you can implement what they do in your life. What does accountability look like for you? Is it answering all of your business emails each day? Is it talking to your business partner about a recent mistake you made? Is it learning the ins and outs of a new business finance software? Whatever behaviors and actions you decide on, deliberately practice them until accountability is natural to you.

Ultimately, it’s the doing that cultivates accountability more than anything.

Cultivating accountability while self-employed is challenging but a challenge worth overcoming for the sake of your business’s success. Implement the tips above so accepting responsibility for your actions and owning the outcomes of all your choices and decisions becomes second nature.

Meet The Author:


Luke Smith

Luke Smith is a writer and researcher turned blogger.


The opinions expressed in our published works are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the National Association for the Self-Employed or its members.

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