If you ask for help, it’s a sign of weakness. Right?
Now that you’ve set your heart on starting something that you’re passionate about, you need to put in A LOT of hard work.
And part of that hard work is figuring it all out for yourself. Right?
On a regular basis, I invite people to ask tell me what help they need in this moment. A suggestion, an answer, a resource, a connection, or maybe just for me to tell them that they are not alone.
Yet, people hold back from accepting the support that they actually want and need. Few ask for help.
Why is there such a resistance to looking to others for support?
because of fear.
You’re so afraid of being vulnerable.
Afraid of what people will think. Scared of rejection. Worried that people will say aloud all of the words that are muttered by that critical voice in your head…
That you’re an imposter.
That you’re not good enough.
That you have no business in starting a business.
And so, instead, you stay stuck.
asking for help is not a weakness
In “The Art of Asking”, Amanda Palmer writes: There’s really no honor in proving that you can carry the entire load on your own shoulder. And… it’s lonely.
Here’s the truth: your not meant to do this ‘business’ thing by yourself. Starting your own thing does not mean entire self-reliance.
Here’s the second truth: most people really love to give other people help.
To ask for help requires vulnerability, but it doesn’t mean you’re weak. In fact, it actually makes you a better entrepreneur.
Receiving external input shows that you are willing to both challenge and confirm your own thoughts. Your ideas become BETTER and new ideas emerge.
Accepting guidance and and assistance from others who have already been where you are will also save you a whole lot of time, money and frustration.
i couldn’t do it alone
I didn’t get to where I am all by myself. There are two main areas where I have found support, which you can build up for yourself too.
I don’t have a single mentor, but instead surround myself with quite a few people whose opinions I trust. Many of them run their own businesses and all of them are a few years further along than I am.
They understand the journey, share their wisdom, challenge my thinking and push me to do more. They also ground me when I’m being too hard on myself or tell me to get over myself when the voice in my head starts talking shit.
Most importantly, I trust them with my problems. And I trust the help that they may offer.
If you fear judgement from strangers, think of who you already have within your network and who have offered their help in the past. It is highly likely they would happily offer their help again.
The second area where I look for guidance from my “tribe” / my followers / my clients. Their opinions are invaluable to me. Before launching anything new, I ask them what they need. I float new ideas off of them and get their feedback constantly. In exchange, I do the same for them.
The beauty of both of these type of relationships is that they are never one-sided. Sometimes is it my turn to give and sometimes it is my turn to receive.
I rely on a lot of people to help behind the scenes.
I have an awesome web guy who handles most of my tech stuff (and fixes anything that I try to do myself!).
And 4 part time staff who support my communication strategy and support my business objectives.
Plus I have people I trust to help with art and design, project delivery and accountancy.
I also have a cleaner so I’m not tempted to clean up dust when I work from home.
All of this support frees me up to focus on what I do best: creating, delivering, and connecting with people.
I couldn’t afford all of this support right from the beginning. So over time, I kept notice of what was causing me the most headache and what was not a very good use of my time. I then prioritised what to offload first and ask for recommendations for people who could help me.
You might need something else. Take a moment to consider what help you most need and what first step you can take NOW towards getting it.
ready to accept support?
Imagine having the opportunity to bounce your ideas off someone else and come up with a solution faster than if you were working on your own.
During Simplicity, I’ll teach you the most essential skills you need to get your business going AND help you to implement it. Spend 10 weeks with me, and I will transform your business.
Learn more and join the waitlist for the next cohort, here.
Leonie Jarrett says
Great post Danielle!
Danielle Anderson says
Thanks Leonie! Is this something you see a lot of also?
Jonathan Chang says
I was passed this article by a friend and I have to disagree with it. Your article reads as one-sided. Just because you’ve not been able to run a business on your own and need help with just about everything doesn’t mean it’s wrong for anyone who can run their business like that, e.g. bootstrappers. I take your point having a peer group can be helpful, but it only works if you’re all helping each other, not them all helping you.
Danielle Anderson says
Hi Jonathan –
It seems you may have misunderstood – I have run a business on “my own” for the past 3 years. There is a lot that I have never asked for help with. There is a lot that I taught myself how to do, too. Over the years though, I have also recognised that there are other people who can do some things much better and faster than I can (such as a web guy and a graphic designer). Any successful entrepreneur will realise that there are better uses of our time than fiddling around with code for 4 hours if someone else can do it in 20 minutes.
There is nothing wrong with paying other people for their services. And, in fact, for any company to grow, you will have to pay other people at some point. We do just have to be very conscious of what and how we’re spending money (e.g. bootstrapping), especially in the early days when there is not much money coming in.
Asking for help does not always mean paying for help. Help can be as simple as, “Hey, can I bounce this idea off you?” or “I see that you’re connected to so-and-so. Could you make an introduction?”. Help could be asking your partner to spend an extra hour at the office so you can have some quiet time at home to decompress.
As for the peer groups, YES!!! Everyone should be helping each other. Which is exactly why I have written that sometimes it is my turn to give and sometimes it is my turn to receive. No one likes that person who is always asking and never giving. The reason that my community is so generous with what they give to me is because I am give to them each and every day…for free.
I hope this helps to clarify my position a bit more.