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Consider the ancient proverb:
“Two are better than one… if either of them falls, the other will lift him.”
I’m sure I wasn’t thinking either of us would be falling when I signed up for an accountability partner in the Freelance Writers Den.
But it did seem like two writers could be better than one on what can be a lonely freelance writing journey.
Holly Hughes-Barnes and I had met in the Den. We’d both taken some of the same bootcamps and chatted in the forums.
So when the call went out encouraging members to sign up for an accountability partner, we decided to give it a try.
I’ll admit, it was a little scary reaching out to someone I barely knew, and Holly agrees:.
“I didn’t know what to think when Julie first reached out,” she said.
“Did I have time for this on top of learning how to write and market myself? Would our personalities mesh or clash? What was I getting into?”
Despite our questions, we dove into the idea that being an accountability partner would help us become better freelance writers and make more money. And it changed EVERYTHING.
Can an accountability partner help you grow your freelance writing career?
The four-year accountability partner experiment
Being an accountability partner started out as kind of an experiment for both of us trying to build our freelance writing businesses.
We didn’t think much beyond the immediate present when it came to our expectations. We just knew we’d like to meet weekly online.
That was 2017.
Four years later…
We’ve walked with one another through the ups and downs of a freelance life, celebrated the wins, encouraged one another through the losses, and built something worth keeping in the process.
And… as funny as it sounds, we just met in person for the first time in 2021. We snagged a selfie, of course!
And Holly’s mom said, “Why, you two look like old friends.”
We both smiled. That’s because we are.
While an accountability partner may not become a bestie you hang out with, working with someone else who chasing similar goals will help you grow your freelance writing business in several ways.
Based on my experience, here are FOUR reasons every freelance writer needs an accountability partner:
1. Knowledge sharing
When Holly and I first started Monday meetings, we were in training together, but she’d taken some certification courses I hadn’t, and I had some experience she didn’t.
In time, we’ve learned each other’s strengths and leaned into them, sharing knowledge freely with each other.
Nothing like having someone to talk to when a new challenge comes up — an issue with a client, difficulty converting prospective clients, questions about which business tools work best, or other challenges.
Knowing we can chat about it on the next call has been freeing.
3. Practicing business calls
An accountability partner is the perfect role player. Holly and I have practiced cold calls, pitches, difficult client conversations.
You name it. We’ve rehearsed it. And wow! What a difference it’s made!
4. Building confidence
I can’t tell you how many times “I’m a freelance writer” had to come out of my mouth before I said it like it was true.
Having an accountability partner to share your goals with each week can have the same effect and help you make your goals a reality.
What does it take to make an accountability partnership work?
If you really want to make the most of an accountability partner as a freelance writer, both people need to do their part. Here’s what you need to make it work:
- Commitment: An agreement to stick with it. Holly and I set a standing Monday morning appointment. We picked Monday to start the week with our goals in front of us. Whatever day works best for you and your accountability buddy is okay – just block off the time and don’t let anything come in the way of it.
- Time limits: Speaking of time, set it at 30 minutes, 45, or an hour, and stick with it. Friendly chit-chat has a place in the call, of course, but be respectful of each other’s time and stay on schedule.
- Consistency: Show up. Every week. On time. Prepared to check in on last week’s goals and look ahead to the current week.
- Willingness to go all in: Accountability partnerships only work when everyone’s willing to be honest, transparent, vulnerable. What are your goals? Where do you want your business to go? What’s going well? What’s not? Honest answers go a long way toward building a mutually beneficial partnership.
“Having an accountability partner helped me learn and grow in ways I didn’t expect,” says Holly.
“Just having someone who understood the struggles of freelancing was invaluable. I finally had someone who could empathize with my disappointments and help me celebrate my wins. Nobody else in my life really understood what I was doing!”
“Having an accountability partner helped me learn and grow in ways I didn’t expect…Nobody else in my life really understood what I was doing.”
-Freelance Writer Holly Hughes-Barnes
Makes me think of that well-known Helen Keller quote, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”
If you’re a freelance writer who feels alone on the journey, why not reach out to an accountability partner today?
Can an accountability partner help you build your freelance career? Let’s discuss in the comments.
Julie J. Novara is a freelance content strategist and writer who works with impact-driven organizations and businesses to maximize their impact with effective content.