Should you happen to drop by in the afternoon, chances are you would find me pacing between my living room and bedroom. Nervous? Frustrated?

Not exactly. I’m probably making a final attempt to reach my step counter goal. Since I began using that little addition on my iPhone, I’m walking farther than I thought I could. 

Counting steps isn’t the only benefit, however. It’s a daily reminder about the power of being accountable.

It’s easy to forget that when you go to work for yourself. After all, one of the best things about being self-employed is that there aren’t any time clocks, performance reviews or limited vacations.

One of the worst things about being self-employed is that there aren’t any time clocks, performance reviews or limited vacations. Without deadlines and the expectations of others, many new entrepreneurs flounder.

It’s not just the headiness of all that time that have to manage for ourselves. Distractions, isolation and lack of clarity can all conspire to keep us from growing the business of our dreams.

If you suspect that you could accomplish more than your current performance, start taking a look at how you could be more accountable. Being accountable isn’t an accident. It’s a discipline we need to embrace if we are to have a reputation for doing what we say we’re going to do. 

Simple adjustments could make a big difference. 

Paul McCartney once told an interviewer that he used to drive his late wife Linda to cooking classes. The first week, he went to a back room and spent the time writing a song.

When the class ended, people asked McCartney if he had been bored waiting. “No,” he said, “I wrote this little tune. Would you like to hear it?”

The class was thrilled, of course, to be the first to listen to a new creation and it became his weekly ritual. He said knowing that they were expecting a new song by the end of the class kept him on his toes.

Want to stay on track? Find an entrepreneurial friend who is willing to be your accountability partner. Return the favor. This isn’t the same as hiring a professional nag, by the way. We all need someone in our lives that isn’t willing to let us settle for less than the best we can be.

Master Mind Groups serve the same purpose, of course. Whether it’s one kindred spirit or a small group, finding someone who wants you to succeed can be one of the best things you can do for yourself and your business. 

Quite simply,  having an accountability partner is an act of commitment to yourself. 

Accountability Opportunity

The Brainstorming with Barbara sessions have been even better than I anticipated. Even though we only spend an hour together, that time is meant to be a catalyst for moving ahead. 

I’m thrilled when an email shows up from someone I’ve worked with. 

Here’s one of the post-brainstorming emails I’ve received. This one comes from Lucas,  who was the very first person to sign up. He wrote, “After our session a few weeks back, I decided to audition an idea I had which was to run a free 90 minute session on the Zoom platform. I had the idea on a Wednesday and set the class for Saturday of the same week- not much lead up time! I was surprised at the response with over thirty folk registering for it. It was hugely successful and has opened up a potential profit centre.  This little experimental endeavor has got me motivated to set up a number of short courses that I can be conduct online. I can imagine a whole suite of them.”

So if you’d like some up close and personal conversation with a self-employment advocate, hop on over to and we’ll  find a time for a Zoom chat of our own. 

Warning: once you’re on my radar and I know what your business is about, I may keep sending you appropriate resources and ideas as I come upon them. I hope you won’t mind.

While I don’t remember precisely where or when it happened, I’m quite certain that I nodded solemnly the first time I heard Helen Keller’s observation that life is either a daring adventure or it is nothing. As time went on, those words were repeated as often as Joseph Campbell’s “follow your bliss”. Both bits of advice lost much of their magic and power by constant repetition. We may have agreed, but it didn’t change things much.

You’ve heard it. You’ve probably even said it: “I so resonate with that.”

I’ve never really, well, resonated with that expression. The phrase that pops […] Continue Reading…

    Note: Although I wrote this for newcomers to the homebased business movement,  feel free to borrow any advice that helps you survive as an employee suddenly working from home. 

You finally found the perfect business idea. You’ve turned the spare bedroom into World Headquarters. You got a boxful of business cards you’re proud to hand out. You can’t remember the last time you were this excited.

Then one challenging day the honeymoon is over. It’s so quiet. No phones ringing, no co-workers gossiping around the water cooler. On an especially difficult day you remember that your former boss often […] Continue Reading…

If you are selling pumpkins or Christmas trees, you know that your business will be having a cash flow boom followed by months of no income. Not all business, of course, are quite so dramatic.

However, almost every business, no matter its size, goes through annual cycles. There are months when cash is flowing in and months when its eerily quiet. It takes a few years to uncover the cycles for your particular business.

If you’re new to business, don’t panic when things slow down. Quieter times when you’re not dealing with clients and customers can be used to create new […] Continue Reading…

One of my favorite exercises in The Popcorn Report is the Universal Screen Test. As author Faith Popcorn explains, this is a simple way of taking an idea and holding it up against the major trends.

Is the idea of making a living without a job, for instance, riding the horse in the direction the horse is going? Let’s look.

Cashing Out: Absolutely. The movement  away from working for large corporations and doing work that is satisfying—even if less lucrative—is the wave of the future.

Cocooning: Right on-trend again. Creating a homebased business gives us more time in our own cocoons.

Down-Aging: There […] Continue Reading…

On the back cover of Tools of Titans, there’s a list of some of the folks Tim Ferris includes. All of them seem to have qualified because of big numbers.     Reading that list brought to mind something that still puzzles me.     For some time now, I’ve wondered if I’m the only one who winces at the frequent admonition to Go Big or Go Home. That sounds more threatening than inspiring to me. Why, I muse, would folks smart enough to abandon a huge soulless working environment want to replicate that?     And why, oh […] Continue Reading…

When I drive the 40 miles or so to Ventura, much of the trip takes me through an agricultural area. There are vineyards and fields bursting with a variety of fruits and vegetables.

The road is also lined with produce stands run by farm families. It’s a lovely contrast to the big city environment of Los Angels.

One October trip was especially memorable. In the springtime, this drive reminds me of Ireland because the craggy hills are so lush and green. Right now they’re festooned in shades of beige and brown, but it’s still a pleasant drive.

The road goes through an […] Continue Reading…

During the days when I taught high school English, I would never have assigned a book that I hadn’t read myself.  That carried over into my self-employment journey where I vowed to only recommend things I’d found worthwhile

That showed up in other ways as well. I decided to treat my business as a laboratory where I would experiment, test ideas, pay close attention to what worked—and what didn’t. I vowed to never teach what I hadn’t learned myself.

What I didn’t know back at the beginning was that the learning would never end. My curiosity never went on vacation.

There have […] Continue Reading…

Trendspotters agree that the market for unique and customized items is having a resurgence as more and more of us are learning to cherish the work of human hands.
Not all artisans are taking advantage of the opportunities, however.
Several years ago, I met a man who was a masterful carpenter who loved restoring old houses, flawlessly repairing woodwork and cabinetry.  At that time, he had abandoned his craft believing that no market existed for his services.
He had bought the myth of the starving artist and was living proof.
Happily, that myth is becoming outmoded as artisans are carving out […] Continue Reading…

Every business has times that are less busy than others. You can use this time to fret and worry that your entrepreneurial life has come to an end—or you can view it as a gift of time to do some of those things you’ve been telling yourself you’ll do when you have time.

It just makes sense, it seems to me, to spend this time wisely and well.

Here are a few possibilities.

° Review and revise your support system. Is it time to hire a virtual assistant? Find a new tax accountant? Get expert advice?

Unless you’re will to settle for the […] Continue Reading…