There is a myth which says, “as an entrepreneur you need to do it alone.” This myth of “doing it alone” or “pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps” is premised on the idea that if you somehow get help along the way you didn't really build something or what you built lacks value.
This mindset may manifest as:
• Not hiring anyone;
• Not investing in your personal growth or business;
• Lacking boundaries; or
• Feelings of loneliness.
This belief is a straight shot to burnout town and is stifling your success.
Is it true “you have to do it alone?”
Not. At. All.
We all believe this myth at some point
I fell into this trap early in my own entrepreneurial journey when I started my law firm and coaching business.
One evening, I was venting to my husband about how I was feeling. I said all these things:
“You don’t understand.”
“I feel so alone.”
“I’m doing all the work by myself.”
“I don't have any support as a small solo entrepreneur.”
After I was done, he turned to me indignantly and accusatory, and asked “what am I chopped liver?”
I had no response.
“What do you need?”
“Do you need me to scan documents? I'll scan documents.”
“You need me to mail things? I'll mail things.”
“Do you need me to print stuff? I'll print stuff.”
“Tell me what you need. You are not alone. I’m here with you. We are in this together.”
This was an important lesson because I was the one making it harder. I was discounting his help all because I had bought into the myth.
This myth is trying to keep you small
What I learned was this myth is designed to keep you small and from being expansive. When you choose to wear all the hats, you do not give yourself the opportunity to discover your zone of genius. You do not get to discover what you are uniquely suited to provide to the world. You deprive others of the joy of helping. You fail to see all the abundance of help and resources around you.
Now, granted in the beginning of any entrepreneurial journey you're going to wear multiple hats, but even then, you are likely not alone. You have support systems in place, including this community of incredible women and “e-males.”
If you feel you don't have support, then I challenge you to nurture your relationships with prior classmates, with EWomen members, join a mastermind, or seek a mentor colleague who started their business earlier than you. These are all potential support groups available. People can’t help you if they don’t know you need help, and most people want to be helpful.
Neuroscience says you get a boost from knowing you are supported
Researchers have shown when you face a challenge by yourself, truly completely alone, your ability to withstand diminishes. You are less able to tolerate pain and give up sooner. There is also a physiological response to thinking you are alone, like increased cortisol (i.e. stress hormone) and glucose in your blood stream, to name a few.
Yet, people who knew they were supported, who knew there was a loved one who had their back close by, these people were able to withstand more hardship. Granted, the impact is stronger when it is a loved one, but you still get an advantage even if they are not. Knowing you are supported gives you a leg up in your life.
Here are some ways you can start to bust this myth in your own life:
#1 - Acknowledge those who are already in your circle of support
They may not work for you as a W2, but they're willing to put in sweat equity to help you achieve your dreams. Recognize who they are and show them how much you appreciate their support. Take them up on their offers to help you. Also, if they have not offered, it might be because you have not asked, so ask.
#2 - Hire people before you think you're ready
This one is hard and a topic I’ve even shared in an SBI meeting. The advice I got there was to jump in. It took me some time, but since hiring people to help me, I’ve been able to accomplish more than I did on my own. You can hire vendors, freelancers, or even your own W2 employees. You have options. Start where you feel most comfortable and jump in.
#3 – Use and search for all the resources available to you (Like your Premiere Success Coaching Sessions, hint hint)
You probably have more available to you than you realize.
Here are some questions to help get you started:
• What resources are available to me right now?
• What am I not using?
• What memberships am I a part of which I am underutilizing?
• What can I repurpose?
• What skills do I have that I can use in a different way, or which can help me? Don’t discount your soft skills!!
• What grants are available for your business?
• What masterclass can you watch?
• What can you learn for free on YouTube, Coursera, or for a reasonable fee, like Skillshare?
• What tutorials are there in your subscriptions like Zoom, Adobe, or Canva?
• What can you post on social media to tell your community about your business?
• Who can you take out to coffee to pick their brain about business? Or ask to mentor you?
#4 – Be brave and admit you feel alone
Voicing your feelings is an act of bravery. Maybe you do need help with your business and don’t know where to start. Maybe you don’t need help per se, but a sympathetic ear. Be willing to ask for what you need because you deserve it, and people want to help you.
Remember, you are not alone. Stop feeding the myth and open your eyes to what is possible. The world needs you more than ever to step up. Let’s go.
Learn more from Siria Gutierrez by clicking HERE!
“Alone Enough” Radiolab episode, March 24, 2023
James Coan, et.al., Relationship status and perceived support in the social regulation of neural responses to threat, Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 2017, 1574-1583
David Sloan Wilson, James A. Coan, Groups as organisms: Implications for therapy and training,
Clinical Psychology Review, Volume 85, 2021, 101987, ISSN 0272-7358, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cpr.2021.101987.
Siria Gutierrez (She/Her) is a high-performance leadership coach helping lawyers and small business owners who have challenges of overworking and overwhelm reclaim their lives so their work aligns with their true values and they can live into those values every day. Siria is a proud multi-disciplined individual. She is a speaker, writer, mental health advocate, coach, podcaster, watercolor enthusiast, and lawyer based out of Las Vegas, Nevada.