We all grew up learning how to be independent and figure things out on our own.
As a matter of fact, it is often seen as a sign of weakness when someone asks for help.
Over time, we get so used to this subconscious training of self-sufficiency that we forget how to reach out and ask for support — even when we desperately need it.
As a result, things get way out of control before we consider talking about them & getting help.
We display this in our relationships, finances, and everything else in between.
(I originally wrote this article for relationships but it applies even in our businesses — especially as solopreneurs.)
As solopreneurs, we want to be as independent and sustainable as possible – as well as maintain a healthy profit in our work.
And so we take on everything all by ourselves — research, graphics design, web development, marketing, accounting, advertising, client support, training, social media, etc.
While it’s awesome to be independent, we should also be humble to admit that we don’t always have everything figured out.
Man is a social being, we depend on each other for our well-being; directly or indirectly.
And yes, we ALL need help in our businesses too.
Getting the right kind of support for your business will leave you with more time and energy to focus on what you do best — which is serving your clients in your specific area of expertise.
Why we find it so hard to ask for help
96% of people who volunteer or do other things for people say that helping someone else increased their sense of purpose.
If we really love helping people that much, then why do we find it so hard to allow ourselves to be helped by others?
Here are 5 main reasons why we find it difficult to ask for help:
1) Fear of losing control
Admitting that we’re not in control is a hard thing to do.
We all want to feel like we have every aspect of our lives figured out and taken care of.
So, stepping out and asking for support becomes very difficult.
Because of this, most of us would rather stay with our problems than talk about them with someone who can help us.
Having worked as a technical support consultant, I’ve seen several solopreneurs spend 6 months trying to do on their own something they could easily have got someone else to do in 2 weeks.
And yet they end up not getting it right.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t make an effort to learn new skills and improve ourselves. Actually, I’m a very big proponent of constant learning & improvement; and that’s why training is a huge part of my work.
However, there has to be a point where you tell yourself: Okay, I’m going to let go and allow someone else take a look at this.
2) Fear of showing our vulnerability
Closely related to the first point above is that we don’t want to display any signs of vulnerability.
This could be because the last time you were vulnerable, someone took advantage of that.
And so we lock up and prefer to deal with all the problems on our own.
In business, this could show up in the form of working with a service provider in the past who did a poor job & failed to deliver after spending so much of your time and money.
And then you decide that it’s best you handle all your tasks yourself anyway.
3) You don’t want to feel like you’re bothering other people
We often think that asking for help is a bother to the person you’re asking (and maybe sometimes it is).
But most times, people are willing to listen to you and support you in any way that they can.
It’s all about doing it in moderation.
If you text someone 7 days a week for 1 month always asking for something, of course that would be a bother.
I’m sure you get the point – ask for help but just don’t overdo it.
4) Independence, self-reliance and self-sufficiency
We love to be independent – and to say that we’re “self-reliant” and “self-sufficient”.
Asking for help makes us feel like we’re depending on someone else, or that the other person is better than us; or that we’re not good enough.
But none of that is true.
As a matter of fact, the most independent people are those who delegate more.
Think of every successful person you know — they are masters at the art of delegation.
And that’s exactly what seeking support is about — delegating tasks to someone else in order to free up your own time and energy for deeper work that you love.
5) Fear of rejection
Imagine that you finally decide to share your problems and seek for help – only to be rejected by the person you went to talk to.
Nothing can be as heartbreaking as that.
And, because we’ve all experienced some form of rejection, we decide to bottle everything in and talk to nobody.
Same things goes for your business: If you’ve always paid for services and it seems like you’re not getting results; that can be so discouraging.
Why it’s actually okay to ask for help
1) It is a sign of strength – not weakness
Asking for help shows that you want to keep improving yourself and getting better.
Think about it.
Why do the best athletes have personal trainers and coaches? Why do the top performers in organizations have mentors?
It’s because they’re wise enough to know that they don’t have to go the entire distance alone.
It’s okay to learn from people who have been where you are; or where you want to get to.
Asking for their help makes you stronger – not weaker.
2) Not asking does not change the facts
Even if you don’t want to admit it, even if you refuse to ask for help, the truth still remains that you need help.
The fact that you didn’t ask for it does not mean that you did not need it.
We all need help with something at some point in our lives; no matter how big or small.
3) You help others by giving them an opportunity to help you
As we mentioned earlier, people love helping others.
By asking for their help, you’re actually helping them in return by increasing their sense of purpose and accomplishment.
4) You strengthen your connections
Asking for help is a demonstration of trust.
Nothing strengthens your connection with someone as much as trust.
By giving the right people the opportunity to help you, you’re strengthening your relationship with them.
5) Finally, everyone needs help at some point
When it’s all said and done, we’ll all need support with something at some point in our lives.
- We’re not asking you to become a crybaby who always seeks attention and hides away from taking responsibility. No. Instead, be willing to admit when you’ve got to the end of your road, and accept a little bit of support.
- Identify your core strengths as a solopreneur; and focus on them.
- Save your time and energy to serve your clients — not troubleshoot technical issues.
- Learn how to gradually outsource everything else that holds you back or takes so much of your time.
- Asking for help is NOT a sign of weakness, it is a sign of strength. Seeking support does not mean that you are no longer independent. On the contrary, it helps you become even more independent because each support you get builds you up to become more self-sufficient and independent.