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15 min read

[Re-Release] Expert Advice For Holding Yourself Accountable On Your Solo Journey

anne bachrach


We speak with a lot of solopreneurs every week, and have started to see a pattern with some of the most successful ones: they have accountability partners or accountability groups.

Because this has come up so much recently, we want to pull an episode from the vault that we recorded over a year ago, fittingly called: Expert Advice For Holding Yourself Accountable On Your Solo Journey.

In this episode we had on The Accountability Pit-Bull,”  Anne Bachrach, who says that having someone to answer to on a regular basis about your progress is a powerful motivator. 

She believes that personal accountability is the single most powerful tool to help professionals improve their businesses and overall quality of life. 

What you'll learn in this episode

  • What an accountability coach is and why it's important to work with one
  • What to look for in an accountability coach
  • The type of person in a solopreneur’s life that does not make for a good accountability partner
  • Common things solopreneurs do that unknowingly sabotage their careers
  • The types of systems that can be put in place to make solopreneurs personally accountable in achieving their goals
  • Patterns with high achievers
  • The most important thing solopreneurs can do to achieve greater success and improve their personal accountability

And so much more!

Resources Mentioned in the Episode

Favorite Quote: 

"You are what you think. So just think big, believe big, act big, work big, give big, forgive big, laugh big, love big and live big." -Andrew Carnegie

Want to share your experiences and learn from other one-person business? Be sure to join our community! It's free :)

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on Apple Podcasts Thanks!

Full Episode Transcript:

Anne Bachrach (00:00):

That's how they got to be successful and everybody can do the same. You just have to get a little bit outside your comfort zone, at least initially, and learn to apply some new things that will help you take you to the next level.

Intro (00:17):

Bigger. Doesn't always mean better. Welcome to the One-Person business podcast, where people who are flying solo in business, come for specific tips and advice to find success. As a company of one, here are your hosts, Joe Rando and Carly Ries.

Carly Ries (00:35):

Welcome to the One-Person business podcast. I'm one of your hosts, Carly Ries,

Joe Rando (00:40):

And I'm Joe Rando.

Carly Ries (00:43):

We have quite the guest for you today, especially for solopreneurs who struggle with personal accountability. Jokingly nicknamed the accountability pitbull and backrack has firmly established her position as the country's foremost expert on accountability. She believes that even the most motivated business professionals need guidance to achieve their highest potential. For over a quarter of a century, she has worked to help business professionals and entrepreneurs make more money, work less and enjoy better work life balance. She says having someone to answer to on a regular basis about your progress is a powerful motivator and believes that personal accountability is the single most powerful tool to help professionals improve their business and overall quality of life. If that isn't enough, she is also the author of many books, including Excuses Don't Count, Results Rule, Live Life With No Regrets, How The Choices We Make Impact Our Lives, The Work Life Balance Emergency Kit, No Excuses, and is co-author of the Roadmap To Success book along with Stephen Covey and Ken Blanchard. We were so excited to have you on the show and welcome.

Anne Bachrach (01:56):

I am so excited to be here.

Carly Ries (01:58):

Well, Annee, let's just start with the basics. What is an accountability coach and what are the benefits of working with one?

Anne Bachrach (02:04):

Let me start by asking you a question. Wouldn't it be great if our good intentions work the way we think they should?

Carly Ries (02:13):

So great. Tell us more.

Anne Bachrach (02:16):

You know, not even enthusiasm guarantees positive results. There is obviously often a wide gap between our intentions and our actions. Poor follow through. In other words, consciously deciding to do something then of course not doing it, is a fact of life. For many of us, we fail to take action necessary to be in alignment with our good intentions. This can be very frustrating as you can imagine. Poor follow through takes a toll really on virtually every aspect of our life. It not only threatens our health, but it prevents us from achieving personal financial and business goals that are really well within our reach. Good intentions don't magically lead to good results. But you know what? They're a start. Unfortunately, they're just not enough. And that's just the truth. So what I think an accountability coach really is or should do is they specialize in helping to create even better work life balance. I believe in a balanced life, our life should not be one sided.

Anne Bachrach (03:22):

I think they've road tested all the business success systems that help you to achieve your goals. They help you get crystal clear on your professional and personal goals and I'm talking long term and short term. They keep you consistently focused on your highest payoff activities necessary to achieve your goals so you can ultimately enjoy having your ideal business and ideal life. Now let me say a couple of things here of what they should not be doing. In my opinion, accountability coach is really not a therapist. They're not a nutrition expert or a fitness trainer. They are really a process expert guiding your journey and coaching you to your destination with the end results accomplished by you. Now of course, when appropriate, an accountability coach would recommend other professionals or specialists that could assist you in things like nutrition or fitness, things like that. The bottom line is that an accountability coach holds you accountable to follow through with those good intentions.

Carly Ries (04:33):

I love that one. Anne, you were just talking about what maybe wouldn't make for a good accountability coach. So what specifically should people look for if they want to work with one?

Anne Bachrach (04:45):

I believe that it's important to work with a coach that has business experience. They walk their talk. In other words, they've achieved a certain level of success by implementing what they actually teach. I don't think in my opinion that you can get what you need from someone who's been to school to teach them how to be a coach, your accountability coach, in my opinion, should have real life and real world experiences to be able to be in the position to help you reach your next level of success. They should have some kind of interview process to see if it's a good fit to work together or not. For example, when I talk to people initially, they have to have a big enough gap from where they are today to ultimately where they want to go for me to really be able to work with them. I found that people who don't have big enough goals, unfortunately typically just won't do and don't do the work required that they say they want to do in order to achieve a certain goal.

Joe Rando (05:55):

Interesting. I just want to explore that little bit. So you're saying that people that don't have lofty enough goals tend not to be motivated enough to actually achieve any goals. Is that correct?

Anne Bachrach (06:05):

I'm not saying they don't achieve any goals, but they're going to achieve goals at a slower pace because they're not motivated enough. Unfortunately I found that working with a lot of people over the 20 plus, 26 plus years, I've been doing this, that if the gap isn't big enough, most people, even though they don't like where they're at, they'll learn to be comfortable enough where they're at and grow at a much slower pace because they're just not going to do the work required. I found out over time through trial and error, that I realized that they really had to have a big gap between, Hey, here's where I am at, and here's where I ultimately want to be. Usually that's a bigger motivator than just, Hey, if I'm just here and I just want to go a small step further, it doesn't really happen very fast. Also, thinking about that when I work with people that are really starting to hit their ideal business area and their ideal life, and they might have a few more clients that they could add to really hit the absolute target that they were shooting for.

Anne Bachrach (07:16):

They actually get complacent too, because it's like, Hey, I'm already here at this level. Do I really want to go any higher? Is it really that important?

Joe Rando (07:26):

Could it also be fear at that point that people are afraid of too much success? Fear of success.

Anne Bachrach (07:34):

Certainly people do have a fear of success. They do believe it or not. It's crazy, but that's sometimes why they procrastinate. A fear of success can cause people to procrastinate.

Carly Ries (07:57):

And now a quick word from our sponsor,

Sponsor (08:00):

You may be going solo in business, but that doesn't mean you're alone. In fact, millions of people are in your shoes, running a One-Person business and figuring it out as they go. So why not connect with them and learn from each other's successes and failures. LifeStarr has created a One-Person business community where you can go to meet and get advice from other solopreneurs. Be sure to join in on the conversations at

Carly Ries (08:27):

Anne, let me just take it back for a second. I feel like some people might be listening to this and be like, well, do I need an accountability coach? Why can't I just have an accountability partner? For example, my husband and I, the number of times we've tried to hold ourselves accountable to train for a marathon would blow your mind. I have never ran a marathon and neither has he. So as much as we want to be accountability partners, it doesn't always work for certain things. Who doesn't make a good coach?

Anne Bachrach (08:55):

Well, I would say, you know, believe it or not, and this is unfortunate, but sometimes people unfortunately hold you back. And those people can be family, friends, or even peers. Some people just unintentionally want to hold others back because they want you to stay with them at their level. They don't want you to grow and they don't want you to be even more successful for whatever crazy reasons they might have. Usually it is unintentionally or unconsciously that they do that. For example, Ryan came to me because he was tired of being at his current level of success. He really did want more. He had a big gap. So when he went through my process for creating his long range goals and then chunking them down into annual goals, etc, he set some pretty lofty, what I call stretch goals, which I believe in because I believe stretch goals typically get you to accomplish even more than you thought was possible.

Anne Bachrach (09:58):

Even if you don't hit the stretch goal, you would've hit something higher than what you view as realistic. So being excited about the process, he shared his goals with the people around him. His friends and peers told him he was crazy. He would never in a million years achieve those goals that he set. They were not supportive in any way and made him feel very unsupported and just not very nice about the whole thing that he was sharing with them, that he was so excited about. Well, luckily Ryan didn't change his stretch goals. At the end of the year, he had exceeded every single stretch goal, but one which he hit on the money. He even shocked himself. He told me, "I can't believe, even during the path. I'm so far ahead of my goals.

Anne Bachrach (10:49):

This is amazing. But you know what? He did the work, he got focused. He did what he knew he needed to do to achieve his goals. The same can happen for anyone who is listening, who is just committed to the achievement of your goals. So sometimes with accountability partners, you have to be very choosy and you don't want someone in your life that's really holding you back. I had a lady friend of mine talking about running a marathon. I played tennis with her and she wanted to run a marathon, actually was a triathlon. Her husband kept telling her she couldn't do it and holding her back. She felt terrible. I ended up getting a triathlete's, who had won the Hawaii Ironman signature for her on, I forget what it was, a book or something I had and gave it to her. I said, don't you give up. Don't let anybody hold you back.

Carly Ries (11:44):

Wow. That is so amazing. I love both of those stories and I know the Ryan story. He had the right mindset. He had the right tools in his pocket. It sounds like he had the lofty goals, but we were also talking about what people do unknowingly that could throw them off. So what are some common things you see solopreneurs do that unknowingly sabotage their own careers?

Anne Bachrach (12:06):

Well, it's really trying to do everything themselves. That is, in my opinion, just not sustainable in order to grow and reach your next level of success. I think we all have a next level. We need some kind of support. Now that being said, the support can be leveraging your adult children, or I had a gentleman who was doing some administrative work and I said, well, aren't your kids like 12 and 13. And he said, yeah. I said, well, can't they do some of this to help you out? And he's like, yeah, you know, they're at home. They could do some of this stuff to help me out. So he actually got his kids to do some admin work, research that he was doing to help him out. It could be just finding an intern. A lot of times you can get an intern for no money. Those are nice ways to be able to get additional help. There are kids in the neighborhood sometimes that want jobs. Paying them a few bucks to help you out with things can do that. A spouse can even help you, and of course you can always hire a virtual assistant, whether that's part-time or full-time.

Carly Ries (13:18):

Definitely agree with that. I guess I'm just fixated on Ryan's story right now. I love that he had such lofty goals and exceeded them. So are there any systems that could be put in place to help solopreneurs stay personally accountable for achieving their goals like Ryan did?

Anne Bachrach (13:35):

Yeah. I really believe there are a couple of really super simple things that you can do that help make a huge difference. The first one is really tracking your activities against your goal. So, here's my goal. What are all the activities I need to do that are going to help me be on the path to achieving those goals and know every single week what those activities are. Then making sure you have sufficient time in your calendar to achieve those goals. These two resources, time blocking your calendar and tracking your activity consistently go hand in hand and really are a powerful tool that when you consistently use them can really help propel you forward. I think time management obviously is super important. I have an audio that I created that's focused on your highest payoff activities and achieve your goals, learning effective calendaring and time management.

Anne Bachrach (14:38):

If people want to get that, they can just go to I've got other tools on time management, like a time log. I have created so many simple resources. The other thing that they could download easily is I just updated and created a virtual accountability success tips for maximum results guidebook. In my guidebook, I actually share virtual accountability options that people can consider. Of course, a lot more. It really can help you take those good intentions and turn them into reality for you. If they want to download that, they could go to

Carly Ries (15:38):

Awesome. All of these will be in the show notes for listeners that don't have a notepad or their phone with them right now. In terms of these processes, do you see any patterns with high achievers, whether it be personalities or habits or anything like that?

Anne Bachrach (15:53):

You know, it's interesting, you ask that. I believe that all successful business owners are comfortable with being uncomfortable all the time. That's how they got to be successful, and everybody can do the same. You just have to get a little bit outside your comfort zone, at least initially, and learn to apply some new things that will help take you to the next level. You learn to be comfortable with being a little bit uncomfortable and that will propel you forward to being successful. Nothing really bad is gonna happen. So many people think, oh my gosh, if I get outside my comfort zone, what's gonna really happen. I don't really know. I'm scared of what could happen Fear of the unknown.

Anne Bachrach (16:48):

The reality is, as I tell my clients, ask yourself when you do this, "what's the worst thing that could happen"? I think people are afraid of the unknown. Mostly that's what stops them. Well, what's the worst thing that could happen. We talk about that and it's really not terrible things. Nothing really bad is going to happen to you. Then flip that and say, "Well, what's the best thing that could happen when you do this"? And it's like all these good things can happen. So the reality is when people get outside of that comfort zone area and apply some things that they might be a little afraid to because they have that back of your head little voice going, don't do that... this is gonna happen. Most of the time, none of those things happen. They learn to realize, Hey, okay, I did that. It didn't kill me. It didn't hurt so bad, nothing really bad happened. I can do that again next time when I'm a little bit uncomfortable or a little bit afraid. High achievers also really squeeze every ounce of productivity out of their days by time blocking their calendar. The hardest part is honoring what's on your calendar.

Carly Ries (18:12):

Oh yes. I think we've all fallen victim to that from time to time. It's so funny. I feel like you were speaking to me directly about the fear and what could actually happen. I used to have a sign above my bed that said life begins at the end of your comfort zone because I just needed a daily reminder of push it a little bit more. It's so true. You have to get past that. You are so well versed in accountability. You're so knowledgeable on all of this. I have to ask you a big question, put you in the hot seat. If you had one thing that you want a person who's flying solo business to take away today, what would it be?

Anne Bachrach (18:52):

I really have two, and it's gonna be the two things that I mentioned before. It's track your activity, know your key performance indicators, track every week. What are your highest payoff activities? What are your revenue generation goals? What are the activities that you need to do in order to get to your next level? It doesn't have to be big things. These are just little things. Also, time block your calendar. Really get good with time management. There is so much more we can do. We all should be looking to improve our time management. Unfortunately we can't invest our time and get any back so every second of every day we're spending our time doing something. Is that activity moving you forward or is it keeping you where you're at?

Anne Bachrach (19:44):

It's those two things in combination that are really simple, that can make a huge difference and have a big impact on people flying solo that can help them make some significant progress. The other thing I think is important is to really have a solid business success plan. I don't mean it's just all business, because I believe in work life balance, but I call it a success plan and really getting crystal clear on what that is and executing on it because that helps you again with what the activities are that you need to be tracking and time blocking in your calendar. If people don't have this crystal clear game plan and success plan, I've got a masterclass that I did this year to help with planning. You can put the link in the show notes if people want to check that out.

Carly Ries (20:42):

Great. Well, on that note, I know you mentioned a bunch of other resources earlier. Do you have any others that you'd want to share or did that cover it?

Anne Bachrach (20:50):

You know I have, over the 26 plus years I've been doing this, every time somebody had a problem with getting something done, I created an Excel spreadsheet or a guidebook or I did something. I've created so many resources over the years that are complimentary. In addition to the guidebook that I talked about, the virtual accountability success tips for maximum results, they can actually go to and go for my free silver membership. Again, it's free silver membership and there are tons of complimentary resources there that can help them for sure. If you want to get a jumpstart on things, like I said, if you don't have your business plan done, get that done. Then I've also got a program called "30 days on the path to success" that really helps you get crystal clear on helping you with time management and laying out your tracking.

Carly Ries (21:49):

I was trying to brainstorm which types of questions I wanted to ask you today. I'll just go to her website to try to figure it out. I was like, I could interview her for the next year and I wouldn't be able to ask all the questions because there's just so much stuff there. We'll include all the links in the show notes to all of that. Actually we're on our last question. It's something we ask all of our experts and that is what is your favorite quote about success?

Anne Bachrach (22:15):

Well, I'm a quote fanatic. I don't know that you know that about me, but I am a quote fanatic. One of my very favorites is by Andrew Carnegie. He said you are what you think. So "think big, believe big, act big, work big, give big, forgive big, laugh big, love big and live big." And I added expect big because I think you should expect what you want in life, expect what you want in business, and you can make that happen.

Carly Ries (22:53):

Gosh, do you wake up every morning listening to the Rocky soundtrack or something. I just want to go outside and run up my stairs a few times after talking to you,

Joe Rando (23:04):

You know Carly, I want to go off script here for a minute because we ask all of our solopreneurs, what song they use to get pumped up, to get motivated. We don't usually ask our experts that, but I'm gonna ask you what is your go-to music for seizing the day?

Anne Bachrach (23:20):

You know, that's a good question. I have a lot of them actually. One of my favorites has been 24 Karat gold. I like that song. Another one is Diddy. I'm a kind of an R and B, hip hop person. Those songs get me rocking and rolling.

Carly Ries (23:41):

Love it. I know I have so many motivational songs playing in my head right now. Thank you for that. And Anne, we've talked about your website, but what is your website? Where could people find you? Then if you have any social channels, what are those? We can include those in the show notes as well.

Anne Bachrach (23:59):

People can certainly contact me at My website is, pretty simple. If you want business success, information, resources, tips, and tools, I do a blog that's Again, I have tons and tons of resources that are all free on my website that people can totally take advantage of to help them reach their next level of success. I'm hoping that they all check them out and use the ones that are going to be the most helpful to them.

Carly Ries (24:34):

Great. Well, thank you. And as predicted, this has been such a great episode. We cannot thank you enough for coming on the show. Listeners there you have it. If you like what you hear, be sure to visit, where you can hear this episode and others, or you can find us anywhere you subscribe. See you next time

Closer (24:57):

You may be going solo in business, but that doesn't mean you're alone. In fact, millions of people are in your shoes, running a One-Person business and figuring it out as they go. So why not connect with them and learn from each other's successes and failures? LifeStarr has created a One-Person business community where you can go to meet and get advice from other solopreneurs. Be sure to join in on the conversations at