The 12-year-old Nephew Pitch

Terri Lonier

I'm just home from a few days in Saint Louis, attending a conference and visiting a collection of aunts, cousins, and dear friends. I've always found that family and close friends are central to a solo entrepreneur's success, and this past weekend underscored that appreciation for me. Here are just a few of the reasons...

1. They offer unvarnished advice.
Those who have known you for years -- perhaps even before you were in business -- can shoot holes in your ideas by asking the simplest questions. They can shake you out of your reveries of "the next big idea" or provide fresh perspective on your business assumptions. Their advice may be a bit painful, but it's delivered with love -- and it's priceless. (Better to be skewered by friends and relatives than in the marketplace, I say.)

2. They can be your biggest cheerleaders.
Soloists often overlook their accomplishments, as they zoom off to the next goal. Relatives and close friends can give you that "high-five" you deserve. It replenishes your spirit and gives you the acclaim you deserve -- but likely wouldn't give yourself. Soloists can stash these warm feelings in a psychic bank account, ready to draw upon during future periods of struggle.

3. They help you gain clarity and perfect your pitch.

There's nothing quite like trying to explain your product or service to your 12-year-old niece or nephew to reveal how clear (or not) you are in your thinking. Try it sometime. You'll have to cut all those fancy business words and bring it down to basics. If you get puzzled looks, blank stares, or a big "huh?" you know you've missed the mark. But there's nothing better than a big "cool!" to let you know you've succeeded in communicating what your solo business is all about.

-- Terri Lonier, Founder,
This article first appeared in the Working Solo newsletter:

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