On Your Own? Get a Mentor
If you are a sole proprietor it is essential that you recruit a mentor to give advice, offer moral support, and break up the routine. A mentor is someone who can offer you wisdom, creativity, connections, accountability, credibility, and fresh thinking about your business. Meet with your mentor at least once a quarter to discuss your business and make certain that your mentor is willing to challenge you.
If your mentor has experience in your industry she/he can certainly provide you with specific in-the-trenches insight, but it is not necessary that a mentor have a similar background to you. In fact, it is often more valuable if a mentor has a different set of skills and background to bring that fresh perspective.
Expanded Mentor Strategy:
As you grow your business, step up from a single individual to a multi-member advisory board. This will give you the opportunity to broaden even further the backgrounds and demographics of your advisors. Mentors and people you ask to be on your board will be honored to play that role and enjoy networking with each other too.