5 Reasons Why Accountability Groups Make the Dream Work


Studies conducted by the Association for Talent Development aren’t usually exhilarating affairs, but two of its statistics recently jumped off the page:

“...You have a 65% chance of completing a goal if you commit to someone. And if you have a specific accountability appointment with a person you’ve committed, you will increase your chance of success by up to 95%.”

Accountability is the foundation and leading tenet of the Art of Freelance online course. In the past few years, we’ve seen how the course has impacted the careers of creative freelancers who have embraced the its structure to complete their most important projects. In fact, in a recent survey we conducted…


9.75 out of 10 creatives told us they accomplished work on a timeline they would not have accomplished on their own.


The weekly accountability check-ins that are part of the course were not created so participants could point fingers and slap each other on the wrist when they didn’t do their work. They were created to collectively lift each other up during the process and march together so each participant could reach their goals with the support they need.

So how exactly does an accountability group make creatives more productive? After talking to many of our course participants we discovered there are five reasons they make the dream work:

1. An accountability group diminishes digital isolation

We’ve previously discussed the importance of putting on your fucking pants in the morning and the transformative power of treating your business like a business rather than a hobby.

But let’s say now  you’ve got your pants on, you’re staring at your computer screen you’re distracted, and your attention span is nil.

The effects of digital isolation are real and we can easily get lost in the abyss of our own snowballing thoughts of disaster and failure triggered by a lack of focus. Wowch. Now what?

When you’re part of a group of other creative freelancers and you have a goal in mind, a plan to get there, and you’re sharing your work on a consistent basis, you commit to it more than if you were doing it by yourself. Also, by consistently showing up for others at a regularly scheduled time you show up for yourself.

2. Accountability groups foster the development of creative habits

When you create deadlines for a project and you share them with others, a magical thing happens: things get done. In the process, you learn how you work best. Are you most focused in the morning? Do you prefer to work in short intervals? Does your best work come when you’re meeting a deadline?

An accountability group allows you to experiment with your creative process, evaluate your habits and provides the opportunity to make different choices to improve your productivity. These practices become habits, and the mind is given the space to create. The result: less time wasted on getting started, more time spent creating and making things happen.

3. Accountability groups provide the space to learn from like-minded folks

Witnessing the creative process of others in the same boat as you can expedite your own productivity. You learn from their stories, their failures, their mishaps, and their successes. At times, you might follow their footsteps. Other times, you might lead the way.

You share their “aha” moments and in the process, forge friendships and plant seeds for a future collaboration. Most importantly, there’s an an opportunity to celebrate your success together, and as we’ve all been told before, success is best when shared.

4. Accountability groups create a safe place to do unsafe things

To be vulnerable in everyday life takes courage. Whether it’s at the workplace, social settings or online, there seems to be limited time to share our fears, our mistakes and our big challenges.

An accountability group with focused exercises gives us a chance to show up for ourselves and others. It creates a safe place to discuss and create unsafe things.

5. Accountability groups are no joke, but they are fun

We’ve heard over and over again, the tales of the tortured artist up all night struggling with their creation. And yes, masterpieces have been created from artists isolating themselves and burning the midnight oil. That is a choice some creatives make. There is another option.

Working alongside others for a period of time and sharing discoveries and laughs is, among other things, just more fun. It’s that simple.

Accountability in Action: Alumni Spotlight with Morgan Brown

During the Art of Freelance 10-week online course, Morgan Brown worked on her project Conversations I Wish I Had, an experiential pop-up phone booth that provides a safe space for people to connect with someone in their life who has passed on.

"Art of Freelance taught me the power of accountability and how wonderful it is to receive feedback from people who actually care about you and your success. There were so many moments when I wanted to quit –the project felt too big, and my mind felt like an echo chamber where I didn't actually know what was a good idea or a bad one – and my team came alongside me, reviewed my work, offered constructive feedback, and rooted for me at every step of the way. It was such an amazing experience and process."

Conversations I Wish I Had asks the question: If given the chance to pick up the phone and talk to anyone who has died, what would you say? The phone booth is a private, fully collapsable, sound proof(ish) space that is specifically designed with this conversation in mind. The project is rooted in the belief that in an overly scheduled and "it's fine" world, we need more spaces that give us permission to stop, pause, and process.

Morgan is launching a few things soon: the Conversations I Wish I Had Podcast, a Conversations I Wish I Had phone line for people to call in and have these conversations anywhere, and a small printed book of call prompts just like the one that sits inside the phone booth. Morgan is also taking the phone booth around the country in August 2018! Learn more by visiting her site deathdialogue.com and follow @morgabob.

Conversations I Wish I Had,  an   experiential pop-up phone booth by Morgan Brown.

Conversations I Wish I Had, an experiential pop-up phone booth by Morgan Brown.

If given the chance to pick up the phone and talk to anyone who has died, what would you say?

If given the chance to pick up the phone and talk to anyone who has died, what would you say?

To learn more about the Art of Freelance 10-week online course for creative freelancers click here.