I have recommended this book far and wide and recently realized I have never mentioned it here: The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber. I believe it’s a must-read if you want to become profitable as a business owner. Some people have told me they think it’s old-fashioned (yes, it is) or too systems-y or not personal enough. All true, but then I’m pretty systems-y, too, so I kinda liked that part.
This book has one big, and I believe critical, idea about why so many solo practitioners get frustrated: internalized conflict.
Gerber points out that every business requires three roles: Practitioner, Manager/Admin, and Entrepreneur/Marketing. (I’m para-phrasing heavily here.) Most people start a business because they love the idea of being a practitioner. But that does not a business make – or a profit earn!
In non-solo biz, different people or teams typically have those roles,and they often have conflict between the roles. When you go into solo biz, you assume all three roles and the inherent conflicts. You internalize all three roles – and those conflicts. Learning to see them independently and step into each of those is HUGE in going from “I just want to do X, but I’m not making any money” to “I have a successful X business.”
If you’re not willing to learn and perform the roles other than Practitioner, you might be able to create a hobby that generates some money, but you won’t have a sustainable business. If you really, really don’t want to do those other things, I believe you could be much happier working for or with a company that is great at those things. Or you could hire people to help you with the other roles. Both great options.
But that conflict between the roles… it’s there no matter what, especially if you try to reject any of them as valuable or worth learning.
So, and this is going to sound so non-coachy of me, where would you be more comfortable experiencing conflict? Internally, where you can learn, grow, and get personally frustrated sometimes, or, externally, where you can learn, grow and get frustrated with other people?
Either way, we get to learn and grow. I don’t believe that frustration among roles is completely unavoidable, but I do believe that we can become much better at recognizing the source of it. And that knowledge is the first step in mitigating it.