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One of the key points of “Effortless entrepreneur” is that you need to create systems and delegate work so that you can free up time to improve your business.
p38. Work on the business from the outside, not in it. A great
entrepreneur builds systems to run the business as if it were a
machine, and stands over it instead of being part of its inner
workings. A business owner should sell that machine to clients and
perfect its functionality, but not sit in the gear room. How many
times have you seen a local store owner answering phones, doing
paperwork, and assisting customers all at once? This business owner
works IN the business, not ON it, and hasn’t identified the different
positions within his business, such as receptionist, salesperson, and
cashier. Instead, he does all those jobs himself.
Creating manuals and training maps for each position from the get-go
forces you to evaluate what needs to be done and helps identify tasks
you might not think of right away. That can mean fewer unpleasant
surprises down the road. At first, you’ll likely have to work IN your
business and do most, if not all, of the work for each position.
That’s common when you start out. But create a system that allows you
to just work ON it as soon as possible. Once that system is operative,
a business gains its true value.
Work on your business, not just in it. It makes sense, although lots of small-business owners find it hard to make that jump.
How can people practice this now? After all, even if you work for a company, you work for yourself, too.
It’s kinda like what Trent (The Simple Dollar) writes about in “Who is your real boss? Some perspectives on career success”:
My belief is this: the people that succeed are the people who invest that energy and time and patience and thought a little differently.
What do I mean?
- Option A: Let’s say you go to work each day and leave it all on the
table. When you leave work, you’re so drained you can barely make it
home. You sit on the couch, vegetate for a while, eat dinner,
vegetate a bit more, then hit the sack. Or perhaps you’re a parent
and you leave work with just enough energy to get through your
parental requirements in the evening.
- Option B: On the other hand, let’s say you go to work and
intentionally keep half of your energy for yourself. You give the
company 50% of the gas in your tank. After you leave, you spend that
50% improving yourself. You go to night classes. You go to the gym.
You go to the library. You go to meetings of professional growth
groups, like Toastmasters.
Well, maybe not 50%. If you can do your work with 80% effort, and then invest the rest into building skills and processes, then it’s like a savvy entrepreneur investing time into building systems, not just fighting fires. Sometimes it’s more like a full-energy work and 20% extra, but I enjoy the work and the learning along the way.
At work, I’m learning about the way we work on projects: the processes, the templates, the questions and conversations. I like making systems, processes, and tools, so I’m learning how to improve things.
I’m working on applying this idea of “working on the business, not just in it” in personal life as well. Hence the household optimizations: batch cooking and a chest freezer, tweaked routines, relationship-building. Capacity-building for future adventures.
I’m looking forward to do even better. At work, I want to to learn more about Drupal 7, consulting, and the processes we have. I’m also looking forward to writing up more notes and coaching others. In the rest of life, I’d like to experiment with delegating again, invest time into becoming a better writer, and continue building wonderful relationships.
How about you? How can you not only work in your business, but on it?
Effortless entrepreneur: Work smart, play hard, make millions
2010 Nick Friedman and Omar Soliman
Three Rivers Press