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The E-Myth Revisited

🚀 The Book in 3 Sentences

🎨 Impressions

This book changed how I approach business. And because my ‘business’ is a big part of my life, it’s perhaps fair to say that it changed my life.

I started 6med, my first company, in 2013. Through the first 5 years of running it, I made so many mistakes that Michael Gerber points out in this book.

The weird thing is that he uses the example of a pie-bakery as the ‘business’. But every single lesson he teaches applies perfectly to both 6med and my new YouTube-and-extended-stuff business.

Who Should Read It?

If you’re running a business, this is required reading.

If you aren’t yet running a business, or the business you’re running isn’t currently making money, I don’t think you should read this. The danger in recommending this to the wantrepreneur (“I want to start a business but haven’t yet and so I’m doing lots of reading”) is that you won’t appreciate many of the lessons until you’ve actually started working on/in your own business.

☘️ How the Book Changed Me

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How my life / behaviour / thoughts / ideas have changed as a result of reading the book.

✍️ My Top 3 Quotes

📒 Summary + Notes

Part 1 - The E-Myth and American Small Business

1. The Entrepreneurial Myth

  • We start off as technicians pretty good at our jobs. One day we get the Entrepreneurial Seizure and decide to turn that into a business.
  • The fatal assumption - If you understand the technical work of a business, you understand a business that does that technical work

2. The Entrepreneur, the Manager, and the Technician

  • Everyone who goes into business is actually three-people-in-one - the entrepreneur, the manager, and the technician
  • Entrepreneur = Visionary, dreamer etc. Sees opportunity and goes after it. Think Steve Jobs. Tendency to bulldoze people. Lives in the future.
  • Manager = pragmatic, organised, sees problems. Keeps you grounded. Runs after the Entrepreneur to clean up the mess. Solidifies the base of operations. Lives in the past.
  • Technician = doer. “If you want it done right, do it yourself”. Tinkerer. Thinking isn’t work, it gets in the way of work. Lives in the present.

3. Infancy - The Technician’s Phase

  • First stage of business - where the owner is the business.
  • As you grow, you inevitably drop some balls. You work harder and harder.
  • Infancy ends when you realise that there’s no way you can do all the work yourself. That you need some help.
  • Nothing wrong with being a technician. But there’s something wrong with being a technician who also owns a business.
  • If your business depends on you, you don’t own a business. You have a job. And it’s the worst job in the world because you’re working for a lunatic.
  • The purpose of going into business is to get free of a job so you can create jobs for other people.

This chapter massively resonated with me. It’s written as a dialogue between Sarah (the owner of the pie-baking business and Michael, the author of the book helping her on how to grow the business).

  • You can’t just focus on being a technician, and ignore the roles of the entrepreneur and the manager.
  • What if I just want to do the technician work? “Then for God’s sake, get rid fo your business as quickly as you can. Because you can’t have it both ways”.
  • ““And to play this new game, called building a small business that actually works, your Entrepreneur needs to be coaxed out, nourished, and given the room she needs to expand, and your Manager needs to be supported as well so she can develop her skill at creating order and translating the entrepreneurial vision into actions that can be efficiently manifested in the real world.”
  • The exciting thing is that once you begin to take the business seriously, as your technician begins to let go, once you make room for the rest of you to flourish, the game becomes more rewarding than you can possibly imagine at this point in your business life.

4. Adolescence - Getting Some Help

  • Adolescence begins at the point in the life of your business when you decide to get some help.
  • Most first-time business owners = Management by abdication.
  • First hire (“Harry”) = amazing, refreshing, you can give them so much to do! They’ll handle it themselves, they don’t even have to bother you! But eventually, things go wrong, and your technician comes out and says “screw it, I’m the only one who can do this properly”

5. Beyond the Comfort Zone

  • Harry has needs of his own. Harry needs a manager.
  • Management by abdication = blind trust. “Sarah simple wanted to believe in Elizabeth. It was easier that way. Because if Sarah trusted blindly, if she simply left it all up to chance, she wouldn’t be forced to do the work she didn’t want to do”.

6. Maturity and the Entrepreneurial Perspective

Part 2 - The Turn-Key Revolution - A New View of Business

7. The Turn-Key Revolution

8. The Franchise Prototype

9. Working on Your Business, Not In It

Part 3 - Building a Small Business That Works