EP 23: The majority of small businesses fail within the first 5 years of launching. For creative professionals branching off on their own, the reality may be very similar. There is a myth that if you understand the technical work of a business, then you understand the business that does the technical work. This is not true. For all business owners, we hold 3 different personality traits that need harmony and balance; the entrepreneur, the manager, and the technician. Citing Michael E. Gerber's book, "The E-Myth Revisited", I'll talk about how we can apply this concept to our own creative businesses and create greater self-awareness.
This episode is brought to you by Bay Photo Lab. For all your professional photography printing services, go to bayphoto.com for 25% off your first time order!Support the show
Michael Der 0:02
You're listening to Artrepreneurs, a podcast that inspires photographers and visual artists to live their best creative lives. My name is Michael Der and I am a full time photographer with nearly 10 years of experience in the freelancing world. And I'm sitting down with an amazing community of visual artists to talk about process, business, and the lessons that have helped them grow. So let's get to it. Artrepreneurs starts right now.
There is a fundamental misconception people face when starting their own business, one that is actually so pervasive and flawed that it kills almost all businesses within the first few years of its launch. Whether you're a photographer, a designer, a sandwich maker, or an auto mechanic. The fatal assumption is that if you understand the technical work of a business, then you understand the business that does the technical work. This, however, is a lie.
Author Michael Gerber talks about this in his acclaimed book the E myth revisited, and in this episode, I am going to be citing this book and the concepts that have helped me navigate and roadmap my own business. Gerber states there are three basic personality traits. A business owner is comprised of the entrepreneur, the manager, and the technician, each one of those embodying a unique set of responsibilities and desires. And if every business owner were balanced, among those three, we'd be fantastically capable individuals, and we would be primed to thrive under most conditions. But the reality is that we are not only imbalanced in these roles, meaning one trait is usually more dominant to us than the others. But the roles themselves are also inherently in conflict with each other by nature. Imagine how difficult that would be if you started a business with two friends. And the three of you have conflicting priorities, strategies, and principles. How successful Do you think you will be? If we fail to balance the harmony of these three personality traits? We are in danger of conflicting ideologies, and counterproductive practices, exactly what your new business does not need.
So today, my goal is to get your wheels turning just a little bit to get you to ask yourself, Am I more entrepreneur, more manager? Or am I more technician? And do I need to course correct my dominance in any one particular area? So let's dive right in.
Number one, the entrepreneur, the entrepreneur is the visionary, and all of us, it's the dreamer, the imaginative mind that thinks about new ways to improve our business. It's the part of you that thinks beyond just your next assignment and instead thinks about what you can do differently than everyone else in your market. Can you maybe offer other products, tutorials or services that could be automated through a website without your presence? Can you implement image licensing so you can make money while you sleep? And what about marketing? have you spent any time thinking of new ways to get your work in front of those who seek to serve when everyone else is doing ABC Are you strategizing for x, y, and z? This is the role of the entrepreneur. The entrepreneur part lives in the future free of the daily grind of administrative duties or clerical work and instead is focused on possibilities and opportunities.
But the downside of living solely in an entrepreneurial mindset is that the reach may exceed the grasp. The new service you want to offer may not have a system in place for sustainability. For example, maybe you want to expand your branding beyond Instagram. So you launch a YouTube channel or a podcast without having a reliable workflow to manage consistent content creation. And without it, you rely on days where you are inspired and motivated. And that can come and go just like the rain. So before you know it, you've created one piece of content in three months, and you give up on the platform entirely. This is the plight of the entrepreneur. So while the entrepreneur lives in the future, thinking only of the possibilities, we need someone else to build the system to ensure consistency and repeatability. This is where the next role comes in.
Number two, the manager. So while the entrepreneur dreams of the future and jumps in headfirst, the manager not focused on creating order out of chaos. And instead, we try to build systems that are repeatable and predictable. For instance, the manager in me focuses a lot of energy on different back end areas like maintaining good time management and scheduling, creating routines for keywording, archiving or backing up data content scheduling for the podcast and for email marketing, and of course, the financial duties like monitoring expenses, splitting income and staying on top of invoices. So while a side of us is always looking for new opportunities each time the other side of us is looking for potential problems in those opportunities and seeking out ways to solve them as Gerber states. The entrepreneur builds a house and the instant it's done, begins planning the next one, the manager builds a house and then lives in it forever. Without this personality. There would be no planning no order and no predictability. But neither the entrepreneur nor the manager is the creative part of the business. They aren't the ones working on their craft. The entrepreneur implements the manager maintains so who is responsible for creating this brings us to our third and final personality, the technician.
The technician is the doer the tinkerer, this part of you loves the work. A Baker, for example, doesn't want to focus on the inventory budget or the next ad campaign. They want to bake That is the technician, they are focused on the production on fulfilling the services promised to the client. A technician is looking in the rearview to determine what could have been done better. And they're not looking ahead for potential growth. They're focused on the here and now and getting the job done.
There is a myth that all small businesses are started by risk-takers and entrepreneurs, people who are looking for opportunities to invest capital to create a profitable business. The truth, however, is that most aren't most business owners are technicians. Think about where you were when you first launched your business. Or better yet, where are you right now if you're considering going off on your own. If you're like most people, you were either working for someone else doing technical work, or you are currently working for someone else, doing the technical work. You're a photographer, a designer or retoucher. And you may be great at it. But make no mistake, you are doing technical work, and you're doing it for somebody else. Your responsibility isn't to run the business, your responsibility isn't to drive the business forward, your responsibility is to execute the technical work.
Now in each and every one of us, we all hold these three personalities. And one of the biggest challenges is that these personalities are in constant conflict with each other. The entrepreneur is creating issues for the manager because the scaling is growing at such a pace that it can't be done without proper management or planning. The manager Meanwhile, is slowing down the entrepreneur who is just so excited about the possibilities at the end of the rainbow and just wants to push forward. And both the entrepreneur and the manager are getting in the way of the technician who has neither time for the past or future concerns and just wants to take care of what needs to be done right now.
But despite the conflict among these three roles, also lies a symbiotic relationship in which each is reliant on the other. To build a successful business. You need the entrepreneur to push the boundaries of industry norms, you need the manager to make those dreams into attainable goals and you need the technician to produce the assets. Gerber states the typical small business owner is only 10%, entrepreneur, 20%, manager, and 70% technician. So for creatives, I wouldn't be surprised if it were close to 90% technician, and then 5%, manager and 5% entrepreneur.
So ask yourself, what percentage are you right now? If you determine You are a 5% entrepreneur, ask yourself what a 10% entrepreneur would look like what would a 30% entrepreneur look like? What actions would need to take place to improve any category and create harmony in your business?
Now understandably, for most creatives, the technician side is the most appealing aspect. It's what we identify with. We didn't fall in love with the business side of things. We fell in love with the work. But in my opinion, solely relying on technical skills has a ceiling. A mechanic with no entrepreneurial or managerial skills will always work for somebody else. A mechanic who develops entrepreneurial and managerial skills, on the other hand, has the ability to expand beyond just employment. Such a professional can open up his or her own auto shop or service center, hire employees set their own salary and make revenue without the need to physically be there.
And creative entrepreneurship isn't that much different. So if branching off on your own is a possibility for you if it's important, no matter how far distant in the future, and no matter how small a chance it is, I believe you owe it to yourself to at least think about these concepts work harder to get the entrepreneur and the manager a bigger piece of the pie. And if you only want to be a technician, that's totally fine. But you may have to be at the mercy of always working for somebody else. Having talked to entrepreneurs and creative professionals over the years who have branched off on their own. The most common attribute is that they have far greater balance of these personality traits. And what sticks with me is that almost all of these people started out as technicians, but very few of them. Let the technician run the show.
So I hope this episode gives you food for thought as you start or continue in your business. Once again, this book is called the E myth revisited. Why most small businesses don't work and what to do about it. And it is written by Michael E. Gerber and it was one of my favorite business rates of last year. I think it is just a great exercise in heightening your self-awareness as a business owner so that you can course-correct what areas need a little bit more attention. I want to thank you all for tuning in for supporting this show. Follow us on Artrepreneurspod on Instagram. This is Michael Der saying so long for now. Artrepreneurs season one continues to roll on next Friday. Take care everybody and have a great week.
Hey everybody, this is Michael Der thank you so much for making it all the way to the end of the episode. I hope you'll follow, tag, and engage with us on our Instagram account at Artrepreneurspod. We've also launched our website Artrepreneurspod.com It is the central hub where you can sign up for our newsletter, read our blog posts, send us voicemails, and even access discounts from our amazing affiliates. It's also the perfect spot to shout out Artrepreneurs with what would be an immensely appreciated five-star rating and review. And if you're feeling extra generous, you can even make a small donation that's really going to help accelerate the growth of this podcast. But no matter what you do, folks, I just want to say thank you so much for supporting this program. There are a lot of great videos Are the podcasts out there and I am just grateful to have gained your trust even for a moment. Take care everyone and see you next week.