Are You Working IN or ON Your Business?


He’s a rare entrepreneur who spends he’s time working ON not IN his business. The difference is massive, and it shows in his results (and peace of mind).

Confused? Here’s the difference…

Working IN your business means you’re a technician. You are the person who does the work the client paid for. Without you, there is no business. Most consultants, doctors and free lance specialists fall into this category.  Wayne Rooney doesn’t own the business of Manchester United, he’s a well paid ‘soccer technician’.

Working ON your business means you’re an entrepreneur. Your job is leading systems and people who in turn actually do the work. Even if you’re starting off as a one man band, you are spending significant time designing, documenting and implementing systems, procedures and processors so that someone else can take your place as the technician.

But what is a business?

A business is a set of systems designed to attract prospects, convert them into buyers, then keep them for a ‘life time’. It’s an organized organism that swallows investment on one end, then systematically poops out profits at the other end (preferably green)!

It’s the difference between owning a business and owning a job (being self employed). It’s the difference between someone who tells the time (technician) and someone who builds a clock so that we don’t need him to tell the time.

Not understanding this difference is why people who were fantastic employees don’t necessarily make fantastic entrepreneurs. It’s the reason why successfully self employed professionals, often struggle to build real businesses. The mindset (and skill set) is completely different.

  • An employee wants to be needed by the business
  • An entrepreneur wants to empower the business to function without him
  • An employee functions within already established systems
  • An entrepreneur designs them
  • An employee is focused on doing the work the client paid the system (business) for.
  • An entrepreneur is focused on building a system that does the work the client paid for, whether or not he’s around.

When you’re starting up, it’s not about which one you’ll choose. You’ll have to do both. It’s about how quickly and smartly you can get yourself into the position where eventually, you’re not having to be one of the employees of your business.

Some people never get there.

Some don’t even want to. They’re so in love with the technical aspects of the business that they’d prefer to do just that. The point is to know the difference, to know what you want, and if what you’re doing is getting you where you want to go.

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One thought on “Are You Working IN or ON Your Business?

  1. Max; you just put your thumb on the pulse of the mega problem bedevil ing our start-ups in Zim. For that’s what our SME’s are: perpetual start-ups. I run a company that provides, to a certain extent, some solutions to this business malaise. As one entrepreneur told me in a scoping meeting, “When I ‘m sick the business/company is sick. When I go on leave, the company goes on leave, therefore I don’t go on vacation!” Surely, entrepreneurship is supposed to be fun and fulfilling.

    Caleb Mutsumba

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