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How you can find time to work ON your business

Leadership

1 min read

I’ve never known a business owner who didn’t feel they needed to spend more time working on their business and less time working in it. But so many find it difficult to make the time to do it. If you’re predominantly a Technician in your business, someone who spends most of your time making, selling or delivering your product or service, I’d like to share with you what I’ve found to be the best way to add “working on your business” to your already busy schedule.

In my experience, there’s a simple—but not necessarily easy—solution. We call it “double vision.” 

What if you could work in your business and work on it at the same time? 

That might save you time, right? The key to finding time to work on your business is proactively building the habit of seeing any tactical work you do as having a dual purpose: an opportunity to perform a task or produce a result your business needs—that you do particularly well—and an opportunity for you to step back and observe what you’re doing—step by step—so you can create a system that will replace you and, ultimately, build a business that’s not dependent on you. 

The idea is to wholeheartedly take on every aspect of the tactical work you do really well, not just to get it done but to figure it out while you’re doing it. It’s how you systematize each process for producing a result so that others can learn how to do it in the same way—in the way you know works. That’s the challenge, to turn what you know how to do into something that others can do just as effectively or even more so.

A system is basically a step-by-step process for producing a result. You might be thinking, “I have no idea how I do what I do. I just do it.” My guess is that if you can’t naturally see the inherent structure in things you do over and over again, you’ve probably never taken the time to break down what you’re doing into specific steps or benchmarks. Even tying your shoe is a system—10 steps from putting your foot into an untied shoe to making sure the knot is tight and the “bunny ears” are even. There are so many things we’ve come to do automatically that we never think about the steps it takes to do them. 

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As someone who’s spent most of my professional life at EMyth, I can’t remember a time when I didn’t approach strategic work with “double vision.” It frees me to be a Technician whenever that’s the best use of my time, knowing that I’m creating the means to free myself from it at the same time. That’s how I operated as a salesperson decades ago while I was building our sales process, and it’s what I’m doing right now as a trainer of coaches who I’m introducing to a new coaching methodology we’ve developed here. Spending this time as a Technician is enlivening not just because I love the work—I’m also a Technician at heart— but because I know I’m approaching the work in a way that, before too long, will make it possible for other trainers in the company to deliver the training that I’m delivering today. That makes all the difference.

Next time you’re showing a client a house if you’re a real estate agent, or fixing a leaky faucet if you’re a plumber, or creating a brochure if you’re a graphic designer, don’t just do the work; think about what you’re doing and write down the steps as soon as you’re able. You may be surprised by how much can be systematized—how many ways you can document your thoughts about the best way to do something—by working in your business and on it at the same time.

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Ilene Frahm

Written by Ilene Frahm

Ilene joined EMyth in 1982. During her 17 year marriage to Michael Gerber, she collaborated with him on The E-Myth Revisited as his editor and publishing agent, as well as on a number of his other books. Ilene spent more than a decade working on EMyth (not just IN it) to build a company that didn’t depend on her. In 1999, she retired as EMyth’s President, though she’s continued to serve as the company’s board chair. At the beginning of 2020, while the pandemic made it impossible for her and her husband, Gerrit, to spend time at their cottage on the north coast of Spain, Ilene returned as the company’s CEO to support the executive team and everyone in the company, at every level, in their leadership.

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