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The three business personalities: Entrepreneur, Manager, Technician

EMyth Approach

5 min read

Everyone who starts a business eventually learns that making the business work takes three distinct personalities: The Technician does the work of making it, selling it and delivering it, so the doors can stay open and money’s coming in. The Manager focuses on achieving results through people and systems so the business can sustain itself and grow. Finally, The Entrepreneur defines the vision for the business and on closing the gap between where the business is today and where they want it to be.

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Especially in the early years of a business, you, the owner, end up inhabiting all three personalities. It’s common to bounce between each of these roles, sometimes without knowing where one ends and another one starts. Most of the owners we speak to struggle to grow their business because they’re so busy being a Technician: they’re working in the business much more often than working on the business. It makes sense because most people start their business as Technicians. Builders open contracting businesses. Chefs open restaurants. And they’re so consumed by keeping the wheels turning that they don’t know how to stop working in it long enough to figure out what working on it means for them. 

The struggle of the Technician 

Our client, Ian, came to EMyth as a typical Technician who’d reached his breaking point. 

Ian’s dad was a plumber and Ian grew up working in his dad's business. One day, he reasoned that—since he was a plumber who’d lived in and observed the plumbing business all his life—he could establish a business of his own. And so he did.

Ian is a terrific plumber, but he had to face facts.  While he could clear clogged pipes and repair broken dishwashers, he didn’t know how to run a business. He struggled to hire and lead employees, understand how to manage a budget and find and attract his ideal customers.

He was working crazy long hours for the most demanding boss he’d ever known—himself. He was ready to give up. 

"I can’t see a way to grow this business and still have a life," he said. "If I can’t find a way to make this business work without taking everything I have to give, I’m going to walk away from it completely." 

Ian  realized that to to grow his business—and ultimately free himself to work the way  he wanted to—he’d need to learn a whole new set of skills. He’d need to shift his thinking to become the Entrepreneur his business needed

The three business personalities in action

For Ian to take control of his business, he needed to first understand the difference between the Technician, Manager and Entrepreneur. And the easiest way to do this was to look at each of the personalities through the lens of three vital resources—work, time and money.


  • Technician work is the hands-on work of the business—the production and delivery of the product or service. Technicians are tactical; they focus on their own production. They rely on the guiding structure of the company's systems and culture to get the work done. 
  • Managerial work is both strategic and tactical. Managers get work done through people, using systems. They have one eye on the present and one eye on the future. . The Manager is the pragmatist, planner and organizer who turns the vision into action.
  • Entrepreneurial work is strategic. Entrepreneurs can paint a clear picture of where the business is going and what it will be like in the future. And, they can lead, motivate and inspire a team to create a business that works, that they want to be a part of, and that also serves the needs and wants of the owner.  


  • The Technician sees time as the present moment and focuses on what can be done today. The Technician strives to complete as much as possible now, recognizing that more production equals more money.
  • The Manager sees time in relation to efficiency, personnel and production, knowing the importance of using every precious moment to produce. Managers take the company's strategic vision and plot moment-by-moment tactical action to accomplish that vision. Time for the manager has both long- and short-term considerations.
  • The Entrepreneur sees time as an investment and chooses to make time each day for Strategic Work to ensure that the company is on course to meet the vision. This time is critical to the Entrepreneur's future. It’s an investment that will generate a return as the business grows and gets stronger.


  • The Technician sees money as earnings for work performed. Technicians are motivated to figure out how to do it better and faster so they can make more money. The Technician's perspective can be a source for better competitive strategies that lead to a strong, profitable position in the marketplace.
  • The Manager focuses on controlling costs and increasing profits by creating a tactical growth plan through wise application of people and other resources. Managers stay on the pulse of up-to-date financial information so they can make quick adjustments when needed. The Manager’s focus connects to achieving the company’s strategic goals.
  • The Entrepreneur pays particular attention to the balance sheet, knowing that the real value of the business is reflected in its equity. The higher the equity value, the greater the price of the business in the owner decides to sell. Equity value helps inform the Entrepreneur's exit strategy, especially if they plan to sell the business and move on.

Shifting to an entrepreneurial mindset

So, with this in mind, let’s look at how Ian made the crucial shift to a more entrepreneurial approach to work, time and money. 

At the start of EMyth Coaching, Ian was a skilled Technician who didn’t yet know how to also be a terrific Manager or a visionary Entrepreneur. EMyth helped Ian create a vision for his company. He stepped into his role as an Entrepreneur to define his goals for a business that works whether he’s in it or not. Now he’s working strategically toward achieving his goals by systematizing his business and putting a trusted team in place.  Ian also learned to think and behave like a Manager, developing the people he hired to get work done the way he wants it done, using systems that align with his vision. Systems helped his business perform at its best in the present and also build a foundation to grow on.

Ian never gave up what he knew about being a great Technician, but he stopped believing he had to be the best Technician in the company. Now he spends more time teaching and mentoring his team so they no longer have to rely on him. He can work in the business and on the business the way he always imagined.  It’s been a  sea change for him.  His company is now well-positioned to serve him in achieving his vision for his life. 

Do you have questions on how to start your own journey from Technician to Entrepreneur? Let's connect.

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Tricia Huebner

Written by Tricia Huebner

Tricia Huebner is EMyth's VP of Coaching Emeritus. As one of the leading experts in all facets of the EMyth Approach, her 20 years of experience at EMyth included leadership roles in program development, coaching, coach training and marketing. Tricia’s commitment to helping business owners came from her own upbringing in a family of small business owners. In her time as a speaker and trainer, she addressed business audiences throughout the U.S., and internationally in Canada, Europe and Africa. Throughout her career, Tricia designed programs for the Small Business Administration and consulted with Fortune 1000 companies, and personally coached more than 200 small and mid-sized businesses, helping owners create businesses they love leading and lives they love living. She retired from EMyth in 2022 to pursue her own business within the wine industry.