Many of you have probably read this book. It is one of the most highly acclaimed reads for small business owners. I started listening to it on CD a few years ago and then got distracted and just finished it recently. I got the gist of the message a few years back and it truly shaped my business and focus from that point forward.

The E-Myth (Entrepreneurial Myth) is that businesses are started by entrepreneurs seeking profit. In actuality, businesses are started by technicians (employees) who convince themselves that they could be their own boss and work for themselves. They make the assumption that by understanding the technical work of a business, they also understand the business that does that technical work.

Like many photographers, I started my own business because I like photography. And like most photographers who own their own business, I did everything myself to start out with. I did the book-keeping, the shooting, the editing, the product production, sales, marketing, graphic design, and networking. I wore every hat and very quickly realized I would burn myself right out if I continued on this path. The author states that there are 3 different roles that need to be covered in order for a small business to succeed: the technician, the manager and the entrepreneur. Most everyone who starts a small business does so because they like the technician work -- in my case taking and processing photos. But if they continue to cling to that role the business will ultimately, and fairly quickly, fail. They must be a manager and even more importantly, an entrepreneur -- having a vision and thinking about the big picture of where they want their business to go. But they won't be freed up to be a manager or entrepreneur if they are overwhelmed with the technical work of the business. They need to take on employees or outsource the work of the business in order to grow. I talk to so many photographers who are just starting out and I hear the same thing over and over again. They are spending all their time behind the computer editing and know they need to focus on other areas of their businesses but they just don't have the time. In order to get over this hump and have a chance to succeed, they need to let go of part of the technician in themselves and embrace the manager and entrepreneur.

Once a business grows and has more employees handling various roles in the business it is of utmost importance to systematize. Everything you do should be a system that can be duplicated. You will be far more efficient and profitable if you systematize, systematize, systematize. Design your business as if you were going to try to make 2000 others just like it. Then you will be able to easily train others to do much of the work IN the business so that you can focus on working ON the business. I have dedicated myself to the process of systematizing everything we do at Melissa Jill Photography for the past few years. A ton of work has gone into developing our workflow and systems manual. I can definitely see how this hard work has paid off.

If you haven't yet read this book and you are a small business owner -- get on it! You will be happy you did.

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