The E-Myth Revisited (7th posting)
by Jan Yuill
Was July 16th really my last posting?! You may have wondered if I ever finished the book. Well, I did. But I stopped posting because I just had to get to the punch line. And then I just had to get going on a few things.
And now it is time to pause, check back over what I read, find out if I really understood, and let you know what became of it all (which will help me cement a few things in my thinking).
Let me just give you some history before I return to the book …
When I began to shift from independent OD consulting to building the Organizations Alive! work (around May 2005), I had two significant ah-ha’s:
- My OD consulting practice had been essentially me since 1995. Clients hired my skills, expertise, and time, and …
- I counted on work coming from repeat business and referrals. I had no business plan. My financial life was a bit of a roller coaster … through a dark tunnel. I had no idea when the next twist or turn was coming. I prayed a lot. And I worked very hard.
This is not good business. I couldn’t really call myself an entrepreneur. If something happened to me, business stopped. And without a clear vision and plan, it was all a gamble anyway.
At some point the question began to roll around in my mind – “If I were to sell my so-called business, what would I sell?” The only answer I could give was, “My contact list.” Was my 10-year old business really only a list of colleagues and clients? And how much could that be worth?!
I have many colleagues who would say, “Yes, that is what an independent consulting practice is.” And I would have to agree with them. But what happens if I want to take some time off? Or retire? Or am unable to work and still need money? Was it OK that things just stopped?
I wasn’t so sure I really wanted to do anything more than what I was already doing, but the questions still nagged me. After all this effort, was there really nothing more than a few thousand phone numbers and addresses to leave behind?
The BIG AH-HA was that if I was going to do anything more, I would have to clearly distinguish between myself and my business. See it as an entity unto itself. And isn’t this what I have been saying all along? That an organization is like a living thing?!
Yes, I gave it birth, but it has a life of its own! I began to realize that I would need to ‘parent’ my business. Let it grow. Nuture it. Not be it. As Gerber says, “Your business is not your life.”