Are You Building Yourself a Business or a Job?

Are You Building Yourself a Business or a Job? by Mark Bullock

{5:00 minutes to read} A number of years ago, a fellow by the name of Michael Gerber wrote a book called The E-Myth Revisited.

Michael relayed the story of a baker who had started his own bakeshop and found himself essentially to be a chef, cook and bottle washer. After going out and shaking the trees to get business through the door, he was busy taking and fulfilling orders. While he was baking, he didn’t have time to handle the logistics of operating the business. Michael’s Gerber’s contention was that the baker didn’t have a business; he built himself a job.

We see this fairly pervasively amongst solo operators, but also in small, professional service firms.

Whether you’re an attorney or a CPA, you need to recognize that what you have is a business, not just a practice. As a business owner, you need to put the time, energy and focus into developing and managing your business – equally, if not more so – than actually practicing your craft. This is especially true if you don’t have enough clients or enough paying work to sustain the lifestyle that you desire.

When I was first started studying marketing years ago, I bought a marketing and consulting workshop by David Frey in a book of CDs called Consulting & Coaching Marketing Boot Camp. One of his premises was to realize that if you’re a consultant or coach (and this goes for any practicing professional), you’re not just in the business of being a consultant, attorney, CPA or anything else. You’re in the business of marketing that practice. It requires regularly stepping back and shifting your perspective to one of:

  • “It’s my job to bring in the business.”
  • “I’m the one responsible for making sure the books get taken care of.”
  • “I have to make sure the bills get paid.”

You can resist that. You can be upset by it. You can even be resentful of the fact that you have to do all of these things aside from practicing your craft. But the reality is – that’s the reality. You’ve got a business to run, maintain and grow. Whether writing blog articles, sending newsletters, going to networking events, or checking in with your centers of influence, whatever tasks that are required, you can embrace the fact that it has to get done. Either you can do it, or you can hire others to do it, such as a virtual assistant.

If the cash flow and the profit level is such that you can do that, great; but to get started, sometimes you have to rely on yourself. In other cases, there’s the realization that you just can’t pedal any faster. You have to get other people involved.

As soon as the phoneBlogger service presented itself as a service that could help our clients, Vik and I knew we would need help. Enter Marta and Stacey; now, there are close to 20 people involved in Practice Marketing, Inc., and most of them are on the side of things. That’s the only way we could have grown the business – and it has grown significantly.

It’s a professional services company, just like a law firm, CPA firm or financial services practice, in the fact that we have a defined service that we provide through the company with If we didn’t have other people involved, there’s just no way that Vik and I could do it. Whether by outsourcing, contractors or employees, it’s the only way that you can grow beyond just building yourself a job.

Do you find yourself in a catch 22, where you need to hire or outsource but don’t have the structure or cash flow in place? If you’re not ready for the service, start small and get a virtual assistant. Give them the highest-leverage tasks – tasks that would eat up a lot of your time, don’t have a great Return on Investment (ROI), but which absolutely have to be done. Are you in the business of marketing your business?

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Mark Bullock
Telephone: (631) 754-0800



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