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Do You Work “On” or “In” Your Business?

Do you work on your business or in your business? I learned much about this concept from the E-Myth people, particularly Michael Gerber’s book The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It. The premise is that we can’t grow our business if we spend all our time doing the work in the business; i.e., being the technicians or doers. We have to learn and utilize management and entrepreneurial skills to build the business. Your goal should be to have your business work for you, not you working for it.

So, is all your time spent “doing” the business?

Here are four ways to strive toward working on your business:

1. Develop a clear vision about the path your company will take. This clarity is critical for you and for any people that you hire, whether full-time or on a project basis.

2. Take time to work on your business. I’ve heard from numerous quilters in business – longarm quilters to commission art quilters – that you need to spend two-to three hours marketing your business for every hour you spend fabricating your art. The best approach here is to set aside the time that works for you to do this. It could be three hours every morning or it could be every Monday and Tuesday. And sometimes you need to try working on your business in a different surrounding. I have a friend who goes to the local café each week to work on her business. The goal is set a time consistently to do his.

3. Look for ways to create systems in your business. This could be anything from a system to contact potential buyers to a system to process orders. Systems make a difference in how much time you don’t spend as a technician or doer.

4. Work on yourself. In addition to spending time working on your business, you need to work on yourself. The late Jim Rohn said, “Work harder on yourself than you do on your job. The major value in life is not what you get. The major value in life is what you become.” And, who you become as a person spills over into your business.

The International Association of Professional Quilters offers resources and networking opportunities for you to create a success from your quilting business. Learn about all the benefits of IAPQ membership and join here.

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One Response to “Do You Work “On” or “In” Your Business?”

  1. Susan Purney Mark said:

    I couldn’t agree more with each of those points, #1, especially! Even in a one-person workplace, a vision is so important. I often struggle with this because I have many different hats: teacher, author, designer etc., each having different focus and pulling me in dfferent directions!
    I like the idea of #2, setting aside time each day or week to do the “business” stuff, it can really suck up time if you let it.
    thanks for the interesting post!

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