Thursday, February 07, 2008

Me Working

Not long ago I re-read "The E-Myth, Revisited" by Michael Gerber. If you are a freelancer, self-employed consultant, or just the chief cook and bottle washer for your company, you need to read this book. If you are considering leaving your corporate job for any of the above, you need to read it twice.

Before going any further, I just want to assure you that, for me anyway, I love working for myself. It's actually a heck of a lot of fun. It's just also a heck of a lot of work.

When most people daydream about starting their own business (myself included here), all they can think about is working on interesting projects -- do the work and get paid -- without having a boss or some corporate bigwig dictating to them how it's to be done. They do the math (incorrectly) "Let's see, if I just charge $50 per hour at 40 hours per week, 50 weeks per year, I'll clear $100,000 in the first year. Even after taxes, I'll be doing better than I am right now! If I charge $100 per hour, then I can just work part time -- with no boss! What a deal!"

OK, the math is correct, but there are a few underlying assumptions which are faulty. The E-Myth warns about this. If you have a business, you spend 75% of your working day on the business -- prospecting for clients, doing marketing, bookkeeping, networking, etc (or managing the people who do those same tasks). You spend the other 75% of your time doing the work for which you get paid.

Yes, you, in the second row. What? The breakdown of time I've specified adds up to 150% of a working day?

Huh, imagine that. Obviously, I've made a mistake somewhere. The total should be closer to 200%. Ah well, I'll check my math after I get some work done...

So, what did you think of the E-Myth?

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