A4F 108: Interview with Michael Gerber of E-Myth Worldwide and In The Dreaming Room
M ichael Gerber, author, entrepreneur, and acclaimed business consultant, talks to us about what happens when Freelancers are ready to start growing their business into a true company; the kind of business that allows its owner to touch the world in a way that is truly meaningful to them and allows him the freedom to pursue those interests, both inside and outside of work, that he feels are the most important. If you’ve reached the point in your own ventures where you’re ready for this kind of growth, then definitely listen to this interview.
Michael founded E-Myth Worldwide in 1977 and is author of the E-Myth line of books. His book, The E-Myth Revisited, is the 5th best-selling business book of all time. Michael mentions in this interview that in 2006, E-Myth Worldwide had helped 52,000 businesses in 145 countries, but in re-posting this interview, I can tell you that as of July 2012 that number had risen to over 70,000.
We reached out to Michael early on in our show as we were having some interesting internal conversations of our own (more on that in a moment). Michael started E-Myth Worldwide with the goal of helping businesses break out of the ruts they have created for themselves and to move into “true, meaningful growth.” This means that his goal was not simply to help business owners figure out how to grow their business, but to help them transform their business into the enterprise that they truly wanted. First, by helping the business owner to re-imagine their business as the business they want it to be, and second, by then pulling the business owner outside of the business, to be able to work ON their business rather than constantly buried IN their business. The owner can then finally start to make the changes necessary to grow their businesses, and their lives, in the direction they want to go. We also get into more of this in the next episode, a roundtable discussion between Bob, Chris and Ken about this interview.
Now, as to those ‘internal conversations’ we had mentioned. At this point in their careers, both Chris and Bob had been heavily discussing where to take their businesses next. A storyteller and cartoonist at heart, Chris was unhappy with the type of business-centric work he was immersed in day in and day out. Bob, on the other hand, loved the work he was doing, but was stuck economically; he had reached a point where he couldn’t reasonably raise his rates any higher but couldn’t work any more hours either. After Chris had read the book, E-Myth Revisited , he was ready to throw in the towel on freelancing entirely and chase his own muse. Bob and Ken on the other hand, weren’t too sure. So, Chris decided to give Michael Gerber a call and see what advice the E-Myth Man himself would give.
The fact of the matter is that most freelancers do not just do the work they sell. Freelancers are also their own marketers, accountants, managers, shipping department, legal department, salesmen and yes, even their own janitors. When they aren’t working on paid projects, they’re looking for clients, or they’re billing for work completed, or they’re quoting new jobs. With all of this work, how do you find time to run a business? How do you find time to strategize the path you want to take? Also, how do you find time to do more of the work that actually makes a profit and less of the ‘time killers’? The real question is this: Are you building a business that gives you work that you are passionate about, that is profitable, and that provides you with the lifestyle that you want for yourself? If you are not, take the time to start considering what changes need to be made in order to achieve your goals.
So, what’s your take on all of this? If you want our take, you don’t want to miss the next episode.
As almost a side note, it seems that Michael may have completely cut ties with E-Myth Worldwide in the near past. In a series of posts entitled Systematized Mediocrity, the new management talks about how they found themselves without the visionary leadership that E-Myth is so well known for helping their clients to create and build upon. Emphasis in the consulting end also was leaning heavier and heavier into the systems creation end, and they found it necessary to redouble their efforts into helping their clients focus on discovering their ideal businesses, not just set up systems. What I found so compelling in this is that this seems to run parallel with the reason that Michael left E-Myth Worldwide in the first place; to start a new venture that focused on helping entrepreneurs discover their ideal business. So, take it for what that is. Dropping systems in place is important, but ultimately a waste of your resources time if you aren’t building the business you want.
A lot has changed in Michael’s business since 2006. He has collected all of his ventures under one umbrella, The Michael E Gerber Companies.
The Dreaming Room is now online as part of his Origination brand. Now, instead of 3 day retreats, Dreaming Rooms run for three hours a day over 12 weeks by trained Facilitators rather than Michael himself.
Michael’s Podcast did come out, but it looks like it wrapped up in 2011, but contain the sort of business gold that is contained in his books, so worthy of a listen. https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/michael-e.-gerber-talk-radio/id381173409
Of the books he’s written, these two are likely to be of most interest to our listeners:
- E-Myth Revisited
- Awakening the Entrepreneur Within
- The Power Point (out of print, but if you can find it, an incredibly insightful and inspiring read).
Note: for this interview, Michael called into a conference call from an airport on his cell phone and Chris skyped in. The service then recorded both sides of the conversation and we downloaded it. It worked fine in a pinch, but accounted for the poor audio quality.