The Technician vs The Entrepreneur
Why Being Really Good at What You do Can Cause Your Private Practice to Fail
I recently re-read (more accurately, I re-listened on Autible) an amazing book about entrepreneurs and small business. As I was reading the book I found myself saying things like, “No wonder it didn’t work” or “Oh my gosh, I’ve made that exact mistake.” And even, “I need to set my technician-self down, and let my entrepreneurial-self take over the drivers seat.
The amazing, truly helpful book I’m referring to is titled, “The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It” by Michael E. Gerber. I feel this book is a must read for anyone aspiring to own their own business or run their own healing practice. Too many healers focus so much on the technical skills of their craft and want to help “everyone” that they end up helping very few because no one knows about them.
In the book Michael covers many concepts and strategies, too many to cover in one post. So the one I want to share with you today is about the three different types of “people” who go into business.
These are as follows: The Technician, The Manager, and The Entrepreneur. Each one of these personalities exist within all of us. I believe our success depends on how balanced these three aspects of are character are.
The Technician is that part of ourselves who identifies as the thing we do. This is the part that we trained to become the best, most sought after massage therapist at the spa or clinic, adept at various specialized types of massage, e.g. lomi lomi, hot stone, reiki, cranio-sacral, thai and sports specific massage.
I would say my “technician” side is the one who makes it so hard to work for someone else. When I used to work at a spa, I found myself saying, “I can do a better job at running this spa. This spa would be hard-pressed to find another therapist as good as me. Why aren’t they more appreciative of my abilities?”
Ozro Note: Looking back, my younger self was quite arrogant 🙂
Inevitably this led me to leaving that spa and starting my own practice. Michael E. Gerber refers to this as having an “entrepreneurial seizure.” It’s that moment when the entrepreneurial side of you wakes up and says, “Hey, I can do this, I should do this, and I will do this.”
What happens next is the downfall of more than 80% of small business in America. I personally have experienced this downfall over and over again, and it wasn’t until I read this book that I began to understand why it had been so hard. I realized that I had put the “technician” side of me in the driver’s seat, and left the “manager” and “entrepreneur” on the sidelines to argue about what is to be done.
Put Your Entrepreneurial Spirit in the Driver’s Seat and Let the Technician and Manager Act in Supportive Roles
Before I move on, let me explain the three different personalities… I’ve briefly explained the technician, now here’s a short explanation of the manager and the entrepreneur. Remember, all three exist within you, it’s just a matter of which personality is in the driver’s seat.
The “manager” is that part of us who likes to organize and structure things. The manager is the one who goes to Target and buys plastic bins and labels to organize the office or garage. The manager pays attention to the past and how to keep things running smoothly.
The “entrepreneur” is the creator and innovator. It’s that part of you who loves to dream and create new things. It’s that part of you who pushed you to go out on your own. The entrepreneur looks to the future and loves a challenge. It’s your free spirit and willingness to try new and exciting things.
Take the example of someone building a house.
The entrepreneur is the one with the vision. He/She imagines the cool design, the vibrant colors, and the unique functionality of the home. Once the house is complete, the entrepreneur is more than happy to move on and create another amazing home. The manager is the one who organizes the schedule, coordinates between the plumbers and the electricians, and makes sure all the tasks are done in the right order. The manager would also be content to live in the same house forever. The technician would be the contractor building the house, getting their hands dirty and doing the actual building.
As you can see, each personality has an important role to play.
Michael, the author of the book, points out that many entrepreneurs start out as excellent technicians who start to think and feel that they want to have their own business. As a massage therapist, many clients may have told them they should start their own spa or clinic because they are so good at what they do, and it’s at about this time when the “entrepreneurial seizure” hits. They think they can do it all, and better than the company they just quit. (This happened to me, I was that massage therapist.)
So the practitioner goes to work and starts their own practice. The biggest mistake is that they don’t consider what it will take to manage the business or what is required to constantly be creative and innovative.
If you are a natural healer who wants to start your own business, or if you are already running your own practice, it’s not enough to just be good at what you do- or in the terms that we are using now, to be a good, or even great, technician. You will also need to step into the role of a manager, to do outreach to potential clients, follow-up with them, schedule appointments, and set up appropriate pricing and package programs. And you will also need to be the entrepreneur- to be able to take a step back and look at the big picture, to understand the image and brand you want to project, to plan for the future and structure a life you love and enjoy!
A technician who hasn’t groomed their inner “manager” and “entrepreneur” ends up working all the time and struggling to just get ahead, even though they may be fantastic at what they do. The E-Myth book does a much better job at explaining it than I did! The example in the book tells the story of a pie shop owner and her difficulties. I highly recommend you get the book yourself and take time to read through it once. Then a second time with a note pad and pen. After reading it, you’ll definitely see the correlation and how it applies to us as holistic practitioners.
Q & A – Questions and Actions
Have you ever experienced an “Entrepreneurial Seizure”? What is the biggest challenge you’ve experienced trying to start your own wellness practice? What is your biggest roadblock to starting your own wellness practice?
Head on over to Amazon and order a copy of The E-Myth today. Read through it at least twice. Once all the way through and a second time with a notebook and pen.
Share your experience with running your own practice.