Success Tips: 7 Principles You Can Apply Today That Made This Man $10M!

In this episode, David Long (on of America’s top 1% income earners!) shares his success tips: the 7 principles that you can duplicate that made him millions!

Tips For Success: David’s 7 Principles – Episode Highlights:

  • How David Long turned his life around – from losing his house and moving back to his parents, to starting a company from the garage and growing it to a $10M annual revenue machine
  • The 7 actionable principles behind David’s success that you can start applying right now to your business and life
  • The secrets behind what makes managers, leaders and entrepreneurs truly great
  • How to achieve all this, and be able to take 22 weeks off a year!

The 7 Success & Leadership Principles Of Today’s Guest

25 years ago, David Long was two weeks away from losing his house to foreclosure. He managed to sell his house at the last minute, and moves back to his parents house with his wife and tail tucked between his legs.

In just a couple of years, he had changed jobs seven times, and the job he was currently interviewing for had so many applicants that the interviewing manager announced that the initial salary will be cut by 25% – not enough to plug David’s leaking ship.

Everything he tried seem to have failed and crumbled between his fingers. He was desperate to find a way out of his parents house, and out of the financial hold that he dug. But fast-forward to 2014… David’s company, ‘My Employees’, is projected to make over $10 million in sales this year.

David Long

Clearly, a lot of happened in 25 years.

Today, David is in the top 1% of income makers in the entire United States. He takes an average of 22 weeks of every year, which he spends with his wife, family, and friends at his beach house, traveling the world, and riding his bike from coast to coast.

On today’s episode, David shares the seven key principles that allowed him to become a top manager and leader – two key skills when trying to build a great company.

You may scroll to the top of this post and click the “play” button for the entire story behind his business, or carry on reading to find out his top success tips and seven principles for becoming a top manager and leader.

The R.E.W.A.R.D.S. Principles

David’s seven principles for becoming a top 10% manager or entrepreneur are can be memorized with the acronym R.E.W.A.R.D.S.:

  • Reconnaissance
  • Education
  • Winners Emerge
  • Attitude
  • Recognition
  • Duplication
  • Success.

Let’s review each one in detail:

Businessman Looking Through Binoculars

1. Reconnaissance

Reconnaissance, or recon, as called in the military, is all about figuring out if you have the right people in your team – both managers (if you have them), and employees.

Research shows that there is a ratio of 10:1 between actively engaged and actively disengaged in world-class companies. In the average company, on the other hand, the ratio drops to 2 engaged employees for every 1 disengaged.

Here’s a visual way to look at it that will make a lot of sense:

Diagram showing the difference in engagement ratio between leading companies and average companies
Photo courtesy of MyEmployee and David Long

Now, a research by the Gallop Research group concluded that having fellow associates that are committed to doing a great job is among the top 10 things that make employees and team members happy.

Every disengaged employee is weighing your business down and slowing everyone else around him (even if it’s just you and a disengaged VA!). And this is what recon is all about:

  1. Find the disengaged members of your team
  2. Either fix the issue, or let them go
  3. Repeat

Or in David’s own words – “Hire, Train, Prune, Repeat!”

Pile of Books

2. Education

“Without consistently learning and educating yourself and your staff, you will become roadkill to someone more ambitious than you”, says Long in today’s episode.

Sounds harsh? Maybe, but it also makes great sense.

David attributes most of his success to being an avid reader and listener, and for instilling this trait in all of his employees. In fact, he runs a book club at his company, and pays people to participate!

“Say what?!”, you ask? Yeah, it’s pretty unique. You can hear David talk about it in the interview at 3:20. The Important thing for you to know, is that magic happens in Dave’s book club meetings:

  1. Employees open up and share personal experiences
  2. People connect on a much deeper level, and new, more meaningful relationships are formed
  3. Incredible, life-changing, personal growth happens
  4. And of course … people learn, A LOT!

The other part of education in Long’s system, is being a part of a mastermind.

Now, masterminds have been discussed many times in this podcast that I’m not going to go into more details about them. You can find more information about them, including a template for setting one up both on IIP034: Live an Enjoyable Life AND Make Millions, The Story of Jaime Tardy – The Eventual Millionaire, and in these additional resources provided by Dave.

Man crossing finish line

3. Winners Emerge

This one is pretty simple to explain: When you start providing growth opportunities, for instance – through book clubs – winners start to emerge. You start noticing unpolished diamonds. The ‘W’ in R.E.W.A.R.D.S. is all about noticing these diamond team members, and investing in them, to create your next leaders.

Remember Zig Ziglar’s famous quote?

“You don’t build a business –you build people– and then people build the business.” –Zig Ziglar.

“Winners emerge” is all about noticing these people, and building them.

Positivity vs Negativity - Two-Way Street Sign

4. Attitude

“If you at the world through a clear glass, everything looks clear. But if you sprinkle some dust in that glass, everything will look dirty and cloudy.

“And that is your attitude: If you have a bad attitude, every little thing that happens to you in your life is perceived as [someone is] trying to get me. And you can’t have that in your team. It’s destructive. If someone’s attitude stinks – get rid of him”, says Dave.

“How about family members? friends? relatives?”, I ask.

“If you surround yourself by people with bad attitude it’s going to rub off on you. The top 5 people you hang out with better have a great attitude, or DROP THEM from your list. I don’t care if it’s a relative. Limit your time with that individual if he’s toxic.

“Otherwise, they will wear you down and destroy you as a business person”

I could go on and write more about this, but I think David made this point crystal clear (get the pun?)

Post it sticker saying "good job"

5. Recognition

“65% of people in America say that they have received no recognition from their boss in the last year. Not one time in the whole year! “ Dave tells me.

But why is recognition so important? “What you recognize is what’s going to get repeated. What I brag on, is what I’ll see more of. That costs you nothing. It costs you not a single dime to do that. “

Recognition, David explains (at 27:13), is what keeps people engaged. It’s what makes them do a great job. It’s what makes “the game” worth playing.

And speaking of the game… the rules need to be clear. Your employees need to know what you hold important, and to what metrics will they be held accountable to.

If you want to learn how it’s done at David’s company, MyEmployees, listening to what Long shares between 27:40 – 31:45. I got to admit, I never thought about recognition this way before I heard this!

Shark showing his teeth

6. Duplication

David has developed in his company what he calls “the shark’s teeth leadership development program”:

Sharks have multiple rows of teeth, so when a shark loses a teeth, a new one immediately fills its place. And Long has modeled his company around this idea:

Every once in a while, he will ask each of his managers two simple questions:

  1. If (god forbid) something happens to you and you can’t be at work – who’s your #1 guy that can replace you?
  2. What are you doing right now to continue developing him/her?

This does a couple of things:

  1. Your most promising employees get invested in, increasing their engagement and their loyalty to you, as well as their value.
  2. You encourage the creation of systems (that was discussed extensively on Getting Real & The E Myth Revisited and on Standard Operating Procedure Template For Systemizing Your Business) that provide you with scalability and protect you from single points of failure
  3. Most important – when it’s done from your first employee and onwards – it creates a company like Dave’s – where he can take 22 weeks off and not worry about a single thing!

Huge graph showing endless positive trend

7. Success

What is your focus? How do you define ultimate success? What matters to you?
For Dave, it’s not the money. It’s growing people; employees, colleagues, friends and family. It’s caring, reaching out, and affect people in a positive way. It’s leaving a lasting impact.

What is success for you? Comment bellow and share, and then… go get it! 🙂

Mentioned Resources


I Need Your Help!

If you haven’t already, I would love if you could be awesome and take a minute to leave a quick rating and review of the podcast on iTunes by clicking on the link below. It’s the most amazing way to help the show grow and reach more people!

Leave a review for Meron’s podcast!

Affiliate Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links. There is no additional cost to you, and I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase.

Photo credit: Pile of Books – © chrisdorney –

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Standard Operating Procedure Template For Systemizing Your Business

In this episode Ralph Quintero and I break down the process of systemizing your business, and share a standard operating procedure template that you can use to systemize your business.

Systemize Your Business With This Standard Operating Procedure Template – Episode Highlights:

  1. How to break down complex procedures into documented systems that you can hand over and delegate.
  2. An SOP template that you can use to start systemizing your business – today!
  3. Online tools you can use to both document your business, and manage your projects.
  4. Recommended books and resources about systemization and standard operating procedures.
  5. A free Standard Operating Procedure template for you to use to start systemizing your own business!

Businessman jumping over the mountains

We Want To Help You!

My cohost on today’s show, Ralph Quintero, has helped some of the world’s biggest brands improve their systems and become more scalable, efficient, and successful.

Today, Ralph and I want to offer our help to the listeners of the Inspiring Innovation podcast:

We would like to help you take the first step toward systemizing your entrepreneurial business. It will be 100% free of charge, and it is our gift to you for listening to the show (as well as a great way to celebrate the show reaching episode 80!)

All you have to do in order for us to help you take your business to the next step is this:

  1. Share this post on your favorite social media
  2. Leave a comment below saying what excites you the most about systemizing your business
  3. Email me at [email protected] and tell me: What is the most complicated, most time-consuming, or most annoying task that you have? What task would love to systemize and get off of your shoulders? (Even if you don’t believe it’s possible!)

We will choose a listener from the emails and help him – live on the show – to kickstart his systemization project (or take it one step further, if the project already started!)

Benefits Of Standard Operating Procedures

By having SOP’s in place, you drastically improve the agility of your business; New employees can get started immediately, with very little training – if any. You can hire less qualified personnel (equals: less expensive, and easier to find), while maintaining a consistent level of quality in your tasks.

Dictionary definition of a process

Even if you are the only employee in the business, having an SOP in place will free your mind from remembering technical details, and free you to spend more effort and thought on the business rather than in the business.

An extra benefit for the entrepreneurs amongst you, is that SOP’s are easy to be copied between different businesses and ventures, so the return on the work you will put in when writing them once will be far greater.

What Processes Can Be Systemized Into Standard Operating Procedures?

Considering the fact that everything that happens in McDonald’s is a result of the system – from offering you an apple pie while you order, to how the tomatoes and lettuce are organized inside the bun – almost anything can be systemized.

When it comes to entrepreneurship and online businesses, you will commonly be looking at things such as:

  • Social media tasks (sharing stuff on social media, handling inbound social media, handling outbound social media, etc.)
  • Handling incoming calls, emails, and inquiries
  • Finding and researching potential leads, customers, podcast interviewees, JV opportunities, etc.
  • Streamlining webinars – from taking care of the technical part and the set up, and all the way to scripting it and having someone else run the entire show
  • Handling service/support calls & emails
  • Creating and reproducing content
  • Creating graphics and other creative
  • Search engine optimization and planning
  • Technical management; buying domains, setting up WordPress sites, uploading files, updating plug-ins, managing settings, etc.
  • And much, much more

What about more complicated processes?

Icon of man confused when looking at a complicated process

As Ralph Quintero explained in today’s episode, some processes require “exploratory procedures”. Unpredictable by nature, they are quite hard to break down to a yes-no algorithm. So what can you do about it?

First, you reduce the “before” and “after” around those exploratory procedures to the minimum by systemizing as much as possible of what needs to happen around those procedures. Remember, an 85% systemized and documented procedure is far better than 0%! 

Another way to look at it, was suggested by James Schramko on a previous episode: Many times when something can’t be systemized, he noted, it is because the input going into the process is unpredictable and inconsistent. In such cases, putting a system in place that will make the input more structured, consistent, and predictable will often allow to get rid of the “exploratory procedure” and create a seamless process.

An example for this is podcast editing. I previously was unable to systematize the post-production of my podcast. Editing the show required making decisions of what to cut and what to leave in, decisions that only I could make. This meant that only I could edit my own show, which was (of course) a terrible waste of time.

James suggested that the problem does not truly rely in the complexity of editing, but rather in the inconsistent structure of my raw recordings. By applying a new planning & outlining procedure into my podcasting process, and defining an episode structure –  episodes became predictable and consistent, and editing them finally became delegation-able!

A post it saying "Simplify"

Ask yourself: what complicated process am I struggling with, that would have been a lot easier if what comes into that process was more consistent? Then put a system in place for that input, before trying to systemize the exploratory procedure!

How To Create Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) That Work?

An operating procedure’s quality is measured by:

  • How detailed it is – is all the information that’s required to complete the task included in each step?
  • Simplicity – is the standard operating procedure written in a clear, understandable, step-by-step manner?
  • Actionable – are the actions required clear? Could a 15 years old read and act upon the steps?
  • Measurable – are the expected results/deliverables of the procedure clear?

Other factors determining the success of the SOP include:

Relevance – is the SOP up to date? Standard operating procedures should be living documents, not carved in stone. This is much easier to achieve in this day and age with the many online tools available at our disposal, some of which are reviewed at the end of this post.

Usability – is the SOP formatted in a way helpful to completing the tasks?
For instance, for a technical procedure that is to be completed inside a specific piece of software; does the SOP includes screenshots that help the assignee follow the steps? If appropriate, is the SOP in video or audio format? Is it formatted in a way that’s easy to follow when actually conducting the task?

My Standard Operating Procedure Template

I try to create an SOP for every task that repeats itself in my business more than once.

The format below encapsulates everything that needs to be known about a task, in order to complete it successfully. It is a combination of what has been working in my business and what has been working in Ralph’s businesses.

You can download it as a printable PDF/editable Word document here: Download The Standard Operating Procedure Template [It’s FREE!](Remember to adjust the template to fit the needs of you, and your business.)

Hand with red marker pen and check list box

Task title

Each task has a short title encapsulating what the task is about. Note: Keep it short. The title doesn’t need to encapsulate the “how” or the “why”.

To clarify this, I’ll give you an example: Let’s say that I have a task of defining the title, description, subtitle, and release date of a podcast episode. In Inspiring Innovation, we call this “defining the episode’s metadata”… So this task will be titled “Episode Metadata”, not “define title and description for episode”!

Similarly, the task of taking the show notes I wrote and creating a WordPress post out of them isn’t titled “copy show notes from Google Drive and paste them in WordPress in a new post and stylize it”, but rather “Create WordPress post”.

Task owner

For every task, even before it is assigned, is is known and defined in advance what type of employee will run the task. This is defined by the task owner, and examples are: project manager, audio editor, transcriber, graphic editor, admin, etc.

This allows any manager (in my case, Julie or me) to assign a task when it is to be completed to an appropriate employee, without reading through the entire workflow and figuring out time and time again, “who’s this for? who can do this?”

It also allows everyone on our virtual team to search for open and unassigned tasks relevant to their role, assign it to themselves and get going automatically, instead of us needing to manage those assignments manually.

I mentioned on some previous episodes that we are using Asana to manage our systems and projects. Since Asana doesn’t have a “task owner” field (only an “assignee” – which is a specific person, not a role) I thought I’d mention how we handle this field:

We achieve this by adding tags to the task. For instance, we would add the tag #transcriber to mark the task as owned by the transcriber role. We begin owner tags with a ‘#’ to differentiate the tag from other tags (such as @pendingApproval, using the @ to mark a ‘task status’ tag).

Task Timing

Every task needs to take place in a specific timing – activated either by a specific trigger, or by a predefined frequency.

For instance, the “Create WordPress post” task I mentioned earlier, is triggered by the completion of the “write show notes” task. But our task for blocking IP addresses of people that are trying to hack into our systems, titled “Block Offending IP’s”, is a task that takes place every morning, or in other words – is activated by frequency, in this case “daily” – without any other external trigger.

Task assignee

Since we use Asana, our SOP’s and tasks live in the same place, together. The SOP is saved in a template project, that we duplicate upon need. For instance, as I shared in this post, all the tasks for creating a podcast episode from start to finish exist in a template project that we duplicate every week for that week’s episode.

So our SOP’s become the actual tasks that are assigned to people on my team to work on. Meaning, it’s not a separate operational manual, but actually becomes a living task. This adds another field to my SOP, that wasn’t relevant when operating procedures were kept separately from task management systems: the assignee.

The assignee is the specific person, not role, who is in charge of completing this instance of this task (even if some steps of this task are to be completed by someone other than the assignee, the assignee holds full responsibility for the successful and timely completion of the task).

Task due date

Just like with “task assignee”, since all our SOP’s become tasks in Asana, every task has a due date. This is, of course, the last possible/acceptable date by which this task is to be completed.

The assignees are empowered to complete their tasks as early as possible, obviously!

Task notes

The task notes are used to quickly describe the context of the task; what is this about? what is this for? For example:

“This task is about creating a shareable image that we can post on our social media accounts to promote our latest post”

The notes section is crucial both for the assignee and for the manager.  For the assignee, it orients them before they begin a task. For the manager, is allows quick and easy management of tasks, as it saves them from reading the entire workflow to find out what the task is.

Without a good “notes” section, you’ll find that the task “titles” become very lengthy!

Expected deliverables/results

This field functions as “the bottom line” of the task’s definition. It describes, as clearly as possible, what are the expected results of completing this task successfully, or what deliverable files/products should the assignee end up with.

For example:

“Expected results: a new post is created inside WordPress, including the show notes I wrote, proofread, stylized, tagged, and with pictures”

Another example could be:

“Expected deliverables: Excel spreadsheet attached to this task including the results of the SEO keyword research”

Having the “expected deliverables/results” field is useful both for providing a view of the endgame to the assignee, allowing them to quickly make sure they haven’t missed anything before submitting the task, as well as for the manager – who gets a quick birds-eye view over the endpoints of the task.

Estimated duration

This field is something new that I am implementing. The sole purpose is to give a ballpark both for the manager and to the assignee of how long this task should take. This allows assignees to know if the task is taking too long – and ask for help, as well as helps the manager spot inefficient employees – without needing to understand the task itself.

The reason I am adding this to my documentation and standard operating procedures is that after one of my employees resigned, I had to take on some of his tasks. I quickly found that tasks that took him an entire day, took me 75% less.

How easy it would’ve been to spot this, if my original SOP template included this field? How much time and money could I have saved? A lot!!!


OK, this is the meat 🙂 The workflow is the step-by-step, turn by turn, explanation of how to complete the task. This should be (as mentioned above in this post) as simplified and un-technical as possible.

A standard operating procedure / flow chard schema

While everything else determines the “context” of the task – who completes it? When is it to be completed? What should be the results of it? – This is the only part of the task actually explaining HOW the task is to be done.

This is the ingredient that creates the consistency and scalability that systems offer, and allows you to stop doing the technical work – and delegate it to someone else!

For example:

  1. Log in to WP account at . Use LastPass for login credentials
  2. Click on Posts
  3. Click “Add New”
  4. Insert following post data:
    1. Title: IIP – Draft
    2. Select Category: Podcast
    3. Copy “default code to place in every draft” from the bottom of this task, and paste it in the WordPress post
  5. Click “Save Draft”
  6. Once the page reloads, click on “Get Shortlink”. Post the shortlink in this task.
    10 … etc.

Task’s “IFTTT”

Just like every task should have “task’s timing”, defining what are the triggers that prompt the starting of the task, every task should have the endpoints defined as well. In other words: for every task, you should define what happens once the task is completed, whether successfully or with error? IFTTT, standing for “if this, then that”, is that endpoint definition.

This is where you define stuff like:

  • “if completed successfully, change task status to ‘pending approval'”
  • “if completed successfully, Mark task as complete”
  • “if you believe changes are to be made to the workflow, contact anyone from the managing team and discuss the issue”
  • “if you receive an error message, stop immediately and contact tech support / your supervisor”
  • etc.

Basically, IFTTT defined how a task “behaves” in your organizational world, and how it affects other tasks and people. You could define an IFTTT rule that upon completion of a task, the next task in line is assigned to someone specific (thus automating the “trigger” mechanism, instead of having project managers trigger all tasks manually).

Download the SOP template here

Download my standard operating procedure template by clicking here: Send Me THE SOP Template (PDF & Word)!.

You will be emailed a zip file containing both a printable PDF (for those that want to fill in the tasks by hand, or use the printout to draft procedures in staff meetings) as well as an editable Word file. It’s yours for free.

Tools For Creating Documentation And Standard Operating Procedures

Toolbox with tools. Skrewdriver, hammer, handsaw and wrench.

In the last part of today’s episode, Ralph and I discussed the different tools that can be used to easily manage the systemization and management of your business.

Recommended documentation tools:

  • Google Drive – creating your SOP documents in Google Drive allows you to easily share those documents would anyone around the world, as well as provide an online environment to edit and manage revisions, leave comments, and improve the systems.
  • Evernote – you can create a shared notebook, and save each SOP as a note. From this point on it pretty much behaves the same like managing in Google Drive.
  • ScreenFlow – every time I need to show an employee how a process is done, I can simply do it on my computer and have ScreenFlow record every single mouse click. This creates a video documentation of how the process is done. I could just as easily ask the employee to convert this to text SOP as well, and save precious time on writing it. The Windows alternative to ScreenFlow is Camtasia.
  • Jing or Skitch – both apps allow capturing and annotating screenshots, allowing you to capture screens showing where actions should be taken, parameters to be used, corrections that need to be made, etc. Jing also allows recording short videos, instead of splurging on ScreenFlow/Camtasia.
  • Skype + eCamm recorder/Pamela – Skype is an amazing collaboration tool. But if you are already spending the time on getting online with your employee, and showing them how to do something – why not have that call recorded and used at documentation for future employees? Both eCamm call recorder (for Mac) and Pamela recorder (for Windows) allow you to record Skype calls, including video and screen shares, with a flick of a button.
  • Internal WordPress site/internal wiki – both of these options provide another way to make your systems available to all of your employees via the Internet or your internal network at a central location, as well as providing editing and provisioning tools.

Recommended project management tools:

  1. Asana – Asana is currently my favorite tool. Used by several Fortune 100 companies and entrepreneurs alike, Asana provides a way to build and manage both your SOP’s and projects and tasks all seamlessly in one place. It’s incredibly robust but very agile and takes only minutes to learn. Oh, have I mentioned you get it full-featured for free for up to 15 users? 🙂
  2. Trello – a more visual project management tool then Asana. Ralph praised it in today’s episode. Like Asana, it provides an easy way to assign tasks and have conversations around them. Also like Asana – it’s free!
  3. Basecamp – one of the world’s most famous project management tools for small companies and entrepreneurs. It isn’t free, and in my opinion a lot less fun to use then the above two options, but does deserve being listed nonetheless.

SOP’s And Project Management Mentioned Resources:

In addition to the resources mentioned above, here are the other resources and books we covered in today’s episode,

I Need Your Help!

If you haven’t already, I would love if you could be awesome and take a minute to leave a quick rating and review of the podcast on iTunes by clicking on the link below. It’s the most amazing way to help the show grow and reach more people!

Leave a review for Meron’s podcast!

Affiliate Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links. There is no additional cost to you, and I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase.

Don’t Miss an Episode! Subscribe Below:

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Getting Real & The E Myth Revisited

In this episode, Ralph Quintero and I dissect ‘The E Myth Revisited’ by Michael Gerber, and see how to apply lessons for the book to real life businesses.

Sometimes the universe throws you a curveball. This week was one of those times. With undeniable irony, right after my previous episode about the systems that drive Inspiring Innovation went live – my VA has announced her decision to resign.

Baseball pitcher throwing a ball

At first, I felt confident that the systems I previously shared with you will allow us to make the transition quick, smooth, and easy. However, an in-depth look revealed that those systems where built around specific people with specific skills, not around the processes that had to take place.

Having a system that depends on the specific abilities of a specific individual is still better than having no system – but not by much.

So I decided rebuild my systems – the smart way. I was obviously doing something wrong, but I wasn’t sure what, so I decided to go back to the book that started the systematization journey for so many of my colleagues and friends: “The E Myth, Revisited”.

The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It

The E Myth Revisited: Episode Highlights

  • Why should you care about systemizing your business.
  • Key mistakes that I have made, and how can you avoid them
  • why the E Myth has forced me to reflect and remind myself of the true reasons behind starting my business.
  • Why until you find and define your primary aim your business will never have good systems that can replace you.
  • Why without systems you don’t have a business – but just a glorified job!

Today’s episode is the first in a series of two episodes documenting my transition to (hopefully) better and more scalable systems, following ‘The E Myth Revisited’, as well as advice from my close friend, business mentor, and cohost for these episodes: Ralph Quintro.

It turns out that (like anything else in life), when it comes to building a strong, robust business, understanding where things usually go wrong can prove to be quite helpful in making them go “right”.

So without further adieu, let’s get started… and tackle the elephant in the room:

Why Do Small Businesses Fail?

According to the revisited version of The E Myth, released on October 2004, over 400,000 small businesses in the US close their doors every single year. Considering the current state of economics, and the fact that 10 years after the book has been published, the failure rate hasn’t changed too much – this number is probably higher today than ever.

Hand of drowning businessman

According to Michael Gerber, the author of ‘The E Myth’, most entrepreneurs held a technical job before they set to launch their own business. I had one, and chances are you had one too.

Whether you were an:

  • IT professional
  • graphic designer
  • a salesperson
  • a plumber
  • an accountant
  • a doctor
  • a nurse…

…Or a teacher, engineer, hairdresser, or anything else – chances are you are doing something technical, and that you were damn good at doing that.

But while you were great at what you did, something wasn’t right.

Maybe you hated your job, your colleagues, your boss, your customers, your hours, your dress code, the commute, or anything else about the job. Whatever it was, one bright day, something snapped inside of you. “I’m not carrying on with this shit anymore!”, you found yourself shouting (probably inside your own head).

man with steam coming out of his ears

That moment right there (recognize yourself in that picture?) is what Michael Gerber (the author) calls “the entrepreneurial seizure”. According to Gerber, this is the real reason why most people decide to start their own business and become entrepreneurs.

Oddly, this is also the number one reason why most people fail at creating an amazing business.

Most of us start a business simple as a legal way to kill our boss and get him out of our lives.  So, we usually take the technical things that we already know how to do well, and build an entire business around those things. According to Gerber, most entrepreneurs and small business owners end up recreating their job, just without the part that pissed them off.

But here’s the problem with this approach: a business isn’t just about the technical work that needs to get done. A business also requires us to complete managerial tasks and take care of stuff that is perhaps out of our “technical comfort zone”, like:

  1. Sales
  2. Marketing
  3. Managing employees
  4. Customer support
  5. Financing…

… And a lot more.

As Gerber puts it:

“rather than [knowing the technical work] being [your] greatest single asset … [It] becomes [your] greatest single liability”.

ball and chain holding leg of businessman

By taking the technical job that you did for someone else, and creating your own business around it… You have successfully cloned both your job, as well as tens of other tasks that other people (even if you disliked them) used to do.

Many new entrepreneurs say to this: “I know, but I can do that job better, too”. And perhaps they’re right. But more often than not – the technical job in a new business takes so much of their time, that they never reach all the things that they can do better than others.

It’s impossible for one man to do all the technical work as well as the managerial and entrepreneurial work. There is no way to do everything, and like anything else in life, something has to break.

an Hourglass running our

Bottom line is that most entrepreneurs default to do only the technical work, neglecting everything else… because they don’t have the time to do it. 

The result? An entrepreneur working around the clock in his business, instead of ever working on his business. And so, he can never truly break free, and the business becomes more limiting and consuming than the job he once ran away from. Overworked, under slept, tired, frustrated, and in worse case – in debt.

The REAL Problem With The E-Myth (The Entrepreneur Myth)

We all know the entrepreneur myth. We grew up on it. Hell, I promote it on this show:

The single individual, whom surmounted all of his powers and against all odds, struggles, hardships, and forces of nature – made it to the top. 

How? Well that’s the mythical part of the story.

dirty soldier faceThe mythical entrepreneur who won against all odds.

 The myth tells us that the success is achieved with cutting edge innovation, a burning passion and desire to succeed, and many, many hours of burning the midnight oil. The myth holds the hard work of the individual as the most sacred, and while all mentioned above IS REQUIRED, what’s missing here is working on the right things, and doing so at the right time.

What Are The “Right Things” That Entrepreneurs Should Work On?

  • Building a business that serves a need of your customer… rather than your need of getting rid of your boss.
  • Building a business that’s scalable and can carry on providing consistent experience to your customers as it grows.
  • Building a business that provides you with the lifestyle you dreamed of when you left the 9 to 5 job… rather than a business where you always need to put in twice as many hours as you ever did in corporate!
  • Building a business that frees you to pursue the things that matter most to you… instead of repeating the technical tasks time after time, project after project, to no end.

The only way to achieve these things, which according to ‘The E-Myth’ are the true benefits of entrepreneurship, is to awaken parts of your personality that might have been dormant for a long, long time.

Waking Up Your Dormant Entrepreneur

According to Gerber, when it comes to business, there are three different people that live inside of us at any given moment. In order to understand who these people are, and why they live in our brain rent-free, let’s start with an example (taken from the book):

Fat Guy VS. Skinny Guy

Imagine every single time in your life where you decided to go on a diet, get back to shape, or start running. What were you doing a second before that idea flashed through your mind?

Personally, I get the urge to take better care of my health and of what I eat when I find myself stuffing another Snickers bar down my pie hole while watching Sunday night football.

Someone watching TV with crisps and cola in room
“Jesus Christ, this is the most I ever weighed in my entire life! I get breathless just from walking up the hill when coming back from the supermarket! I really need to get my shit together!!!”
, a voice says inside my head.

You know what I’m talking about, right?…

…That voice is skinny guy.

Man fitness model

Skinny guy is all about health, fitness, vegetables, yoga, and all things that revolve around… well, being skinny. Skinny guy is the voice in our head that makes us go to the sports shop and buy a new pair of running shoes, running clothes, heartbeat monitors, and whatever other accessory that will start collecting dust in our cupboard pretty soon.

But before our new running accessories get some wear and tear, we usually wake up one morning to find that someone else in charge: fat guy.

Fat guy doesn’t like running. Fat guy doesn’t like the gym. Fat guy doesn’t like cold weather, or hot weather, or any weather for that matter. What fat guy wants, is to stay in bed, or maybe crawl to the sofa and watch some TV while eating nachos.

 Couch Potato Eats Popcorn

And as long as fat guy is back in charge, you return to your previous habits (those that woke up skinny guy to begin with).

Do you recognize the struggle between skinny guy and fat guy? Most people do. Since only one of them can be in charge at a given moment, one’s fitness rises and falls on the ability to balance the two.

So what does all this have to do with entrepreneurship? 

In ‘The E Myth’, Gerber explains that just like the never-ending battle between skinny guy and fat guy, when it comes to business we have three different people trying (and failing) to get along together inside our brain:

artwork of technician with tools

The Technician

The technician is the business persona that most of us recognize most easily. As already hinted in this post, the technician is the one that’s getting things done.

The technician does the “actual” work. He’s the part in us that believe that, “if something needs to be done well, then only I can do it.”. And he’s the voice inside our head forever reminding us to “get back to work”.

Only lives in the presence, the technician doesn’t bother himself with neither the past nor the future… he just wants to clear his to-do list!

Beautiful woman with thoughtful look

The Entrepreneur

The entrepreneur lives in the future. It’s the part in us that gets excited about opportunities and “how things can turn out”. It’s the part that asks, “wouldn’t it be great if…?”. It’s the part of us that gets hooked on ideas and envisions the marvelous business we could build out of them, and the impact that would have on our lives.

The entrepreneur is always wondering how things could be made better, but has no regards to the past or present. He lives in the future and spends no effort dealing with the problems that are currently “on the table”.

Give the entrepreneur total control, and you’ll find yourself working at daydreaming rather than anything else 😉

Warehouse manager checking his inventory in a large warehouse

The Manager

The manager is the part in us that likes order. When you find yourself shopping for boxes at home depot, and later rearranging your entire garage into those boxes… you know the manager guy inside you took control.  The manager is the part in you that gets excited by the concept of using a label maker (don’t be ashamed, I love my label maker!).

If the technician lives in the present, and the entrepreneur in the future, you could say the manager lives in the past. He is in charge of reflecting, analyzing, and making sure things would go better the next time. In a way, he’s always cleaning up after the entrepreneur.

Come to think of it, without the entrepreneur, the manager will have nothing to do. And without the manager, the technician doesn’t know what to do, and when to do it. And finally – without a technician, nothing would ever truly get done.

Looking at it this way, it’s pretty obvious that you need all three of them in order to create a successful business. But just like Skinny Guy VS Fat Guy, only one of these personas can be in charge at a given moment. So the problem becomes balancing the three.

Since most of us are used to being “the technician” in our 9 to 5 career, we usually let him take control of everything, not leaving room for the other two. BIG MISTAKE.

As you can see, as long as the technician is running our business we will always be stuck on the hamster wheel.

The technician inside us will never build systems for other technicians to follow and replace him, because, “who has time for that?”. And so… Most entrepreneurs struggle with building a business that lets them grow and break free.

Woman businesswoman with giant alarm clock

Does Your Business Need To Change?

According to the book, I would say there are three major reasons for you to decide to change your business, and they are:

  1. Financial reasons
    • Is the business making enough money to cover the bills?
    • Is the business making enough money to grow?
    • Is the business making enough money to create the lifestyle you dream dull when you started it?
  2. Freedom reasons
    • Has the business become nothing more than a glorified job?
    • Is the lifestyle that the business provides you actually worse than what you had in the old days of the 9 to 5?
    • Do you have less vacation days than ever, and spend any waking moment thinking about your business?
    • Is the business unable to function without you?
  3. Life aim reasons
    • Is the business helping you achieve your life aim goals?
    • Is it creating the change you envisioned, both in your life, your family’s life, and in the lives of your customers?
    • Does it look and behave like what you wanted it to?

If you answered “no” to any of the above, you, just like me, could benefit from today’s episode, as well as from reading ‘The E Myth’

Scroll to the top of the page and click “play” to listen to today’s episode – you will find out how to move forward from this point and towards creating change. Or come back in a few days for part two of my The E Myth review!

Until part two… Be amazing,

P.S. What did you think about today’s post/episode? Agree? Disagree? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below… I’d love to know 🙂

Mentioned Resources:

I Need Your Help!

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Leave a review for Meron’s podcast!

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Photo credits: A drowning man’s hand – © Elenathewise –  Mad man – © olly –

IIP078: Chris Brogan On How To Become The Owner Of Your Life

Episode Highlights:

  • Why you cannot (ever) be the owner of your business – before you are the owner of your life
  • How to get over your fears, doubts and excuses, and why failures are so crucial for our success
  • The one and only thing you need to focus on if you want to create a freedom in life through building a business around what you’re passionate about

Today’s Guest

Chris Brogan

Bravery had rewarded me a lot better than operating from fear.Chris Brogan

Do you have a driving passion, whether it’s podcasting, writing, blogging, teaching, Photoshop, graphics, miniature trains, or anything else – but can’t seem to turn that into a thriving business?

Is your 9-5 job putting food on the table, but you’re not enjoying it (to say the least…)? Are your friends telling you that, “that’s just the way things are”?

If you struggle with finding work-life balance that will allow you to become the owner of the business that you want, and you find yourself running from the 9-5 to your errands and obligations, feeling that you don’t even have full control over your own world…

…The implications are that you’re always working in the business and not on your business. That you’re not doing the work that you want to be doing.

What you need is a solid plan to drive growth, become the owner of your life, and to get to the next level…

And to create this plan,we are joined today by no other than Chris Brogan!

Chris runs a professional development company called Owner Media Group.

Through the past several years, he run a marketing consulting group and worked with a lot of really big companies (like Google, Microsoft and Coca-Cola). At the same time, he experienced working with people at different parts of their journey of choosing to own their life and put together a business that they wanted to run as a part of that.

And so, what he enjoyed most along the way was the opportunity to speak to people about what does or what doesn’t work in making business.

“So along the way, I’ve just been working on unearthing the right mix of principles and guidance to help people really own the game that they most want to win, which of course would be their own.”, he explains.

Here’s our interview. By the way, you can listen to it in audio format by scrolling to the top and clicking ‘Play’ 🙂

Owning Your Life VS. Owning Your Business

MB: Chris, on your website, you say you can’t own your business until you own your life. What does it mean to become the owner of your life, and how is it different from being the owner of your business?

own your life

CB: Well, let’s think about it for just a minute. I’ll back it up to why that could be a challenge. So imagine…

CB: I had a really interesting conversation with a woman who wanted some help with her fitness and health. She said, “Here I am, I’ve gone from a very large company to a very small company and I’ve gone from everyone taking my call to me really having to work to get a meeting with someone as head of sales of this very small company.”

CB: She said, “When they see me, they see an overweight woman; they see a very heavy woman.”

CB: She says, “I think that they are wondering how could I possibly keep my commitments to them if I can’t even keep my commitments to myself. So if I can’t honor myself, how could I possibly honor what I say I’m going to do for them and their business?”

CB: I never heard anything like this, but it makes great sense. So the idea of owning your life is really making and keeping commitments to yourself, staying disciplined.

CB: The word ‘discipline’ essentially means a daily honoring of those things you’re committed to and say that you value and that you wanna do. For instance, people would tell me, “Yeah, I’m trying to get healthy,” and then they’ll skip going to the gym for a week.

CB: Well, those two things can’t be true. One of those things is inaccurate. You either aren’t trying to get healthy or you would’ve found some way to get to the gym.

CB: So one part of owning your life is removing excuses from your life. That doesn’t mean that you’re not going to fail, but you’re never going to allow an excuse to be a reason for failure.

MB: So, for instance, if I decide to lose weight and I don’t go outside running because there is a terrible heatwave and it’s too hot to run … if I was being the owner of my own life I would be fixing it by finding something to do inside, instead of just saying, “Well, it was a super hot day. Gonna try again tomorrow”?

CB: Exactly. You would do something in your flat; you would adjust your calories for the day so that at least you weren’t eating as much as you normally would, so that you can have some deficit of calories there.

CB: And I would like to say that I think it does relate to entrepreneurship because all the tools and drills and skills that we learn in balancing our lives out — in a making our lives work — is what we need as an entrepreneur.

CB: Entrepreneurs make and fill the gap between needs and what we are capable of doing. So, if you can increase your capabilities and you become able to fulfill the gaps in your own life, that’s gonna translate into confidence in your capability to fulfill gaps for other people as well.

CB: I’ve been able to bring many of the lessons that I’ve learned in reclaiming my health to bear on what’s going on in business experiences as well. I learned how to sell better by learning how to work better at the gym.

CB: Things even as simple as getting enough rest; a lot of entrepreneurs think that it’s very cool or it’s part of the lifestyle to not sleep. But I find that well-rested makes me smarter than most of the other people at the table, who find themselves clever.

The War For Ownership – Overcoming Fear

struggles and fears

MB: What are some of the battles you feel you lost in this war to claim ownership?

CB: That’s a very good question. First off, I think that entrepreneurs (or people who aspire to be entrepreneurs) have this belief, that once you attain some level of success, then you never ever get below that level again — and it’s just not true.

CB: All life is in flux all the time. Your financial wealth and your health can go up and down quite a lot; the market that you’re working in maybe can change dramatically, especially when I’m involved in (sort of) technology and business-type markets where fluctuations are part of the game.

CB: Some of the battles I’ve lost are…

CB: I’m not a big fan of doing research. I’m a big fan of trusting that the community that I’ve surrounded myself with and that I have the honor to serve is indicating what they say they need.

CB: Sometimes, I followed the lead into something where I’ve made the offering that I felt that they asked for and they didn’t want it. And so, I spent a lot of money chasing a lot of mistakes early on.

CB: I think the other thing I did wrong is following one of my legend/hero-types, Sir Richard Branson. He has four hundred companies, and in my mind, I thought I can run more than a few companies. But what he also has is thousands and thousands of staff, so that he can really lay out a vision and then know that everyone else will run with it.

CB: I have a very small staff, and my hands are on most everything that I do. So I found that like a lot of people, I felt like I could multitask even in the kinds of businesses I ran, which caused a lot of failure as well.

CB: So I would say that if there’s any kind of big theme to all the different things that I’ve tried, any time that I worked out of fear — let’s say fear of losing money or fear of not making enough revenue for instance — everything collapsed in a bad way.

CB: Every time I operate out of courage, even if I’m still afraid, but I just put more of my energy towards courage, then everything kind of works a lot better. Bravery has rewarded me a lot better than operating from fear.

Creating A New Plan

MB: One of the first books that people go to, to learn how to create not only a great business, but the entrepreneurial lifestyle is the 4-Hour Workweek.

MB: On your interview with my good friend, Jared Easley on Starve The Doubts, you mentioned that the 4-Hour Workweek is a bigger fairytale than Cinderella. What do you think was left out?

work system

CB: I would say that what Tim Ferris wrote is accurate and appropriate. I would say that what we pick up from that book becomes the base-line of the fairytale; People read the wrong lessons and run with the wrong parts of the book, and don’t really sink all the way through the ideas that are required to understand how to make the system happen.

CB: What we most need to do is: when we think we’re going to run our own business, we misunderstand and think that busy equals good. We think that hustle, just random hustle, equals good. We somehow think that throwing away all our systems is a good plan.

CB: Maybe we need to remove some systems, but we need some basic systems in place; Let’s say I’m in Boston and I wanna visit, Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. Well, I have to figure out a few things:

CB: I would have to figure out an airplane ride or two, or where I’m going to stay. Do I need some money? What’s the currency there? I probably need to know some customs. So, there’s a lot of things that have to go in place.

CB: A lot of times, for some reason, when people get entrepreneurial, they go no further than buying the website, setting up WordPress, and saying “I’m a business!” I find that’s exactly backwards.

CB: Entrepreneurs don’t build something and try to drag people over to it. Entrepreneurs fill a need that already exists, and make sure that the people that have that need can find this solution.

CB: So I think that probably the biggest first step is: knowing where you want to go, and starting immediately on what systems am I going to need to make that work.

The Only 1st Step An Entrepreneur Needs

MB: So what’s the first destination aspiring entrepreneurs need to figure how to get to, and how will they get started with creating a plan to get there?


CB: They need to answer a very, very simple question: How does my passion serve somebody else?

CB: So what separates the artist who lives in his parents’ basement and maybe has to work a grocery store job to make any cash, from the artist who thrives and serves the community is that one of them thinks with the community in mind. This goes opposite of how many creative people think.

CB: They think, “I shall be creative and everyone will love my work.” And to an extent, that’s true. You do have to bring something to it.

CB: People have to see themselves or see something that resonates with themselves in your work or the work is of no value to them. That’s where a lot of creative and entrepreneurial people get something wrong.

CB: So the very first question after one decides that they’re going to go their own way, is how does this serve somebody else?

CB: For instance, when Jared Easley does Starve The Doubts, he says, “I think that there are other ways to make a job and make a business.” So one of the things he did was launch with some friends the Podcast Movement.

CB: He figured, “If I make up a gathering, which would get other like-minded people who want to understand how podcasting can improve their business together, then that’s a good way to make it work.”

CB: I find that there are other ways to make money. But one of the ways that we can make money in a way that keeps our passion alive is to find the people that we can serve with this passion.

CB: For instance, if someone wants to be a professional sports-player, it’s a little difficult because, you have to find a team. There’s a set of rules. It’s a job not unlike any other job to do that kind of work.

CB: It’s just the same as working at Best Buy, only you wear different clothes or something. But, when we truly want to get out of basic system jobs, then we have to actually redefine a marketplace first and foremost.

CB: If there’s no marketplace, there’s no market. If there’s no community around that marketplace, then there’s no way to get the word out.

CB: So we really need to understand that. Then, perhaps from there, we can create content that drives some awareness into the community and invite some small amount of them to participate in that marketplace.

Kicking Fear In The Face

MB: If someone is thinking, “I previously attempted with entrepreneurship and I failed. I’m not sure I can do this.” What do you say to them?

facing failure

CB: Ah, my goodness. I mean, you failed at other things in your life. Why did you not stop then? You are walking, and you probably failed many times as a baby, and yet I see people walking everywhere. I don’t see everyone laying on the ground –– so we must have succeeded after many attempts.

CB: Lots of people fail, and I think that you have to fall in love with failure. You have to embrace failure because on the other side of every failure is the right way to do it and you’ll succeed.

Putting A Plan Into Action With Help From Chris Brogan

MB: If people want to learn more about it, and get more step-by-step guidance and support from you, Chris, where can they find it?

CB: Probably the easiest is to go to and maybe start with my newsletter, which is different than most people’s. It comes out every Sunday. Not only do you get some kind of advice or idea that’s fresh and not only exist on the newsletter — I don’t re-purpose my blog or anything, but you can hit reply and talk directly to me.

CB: You have direct access to me, which gives me the opportunity to serve people better.

Action Steps

If you could tweet Chris Brogan (@chrisbrogan) and just thank him for spending twenty minutes with us today, that will be absolutely superb. You can do that real quick by clicking here

After that, go ahead to, check out his blog and newsletter.

You are amazing, and I will see you next Thursday.

Mentioned Resources

I Need Your Help!

If you haven’t already, I would love if you could be awesome and take a minute to leave a quick rating and review of the podcast on iTunes by clicking on the link below. It’s the most amazing way to help the show grow and reach more people!

Leave a review for Meron’s podcast!

Affiliate Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links. There is no additional cost to you, and I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase.

Don’t Miss an Episode! Subscribe Below:

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