Home Business Tips – Avoiding Overwhelm

Often as home based business owners we feel a sense of overwhelm. I have recently revisited Michael Gerber’s book, The E Myth which helps us understand why this is the case. If we are doing our business alone we actually have to be three people in one – no wonder at times we feel very exhausted!

I first read The E Myth about 20 years ago. It was the first time I heard the distinction about working “on” your business as opposed to “in” it. A bit scary really as I have a Business Degree!

I have worked with small business owners over the years coaching  them to leverage themselves out of their business. But what happens when we first start up, especially if it is our dream to be home based?  How do we work “on” our business and “in” it at the same time?  To be successful  we have to find a way!

Gerber says when we start a business we actually need to be three people in one:  The Entrepreneur, The Manager and The Technician and that each of these personalities wants to be boss.

The Entrepreneur is our creative side, the dreamer, the innovator and the catalyst for change. The Manager is pragmatic, planning, creates order and structure. The Technician is the doer, often holding the belief that “if you want it done
right, do it yourself”.

The entrepreneur lives in the future, the manager in the past and the technician in the present.  Gerber says we all have each of them inside of us however in almost all cases not in a balanced way.

Which are you;  An Entrepreneur, a Manager or a Technician?

It is really important you understand which skill set you dominate in. Don’t assume just because you have gone into business that you are an entrepreneur as Gerber’s research shows that the typical small business owner
is only 10% entrepreneur, 20% manager and 70% technician.

If you have not read The E Myth I suggest you do. I think it is essential reading for anyone embarking on the journey of business.

Once you know who you really are in this model it is about finding ways to get done the things you do not do so well. Unless you are at a point where you can outsource the other tasks or partner with others.

Let me share with you my own example. I am an entrepreneur. I am creative and love planning and ideas. I can and have managed for much of my life but it is not my favorite role.  I have also been a technician (accountant, financial planner and others) but again it is not where I want to play. Of course my business would go nowhere if I stayed in creating and dreaming mode – there needs to be some “doing” as well.

I can discipline myself to do the tasks I don’t really like and I do that by having a plan and to some degree pushing myself. However recently I have started using an outsourcing service.  If you missed my post on that  you can read it here Outsourcing Strategies.  In a very short time I have had many of the “to do’s “that have been on my list for way too long handled.  It is a great feeling and I have noticed it is freeing me up to be more creative.

I would love to hear what you think of the concept from Gerber’s book. Do you know which type you are; entrepreneur, manager or technician? How do you get the other roles handled?  Please share any strategies you may have with us.  In my next post on this topic I will share some more tips.

Please leave me your comments below. And please share this post with your Twitter and FB friends by clicking on the share buttons. I appreciate you telling others.

32 thoughts on “Home Business Tips – Avoiding Overwhelm

  1. Nelly Paekukui

    Hi Sue,

    Informative post here identifying the three roles essential to being a home business owner. I never looked at it from that angle however appreciate the facts that is entailed with each type or position.



    1. Sue Post author

      I had never heard this explanation of the three roles until I read the book. It made sense to be right away and it has been good to revisit it.

      Thanks for dropping by to my blog.


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  3. Ryan Biddulph

    Hi Sue,

    I am far and away an entrepreneur.

    I love to dream and visualize….so much so I used to need a kick in the pants to leave the mental realm 🙂 I also have a strong technician personality as I enjoy creating for others: blog posts, videos, ebooks. All fun stuff. At select times I like being a manager at other times I don’t. I like order but in the same respect let go quite a bit to trust my intuition, which has certainly been helpful to me.

    We are each without limit but in the same respect we reach our goals much more quickly when outsourcing. There are only 24 hours in a day so it makes sense to leverage your time by delegating some of your tasks.

    Thanks for sharing and have a powerful day!

    Ryan Biddulph recently posted..6 Disgusting Ways to Pitch Your Home Based OpportunityMy Profile

    1. Sue Post author

      Ryan it is great you have absolute clarity on who you are in this model 🙂
      Being an entrepreneur and having a technical side must be a great blessing online.

      I agree we can reach our goals much more quickly by outsourcing. I am very excited to speed things up.

      Have a great day.


  4. Don Enck

    I read the E Myth a number of years ago. In fact, it’s still on my shelf. I found it enlightening and yet troubling. How are we supposed to “do” all that has to get done and how are we supposed to fill all the roles?

    It’s a tough place to be and it often takes time to grow into it your business. The hardest part I think is knowing when to “let go” of some of your business and give it to others. Must be that manager thing 🙂

    I find my entrepreneurial side coming out either early in the morning or at night before falling asleep but I think I spend the majority of my time in the technical spot. “Taking care of Business” Hmmm…reminds me of a song.

    Thanks for sharing this with us!
    Don Enck recently posted..Foursquare…It’s Not Just For Kids Anymore!My Profile

    1. Sue Post author

      Don I first read it when we had a financial planning business with staff. So on reflection it was easier for me to say “I am this and I can delegate that”. But now it is a different ball game and like you I ask how we can “do” all that has to be done.
      It is good you can identify yourself pretty clearly.
      Take care

  5. Linda G. Cox

    Hey Sue~
    I’ve never heard of E-Myth, sounds like a book I need to read! Looking back at my life I’ve always been a copy-cat. I read lots of books and learn from the best. I think that outsourcing is the way to go, weather we’re a copy cat or not! We can only do so much!
    Linda G. Cox recently posted..TSA The Gift That Keeps on GivingMy Profile

    1. Sue Post author

      Linda it is a great book. I think learning from the best is a good strategy. I do not think we have to recreate everything.
      I think it would take me the rest of my life to reach my goals if I kept doing it all myself 🙂

  6. belinda cunningham

    I have heard of this book but never read it, maybe some xmas reading. I know I should be working on my business not in it, but I enjoy the working in it bit. The book may just be able to help me move from the technician to a bit more manager and entrpreneur if I want my business to grow. As my business is now a very much hands on business – Bowen Therapy – I will need a plan to eventually grow from the technician. Very interesting thoughts to ponder thanks Sue.
    belinda cunningham recently posted..12 – The brain – A broadcasting and receiving station of thoughtMy Profile

    1. Sue Post author

      Hi Belinda
      The book is well worth a read. I first read it at least 20 years ago and then Gerber was the key note speaker at a convention I attended so I became very familiar with his content. I really think you would enjoy the book as he says that most people that start a business are in fact technicians (the doers). He does give a plan on how to grow from the phase.
      Have a great weekend.

  7. homer arnado

    Hi Sue,

    I honestly say that I’m just getting started in having a home-based business. I usually felt exhausted sometimes or overwhelmed to the ideas and resources that I regularly checking out to improved my skills particularly with online strategies.

    I’m glad you’ve shared this topic because it realizes me the reason of getting overwhelmed. I can relate to the 3 “personas” you’ve mention. I would say I’m more into Entrepreneur. I’m more passionate about being creative and having visions to my business and dreams. I’m less into Managing things, need to work-out on it more. I also considered myself as Technician since I usually do the things that I envision and plan. I used to be a software developer before and currently I’m working as IT staff.

    Thank you so much Sue for sharing your insights from Gerber’s Book. I’m gonna look into that soon. Let me share this wealth to my fellows.

    Speak with you soon 🙂

    homer arnado recently posted..One Free Tactic to Drive TrafficMy Profile

    1. Sue Post author

      Hi Homer
      I am glad you could relate to the information. I remember when I first read it having a bit “ah ha!”

      You seem to have identified yourself well and it is good you follow through with your ideas. I am sure having IT skills makes it easier for you as that is one lot of learning you do not have to do. I was almost technophobic a year ago 🙂 I had a lot to learn!

      Thanks for sharing my post.

      Have an awesome weekend.


  8. Daphnie

    Hello Sue! I like what you want to point out and I understand it. I just realized that we need to be three people in one in business after I read your post. I think, it is the one of the reasons why some people became successful in business. Maybe I should start practicing having these persons in just only me in order for me to be successful too. Great post Sue!

    1. Sue Post author

      Thanks for you feedback Daphnie. Do you know which of the three people you mostly are? I think to understand ourselves is the first step.
      Have a great day.

  9. ZIz

    Gerber is very good at articulating why entrepreneurs need to fire themselves after their business get going….the challenges is getting it going so that you can fire yourself.
    ZIz recently posted..Just be CuriousMy Profile

    1. Sue Post author

      Ziz that is such a valid comment. I have been through it a few times in my own life, getting to the point where I could fire myself and it takes work!
      Thanks for finding my blog. I have just been over to yours, it looks good.

  10. Louise Steiner

    Hi Sue….I love this post! I haven’t read the E Myth, but will definitely add it to my reading list.

    You have just clarified a few things in my mind and given me a better understanding of my business. I definitely fall into the entrepreneur category…full of good ideas, but not very good at implementing! But when I do implement, I always feel really good about myself, so that keeps me going. Managing is something I have done all my life, but I don’t really enjoy. However, whilst we can outsource the technical aspects of our home based business, a home based business owner definitely needs an entrepreneurial mindset and management skills to succeed.

    Thank you for sharing that post. Now that I have a better understanding, I can work towards moving my business forwards again.
    Louise Steiner recently posted..Why Content Is No Longer “King”!My Profile

    1. Sue Post author

      Hi Louise
      The E Myth is definitely worth a read for anyone who wants to grow their business. He is really about ultimately leveraging yourself out of your business and talks of conventional business.
      You sound very much like me both with your background and being an entrepreneur full of ideas but not so good at implementing. I am with you also on feeling good when I do implement.
      I am looking forward to building my business to a point where I can outsource more 🙂
      I think you have accomplished a lot of recent times to moving your business forward.
      Take care

  11. Darlene Davis

    Another great book for the “must read” list. It feels like “overwhelm” is my middle name! Gerber has put it in plain English. I am far too entrepreneurial. Thanks for your sage advice. I will read his book, start outsourcing (gulp), and develop better time-management skills!
    Darlene Davis recently posted..Teamwork At Its BestMy Profile

    1. Sue Post author

      Darlene it is a great book and pretty easy to read. It was written before Kiyosaki wrote his books and was the first I read on the concept of working on your business as opposed to in it.
      Being entrepreneurial is good I think (maybe because I am too :-)) But I think at least then we have a vision and ideas. I love outsourcing. It is natural for me really.
      I think you should try it.

    1. Sue Post author

      Thanks for the comment and I am glad you agree with outsourcing. It is just not possible to do it all ourselves.
      Have a great day.

  12. Adam Robinson

    Such a good read Sue! When we get overwhelmed with the amount of work that we have to do, we get stressed out, we make mistakes, we forget priorities and a lot of other bad things that just keep on piling up. It’s great for us to maintain our focus on the more important parts of the business, then just outsource everything else especially manual labor. 🙂 Getting overwhelmed sometimes is part of starting a business, but we almost always have a solution for that one, don’t we?

    1. Sue Post author

      Adam you are so correct we do almost always find a solution when we are overwhelmed. Those who do not often quit.

      I go into overwhelm again at different stages and have to stand back and look at what I really want to achieve. And yes your point on focus is so valid.


  13. Mason

    Very well said Sue, lots of good information about home business and all that you said are all true. I am probably three in one, I am an entrepreneur, a manager and a technician as well. Thank you so much Sue for this kind of good info.