That’s the right path for many entrepreneurs—but not all.
Today, I want to consider a different question.
Is it possible to be a practitioner and still run your business?
Should You “Do the Work” or “Work On the Business”?
Many (many) of us got to where we are today because we started doing something that we love. That something made us money, and it grew, and eventually we became more than a practitioner plying a trade—we became business owners.
But as the company grows, there’s a tension between doing “the work” and “working on the business.”
The advice you’ll get from the business world writ large is mostly about how to optimize your time and energy as CEO.
Hire an assistant
Carve out space in your calendar to work on your vision
Develop processes so someone else can do “the work” instead of you
These things ARE good. You should do them.
Nowhere is it written in stone that success requires you to stop doing what you love.
The first step? Figure out your points of personal leverage.
The Personal Leverage Exercise
Everything you do inside your business fits into one of these four quadrants:
The Personal Leverage Exercise (PLE)
Draw these four quadrants on a sheet of paper.
Write down all the activities you currently do in your business. Categorize each one into the appropriate quadrant.
Only put the things you LOVE to do and are AMAZING at in the top right quadrant.
There’s a lot you can glean from this exercise, but for today, let’s keep it simple:
The more you can focus on whatever activities are in your top right quadrant, the happier you’ll be.
Personal Leverage In Action
Example: I love coaching entrepreneurs. It’s in my top right quadrant (along with sales). So no matter how much our company grows, I always intend to keep a roster of clients.
Is it a nice clean designation of roles within our organization? Nope.
Is it what’s going to make me happy? Absolutely.
If you love doing “the work” of your business, you can keep doing it.
But I also encourage you to think about how those skills can be applied to helping the business itself.
I love coaching entrepreneurs and helping companies grow. So a certain amount of my bandwidth can and should be (and is) applied to helping my own company grow.
And while I love working directly with teams, I can also help more entrepreneurs by having a bigger platform: hosting webinars, doing speaking engagements, contributing content.
It’s another application of my skills that allows me to do what I love while sitting squarely in the CEO role.
Is Being a Practitioner Right for You?
This advice is not for everyone.
It’s not a panacea if you’re someone who feels “stuck” in client delivery. Staying stuck in client delivery will prevent you from growing. (Refer to the bulleted list above and do those things ASAP!)
It’s not a free pass to micromanage your team. (Don’t do that!)
It’s not a mandate to adjust your role if you’re starting to step back. (Good for you; keep going!)
And it’s not a requirement for you if you absolutely love, well, being the CEO.
That’s all awesome.
But if you truly love “the work” of your business, you do not have to give it up. You simply have to decide what you want and adjust the shape of the business accordingly.