Last week, in my Sunday Edition email, I mentioned a theory from the book The E-myth. Several years ago, I was considering growing my studio by developing a team. It was new terrain for me, and I admit I struggled with the idea of how I was supposed to interact with these new people and if they were my friends, my employees, or something in between.
But most importantly, I didn’t know what kind of leader I was going to be. The E-myth helped to dispel some of my fears, as it identifies three distinct roles within a team. This was especially helpful as I thought through which category I fit into, and considered who should be added. While my own experience has been slightly different from the one expressed by Michael Gerber (I tend to find entrepreneurs living within all three roles), the principle of how these three types work together in harmony remains the same.
As I’ve put these ideas into practice, and worked with other creative small business owners, I’ve realized that these three types of entrepreneurs all act in a unique way, and need something distinct from their team. Read through the descriptions below and let me know which one you think you fall into!
Brand-focused • In the book, this role is called the Entrepreneur, but in my experience, I’ve seen business owners and “entrepreneurs” in all three levels – regardless of if they take on the traditional CEO-inspired style of growing their business.
The Visionary is focused on the long-term potential of the brand. They are big-picture thinkers and can mobilize people and resources to achieve a goal. This leader is charismatic, focused, dedicated to the vision, and able to pivot as new information emerges. This role also takes responsibility for the perception of the brand, steering the company in a direction that will resonate with its target audience, solve a true problem, and create a lasting impact.
What many don’t realize, is the Visionary is often the catch-all for any deep-rooted issues that may surface within the team. Because the Visionary is mission-focused, they are also particularly familiar with the purpose and core values of the company. This person must be trustworthy to lead the team in a way that aligns with those core values and take just as much ownership over the specific actions of the company as they do to the heart of the message.
The true magic for a Visionary happens when they see the opportunity for insight even in the mundane day-to-day tasks and prioritize feedback from the rest of their teammates.
People-focused • The Manager is the one who rallies the troops. They are especially skilled at recognizing the potential in people and can place the right person with the right task to get things done. The Manager is constantly looking for ways people can better communicate, contribute, and make progress toward the brand’s goals.
A Manager is empathetic, diligent, aware of the moving pieces, and particularly good at problem-solving. This leader is able to take a vision and turn into actionable steps. A Manager shines when they are working alongside a trustworthy Visionary and possess the resources to turn the idea into a reality. And it’s true, the productive and respectful tension between a Visionary and a Manager produces truly great work.
This role takes responsibility for the health of the team and clients. They are advocates for the experiences of those around them. What many sometimes forget, is the Manager is most aware of the experiences of the customer. This makes them an invaluable resource when brainstorming new services and products, or considering how the company can improve to better serve an audience.
The true magic for a Manager happens when they feel dedicated to the vision of the company and realize that they are the advocates for the people involved.
Task-focused • In the book, this role was called The Technician but I’m going to assume VERY few of you creative souls consider yourself a technician. Most likely, you consider yourself a maker, an artist, a creator. But it all boils down to the same thing – you’re attuned to the task at hand and feel dedicated to doing your very best work.
A Maker is highly skilled, responsible for the creation, and works well within the structure of a plan. This leader is personally tied to the product or service, wanting to spend time perfecting their craft and becoming the very best in their industry. Typically, a leader who is also a Maker becomes known for their particular style or product. Building a team comes from the need to create structure and direction to handle the increasing demand for their talents.
This role takes responsibility for the quality of the product or service offered. They are dedicated craftsmen and attuned to even the smallest details. What many don’t realize is the Maker needs adequate time and the right environment to thrive. If they are to be expected to produce their best work, they need some control over how it happens.
The true magic for a Maker happens when they acknowledge the need for structure and vision as a way to make a bigger impact and create better work.
Here’s how this plays out:
In a solid and complete team, there’s a visionary, a manager, and at least one maker. When you understand what kind of entrepreneur you are, you’re better able to build your team around your missing pieces.
If you’re a Manager…
You may be a Manager who enjoys planning and mobilizing others. Typically, Managers make great marketers and educators. You may want to bring on a business coach as your Visionary to help you see the bigger picture, and understand how you can make a larger impact.
Also, look for contractors or team members to carry out your service or help you build your product as your company scales. I’ve seen this play out with my clients who specialize in PR and marketing. A lot of times they’ll hire a coach to give them a vision for how their brand will stand out and make an impact, and then hire photographers and copywriters to help them carry out that vision by creating stellar content for their clients.
I’ve also seen this with digital course creators, who utilize the wisdom of a coach, make a detailed plan, and then assemble the team to execute.
If you’re a Maker…
You’re most likely looking for space to do your thing. You’re tired of being bogged down in administrative details, phone calls, and keeping things running on schedule. Typically, Makers are the creatives behind a service or the ones who made the initial product the company was founded on.
You may want to start by hiring a business coach to give some structure to your vision. You’ll want to feel secure that your business can handle the additional help before you add to your team. Once the vision is in place, invest in a project manager to help you keep all the details in order, field questions from clients or customers, and free you up to do what you do best.
If you’re a Visionary…
Chances are, you’ve had to do at least the manager or maker role at some point as you’ve built your business. Few people start and stay exclusively in the visionary role unless they receive an initial investment. But once you’ve built your business sustainably and can see the potential to scale, it’s time to start finding your manager and maker positions so that you can keep blazing the trail for your brand and taking it to new heights.
One thing to keep in mind is, Visionaries need guidance too. Don’t forget to look for outside help as you create your idea for the future. Once you build your team, you’ll have others who depend on your vision for their livelihood. Don’t take that lightly. Be sure to seek counsel and run your ideas by people who have experience.
Now that you know all three types of entrepreneurs, which one are you?
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