Your #1 Job as an Entrepreneur According to Mike Michalowicz
Most entrepreneurs that we work with at Run Like Clockwork don’t start a business because they want to be the CEO. Most of our clients start a business because they are good at something — maybe it’s a service they can provide, or a topic they can teach about, or a product they know how to create and deliver.
And so that’s what they do.
Of course, they also have to do things like admin, finances, human resources, management, technology… and on and on.
Our co-found Mike Michalowicz, author of the Clockwork book among his many other awesome books, would tell them: that’s actually not your job.
In fact, none of those jobs is your job as a business owner.
According to Mike Michalowicz, your job as an entrepreneur is to create more jobs.
Mike Michalowicz believes that creating jobs is your job
On our podcast, Mike shared that the definition of entrepreneurship has gotten muddled.
Historically, entrepreneurship meant that someone would have a vision and then take a risk to make that vision real by bringing together different resources, people, and technology.
Today, entrepreneurship has become all about hustle and grind and workaholism. And sure, sometimes those elements have to be brought in for the short term. But that is not the definition of entrepreneurship — it’s just one tiny element.
A study conducted by the Small Business Administration concluded that 7% of the world population will ever, at any time in their life, own a business.
That means that 93% of the world population is seeking dependable, reliable jobs, working for companies that they enjoy and appreciate.
“If you as an entrepreneur right now are hustling and grinding your business, and you’re doing all the work, shame on you,” Mike says. “You’re stealing jobs.”
And when it comes down to it, it’s actually not great economically for you or your business to be hoarding jobs by doing it all yourself.
Think about how much you pay yourself and whatever the number is, take it and divide it by 2000. And you find out your quick equivalent hourly wage.
Now we have to ask: can you hire someone that would gladly do some of that work for a lower hourly wage?
If the answer is yes, you can actually save the business money by hiring that person and delegating. And then you can redirect your time toward the higher end, more technical stuff and that starts the scaling process through delegation.
One of our Run Like Clockwork Accelerator clients recently said, “I don’t want to make six figures. I want to create six-figure jobs. That requires a different level of thinking and work ethic.”
And we couldn’t agree more.
In order to create jobs, you have to get comfortable with delegation
Now, in our experience with clients at Run Like Clockwork, and Mike’s experience interviewing entrepreneurs for his books, we know this can be a major sticking point.
Because when it comes to the kind of delegation that will most empower your people, you have to leave.
And, OK, maybe it’s not a physical departure, but it is what Mike calls “a disconnect from control.” (That’s why we focus on getting our Accelerator students to take a four-week vacation — so they just get out of the office for a while!)
“I think most business owners don’t do that,” Mike says. “They say, okay, it’s your job. You run with it. They come back to check things and they’re like, oh, you did it wrong.”
The biggest challenge for entrepreneurs when they start to delegate is to step back and let the team member see the task through to its conclusion.
Essentially, we have to learn to let go of control — in order to drive a better outcome.
“I will tell you this,” Mike notes: “if we maintain control, the business becomes very myopic.”
On the podcast, Mike shared how the way he markets his business has changed over time because he’s delegated. Now other people are in charge of doing it.
He sees it as his job to hire the right people — people who understand the brand and its values, and who can bring their own ideas and expertise to it. And as a result of letting his team use their own ideas and expertise to grow the brand’s marketing efforts, they have built a more engaged community and are serving more people than if he controlled it all himself.
At Run Like Clockwork, we believe in continuous improvement, and we encourage it in our clients as well. And the only way to continuously improve is if we have new and different people coming to the table with their ideas.
That all starts with you as the leader being willing to accept different ideas and having the grace to let your team implement them.
Letting go of your ego with the “yes, and” technique
OK, so all this talk of letting go and delegating and bringing in new ideas can bring up another sticky subject for entrepreneurs: their ego.
When someone suggests a different approach — and it works better than the one you originally came up with — let’s be honest: it can sting!
And it’s not just the CEO who can feel the sting of the ego. On the podcast, Adrienne shared a story of a team member who felt hurt when a new employee suggested improvements to a process they had created.
She reminded them: they’re building on what you created! Your process was great, and now it can be even better.
Mike calls this the “yes, and” effect after an improv technique. In improv, actors are coached to respond to what’s happening with the scene with a “yes, and” response. If you say no, or take the scene in an entirely different direction, the audience can feel lost. But when you say yes and build on what the other actors are doing, it feels organic.
The same is true with delegation. If a team member wants to change a process, remind yourself that they are building on what you already created. They are saying “yes, and” in order to improve and grow what you started. That reframe can help soothe any ego bumps and bruises that may occur along the way.
“What I found is that every idea is an inception for another idea,” Mike explains. “And we even say it and with our team here: how can you yes, and this concept? How can you extend it or expand it, but also pay homage to the originator? And by doing that, my big fat ego is cared for.”
How Mike Michalowicz is delegating himself out of his business
Interestingly, Mike doesn’t call himself CEO or business owner, or even entrepreneur anymore — he calls himself a shareholder of his businesses.
“When someone asks me, what do you do, Mike? I say, oh, I’m a shareholder of a small business, which is kind of awkward because no one knows what that means,” he says.
When you’re a shareholder in a publicly traded company, you get a profit distribution and you get to offer your opinions through voting for the board of directors and voting on other critical decisions. And that, according to Mike, is what every business owner should strive for in their business: collect dividends (profit) and offer opinions, strategy, and strategic direction.
Even now, Mike is thinking about his current jobs within the business — writing books and being the spokesperson for the company — and how he can delegate those responsibilities. Because having him, and only him, in those roles is another chokepoint for the business.
“The ultimate delegation test isn’t it delegating the things I don’t like,” Mike says. “That’s abandonment. The ultimate delegation test is giving away the thing I love the most.”