I’m Reading “The E-Myth Revisited”

Do you find there are moments in life, when you need to perform a little introspection and to reconsider what you are doing?

I am reading The E-myth revisited – Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It, by Michael E. Gerber. It’s a bestseller in North America, but I’d never seen it here, although when I google it, I find that it appears to have been translated into French in 1992.

As I’m reading it, I’m fascinated by this book because it tells, in very simple words, just my story.

When I started, there were still a handful of in-house translator jobs around, too few to accommodate the constant flow of graduates coming out of translation schools. But with increased outsourcing, most of that is gone now. Many of us went into business, setting up an independent practice and setting off into the big wide world. Because we were young, and didn’t have much of a choice, we were confident. Some opened a joint practice, others went alone. In all cases, I’ve still to see a freelance translator who is having it easy, and that’s where this book comes in handy.

The E-Myth is based on a division of a business into its 3 dimensions : the Entrepreneur, the Manager and the Technician. In a small business, the owner is most likely to play (or not to play) the 3 roles simultaneously.

I’ve just taken the free E-Myth Business Evaluation on their website. Interestingly, the mix of questions and answers means that although you might be successful in some areas (eg. earning enough money), the results can be seen in a slightly different perspective, but I wasn’t too surprised to discover that I am mainly “a manager

  • Planning and organizing projects
  • Facilitating conversations with partners, vendors, and/or contractors
  • Developing systems to streamline your workflow and deliver a more consistent customer experience”

Yes, that’s absolutely true, and it doesn’t even mention bookkeeping…

Surprisingly, I thought, the area where I did best in the test was in Customer/Sales, with:”

  • Your business has some success at converting leads into customers
  • In general, your sales are enough to cover expenses and generate a reasonable profit
  • Your sales presentations may be inconsistent”

although, all things considered, there’s a lot of truth in that. This is a very simple evaluation, and it would require more in-depth analysis to increase its validity. However, I think my results can be summarized like this, using my own words:

  • Entrepreneurship: nil
  • Management: main concern
  • Technician: well, that’s pretty obvious anyway, otherwise I would not be doing this after 29 years.

And now, if you’ll allow me, I must go and read on, in order to improve my entrepreneurship and to work on my sales presentations.

But I still think this book should be made Compulsory Reading at any translation school.

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