E-Myth stands for Entrepreneur Myth. He revised his book in 1995, see The E-myth Revisited on Amazon.
Since then there have been at least 13 other E-Myth books, including the wonderfully detailed step-by-step E-Myth Mastery.
I'm delighted to have interviewed Micahel on Skype, and please listen below.
(The above book links are affiliate links, I will make a small commission with thanks if you use them)
Full Transcript of Interview
Ben Tristem: Here I am with Michael Gerber, the author of The E-Myth, E-
Myth Mastery, and many other ground-breaking small business systems books.
I'm going to post, Michael, straight away to Twitter to say, if anybody out
there has any questions, and maybe towards the end of the interview if they
have any burning questions for you, they can ask.
Thank you very much for taking the time to talk to me. I really appreciate
it. Just to give you some background, I used E-Myth to build a business,
which I franchised and I'm now growing and taking on more franchises as a
result. It's a home computer support business, a bit like your Geek Squad
over in the States.
Michael Gerber: Wonderful.
It's small right now, but it's growing and crucially over value of what I
sold it in the first franchise was the manual, was the way of doing things,
which I basically learned from The E-Myth and some other sources. My first
question is getting staff buy-in? As an early entrepreneur on my own, I got
into the fantastic habit of writing down what I do and then following my
own rules and tweaking my own rules as I go. The first challenge I came
across is when I got my first staff, they would follow the rules, but how
does a young entrepreneur or fledgling business get the staff to get just
as bought in to the duality in their mind of following the rules, but at
the same time adjusting and creating and evolving that set of rules?
Michael Gerber: It's a great question. It really speaks to something we
really haven't discussed, which is what I call the dreaming room, which is
my latest and most hopefully ambitious endeavor. The dreaming room is about
just that. It's you might say the platform of the ethos of adventure. That
is almost always missing in every venture that I've worked with over the
past forty years. What I call the dream, the vision, the purpose, and the
The dreaming room is an entrepreneurial incubator, in which I intend to
draw many, many, many millions of people who haven't a clue what
entrepreneurship is really all about. Understanding that it's the economic
driver of all that we do, but the heart of that economic driver is the
spirit underlying it. Which I call the dream, the vision, the purpose, and
the mission. So essentially, the long and the short answer to your question
is, what every single entrepreneur needs to possess the outset of his or
her venture is a clear understanding of the heart and soul of that venture
so much so that she can communicate it in the story they write about that
All of which I call the dream, the vision, the purpose, and the mission. So
let's not go into a deep conversation about what the dream, the vision, the
purpose, and the mission constitute, but understand the story that you tell
at the outset is both told to remind yourself of what your there to
accomplish as well as remind others of what you're there to accomplish. So
that's very, very, critical to the beginning of and continuity and
sustainability and growth of any venture.
Ben: Thank you. Furiously taking notes here as you speak. Thank you. I
appreciate that. So I guess the next thing that brings me on to is
ownership and equity. What I really believed to be a really good blog post
recently came out of Silicon Valley, which talked about a method of sharing
equity. It talked about you and your co-founder having about 50 percent of
the company between you and then leaving about ten percent per layer for
the first five layers of employees. So a founder may only end up with 25
percent of the company, which some people might not like the idea of.
Some people might think it's totally normally. I'm wondering what your take
is on how quickly you should be sharing equity and maybe at the same time
answer the question as to just how critical you feel like having a
cofounder is. Somebody else that's in with you from the start or close to
the start and he is invested as you are on the basis that not everybody is
a complete wheel. So this is about team balance, profound as equity in one.
Michael: Well, I had an extraordinarily difficult relationship with that
very question with partners, with equity holders, with the whole
conversation about how much and how soon and who and have come to the
conclusion this late in the game that in fact I'm deficient in one very
large arena and very, very, clear in another. The deficiency comes with my
lack of relationship with funding. So you might say, I'm a grass roots
entrepreneur who's continually funded whatever I've done in a bootstrapping
What I've discovered is that equity is something you don't do too soon. The
sharing of equity is something you don't do too soon because you don't know
enough yet about what it is you're doing. To include anyone as an owner in
the venture so it becomes really a buyer's market less than a seller's
market early on and because of that you end up truly depreciating the value
of what you're about to create.
The other hand what is absolutely clear is that you do need others
intelligence. What I've discovered better than equity is to share in the
revenue to such a degree that doesn't provide ownership. You might say
ownership of income and in that way I found that, I can inspire others to
participate without owning anything, but sharing in something. Sharing in
the outcome of what they input and that's worked very, very, well for me.
Ben: Fantastic. Thank you. Okay. Third question, I see a lot of the
startups I see, the biggest problem, being that they're not kids anymore
and they're just scared stiff of failing. There's a lot of analysis,
paralysis, procrastination, a lot of B.S. about why they're not taking a
particular action when the fact is they're just scared of it. They're
hoping for a level of certainty that doesn't exist. So fear in a word seems
to be a big challenge for a lot of startups especially the older people.
How do they get over that?
Michael: [laughs] You're asking the fundamental question, which is what
does it mean to be human? When my wife asked me, "What do I do about fear?"
it was an earnest question, asked earnestly. I wrote it down on one of
those little Note-it things. It's sitting right up here, you see me
pointing up above the computer on the wall facing me and it says, "I create
my way through fear". I signed that, and that was on, what date was that?
Oh, that was in February 2010. I create my way through fear. I create my
way through fear. Fear possesses all of us. It gets in the way of every
single one of us and we essentially, you say, analysis paralysis. That
simply says the mind does in relationship to fear, what the mind is
accustomed to doing, that is it thinks and understanding the mind thinks, I
don't. And what I truly believe Ben, is none of us do. We have no idea what
thinking is all about . It just happens to us and if we're so disposed,
most of us try to think our way through fear rather than what I've just
said is I create my way through fear. Creating comes from a different
segment of my being than thinking does and I have a significantly greater
relationship with creating than I do thinking. To the degree thinking is a
product of my creating, then you might say I think. To the degree creating
is a product of my thinking, you might say, it thinks. And my true belief
is that it, thinks it does on a regular basis. It is operating out of
suggestion created by fear, which is a deeply rooted feeling of being out
of control. The mind reacts by thinking, thinking, thinking, thinking, as
we all know. Do not trust that. So how does one create is then a much
bigger question, but that's beyond the scope of what we're here to do
Ben: Are people expecting fear to go away before they take action? Is that
the problem or should they conditioning themselves to just act in spite
Michael: Fear is a habit of our constitution, which essentially is
habitually out of control. So because we in life are habitually out of
control, we're habitually in fear of losing even more control and we know
what the outcome of losing control is. We believe it's that things get
worse, which creates obviously more fear, which obviously creates more of a
need for control, which obviously creates more fear, which obviously, and
on and on and on.
You can see it as a hyperbolic reality related to living a life, which can
never be controlled. So because I've come to the realization I am never in
control and never have been I just assume for the sake of this logic, I
never will be in control and ergo must learn to live the creative life
without any, without any control. So what that does in a way is sort of set
aside this fear, control, fear, control paradigm, which means I don't spend
a lot of time exercising my mind, that is my logic, my rational side. I
spend my time creating and creating is not irrational, but it's not a
rational exercise. As I'm sure you know. As I'm sure every single human
being that I speak to knows, otherwise it wouldn't happen when I'm taking a
Ben: Okay. So in a brainstorm it's supposed to be a creative process and I
often see people start criticizing and critiquing what's coming out of a
brainstorm far too early when they should just be letting it flow. So is
this the same sort of dichotomy in the brain and in the creative space
where you're letting ideas flow and not allowing your mind to critique them
and then sometimes there's a critiquing space where it is time to narrow
things down and come to some conclusions. Getting yourself out of fear is
about going into that creative expansive phase and just letting go. Is that
some of what you're saying?
Michael: Well, it is. It is. It's not that we have to we're dealing with
the irrational. We're dealing with the intuition and that the intuition has
a logic all of its own. And that the intuition in each and every one of us
is connected to everything. That essentially, cannot be necessarily
understood rationally, but if we have developed a certain relationship with
our intuition can be developed to a point of true, oh I don't know what the
word is, buoyancy, it's something extraordinarily rich in living the
intuitive life. And just watching the words flow as they very often do when
we're in that state, that intuitional state, that creative space, and it's
almost as though mind is learning from what it sees on the page. As opposed
to what it puts on the page. Peter Drucker once said some people learn by
reading, some people learn by speaking, and he said interestingly most
would think I learn by reading or you understand what I mean by that and he
said when in fact, I learn by speaking something that I didn't know I knew.
Ben: Okay. Again, underlying the creative process, right so...
Michael: Exactly. The underlying process is all of life. You know, it's
not going into in quotes " this brain dump" space of this brainstorming
space. Brainstorming is happening all the time. I live for that.
Ben: Fantastic. OK. I believe your intuition is only as good as how much
you practice it and if you could get into a positive leap of trusting it
getting on with stuff and creating that you will get better at it and you
will go into a positive loop rather than this fear of paralysis loop. Is
Michael: Yeah. Well, truthfully, I trust nothing other than that.
Ben: Mm. Fantastic. Learn to trust your intuition.
Michael: Learn to trust your intuition as you learn to exercise it.
Ben: Fantastic. I think that's a good note to end on. I think that's a
very profound note we got down there. Very quickly, we started off talking
about how you get staff to buy-in. We talked about equity and revenue
sharing and then we got to the real crust of the matter, which is fear and
intuition, and I think that anybody who watches this is going to find it
incredibly helpful. I would be interested to hear that comments and what
they're going to do differently as results of it and how they're going to
Michael: Wonderful. My delight. Thank you, Ben.
Ben: Thank you Michael.