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What is the Entrepreneurial Myth?

Every business person, especially solo practitioners, that is worth their salt knows about The E Myth. But if you don’t, this episode might serve as a great intro. In this installment of the Art of Hustle® podcast series, we speak with E Myth CEO, Martin Kamenski. He talks about his background as both artist and entrepreneur as well as his latest role as Executive. Martin will hip us to his own book plus a few other worthy suggestions to add to your reading list:

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Anthem: Martin, thank you very much for being on the art of hussle podcast, welcome.

Martin: Thank you so much. It’s absolutely my pleasure.

Anthem: Fantastic. I guess one great place for us to begin from the many entry points that we could possibly use, let’s talk about your current work, could you tell us about what you’re up to these days, your role of the company you work for and all of that?

Martin: Absolutely. I found EMyth, the company in Ashland, Oregon after my wife and I moved out west a little over two years ago now and she was moving out this way to take a job with Oregon Shakespeare Festival and I had just sold an accounting practice that I’d started back in Chicago but it was focused on the entertainment industry and didn’t have anything next in mind in terms of where my career was going to go. I was actually, frankly, enjoying a lot of time with the kids.

I’ve got little babies and so, I was home with them and getting to enjoy that life for a while. A lot of work but very enjoyable. And I happen to walk down Main Street Ashland, tiny town, 20,000 people and stumbled across EMyth and it was a name that I instantly recognized because I had read this book about two years before I sold my practice. And in reading that book, and another one, also called Built to Sell, I really attribute my ability to sell my business to reading those books and doing some of the things that they talk to about, about how to create a business that actually has value beyond just to you.

So I prompted them for a conversation, they didn’t really have any job postings up, I wasn’t really looking for anything but I just wanted to connect and see what they were up to here. And one thing led to another and ended up helping them out, first in the Finance Department and then more recently, I was asked to be the CEO of the company and so, all that has happened in the last year. I just celebrated a one year anniversary this month.

The common theme in my life, I tend to move to a life very quickly so, it was fitting but it’s been an amazing ride and the company does something that means a lot to me personally, which is focusing on helping business owners, small business owners grow and become more successful and make their businesses not just improve financially but also improve in a way that it impacts the owner’s life because far too often, business owners can get stuffed in a trap of starting a business because they’re excited about what they did but then all of a sudden, feeling like their lives are in service of the business instead of the business being a part of their life that feeds them. So we get to do a lot of that work with people and it’s really exciting.

Anthem: Could we talk more about the book since it was a way for you to get introduced to this company that you’re now working for. The book is also one that I recommend to all of my clients. How would you summarize the main message of the book for folks who have not yet read it or maybe have only just heard of it?

Martin: Sure. Well, these people who come to our website, they’d leave us comments and they say, “I don’t get it yet. What’s EMyth? What is EMyth like email? What are you talking about?” It’s a typical dialogue question. EMyth stands for the Entrepreneurial Myth and what that refers to is, the idea that somebody who is good at a thing starts a business doing that thing.

And I’m a textbook example of that, I can speak from my own experience so, I happen to be a good accountant and I’ve good skills in that area so, I started my own accounting practice. And there’s so many businesses in all different industries in the United States are versions of that story. I’m a great dentist so, I’m going to open my own practice. I know what it takes on a job site so, I’m going to open up my own general contracting firm.

Across the board, you have examples where people are really, really skilled in that thing, starts a business doing that thing without fully understanding that what it takes to run the business of what it is that you do is an entirely different skill set than what it is that you happen to be good at technically speaking.

And so, the premise of the book and the book as it was rewritten so, the EMyth Revisited which is the version that sold millions of copies now, that book was written in a story format, in allegorical format and you get to listen to a story of Sarah who’s kind of this prototypical business owner who is exactly the way that we talked about.

She started her own bakery and was stuck doing all the technical work of it and couldn’t find a way to stop doing that because she wasn’t doing any work on the business. She was only working in the business and never zooming out to 30,000 feet and saying, “Wait a minute, what are all the moving parts of this? How do I actually put this together in a way that means I can stop having to show up at 4:30 every morning and I can actually take a vacation for a week and things won’t fall apart without me.

So it’s a lot of those fundamental principles that were defined in the book that resonated with a lot of people and it was out of that that this company took off in its coaching practice.

Anthem: How long has the company been in existence?

Martin: Over three decades now.

Anthem: Wow.

Martin: The company was formed in 1979 down in the Bay Area and spent its first two years really focusing on coaching when there really was no market for this yet. One of the two founders of the business, Michael Gerber, who’s author of the book, identified a need at that time for something other than high priced consultants.

At that time, if you needed help with your business, you could pay IBM Consultants to come in at astronomical rates. And there was some need for small business owners to get that kind of help but at a reasonable cost and so, he thought of a way to help them to coach the owner instead of being a consultant who typically comes in – – you tell the consultant, “I’ve got a problem with this.”

They deliver a solution to that, a one-off exchange where you’re putting out that fire but the coaching relationship is about trying to help an owner see – – What are you doing that allows for those things to even happen? Nip it in the bud, let’s talk about the root causes of the problems so that you stop having to put out fires and you can start developing, growing systematically.

Anthem: And so, how does the EMyth company’s programs, differentiate or how might it be similar to other business coaching programs?

Martin: Sure. Well, our curriculum and our processes are probably biggest way. The other component would be the strength of our coaches and their training process. We have a library of over 50 business development courses, programs, things that somebody can work on so, within the area of branding, talking to people about how to identify their brand or in marketing and sales, how do I identify your target customer and be a voice to them.

So our library of courses which cover seven different major areas of the business, everything from sales to marketing, branding, leadership and management and a number of courses in each of those that help you unlock and systematize those areas of your business. The content is probably the biggest differentiating point and the second one is the amazing strength and quality of our coach network.

These are people who come from all different walks of life but who have all committed to doing a training program with us and who are the kinds of people who are really great at not just handing over a quick solution but asking the right questions. Anyone who’s been in this kind of area knows that it’s ten times harder to learn to ask the right questions and to just give a quick answer and that’s exactly what they do for these owners.

And we’ve had coaches who end up with clients for a year, some for five years, six years sometimes because they become the in-disposable part of their business.

Anthem: And is coaching sort of the primary offer at this time?

Martin: It is, it is. We do have some other products, we have a kind of “do it yourself” online version of this where you can go through the core 21 courses in a self-paced way that you can access from our website and that is free. And we’ve found that a lot of people get a value out of that, it’s a great starting point and some of them, at some point down the road, realize that they can’t really take it to the next step unless they have somebody holding them accountable.

One of the things people get out of coaching more than anything is, if you’re the owner, if you’re the person at the top, you do have ultimate responsibilities. You’re the “buck stops here” person but you’re also not accountable to anyone outside of yourself and just having somebody that’s forcing you to set some goals and stick to them, it can be a huge help. It’s like the difference between going to a gym and then having a personal trainer.

Anthem: Yeah.

Martin: That extra notch is a real driver of results.

Anthem: That’s an apt analogy. Absolutely, that’s something that a lot of my clients actually ask me for I mean, of course, there’s like the expertise and the advice and all that but that kind of ability is a huge component. I think that’s totally accurate. What can you tell us about this concept of Turn Key Concept and why it’s so important for business owners to understand?

Martin: Well, developing turnkey solutions and systems in your business mean that you can start to guarantee yourself a certain result out of the process. A great example is, almost any business whether you’re selling a product or a service, you need new customers. Keeping your customers happy and having them come back, that’s another kind of a problem but you always need new business if you want to grow and knowing for example, the marketing channel, what activities you can take that consistently turn into a certain amount of new opportunities is huge, that’s a fundamental part of creating consistent growth.

If you know that I can write 10 blog posts a month and do these many social posts, put up one podcast and out of each of those, I can expect tadadadada number of people, now you have something you can count on. It’s repeatable, you can teach it to other people and you don’t have to be the one doing it every day. And that takes an attention to detail and it takes a focus on a process and on numbers and paying attention to what works and what doesn’t and getting away from the “let’s just throw it on the wall and let’s see what sticks” kind of approach. But being systematic about that is ultimately what freeze you up to take time off, to step away, to relax for a while as opposed to always having to come up with the next brand new idea.

Anthem: Exactly. And it’s necessary growth ultimately. I feel like that’s true of any kind of business whether you’re sole proprietor, small company, big company, for profit, non-profit, I feel like that’s a really important concept for people to understand that it’s easy and even beneficial to be sort of pivoting when you’re small like you’ll have to make a lot of turns and quick decisions but as you start to grow, all that pivoting is actually super damaging to your organization. Would you agree? What are your thoughts on that?

Martin: I think you’re right. Most people know the common thought that it takes $10,000 of doing something to get really good at it. If that’s true, if you had not pivoted all that time, if you have taken the time early on to find the one thing and actually stuck with it the whole way forward, how much further along would you be by now as opposed to having tried six different things and constantly pivoting around. I can bring this back to an example in the creative field and even with a solo practitioner I dealt with in the years back when I had my accounting practice.

A lot of creative individuals who struggled immensely with knowing who they should do work for, how much should I charge for my time and my efforts? What is an ideal client for me? When is it right to say no to work you know, how do I say no to work? These are really challenging questions for a lot of individual artists. And without asking yourself those questions and actually forcing yourself to answer them, you end up taking on any kind of project and working at less than what you think an acceptable rate is and setting yourself up as a low-priced provider as opposed to what you’re really worth.

And having clarity about “Who do I need to be working for?” and then, “How do I get a lot of those people looking at what I’m doing?” The difference between those two career paths is night and day. It’s like somebody who’s floundering for years and can’t really pick themselves up as opposed to somebody who’s on a track to get better and better and better.

Anthem: How much of that would you attribute to scarcity thinking, that someone’s always saying yes to any opportunity no matter what because it seems like almost desperate that someone would just take on any kind of work even at discount, even if that discount is hurting them versus someone having I don’t know, if confidence is the right word but maybe having the right framework or mind frame rather to be more selective, to understand the differences in the different kinds of opportunities?

Martin: Yeah, you’re right on. In my practice, I had clients who are everywhere from just scraping by earning $10,000, $15,000, $20,000 in a year out of their practice, out of their art creative efforts, all the way up to millions of dollars and when you get to those places where you have really tough financial decisions to make, you’re right, it’s very challenging, it’s hard to turn down that opportunity for that $1000 project because you don’t know when the next big one is going to come.

And you say, “Well, in the meantime, I’ve at least got to do this.” But I’ve decided over the years, in my time in business that one thing is true, that business decisions are usually a balance between one side, something that is very easily discernible and the other side, something that’s really hard to measure. And in that case, I can really easily concretely see this $1000 opportunity and what’s impossible to measure at the time is, “Yeah, but what is it going to cost me to set myself up as a low cost provider instead of holding out and getting those next opportunities?”

These are very hard questions but they’re not impossible to figure out. There are some great books and I mentioned a few of them in the book that I wrote where they really help you, line by line, identify a criteria for what are the jobs you should take. Usually, in the creative world, people take jobs based on a few different sliding scales like something might be worth a lot of money but it might have a low score on the creative expression freedom kind of score like I’m going to get told exactly what to do but they’re paying me really well so, I’ll take it.

Or something that might be less money but it’s going to be an immense portfolio biller for you or attract a lot of people, that’s all fine if you’re doing it for those reasons and if you’re thinking about it that way. It’s just a mindset to get into like you were saying, if you’re operating in a scarcity mindset, you won’t ever see it that way. It’s a hard pattern to break but the artists who’re really successful that’s ultimately what they end up having to do.

Anthem: The way I look at it, in the beginning, it’s super important to say yes to everything I mean, when you’re a young artist because you don’t know the difference between one from the other.

Martin: Yeah.

Anthem: And that’s the only way to find out, you say yes to everything. You probably will get ripped off a lot but then over time, and this is the criteria I’ve been using for myself, I’d love to hear what you might have to add to it from your own experience but for me, I like to think everything I say yes to now has to have longevity.

If it has a really short shelf life, if it’s going to expire, relationship wise, money wise or any other category, I could possibly think of then I probably don’t want to do it because everything I do should lead to another opening door or more mileage basically, is ultimately what I’m saying.

And it’s going to expire really quickly then why do it at all you know, I’m saying because that still takes up a space and ultimately, I’m turning down another opportunity that potentially has way more mileage for the same amount of time and effort and energy so, might as well do something that’s going to propel you forward.

Martin: That’s exactly right. And that investment of your time in the project is really important too. So let’s say, if you’re doing it that way and basing it on the future longevity of this work, you’re also factoring how much are you going to have to invest to make it happen because you may have a quick turnaround and it might not be as long a prospective project and that may work for you but if you’re going to put in a lot of time into something, it’s another great way of thinking about taking a lot of low budget work and instead of waiting and holding out for the big ticket item or what if you didn’t spend all of those weeks leading up to the last week of the month, immersed in cranking out low budget work that you’re pissed off not having to do, what if instead you spend all that time trying to land that project, the one that you want.

The one that values your work at a rate that you believe in, that is accessible to you. At the end of the day, nobody is going to believe that you’re worth something more than what you believe you’re worth so, you have to internalize that and hold that rock solid for it to carry all the way up to your customer.

Anthem: Absolutely, I think mindset plays such a huge part in business and I wish more people recognize that because it’s so significant you know.

Martin: Yeah, absolutely.

Anthem: So you have mindset books that you like? Anything that deals with that topic because oftentimes when you pick up well, not you but we, the universal we, when we pick up a business book, we get a lot of tactics but do you feel like there are books that have helped you re-frame how you think or how you see certain things that have been pivotal to you?

Martin: Well, there’d been many, I can talk about one that I just came back to, I read a while ago. It’s Simon Sinek’s book, Start with Why and in Start with the Why well, going to the whole premise of it all but it really helps you connect with a new way of thinking about how to sell what you have and to connect with people on a deeper, meaningful level first before you start telling them what product you want them to buy or what service you can provide them, is to get them bought into something deeper, something emotional, something they can really feel because once you’ve established that connection and if you just think about what you’re doing in that way, you’ve got a customer for life. Those are the brands that we are religiously loyal to or the brands that connect with us in some level other than what they make or what they do.

Anthem: I’d love to hear more because you’ve sort of started to touching upon it but let’s go ahead and dive full in, can you tell us about your former business, your kind of practice and what the focus was, what the concept was? You’ve mentioned that you were serving a lot of artists so, I think that would be great to hear more about.

Martin: Yeah. Well, it was founded by accident. It was November, I remember and I was running out of projects to do, running out of money in the bank, living with a roommate of mine in Chicago and I wasn’t particularly interested in doing a lot of accounting work but it was something I learned how to do in college and tax-ism was rolling around the corner so, I started picking up some clients here and there.

And we have found that it was a great way money through those four, five, six months and it grew, it just grew and grew and grew. I didn’t have any particular niche focus for the first two years or so that I ran the practice but running into circles that I ran in and meeting people like you and other creative professionals that became clients in various ways both for businesses and non-profits, themselves personally, I took a look at it after a few years and I said, “I’ve got 75%, 80% of my clients in the creative field.”

That’s most of what I spent my time doing, is working with them and advising them, I’m going to come out and say I’m an accountant, I’m an adviser, CPA that works for the entertainment industry and creative fields.

And that’s really when things picked up and took off because there’s a certain amount of translation that has to happen when you try to navigate somebody who thinks mostly on the creative side of the brain through the world of business and taxes. And that’s what we became really great at at Rockstar CPA. It was an amazing journey, I had so much fun, I met so many good people.

When I have great people working for us along the way and it was tough to say goodbye to it at the end it was really kind of melancholic thing because as any business owner knows or any artist any gallery owner knows when you start something from nothing and you give birth to this thing it’s hard sometimes to hand it off and move on but I got to the point in my life where for family reasons and other professional reasons it was time for a new chapter. That’s how that went down that was two years ago now that we sold the practice.

Anthem: How long were you in practice before you sold it?

Martin: It was around a little over five years.

Anthem: Wow, pretty significant and what was your personal involvement in the arts?

Martin: Well I had undergrad degrees in both theater and accounting. I’m pretty sure I was the only one at my university with that particular combination. Nobody really understood what I was gonna do with that and I don’t if I did either and I thought that they’ll be separate parts in my life and I never imagined working in the intersection of them in the intersection of arts and business.

I never really much like the theatrics of the business world and I didn’t really like the business side of being an artist. At that point in my life I was convinced that the business and being an artist that selling out it’s which you don’t talk about I do it for the, I’m a starving artist I don’t need to make money I do it for the love. All those good things and that’s where I was at and I did keep them separate so at first out of school I was working in theater mostly in Chicago and did work at a few different theater companies there.

The Chopin theater, Collaboraction, I was at Collaboraction for a long stretch and loved it and I love the people and I wish I could’ve continue doing that but it wasn’t in the cards and instead I was able to connect with arts through my wife and through my work and that’s how I kept going.

Anthem: Were you a performer primarily?

Martin: No, actually I did more directing and then I was also on the management side so I was managing director at Collaboraction and else served a number of boards eventually so I’m on the board of directors for a few different non-profits global alliance of artists, musician one called Sweet Relief who helps come to the aid of some musicians that’s based on California I was working with them too so I ended up finding my way whether I liked it or not too bad intersection of business and arts and it’s like the wild west in some ways but it’s a lot of fun too. If you got to do it, you got to be in the business it’s a fun place to be.

Anthem: Absolutely. How would you identify these days if someone would ask you if you’re an artist. How do you answer that one?

Martin: Oh, that’s tricky. I’m an artist at heart and it’s a big part of our household, it’s a big part of how my kids they are all musicians and acting and singing and dancing and running around and my wife is also heavily involved so I’m an artist at heart and an artist by curiously and I’ve been lately incredibly passionate on the business and about design which in term of product designs, service design, which I think is also an interesting intersection of business thought and problem solving, go with the creative spin to it, so that’s my not a very direct answer to your very direct question.

Anthem: I get it [chuckle] and I wanna add to that because it’s something that I have had to think of a lot about as well because I started my own coaching practice about five years ago and I started to realize more so very recently that there’s a difference between art, object-making, and artistry itself and just because I’m not art object-making anymore it doesn’t mean that I’m not still practicing artistry in my business and the expression of my business and expression of my values and I feel like I think it’s good for the many of us cause I know so many people who have gotten out of like that but I’m calling object-making meaning whether it’s writing or painting or whatever. The traditional genres that have gotten out but are still like expressing those values in their current work so I feel like once an artist, artist for life. That’s my personal view.

Martin: For sure, I’d buy into that 100%. Even the very act of making a creative business is in a way an artistic expression because nobody does it the same. You’re always bringing your own flavor to it and trying to identify how you’re gonna express yourself as a business owner so there’s a lot of creativity to it and there’s nothing more meaningful to me than being able to support people in doing that.

Anthem: Indeed. Tell us about you book that you authored minding your business?

Martin: It came out years of sitting down with clients, a lot of individual artists especially come tax time and I would get ready with them to help prepare their taxes and they would be total mess, a disaster. They would not know anything about how much money they made and especially not about what they spend it on. In that point, the year is done it’s February, March, April, the next year we can’t go back in time and recreate it so they actually keep track of everything.

So we talk about and I give them a little lesson and they’d come back the next year ultimately while [?] them way more money because they didn’t even know how much they were spending on all of these stuff that’s connected to their work and after years of doing that and thousands of clients I just got passionate about the idea of trying to educate people more before they make the mistake, before they let the year go by where they didn’t know they didn’t track anything and now they’re screwed because of it.

I set out to write this book that round up, not making me a world-renowned author but sold some copies and actually almost importantly to be open up a lot of speaking opportunities for me to talk to people who are just coming out of school, who were just getting started where learning these core principles about what does it mean to be an artist in making money as an artistic field you are a business onto yourself.

Whether you want to think of it or not as far as the government goes and as far as following your taxes, you are a business and that means you have to treat it like one in some ways and when people see actually how much they benefit from doing that, not just in terms of tax savings but how much just that orientation helps them see, oh yeah I get it.

I get how making money as in necessarily evil. If I make a bunch of money in this project, that means I can go do the other bigger project that’s not gonna pay me anything because I just bought myself a month.

Anthem: Exactly.

Martin: The orientation helps a lot and so it’s been really great getting a chance to help shed light on that early on in someone’s career.

Anthem: That’s excellent. Where’s the book available?

Martin: It’s on Amazon, I don’t know our there any actual bookstores left?

Anthem: I don’t know fewer and fewer I’m telling you it’s scary. [laughter]

Martin: I know it’s on Amazon and maybe anywhere else.

Anthem: I’m definitely gonna encourage folks to go check that out. So, in your own life as an artist, and probably you’ve already sort of touch upon this what would you have done differently I mean now you’re the CEO of very well-recognized company that focuses specifically on business skills development.

What would you have done differently as a new college grad, a budding artist. Had you applied that total entrepreneurial framework really, really early on. How might that have affected your processes or decision making etcetera?

Martin: A great question. The systems and processes there’s maybe something there but what comes to mind immediately and most importantly is more of a mindset thing and it’s not being afraid to admit what I don’t know. That’s something that I’ve learned more recently and I keep unfortunately learning new versions of that lesson and it’s no anything that I was so not a part of how I started out in business and in the arts.

I thought I had something to prove, I thought I had to bring it and be the whole package and not ask a lot of questions but there’s a way that people think of needing help and asking questions as not powerful when in fact arming yourself with that actually is the most powerful thing you can do. It actually shows that I understand what’s coming at me and I know that I don’t have all the answers yet and I’m willing to get them from whoever has them. That orientation alone would have saved me a lot of headaches along the way.

Anthem: What kind of questions would you have asked? In what arenas?

Martin: Well, especially in the artistic field in the realm of management. I had a lot of faith that if you made a beautiful thing that people would respond to it and it would bring you success and I would have asked a lot more questions about who are we making this thing for who actually is the audience here? What do they care about? Is it the same as what I care about? And if not, what can I do to bridge that gap to make something that’s meaningful for me and at the same time is worth something to them and is a great experience for them too.

Anthem: That’s… no, go ahead please I have something but I’ve… finish your thought.

Martin: I mean that’s a big one in the creative realm and business-wise I will share with you that very recently so about starting in this past May. It’s about 4 months ago I started working with one of our coaches actually. There’s was an EMyth coach, coaching our own business which has been awesome. It’s been so amazing not only just to get that help but to experience our own product like what it’s like as a customer and she keeps unlocking for me areas that I could’ve been asking more questions about that why dig deeper enough into.

Again, it’s a different version of the question but who’s our target market? Who is it that we really need our marketing materials to speak to and what is our sales process going to be like, that’s going to turn more of these people into an actual customer. How does the brand needs to express itself in order for them to resonate. It’s a lot of those same questions that it’s easy for people I think who are creative to see a picture of something or told a story.

We let our imaginations keep going and fill in all the rest that’s beyond that but nobody actually took the time to explain but it’s not really there and you actually have to understand that if you’re gonna get engaged in the practice of improving your business regularly and systematically. You have to ask those questions. You can’t take too much for granted. There’s no such thing as asking too many questions about your assumptions.

Anthem: I think the audience thing is a really a powerful area to explore. I especially resonate with it because most of the work that I did in arts admin was on the marketing side and I’ve found very frequently my number one observation/complaints is that a lot of times product, we’re talking about in business terms meaning the performance, a performance we get created without much thought to the audience and only after the product is developed and finalized does the organizations start well now let’s go find people to put this in front of instead of having cultivated audience alongside the creation of the product and…

Martin: Or even worse, how do we sell this thing to those people now?

Anthem: Exactly and it’s actually weird because then it puts the pressure on folks to develop community engagement from thin air when anyone who’s ever done community engagement knows it takes 6 months, 12 months. It could take 24 months to build a real trust and dialogue with any community and it probably takes that long to create the show anyways so why not build both simultaneously, alongside one another it’s just been the most mind-boggling thing ever and it still takes place till this day.

Martin: Yeah it really does. Especially in the world of theater where they have real challenges nationally in the field in terms of developing new audiences. They’re trying to–it’s still not resonating.

That message is still not connecting for people that you can’t do what you are normally doing and then simply invite in new people at the end of the process. Building something for someone they care about takes engaging them along the way and getting feedback along the way and like you said developing that relationship over a longer time.

Otherwise, it all just looks up ending pretty dis-en-genuine. So there’s so much wisdom in what you’re saying and I can only hope that at some point enough of us keep talking about it that things slowly starts to change. It’s a huge ocean line that’s got to start moving a little, little, little by degrees.

Anthem: Yeah, that’s it.

Martin: We’ll get there.

Anthem: One degree at a time. Let’s see… What can you say, I mean we again I feel like you get it and I’ve been talking about it for years now but let’s just visit this one more time for the sake of being hyper clear. What is your take on non-profit mindset and what we can do again to help make that shift?

Martin: Well with what aspect of non-profits are you referring to?

Anthem: I guess I’m referring to probably small to medium-sized rather than large cause I think the large non-profits get it. I’m thinking about people’s association of non-profit with anti-profit.

Martin: The arts has been a wonder sometimes if it’s been benefited as much as it’s been hurt in some ways by the fact that we have in general a non-profit model for supporting arts in the United States. It didn’t always use to be that way it used to be much more privately supported though moving it into a non-profit environment allows for a much broader expression.

We don’t have to create the thing that pleases the king [chuckle]. Everybody gets a chance to create lots of interesting engaging things at the same time it does hurt people who are in the profitable aspect of arts and creativity because there is a devaluation of those people’s time. When you figure you can go to the park and see an orchestra perform a symphony for free, you feel oh they must just love doing that, that’s great.

That you’re willing to hang out on a Sunday and play this concert and that’s a mindset that gets build up in the population in general and every time we go through around of budget cuts the NEA comes on the chopping block and people wanna talk about whether it’s a worthwhile investment and what it’s paying off and every time the arts community has to come together and demonstrate the actual economic impact that we have on the country and it’s tiring, it’s really tiring and it does have real cost to the people who are trying to earn a living as creatives.

Anthem: That’s a great observation, absolutely. I’m gonna throw a random question at you that I just thought of, a while back. Do you watch Shark Tank at all?

Martin: I have, I’ve seen it, yeah.

Anthem: I feel like it’s one of the most educational reality shows of which normally you don’t get educational in reality show and the same sentence but do you feel there are things that people could learn from that show? And if anything then what might those things be?

Martin: That’s a really great question. I just read an article recently where I forgot which one of the people who’s on the show was saying this but they were saying that the reason they loved doing the program is because they feel like they’re educating the next generation of entrepreneurs that are gonna come up and have the next ideas that will be on the show ten years from now. So I know it’s definitely on their minds too.

I do think there are some lessons to learn in one way it’s heartbreaking sometimes to watch people come on a show and pitch and idea for a product or business that you can tell means so much to them but these individuals will show you has possibly very little real value to customers, to somebody willing to invest in your business and that’s a different question. It separates those things that are passion, projects from what is a real life functioning business and what a lot of EMyth coaches will help our clients due is get their business in a place where it could be ready to sell and the thing is you do that not because you necessarily want to bring an investor like on Shark Tank or because you’re ready to sell your business and retire but it’s the very things that help make a business worth something to other people that make it that much more enjoyable for you to have right now.

It’s because you’ve put systems in place and you’ve taught people well and you have a repeatable product and system and something that really clicks with the core audience. All of those things mean that you can take a month off and the things won’t fall apart and it does build the business that has value to other people but it creates an immensely valuable process for you along the way too and I believe that, I see that all the time when I watch those episodes and see people identifying what it really means to somebody else to create a business that has value.

Anthem: It’s all about finding that intersection between doing something that you’re really passionate about and making sure that you’re doing all the right things to make sure that the thing you’re passionate about lives.

Martin: Yeah, that’s right. It’s got to be something that’s meaningful to you and that you’re passionate about because those are the businesses that you can feel it, you can breathe it in and know that the people who are doing this really care about what they’re doing.

That helps, that’s what makes most businesses grow but the ones that are ultimately most successful and are the most beneficial to the owner at the end of the day, at the end of the line, where you don’t just have the collection of your pay checks each month and then there’s nothing where you have collection of paychecks each month then at the end of the road, you get one nice big payout to move on to the next project.

That differences really making something that is as worth to other people as it is you are passionate about it.

Anthem: So true, so absolutely true. Martin thank you so much. Can you tell us where folks can find out more about you, about EMyth and you already mentioned but also about your book because I wanna make sure people know about that as well.

Martin: EMyth you can find online that’s The book EMyth revisited is on Amazon. My book Minding your Business is also in Amazon and then I’ve got a personal page with some projects at and I think that’s about all the relevant places right now but it’s been a real joy getting to speak to you and reconnecting it’s been some years and I’ve been watching you from afar when you tap me on LinkedIn I said, “Yeah I’ve been this guy’s hustling. He’s always hustling.” [laughter] I can see it, it was great.

Anthem: Thank you so much Martin. This is been a real treat and this is a fantastic way to reconnect both of us in these new roles.

Martin: That’s right.

Anthem: Excellent.


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