The Entrepreneurial Seizure

Last Update: Feb 7, 2017


This is the second in my series of E-Myth Revisited posts. The E-Myth Revisited examines the core myth behind what people believe an Entrepreneur is and what it takes in reality to make a small business successful. This series of posts will cover the core topics explained in the E-Myth Revisited book and apply them to being a Wealthy Affiliate and making money online.

The Entrepreneurial Seizure

Yesterday we examined the Entrepreneur Myth and the reality of the experience of most entrepreneurs. The author blames the situation most entrepreneurs find themselves in on what he calls the Entrepreneurial Seizure. An entrepreneurial seizure occurs when for whatever reason someone decides they are sick of working for someone else and decides that they can run the business better than the boss can and decides to go start their own business. In doing this the individual makes a fatal assumption.

The Fatal Assumption

Quoting the E-Myth:

That Fatal Assumption is: if you understand the technical work of a business, you understand a business that does that technical work.

The “technical work” referred to here is whatever is done to provide the product or service to the customer. For example, for an electrician it would be doing the wiring, for a baker it would be cooking the pastries, and for a web designer it would be designing the websites.

The problem is that there are many more aspects to running a business than just delivering the product. There is the accounting, the marketing, the customer service, managing employees, etc. So when someone starts a business they find that they are now responsible for one thing they know how to do really well, the technical work, and several other things that they know nothing about.

The Internet Marketing Fatal Assumption

Of course, being an internet marketer isn't exactly the same as starting a brick and mortar small business. Many of the issues that a brick and mortar small business will have to deal with, an internet marketer can either avoid or exist on a much smaller and more manageable scale. You can build a business without any employees. If you're doing affiliate marketing, you don't need to worry about customer service. And your expenses are so low, that unless you're paying for advertising, accounting is mostly just a matter of looking at your affiliate payout balances. In the end that just leaves building a website and figuring out a way to drive traffic to it.

However, internet marketers run into a different problem. Most small business entrepreneurs start a business in an area that they're already an expert in the technical work. In most cases though, internet marketers aren't experts in either building a website or marketing online. According to the E-Myth this could be a positive if it meant that the internet marketer had to find people to do these things for them and focused on building a business system.

However, this isn't what most internet marketers do. Instead, they assume what they need to do is learn the technical aspect of the business, i.e. building websites and marketing online. So essentially internet marketers suffer from the same fatal assumption as traditional small business owners. The only difference is they get bogged down a step sooner than a traditional small business owner. They get bogged down trying to learn all the technical stuff rather than doing all the small business stuff.

Applying this to Wealthy Affiliate

You can see this play out on WA all the time. Pretty much every question asked on WA revolves around technical questions and all the training is technical training. However, to truly apply the E-Myth Revisited model would require a substantial upfront cost because you'd be hiring people to do all the work for you instead of learning to do it yourself. This, of course, defeats the whole idea behind internet marketing of basically eliminating the financial barrier to entry.

The real problem in all of this is the illusion that starting an internet marketing business is some how different from starting a brick and mortar small business. An internet marketing business still requires a substantial upfront investment. You can pay that investment in cash or you can pay for it with your time, but it still has to be paid. It's only down the road that things which make an internet business easier to manage come into play.

The Internet Marketing Advantage

As was mentioned earlier, from the perspective of the E-Myth, not knowing how to do the technical work can be an advantage is done properly even if you're not hiring people to do the work for you. It all depends on your approach. We'll examine this more closely and how WA makes this even easier as we progress.

I hope you found something useful in this post and I look forward to your thoughts and comments.

Recent Comments


Great post it took me a bit of time to get my mind around the online business, knew the bricks and mortar stuff this journey certainly teaches us many things

Very good Cory good comparison. One aspect that I personally feel is different having experienced both sides of the fence as it were.

The bricks and mortar small business is better geared to a younger age group, the is a physicality to it.

On-line marketing I see a true pay forward as I move past retirement age and is something I can do now and benefit from in the future.

I would not wish to think about a bricks and mortar startup now but on-line yes.

That's interesting George. I see your point. I think it might be a IM might be a younger and older thing while bricks and mortar is a middle of the road. For those in their 20's and 30's they'd have the time, but not necessarily access to the startup capital to start a bricks and mortar. I've seen some statistics that suggest people in their 40's and 50's are more likely to succeed when starting a new business as well.

Interesting and true Cory!

Thanks Keith

Hi Cory, a very useful post. Irv.

Thanks Irv.

I was waiting for this post Cory .. looking forward to reading the next one. It is invaluable info. Thank you. Cheers, William.

Glad to hear it William

I Think "learn to do it yourself" for everything I love to do.
If I not like to, hiring is the choice.
I don't have to buy a book. Thank you so much.

LOL well I'd still buy the book, but glad you got something out of the post.

Thanks for.sharing :) This book sounds interesting

Yeah I've never written up a list of my top 10 business books, but this would definitely be on it.

Fantastic, I will look out for when you do a post on your top 10 recommended business books as well. Been searching for books to buy and enhance my direction.

Collaboration and delegation in the community help the process along Cory!

Thanks Mike.

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