Specialists work for generalists. Great entrepreneurs employ experts in their field.
But most entrepreneurs were once specialists themselves. As the best donut-maker, plumber or electrician in town, they thought, “I’m undervalued. The only way I can really make more money for myself is to go out on my own.”
That’s you, isn’t it? It’s me all over.
So the plumber becomes the Founder, and buys herself a job. And because she’s a good Founder, she soon has to hire other plumbers to handle the work. She pays them–maybe more than she pays herself. She takes risks. She loses sleep. She misses her kids’ soccer games, takes the hard jobs herself, and tries to give them the best work.
And then one of her team thinks, “I’m undervalued. The only way I can really make more money for myself is to go out on my own.”
And you know what? They’re usually right.
So the entrepreneur tries to hold her staff in their place. She tries to remain the expert. She never shows them the big picture, and tries to scare them off entrepreneurship by telling them all her woes.
The greek myth of Icarus is one of my favorites. Icarus’ dad builds him wings from feathers and wax. He warns Icarus not to fly too low or too high. But, of course, Icarus does, and the wax melts, and he plummets into the sea.
The weak entrepreneur holds her staff back by telling them to fly low. But, of course, she holds herself back, too.
The powerful entrepreneur isn’t afraid to work with powerful people.
A great entrepreneur shows her staff the horizon, and actually gives them wings, knowing they’ll lift her, too.
One of the key requirements for reaching the Tinker phase is a business that your staff can grow without you.
(Not sure where you fit? Take the Founder | Farmer | Tinker | Thief test here.)