If you’ve read the E-Myth book (or talked to anyone who extols its virtues), you’ve probably heard this notion of “working ON your business.”

Perhaps you’ve heard that business owners should spend more time working ON their businesses.

Working ON your business is what helps your business improve and grow. Whereas working IN your business is like being stuck in the mud with your car wheels spinning uselessly.

A lot of solo and small firm lawyers have trouble wrapping their heads around exactly how to spend more time working ON their business.

As usual, we lawyers tend to overcomplicate even the simplest concepts. Which leaves us trapped in a quagmire of self-induced confusion.

Let’s not complicate the process. Let’s focus on the simple element…

There are only two ways you can work ON your business.

First, you can schedule specific times where you focus on things that will improve your business. Ideally, you’d have a regular recurring day and time for doing this.

Unfortunately, most busy lawyers find it hard to adhere to a regular schedule for working ON their businesses. And so most of them lose focus. And then they give up trying to improve their businesses.

Fortunately, there is a second way to work on your business that’s easier. (Well, sort of...)

The easiest way is to work ON your business in small moments during the day, wherever you can.

For example, if you find yourself waiting in a doctor’s office or anywhere like that. You might spend a few minutes doing something that will improve your business overall.

That would qualify as “working ON your business.”

Of course I can already hear you asking: what kinds of business things could I work on in while stuck in a waiting room?

Well, how about using your internet-connected smartphone and researching some software/app that can help you automate a common workflow?

For example, you could use a tool like TextExpander and create automation that would let you crank out a common email response in seconds. And that kind of simple automation is something you can easily work on pretty much anywhere, anytime.

There are probably dozens of interstitial moments in every week where you could work ON your business to improve it by better leveraging technology that you already have at your disposal.

The trick is to train yourself to take advantage of those small moments instead of wasting those opportunities like you probably are now.

Blunt Truth

Listen, here’s the thing about working ON your business…

Most people don’t do it because they’re resigned to accepting things as they are.

Some people aren’t willing to accept the status quo. They push against it and work to improve things.

Pushing against the status quo starts with a sense of curiosity.

You have to be really curious about the possibility of change. If you’re not all that curious then you’ll be resigned to accepting the status quo.

And then you’ll be like most business owners who are stuck working like employees because they can’t generate the momentum to make the shift it takes to move up to a higher level.

The momentum you need to move up isn’t an external force.

It’s internal.

It’s a certain kind of focus that you create and maintain.

It’s a kind of persistence that helps you power through the inevitable setbacks.

It’s about your mindset.

And about realizing that if your business can’t ever run without you then you don’t have a business.

You have a job.


When you stop and think about it: the question is NOT whether you have the time to work on your business.

The question is are you just going to accept things the way they are, or are you going to push up to the next level?

That’s an important choice.

And you’re free to choose either way.