The Profiting Publisher

TPP #009: The Difference Between Working "On" The Business And "In" The Business

TPP #009: The Difference Between Working "On" The Business And "In" The Business
Photo by Marvin Meyer / Unsplash
Table of Contents
In: The Profiting Publisher
Read time: 3 minutes.

In today’s issue, we’re talking about the difference.

The difference between working “on” your business and “in” your business.

Believe it or not, they aren’t the same…

📓 The Definitions

“On” the business = Stuff that doesn’t move the needle.

“In” the business = Stuff that does move the needle.

I’ll give you an example.

Take the freelance writer. I’m sure some of you (like me) have tried it at one point or another. What does it look like to work “on” the business?

In my opinion, it’s:

  • Writing the “perfect” description
  • Finding a good website theme
  • Choosing social platforms
  • Creating systems
  • Researching

The tasks that are on your to-do list. It’s where they should be. You can’t effectively run the business without them. But what does it look like to work “in” the business?

In my opinion, I’d say:

  • Delivering the service
  • Creating content
  • Executing
  • Hiring

These things physically move the needle. They are the foundations that your business is built upon. Essentially what I means is, you need to take action to actually operate.

❌ But Don’t Get Me Wrong

Working “on” the business isn’t bad. It’s important!

What I think is more important, is to ensure that you’re not taking on tedious tasks as a form of procrastination in disguise.

I find myself guilty of it all the time.

I love editing thumbnails for my services, procrastinating content creation with mindless interaction, and surfing the web for ideas. It’s a dangerous trap.

The more you focus on the things that actually move the needle, the more successful your business will be. That means fulfilling orders and creating the content that’s gonna get your work out there, in the eyes of the public.

I’m about to detail the dirty work.

🤷🏻 How to Do Both Effectively

Let’s boil it down to a ratio.

There’s a famous principle called the Pareto principle. It says that 80% of the outcome comes from 20% of the effort.

Well, we’re just going to steal the numbers. Spending 80% of your time working “in” the business will ensure that the important stuff gets taken care of.

(For the freelancer, that means completing orders and taking care of clients).

The other 20% can be spent doing things like tinkering with your social profiles, setting up a personal website to improve the rate at which you receive orders, and researching to improve the efficiency of your business.

I like to try and keep this balance so that I focus on what really matters, which is the operation of the business.

The entirety of this concept basically revolves around the fact that we don’t want to waste time on those tedious tasks I mentioned. Avoiding procrastination.

🧠 Final Thoughts

As a creator, it tends to be difficult to keep the same schedule.

Without a boss breathing down your neck, it can be easy to drift away from the important stuff. And that’s okay. The purpose of running a personal business in the first place is to get away from the 9 to 5 grind.

Finding what works for you (and what doesn’t) is the key to staying motivated and effective. It takes time. It takes effort.

This says it simply:

If you can nail the essentials, you create momentum.

It’s a great thing. Something that can compound, which is where you “ride the wave” as a wise man once said ;)

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Written by
Joseph Seifert
Solopreneur → Writing my basket of businesses. Teaching the art of Thought Monetization.
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