Top 14 Michael Gerber Quotes from “The E-Myth Revisited”

In today’s post, I’d like to share some of my favorite Michael Gerber quotes from his best-selling book The E-Myth Revisited. 

This book is the real deal, for any entrepreneur looking to build a successful business of any kind. Of all the people who have helped me with developing my entrepreneurial skills, Mr. Gerber has had the biggest impact.

Of all the business books I have ever read, this one is hands down my favorite. The lessons I have learned from Michael Gerber in The E-Myth Revisited have totally changed the way I think about my business.

His book The E-Myth Revisited is a must read for any entrepreneur and should be mandatory reading before anyone is allowed to start their own business. I’ve read the book at least 20 times now and have given away at least 50 copies to entrepreneurial friends. The book is that good.

Top 14 Michael Gerber Quotes

Top Michael Gerber Quotes

What I want to do in the paragraphs below is share a few lessons I learned from Michael Gerber in The E-Myth Revisited and also provide my own two cents on each topic. Each lesson is in bold and italics. Let’s get started.

# 1: Most people start a business for the wrong reason.

Most people start a business because they are good at a certain technical job (barber, accountant, baker, etc.) and they are tired of working for someone else. Or, they start a business because they cannot find a job.

Most people who start a business aren’t entrepreneurs at all. They just want to WORK for themselves, control their own schedule and do what they want to do.

What they don’t realize is that they will have to work twice as much for half the money when they first start their business, and probably for their first three to five years in business.

In addition, they don’t realize that the TECHNICAL work is only a small part of running a successful business.

# 2: People make less money in their business than they should – because they are doing the wrong work.

The reason most entrepreneurs make less money in their business than they would as an employee is because they do the wrong work!

The technical work of the business (cutting hair as a barber for example) is not the real work of the business.  Yes, those things are important and must be done properly.


The real work of a business is marketing, sales and operations. The primary responsibility of a business owner is to generate leads, make sales and make the cash register ring.

A business owner must learn how to PROMOTE and MARKET their business, so they can grow it. All other tasks are inferior and could be labeled as busy work. How do you spend your time?

# 3: Everyone who goes into business is three people in one: The Entrepreneur, the Manager and the Technician.

This lesson was an “ah ha” moment for me.

The entrepreneur is the visionary; the creative dreamer. They’re the person inside of you that made you want to go in business for yourself.

The manager is the person who craves order and likes things structured and organized.

The technician is the doer, the worker.

Everyone has some of these three people within them with one as a dominant one. The problem for most people is that the entrepreneur is not their dominant trait: normally the technician is. As a result, their business struggles and all they do is keep working harder and harder to keep their business afloat.

# 4: Work on your business rather than work in your business.

This is quite perhaps the most important lesson in the book.

As an entrepreneur, your job is to do the strategic work to GROW your business, not just the work to RUN your business.

Strategic work is game-planning, developing systems, marketing, operations, sales, creating policies and procedures, getting new customers, former strategic partnerships with other businesses etc.

Most business owners just focus on the busy work.

How much time do you spend on the strategic work in your business? When was the last time you stepped away from your business and looked at in from the outside in?

# 5: If your business depends on you alone, you don’t own a business, you own a job.

It took me a long time to really understand this lesson. Your goal should be to replace yourself in your business as quickly as possible. Create systems so you don’t need to be there 24/7.

If you need to be there for your business 24/7 just to succeed, what would happen if you lost your ability to work or didn’t want to go to work?

Simply put, it’s better to be the real estate broker than the agent. Your business needs people and systems!

The purpose of your life is not to serve your business

# 6: The purpose of your life is not to serve your business, but the primary purpose of your business is to serve your life.

Your business is NOT your life.

It should not consume all of your life and time, either. Your business should PROVIDE you with the lifestyle and the money you need to live comfortably. If it doesn’t do that, get rid of your business and do something else, or change the way you run your business.

# 7: Think of your business as anything but a job.

If you think of your business as a job, you will work harder than ever, get paid less than you deserve and get burnt out.

Don’t think of your business as place to go to work. Think of it as a place to FREE UP your time. Your goal should be to make money as much as you can in as little time as possible.

# 8: The problem isn’t your business, it’s you.

This is another lesson that really hit home for me. If things aren’t going well in your business, the issue is YOU. That might be a tough pill to swallow, but it’s the truth.

Our business is a reflection of us, so sometimes we need to do a reality check and look ourselves in the mirror. For your business to improve you must improve.

Instead of blaming your lack of results on your business, the economy or your competitor, look yourself in the mirror and man up or woman up. You are the problem and YOU are the solution.

# 9: The only reason to create a business is so you can sell it one day! 

Your business should provide an income, but your ultimate goal is to create something that you can sell one day and cash out when you want to retire, or move on to something else. If YOU are the business, you will never be able to sell it.

# 10: All buying decisions are made irrationally!

People are EMOTIONAL creatures. No buying decision is made based upon logic. We cater to our emotions and then justify it with logic.

That means your marketing and advertising should appeal to people’s emotions whenever possible. Focus on what people want, not what they need.

# 11: You must know more about your customer than they know about themselves.

Every business has customers that are in a certain demographic, sometimes referred to as a target market.

Your job is to study your customers and learn everything you can about them. Know where they live, their race, their religion, what they do for work, what they drive for cars, how much they earn, what their hobbies are, what magazines they read, etc.

All of these demographics are important to know, so you can purchase leads and attract more people in the same demographics. The more you know about your customers the better.

# 12: You must take marketing more seriously than a big business does.

As a small business owner, you can’t afford to advertise like the big companies do. You can’t do BRANDING.

Your only objective should be direct response marketing. This is where you advertise DIRECTLY to people in your target market.

You should spend at least 50% of your working time on marketing activities. This is the ONE activity that can produce the greatest rate of return on your time investment. Focusing on marketing is the best way to spend your time.

Marketing sales and operations are your real job as a business owner

# 13: Marketing, sales and operations are your real job as a business owner.

The technical work of your business is not your real job. Your employees or independent contractors should be doing the technical work while you focus on the activities that GROW your business.

If you have to do the technical work yourself, make sure you set aside time for the strategic work. Remember sales, marketing and operations should be your top priority. These things should not be overlooked. If anything, the technical work should be delegated, so you have time to focus on what is really important.

# 14: It’s cheaper to keep a customer than it is to go out and find a new one.

Don’t forget to take care of your current customers and stay in touch with them on a regular basis. It’s much easier, and cheaper, to keep a current customer than it is to go out and find a new one.

When issues arise, fix it! When a customer has questions, be prompt and courteous. Treat your customers like gold and stay in touch often. This will keep them coming back and have them sending you referrals.

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About the Book

The E-Myth Revisited is one of the top five best-selling business books of all time. It was published by Harper Collins in 1995. The ISBN is 978-0887307287. It features 268-pages and comes in softcover and Kindle format. As of October 2016, it has 1,473 reviews on Amazon with an average 4.5 star rating. It is considered by many as one of the most important business books of all time. I give the book a 10 of 10 myself. Order a copy on Amazon.

e myth

About Michael Gerber

Michael Gerber is a business consultant, author, speaker and trainer. He has been labeled as the # 1 Small Business Guru by Inc. magazine. He has personally helped tens of thousands of small business owners turn around their business for the better. To learn more about Mr. Gerber, check out his website.

Final Thoughts

What do you think about these 14 Michael Gerber quotes from The E-Myth Revisited? Which quote resonates with you the most? Which lesson do you need to improve the most in your business? Leave a comment below to let me know what you think. I look forward to hearing from you.

chuck holmes


Chuck Holmes
Network Marketing Professional (since 2002)
Author, Blogger, & Entrepreneur

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6 thoughts on “Top 14 Michael Gerber Quotes from “The E-Myth Revisited””

  1. I was recommended to buy this book to help me along in my lawn care business. The points you touched on is exactly what I need to change. It’s so easy to be the ‘technician’ especially in my line of work.

    Thanks for posting this, it was very helpful!

    1. Glad to help. I could assume that if you own a lawn care business, you would think your job is to cut grass, trimming, and landscaping. However, if you focus on the marketing side of things, you can hire people to do the technical work for you, which will free up your time, allow you to scale your business and give you leverage. This book can teach you how to do that.

  2. Really knowing your customers is a good thing. Knowing them like the back of your hand allows you to better understand what they need and what they want. A customer you better understand is a customer you can better help and satisfy. It takes a lot of work getting to know your target group, but it is worth the investment of time and energy in the long run.

    1. Definitely. You need to think like your customer whenever possible. Get in their head. Figure out their hot buttons, what they want, and then come up with a better way to serve them. The more you can learn about your customer, the better you can do with your marketing and customer service. This will in return build loyal customers who become and endless source of referrals.

  3. I agree with your last point, that it is cheaper to keep an existing customer than to find a new one. When I worked for a large insurance company, it was an actuarial fact that it took an average of seven years for a policy holder to become profitable for us. I was never sure what all went into figuring out that average, but I know that it was based in part of advertising expenses, initial processing, and the number of accidents that loyal long-term customers had versus customers who shopped around for a new policy every year. We tried to treat everyone fairly, but we would definitely treat those long-term customers like gold.

    1. Great points, Faye. A long-term customer is very valuable to any business. Most businesses lose money to acquire a new customer, but know they will make up for their losses with repeat business. The real profits in any business normally come from repeat sales, not one time sales.

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