Eating the Elephant: Your Unique Genius

Your Unique Genius - a young girl punching her fist to the sky with a jetpack on her back

What if you’re a bad cook but you really like setting the table? Should you still open a restaurant?

When you opened your gym, you did everything yourself. We call this the “Founder Phase” of entrepreneurship.

But as you grew, you ran out of time to do everything well. So you hired staff to replace you. You started with the lowest-value roles and worked upward, gradually increasing the value of the time you spend in the business. You shifted from working in your business to working on your business. And your gym grew.

And then, as you worked through Farmer Phase and Growth Phase and approached Tinker Phase, you realized:

“I’m not actually good at this part.”

Hopefully, you also realized:

“But I’m really good at that part!”

None of us is great at every aspect of business. I love to say “none of us is as good as all of us” when I’m talking about Two-Brain. The key is to put people in roles where they can be most successful. And that starts with you.

What’s your “unique genius”?


Queen Bees and Geniuses


Look at the hierarchy of business again:


What level do you love to deliver most?

Are you more “left-brained” and love working on standard operating procedures, playbooks and programming?

Or are you more “right-brained” and constantly designing new T-shirts, tweaking your ad copy and writing love letters?

Finding the place where you fit best in your company is the first step to getting your staff in the right seats. Believe it or not, other people will love the work you hate.

Mike Michalowicz calls this “The Queen Bee Role” (listen to him talk about it on Two-Brain Radio).

I’m great at marketing, and pretty good at sales. I’m terrible at advertising. I’m not very good at getting processes out of my head, and I get bored with repetitive tasks. So at Two-Brain, my job is to create content. My mentor, Todd Herman, calls this my “unique genius.”

In my gym, my job is to make prescriptions—but not to do personal training or write nutrition plans. After 20 years, I’m no longer excited to do those things.


What Do You Love?


Here’s how to determine your unique genius:

If you could do one business-related task all day, what would that be?

Now, how does that one task grow your business?

The next step is to replace yourself on the other levels. Start with this question:

If you could avoid one of those levels forever, which level would that be?

Then ask another question: If everything on that level was delivered to an A+ score, how would that grow your business?

For example, if you hate sales, you’re probably performing at a C+ level (that’s optimistic. Sales is all about enthusiasm and confidence. But I’ll be charitable).

A C+ in sales means your conversion rate is around 60 percent. What if you hired someone who loved sales and that brought your conversion rate up to 80 percent—an A? That means two more people out of every 10 leads sign up for your gym. How much revenue would that create—enough to pay for the staff person doing sales?

Or what if—like me—you’re really bad at some operational tasks, like cleaning? Sure, the cleaner won’t make you any money—but they can buy you time to focus more on the higher levels of the pyramid.

As my dad told me, “Don’t get too good at the wrong job or you’ll be irreplaceable.”

There’s no reason for you to do work you hate. Your business will grow faster if you stick to the things you do best: the things you get excited about. Replace yourself in the other roles. Work backward to calculate how to pay for them.

That’s how you eat an elephant!


Other Media in This Series


“Eating the Elephant: How to Do It All”
“Eating the Elephant: One Bite at a Time”

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