There is a common mistake that often happens to most entrepreneurs, without them ever realizing it.

This mistake has to do with discerning how you are spending your time regarding your business. 

You are either working IN your business or ON your business. They sound similar, but they’re not the same. The difference is subtle but the outcome is huge. (really it’s the difference of an i or an o)

Do you know the difference? Let’s take a quick deep dive…

Working in your biz vs. Working on your biz

When you are working in your business you always feel busy, yet you always have the feeling of never getting anything done. You are planning, organizing and learning. These things don’t produce an actual, tangible result. 

Working on your business involves taking action. You are out there doing things that will make you money immediately. Your are taking action that will help you connect, collaborate and get clients or sell products. 

Here are some examples…

  • If I brainstorm 26 ideas for blogs I want to write, that’s working IN my biz. If I actually write and publish a blog, that’s working ON my biz.
  • If I give away 15 free breakthrough calls  in a random Facebook group, that’s working IN my biz. If I intentionally reach out to 5 selected women I really want to work with and have a call with them to create them as clients, that’s working ON my biz.
  • If I spend days organizing my schedule, my desk and anything else in front o me (like my sock drawer), that’s definitely working IN my biz (or avoiding doing anything altogether). If I research a location for a retreat, contact the hotel owner and set a date for my intensive retreat, that’s working ON my biz.

Sometimes working in my business is useful, but it will never produce an outcome by itself. It doesn’t matter how many times I post freebies in a facebook group, it won’t get me quality clients that I really want to work with. Only the action of having deliberate conversations with hand picked women will get the result I am looking to achieve.

Why Smart Entreprenuers Find themselves stuck feeling busy…

If working in our business doesn’t lead to results, why do we do it? Sometimes we actually need to plan or learn more in order to move the needle forward and prepare for the next big thing. Yet, more often than not, we do it because staying “busy” makes us feel like we’re making progress, we use it as a measure of how productive we’ve been.

Productivity has become a measure of success which is measured in levels of busy a person may or may not be. We are afraid of working in a slow and deliberate way because others may judge us negatively.  It doesn’t feel good to be judged, so we tend to avoid situations where that might happen and keep ourselves busy. That’s the biggest reason why you slip into being busy working in your business rather than taking action working on our business: you want to delay/avoid failure.

I’d like more clients for my business. But, if I ask for the sale, I might get turned down. So if I post in this facebook group on Tuesdays (when its allowed) alongside 50 other women I won’t be seen and can avoid someone calling me out on being fake. 

I’d like to work with some women one-on-one in a tropical resort. But, I don’t want to risk putting all of this together and then not having anyone register. Or worse yet, getting a ton of registrations and then making a fool of myself when I screw something up. 

It’s easy to be busy and convince yourself that you’re still making progress. You think, “I’ve got 100 comments on my post about a free call. I’m headed in the right direction.” 

Being busy makes you feel like you’re getting things done. But really, you’re just preparing to get something done. When this starts happening, preparing becomes a form of procrastination, you need to make a change. You don’t want to spend all your time planning. You want to be practicing and executing.

Making shit happen

There are a freaking ton of strategies to taking action on growing your business, here are two that really helped me…

1. Set a Schedule!

Whenever I have to schedule an event I always check my calendar first because if it’s not on my calendar where I can see it, it doesn’t exist and I will forget it. 

Not only is it important to set a schedule for your business and personal life but you NEED to write it down some where. 

If you want to level that habit up then give your task a specific date, time and location. Example: I will work out on Monday at 8 am at the gym. 

Bonus:  if you have a date dependent, one time only task (like a release of a new offering or item), you can pick a date to shift. You want to shift your preparing for that release to actual action of releasing your offering into the world. Put all of your steps on the calendar down to the day and hour you will be doing them. 

2. SAY NO. 

Go on a No diet and prioritize yourself. All of those to do’s that you scheduled are now a non-negotiable (unless there is a big emergency). That time you set aside to make shit happen is a valuable appointment. If someone asks you to push it off and do something for them just say no.

No is a complete sentence but if you feel the need to expand on your no (most of us do) you can simply tell them, “sorry I have an appointment.” Most people will accept that and back off. 

Working in your biz/being busy will never produce a final result. Working on your biz will.

When you’re in motion, you’re planning and strategizing and learning. Those are all good things, but they don’t produce a result.

Check in with yourself today and ask.

Are you doing something? Or are you just preparing to do it?Are you in motion? Or are you taking action?


  • Sheryl Guarniero

    Disruptive Success Coach

    Helping Social Entrepreneurs Reclaim the Planet & Lead a conscious, evolved business & life by leveraging their Time/Energy/Mindset. It's my passion to help Social entrepreneurs build a sustainable business, impact the world with their gifts and avoid sending themselves to the hospital from stress in the process.