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NOTABLE! A fundamental question for any entrepreneur: What do I want from my business?

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Ravens_Shadow

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I’ve got a friend that I call a few times a month to see if he’s taken action on his ideas and help him break down any barriers he may have. We’ll talk about what he’s doing and he’ll throw up a bunch of excuses about why he can’t launch yet, albeit it’s been 4 years since he started his entrepreneurial journey. His excuses may be something like this; “I have to have videos first, I have to have a website first, I have to have this and that before I can make my first calls”. Mind you, this cycle has been going on for years, but he's made a bit of cash here and there while hustling.

I never knew if there was a single question I could ask that would help him find out what it was he really wanted from being an entrepreneur.

I had a thought that maybe I should figure out what question should be asked at the beginning of anyone's journey.

The question that popped into mind was: Do you want a lifestyle business, or an enterprise?

It turns out he wanted a lifestyle business, but was getting advice from someone building an enterprise. He never knew that what he wanted was a lifestyle business, but now he can go out and get the resources he needs to get it done.

I think that this is a fundamental question that any entrepreneur should ask themselves before starting any sort of business.

What is it that you are wanting out of your journey? What do you want your journey to look like?

Let's break down the two business types.

Lifestyle Business: Some E-commerce/Amazon businesses, drop shipping, SEO services, copywriting services, Freelancing, other internet related ventures that focus solely on you as the one and only “employee” in a company. Lifestyle businesses make enough to cover your lifestyle and that’s about it. They allow you to potentially work a few hours a day, if that, and from anywhere in the world. Disclaimer: Some lifestyles may require millions of dollars a year, so you make that much to suit your lifestyle.

  • Do you want “profitability” within 1-2 years, or even after few product sales?
  • Do you want to be able to work from anywhere in the world with just a laptop and an internet connection?
  • Do you want to travel a ton and have your journey to be filled with daily adventures?
  • Do you want to do whatever you want, whenever you want, without worrying too much about money?
  • Do you want to work as little as possible, no shame in this, and still be able support your lifestyle?

If you answered yes to most of these questions, you probably want a lifestyle business.

Enterprise: Some software companies, franchises, massive brands (Yeti Coolers, Johnson and Johnson, Hershey's), large brick and mortar operations (BNSF Railroad, RotoRooter, Gamestop), real estate. Enterprises are huge beasts of scale and a product of relentless execution. Businesses that are at the top of their game, with the intent to dominate a particular market. Enterprises offer you the chance to exit for a large sum of F*ck you money, in exchange for sacrificing 10 years of your life.

  • Are you looking to build something with massive scale and impact?
  • Are you looking to build something with the intent to exit for 8 figures or more?
  • Are you looking to build a team that can take you places farther than you could ever go on your own?
  • Are you interested in being a CEO of a large company?
  • Are you interested in working 60-80 hour weeks for years? 40 hours from a dayjob are included in this estimate and don’t burn yourself out people, be smart.
  • Are you willing to risk 5, 10, or more years of your life to see a business idea through to its fruition?
  • Are you looking to get investors to invest in your products and ideas?
  • Are you looking for your own David vs Goliath journey?
  • Are you looking to push yourself to your limits and build a legacy?

If you answered yes to most of these questions, then an enterprise business is probably for you.



The right choice is what it is you want for yourself. For me, I want an enterprise. I want to take down some of the biggest companies in my industry. I don’t care about traveling, or going places. I just want a massive project to work on and lead a team, as that’s what satisfies me.

What would satisfy you might be sipping coconuts on a beach in Puerto Rico and enjoying seeing $500 in profit for the day. You might enjoy a trip to Thailand to meet up with other like minded lifestyle entrepreneurs for a few months just because you have the freedom to do so.

Not everything is sunshine and rainbows, and both journeys have their own challenges.

Think about what sort of business it is that you want, lifestyle or enterprise, and then figure out how to build it.
 

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MJ DeMarco

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Excellent post my brotha! Rep+!
 

ZF Lee

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I’ve got a friend that I call a few times a month to see if he’s taken action on his ideas and help him break down any barriers he may have. We’ll talk about what he’s doing and he’ll throw up a bunch of excuses about why he can’t launch yet, albeit it’s been 4 years since he started his entrepreneurial journey. His excuses may be something like this; “I have to have videos first, I have to have a website first, I have to have this and that before I can make my first calls”. Mind you, this cycle has been going on for years, but he's made a bit of cash here and there while hustling.

I never knew if there was a single question I could ask that would help him find out what it was he really wanted from being an entrepreneur.

I had a thought that maybe I should figure out what question should be asked at the beginning of anyone's journey.

The question that popped into mind was: Do you want a lifestyle business, or an enterprise?

It turns out he wanted a lifestyle business, but was getting advice from someone building an enterprise. He never knew that what he wanted was a lifestyle business, but now he can go out and get the resources he needs to get it done.

I think that this is a fundamental question that any entrepreneur should ask themselves before starting any sort of business.

What is it that you are wanting out of your journey? What do you want your journey to look like?

Let's break down the two business types.

Lifestyle Business: Some E-commerce/Amazon businesses, drop shipping, SEO services, copywriting services, Freelancing, other internet related ventures that focus solely on you as the one and only “employee” in a company. Lifestyle businesses make enough to cover your lifestyle and that’s about it. They allow you to potentially work a few hours a day, if that, and from anywhere in the world. Disclaimer: Some lifestyles may require millions of dollars a year, so you make that much to suit your lifestyle.

  • Do you want “profitability” within 1-2 years, or even after few product sales?
  • Do you want to be able to work from anywhere in the world with just a laptop and an internet connection?
  • Do you want to travel a ton and have your journey to be filled with daily adventures?
  • Do you want to do whatever you want, whenever you want, without worrying too much about money?
  • Do you want to work as little as possible, no shame in this, and still be able support your lifestyle?

If you answered yes to most of these questions, you probably want a lifestyle business.

Enterprise: Some software companies, franchises, massive brands (Yeti Coolers, Johnson and Johnson, Hershey's), large brick and mortar operations (BNSF Railroad, RotoRooter, Gamestop), real estate. Enterprises are huge beasts of scale and a product of relentless execution. Businesses that are at the top of their game, with the intent to dominate a particular market. Enterprises offer you the chance to exit for a large sum of F*ck you money, in exchange for sacrificing 10 years of your life.

  • Are you looking to build something with massive scale and impact?
  • Are you looking to build something with the intent to exit for 8 figures or more?
  • Are you looking to build a team that can take you places farther than you could ever go on your own?
  • Are you interested in being a CEO of a large company?
  • Are you interested in working 60-80 hour weeks for years? 40 hours from a dayjob are included in this estimate and don’t burn yourself out people, be smart.
  • Are you willing to risk 5, 10, or more years of your life to see a business idea through to its fruition?
  • Are you looking to get investors to invest in your products and ideas?
  • Are you looking for your own David vs Goliath journey?
  • Are you looking to push yourself to your limits and build a legacy?

If you answered yes to most of these questions, then an enterprise business is probably for you.



The right choice is what it is you want for yourself. For me, I want an enterprise. I want to take down some of the biggest companies in my industry. I don’t care about traveling, or going places. I just want a massive project to work on and lead a team, as that’s what satisfies me.

What would satisfy you might be sipping coconuts on a beach in Puerto Rico and enjoying seeing $500 in profit for the day. You might enjoy a trip to Thailand to meet up with other like minded lifestyle entrepreneurs for a few months just because you have the freedom to do so.

Not everything is sunshine and rainbows, and both journeys have their own challenges.

Think about what sort of business it is that you want, lifestyle or enterprise, and then figure out how to build it.
Can a lifestyle business transition into an enterprise business?

I know that business and personal goals can change as time goes by, so I might eventually want a bigger slice of pie.
 

MHP368

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Can a lifestyle business transition into an enterprise business?
It kind of has to , if youre in your early 20's then yeh , freelance from a 400 dollar laptop from a beach in thailand. Soak it up.

But even a third world belize / southeast asia lifestyle would require a quarter to a half million dollar nest egg as an early retirement scheme.

At some point you have to realize whatever youre doing is subject to change , better to build strong and fast and aim for the buyout for real freedom.

Yesterdays digital nomad skillset is todays 5 dollar an hour upwork hire.
 

Timmy C

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I’ve got a friend that I call a few times a month to see if he’s taken action on his ideas and help him break down any barriers he may have. We’ll talk about what he’s doing and he’ll throw up a bunch of excuses about why he can’t launch yet, albeit it’s been 4 years since he started his entrepreneurial journey. His excuses may be something like this; “I have to have videos first, I have to have a website first, I have to have this and that before I can make my first calls”. Mind you, this cycle has been going on for years, but he's made a bit of cash here and there while hustling.

I never knew if there was a single question I could ask that would help him find out what it was he really wanted from being an entrepreneur.

I had a thought that maybe I should figure out what question should be asked at the beginning of anyone's journey.

The question that popped into mind was: Do you want a lifestyle business, or an enterprise?

It turns out he wanted a lifestyle business, but was getting advice from someone building an enterprise. He never knew that what he wanted was a lifestyle business, but now he can go out and get the resources he needs to get it done.

I think that this is a fundamental question that any entrepreneur should ask themselves before starting any sort of business.

What is it that you are wanting out of your journey? What do you want your journey to look like?

Let's break down the two business types.

Lifestyle Business: Some E-commerce/Amazon businesses, drop shipping, SEO services, copywriting services, Freelancing, other internet related ventures that focus solely on you as the one and only “employee” in a company. Lifestyle businesses make enough to cover your lifestyle and that’s about it. They allow you to potentially work a few hours a day, if that, and from anywhere in the world. Disclaimer: Some lifestyles may require millions of dollars a year, so you make that much to suit your lifestyle.

  • Do you want “profitability” within 1-2 years, or even after few product sales?
  • Do you want to be able to work from anywhere in the world with just a laptop and an internet connection?
  • Do you want to travel a ton and have your journey to be filled with daily adventures?
  • Do you want to do whatever you want, whenever you want, without worrying too much about money?
  • Do you want to work as little as possible, no shame in this, and still be able support your lifestyle?

If you answered yes to most of these questions, you probably want a lifestyle business.

Enterprise: Some software companies, franchises, massive brands (Yeti Coolers, Johnson and Johnson, Hershey's), large brick and mortar operations (BNSF Railroad, RotoRooter, Gamestop), real estate. Enterprises are huge beasts of scale and a product of relentless execution. Businesses that are at the top of their game, with the intent to dominate a particular market. Enterprises offer you the chance to exit for a large sum of F*ck you money, in exchange for sacrificing 10 years of your life.

  • Are you looking to build something with massive scale and impact?
  • Are you looking to build something with the intent to exit for 8 figures or more?
  • Are you looking to build a team that can take you places farther than you could ever go on your own?
  • Are you interested in being a CEO of a large company?
  • Are you interested in working 60-80 hour weeks for years? 40 hours from a dayjob are included in this estimate and don’t burn yourself out people, be smart.
  • Are you willing to risk 5, 10, or more years of your life to see a business idea through to its fruition?
  • Are you looking to get investors to invest in your products and ideas?
  • Are you looking for your own David vs Goliath journey?
  • Are you looking to push yourself to your limits and build a legacy?

If you answered yes to most of these questions, then an enterprise business is probably for you.



The right choice is what it is you want for yourself. For me, I want an enterprise. I want to take down some of the biggest companies in my industry. I don’t care about traveling, or going places. I just want a massive project to work on and lead a team, as that’s what satisfies me.

What would satisfy you might be sipping coconuts on a beach in Puerto Rico and enjoying seeing $500 in profit for the day. You might enjoy a trip to Thailand to meet up with other like minded lifestyle entrepreneurs for a few months just because you have the freedom to do so.

Not everything is sunshine and rainbows, and both journeys have their own challenges.

Think about what sort of business it is that you want, lifestyle or enterprise, and then figure out how to build it.

REP + i want a lifestyle business and have no interest in an enterprise. This has made it clearer on where i should direct my focus.

Thanks OP.
 

Raoul Duke

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Can a lifestyle business transition into an enterprise business?
I saw it more like: Enterprise business transition to lifestyle business.
 

Longinus

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Great post man.

You can easily see the difference in ambition on many forum members.

I think many folks start out wanting a lifestyle business (enjoy free time, not working for a boss, traveling etc) but slowly evolve in wanting an enterprise in time. That's my situation also.
 

MTF

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Thanks for confirming that I have no desire whatsoever to build an enterprise business. Sounds like hell to me. But just to emphasize, nothing wrong with those who enjoy it—to them, a lifestyle business surely sounds like hell. As long as your business gives you what you need, everything's alright.
 
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Xeon

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From reading this post, I can say an enterprise is for me.

One thing not mentioned here is regarding the exit of the enterprise. What if one loves the enterprise biz journey too much to give up? I know Unscripted talks about making an exit and then doing that money tree thing, but does anyone here intend to work at your business till the day you die? I'm one of those lol
 

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astr0

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Small enterprise.

My prospects currently have two options to get what they want: freelancers or "normal" outsourcing corporations. The problem first is the limited skill set of an individual, meaning one freelancer usually good at 1-3 skills max. The problem with second is that they usually work with larger businesses/enterprises so their process is tuned for that. Their average budgets are way higher than in my niche, projects are way longer and they spend a lot of customer's time and money on bureaucratic things that make no sense in my niche. Like even the sales process can take weeks or even months.

I'm gone fix that, but can't do it alone.

P.S. Some scale will also make marketing a lot easier.
 

Lex DeVille

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Thanks for confirming that I have no desire whatsoever to build an enterprise business. Sounds like hell to me. But just to emphasize, nothing wrong with those who enjoy it—to them, a lifestyle business surely sounds like a hell. As long as your business gives you what you need, everything's alright.
Me either. I do enjoy impacting people at scale, but have come to the conclusion that an enterprise business isn't for me, and I wouldn't be a good fit to run one. Too likely to change my mind, decide I hate it and shut it down before it grows or reaches exit point. My perfect picture is a simple empire. Less people and systems involved the better.
 

ZF Lee

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What if one loves the enterprise biz journey too much to give up? I know Unscripted talks about making an exit and then doing that money tree thing, but does anyone here intend to work at your business till the day you die?
UNSCRIPTED does mention 'continued entrepreneurship'.

I'd like to start with a lifestyle business model, and if it has the seeds for an enterprise, I think it's good to go learn the ropes and build one since I'm young.

Maybe I'll also do the Dan Pena M&A thing, with a cash-flowing enterprise and hard industry experience to back me up by then. His kind of approach definitely fits for the folks who want to do business as a life's work.
 

Andy Black

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I work from home so I can spend more time with my kids and family. I’ve no interest in getting an office or hiring employees. I’ll grow my business using processes and technology (and by picking/finding a model that can allow me to scale without increasing headcount).
 

404profound

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Those are excellent points. I would add that based on him saying 'I need videos, or this, or that..' shows that he's less focused on adding value than he is on arbitrary requirements. It may be worth testing his logic around "How does requirement X produce value to your prospective customer?"
 
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Ravens_Shadow

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I work from home so I can spend more time with my kids and family. I’ve no interest in getting an office or hiring employees. I’ll grow my business using processes and technology (and by picking/finding a model that can allow me to scale without increasing headcount).
For me I have a team of 5 and we all work remotely with no plans to get an office any time soon. We're still kicking a$$, though it does increase headcount. And remember, you can still have a $1m dollar a year lifestyle business :)

Those are excellent points. I would add that based on him saying 'I need videos, or this, or that..' shows that he's less focused on adding value than he is on arbitrary requirements. It may be worth testing his logic around "How does requirement X produce value to your prospective customer?"
That's a good point. I think he's trying to promote niches with video seo or something. I have no clue what he's doing at this point :rofl:
 

MTF

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Too likely to change my mind, decide I hate it and shut it down before it grows or reaches exit point.
That's interesting.

I admire people who're capable of setting up a huge organization and following through for years to come despite only getting a small salary (if that). The prospect of launching something that you can't easily shut down terrifies me. You have to be very resilient or just love the process so much that the responsibilities don't bother you much. I would most certainly break down in a matter of months at most. I'm glad that there are people who enjoy it.

By the way, here are a couple of lesser-known books for those interested in a lifestyle business:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06Y4V1L9D/?tag=tff-amazonparser-20
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078962RHQ/?tag=tff-amazonparser-20
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0784VNMDT/?tag=tff-amazonparser-20

Also, a lifestyle business owner needs to be well-versed in the 80/20 principle: The 80/20 Principle Library
 
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Ravens_Shadow

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That's interesting.
The prospect of launching something that you can't easily shut down terrifies me. You have to be very resilient or just love the process so much that the responsibilities don't bother you much.
At first I was scared of this too. For instance, we have a fortune 20 company depending on our software for some of their advertising media, so I'd say the stakes are pretty high in terms of us having to perform well as a company. I could be worried about "what if we go under, what happens then, how do we tell the customers", but to me it's just worrying about something that is currently a non-issue. I love having giant companies as clients and it really puts the thrill in what I do. Some company will buy and I go "Damn, I've played their games" or I saw the car that was in the commercial that used our software and it makes me feel good knowing that our software may have helped them sell that vehicle.

The fulfillment far outweighs the fear.

In terms of getting little to no money, that's completely true too. I've been running my company for 2 1/2 years now and I think I've gotten maybe $2k out of the whole thing when I needed money. I just pay others first and work a day job in the meantime. I know that I will be rewarded handsomely soon and will be able to quit my job any day now.
 

Andy Black

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For me I have a team of 5 and we all work remotely with no plans to get an office any time soon. We're still kicking a$$, though it does increase headcount. And remember, you can still have a $1m dollar a year lifestyle business :)
Ditto, I work in a small team of freelancers. I've no desire to take on employees, unless it's my wife and close family members. And yeah, a so called lifestyle business can be making €100k/mth. I'm not so fussed about the label put on it, but I do have my own constraints. It's the constraints that make it interesting.
 

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Andy Black

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an enterprise business isn't for me, and I wouldn't be a good fit to run one. Too likely to change my mind, decide I hate it and shut it down before it grows or reaches exit point.
I'm like this. Maybe it's just a stage in my business journey, or maybe it's just the way I'm wired. It's why I don't want a partner though. I want to be able to twist and turn, change my mind, change it again, and keep moving forward - without having to justify or explain it to anyone else.
 

Lex DeVille

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That's interesting.

I admire people who're capable of setting up a huge organization and following through for years to come despite only getting a small salary (if that). The prospect of launching something that you can't easily shut down terrifies me. You have to be very resilient or just love the process so much that the responsibilities don't bother you much. I would most certainly break down in a matter of months at most. I'm glad that there are people who enjoy it.

By the way, here are a couple of lesser-known books for those interested in a lifestyle business:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06Y4V1L9D/?tag=tff-amazonparser-20
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078962RHQ/?tag=tff-amazonparser-20
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0784VNMDT/?tag=tff-amazonparser-20

Also, a lifestyle business owner needs to be well-versed in the 80/20 principle: The 80/20 Principle Library
Thanks for sharing. Just bought Company of One. Haven't heard of it or the first one previously. They look like they fit my business model pretty well. Company of One even mentions freelancing as the beginning stage. Probably a good read for anyone here following a similar path.
 

MJ DeMarco

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I saw it more like: Enterprise business transition to lifestyle business.
Yup, this is the philosophy I espouse. I started with an enterprise business, now I feel like I have more of a lifestyle business-- because I can.
 

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The beautiful thing is, you can have multiple lifestyle businesses.

More than likely, you can't do that with an enterprise.

That's what I have been focusing on my entire life, several lifestyle businesses at once. It just fits me personally.

I like putting things in buckets.

1 lifestyle business pays my bills and affords me to travel.

Another acts as my savings and retirement channel.

Another funds me building another business ( real estate ).

I kinda took the idea from Rich Dad, Poor Dad and Ramit Sethi. If I want something, I build a business/cash flow to get it. I don't spend my current cash flow on it.

.
 
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MTF

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Thanks for sharing. Just bought Company of One. Haven't heard of it or the first one previously. They look like they fit my business model pretty well. Company of One even mentions freelancing as the beginning stage. Probably a good read for anyone here following a similar path.
Thanks for rep transfer. The author of the first book, Elaine Pofeldt, writes a lot of interesting articles about solopreneurs and how they run highly profitable businesses in a lean way: Encores

The beautiful thing is, you can have multiple lifestyle businesses.

More than likely, you can't do that with an enterprise.

That's what I have been focusing on my entire life, several lifestyle businesses at once. It just fits me personally.

.
An enterprise business probably operates in a lot of areas so its owner won't get bored, but I like the increased safety of multiple lifestyle businesses. Over the long term it seems safer than one company as you're more diversified.
 

eliquid

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Thanks for rep transfer. The author of the first book, Elaine Pofeldt, writes a lot of interesting articles about solopreneurs and how they run highly profitable businesses in a lean way: Encores



An enterprise business probably operates in a lot of areas so its owner won't get bored, but I like the increased safety of multiple lifestyle businesses. Over the long term it seems safer than one company as you're more diversified.
I actually updated my answer right when you posted this. You might get more insight from what I just posted, but you are correct about the safety net too.
 

Andy Black

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Ireland
The beautiful thing is, you can have multiple lifestyle businesses.

More than likely, you can't do that with an enterprise.

That's what I have been focusing on my entire life, several lifestyle businesses at once. It just fits me personally.

I like putting things in buckets.

1 lifestyle business pays my bills and affords me to travel.

Another acts as my savings and retirement channel.

Another funds me building another business ( real estate ).

I kinda took the idea from Rich Dad, Poor Dad and Ramit Sethi. If I want something, I build a business/cash flow to get it. I don't spend my current cash flow on it.

.
I got the same thing from RDPD.

Want something that costs $X/mth? Create a revenue stream of $X/mth.


I also think of my business as having multiple streams, where earlier streams pay for the setup and growth of later streams.

I started as a consultant/freelancer, and the revenue from that pays for my developer and graphic designer.

They then build landing pages for my clients, that becomes additional little revenue streams, and is a productised service and budding SaaS.

Last month I got a few more clients to allow me to pay my developer and graphic designer to build a landing page for my courses / email newsletter streams.

I always thought of the sliding scale of freelancer to agency to productised service to platform. What I didn’t envision was that I may end up occupying them all as moved along the scale.
 

srodrigo

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Me either. I do enjoy impacting people at scale, but have come to the conclusion that an enterprise business isn't for me, and I wouldn't be a good fit to run one. Too likely to change my mind, decide I hate it and shut it down before it grows or reaches exit point. My perfect picture is a simple empire. Less people and systems involved the better.
Same exact thing here. Lifestyle business is what suits me best as a person.

I'm surprised to see some other people going for lifestyle business, I thought they'd be more thinking about going bigger. Good surprise though (although I have nothing against enterprises!).

Thanks for the books!
 

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