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

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Erik Heyl

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I love this! Repped! My thing has always been to enjoy life as I go. To that end, it's a lifestyle business for me (in my case, building authority affiliate sites (a la Jill and Josh Stanton) and trading Forex), transitioning into building an Amazon brand/product using Ryan Moran's teachings and eventually selling that. I've no real wish for employees if I can avoid it.

That said I do very much want to get out of where we're at (Canada) and get to Panama and from there travel a bit to Belize and frankly Japan and Thailand. And one day visit Australia too. Not to mention get back into martial arts (leaning toward GoJu Karate).

Mostly, I want to get to the end of my life without the "if onlys" and instead say "what a ride!"
 

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Bradley R

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Wow this post really came at the right time. Been weighing what I really want but hadn't been able to verbalize it that well. When reading the original post it's obvious to me that my goals and desires right now (being in my late 20's) line up more closely with a lifestyle business in the short term.

However, when I fast forward 10+ years, building an enterprise is where I see myself. Obviously that could change.

Has anyone transitioned or switched between the 2 types based primarily off of what chapter of life you're currently in?
 

JordanK

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There are options to combine elements of both. I'm 21 with a strong desire to travel which I had been doing previously while copywriting however my family was always involved in real estate mainly here in Ireland where I'm from. Over the last year I have become more involved in that branching out myself with the contacts we have here. It requires being 'on-site' a lot and managing various tenancies/projects so the ability to travel is somewhat limited but there are cycles where I can predict things will be quieter at certain points of the year and schedule my travel around them.

Ultimately my goal is to expand into a second market in a place that Id enjoy holidaying/living in so that I can regularly fly between the two and manage them. I have enough family at home here to keep things running smoothly during small absences. The weather and lifestyle of Ireland isn't what I imagined for my life but the opportunities here are endless with the connections that have been built up over many many years. I would be a fool not to make the best use of them before expanding.
 

Shirkahn

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Fantastic post!!!!

Interesting enough I have scratched some of my business ideas based on a similar principle you have mentioned.

I simplified it for myself by asking one question related to my business ideas:

„Will this buy me a private jet to take me anywhere I want to go?“

In fact, i am not interested in owning a private jet because I see it as a bad return on investment - rather rent, lol.
But if the answer is no, I don’t waste my time even if I totally love the idea. I usually try and pitch it to someone else and wish them Luck and even mentor them a little.

Right now my focus is on my enterprise idea which is currently in soft lauch and working toward my hard launch. I won’t have great rewards in the beginning - so no instant gratification but instead long term sustainable growth until the final f@ck you sale. Yes baby.
 

eliquid

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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!).
Has anyone transitioned or switched between the 2 types based primarily off of what chapter of life you're currently in?
I did the enterprise route a couple times. Learned a lot, worked a ton, and was able to cash out on one of them where I had equity.

I would never do it again personally though knowing what I know now and what my needs are at this time.

So I guess I get lumped into the "transition based on chapter of life atm".

.
 

Michael1359

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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.
And a great philosophy it is for many. For me however, it’s lifestyle. I’m at the point where I will likely work until I can’t any longer (turn 59 in August), so a lifestyle business makes sense to me. Earn enough $$ to support a lifestyle of travel and remote work, continuing as long as I’m able. I’m in the process of doing this very thing with a partner I’ve known for many years, in a niche market with little competition, high demand, and large barrier to entry. If I was younger, I would go the enterprise route.

GREAT post by the OP!! One of the better threads I’ve read here, and that’s saying a lot.


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I think this is something that all entrepreneurs need to contemplate at the beginning of their journey, or where ever they are in the process. I worked my a$$ off for 10 years and found myself at the top of the mountain just to realize I climbed the wrong mountain. Now I am starting over. I developed a great skill set and motivation has not waned. But I am second guessing my second journey because I dont want to spend another 10 years climbing the wrong mountain. So think about this when you are starting. Where do you want to be in a year, 3 years, 5 years and so on? And if you dont know, just start working and figure it out on the way....Time is only lost when you are sitting still.
 

Walter Hay

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transitioning into building an Amazon brand/product using Ryan Moran's teachings and eventually selling that
Using his teachings regarding building a business and selling it is a good concept.

Using his teachings to build an Amazon brand/product could be a recipe for disaster.

Ryan Moran is typical of the many "gurus" that have been lucky enough to hit gold with their first amateurish foray into buying on Alibaba and selling on Amazon. Like so many others, he has gone on to become an expert on subjects that he knows very little about.

Building a business and selling it is a great way to generate legacy money, and has been extensively discussed on the Fastlane. His success at that is his claim to fame, and is well worth copying, but beware of his methods to source and import products.

His lack of understanding of the importing process is glaringly obvious in his description of the process. Following his "method" could cost newbies thousands of dollars on a single shipment.

His poor knowledge of sourcing on Alibaba makes it sound so easy: "we started contacting manufacturers on Alibaba.com. And Alibaba.com just went public. They’re all famous now. It’s a place where a bunch of manufacturers and suppliers get together and they bid for your business."

The price he paid for his yoga mats was at least twice what my book users would have paid if they followed my advice.

As for building a brand........ He didn't even brand or label his yoga mats. He shipped them direct to FBA from his supplier in China, knowing only that they had wrapped them in plastic. His brand building was entirely a result of his good and expensive advertising. They are now branded. How much better might his flagship enterprise done if he had done proper branding and labeling from the start.

His marketing is great. His build and sell a business system is great. He just shouldn't also try to tell people how and where to source and how to import.

I don't know how much he charges, but I do know there is a thoroughly proven and highly successful Amazon course that has been operating for 15 years and costs peanuts. It does teach safe sourcing and how to import, because it includes a free copy of my book as one of the many modules.

Walter
 

Erik Heyl

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Thank you very much for the info Walter. I do appreciate it. And I believe I know of the course you're speaking of, the Proven Amazon Course and will check that out

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Walter Hay

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Thank you very much for the info Walter. I do appreciate it. And I believe I know of the course you're speaking of, the Proven Amazon Course and will check that out

Sent from my LG-H873 using Tapatalk
That is right. I don't name it because I have an affiliate arrangement with PAC that involves me allowing them to include a free copy of my importing book as one module in the course.

In return I receive a small (very small) affiliate payment, but more importantly, their support team responds to most of the questions that my book buyers send in. They only refer the difficult questions to me.

If anyone wants a link, just send me a PM. (mods, I hope this is OK)

Walter
 

Johnny boy

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Excellent post. I couldn’t agree more. At first I wanted a lifestyle business, then I realized I’d get bored and I wanted more so I started thinking long term.
 

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This is something I have banged on about alot. What's the point in working on your terms if you build something that is at odds to the life you want to lead? It's why I suggest that you start with the destination and build a business that is capable of fulfilling those desires. Otherwise you are in danger of building a monster that will haunt your dreams and suck the life right out of you.

I've made the mistake on running with an idea only to find years down the line I didn't like where it had led me. I've also had small businesses that others had seen great potential in and were thrusting VC money at me, but I steadfastly refused to take it as I didn't what the stress and long hours needed to build a 60 or 100 restaurant chain.

There is an old saying "Be careful of what you wish for" I would bastardise that into "Be careful of what you build." Run your business, don't let the business run you.
 

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Do I want to be like @Fox or @MJ DeMarco? Hmm....

To be honest, I don’t think an enterprise is necessary until you’re ready to settle down; but that’s only speaking on my behalf.

Eye opening post, @Ravens_Shadow.
I legit cracked up laughing at this.

I’m probably a pretty good example of someone who has the skills “to go pro” but has been Airbnb country hopping instead. I’ve stayed in over 20 countries in the last four years. I think I’ve done well to keep things over 100k yearly but there are times I’m curious what I could do with a dedicated home base.

Now that I’m in my 30s I do want to work on a “legacy” project and have a bit more impact than my past lifestyle has allowed me to. It’s hard to make big gains and also move countries every few months.

This post was great - lots of clarity on two very different ways of approaching “fastlane”.
 

Ubu_roi

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Great post!

I'm just wondering: is a lifestyle business really Fastlane?

By the way, I'm personally more inclined towards the lifestyle business, but I'm not really sure it can reach the kind of magnitude that brings you to to the Event...
 

srodrigo

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Great post!

I'm just wondering: is a lifestyle business really Fastlane?

By the way, I'm personally more inclined towards the lifestyle business, but I'm not really sure it can reach the kind of magnitude that brings you to to the Event...
It depends on what you understand by The Event.

Is The Event $10M? Then no, a lifestyle business is not fastlane to that event.

Is The Event having the freedom to have the lifestyle you want? Then yes, a lifestyle business might be fastlane.

We can argue that the first case will remove the need to work on anything, even on your lifestyle business, but some people would still have a lifestyle business even if they were rich. That's why it depends on your end goal.
 

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If you build a lifestyle business, what happens when your lifestyle changes. In my opinion, it all sounds great but you are severely limiting yourself.

For example, I had an easy dropship business making an easy $50k a year on 1-2 hours a day 12 years ago. Yes it was an easy life, but where would that business be today? Is $50k a year enough when I'm 12 years older?

For those of you that are in your early 20's and figure out how to make $100k a year while traveling the world. How will you feel when you are 35 and that business has shuttered or still only making $100k?

If your business is doing well and you might as well grow it to the best of your ability. Don't say, I don't want employees and handcuff your growth. So you're making $100k at 22, why not try to make $1M/yr at 30? Then see how will you feel at 35.

I made the conscious decision to stop dicking around and go from dropship to import, to warehousing, to employees in 2011. I knew I wouldn't be able to travel as much, but by 2013, I was making $200k a year with an employee.

The difference was that before 2011, I was traveling while making $50k, staying in cheap hotels. After 2013, I was traveling even more while making $200k, staying wherever I wanted.
 

Knicks

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Isn't a lifestyle business a selfish approach? Yes, I get it we are working mainly for ourselves to either satisfy our desire for a better life than we have now or had in the past. I also confess to be guilty of this attitude. Getting out of the slowlane is just a satisfying thing in itself. To say goodbye to your old life and begin a chapter of freedom of choice and autonomy is what everyone here wants I guess. In the short term at least.

What if someone is eager to build a legacy but haven't build anything yet? Maybe then a lifestyle business is the right path to build the dream life one ever wanted. At this point the mission would be to create value for others and simultaneously build net worth. I think it's also possible to get a mind-shift in terms of meaning and purpose, because the successful one person company and the more or less ordinary life seems simply too boring. The solution in this case would be to put oneself out of the equation and sell the business.

The second step in the journey of the now more experienced entrepreneur would be to find something to put his money and time in. And here comes my point: Isn't an enterprise business, built around a great idea that benefits society so much that the price you're asking is a no brainer because of the value you're providing, the only thing that matters in the end? Meaning in terms of scale and impact. Just like saving the world from a major disease or providing a solution for a better life.

What are your thoughts on this? Are you driven by an inner force to change the world for the better and to leave a legacy and even rewrite history by a little? Or are you in search of an easy life by your own means?

For me accomplishment means that my actions really benefitted society in a great way. Like the invention of something new and revolutionary.

Is an attitude like this beneficial in the beginning as an entrepreneur or am I destined for failure because I'm thinking too big right at the start of my journey?
 

eliquid

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From what I have read from those that choose enterprise over lifestyle and dinged lifestyle as something less, I guess it comes down to "what's your lifestyle"?

If your mentality is a $50k a year life, that's not really a ding on lifestyle for the "lifestyle vs enterprise" business viewpoint.

What if your lifestyle is $1m a year and your business does that for you and isn't enterprise?
 

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diogoatmelo

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Great post.
I'm a bit late to the party.

Personally, I think enterprise is my kind of thing. However, @eliquid did mention owning several lifestyle businesses, which is something I considered.

My way of thinking was to start with a couple of lifestyle businesses that I'll gradually automate and work less time on. These businesses provide me with resources to live and time to work on an enterprise project.

This isn't written in stone. Maybe one of the lifestyle businesses turns out great and I end up not wanting to leave it.

Am I wrong in thinking like this? I would like to know your opinions.

Plus, I have an issue with lifestyle businesses - it almost seems a rule that you must travel if you own such businesses. I don't want to travel, at least right now. I know that no one will make me do it, my point is that the two concepts seem too connected.
 

eliquid

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Plus, I have an issue with lifestyle businesses - it almost seems a rule that you must travel if you own such businesses. I don't want to travel, at least right now. I know that no one will make me do it, my point is that the two concepts seem too connected.
I know you prob already know this, but let me hammer in.

Everything is what you make it.

While I know not everyone here is the "college" type, it almost seems a rule that if you go to college.. you come out working the career you got a degree in and will land a nice cushy corporate job with the degree. The reality is, that doesn't happen and you make it what you want when you get out.

Same with the travel and lifestyle business.

I could go on with more examples, but I think you know them all.

I do not travel much. Maybe 1-3 times a year. However, when I go I stay for a month where I go. Maybe that is not unusual, but back in my day and people I know that work standard jobs, it's typically a week or less for them.

A week they had to work a year for to obtain ( so they had to work their job a year or more to get the week ), and they had to ask/beg for once they got it. Many times they have to "coordinate" their time off with others in the office so the department is not short staffed with more than 2 people off at the same time. And once they get off for that week, the Monday back they have a pile of work 2 weeks thick to now go through.. so what's the point of taking off a week if you come back to 2 weeks of work you have to sift through on Monday? Let's not even mention the phone calls and emails they still get while on their week off too. It happens. This happens in the enterprise... I know maybe not for all, but it does.

No thanks.

While lifestyle does have that "travel" and nomad feel stuck to it, for me it's more about having more options and alternatives. I don't travel much like I said, but the option to stay for a month when I do travel is the main focus. I have that option, most people don't. AND I can exercise that option 3x a year or more. To me it would seem odd to be off 3+ months a year in enterprise. That's just me.

I can't see myself doing that in an enterprise. At least not for many years and many dollars while the staff gets built up, the marketing and brand, SOP's, etc. In a lifestyle business, I can get to that point pretty damn quickly ( less than a year most times ).

But that's just me and my experience.

.
 
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diogoatmelo

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While lifestyle does have that "travel" and nomad feel stuck to it, for me it's more about having more options and alternatives. I don't travel much like I said, but the option to stay for a month when I do travel is the main focus. I have that option, most people don't.
So it isn't about travel, it's about having the option to move freely.

I do not travel much. Maybe 1-3 times a year. However, when I go I stay for a month where I go. Maybe that is not unusual, but back in my day and people I know that work standard jobs, it's typically a week or less for them.

A week they had to work a year for to obtain ( so they had to work their job a year or more to get the week ), and they had to ask/beg for once they got it. Many times they have to "coordinate" their time off with others in the office so the department is not short staffed with more than 2 people off at the same time. And once they get off for that week, the Monday back they have a pile of work 2 weeks thick to now go through.. so what's the point of taking off a week if you come back to 2 weeks of work you have to sift through on Monday? Let's not even mention the phone calls and emails they still get while on their week off too. It happens. This happens in the enterprise... I know maybe not for all, but it does.
I'm in this position. But, to be fair, I have only worked here for 4 months so I don't yet have the right to take vacations. And, to be honest, I don't care for vacations. That's why I feel enterprise is my kind of endeavor.

I do feel, however, tempted by lifestyle businesses due to their development speed, as you mentioned. I feel this will provide me with the resources to quit my job and focus solely on my entrepreneurial career.

And, most of all, it will give me the much-needed experience without the potential downside being too high. At least that's how I feel.
 

eliquid

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I'm in this position. But, to be fair, I have only worked here for 4 months so I don't yet have the right to take vacations. And, to be honest, I don't care for vacations. That's why I feel enterprise is my kind of endeavor.

I do feel, however, tempted by lifestyle businesses due to their development speed, as you mentioned. I feel this will provide me with the resources to quit my job and focus solely on my entrepreneurial career.

And, most of all, it will give me the much-needed experience without the potential downside being too high. At least that's how I feel.
I would still steer you away from "vacation" and "travel freely" mindset.

I used that as an example, since we were on the whole "trips" and such vibe.

Instead of thinking of "option to move freely", just think of it as options.

And while you don't care for vacations ( I get it ) just make sure sure you are not lumping "vacations" as the reason to go enterprise. Make sure you are measuring "options".

For example ( granted I am not the best at commenting on enterprise, so take what I say with grain of salt ), I got up at 10am today. No, that's not when I started working, but when I got out of bed.

I had the option to do that. Lazy? no, I had a reason to.. but not very many people working in Enterprise can do the same unless they are the boss and owner and even then some think this sets a bad example to others. Again I am not an enterprise expert, but unless you have put in years and marketing and have the cash flow to really have the "enterprise", would you do the same? Maybe. If I came in odd hours daily to the office, I would think my employees would be a bit disgruntled after a while. Again, your the boss though so I am just speaking out loud.

I took a 3 hour lunch with my wife and kids on a Tuesday, and went to watch a movie with them. I saw the Joker. Afterward, I smoked a cigar and cut down a tree. Later that night I did business stuff. I had the option to move my hours around.

A week before that, I worked on 2 projects I really personally wanted to work on. I didn't have to work on anything someone gave me, or someone needed help on, or that I felt were so pressing that my company really needed it and would cause issue if I didn't. I had the option to work on any project in any way I felt.

I might be painting the wrong picture as I am sure several in Enterprise can say they can do all this too.

But doing things "my way" and having the options to do so, just seems easier to come by on the "lifestyle" road.

But each person gets their own mileage.
 

diogoatmelo

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I would still steer you away from "vacation" and "travel freely" mindset.

I used that as an example, since we were on the whole "trips" and such vibe.

Instead of thinking of "option to move freely", just think of it as options.

And while you don't care for vacations ( I get it ) just make sure sure you are not lumping "vacations" as the reason to go enterprise. Make sure you are measuring "options".

For example ( granted I am not the best at commenting on enterprise, so take what I say with grain of salt ), I got up at 10am today. No, that's not when I started working, but when I got out of bed.

I had the option to do that. Lazy? no, I had a reason to.. but not very many people working in Enterprise can do the same unless they are the boss and owner and even then some think this sets a bad example to others. Again I am not an enterprise expert, but unless you have put in years and marketing and have the cash flow to really have the "enterprise", would you do the same? Maybe. If I came in odd hours daily to the office, I would think my employees would be a bit disgruntled after a while. Again, your the boss though so I am just speaking out loud.

I took a 3 hour lunch with my wife and kids on a Tuesday, and went to watch a movie with them. I saw the Joker. Afterward, I smoked a cigar and cut down a tree. Later that night I did business stuff. I had the option to move my hours around.

A week before that, I worked on 2 projects I really personally wanted to work on. I didn't have to work on anything someone gave me, or someone needed help on, or that I felt were so pressing that my company really needed it and would cause issue if I didn't. I had the option to work on any project in any way I felt.

I might be painting the wrong picture as I am sure several in Enterprise can say they can do all this too.

But doing things "my way" and having the options to do so, just seems easier to come by on the "lifestyle" road.

But each person gets their own mileage.

Yeah, I'm using "vacation" and "trips" as an example.

I get what you're saying. You're in control of your time, and someone on an Enterprise might not be able to control theirs. At least fully.

I do think that depends on how you build up the business, though. You might not be able to do that for the first years, but I do think it'll become possible eventually.

Then again, I might be wrong, as I have no experience. It would be nice to hear from someone who has done it before.
 

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That was a great post and a great thread to follow. I realize I kinda always wanted an Enterprise business. I always wanted a team and to build products with different kinds of people.

I now started researching specifically resources to scale Enterprise businesses. Do you guys have any recommendations?

And what about having an Enterprise business and a lifestyle business as side hustle? Like creating content about topics you're already working with.
 

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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.
I "liked it" sincerely but there is a huge difference in what we want and what our actual skills and budget allow either way.

Even as an affiliate some people will not even allow you to promote their products and services until you are damn near the same level of success as they are so I understand how newbies can get frozen in their tracks.

They are reading these hypnotic sales pages being told what the possibilities are then getting slapped and drop kicked by the realities of their budgets, skills, and who they know.
 

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