Where are You on the Entrepreneur Ladder Compared to Where You Want to be? Part 1

This is the first in a series of articles wherein I plan to give you a quick tour of the entrepreneur ladder so that you will come away with a sense of where you are currently in your journey and where you want to go. For some, this will not be new information. For others, it will challenge the way that you’ve been thinking for most of your life. Stay open to what I’m discussing and you will reap the most benefit. Understand that no matter where you are on this ladder, you can obtain support from ActionCOACH if you desire to advance to the next rung.

There are so many different ways to make it in business – so many different ways through which you can reap the rewards of entrepreneurial success.  Yet very few people learn what it takes, and for some strange reason, fewer still will ever use what they’ve learned.

I have a 3 step philosophy: 1. Invest in knowledge, 2. Absorb the knowledge, and 3. Take Action.

Definition of a business

I teach my clients that a business isn’t finished until it is a profitable commercial enterprise that works without you! Design a business that works without you – what a concept! Michael Gerber in his landmark book: “The E-myth” says that one should never start a business without an exit strategy; otherwise we end up building a prison around ourselves. Maturing your business to the point that it works without you is an essential ingredient to any exit strategy.

Ladder 1 “The E-Ladder”

Rungs of the e-ladder

Here is an illustration of the Entrepreneur ladder. The word Entrepreneur means different things to different people. Remember the “Divide to Multiply” principle discussed in my previous articles regarding the 5 Ways Business Chassis? By dividing the concept of entrepreneur into smaller concepts we multiply our understanding of the nuances of being an entrepreneur. The E-ladder does just that. As with most things in life, there are many different levels to “being in business”.

Level 0 The Employee (not yet on the first rung)

Most of us start here. If you aspire to be an entrepreneur use your time as an employee to:

Build capital. Don’t spend your money on “Stuff” like most employees. Save as much as possible to position yourself to fund the next rung on the e-ladder.

Gain practical knowledge from experience, as well as your boss’s decisions, both good and bad. Seek a mentor whom you admire. One who has the knowledge that you seek. Work your job as if you owned the company so that you can learn the disciplines for success prior to risking your money (Your boss will love you for it.). Ask questions continuously.

Learning as much as you can while employed is smart, however remember that there is still much more to learn that can only be acquired by actually being in business. Master the technical aspect of your chosen business field and simultaneously learn as much as you can about the business side. Avoid delaying your initiation into business by thinking “Once I master all that is needed to succeed in business I’ll make the leap”. You will never jump because there will always be more to learn.

Climb to the next rung or two on the e-ladder as soon as possible. For as long as you are an employee, you are trading time for money. You have no leverage. If your spouse works, determine to live on one income and bank the other. That will position you to make the leap as soon as you have acquired the capital and knowledge. Otherwise you might have to wait until your 40’s – 50’s.

If you are considering climbing the e-ladder, remember, courage means having fear and doubt, but taking action anyway (see my Transcript article “Overcoming Self Limiting Fear” for some helpful information regarding overcoming fear).

If you are among the top 1% of the top 1% of employees in the world you can gain financial independence as an employee. However, keep in mind, when faced with the decision of whether to get into business or not, the majority of millionaires are business owners. Also realize that many rationalize: “NOW is not a good time to make the leap”. When will it be a good time? We can always rationalize delay.

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