What do you want to be in business?

You have a choice.

Do you want to grow into a huge corporation?

Do you want to build a lifestyle business?

Do you want to have more time outside of work?

Do you want to achieve fame and fortune?

You have a choice

In fact, you are the sum of your choices.

You are the average of your actions.

So, what actions are you taking?

Looking for answers (in all the wrong places)

You will encounter a million stories about entrepreneurship. Blueprints. Frameworks. Even this weekly sage newsletter.

But all the stories mean nothing if they don’t get you closer to achievement.

You need to act as a filter.

Take in all the information that you can process. Make choices on how to act on that information, align actions to your strategy.

Then work the plan.

I know, that sounds overwhelming.

Entrepreneurship IS overwhelming

You will always be overwhelmed in business.

Every step of the journey will feel like the biggest challenge that you will ever face. You will vow that once you make it through that step, things will get easier.

And when you solve each problem, that challenge gets easier. It often goes away completely.

But then another challenge will come up. And it will feel like the toughest challenge yet.

And you will tell yourself “if I can just make it through this one, things will get easier.”

And it will get easier. Until the next challenge.

If you knew that each success would be met with more challenges when you first started, you wouldn’t have become an entrepreneur. The mountain would seem far too high. Unassailable.

Ignorance is bliss.

What do you want to be in business?

We keep on seeking answers, but the answer comes from within.

It determines your path, and keeps you invested for the long haul.

It is the source of your ups, and your downs. It is what gives you satisfaction, and what keeps you crawling back for more. Even when things don’t go well.

What will it take to achieve your goals?

I’ll give you a hint. Nobody sets off to start the biggest company in the world.

Every entrepreneur starts off trying to solve real world problems.

Then they solve another. Soon it becomes an addiction. 

The companies that get big? They keep raising the bar with each problem they solve.

So what do you want to be in business?

And how are your actions taking you there?


  1. George Huang

    Jeff, I have TREMENDOUS respect for you, your insights, your perspectives on business and pushing one’s envelope. I agree that it’s a worthwhile exercise to consider the question you pose, “What do you want to be in business?” It’s a valid question.

    IMHO, by leading with this question, I think you’re setting a potentially limiting context of “being in business” by presenting the sample options of “lifestyle business,” “huge corporation,” etc.

    I think a more expansive context to start with is to ask one’s self: “100 years from now, what do I want to look back on and say I accomplished in and through my business?” “What results, improvements, outcomes, and experiences did I help to create for the customers, clients, and patients of my business?”

    The answers to those questions then inform the type of business that ultimately gets built. It may be that one intends to build a “lifestyle business” in the beginning. But based on what that person wants to accomplish, building a huge corporation may be a necessary and natural outcome of fulfilling the dream.

    If that’s the case, then so be it. And that person can “cash out” once s/he has reached the “lifestyle” level.

    If I had read this article last week, I would have agreed with your approach 100%. In fact, I’ve seen exercises that address this question elsewhere. However, over the past 48 hours, a recurring “big idea” has planted itself squarely on my face. And this time, I have a suspicion that it’s not going away without a battle.

    Without going into specifics, the big idea is around solving a major gap I see in a well-entrenched industry. Now, I don’t care about being known as a “disrupter.” I’m not interested in fame, though I’d gladly accept the “fortune” part. And I value my privacy and anonymity. I value the quiet lifestyle that my family and I enjoy.

    Instead, I’m willing to become known as an industry “disruptor,” to become famous (at least slightly), if that’s what it takes or occurs as a natural outcome of making the difference I want to make and the legacy I want to leave behind through my business endeavors.

    And if I find that I don’t like the lifestyle that evolves along the path, then I have a choice to make then and there about making the appropriate course corrections.

    I suppose there’s a middle ground between setting the vision for how one’s business will be structured and how it will support one’s lifestyle. And then being flexible as real-world results materialize.

    There’s no right way or wrong way to approach this. I’m simply advocating for being flexible and open to unfolding possibilities while keeping sight of what’s ultimately most important to a person about building their business.

    1. Jeff Sauer Post author

      Hey George – couldn’t agree more. When I write these articles, the format is to be concise, not exhaustive. There are lots of decisions, and TIME is the biggest factor in all of it. That’s why I often refer to each step we go through in life and business as Chapters. Life is more like a page-turning novel than a blog post.

      But the truth is that the best books/series have endings in mind, and then work their way to get to that point. The worst ones are those that compel you to turn pages all the time, and then miss on the ending. Sort of like the show Lost or the Sopranos. Both were fantastic works of television, but ultimately had their entire legacy tarnished by missing on the ending.

      Many of my weekly posts are about the chapters we face in business. This one just happened to focus on the ending.

      Great to hear you have a new vision and a major idea. Let me know how I can help you get there!

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