In and Out of Tinker Phase

To show progress as an entrepreneur, a set of stone stairs are labeled with the words Founder, Farmer and Tinker.

“Yes! I made it across the finish line! My business is self-sustaining, I’m building my million-dollar wealth platform, and I’m never going back! My staff will never need me to step in and fix things! I’ll never run out of money! It’s all Perfect Days from now on!”

—No One

Every business owner eventually makes some progress. He or she takes a step forward in business. That’s not really the hard part anymore.
What comes next is the hard part.

Make Fewer Mistakes

After a small success, some owners will immediately take a step back again. They fix their marketing problem and then find out they don’t have enough materials or staff to fulfill all those orders.
Some owners even take two steps back after their first step forward. They discover that they don’t have enough materials or staff—and they don’t have the money to get them.
Or maybe they even take three steps backward: Their disappointed new clients leave!
The key to success as an entrepreneur isn’t to avoid the backward steps. It’s to minimize them.
When I found a mentor, I learned to take a better step forward before I had to step back again. And soon, I took two steps forward for every one step back. Then three. I noticed my new momentum. Then four, and five, and six—and then, years later, I looked around and realized I was sprinting.
But that didn’t mean I would never take a step back again.
When I visited my mentor, Todd Herman, in Manhattan last week, he told me this:

“I read your book. You’re back in Farmer Phase.”

And he was right: but this time, I was in Farmer Phase with a $7 million company instead of a $500,000 company. The stakes are higher, but the steps are the same.

Level Up

In my first business, the shift from Farmer to Tinker was a “one step forward, one step back” process that took years. I hired a GM to free up my time. But I micromanaged the GM and didn’t focus on my higher-level work.
Then I hired another GM but abdicated all responsibility too fast, and I got pulled back into the business when revenues dipped. So I solved that problem and started building another company—but clients started asking why I was never around the gym anymore.
One step forward, one step back. Two steps forward, one step back. Three steps forward, four … .
Sometimes you’re pushed back. Sometimes you’re pushed sideways. But what matters is continual forward progress.
If you feel like you’re losing your footing, lean back a bit. Plant yourself on solid ground again. Get ready for the sprint.
This was a small step forward for me in 2011:

The transition from Farmer to Tinker is a big one. For the first time, someone else will bear responsibility for your business’ growth while you begin to build wealth for yourself. That doesn’t mean there’s no looking back. That doesn’t mean there won’t be any steps sideways. What’s important is that you keep taking steps forward.
The Two-Brain Business Tinker program will begin accepting new clients again in December 2019.
Which stage of entrepreneurship are you in? Take our 20-question quiz to find out and get the exact steps you need to take your business to the next level.


One more thing!

Did you know gym owners can earn $100,000 a year with no more than 150 clients? We wrote a guide showing you exactly how.