Mercenaries, Missionaries and Entrepreneurial Minimalists

Hello again my friend,

Today is October 9th. That means there’s 83 days left in 2023.

I don’t know why, but the last quarter of every year always catches me off guard. I think, “Where did the time go?”

But 83 days is still something. It’s just short of 3 months. Don’t throw these final days away.

The View from 50,000 Feet

This week I’ve been hunkered down writing.

I’m outlining content for the new Entrepreneurial Minimalism Program I’ll be releasing early next year.

That program will eventually replace the old Bootstrap-it course I’ve had since 2022.

A lot of what’s taught in Bootstrap-it is directly applicable to running an E/M business. But when I designed the program initially I wanted to make it valuable to anyone bootstrapping a business.

That means there is a bit of disconnect between what’s taught in that program and the principles of entrepreneurial minimalism we discuss each day.

And with the growing popularity of our LEVERAGE Coaching Group I want to make sure we have a comprehensive E/M program backboning that incredible community.

So today I thought I would share a 50,000 foot view of what I’ve been working on so you have a better idea of what you should be doing to make the most out of these last 83 days.

Mercenary or Missionary

As near as I can tell, entrepreneurs can be separated into two categories. Mercenaries and Missionaries.

The Mercenary – These are entrepreneurs who seek out popular problems and then develop solutions for them. The look for hot, trending markets they can exploit.

There’s nothing wrong with this. You can make a lot of money doing it. For years I’ve said the best markets are ones that have:

  1. A large group of people.
  2. Who have money.
  3. And are fanatical about what the do.

Golf, investing, and AI are great examples of this.

The mercenary doesn’t have a passion for the industry. It’s likely they’ve never had to deal with the problem they are helping others solve.

As a market matures the mercenary will move on to the next hot business trend where they can establish a foothold.

The problem with being a mercenary is that it’s not very fulfilling.

As entrepreneurial minimalists, we build businesses so we can spend our days doing fulfilling work surrounded by people we love and admire. So the mercenary model is out of alignment with the principles of E/M.

The Missionary – These are entrepreneurs who create solutions to problems they are experiencing.

The missionary’s business is born out of:

  • A sincere love for their hobby/craft.
  • Desperation to overcome a serious problem.
  • The desire to live a more fulfilled and meaningful life by working on things that matter to them.

The missionary’s goals and aspirations are in alignment with everything the E/M believes in.

But that doesn’t mean all missionaries are entrepreneurial minimalists.

Brian Chesky, from AirBnB, Richard Burke from Trek, and Yvon Chouinard from Patagonia are all examples of missionary founders who build massive companies.

The entrepreneurial minimalist has no desire to build a business like that because they know what they must trade away for it.

Tradeoffs and the Search for ‘Maximum Autonomy’

Everything in life has tradeoffs. At some point in a companies growth it’s owner must trade away some freedom and autonomy to nurture and care for the business.

It’s like having a child that never grows up. It must be fed and monitored 24/7 to ensure no harm comes to it.

The entrepreneurial minimalist seeks to maintain as much freedom and autonomy as possible. By being intentional about how you grow your business and when, you can achieve what I call ‘Maximum Autonomy’.

As a reminder, Total Autonomy is the ability to do:

What you want,
When you want,
Where you want,
With whoever you want,
For as long as as you want,
Without having to consider the cost.

To my knowledge, no one has total autonomy. Everyone answers to someone. But I believe anyone can achieve Maximum Autonomy if they’re deliberate about how they design their life and business.

A Polar Shift In Thinking

Like you, I’m learning every day. Over the last year I’ve had a bit of an awakening with the discovery of a concept called Category Design. I recently interviewed the creators of the concept on my podcast. You can listen to that episode here.

This new concept has caused a polar shift in my thinking about how we do everything in business. From how we design the product to how we promote ourselves and our businesses in what has become “a hyperconnected world full of distractions”.

The new E/M Program needs to address these changes and provide more than just a conceptual overview of the process. Old ideas about branding, specifically personal branding need to be replaced with category building and what I call the TPOV (transformational point of view).

It’s a lot. The good news is you don’t have to wait until next year to start learning and implementing these new concepts.

One of the benefits of being a member of our Leverage Coaching Group is that you are among the first to learn these new strategies.

Before any new concept goes into a course, I first teach it to my coaching group where it’s workshopped and tested in the real world.

For example, this month we’ll be discussing Unconventional List Building using new category design thinking.

List building isn’t just necessary for your business to succeed, it’s critical. There was a time when you could just throw together a pdf or quiz and watch the leads roll in. Not any more.

Today you need a clearcompelling and unique reason for someone to exchange contact details with you.

But how do you do that? Especially with all the voices vying for your prospects attention. That’s what we’ll be discussing this month. I hope you’ll join us. => Click here to join Leverage now <=

Los Angeles and Manhattan Beach

This weekend the 2nd anniversary to my amazing wife Nancy. To celebrate we’re headed to Los Angeles and Manhattan Beach for a little R&R and to see some old friends.

We plan to return Monday but who knows. The weekend may turn into a week. We’ll see. That’s the great thing about owning an E/M business – you income goes with you, no matter where your life takes you.

Here’s to a transformational 83 days!

Talk soon,


Ready to Become Part of the E/M Crew? 

  1. Join the Leverage Coaching Group and work with me personally while you network with other Entrepreneurial Minimalists.

    Leverage combines on-demand training, tactical live sessions, individualized coaching, and an incredible community to ensure you can leverage every opportunity to build an amazing life. Get the details here.


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