Every entrepreneur grows in phases: the Founder Phase, Farmer Phase, Tinker Phase and Thief Phase.
While reaching Tinker Phase is a great goal for most entrepreneurs, some won’t be happy until we know our legacy will outlive us. That’s what Thief phase is all about: using our platform to create opportunities for others.
Some very successful entrepreneurs have created Foundations, grant programs or scholarships. Others have set up schools or other platforms. In a digital world, these legacy initiatives are simple to start. And entrepreneurs in the Tinker Phase don’t have to wait until they’re billionaires or ready to retire: they can start building the foundations of Thief Phase now.
Here are the first steps I’ve taken toward Thief Phase:
- The creation of a “Bridge Fund” for entrepreneurs in the fitness industry.
Imagine this: you end your career as an engineer to open a gym. You work 14-hour days for years, smiling heartily at 5am and 9pm. You’re underpaid and your home life is stressed. But you do it all to help others live longer, healthier lives. Your clients lose hundreds of pounds, get off their diabetes medication, and buck the national trends toward degenerative disease.
Then a big storm hits, and you’re wiped out.
Yes, insurance will kick in…but not fast enough to get your gym open for training. In the weeks before the money comes in, how do you clean up and reopen? How do you keep selling memberships or charging for anything? You don’t. You’re done.
The Bridge Fund will bridge that gap with a zero-interest loan, due when the insurance funds reach the owner.
Super amazing bonus: the 3 gyms who have received funds from me so far have used them to arm their members with brooms, shovels and cleanup equipment. Then they coordinated their volunteer army to help their towns and neighbors. There’s no one more powerful than an entrepreneur on a mission, and I want to empower them.
- A new foundational book that will help entrepreneurs filter advice–now, and in the future.
There’s SO much helpful advice, so many great ideas, and so much easy connection out there that the main problem for entrepreneurs is overwhelm. My new book, “Founder, Farmer, Tinker, Thief” will help them decide which ideas to apply, and when.
I plan to write monographs on the FFTT theme for the next decade. But the purpose of this book is to build an operating platform for entrepreneurs. That meant a $23,500 investment in editing, layout and copy to get it right.
- Training dozens of new mentors to deliver the Two-Brain method. We now have 32 professionally-trained mentors on the Two-Brain team, spanning the globe. Each of them multiplies success by mentoring others in their country. Before we’re done, we’ll mentor 1,000,000 entrepreneurs to become Tinkers or Thieves themselves.
- Investment in data tracking to help fitness entrepreneurs make better decisions. In many industries, “best practices” are determined through data tracking. But in fitness, it’s very hard to sort through the myths, lies and obfuscations to find the truth. It’s even harder in the fitness business, where everyone has great ideas and no one has proof. We want proof. So we’re mapping the business genome, starting with the fitness industry. This is a huge undertaking, but I realized that we’re the only ones with the motivation and means to do it. I think it’s our responsibility to do so.
- Creation of a local fund to keep kids playing sports. Over the last decade, my wife and I have been included in several kids’ leagues because our own kids were playing sports. We were often approached for help buying equipment, paying for travel costs, or even just buffering the local league’s finances. But as the kids narrow their focus, we want to make sure new kids get the help they need. So we’re putting together a pool of funds to help kids who need a little boost to play.
- Purchases of local buildings to create sustainable long-term revenue for my family, and better neighborhoods for our city. Some parents prefer to save money; I prefer to create opportunities. So our personal legacy to our kids is in University funding and real estate. When all of our mortgages are behind us, our three commercial buildings will generate between $8,000 and $11,000 per month in net rental income.
Will I do more before I retire? Absolutely. These are my “bullets” before the big “cannonballs” I hope to deliver later. But I don’t want to wait until I’m old to create a legacy.