One of the most common things you will come across in the entrepreneurial community—I should know because I’ve been part of it most of my life AND mentored hundreds of others—is the desire to escape the “hamster wheel”.
You know it well, I’m sure…
No matter how much money you make, it never seems enough.
You grow as a person (and a business), but there never seems to be enough time.
You keep thinking that once you reach “X” all will be well…
But then you reach “X” and you still feel the same.
A diluted vision and less motivation than ever…
To start with, know you’re not alone if you find yourself relating to any of this. I’ve been there. I have met many many people who feel the same. It isn’t easy to be an entrepreneur because we’re wired unlike most. We don’t want to retire. I cannot imagine that’s your end goal.
But you do want FREEDOM.
In fact, it’s likely freedom that drove you to become an entrepreneur in the first place.
So how do you achieve that if you’re always busy and pulled in all directions?
Well, it does involve you escaping the hamster wheel. But not in the way that you may assume.
Let me explain…
Table of Contents
- What is The Hamster Wheel & How Most Entrepreneurs Try To Escape It
- The 4 Offers Your Business NEEDS To Escape The Hamster Wheel
- The RIPPLE EFFECT and How To Create It
- Conclusions & Next Steps
What is The Hamster Wheel & How Most Entrepreneurs Try To Escape It
[Headshot] Hi, I’m Scott. If this is the first time you’ve come across me, it’s important you know I’ve been an entrepreneur most of my life (you can read about that here). I’ve experienced the high highs and the truly low lows—one million dollars in debt kinda low!
As such, I know the Entrepreneurial Hamster Wheel well.
And I have written about it multiple times in the past…
But my perception of it has changed in recent years, and it was this new perspective that allowed me to finally hop off the hamster wheel (and stay off!!).
Yet before we get to that… what is the Entrepreneurial Hamster Wheel?
It’s a life you know well, I’m sure, always feeling like you don’t quite have what you need.
Not enough money.
Not enough time.
Not enough resources.
You earn more of everything, and you grow and you scale, yet it seems to lead you from one hamster wheel to another. It’s exhausting and surely there’s a better way… right?
There is. But at the same time, it’s important you know that the hamster wheel plays an important role in your growth as an entrepreneur. You cannot simply escape it. It does take time. One does lead to another. And this is fine. In fact, it’s exactly what you need to grow and scale.
The important thing is to be conscious of this, which is where most entrepreneurs go wrong.
Because most assume they can escape the hamster wheel forever so long as they focus on the short term and make lots of cash right now. But this isn’t the case. You need to both focus on the short-term AND the distant future.
But we’ll get to that later…
First, you need to appreciate the four types of offers your business need, not to help you escape the hamster wheel today (or tomorrow), but that upgrades the hamster wheel you’re on so you can better enjoy both your business and your life.
4 Offers Your Business NEEDS To Escape The Hamster Wheel
I wrote about these four offers in detail previously, so I’ll only review them here.
To dive deeper into each offer, I encourage you to read this →
The four offers you need are:
- Intimacy: The first offer is one that centers around intimacy and your ability to work with people 1-1. This is important for two reasons as it 1) teaches you A LOT about your audience, and 2) gives you money to both invest into your business and your life—it’s important to spend money on yourself here, too, because if you don’t you will resent your entire entrepreneurial journey. The downside here is that an intimate offer is both hard to scale and maintain, which brings us to the next offer…
- Core: Your core offer is your flagship program, group, product, or service. It likely still involves you, but it’s easier to both scale and delegate. In short, you can build a real business around this offer that gives you an influx of cash to invest into the business—this both lowers your tax and sets you up for huge growth. The problem here is that it takes a lot of resources to maintain, which the next offer helps with…
- Audience: This is a low-ticket item (book, course, video series, etc…), which is easy to scale and automate, and, more importantly, gives you a new revenue stream to invest back into your core offer. When I create an offer like this, I use its revenue to fuel ad spending and partnerships. The money it earns has a very specific purpose and can be the difference between a good and a great business model.
- Freedom: This final offer is the one that sets you and your business up for true freedom. It provides money you don’t need per se, but an additional revenue stream that provides security AND the ability to invest into other businesses and generate various assets. Often, a Freedom Offer like this centers around some kind of mastermind, group program, or possibly a piece of software. Not all businesses need this type of offer, but it does usually help you escape the hamster wheel for good.
The RIPPLE EFFECT and How To Create It
So… why are these four offers the key to escaping the hamster wheel?
In short, it helps you create a ripple effect of Cash Flow → Growth → Profit → Assets.
Cash flow is important because without it you’ll remain stuck on a vicious and stressful hamster wheel where you struggle to pay your bills each month. This is where many entrepreneurs are stuck and stay stuck, often because they keep focussing on the next few months, assuming more money will solve their problems. Yet if all it does is center around an Intimacy Offer, you remain the only person who can do the work. So you remain stuck, and it feels hopeless.
Growth improves your situation a little because you regain some time and you tend to have access to more resources (money, team, etc…). It’s a better hamster wheel than before because you’re not stressing over quite as many bills. Yet it’s still a vicious hamster wheel as tax always looms and you’re ever-growing team needs both your money and time. So although your Core Offer solves many of your problems, it doesn’t set you free.
Profit is when you finally start to feel somewhat free. An Audience Offer (or a series of them) makes it easier to both grow your audience and cover the various expenses the rest of your business stacks up. You now have a sustainable business and you don’t have to worry about paying the bills each month. You also have nicer stuff (cars, houses, and the like) and you have the time to travel. But you’re still on a hamster wheel because this business still needs you. The only difference now is that you’re on a much more comfortable hamster wheel.
Assets are what provide you the fuel to finally escape (although on their own, it isn’t enough… more on that soon)… because a Freedom Offer gives you additional money, resources, and leverage to help you level up in several areas. You’re now in a position to invest in other businesses and create new income streams. You’re able to save and invest in your personal life, too, gradually taking steps back from the business so you can decide what you want to do next.
This is when you escape the hamster wheel because you’re no longer an entrepreneur…
You are an investor!
The reality is, most entrepreneurs remain entrepreneurs their whole lives (or, at best, become CEOs). Few become true business owners, and fewer still evolve into investors.
Yet so long as you remain an entrepreneur or CEO (to an extent, even a business owner), you’ll simply hop from one hamster wheel to another. Don’t get me wrong, they get better. Not all hamster wheels are the same. In time, you’ll upgrade to ever more comfortable versions.
Versions where you can travel first class, take time off, have two or three houses, and so on…
But a hamster wheel is a hamster wheel, no matter how comfortable it may be.
To truly escape it and live a life built around FREEDOM … so you can do what you want when you want … you have to make money irrelevant; you have to make it so each month you know you and those you care about are taken care of.
Each month, your business runs sustainably…
Each month, your investments provide returns…
When you reach this point, you enjoy true freedom. You escape the hamster wheel and remain off of it because you’re no longer handcuffed to any one business or responsibility.
But this takes time. Those four offers we discussed earlier… it all takes time!
Years to put together and ensure it runs smoothly. And it’s here where most go wrong because most entrepreneurs place too much focus on the short term. They think about the next month, ninety days, or, at best, the next one to two years. But this is not enough!
Sure, you have to be aware of the short term and live in that reality.
Yet you also have to zoom out and envision your life over the next five… ten… twenty years.
This is important because the decisions you make today don’t only determine your near future, but that future you cannot see… that future that’s still decades away.
But if you want to escape the hamster wheel (and stay off), this is what you need to do.
Conclusions & Next Steps
I started this article by saying most people perceive the Entrepreneurial Hamster Wheel wrong.
That’s because they assume they can escape it by focusing on the short term and that once they reach “X” all will be well.
They presume there’s only one hamster wheel and it’s some one-and-done thing.
It is not!
For years, you’ll swap one hamster wheel for another. They get better and more comfortable, but it still pushes you around and around, leaving you to feel like you’re never quite on top.
This is fine. In fact, this is good.
Right now, you only know what you know. You need to grow. Your businesses need to grow. All this takes time, trial and error, evolution, and so much more. It’s life on the hamster wheel that drives much of this. But only if you’re VERY conscious of what the hamster wheel is!
(if not, it quickly consumes you, demotivates you, and steals all your hope and energy)
The solution? Accept and embrace the hamster wheel you’re on and what the next one looks like. Constantly strive to upgrade your reality and keep moving in the right direction.
But don’t kid yourself into thinking “X” solves everything. It doesn’t.
To truly escape and to experience true freedom, you need to commit to your future—to simultaneously focus on the short-term without it clouding the many years ahead.
Get this balance right and set yourself up for success.
… as well as separate yourself from the vast majority of entrepreneurs!
So… is it possible to escape the Entrepreneurial Hamster Wheel? YES! But only kinda…
It takes time. It takes intention. It takes a lot of commitment.
Most important of all, it requires a keen eye on both the short and long term.