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Are You an EmpirePreneur?

An EmpirePreneur is a term I used for years to describe the top level of Entrepreneurial growth. What some of my employees’s in the past would call a “Peteism.” After deciding to use my 15 plus years of experience growing successful personal training business and helping many owners, franchisees, managers, and employees grow professionally. I took some time to step back and reflect on not only my growth through entrepreneurship but the many I helped. It became very clear to me that if I was going to have the greatest impact on fitness entrepreneurs, it needed to be very specific to each stage of growing their business and their personal development.

Anyone who has built a business for any length of time and significant size completely understands the processes I’m describing. So naturally, this evolved to become the name of this company and the foundation for which our coaching, courses, and training would be built off.  I think many of you will be able to relate to one of these levels or many. I expect as you read, there will be a few, “yup that’s me” moments.  The goal of this article is to help you identify what stage you are in and open your mind to the new mindset and skills you will need in stages further up the “ladder”.  Of course, for the purposes of this blog, I’ve kept these descriptions brief. I can promise you, there is much more to it. Let’s begin…

As with many areas of our life, there are many levels to being an Entrepreneur or “being in business”.  Just like there are many levels of being an athlete and skill development in playing a sport.  Is the athlete at a  high school level, a college, or an Olympian?

It’s not just “starting a business” that makes you an Entrepreneur or a successful business owner.  Just like it’s not enough to do some exercises to become a world-class athlete.  There are many specific strategies, skills, and so much more you will need to know and do to become not just an Entrepreneur, but also an EmpirePreneur.

Here’s a quick overview of the stages of growth I hope we can journey through together:

STAGE 1. Self-Employed: This is the first step of the Entrepreneurial ladder, a step most never seems to get past. The reality is at this level you really don’t have a business – you have a job. You know what they say a J.O.B. stands for, right? “Just over broke”. Someone in this stage may feel like they are in the self-employed trap, that’s until they call it quits because “it’s not worth it”. Unfortunately, without help, most aspiring Entrepreneur’s journey ends here.

• They are likely the only employee.
• Run every part of the business.
• No one can do it better than they can.
• Too busy “doing-it” to work on the business.
• Still trading time for money and their relationship to money is “making money”.
• Long days, nights and weekends trying to figure it all out.
• “Managing the financials” by making sure there is money in the bank.
• Bought themselves a job, but with all the risk and responsibility.

STAGE 2. The Manager: this is the second stage of the entrepreneurial ladder. Now you have employees and you feel like your just inches away from “making it”.  You think soon you’ll be able to work less, make more and everything will be great.  However, if you’re like most people, nothing could be further from the truth.  You’re probably working longer, harder and now you have people issues to top it off.  You’re probably not making more.  In fact, it’s likely it’s a little less.  At the first stage, many go back to getting a job.  Here most get rid of all the people and go back to when it was just themselves.

• Hire numerous employees and think they must be successful since they have a bigger payroll.
• They think “bigger is better”
• Robbing Peter to pay Paul
• Lack of profitability is masked by growth
• Believe “nobody is as good as me” and “I just can’t get good people. “
• It doesn’t understand the difference between leading and managing.
• Starting to learn the difference between responsibility and accountability.
• The relationship to money is still “making it”.  The tradition of working hard to make a living still exists in their mindset.

STAGE 3. The BUSINESS OWNER/LEADER: this is the third stage to the entrepreneurial ladder. By now you’ve really moved out of the position of having a glorified job. You’ve realized that trading time for money is not the formula for achieving the income of your dreams. Your relationship with your business is a whole lot different. You have a lot more time on your hands. Very few ever reach this stage. Primarily because they never get over the need to feel wanted or can’t give up control.

• They have good systems in place.
• They’ve built a great team that they trust and runs the business.
• They are a true leader and manager, primarily behind the scenes.
• Instead of just making money from a wage, they are receiving profits.
• They’ve truly progressed from working in the business to on it.
• They are operating at the strategic level, looking at the big picture, and not hands-on.
• Focused more on Profit, than their previous focus of cash flow.
• The relationship to money is no longer “making or earning money”, which implies a form of physical activity or work.  Instead, they receive profits.

STAGE 4. The INVESTOR: this is the fourth stage of the entrepreneurial ladder. By now you have a very different view of business and the goals of the business. Before it was “let’s make a profit.”  Now it’s “let’s grow!”  You are significantly removed from the day-to-day of running your business and are likely setting new business and personal goals. Your primary focus is on investing and making money with money. You are operating in a very different world.


• Skilled at buying, building and selling a business through various models.
• Skilled at identifying businesses to invest in.
• Skilled at attracting and hiring “franchise Quarterbacks” for your businesses.
• Understand the concept of leverage and using it across your businesses to grow their value.
• Your relationship with money is getting a return on your investment. It’s all about capital and what return can you get.
• No longer need to put in the time and effort to reach your goals. You’ll be using your knowledge and money.
• Understand buying back your time to start creating wealth.
• Income is generated more passively from your investments.

STAGE 5. EMPIREPRENEUR: this is the fifth and final stage – the most exciting stage. You are now a true capitalist. You are making money by raising capital. You are using other people’s money to build paper assets like stocks, shares, franchises, licenses, and royalties. An EmpirePreneur, a true Entrepreneur, uses other people’s money to make money.  For example, what did Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg sell?  It’s probably not what you think.  At the end of the day, Steve Jobs sold shares of Apple Computer and Mark Zuckerberg sold shares of Facebook.  How about Ray Kroch?  He sold McDonald's franchises.  You get the idea.


• You act as the visionary.
• Skilled at raising money or putting other people’s money to work.
• They create money by adding their skills, knowledge, and network as value.
• You have an income stream, whether or not you get out of bed in the morning or not.
• The EmpirePreneuer “owns nothing, but controls everything”.
• In-depth knowledge of the concepts of stocks, shares, corporate structures, franchises, and licenses.

Most people can become an EmpirePreneur if they know-how and have the desire to get there. However, many people will say, “but Pete, I just want to get to stage three.” This is perfectly fine, but in my experience and my experience with entrepreneurs at different stages, once they get to stage three, they want to get to stage four, then….

Here at EmpirePreneur I look forward to the opportunity to be your trusted guide through this growth process and make this process more attainable, easier, and faster, than the struggle of going it alone.

Pete Piranio





Take the first step and schedule a complimentary coaching call with Pete Piranio & his team. You'll discuss your biggest challenges you face in your businesses and get our recommendations to solve them.  Finally, if it sounds like we can help and we’re a good fit, we’ll explain what path is best for you and how it works. Then, at the end, if it makes sense, you can make a decision whether you want to be a part our community of serious fitness entrepreneurs.