Stage 1: Ground & Establish

You’re in the pre-revenue stage.

You’re exploring how to design a life you desire and build a business. There is a gap in the market that you know a lot about and believe you can fill the need.

You’ve started working with an idea for a business and what you’d like to achieve.

You’ve committed to taking action, you resolve to “make things happen”, and you began investing in yourself to grow your knowledge and skills to make your business a reality.

You’re trying to gain clarity on the problem you solve, the offer you want to create, the audience you serve, the price you charge, and the right business model to pursue.

You believe that you’ll have more money, more time, less stress, and that it’ll be really wonderful to get things up and running once your business launches.

You could be optimistic and/or overwhelmed at this stage:


You’re feeling excited, anxious, nervous and optimistic about the opportunity and the new world ahead of you on the horizon. You’re looking forward to building your own business and doing work that matters to you.

You’re feeling pumped and full of determination. You’re committed and determined to launch into a new reality.


You’ve made the leap, you’re working on your business idea but you’re experiencing a huge gap between your effort and results.

As you continue to explore how to build a business, you’ve taken a number of online courses and learned lots of new things that seem exciting and interesting to you. However, you may also feel overwhelmed by all the information, and feel like you’re drinking from a firehose.

Common Questions At This Stage

  • What am I passionate about?
  • What can I help people with?
  • What skills can I commercialise and monetise?
  • What business should I pursue?
  • Which direction should I take?
  • What should I create?

If any of this sounds like where you’re at, then pay attention to what you need to focus on below in order to advance your business to the next stage.

At this stage, the idea of starting a new business can either be very exciting or very frustrating because you can’t make up your mind about what you should do, or what business you should create.

There are literally hundreds of different ways to make money and earn a living with so many options available to us.

This stage is all about laying the right foundations.

You need to spend some time understanding yourself in order to start moving your life towards the direction you want, and building a business in alignment with you.

It’s difficult to head towards the right direction, design a business and life you want if you don’t have clarity about who you are, what you’re good at or where you’re starting from.

The key system to implement in this stage is your personal performance system.

Personal performance has everything to do with how you show up and how you perform day to day.

The key skills you need to level up in Stage 1:

  • Self Leadership
  • Self Awareness and Self Evaluation
  • Personal Management & Productivity
  • Growth Mindset

In order to make the right decisions for yourself, you need to develop your self awareness, so the decisions you make will lead you to the business and life you want.

The better you know yourself, the easier it is to do work that suits you, lights you up and fulfils you.

Start adopting the habit of performing periodic reviews and evaluating your progress in life to ensure all the actions you’re taking are actually aligned to your life goals.

People who don’t know themselves well enough, and go into business chasing money, fame or status, end up stuck in a business that drains them. They get to a point where they feel trapped by it, and can’t wait to get rid of it.

The reality is, there are going to be a bunch of things you’ll be confronted with in your entrepreneurial journey, you might even find yourself procrastinating and avoiding the things you know you need to do but don’t want to do.

Having a business and life you want is dependent on your ability to lead yourself — to choose to do the hard things, to show up when you don’t feel like it, to develop skills you’re weak at.

One of the most overlooked areas for most people is the way they manage themselves day to day.

What we do everyday is the habits we’ve developed over our life. We all have habits that don’t serve us, so it’s up to us to correct them over time.

“People do not decide their futures, they decide their habits and their habits decide their futures.” — F.M. Alexander

The level of progress you make in business and life is tied to your ability to manage yourself and how productive you are.

If you have a bunch of bad habits in your life, they will show up in your business. Which is why the earlier you become aware of this fact, the better.

“You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.” — James Clear (Author of Atomic Habits)

Pitfalls To Avoid ⛔️

Not knowing what matters to you more than money

Yes, money is important. It’s a resource and tool we all need to live in the material world. But not knowing why you want to start a business beyond making money is a slippery slope to an unfulfilled, miserable life.

Treating your business like a hobby

You are your own boss and you don’t have anyone telling you what to do everyday. You are now responsible for all the results you produce in your business.

If you treat your business like a hobby, it will pay like a hobby.

Put structures around your day and your work environment to ensure you’re showing up in your business with a level of consistency like you would if you were working a job.

Some things you might hear yourself say:

  • Someone else is already doing the same thing I’m wanting to do…
  • There’s so much competition… Why would anyone want to buy from me?

Habits To Develop 🕰

Surround yourself with the right people

You can change your life by consciously choosing who you surround yourself with. If you want to succeed in life, then you need to surround yourself with people who lift you up, lend you knowledge and help you learn from your mistakes.

If you want to grow, you need to be around people who challenge you to raise your standards. Fill your life with people who will never let you settle for less than you can be.

You become the 5 people you spend the most time with.

Develop your mental toughness

Building a business is one of the hardest things you will ever do in life. It will challenge you in ways you never thought possible as you encounter and learn to overcome all kinds of obstacles, roadblocks and quicksand on your journey.

If you learn to persevere through all the ups and downs, you will transform yourself and become a person you’re proud of.

Failure is not falling down. Failure is not getting back up.

Believe in yourself

Everything in life starts with your mindset. You have to believe you can do it — you can achieve your goals.

As long as you believe your goals are not attainable, then you’re not going to show up and do whatever it takes to make it work. Because it’s much easier to say “This is probably not possible” and you let yourself off the hook, not holding yourself accountable to do the work required to get you there.

Trust yourself

When you learn to keep promises you make to yourself (matching your words with your actions), you start developing trust within yourself.

Your ability to trust yourself is key to achieving high levels of personal performance, which translates to how you perform in your business.

“Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become. No single instance will transform your beliefs, but as the votes build up, so does the evidence of your new identity.” — James Clear (Author of Atomic Habits)

Primary Focus in Stage 1: Ground & Establish 🔍

Establish your personal performance system.

Develop the skills you need to improve your ability to perform:

  • Self Leadership
  • Self Awareness and Self Evaluation
  • Personal Management & Productivity
  • Growth Mindset

If you don’t ground yourself at this stage, then it will be difficult to establish a solid foundation for your business to stand on.

If you haven’t laid down your personal performance foundations deep enough, your business will feel shaky to you in the later stages and you’ll find yourself coming back here again and again.

Remember that each stage is built on top of the other. If your systems aren’t clearly established and properly implemented, everything after it will eventually falter.