In this video I am in beautiful Breckinridge, Colorado on vacation – a vacation that was combined with something I call “stress-testing a business.” Stress-testing a business – what does that mean? Most of us start out in school, climbing the professional ladder until we can make a good living. You can do your trade, make that income – but if your income is primarily dependent on you being there, trading time for dollars, that’s a job, and it won’t provide true freedom. Real freedom to me is doing what I want, with whom I want, whenever and wherever I want to. You can’t start out life that way, of course. But the longer we keep the burden of trading time for income on our own backs, the longer it will be before we find true freedom. Unfortunately, so many people give up opportunities to do things when they’re young and healthy – thinking their “freedom day” is the day they retire in their 60s (it’s more like late 60s going into 70s now). That’s not a good construct. So how do you stress-test your business (and see if it can run without you?) It was my daughter’s health situation which first forced me to do this a bit with my own dental practice. I did have an associate, so all of the production wasn’t on me. But I was the top producer, so I could only be out for short periods or the income would go down. It’s great if you love doing the technical work, but how are you going to create real freedom if that’s what provides your active income? I evolved in that situation to become a real owner of my practice, doing little to none of the income-producing clinical work. Yes, it was forced on me, but it proved to me that it could be done! Fast-forward about 15 years and I’m now the CEO and facilitator of Freedom Founders, dedicated to helping other professionals reach their freedom point much sooner than they would on the typical track. Initially, I did nearly everything, but as I evolved Freedom Founders, I didn’t want it to be like dentistry, where I’d have to be the one showing up to meet clients every day. I hired the right people as we elevated, and now we’ve got a team with an ownership culture. The most important thing has been leadership and creating a business by intention, not default. As a team, we decided to stress-test the business, which meant having me out for 4 weeks. I kept up with my key executive assistant – we will do a brief (15 minutes or less) check-in each week and two email briefs that take me about 7 minutes to respond to. That’s it. Could you own and operate a business like that? When you stress-test a business, you’ve got to define the goal with your team. And don’t try to do a long stretch right away – start with a couple of days during the week and expand from there. It’s a big step to have other people doing the technical work you are used to doing yourself. But if you really want freedom in your life, you’ve got to get over not being able to control everything. Real life is about collaboration. They don’t teach that in school, but it’s one of the most important things you can learn. When you stress-test your business, don’t worry if you hit a few snags. As you build and get the right people in the right seats, you’ll have a real business that isn’t primarily dependent on you.. My action item for you: Start stress-testing your own business or practice. Start small, and stress-test over bigger periods of time until you can say: “Wow, this is an awesome business! I’ve got people that own their seats and I don’t have to be there every day to run it!” That’s real freedom. David P.S. Whenever you’re ready, here are some other ways I can help fast track you to your Freedom goal (you’re closer than you think) : 1. Get Your Free Retirement Scorecard: Benchmark your retirement and wealth-building against hundreds of other practice professionals and get personalized feedback on your biggest opportunities and leverage points. Go to www.FreedomFounders.com/Scorecard to take the 3 minute assessment and get your scorecard. 2. Attend A Workshop: If you’re committed to Freedom, but still building a practice, paying down school debt, or growing investment capital, our hands-on Freedom Blueprint Workshops are your entrance ramp onto the fast track! Visit www.freedomfounders.com/workshop to claim your seat! 3. Apply To Visit The Mastermind: If you’d like to join dozens of dentists, docs, and practice professionals on the fast track to Freedom (5-7 years max), visit www.freedomfounders.com/step-1 to apply for a seat. 4. Want to Work Directly with Me? If you’d like to work directly with me and a small group of my closest investment colleagues, with direct access to the dealmakers and asset classes that I invest in, just send a message to my Executive Assistant (Lindsey@FreedomFounders.com), and put “Fast Access” in the subject line. Or, call (972) 203-6960 Ext 144 and leave a brief voicemail for Lindsey. Let her know you’re interested in the Fast Access program – we’ll set up a time with you to talk, find out about your goals, and see if there is a fit.