5 Inescapable Levels To Owning A Business (The 5th Is Where Dreams Are Made)

Nate Anglin
2 min readAug 31, 2022

Do you want to own a business or be trapped in it?

Many founders start a business for freedom, but it slowly becomes their prison. They can’t escape and remain a prisoner for as long as the company operates.

But, then other owners quickly transition from one level to the next, from prisoner to passive owner.

Every journey is different, but it starts with noticing what level you’re at and what level you want to achieve.

These are the five levels every owner of a company goes through:

Level 1: The Prisoner

At this level, the owner is the business.

They’re sucked and consumed in every detail of the company; without them, the business is nothing. It consumes nearly every hour of the day to operate.

Level 2: The Worker

Here, the owner still works in the business, but there’s some light at the end of the tunnel.

The owner has some help, and functions have been standardized, but all the owner does is work in the business.

Level 3: The Manager

Level 3 owners are now managing a team.

They’ve established good sales and marketing systems to stabilize revenue and have hired people to execute core functions of the company.

They’re starting to remove themselves from the day-to-day function of the company.

Here they:

  • Make their first key management hire.
  • Improve the core systems of the company.

Level 4: The Leader

Level 4 owners spend most of their time working on the business, not in it.

They’ve replaced themselves from the day-to-day by executing the company playbook and installing a SWAT team (SOPs, Whos, Automate, Templatize) to manage all the core systems.

Some of their time is still spent creating proper controls, redesigning systems so they can scale, and building a winning management team.

Level 5: The Owner Investor



Nate Anglin

Small Biz Investor, CEO, & helping others improve their performance, profit, & potential w/out sacrificing what’s most important. www.nateanglin.com/newsletter