What’s your breakthrough business model? Download the guide to find out!

Outsmart the Hustle

The Blog

Featured at

Michael Knouse Logos

Staring at my miles long to-do list, I remember thinking: maybe I  just need to go get another job.

It was the spring of 2017 and I was sitting in my home office on a Sunday night. It was almost 11:00pm, I still had work to do, and I had just texted my wife letting her know that I was going to be late coming to bed. Again.

One of my favorite things is enjoying free and uninterrupted time with my wife on Sundays. But taking Sundays off was becoming more the exception than the norm.

My stomach was sick with from the feeling of complete overwhelm. I had started this business to have more freedom and flexibility and yet it felt like it was stealing time away from the things I loved most.

In my defeated state, I took inventory: I was “successful” in my coaching business. I was making more than enough money with more than enough opportunities. Not only that, I was seeing how my years of hard work were genuinely making a positive impact in the lives of my clients.

There was just one problem: I was totally burning out.

I was exhausted and restless at the same time. I had booked myself solid (awesome!) but left no margin in my personal life (awful!).

To make matters worse, I was feeling the angst of a flawed business model that had created my success: Sacrificing what mattered most to me in order to help others create what mattered most to them.

My life didn’t feel much like LIFE.

Now before you go thinking, “Oh, poor Michael. It must be SO HARD being SO successful”, let me be clear about something:

I’m not complaining about the success. I was just “waking up” to a reality I hadn’t fully prepared for: the CHALLENGE of outgrowing my business model.

Success is obviously a wonderful challenge that I hope everyone has to deal with. But success is also tougher and lonelier than you imagine it will be when you’re first getting started.

There’s something I realized that night while sitting in my office that I believe we can all benefit from, whether your business is generating 5-figures, 6-figures, 7-figures or no figures at all yet.

I realized I was wearing “golden handcuffs”…yet I held the key.

And the key was NOT to generate more leads.

It was NOT to book more consults.

It was NOT to grow my email list.

The key was a paradigm-shift in how I approached my business that would eventually make it possible to:

  • Exponentially grow my impact and income,
  • Do far less, renew my energy, and stop being distracted by the allure of the next cool strategy,
  • And spend more time with those I care deeply about and more time doing things that fill me up rather than left me feeling burnt out.

Ready to scale up your business in a way that allows you to have more impact while also having a life? The 2018 Council of Visionary Business Builders kicks of on June 1st! 

The MYTH of Scaling

Scaling your business doesn’t mean working longer hours just to make more money (that’s how you end up feeling exhausted while sitting alone in your office on a Sunday eve).

Scaling Your Business Means Shifting Your Current

Psychology, Strategy, and Execution.


The recipe for greater success doesn’t call for MORE of the same ingredients. It calls for DIFFERENT ingredients altogether.

Scaling your business means:

  • Rethinking how you get paid and how you can truly add the most value to your customers.

  • Eventually tearing up your one-person org chart in order to build an elite team aligned for your mission.

  • Tweaking your current habits in order to create new ones that set you up for growth.

All that is to say, if you’re going to scale your business, you’re going to have to CHANGE. And the biggest change you’ll have to make has to do with YOU.

That’s where the paradigm-shift comes in.

To flourish in your business you have to get out of your own way.

I ended up frazzled and overwhelmed sitting in my office late on a Sunday night because I had reached the end of ME.

I had no more time to give, no more energy to spend, and no more mojo to offer. I was running on fumes and I was suffering for it. Things had to change.

Actually, I had to change.

In his must-read classic on business, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There, Marshall Goldsmith details the 20 most common roadblocks to a person’s success. Almost all of them boil down to a single theme: YOU are the person preventing your greater success.

This can happen because of:

  • Your need to call all the shots

  • Your desire to take all the credit

  • Your plan to keep all the money

  • Your unwillingness to delegate your weaknesses

When I first heard that, I felt like Goldsmith was speaking directly to me. After all, I couldn’t ignore my reality any longer: I had created a business that depended completely on ME. On my ability to show up and my ability to deliver (i.e., coach and consult small business owners).

If I couldn’t work (if I got sick or went on vacation), I didn’t get paid.

I basically had a high-paying manual labor job.

That was the “aha moment” that Sunday night in my office.

That’s when it hit me that Goldsmith’s words applied to my situation exactly: WHAT GOT YOU HERE WON’T GET YOU THERE.

I realized that my future success depended on me building a business that didn’t depend entirely on me.

So staring at my endless to-do list on that Sunday night, I looked at the situation that I had created for myself and I decided to change. And that decision eventually changed everything – for the better. I sought out and hired a new business mentor, surrounded myself with folks who had scaled their service businesses past $1M and began painfully shifting the way I thought and acted in my business.

As a result my business began to transform.

I reluctantly created a vision of my life and business that felt really inspiring to me – even though I had no idea how I was going to make it work.

And then I began crafting and experimenting with new ways to serve my clients that would allow me to have more impact, create more income and experience more freedom.

I learned two very important lessons:


If you’re like me, you believe you have something that can make the world a better place – a product, a service, a message. And the more people that buy it, experience it, hear it, the better.

But in order to make that happen, things are going to have to change.

YOU will have to change.

Make the paradigm-shift with me and get out of your own way. What got you here is great. Well done! But it won’t get you there. And there is where we both know you’re meant to be.

It takes a village to scale up your impact and income.

Find a mentor. Build a team. Gather traveling companions and cheering fans for your next big step. Then get stepping.

I can testify that scaling up your impact isn’t a solo act, it takes an all-star cast. And when you shift your paradigm, get clear on your vision, and establish a clear plan to make it happen, the golden handcuffs will fall off and you’ll be free to flourish in bigger ways than you can imagine.

If you’re ready to scale up your impact and income, I invite you to have a look at the Council of Visionary Business Builders. The Council is a curated community of experienced service entrepreneurs (coaches, consultants, creative professionals, speakers and influencers) that are equally committed to…

  • Reaching and impacting more people with their BIG ideas…

  • Generating more income in a way that feels good to them…

  • And creating a company that will become their legacy…

Does this sound like an answer from the heavens? Or, less hyperbolically: exactly what your business needs right now?

If yes, APPLY for one of the 10 spots in the next cohort. We already have an amazing crew forming and now is the time to take action and join a team of committed entrepreneurs that will call forth your very best and hold you to a higher standard

Live bravely,


What's your breakthrough business model?

This guide contains the need-to-know facets of each business model so you can strategically plan your entrepreneurial journey.

Wanna learn more about working together?

#LessHustleMorePlay #OutsmartTheHustle