The 4 Stages of Business Mastery

How to master anything

Hey guys,

I see a lot of entrepreneurs that have the same problems that I did when I was first starting out.

They don’t know what they are doing, they don’t know where to start, and everything seems so foreign or almost too difficult to overcome.

When starting out in my businesses- I can confidently say that at first, I felt like I was getting nowhere.

I put in all of this time and effort and I felt like I was running on a treadmill.

But once I learned about the 4 stages of mastery everything seemed to get easier. Or I at least understood where I was in the process…

It helped me see where I was in my business and the next stage I needed to get to in order to excel further.

Stage 1: Unconscious Incompetence

This first stage is where most everyone is. This is where ideas spawn.

This is where you don’t know… what you don’t know.

Some people might call this ignorance, but I view it more as just being unlearned and unaware.

Typically it can be the most challenging stage because you are completely blind to the things that you need to change or to the skills you need to have to be successful. It’s tough to move forward here.

An example I think of for unconscious incompetence would be if you asked someone to perform a certain task like weed a garden. They might not know which ones are weeds – but instead of asking for guidance – they just jump right in.

So they go out there and they just start ripping out everything that they think a weed could be.

It’s a MESS.

This is like when we think up a new business idea. We might jump right in, but we really won’t get far due to the fact that we don’t even know where we should be going.

For this reason – it is important to have mentors, business coaches, and friends who can spot what we are doing incorrectly and help bring those things to our attention.

I personally use LinkedIn to message people who are involved in businesses I’m interested in.

Here is an article that helps line out some good ways to get conversations started.

Once we become aware of what we need we enter Stage 2.

Stage 2: Conscious Incompetence

We have now become aware of what we don’t know and this is where a majority of entrepreneurs get stuck or FAIL.

The reason most people get stuck in this stage is because this is where we learn that our idea isn’t as easy or simple as it sounded to begin with. “IT’S TOO HARD.

In order to move forward it is important that we move out of this stage as quickly as possible so we do not become discouraged.

Think of the concept of LIFT for airplanes.

Plane, Flight, Sunset, Sun, Sunlight, Silhouette
How to Grow Your Business

For a very short period of time the plane must exude a massive amount of energy to get moving.

But once we get the momentum then the natural laws of lift cary the plane off the ground and into the air.

This is what we want when we first enter this stage. We figure out the things we need to do and learn and we intensely work on those traits and skills so that we can lift off as fast as possible.

This comes by taking courses on places like Skillshare or Private courses.

Or by reading books and listening to podcasts.

Other great options are YouTube or contacting one of your new connections on LinkedIn and asking them to help you. (GETTING A MENTOR)

Once we get into the air then the real magic happens.

Stage 3: Conscious Competence

In my last article we talked about the 100/1 rule and the importance of repetition. This is why.

Once we practice something enough and intensely learn it we enter Stage 3. The learning is still going but doesn’t need to be as rapid as in Stage 2.

This is the stage where we can hold good conversation about what we are doing and explain it clearly.

We now know… what we know.

In this stage we are not perfectly skilled at what we are doing but we are almost there. There are still things to fix but the main processes in our businesses should be able to run pretty smoothly.

However, in this stage we are most likely still relying on checklists and other things to keep ourselves on track. If we happen to stop learning at this point our business will start to decline back into the second stage.

This is when we start to learn the managerial skills we need to start putting the last processes into place so that we can eventually step away and become hands free.

We are climbing toward a cruising altitude.

Once we hit 31,000 ft we have made it.

Stage 4: Unconscious Competence

The final stage is where we no longer require active thought to keep moving.

Now we can step away and our business will run on its own.

We have become a truly passive investor instead of a business owner.

This is personally my favorite stage because we now have the ability to repeat the process. If we tried to repeat this process in any other stage our first business would likely fail because we are such an integral part to it working properly.

When we complete this cycle a first time it become much easier to do it a second and then a third and so on.

We already have our systems in place and the managerial skills to scale up so mentoring others becomes secondhand nature.


As entrepreneurs we want to move through the four stages quickly and efficiently.

We do this by:

  1. Becoming self aware and not being afraid to ask for help.
  2. Meet with others or get educational materials that will help you learn skills fast.
  3. Practice your new skills and find ways to translate less time efficient jobs to others.
  4. Coach others and continue learning.

I have seen this process over and over again. Eventually you will find that the stages become fun and challenging instead of insurmountable.

What are some of the things you’re stuck on or need to improve?

Comment below and let me know!

Talk soon.

Bridger Pennington

DISCLAIMER: This content is for educational and informational purposes only. It is not to be taken as tax, financial, or legal advice. You should always consult a legal professional before taking action. Furthermore, this is not a recommendation to buy or sell any security. The content is solely just the opinion of the authors.

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