5 Steps to Freedom


John Nieuwenburg

John Nieuwenburg has been a professional business coach since 2004. Prior to becoming a coach, he held executive positions with Tip Top Tailors and BC Liquor Stores. In 2019, MacKay CEO Forums awarded him with Canada’s CEO Trusted Advisor Award in the Small Business category. Since becoming a coach, John has worked with over 350 clients, taking them through a systematic process that helps them feel organized, confident and in control of their businesses.


What does it mean to you?

For business folks, the concept of “freedom” will manifest itself in different ways.

A young CEO running a newly launched company might define freedom in strictly financial terms, measuring it by the profits brought in during their first year in sales.

On the other hand, a parent with children at home may feel that freedom is the ability to take normal 9-5 working hours off whenever they want to spend more time with their kids.

Still others finally feel “free” once they reach the point of selling their successful business, retiring comfortably, and enjoying the remainder of their days out on the golf course.

We all dream of having more time, money, and choices. In essence, this is what makes us “free.”

To get there, you need a powerful framework for understanding the phases of business growth because ideally, you want a company that:

  1. Continues to progress and produce profits
  2. Doesn’t require your day-to-day involvement 24/7

So, how do we get there?

The tool I use with my clients is called the 5 Steps to Freedom.

You are in the driver’s seat. But do you have a roadmap?

Think of yourself as a race car driver.

All around you are other competitors zipping in loops around the track and speeding towards that finish line.

In this scenario, a map isn’t really necessary. After all, there is only one direction to go – forward.

When managing the growth of your business, progression isn’t quite so linear.

You need a roadmap.

In the next section, we breakdown the 5 Steps to Freedom into bite sized pieces.


First stage of business is the Creation stage.

This is where you get ready to dip your feet into unknown waters.

Researching the marketplace, choosing a viable niche, and brainstorming a business plan are all key factors in launching any enterprise.


This second stage is characterized by uncertainty, which naturally can feel extremely anxiety inducing and stressful.

Or as my clients often describe it: “Help! I’m in way over my head. I feel like everything is spinning out of control.”

This is the stage where it’s important to put effort towards creating systems.

These will include:

  • Marketing systems
  • Team-building systems
  • Budgeting systems
  • Management systems


At level 3, or the Control phase, your businesses is now starting to be profitable.

Cash flow is converted into profits, but the operations still require fine-tuning and adjustments in order to buy you that ultimate freedom.



Your business is doing well.

You are feeling confident about the future, have systems in place, and lead a great team of people who know how to handle the ins and outs of daily work.

The best part?

At this stage, you finally have the freedom to take time off. Want to skip the office and head to the beach for an afternoon? You can do that.

Things will run smoothly even in your absence.

Continue to grow the business by taking on bigger clients, always being on the lookout for fantastic new talent, and reaping higher profit margins.

Do these 3 things, and the Prosperity stage can go on indefinitely.


Many people stop at stage 4. However, there is one final (and optional) level.

This has to do with being truly free – in both time and cashflow.

Now that you have a thriving business, why not go one step further and replicate it?

Through partnerships, joint ventures, and acquisitions, you invite other leaders into the inner circle.

You are still in the driver’s seat…just less actively so.

You can even retire at this stage. Or sell the business.

The goal is to achieve a sense of “freedom,” however you choose to define it.

Make actionable plans using the “22 Silver Bullets”

These 5 Steps to Freedom will act as a roadmap.

But you’ll still have to develop specific and actionable strategies to prevent that spiralling out of control feeling and successfully advance through each stage.

That’s why I created the 22 Silver Bullets.

These mini projects help business owners implement each step of the 5 Steps to Freedom.

It all starts with a full diagnostic assessment to see what’s missing, where, why, and offer suggestions on how to improve.

(Want a copy of the Silver Bullet Score Card? Send an email to john@w5coaching.com)

Want to learn more about coaching?

Schedule a free 15-minute consultation call and we’ll jumpstart your journey to freedom today!

The Ultimate Guide to Scaling Your Business

w5 what does it mean to scale your business

How to grow your business without sacrificing time freedom

This post is part of my Ultimate Guide to Scaling Your Business. Visit the guide homepage to get my best advice and coaching exercises to help you:

  • Develop systems and processes to free up your time
  • Hire and manage a great team to run your business (mostly) without you
  • Make the mindset changes that enable you to grow your business bigger - faster than you dreamed possible