48: Curing Business Anxiety with Peter Sage (Part 2)

Peter Sage is nothing short of an absolute business genius! At the age of 16 he took his last £20 and doubled it by buying toys and selling them at the local car boot sale at 200% profit. From there Peter has opened, grown and sold multiple 8-figure businesses, all of them grown organically from his own hard work and business acumen.
But the crux of this episode is Peter’s recent stint in… prison! This is no ordinary jail story with no ordinary ending. Tune in to totally transform the way you look at life and the bumps we encounter along the way.




My Guest: Peter Sage

Peter Sage is a well-known international & serial entrepreneur with over 25 years experience growing fast-paced enterprises. During this time, he launched, operated and brought to success over two dozen companies, several of which he brought from scratch to over eight figures.
A long-standing member of the Global Entrepreneurship Organization, he served as the Chairman of the London Yes Group, the largest personal development organization in Europe. For several years Peter was also a member of the advisory board for the Center for Entrepreneurship at InSead, a global top-five business school, and one of the world leaders in the field of entrepreneurship education, where he is also part of their Entrepreneurs in Residence program.
As well, he is the advisor to the Hungarian government on their creative thinking policies.


Pivotal Moments:

Opened his first business while in school, selling “conkers” (chestnuts), an old children’s game in Britain, from a tree in his backyard.
Dropped out of school at age 16 and started working in his Dad’s junk yard.
Didn’t get paid enough so left without knowing what he was going to do next.
Bought £15 worth of toys from a wholesaler, gave his last £5 to get into the local car boot sale (flea market) and sold the toys for £30.
Returned the each week, doubling his money, until he had enough to open a stall in the local street market, which he called Peter the Toy Boy.
Read a fitness manual and realized he could write a better one and sell it, so he did, naming his new book The Supreme Physique.
Starting a mail order business selling fitness books and adding other products such as protein from manufacturers until he was making £500 a week at the age of 18.
In 1994, opened a Casting Agency where he revolutionized the industry by using the then brand new Windows 95 operating system to build a database of 22,000 paying members.
Sold the Casting Agency at age 24 for way too little and went into various other businesses.
Peter is currently putting together a program to help CEOs who are burnt out, borderline depressed and emotionally unavailable for their spouses and relatives.


The Advice:


Business Litigation
When fighting legal battles in business, especially with large corporations, keep in mind that litigation is a business tool used to achieve a desired position or to make more money.


Job Security
Being a business owner might not be the most stable job, but it is the most secure job because you can make money, not earn it. When you are employed, you are at the mercy of your boss or CEO and their ability to make money. Being a business owner means that you are in full control of your job and you can generate income using your own abilities.


Magic Moments List
When feeling down or depressed, we often wish for certain positive emotions and feelings. In truth, we have already experienced those emotions at some point in life and just need to re-access them. To do that, make a list of all the wonderful, magic moments in your life. When you are upset, look at the list to help you remember and access that positive emotional state you experienced at that time.


Curse of the White Rabbit
A common sport in the UK called the Greyhound Race involves greyhounds chasing a mechanical rabbit round a track until they hit the finish line. The rabbit is engineered to move faster as the dogs close in on it so that they can never catch it. It’s purpose is simply to keep the dogs running round the track to the finish line.
Most business owners get burnt out because they are trying to catch the rabbit of fulfillment, by running on the track of achievement. The two are not linked. Once you catch a rabbit and achieve your goal, another rabbit appears and you start the race again. But, if you remember that the purpose of the game is to run and achieve, not to catch the rabbit, you will be fulfilled regardless of whether you achieve your goals or not.


Curse of GOOP
We perceive the world as a movie where we are the star appearing in every scene, and everyone else is either supporting cast or extras. No one else views you as the star of their movie because in their perception of the world, they are the star of their own movie and you are an extra. Don’t go through life trying to be liked by everyone and get out of the addiction of GOOP – good opinions of other people! In fact, most people don’t care enough about you to bother having an opinion, because they are too busy being worried about what they think you are thinking of them.


Earth School
Life is a growth-centric experience not a comfort-centric experience. We are on this planet to grow, mature and evolve.
At the end of each period in life, we have to take a test to prove what we have learned from life. When you pass the test and graduate you prove that you can walk the talk. Then you move up to the next grade where the tests are harder. But, they are meant to be harder because now you are older and more mature. Don’t think you can get through life without taking the tests though! If you jump in at the deep end, you will find that you can swim. But, if you don’t jump in, life will engineer a diving board and push you off it.
Arguing what has already happened is futile, resisting the current situation is stupid. There is a time for sadness and grieving, but be emotionally mature, and face difficult situations by figuring out the right answers and what you are meant to achieve in each situation.


The Struggle:

Peter recently experienced an extremely difficult situation when he was sued $17 million by Hewlett Packard for re-selling $12.5 million worth of IT equipment. After a ridiculous and nasty legal battle, Peter ended up as the only civil prisoner in one of the most vicious criminal jails in the UK. How could Peter possibly overcome this incredibly challenging situation and find a way to use this situation positively?


The Breakthrough:

Before Peter walked into jail he made a decision: He did not know why he ended up in jail and he could not change the situation, but if life had engineered that he must go to jail, there had to be some work he needed to do there. Peter did not allow himself to have the identity of a prisoner for one second. Instead he entered jail as an “undercover agent of change”.
While in jail, Peter wrote a journal of eleven letters, now published as a book – The Inside Track. He also won a national award while in prison, re-structured the prisoner induction process, created a new prisoner induction manual that is currently used in prisons across UK and is soon to be introduced in Australia. This manual is changing the lives of thousands of people every month. Peter also incredibly managed to get 70% of the prisoners in his jail off drugs and anti-depressants and also got letters of support from the government and other prisoners! After thirty years of personal development, Peter proved, without a shadow of a doubt, that he could and would use every situation to mature, evolve and contribute to the world!



Most business owners get burnt out because they are trying to catch the rabbit of fulfillment, by running on the track of achievement.
Nobody has the right to tell you that you can’t do it. If they do, don’t listen.
As a business person, everyone else’s opinion of you is none of your business.
Most people don’t care enough about you to bother to give an opinion, because they are too busy being worried about what they think you think of them.
Get out of the addiction of GOOP – good opinions of other people.


Resources and Links:

Part 1 of this episode, where Peter shares his journey from Pete the Toy Boy to successful serial entrepreneur, go to estierand.com/48-1.

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About the author, Estie Rand

I love turning ideas into money, and helping others do the same. I help small business owners with everything from marketing to fiscal management, business plans to staffing, database architecture to work/life balance coaching and I love it all! What do you need help with today?