Episode 249 // 7 Habits of a Successful CEO

January 5, 2021

2020 did a number on our basic structures: our boundaries, habits, and routines that we’ve been creating over the years, which means that now is the perfect time to get back to the basics. To help you start making that move, this episode is all about successful habits of CEOs, the decision-maker for your business (which is likely YOU).

Learn More about the Topics Discussed in this Episode
"See your CEO time as your highest creative work. Being a CEO and creating a business is doing creative work. So gather your tools, learn your trade, and practice your skills. Just like you would any other creative endeavor."
- Emily

Discussed in this Episode

  • Making plans and projections in your business
  • Know your numbers/metrics
  • Getting rid of distractions
  • Prioritizing your tasks
  • Scheduling and respecting your non-negotiables
  • Invest in yourself
  • Connect and invest in relationships
  • Bonus mindset shift: seeing your CEO time as your highest creative work

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Transcript

Doesn't matter where you find yourself in business. There will occasionally come a point when you recognize that it's time to take it to the next level. Maybe you're a baby boss who's deciding that now is the time to take your business seriously, or maybe you've been in it for a few years, but you know there's a move you need to make. 

[00:00:30]Whatever that moment is for you as a creative business owner, that means putting on your CEO hat and making some proactive, holistic, and informed decisions about what's happening in your business next. 

[00:00:43]Welcome to Being Boss, a podcast for creatives, business owners and entrepreneurs who want to take control of their work and live life on their own terms. I'm your host, Emily Thompson. 

[00:00:53] And in this episode, I'm here to focus on the habits you need to adopt to be the CEO of your business. The chief executive officer, the decision maker, the architect, the mastermind for some of you, the CEO hat will be something you just put on every once in a while. 

[00:01:11] You'll put it on to gain that big picture view, to set your course and make your plan, and then you'll take it off and replace it with all the other hats you wear on a daily basis. For others, it's a hat you wear more often, weekly, maybe even daily. Either way, if you want to be a business owner, you have to be the CEO.

[00:01:30] And I want to help you be that boss by sharing and diving into my top seven habits for being a successful CEO. And as a way to wrap it all up, I'll finish this off by sharing a very important mindset shift for helping the most staunch creative, find fun in the role of CEO    

[00:01:54] This episode is all about CEO habits for creative business owners, because helping creatives do business is what I do.

[00:02:01] So while I'm here, sharing habits also know that we have the tools to help you actually make it happen. You'll hear about CEO Day Kit off and on throughout this entire episode, because it is a big part of my CEO habits. And if you'd like to learn more about it, be sure to stay tuned through the very end of the show where I will be sharing more.

[00:02:24]  For almost a decade. I have worked to help creatives be business owners. I myself am the CEO of two companies. I've taken hundreds of bosses through my CEO day kit, a collection of tools that help creatives make a 12 month plan for their business in just one day. And over the course of all of this work and more, I've pinpointed a couple of important habits that will help you put on that CEO hat whenever you need it.

[00:02:55] And maybe someday you'll be able to keep it on if a CEO is the dream job that you're building for yourself.

[00:03:03]so my top seven habits. It was a lot of fun putting these together. I was able to really dive into the things that have made me successful and that have made the bosses that I work with on an ongoing basis successful as well. And I say ongoing, but also those bosses that have popped in and out of my life over the past a decade who have been really successful, who have found.

[00:03:29] Joy maybe even, but definitely progress and occasionally putting on their CEO hat and really being the boss of their business. So let's dive into this. My first and what made even my most important. And I will say, I'll probably say all of these are the most important, but I am starting with this one because I think it's very important.

[00:03:51] It is sort of a definitive role of being a CEO, the chief executive officer of your business, no matter how big or small your business is, is making plans and projections in your business.

[00:04:08]and I say this as a habit, because it's not just something that you do once and you're done, or you do it occasionally, you're doing it on an ongoing basis. It is a habit that you have, you're doing it sometimes daily, but you should definitely be looking at it weekly. Definitely, definitely monthly, quarterly and annually.

[00:04:29]And as the creative business owner, as the entrepreneur in your business, you are the person who is running the show, who, or at least you should be. And most importantly, you are the person that has the vision for the business that you are building. And of all of the things in your business that you are doing, there is one thing in your business that you cannot outsource.

[00:04:55] That is your vision. So when it comes to making those plans and projections, that is something that you need to be prioritizing in your daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, annual plan, so that you are sitting down and making sure on an ongoing basis that your business is moving in the direction that you want it to go in.

[00:05:19]So I want to break down a little bit what this looks like on that daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, annual basis. And I'm actually going to start annually and bringing it and bring it back to daily.

[00:05:33]so let's start annually with once a year. Every year at the beginning of the year, you should be sitting down and creating a plan and projections for what your year ahead looks like. Personally, I use my CEO Day Kit to do this. It is a collection of tools that allows me to sit down and look at various sort of parts of my business from the values that I hold to, how I'm feeling about money and then really breaking it down.

[00:06:03] All the way into what I'm literally doing every month for the next 12 months. It's an amazing set of tools that we have put together because they are tools that we have used in the past and the magic of this toolkit, whether you use it or not to, this is even if you are not a subscriber or you have not purchased CEO day kit if that's not something that you are interested in, you should be sitting down and reviewing and planning. I personally use CEO day kit to do this, um, all of the exercises in that kit, but you can do this without, without CEO day kit. For sure.

[00:06:43]You're going to sit down and review. Because knowledge comes from the review of how you've done in the past year. And you're going to plan ahead. So in the reviewing phase, I use, we have this worksheet in our library. You can actually find it over in our show notes. I talk about it all the time. It's one of my favorite exercises.

[00:07:04]It's called what's working. What's kind of working. What's not working. It's a really simple tool that you can use. You can also just use a piece of paper, create three columns on this piece of paper and list out. What's working in one column. What's kind of working in the next column and what's not working in the final column.

[00:07:23] And then using this analysis or using this sort of breakdown you can analyze and see what things in your business need to stay and what needs to go. What needs more focus and what needs maybe less focus. Using this exercise will really allow you to do a good review of your business and not just to review and like noted because sometimes you review and you take no action, but the magic of what's working, what's kind of working.

[00:07:51] What's not working is that there is this extra step of assigning action to the things that are on this list so that you can either remove them or make them work because the goal is to make everything that you're putting your effort into work for your business.  So once a year, sit down and do a hardcore review of your business, of your revenue, streams of your team, of your sort of physical location, how you're feeling about your business.

[00:08:18] All of these things need a solid review at least once a year. And then you're going to plan and look forward. So knowing all of those things that you know about your business, what do you want to do in the coming months?

[00:08:34]and sort of the magic-ness of sitting down and doing this every single year, doing this really full, amazing, um, big picture planning day of your business is to give yourself a big picture plan and truly holistic plan of your business, because feel free to raise your hand if you have ever gotten to March or some month in the future, when you were planning on doing maybe a big creative project, but you actually found that you were in the launch phase of something else, or you were in the launch phase of something, but then had a whole bunch of clients come in and you couldn't actually launch the thing that you were wanting to do. If you had had a good plan in place, you would have been able to plug these little puzzle pieces into your, into your calendar ahead of time to give you the ability to navigate throughout the coming months, with more ease and purpose, and in a way where everything has its place and you also have the structure that allows you to move things into the place they need to go.

[00:09:37] So clients are one of those you can never really know when your clients are going to pop into your calendar, but you can tell them when you can work with them. Like I'm working on a launch thing right now. I can get you in three weeks or whatever it may be. And you don't necessarily obviously have to tell them why you can't work with them at any given moment, but this plan in place for you will let you see how all of the pieces of your business work together so that everything flows really really nicely. Another great thing that comes out of doing this kind of work once for an entire year is you can also plan your business around your life a little bit as well.

[00:10:18]I know that at the time of recording this talking about life may be a little, a little more difficult. We're not talking about taking big vacations or, um, or any of those things, but. Feel free to raise your hand if you have ever gotten to vacation month and ended up having a ton of work pile on you or things that weren't done still sort of lingering that led you to maybe not enjoy your vacation or time off as well as you could have by taking a once a year CEO day sitting down and creating this big picture holistic plan for your business.

[00:10:51] You're really able to weave not only the multiple parts of your business together, but also your life into it as well. But one of my very favorite things about sitting down and making these plans or projections once a year is too. Is that it allows you to make the decision once. And sure there will be a little, a million little decisions that you make along the way, but being able to sit down and know when your launches are going to happen, when your creation times are going to happen.

[00:11:21] When these marketing windows are going to happen and around events. Like your holiday rush or that vacation you want to take or whatever it may be. You're not sitting down every month and recreating the wheel. You create the whole wheel once a year, and then you just let it roll. And that, for me, really, me, especially as someone as most CEOs do, who suffers from decision fatigue, whenever it comes to that big picture, planning your business, make plans and once, once a year, and then just plug away at the plan the entire year round.

[00:11:54] It's magic for your soul. It as a creative business owner to know what you're doing next all year long. And then this idea of projections is really important as well. I sit down once a year and create a massive spreadsheet. I call it massive. I feel like someone who's like really into massive spreadsheets, call it a baby spreadsheet.

[00:12:18] For me, it feels kind of massive. I love creating it. And I sit down and I make projections for the revenue and income. Well, I guess revenue and income are the same for revenue and expenses of my business, of my business through the entire year. And then this spreadsheet becomes something that I look at again every single month in my business.

[00:12:38] So I'm making these revenue projections as well. And those revenue, projections, and expense projections are also based on the planning that I've done around my revenue and marketing and creation times, um, from that sort of plan of what am I launching? What am I creating? Um, what clients do I want to take, whatever it may be.

[00:13:00] It becomes that holistic plan that I've talked about. You are creating literally the business that you want to create. So make plans and projections. That's what it looks like once a year. And our CEO Day Kit is really there to help you with that once a year, big picture planning in your creative business, it is tools that are built for creatives.

[00:13:24]And then once you have that big plan, you have to check in with it quarterly, at least at least quarterly. You check in on your progress, you see how your projects are going, how those marketing campaigns are going, how those creation times are going, whatever it may be. And you're also checking in on your revenue and expenses.

[00:13:43] Every single quarter, quarterly is also when you sit down and make a plan for what the next three months will look like, and maybe not make the plan, but more of check in on and adjust your plan that you created at the beginning of the year as needed.

[00:13:58]For me quarterly check-ins take about half a day. I sit down with my bookkeeping reports. I sit down with my project outlines. I sit down with Asana. I am looking and seeing how their projects and marketing campaigns and all of those things have done in the past. And I'm also making sure that everything is in place so that I can just move forward over the next month.

[00:14:20] So really quarterly can be what I'm doing. Project management and making sure things are tasks out. Things are assigned. Everyone knows what we're doing. That's happening once a quarter. And like I said, it takes about half a day. Also every month you should be checking in, checking on progress on all of those projects on your revenue, on your expenses.

[00:14:41] Monthly is also whenever I sit down and I update my projections spreadsheets for my actual revenue and expenses. So I'm seeing what did I projected be making this month? What did I projected be spending this month? And then how much did I actually make and spend in any sort of previous month? Um, part of this too, is making sure that my book.

[00:15:01] Keep our house, my books ready for me within those first seven or so days of any given month, because within those first seven or so days, I wanted to sit down and know exactly what was happening in my business or businesses in that prior month. So I can quickly  make the adjustments that I need to make in the month moving forward.

[00:15:20]This is also when I'm checking in on sort of team status or my own status, whenever it comes to creating something or marketing something I know on a very short term basis, what I'm doing over the next month,  it helps me gauge what's what needs my attention most in the really immediate future.

[00:15:39] And then I'm also sitting down weekly and planning out my week ahead. This is a little less CEO, perhaps, and a little more. Sort of personal management, but in episode number 246, time management for business owners, I talk about my weekly process for planning my week ahead, but really I think where my CEO hat comes in on that weekly basis is that I am meeting with my team every single week to check in on, on the progress of all open projects to reflect on anything that has recently ended and sort of setting the stage for anything that will be happening in the really immediate future.

[00:16:20]If you don't have a team, you can still do this. Schedule out an hour, a week, really 30 minutes a week if it's just you to check in to make sure that everything is progressing as it should, because it is that big picture view and making sure all the things in your business are moving forward that really makes you the CEO. Even if you're by yourself.

[00:16:42]For some of us, sometimes you have to put the CEO hat on every single day. This is especially true if you have a team, but you can also think of it in your business. If you are a solo preneur, as making sure that you are really staying on top of the things in your business, that's really going to move you forward. 

[00:16:59] Again. I think I'll probably be bringing up episode 246. Time management for business owners a couple of times here, but I talk very much. So in that episode about really prioritizing even your tasks every single day, that action itself is you being the CEO of your business, making sure that you are spending your time on the things that really are going to be moving your business forward.

[00:17:23]Okay. So that's number one, that was a big one making plans and projections. That's what it can look like on that yearly basis, quarterly basis, monthly, weekly, and even daily. Let's move ahead through this. So second I have knowing your numbers and in that case, really your metrics, because knowing your numbers is a habit because you don't just do it once and you're done. Numbers are sending that you should consistently be knowing. It is a habit you have to put into place and numbers are definitely more than just your revenue. Your numbers include your expenses, your profitability overall, or your profitability for individual offerings or clients or products that you create.

[00:18:08] Knowing your numbers also includes knowing how many months it's going to take for you to be profitable or reach some sort of breakeven point in your business if you are just starting out or you're not profitable yet. You also need to know things like the cost per offering or per product, and even how many hours it takes you to do something.

[00:18:28] And how many hours it takes you to do something versus a team member doing it. There are lots of numbers in your business that you need to know. I actually often say. When talking to business owners, especially when they are uncomfortable with numbers, his business is numbers. It is so many other things.

[00:18:44] It's also, you know, this is all you put into it is serving your clients and all of these things. But the difference between, um, Really a business and a nonprofit. And this is not really true because nonprofits definitely have to care about their numbers, but a business has to play that number game. You are here for a profit.

[00:19:03] If you are not here for a profit, then you are not a business. You are a nonprofit, which is fine if you choose to be so, um, but I'd imagine that most of the people listening to this are not. It's also important to have this habit because in your business, your numbers will change constantly. You're going to change vendors. The prices of things are going to change. Supply chains, change, and you have to change where you get things. Markets change. You may need to change your prices. As someone else changes their prices, whatever it may be, your numbers will be consistently changing. And it's up to you, the CEO of your business, to make sure I know what they are.

[00:19:41]And you know what they are because knowing your numbers is what's going to help you reach your revenue and profitability goals. So if you are not staying consistently aware of how the numbers that make your business run are changing, you are not able to set. Adequate adequate goals to work for in your business.

[00:20:01] So I encourage you very much so to get curious about the numbers that make your business run and make it a habit of yours, that you know what those numbers are. This is something that checking in quarterly is a really important idea, but definitely every year you should know how much it costs for you to produce your things.

[00:20:22] You should know how much money you need to make to run your business, how much money you want to make and profit. There are many numbers that you need to know in your business. And I will say too, that if numbers freaks you out, this does not mean that you have to do your own numbers. You do not have to be your own bookkeeper.

[00:20:42] Right? You can find a numbers partner, someone who will actually do the numbers for you and communicate to you what those numbers are so that you know them. So that in that case, the only real habit you have to develop is meeting with the person who knows your numbers so they can relay that information to you so that you can make decisions for your business with that knowledge in hand.

[00:21:05]Which then leads us to number three. My third habit for being a successful CEO is you have to get rid of distractions. A successful CEO understands that their time and attention are two of their most important assets. A CEO has lots of things vying for their time and attention. I know I do literally a million little fires all day, every day, especially across two businesses on top of my already big to-do list and a full schedule of meetings.

[00:21:40] I'm consistently being pulled in a million different directions. So whenever I sit down to do something, I am making triple sure that that time is sacred, that there is nothing that can distract me.

[00:21:54]Especially when it's some of that big brain work that I have to do where I need the focus to get it done. And this can look like a lot of things. Very simply one of the biggest things that I do that re or actually one of the smallest things that I do that really makes a huge difference is simply turning off my email when I'm not answering email.

[00:22:16] The amount that I can get done and like the speed with which time passes for me whenever I turn off my email and can just get to work is amazing. And then I always like scroll over my little email thing, and I see no dots and I'm like, Oh, no emails. Like I just, you know, worked five hours and did all this stuff and didn't even miss my email being off.

[00:22:42] Cause I don't miss it. So if you're not answering email, Turn your email off.

[00:22:47]Another thing that I hear from bosses, especially when you get on up in your CEO journey is, um, is having team members and sometimes even clients really vying for that attention and keeping you from being able to get focused. I cannot recommend enough that you set aside some time where people can check in with you if they need to. So this could look like saying, you know, every day from four to four 30, I'm available for you if you need me. And so maybe you are there sort of, you know, answering some email, checking in on something else, doing some sort of non-committal mind work, but otherwise making yourself available so that if a team member or team members or your clients need to check in they're available to do so, but they do so within that small window. So the outside of that window, you have the ability to focus on all the other things. It will both help you better serve your clients and or your team, and it will make you more available and capable for doing all of the other work that you really need to do.

[00:23:50] So set some boundaries around what it is that people can get attention from you that they may need to do their job.

[00:23:58]Another way that I like to get rid of distractions for myself is really even just telling people, so telling my family, for example, or telling my team or telling my clients that there are times when I want to not be interrupted. And I know that can be very difficult. Um, especially as so many people are working from home, but really vocalizing that.

[00:24:22] Making it a priority for yourself because they'll also follow your cues. If you're like, I want to work undisturbed for three hours, but you keep coming out to get snacks, you're signaling that you are going to allow yourself to interrupt this productive time so they're not going to, um, think it's such a big deal if they interrupted as well. So set some boundaries around, um, how it is that people near you are interacting with you as well. It can really make a world of difference. Um, and one that I use on a consistent basis and otherwise just really being in control of your time. Um, I have no meeting days that allow me to really focus on meetings on my meeting days. And then on the no meeting days, I can really just focus on all of the creative work that I do. I know that batching meetings for some people sounds like a total nightmare, so if it doesn't work for you, that's fine. But I find that that works for me. And there is a sense of awareness that comes from getting rid of distractions in terms of what do you find distracting and what do you need to do to keep those distractions from distracting you from your work?

[00:25:32] And whenever it comes to, uh, sort of planning those no meeting days are really managing my time in a way that limits my distractions. I talked in 246, um, episode 246, about my time blocking strategy. You can also see it step-by-step with visuals in some time blocking training, and that I've created over at beingboss.club/time.  Highly recommend that as well.

[00:25:59] What    better time of year to turn over a new leaf than at the beginning of the year. And by new leaf, I mean, get your money in order as a business owner, you're in the money game, you need to always be collecting, know where your money's coming from and know where it's going. It's part of the job description.

[00:26:22] So don't put it off and turn to a handy tool to make it easy. I'm talking about FreshBooks Cloud Accounting built for businesses and their clients. From balancing your books to managing your client relationships, Freshbooks has your back sign up now and get 50% off your first three months by going to freshbooks.com/beingboss and enter Being Boss in the how did you hear about us section

[00:26:49]  All right. So thus far, we've gone through three of my seven habits. One is making plans and projections. One is knowing your numbers. And one, I guess this is number three. Two is know your numbers. Three is getting rid of distractions  and number four is prioritizing your tasks.

[00:27:11]Whenever I talked about that annual CEO date that I do that one day a year, where I'm sitting down and planning out what the entire year looks like that day is for planning. Planning and prioritizing on a big picture level. So that's saying, you know, I want to create a new product and I want to redo an old product.

[00:27:32] And I want to, you know, take a vacation of those three things, which one comes first. Well, you know, in January I want to start redoing the old one. And then in spring, maybe I'll take that vacation and then I'll wrap up the year with creating a new one. So that's like big picture prioritizing that happens on your CEO day.

[00:27:51] But what do you do on the daily every day is really adding up to be what you do in an entire year. So your daily tasks have to reflect those prioritize that are really big picture. And really this comes from prioritizing your tasks every single day again, and episode number 246, I'm Emma Peacock of Honeypot Digital shared how she prioritizes just three things every day, making sure that she's doing the things that moves her forward.

[00:28:28] Even if she gets nothing else done. I personally do this over the course of a week. I sit down on Sunday and I do my planning for the week and I. Task out. What is most important for me, it's usually doing things on Monday that will enable the team to do things throughout the entire week. Right. Or having communications on Monday that allow everything to get done through the entire week.

[00:28:52] And it is absolutely a balance between doing what you want to do and what really needs to get done, which is sometimes something people can struggle with. But I find that having this big picture plan in place really allows me to see the benefits of doing the things that I might not want to do. And still making plenty of time to do the things that I want to do as well. Also, there's a secret sauce here with aligning your actions with your vision, your values and your goals. So you do have to keep all of these things in place. So your CEO day in general is planning out your vision, but. With CEO daycare or the way we do it at being boss is you are also doing this through the lens of your values and your goals.

[00:29:42] And when all of those things are lined up together and you're taking action with those always in mind, you are so much more easily going to get where you want to go, both in terms of realizing those goals that you set for yourself, but also in how you feel about going about them.

[00:29:59]the magic of aligning is you feel aligned. I do talk pretty extensively again in episode 246 about this. So if you need some more support around, prioritizing your tasks, definitely go check that episode out.

[00:30:13]Which leads us to habit number five, habit. Number five is schedule and respect your non-negotiables. Now. I feel like a broken record when I say this, but an episode number 246, I also talked about non-negotiables. Everyone has them. Everyone has non-negotiables, which are things that are so important to you that you won't negotiate, or at least you shouldn't.

[00:30:41] I would imagine that we all occasionally negotiate our non-negotiables, but the idea of them as is that you don't. So remember that. And we also talk often about living by your calendar, which is, uh, which is why I say you should definitely be scheduling your non-negotiables. And honestly COVID times have absolutely made at least me a little more negotiable, but even still, even still, I have some non-negotiables and they feel basic what, I mean, say them out loud, but things like no meetings on the weekends or after hours.

[00:31:20] Like that's one for me. I have no problem maintaining that. That is a non-negotiable. If someone comes to me and they're like, I can only do this recording on Saturday, like, sorry that I'm not the guests for you. Right. Um, and. And so it's really important for you to claim these for yourself. I will also say, even though I say that there is sort of this, like I do have friends in Australia really on the other side of the world.

[00:31:45] So sometimes I will take meetings later in the evening. Um, but even then those are usually only friend meetings in which case that is after hours. So. Or it's a little more acceptable after hours. So there's like, maybe there is no such thing as non-negotiables anymore. Is that possible?

[00:32:05] Is that maybe it's like. Mostly non-negotiable. How about that? One of my mostly non-negotiables, um, is doing a daily walk. That is something that I do. And again, something that I share with you in that time training at beingboss.club/time is really how it is that you schedule and you respect your non-negotiables.

[00:32:31] All right. That one felt fluffy, but I think it's just because it's the time we're in. It is important as a CEO for you to know what is most important for you to get your job done. And a lot of cases, it is elements of self-care. That should be your non-negotiables that you can show up to your work and do all the things that you need to do.

[00:32:52] So, even though I'm kind of struggling, maybe I'm struggling with that one at the moment. Um, I feel like we all probably are, or most of us probably are. It is important. And as things start, maybe feeling better in the world, remember to plug back in those non-negotiables I know I will. All right. Almost getting to the end of our seven.

[00:33:13] Here we come to number six is invest. In yourself, successful CEOs know when, where, and how to invest in themselves. Most of us have no problem investing in our businesses, right. New computer, like okay. Noted. But doing it, you need a new book to help you learn that thing. You need a new course. Goodness knows we're all real quick to buy another online course, whatever it may be. Most of us do not struggle with investing into our businesses. However, most of us do struggle with investing into ourselves because what's the ROI on a spa day? Right. Who knows, who cares, who  investing in yourself is really, truly important.

[00:34:02] And it doesn't have to be a spa day. It can just be moving your body, making your non-negotiable a morning walk every single day or evening walk or lunchtime walk, or maybe all three. Move your body. That is a great way for you to simply invest time and energy into yourself.

[00:34:22]Another one that we're always talking about here at being boss is that a boss is a lifelong learner. So taking times to gain education, to read books, to invest time and money, otherwise resources into you becoming more of who you want to be through gaining the knowledge you need to move forward is a very great way to invest in yourself.

[00:34:53] Also, another one I'm going to throw in here is taking time off. This one can be truly difficult for business owners and especially CEOs, though I see the massive overlap in those two things.

[00:35:08]But I often find that as people sometimes end up gaining team members and think, Oh, you know, as I become, you know, more of a CEO in my company, as I have, you know, more resources at my disposal to do the work, I'm going to be able to take off more time, but usually leads to really CEO's taking off even less time because then they feel they need to be there with their team.

[00:35:28] They need to be directing them. They need to be whatever it is that they've talked themselves into, needing to be doing. Um, but investing in yourself by taking time off by letting your business or run or putting it to bed, if that still, where you find yourself is so important.

[00:35:45]Did an episode with my friend Tara McMullin. I know I recently had her on the being boss podcast, but I did an episode for her on the, on the, What Works Podcast, where I talk about how I have found for myself that taking time off is one of the things best investments that I can make, not only in myself, but really in my business.

[00:36:05] It is when I give myself tons of white space, when I'm able to really take the time to allow my brain to rest and not just a day or two, but like a week or two or sometimes even a month or two, honestly, I don't do that very often, but I have in the past. That quietness that my brain is able to find by giving myself that kind of space creates this sort of canvas for real creativity to happen in a way that I cannot replicate when I am, you know, elbows deep in all the little fires that pop up throughout my day.

[00:36:42] So for me, what I've found is one of the most important investments that I can not only make in myself, but in my business as well is prioritizing taking time off. It is what makes me a successful CEO. It has taken me years to really realize the benefit, but now I just do, and not only do I, but my team does as well.

[00:37:05] There have been plenty of times, or my team has told me. Emily is time for you to take a vacation. Like we need you to go like juice up, basically. Uh, we need you to go rest your brain, chill out and come back with that next idea. Come back with that solution, whatever it may be. And I know that works for myself.

[00:37:27] Um, I also know plenty of creatives that, that works for it doesn't necessarily work for everyone, but don't you think it's worth a try? I do investing in yourself by taking the time off to rest for sure, but also gain some education to move your body, to do all of invest in your body, in your mind, in your brain. Those are the same thing, um, in your soul, whatever it is, invest in yourself because as the CEO and really as the business owner, um, for a long time, your business will be you, there will be a time potentially in the future where it is less you, um, The is less dependent on you, but I would imagine for about 90 to 95% of the people listening to this, your business in you, and it needs you in the best shape you can be.

[00:38:20] And that leads us then to the last one. Number seven of my seven habits for being a successful CEO is to connect and invest in relationships.

[00:38:34]I have absolutely seen this sort of a synchronistic growth in myself and my ability to show up as a CEO and my business's growth. Um, as similar trajectory as I've built my sort of network building your network is. So important as a CEO and you've heard it too. Your network is your net worth. Right. And though that's like, I mean, we have this thing in our family.

[00:39:02] We always say if it rhymes, it's true. It almost rhymes. So it must almost be true. As you build your network of connections, of friends, of vendors, of partners, of all of these things, your business. You as a CEO will grow. I've seen it time and time again. And it's something that I absolutely see is a huge contributor to my own success in both of my businesses.

[00:39:34]And this can look like lots of things. One of the ways that I feel is not talked about quite enough, is it really spending time with your team. One of the things I've always prioritized is really feeling like my team is sort of part of my inner network of friends, right? Like the people that I work closest to are some of the closest people in my life, and sure that has backfired a time or two, but the reality of what works is worth an occasional burn.

[00:40:11]Spending time with my team and really caring about who they are and what they want and all of these things, I absolutely contribute to my own ability to grow businesses that keep take team members for years and years, and years and years. Not everyone stays not everyone is for me, unfortunately, and I'm not for everyone.

[00:40:32]But those who stay are people that I'm close with. And I definitely find that building those sorts of relationships within my organizations is what makes my organizations so strong. I also can not recommend enough connecting with your customers doing business in the online world. We oftentimes forget that our customers are real people, or even recently I was in it.

[00:40:54] I think I was in a Monday meetup of the Being Boss Community, which is a whole like connecting and investing in relationships situation there. But someone was asking like how it is that they, they know what their dream customer wants. And there were lots of, there were lots of like little inputs of like, Oh, you should like check out your Google analytics.

[00:41:12] You should, you know, see who they're following on social media, blah, all the things, all the things. And I was, it's a raise my hand and I was like, how about you talk to them? I thought you shoot some of the, my emails, shoot your best customers. Pick four of your best customers who has either spent the most money with you and, or has come back the most amount of times and shoot them an email and see if they'd be interested to have a 30 minute chat with you  and then get to know them, connect with them, chat with them, find out what they want, find out what they like.

[00:41:44]And otherwise get to know them ask them all the questions that you want to know the answers to. You don't have to keep your customers at arms length. In fact, you should really keep them as close to you as you possibly can. So connect to your customers. It also makes them feel super special and they'll go tell even more people about you.

[00:42:03] They become amazing word of market, word of mouth, that marketing engines for you. So connect with your customers. And there are lots of reasons why you should be doing this both from actually spending time with your team. Actually, didn't talk about my third one, really spending time with your team, connecting with your customers, but also building your network of peers.

[00:42:26]I love that I have a vast network of friends. I often say that's my favorite part of this job of owning being boss of doing this work is that I have built for myself an amazing network of peers. So many people, if you want a photographer, I know 18. If you need a graphic designer, I know 47 of those. Um, And if you need someone who lives in this place, know her, whatever it may be.

[00:42:50] It is my favorite thing that comes out of this work, but it'll also say it's really saved my ass a couple of times to whenever the Being Boss Conference had to pivot from being in New Orleans, to going online, right as the pandemic hit. I was blessed with the fact that everyone who was coming to speak, speak at that conference because it was my first one.

[00:43:10] I was like, how about we like reach out to my most immediate friends? Cause I have so many very talented and expert friends. Um, one of my saving graces was that everyone was my friend who was supposed to be speaking at, who did speak at that conference. And so not only were they totally cool with the pivot, but they helped.

[00:43:29] They showed up to help. I had, you know, one of the speakers was like, I've done multiple online conferences before let's have a chat and figure out how you're going to do this. One was like, I know someone who can help you with this thing, let me put you in touch with them so that you don't have to worry about this.

[00:43:42] They all came together to help make that very fast pivot of that event a complete and utter success. And that's just one example of many times in my life when I've been able to tap that peer group to get what I need. And of course it's reciprocal, right? They can come to me anytime they want. And I know 47 graphic designers if they need one, I know 18 photographers if they need one. It is the support system that I think is required to build the kind of business that I know I'm building and you need one too, maybe it doesn't need to be as vast, but everyone does. And here's a couple of examples why. One is that you can stay so up-to-date on all of the things. Online business, especially, but business in general goes quickly.

[00:44:33] There are new pieces of software. There is new legislation. There is new, you know, standards for doing things, whatever it may be. And you can't stay up to date on all of those things. What you can do is schedule some coffee dates with friends and allow them to tell you everything it is that they know. I will never forget, a couple of years ago, sitting down for lunch with Autumn Witt Boyd who has been on the podcast a couple of times, she's a lawyer for creatives, um, for online business owners. She's my lawyer at Being Boss and is also a really dear friend of mine. She lives in Chattanooga with me and we occasionally get together for lunch.

[00:45:13] We were meeting for lunch a couple of years ago, we sit down  and she was like, so are you ready for GDPR? And I was like, Come again. And she's like GDPR, you know, it goes into effect like next week. And I was like, what are you talking about? And she then sat down and told me everything I needed to know about GDPR, if not for that connection, I could have been, you know, sued by the European union.

[00:45:37] That's not necessarily how that works. I would have figured it out, but having someone who was so knowledgeable just there and ready to help was amazing or I'll bring up Tara McMullin again. When I was recently recording the episode that I did with her, for the Being Boss Podcast. Afterwards, we were talking about podcast production because we both have a podcast.

[00:45:57] She also runs a podcast production agency, and I was lamenting about recording solo episodes. Honestly, I was like, it's so much different. It's kind of difficult. I don't know if I'm going to do a lot of them, but I blah, blah, blah. And she was like, Oh my goodness. I just found this tool that you definitely have to use.

[00:46:16] It's called Descript and Descript is not a sponsor here, but guys, I absolutely love you. So if you'd like to come up with an arrangement, you let me know. And so I go check out Descript and guys that has changed my life. Right? So finding the information that I need, getting tools, suggestions that I need to make my business run better is one of the amazing benefits of having a, not even an extensive network, a just network of peers that can help you move along that much more quickly in your business.

[00:46:51]So connect and invest in your relationships. I will do a little shameless plug here that the Being Boss Community is an amazing place to do that. We have bosses who are connecting and talking about all kinds of things all the time. I was recently playing with one of my, uh, with my like photo editing app on my phone and one of my favorite features just disappeared. And so I get into the Community. I'm like, guys, my favorite feature just disappeared. What do you use to edit photos on your phone? And I got like eight suggestions right then and there of all these great apps and because they're bosses, they always go above and beyond and they tell me all their things favorite things about them.

[00:47:29] So the Being Boss Community has really become, um, become an amazing network of creative business bosses who have each other's backs when it comes to getting advice, uh, getting recommendations, finding the help that you need. Um, I think that any successful CEO is definitely not doing it by themselves.

[00:47:47] And it's not just having one or two or even three close people. It is really having a network of people at your fingertips to assist you in doing whatever it is that you need to do. You do not have to do this alone and every successful CEO, I think knows that. So those are my seven habits don't leave yet because I have a very important mindset shift that I need to tell you about because this will make or break the creative for sure.

[00:48:14] But I do want to recap. So my seven habits for being a successful CEO, number one, make plans and projections, and you should be looking at the daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually, all the time, all the time. It's what keeps you checking in and moving forward, also know your numbers. Number three, get rid of distractions.

[00:48:41] Number four, prioritize your tasks. Make sure you're working on what needs to really be worked on. Number five, schedule and respect your non-negotiables. Number six, invest in yourself. And number seven, connect and invest in relationships. Now I want to bring up this bonus mindset shift because. I can say all of those things, but if you don't want to do them, there's nothing I can do to help you.

[00:49:06] So I want to make you want to do them. I know that creatives, especially sometimes struggle with being the business owner. That's literally why I'm here. That's why I've been doing this work for so long. I see creatives struggle with being business owners, but here's my little mindset shift for you. See your CEO time as your highest creative work. I'm going to repeat. See your CEO time as your highest creative work.

[00:49:39] I know that as the CEO, when you're looking at spreadsheets and knowing your numbers and having coffee chats with friends, all of those things. I know that that's not the same as painting a masterpiece or writing your next great novel, but what you are doing when you are being the CEO is you are creating the container that allows you to do all of that and make a living off of it.

[00:50:03] Being a CEO, creating a business is doing creative work. So gather your tools, learn your trade, practice, your skills, just like you would any other creative endeavor. Personally, I see it as putting a puzzle together. Right? Where do these pieces fit together? What pieces don't belong? What pieces should I bring more of into it?

[00:50:29] The more you consider your CEO time as a creative practice, the more the creative, and you will be excited about putting on your CEO hat. So think about that. And I hope that like helps you shift some things. I definitely see. I definitely see. And this is why I love it so much because I am a creative guys.

[00:50:51] I may be, you're talking about business, but. I want to live a beautiful life, right? I'm an interior designer. I'm a graphic designer. I'm an artist. I am a chef, right. I'm creating, I'm constantly creating. I've so much creative energy in me all the time. And for me personally, I see some of my highest grade of work on me, obviously there's parenting. So like that's an ob, but. My role as a CEO is some of the most creative work that I do now. I hope you feel inspired to embrace being the CEO of your business, of really setting aside the time to make those big picture goals and adopting the daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly habits that will go into making your goals a reality.

[00:51:46] Because retouching on that vision consistently is what consistently moves you down the path towards the realization of that vision. And if you would like some help in doing this, I encourage you to check out CEO day kit. CEO Day Kit was built to help creatives. Like you get a grasp of your business by giving you the tools and guidance to plan out an entire year of your business in just one day.

[00:52:16]You will embark on seven steps, gaining access to videos and worksheets that will facilitate your first and every CEO day. So it's not usually you don't just do it once and you're done. You can use this kit every single year. And a lot of these worksheets, you can pull out every quarter. And some of them, I just keep in my notebook and I will pull them out just whenever I need them.

[00:52:39] And they work no matter what kind of business you are in or how long you've been at it from baby bosses, just taking on their first clients to seven figure retail and product businesses. Bosses of all kinds have gained clarity and a clear path forward with CEO day kit.

[00:52:57] You can learn more and join in by going to being boss.club/ceo. And with that go dust off that CEO hat boss at the time of releasing this, it is the beginning of 2021. It is time to put on your hat and make your vision moving forward. So until next time 

[00:53:19] Do the work. Be boss.