Business

Ep 123. What to Do During Your CEO Day

I'm Ashley!

My mission at The Purpose Gathering is to help driven momtogs like you level up, so you can build a sustainable business AND a fulfilling family life. I do that through authentic brand photography for mompreneurs and my signature program for mom photographers: Side Hustler to CEO.

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Imagine what it would feel like if you sat down each day to work, knowing exactly what you needed to work on, and felt confident.

That the work that you were doing was worth your time and driving the needle forward in your business. It wasn’t just a bunch of busy work tasks that you could check off and call a productive day. Now, if you’re new to embracing this concept of owning your role as the CEO in your photography business, today’s blog is going to be really helpful for you. I’ll be sharing what a CEO Day is, why you need one, and the four things that I recommend you do during each CEO Day.

Before we go further, I wanted to give you a question to ponder. Essentially what I want you to walk away with today is I want you to understand the importance of a CEO Day. I want you to take action and create a time block in your week that you’re going to use for the CEO Day and I want you to walk away with a very clear system of what you should be doing during your CEO Day.

So, the question that I want you to consider is, do you have set aside time in your schedule for CEO time? If not, when are you going to make this happen? I want you to be thinking about that question as we’re going through this today. Because by the end, I want you to be so pumped up and fired up to make sure that this is a standing appointment on your schedule. So, let’s do this!

What is a CEO Day & why is it Important?

Have you ever sat down and really thought through, what is my plan for my business? What are my income goals? How many sessions per month do I need? What is my cost of doing business? How do I know if my sessions are profitable?

All these questions are things that a CEO would think about and so, you must have time where you spend intentionally focused on these things for your business to grow. If you’re only working on client fulfillment, shooting, editing, repeat, it’s no wonder that you are feeling overwhelmed because you don’t have time to think about the bigger picture. When I say the word CEO Day, you can use it interchangeably or just think about it as a CEO time block. I’m not spending an entire day, I’m spending a time block, and I recommend about two hours a week, and if you can do more, that’s great! You’re going to use a CEO Day to think of the future of your business and not work on any client fulfillment in this time block.

I will say that the key to success with the CEO Day strategy is that you must preschedule it, or it won’t happen. I recommend that you do this at the beginning of each quarter. So right now, if you’re reading this in real time or pretty close to it, it’s the beginning of 2023. It’s the first week in January and so this is the perfect time to do this. Whenever you’re reading this, even if it’s later in the year, start today. Plan for your next month, and think through when you are going to do the CEO days. For me, every Saturday or Sunday I have time in my calendar to work on the CEO tasks that I’m about to share with you.

My husband works, Monday through Friday and every fourth Saturday, so I must be strategic about when I schedule this. So, when he works on Saturday, I’ll do it on Sunday, but for the most part, it’s on Saturday. What I do is I go through the quarter from January, February and March and I will slot each CEO Day on the calendar. Now, three weeks out of the month, I do a two-hour CEO block, and one day out of the month I do a four-hour CEO block. On that week that I do the four-hour CEO block, I pre-plan the next month’s action plan.

So, every week, I have two hours to plan for the next week and do various tasks. On the second or third week of the month is typically when I plan out the next month. So, I’ll give myself extra time and then at the beginning of every quarter, about two to three weeks before that quarter starts, I will plan for the next quarter and I give myself four to six hours for that quarterly planning to help me get really focused on any systems I need in place. But just to reiterate this and hit this point home, if you fail to do this first step, it won’t be as successful. So, you need to preschedule all your CEO time, make sure that you have a babysitter lined up for this. I absolutely recommend if you can keep it on the same day and the same time, just so that you can start to get into a pattern and your family can also start to recognize this too.

4 Things to Do During Each CEO Day

I’m going to walk you through four things that I recommend you should be doing during each of these work blocks.

1. Reflect

I want you to think back on your previous week and take time to celebrate what you accomplished. So often we get wrapped up in focusing on all the things we didn’t do and the things that we didn’t get to do and the fact that we’re so behind. We play this script over and over in our heads that keeps telling us like, I’m always behind, I’ll never catch up. What happens is when we give ourselves those negative narratives, they become our reality. What we focus on is what happens and we don’t want that. Nobody wants to feel like we’re always drowning in our to do list. And so, I really think it’s important that you start your CEO Day reflecting and celebrating what you did accomplish.

Capacity Check

As you reflect, I want you to do a capacity check and ask yourself these questions:

-How did I feel energetically last week?

-What do I want to maintain or change moving forward

-Where do I need support?

I feel like these three questions in this capacity check are huge and key to avoiding burnout, and really checking the mom guilt because I know how hard it is to run a business and raise a family at the same time. I think it’s important also moving forward when you are making decisions and you are scheduling sessions or personal items or whatever you are putting on your calendar at that moment, begin to train yourself to ask this question: How will my future self feel? When I started asking myself that question before I started scheduling things, everything changed for me, because I put myself in that actual moment and I pulled up how I would feel knowing what else I already had planned. This is important because just because you’re available, doesn’t mean that you should book something. So check in with your future self.

Brain Dump

The final thing I want you to do in this reflect stage is to brain dump all of your to do list. Anything that’s swirling around in your head that you’re thinking about, that you’re struggling with that you are worried about, write it down. Brain dump all of your to dos.

2. Planning Ahead

It’s important that you think ahead about your ideal week. It’s so important that you know the blocks of time that you’re going to be working, but then you also know the blocks of time that you’re going to be with your family, and how are you going to take care of all of the adult tasks that you have to do. During the planning time, you’re going to refer to your quarter action plan. You’re going to take a look at what you’ve already mapped out and decided as your big picture goals for that quarter and then you’re going to start to assign and delegate tasks for the week.

If you’re new to quarterly planning or you just want a refresh on action steps for how to create your own, you can head to Episode 120 about quarterly planning. This will give you sort of the outline of what you need to do. After listening to that episode, if it’s still overwhelming and you need someone to guide you and walk you step by step, I offer deep dive strategy sessions where we go through this exact planning process. Sometimes it’s hard when you are so close to your business, to think about the goals and even forecast and dream. You’re just so in the weeds of doing all the things, that you just have a really hard time seeing past that.

During these planning sessions, I help you create your ideal week and we create it together in a Google Doc. I help you brainstorm and clarify all your goals, so if you’re lacking the vision, or you just need help with what to focus on, I’m totally there every step to help you organize your thoughts and prioritize your what is most important to ignite massive growth in your business. We then break down all those goals into sub tasks, into checkoffable goals and then finally, we map out your entire quarter. Creating a week-by-week action plan, so that you are set up for success. If you’re interested in learning more about those sessions, you can head to thepurposegathering.com/deepdive.

3.Track

The third thing I want you to focus on during your CEO Day is to track. Think about what you want to grow and I want you to keep track of those numbers. For instance, if you are working on growing your email list, you need to keep track of those numbers. Taking this a step further, you need to create a plan for how you’re going to continue to grow these numbers because just tracking numbers is not going to make your numbers grow. It’s going to help you see the growth, but you have to have a plan in action in order to ignite this growth.

Think about what you want to grow. If you want to grow your income, keep track of your income numbers. Do you want to grow your visibility? Do you want to grow your relationship with complementary vendors? I also encourage you to keep a good record of your books. If you don’t have a bookkeeper or accounting software, or even if you do have an accounting software, you’re going to need to update your books. You need to reconcile what expense categories you have and keep track of where your income came from.

4. Getting Strategic

Finally, the last thing that you’re going to be focusing on and this is going to be the bulk of your time spent in your CEO Day is getting strategic. Your CEO time is the perfect place to figure out what systems you need to have in place. If you don’t have an income plan yet, get your income plan together. Figuring out how much income you want to make, and how many sessions you need to book. Consider whether you have a marketing plan and how are you going to complete this plan. I totally recommend not starting fresh each month with a marketing plan. Have a rinse and repeat marketing plan that you can just add new content to. The simpler that you can make this, the more consistent you will be with this.

Think about your email plan: How many emails are you going to send? How many blog posts are you going to put out per month? How many posts on Instagram? How many times are you going to show up on your stories? Think about any launches that you have coming up and map out those launches. I think as photographers we sometimes think that launches are only for people that have like courses and online programs, but you can launch your sessions like online educators do. A launch is just a big boost of marketing for a certain product and gathering excitement around a certain product. So, I think it’s really important not to leave out the idea of a launch for a product or a service that you have.

ACTION STEPS:

I know I just threw a lot of information at you. I want you to be thinking about your CEO Day and maybe this first step for you is just plotting it out or showing up with a piece of paper and going through some of these questions. Remember these 4 things as you start your own process:

  • 1. Reflect
  • 2. Plan Ahead
  • 3. Track
  • 4. Getting Strategic

I know this is a lot to think about, so, pick out a few things that really stood out and applies to your business and focus on this now. I don’t want you to just read this blog and let it just go in one ear and out the other. I want you to read this until you understand it. I want you to put it into practice, take that first step and just answer the question, do I have CEO time set aside and if not, when am I going to do it? I want you to answer this question over in our Facebook group called The Purpose Gathering Mamas. If you want to jump there now, it’s thepurposegathering.com/mamas.

I would love for you to answer that question. I want to help hold you accountable to at least show up for this CEO Day. Even if the first thing you do is just reflect, even if all you do is write down a brain dump of all the things that you need to do and start to organize and assign them. If you want someone to come alongside you, to hop in your business, and really help you do the legwork, I’m here for you. If you’re interested, scroll down for the link for those deep dive sessions. I only offer two of these 90-minute sessions per month. They’re very intensive and we get into your business and you get exactly the step-by-step plan that you need.

Taking this step towards being the CEO in your photography business changes everything. This changes the trajectory of your business, if only you make the time to sit down, be the CEO, plan ahead and get strategic. Once you get a handle on this, everything else will feel like it’s more in its place because you’ve had time to pre-think about it. Please don’t discount this and say, maybe when I’m further along in my business or maybe when I’m making a little bit more revenue, this makes sense. This is something that I recommend every business owner does from the day that they decide to accept payment and become a photographer.

As always, Mama, I am here rooting for you, and you are not alone on this journey.

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My mission is to help fellow momtogs (mama photographers!) experience success in business and in motherhood. As an Arizona brand photographer for mompreneurs, I’m passionate about capturing authentic images that show off my clients’ unique personalities so they can connect with their ideal clients. And as an online business coach for momtogs, I LIVE for helping mamas experience incredible transformations that help them build a business they love, without sacrificing their precious time with their littles.

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