As a CEO, you’ve got many potential distractions in your business. Answering emails or other ongoing administrative work can keep your attention off the tasks that’ll actually move your company forward. Then by the end of the week, you’ve made little (if any) progress on the tasks that do drive business growth and success. In this episode, I talk about how you can run your week as a CEO with five top strategies that help you skillfully manage your time and energy while prioritizing those higher-value tasks that move the needle.
On this episode of Promote Yourself to CEO:
5:01 – What is a model calendar, and how do you use one? I talk about how I created my model calendar and really dig into the details of how I use it now.
21:57 – If you have other people on your team, here’s something else you should consider doing to protect your time and energy.
26:33 – What’s the second most important strategy to run your week like a CEO? I do this for my business every Monday morning.
39:46 – I’m pretty ruthless when I implement the third strategy. And it certainly helps with client appointments and business boundaries when I do this.
41:37 – I often get asked why I included these couple of questions in The CEO Planner. What are they, and why did I?
45:03 – The CEO Score comes in handy when it comes to sticking to the weekly plan you just mapped out. Here’s a breakdown of what it’s all about.
57:26 – The last strategy is built right into the planner as this series of questions so you can make better decisions and nip any recurring problems in the bud.
1:02:58 – To wrap up, I quickly recap all five top things to do to run your week like a CEO.
- The CEO Collective
- The CEO Planner
- Fired Up & Focused Challenge
- “How a model calendar helps me work just 25 hours a week!”
- “What Is Your Role as CEO?”
- CEO Date Checklist
- “How to Track Your Productivity With an Entrepreneur Scorecard”
- Racheal on Instagram and TikTok
- Rate and review on Apple Podcasts
Running your business like a CEO requires strategy. It requires having a plan. It also requires skillfully managing your time and energy each and every week as a CEO, so that you are putting your attention on the CEO-level tasks that are actually going to move your business forward. But I know we can get stuck because we all know that the inbox, the admin, and the busy work, the day-to-day in our business can overtake everything and can become a big distraction.
Then at the end of the week, we realize we have not made progress towards those big rocks, those highest priority tasks that are going to move our business forward. In this episode, we're talking about how you can run your week like a CEO and make those higher-valued CEO-level tasks of priority.
Are you ready to grow from stressed-out solopreneur to competent CEO? You're in the right place. I'm your host, Racheal Cook, and I've spent more than 15 years helping women entrepreneurs sustainably scale their businesses. If you're serious about building a sustainable business, it's time to put the strategy, systems, and support in place to make it happen. Join me each week for candid conversations about stepping into your role as CEO, the hard lessons learned along the way, and practical profitable strategies to grow a sustainable business without the hustle and burnout.
Hey there, CEO. Welcome back to the third installment in the Run Your Business Like a CEO Series. So far in this series, we have talked a little bit more on the big-picture side of things. We talked about, how do we plan our quarter? How do we make sure at the beginning of each month, we're staying on top of that plan, we're actually following through, and adapting and adjusting the plan as needed?
Well, now I want to talk more about what we're going to do each and every week. Because it's not just about the planning, it's about making sure that we have the systems in place that allow us to truly follow through on that plan and stay consistent in our implementation. This is a massive part of the work that we do inside of The CEO Collective is we're helping women entrepreneurs to put this 90 Day CEO operating system in place in their business.
It's also a big part of why we have The CEO Planner. You have heard me talk about the planner in the last couple of episodes. I'm telling you the clients that work with it, that use it every single week see massive results. The biggest reason is the things we're going to talk about today that are built into the planner itself. These are the five accountability strategies that really help you to become masterful at implementation, masterful at managing your time and your energy, masterful at putting the first things first, putting the big rocks in your business, the things that are truly going to move the needle for you on your calendar instead of defaulting to what everyone else is reaching out for you to do.
You may have heard me talk about this last couple of episodes and I want to make sure I'm letting you know before we dive into these five key things to run your week like a CEO, we are running a giveaway for the month of January for a full year of CEO Planners. That is four 90-Day Planners and all you need to do to enter this giveaway is go over to Apple Podcasts, leave a rating and review during the month of January, take a photo of it, share it on Instagram, tag me @racheal.cook.
In the first week of February, we will take all those ratings and reviews and we will select randomly for someone to get a full box, a full year of the 90-Day CEO Planner. If this is helpful to you and you want an opportunity to get The CEO Planner, we'd love you to enter. If you just want to go over to theceocollective.com and grab one now, they are ready and ship on demand. We would love you to get one in your hands. It's one of the things I'm the proudest of because it truly is a simple tool that makes a massive impact.
Let's talk about the five key things to running your week like a CEO. These may be things that you have heard me talk about, I have a lot of trainings and episodes on these tools. I will link up additional resources in the show notes. I'm also sharing some updates and things that I'm learning using these tools as my business has continued to grow and as I am stepping even more into my own self-leadership.
Now the first thing I make sure that I have each and every week in front of me is my model calendar. I have talked a lot about my model calendar approach. We talked about this in the Fired Up & Focused Challenge, we have talked about this on the podcast before so I can link up all of those things in the show notes for you. But what a model calendar is essentially time-blocking. It is using blocking out sections of time on my calendar every single week to focus on specific types of tasks.
I create my model calendar. I plan it out so each and every week is pretty consistent. I'm constantly looking at it. I'm reviewing it, I'm updating it because things change, your life is going to change, your circumstances are going to change. As you are going through the process of creating a calendar, if you feel like, “I can't follow a model calendar, I can't do this. It doesn't work for me,” sometimes you need to review it, edit it, and update it so that it actually fits your life better.
Here's how I use my model calendar, a few things I'm putting in my model calendar. Once I figured out what my working hours are going to be, that's where I start is what are the hours I'm working? You all have heard me say I believe in life before business. I plan my working hours around my family. I plan it around my self-care. I plan it around making time for relationships or other things that I need in my life, my health, my wellness, my doctor's appointments, all of those types of things. I'm keeping that in mind, and then I have very clear working hours that I outline in my calendar.
Creating this container for myself, I have to say, has saved me so much frustration over years and years of running my business. I was not the type of mom who when I had babies at home and I was working from home could work during nap time. That never worked for me. I learned early on that I needed a clear container. I could not be present for everyone if I was trying to do it without some container around my time.
So I created a model calendar and decided early on that I would work from 9:00 to about 2:30. Now I will say some days I change a little bit here. Some days, if I am completed with what I needed to get done that day, I will leave early. I will wrap it up. I generally do not work on Fridays. I used to every single Friday or I do like a half day.
But sometimes I just don't want to work. I want to take that day off. This is really helpful because planning the schedule makes sure that I have Friday as my day for me to take care of myself. I'll usually book any appointments I have like a massage, a float, chiropractic, or acupuncture and I'm able to do those things while my kids are at school. It's nice to have that.
I find that going ahead and blocking out your working hours just gives you a container around your time. Especially if you're working from home, it helps put some boundaries in place between work and business, which I just think is so important. Now if you've heard the episode that I recorded about your role as CEO, I'll link it up in the show notes, that is the next step in my model calendar.
I want to look at my calendar and then block in time in my calendar for the most important tasks that I'm responsible for in my business. I have my role as CEO, I have my job description. I know exactly what I'm responsible for. I have my 90-day plan. I use this to help me block out times each and every week in my model calendar. The first thing I'm doing is blocking out time for my CEO work. That means having my weekly CEO Date.
I'll talk more about the CEO Date in just a second but this is the hour I start my week with where I'm actually checking in on my plan. I'm checking in on my business. I’m checking in on everyone on the team, adapting and adjusting the plan every single week because, of course, things are going to come up. Sometimes somebody didn't get something done in time, so you can't pass it off to the next person, and then it slows down the whole workflow. Sometimes I realize I need to change what I thought I was going to be doing that week. Sometimes I realize I need to free up more bandwidth for myself or someone on the team.
These CEO Dates happen first thing Monday morning for me and they help me to proactively make changes before anything escalates to an emergency situation. My whole goal, if you can't tell from this series, is to avoid running my business in crisis mode, to avoid getting to the point of being in an emergency. I want to always be proactive and intentional. This is the key to running a calm, easy-to-run business.
I have my weekly CEO Date. Then I have an appointment on the model calendar to check in with my team. Monday, my whole block for Monday is CEO Date, check in with my team, then I leave time in the afternoon for any other big-picture strategy, CEO development that I am working on. I'll just leave a block in Monday afternoons for what I just call CEO work. If there's something I'm working on to strengthen my skill set, maybe there's a training I'm doing, maybe there's a book I'm reading, that is where it goes is on Monday afternoons.
You could look at this as blocking out a couple of hours for your CEO time, for your CEO Dates, for your team, any CEO development. You could just call this a theme day if you didn't want to have it in appointment slots on your model calendar. But I do find that this helps to make sure every single week, you're prioritizing that level work; the strategy, the planning, the team management.
The next thing that I'm responsible for in my business is my clients. Now, I no longer do all of the client work on my own. I don't do all the delivery of our offers on my own. The way my business is structured, my team helps with a significant portion of the delivery. It has taken years to get to this point. We spent years building out all of the assets that we have available to deliver to our clients whether they are buying a CEO Planner, joining us for a CEO Retreat, or joining us for The CEO Collective.
Over time, we've created all of the trainings, all of the systems, all the tools, all the teachings, we've created those assets. But there are still some client delivery things I am responsible for. I want to make sure that those times are already on my calendar again, so I'm managing my time and my energy. Making sure I have those clearly-defined times on my calendar really, really helps me, especially when I'm working with people and they're booking appointments with me, they're booking extra bonus calls, I'm checking in on one of my clients, or I have somebody who's working with me in another capacity.
I make sure that I have a really, really defined way that I'm managing my client calls because over the years, I have found that if I'm switching tasks too quickly or I'm going from one thing to another, my brain just doesn't work that way and it's like my brain gets overwhelmed if I try to go from a call with clients to talking to the team, to talking to my own coach, to trying to do an interview. It just gets overwhelming and my brain doesn't work optimally. Most of us don’t, we actually don't multitask very well. We single-task exceptionally well and this is where you can be very, very productive.
When I am managing my calendar, I like to batch like with like. I arranged my calendar in this way. I will have client-facing days. The way I structure this is very, very specific. This is, for people who are working with me one-on-one, top secret, I don't talk about or promote this. But honestly, yes, I often have one or two people who are working with me or I will have alumni or former clients who circle back and they want an hour of strategy with me. So I will keep these times on my client-facing days structured so that it's really easy for me to get in the flow.
I will have Tuesdays as my client-facing day. The way that I structure my calendar is that I will have a call at 9:00, a call at 10:30, a call at 12:00, and occasionally if I'm doing maybe a lot of bonus one-on-ones for members inside of The CEO Collective, I will open up a 1:30. If I'm really talking to a lot of people, whenever we are onboarding a new cohort in The CEO Collective, I have a bonus strategy call with each new member and also members when they renew for the year, they get another one-on-one call with me, so if I have a lot, I will also open up times on Thursdays so I have a 9:00 and a 10:30 on Thursdays.
I max out at six calls for the week. But honestly, usually, it's about three. You'll notice that I have these times very, very specifically. This is a lesson I had to learn the hard way. I've actually built out an entire calendar SOP (standard operating procedures) so that my team has a very, very clear understanding of what I need in order to manage my energy, to manage my focus when it comes to taking care of clients, and getting everybody scheduled.
It's so important if you, like me, are an introvert, a highly sensitive person, I have to say I do get overwhelmed if I am in output mode a lot. I've learned over trial and error that I need to schedule this clearly and specifically, 9:00, 10:30, 12:00, and 1:30 because it gives me a 30-minute buffer in between each of those calls. When I have that 30-minute buffer, it's not enough for me to start another task, it is enough for me to finish up any notes I had from that client and update my system so I can stay on top of that.
If I had a resource or something, I needed to follow up with them, I can do all of that in that 30 minutes and still have time to walk around a little bit, to get some water, to run across the street to Stella’s, and get a coffee. It really gives me just enough of a buffer to manage my energy between holding space for my clients. If you are someone like me who does need to protect your energy a lot, consider that, consider having really, really clear appointment times that are set in stone.
If you work with clients, when you have those times, book them in for the length of their contract. I will have clients, if they're coming to me one-on-one, I will let them know, “Here are the times I have available currently, what time works best for you? Let's go ahead and schedule you Tuesdays at nine o'clock for the entire length of the contract for working with me.” It saves so much bandwidth, it saves so much energy, it saves so much back and forth.
This really, really helps to prevent over-scheduling yourself. It helps with energy management, and I promise, in my own experience, anytime I have felt run down, tired, or depleted, it is usually because my calendar has gotten away from me because I have not been following my own model calendar because I tried to squeeze things in the buffer time when I really need to protect the buffer time.
But when I do have these constraints, I'm setting up my day to optimize my energy, then things work a lot better. That's really mostly Tuesdays are client days. Thursdays are client days for The CEO Collective. Like I said, if I have a lot of bonus calls for members, I will open up 9:00, a 10:30, and then I have my weekly strategy of support call for The CEO Collective. It's one of my favorite times during the week because I'm getting to go live with the members who need support. We're working through hot-seat style, exactly the challenges they're facing as they're implementing their 90-day plan. It's something I will never let go of because I absolutely love being able to have that face time with my clients and really dig into their businesses.
If I don't have bonus calls, then that time in the morning becomes content time for The CEO Collective. Because I'm always working on a new resource or a new training, a new playbook. I'm always listening to what our clients need and putting together something that will help them accelerate the implementation of their 90-day plan.
For example, I recently put together an entire playbook on raising your rates. If they need to raise their rates, if they know they need to increase their prices, we have a playbook that gives them “Here are some different ways to go about raising your rates. Here's how to announce it. Here's how to promote it. Here's how to use it as an opportunity to get an influx of clients who want to lock in the former rate.” I'll put all of those resources into one playbook for them. I do that work on Thursdays.
That's Tuesdays, Thursdays. Wednesdays are what I call my no-call day. This is so incredibly helpful for me. I generally have a lot of people, again, that want to book appointments with me. I am getting interviewed a lot. I average somewhere between 50 interviews, 60 interviews a year. It is a lot so I need to make sure that I have a day on my calendar where I'm not getting too distracted by other people's priorities, and that I can keep clear for creating my own content.
I have this podcast, I have social media content I'm creating, I have content for The CEO Collective, I have challenges I create, other live trainings I create. I need a day where I can do deep work. Wednesday is it. Wednesday is a day where I do not put anything on my calendar, no calls. It is all about content creation. As things come up, I know I can plug it into that day in the calendar.
I will also alternate weeks between client-facing weeks and non-client-facing weeks. What does that look like if I have an alternating model calendar? On a client-facing week, we'll call that week A, on week A, I'll have my CEO day on Monday. I'll have a client-facing day for any one-on-one clients on Tuesdays. Wednesdays are content day, then Thursdays are all related to The CEO Collective, and Friday is a flex day so often I'll take that off unless there's a project that needs my attention.
Then on the alternating nonclient-facing week, if I have no clients on the calendar that week, then Monday is still my CEO day, but Tuesday becomes another day where one, I can do other types of calls other than client calls, so often interviews, connections, networking, etc. That can happen on Tuesdays. Often honestly it becomes a content day though because I create just a tremendous amount of content for the podcast, for my clients, etc. That becomes Tuesdays and Wednesdays, output creation. Then Thursdays are still CEO Collective. I'll still have my strategy call that I host on Thursdays.
I find that structuring my calendar in this way helps me to manage my energy. It helps me to manage my energy. It helps me to make sure I'm not context-switching. Because each time you're shifting from one type of task to another type of task, it takes a while for your brain to catch up with you. It takes a while for everything to fall back into a place where you're 100% in the flow.
It's much easier to stay in the flow state and to stay highly productive when you are grouping like with like, so booking client calls one after the other, doing content creation all at one time. It's so much easier to get into the flow state and do deep work.
Now there are other things I do in my business other than my CEO day, my client-facing days, my content days, there are things behind the scenes I have to check in on like any entrepreneur. I check in on my team. Sometimes I'm building out a system for them or I'm reviewing what they're working on. Those things come up as they come up. I have to say because my team and my business are so process-oriented, we're so rinse and repeat, the systems are totally rocking and rolling, I don't have to spend a ton of time managing them. I don't have to spend a ton of time reviewing things.
In fact, Amber does a lot of that for me so that I can stay focused on the things that only I can do. This is huge for making sure I'm not overscheduling my calendar. But when we do have projects coming up, I give myself buffer time throughout the week, so that if there's something that I need to check in on, if there's a big project we're working on behind the scenes, I will have a couple of hours throughout the week or on my flex Friday, where I can go in and really deal with those things, knock those things out.
If you don't have a model calendar, if you've never created one, and you haven't created a calendar SOP for your team, it’s so important if you have other people managing your calendar too, I encourage you to make that a priority. Because this is key to protecting your time and your energy. In fact, I'm looking at my calendar, I'm looking at my SOP, and we break this down so specifically because there are multiple people who need to see what I'm doing.
My assistant needs to see what I'm doing. The people booking me for interviews need to see what I'm doing. The rest of the team, if they need to book a call with me, they need to know what my availability is and my preferences for how to meet with people. My existing clients need to know exactly when they can book in. If we don't have this crystal clear, that's when the chaos starts to happen.
In my SOP we break down so detailed how we manage the calendars inside of my business. We have specific Google Calendars we use. That's one thing I love about using Google for business, we use the G Suite, and you can create multiple calendars for different purposes. I'll have my example model calendar so everybody can see it. I'll have my client calendar, I'll have my personal calendar, and then I have The CEO Collective calendar. My assistant can have all of those calendars on and see exactly where they need to schedule things.
Whoever's booking my interviews can have those calendars on and they can see where they can book things. Each calendar has a slightly different purpose, but we break down the important notes and the boundaries for each calendar. I will have in my SOP, “Racheal's not available on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. Schedule appointments on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9:00, at 10:30, at 12:00, final appointment, 2:30.” There has to be a 30-minute buffer in between each appointment. Max appointments per day is four. Beyond that I am basically useless because I'm exhausted.
We have that broken down that specific. Are there times when I have to go outside of my preferences? Yes. I also include that information inside of the SOP. For example, scheduling interviews. Now I don't have as much control because I'm working with someone else's calendar. Sometimes they can't fit in the preferred day or time that I like to do interviews. I have very clearly an SOP like my first choice is to schedule these for Tuesdays or Thursdays.
My next choice is to schedule them for Wednesdays if I absolutely have to, and if there's nothing else available, they can't work Tuesday, Thursday, or Wednesday, if I have to do a Friday I will but it's really not my preference because honestly by that time, I'm ready to check out for the week.
Again, it helps my team advocate for me. It helps my team protect my energy. Remember you're the CEO so you have to protect the asset, that is you. The biggest asset in your business, the most valuable asset in your business, you have to protect your time and energy. That's the model calendar. It makes everything run so much more smoothly.
My second most important strategy to help you run your week like a CEO is your CEO Date. You heard me talk about this before, but your CEO Date is an appointment on your calendar with the CEO of your business. That's you. Mine is nine o'clock Monday mornings, and I use this as a time to check in on my business. There is an entire CEO Date Checklist available for free at theceocollective.com on the resources page. You can get to the show notes. That checklist is so helpful for helping you check in on what you need to be paying attention to in your business.
I find that if we're not checking in with our 90-day plan, if we're not checking in with our annual plan, if we don't have a system for feedback, if we don't have the system to adapt and adjust based on what is and isn't working, then it's really easy for your business to suddenly veer off course and oops, no, we're in panic mode again. We don't want to let this happen.
You're hearing me talk a lot in this series about the importance of building these feedback loops into your business. It's all about being proactive and looking for the challenges before they become emergencies. When we're checking in the CEO Date Checklist, everything becomes much easier. You'll be able to be more proactive, you'll be able to respond instead of react, you'll be able to adapt and adjust your plan before it becomes an issue, and you'll be able to manage your time better because now you're starting your week knowing that if something needs to shift, you can go ahead and proactively make those changes for the rest of the week.
If you're realizing something needs to get done, you can move a less-important task back and put the more-important task front and center in your business. You can go download the checklist. It'll walk you through everything I do in there. It's built into The CEO Planner. Again, shameless plug, if you don't have The CEO Planner, go ahead and grab one because it's the first thing we start with in our weekly spread is a CEO Date.
I go through and make notes on my CEO Date every single week in my planner. The first thing I do is I review my metrics. Now as I mentioned before, I'm not someone who tracks every single metric in the world. I'm doing a more in-depth metric review on a more monthly basis because I'm not chasing trends. I'm trying to just keep my finger on the pulse of my business. But during my weekly CEO Date, I check in on two key metrics. I'm checking in on my lagging metric and my leading metric.
My lagging metric is my revenue. How are we with revenue so far, month to date, and year to date? Beginning of every single week, I ask myself those questions. I'm checking in on revenue to date this month. I'm checking in on recurring revenue this month. I'm checking on what revenue should also be coming in, anything else scheduled so if we have payment plans or what have you. I'm looking to see if there's a gap between what's already booked to come in and the goal that we have set. I'm just keeping tabs on this so I can be proactive if I need to do something else in order to make up revenue.
If I need to personally reach out and add some high-touch sales strategies, this is where I can make those decisions. I don't wait until the end of the month to realize that I didn't hit my revenue goal. I can tell pretty much through looking at the month and when money is expected to come in whether or not we're going to be on track. Proactive truly is the key here because I know I have my list of ways I can bring revenue in. If I know I'm low, I know exactly what I need to do and it's usually being more high touch.
Then I'm also looking at my leading metric. Your leading metric predicts your lagging metric. Revenue, you only can see once it's happened, but there are things in my business that I can use as an indicator of whether or not we are on track to hit that revenue goal. Now in my business, it is email list subscribers. I know we primarily sell via email, that's a primary way that we reach people. I can track how many people are joining the email list or engaging with my email list. If we're sending out sales emails, I can look at how many are opening them and clicking through, how many are looking at the sales page.
This information is so valuable because again I can tell quickly, are we getting enough people to look at a sales page because they're clicking through emails? Are we getting enough people to apply for The CEO Collective before they hit the sales page? Are we getting enough people to learn about The CEO Collective because they join the waitlist? I'm tracking all of those things. As you track these numbers over time, you see the patterns and as you see the patterns, you get clarity on the range you need in each of the different stages of your sales process so you can more accurately predict your results.
There's a lot of power in that. There's a lot of freedom in that understanding how this works in your business. For each stage, if I'm going, “Okay, that seems a little low. It seems like we don't have very many applications this month or it seems like not many people are going through to check out the sales page,” okay, well, then I can see if there's something I need to do to tweak, to correct. Do I need to resend an email? Do I need to try a different headline? Do I need to personally start reaching out? I know that I can go in there and make a difference when I'm clear about what's going on. These are things you learn over time as you're tracking data and as you start to see what drives results for your business.
Now for you maybe you don't sell via email in the way that I do in my business, that's fine. There are a million ways you can sell things in your business. Let's say you are a referral-based business, you primarily are getting new clients through referrals. You might be tracking how many referrals do you get into your business each and every week. Do you track that? Do you pay attention to how many people are referring people to you? If you aren't, I encourage you to start doing that. Because if you don't know, then it's really hard to come up with a referral strategy.
If you're not getting enough, if you don't know how many referrals you need to get in order to acquire a client, then you can't create a full strategy where you can say, “How do I get more referrals? Do I need to talk to some people? Do I need to proactively reach out to my top referrers? Do I need to come up with some referral program? Do I need to have something else going on to boost referrals? Do I just need to reach out and tell my key referral partners that I have availability?” You want to be clear about what your business needs, what the numbers are, and what your leading metric is so that you can now build out your tools to help you maintain that flow of new potential clients.
Once I go through that, lagging metric, revenue, leading metric, how those new clients are coming your way, then I start planning my week ahead. I'll start with my top three for the week. This is really important because when everything is a priority, nothing is a priority. We have to look at the week ahead and say, “What are the top three most important things that I am responsible for?” These are the things that must get done. Not the nice to get done, not the I wish I had time for this, and certainly not the shiny-object distraction things.
These are the big things that move your business forward. This is coming from your 90-day plan. When I look at what's on my to-do list for the week, and I write out clearly what I need to get done, I make time on my CEO Date, going through my plan, looking at my top three, I plug it into my calendar. If there's not already a block of time for me to accomplish those things, I'm adding it to my calendar like an appointment. If it's not in the calendar, it doesn't exist.
This is something I've learned. You have to really, really leverage your calendar and use it as a tool for self-accountability. That means when you schedule these types of appointments to get the most important work done, you treat it just as seriously as you would a client appointment. That makes all the difference. You have to purposely make time for it. Otherwise, you end up letting other things fill up your week and you get to the end of the week and you're like, “I did all the stuff. I'm so tired. I was so busy and I didn't get the most important things done.” We're going to do the most important things first and let everything else fill in around it.
Then I'm going to go through and check in on my marketing system. You've heard me talk about this. How are you attracting new clients? How are you engaging new clients? How are you nurturing new clients? How are you inviting new clients and how are you delighting your clients? I'm asking myself this every single week in my CEO Date. There's also a page inside of the planner where it's reiterated. It's reiterated everywhere. You hear me talk about it over and over and over again because the minute you stop one of those five things, then you lose momentum. It's like you just pump the brakes in your business.
I want to make sure that those things are always running smoothly and that they're always humming right along in my business. I want to make sure that we are actively doing something in each of these categories. Now, to be honest, when your business is running like a well-oiled machine, when it is running like clockwork, these answers will probably be the same week after week after week, and that is great. You are not supposed to change your strategies all the time. You're supposed to commit to them.
If your Attract strategy is podcast interviews, and you're looking at what you're doing for Attract this week, you'd be looking like “Do I have podcast interviews booked this week? If not, I'm going to be reaching out and booking those podcast interviews.” Maybe you're running ads. Are the ads running this week? I'm going to check in and see how that's doing. Are they getting the results we need? Whatever that Attract strategy is, you're checking in and making sure that that is happening this week so you're not taking your foot off the gas for that.
We want to make sure that we're keeping those systems running and not creating new ways of doing all these things. We want to go deep into one Attract strategy, one Engage strategy, one Nurture strategy, one Invite, and then one Delight or customer experience strategy, and get those going until they're just running so smoothly that you now have the bandwidth to layer on another one if you need to.
We're tracking this each and every week. I am asking myself, “How am I doing each of these things?” If I'm focused on podcast interviews, again, I'm looking to see “Am I booked for this week? Am I on track for my goal of four to five for the month? Do I need to do anything? Do I need to reach out?” to make sure I'm getting those. The interviews I do, I'm generally sending to a free resource. Then I'm going, “Are people going from interviews that have gone live to downloading the Business Growth Checklist, the CEO Date Checklist, or the Get Paid Calculator?”
I'm tracking how many people are opting in from those. I'm tracking the performance of all those different free resources that we have. Then I'm tracking and looking at we're nurturing our existing audience and these are the people that, again, they're in the audience, they have not purchased yet. But they're getting my podcasts. They're on the newsletter list. We often send out special emails and offers just to our most-engaged subscribers, I will actually reach out and connect with people on an individual basis when I can tell they're super engaged in following along with everything that I'm sharing. I'm asking myself, “What else do I need to do to nurture these potential clients this week?”
How are we inviting new potential clients? Every month, there's a way that you can work with us. You can apply for The CEO Collective. You can learn about the upcoming CEO Retreat. I'm always paying attention to what am I doing to get ready for the next enrollment cycle. Then delighting clients, how am I doing it this week? Often, it's my weekly call. I'm making sure that's the part I'm responsible for. There are a lot of other parts of the business that are happening. But sometimes we have clients who just had a baby and so we'll send out a little gift or sometimes we're getting ready for the holidays, and we'll send out something.
That's the thing that I'm thinking about every single week I'm checking in and I love being able to send little surprises or putting these little personal touches. I'm really excited about all of those things because it helps, again, ensure this system is running smoothly. It's a flywheel. It's building momentum because every week I'm making sure we're not dropping the ball, we're not pumping the brakes anywhere.
I need to then manage my calendar. Once I'm clear about what the priorities are for the week, what my top three are in making sure I'm doing my marketing systems, my sales systems, and my client experience delight systems, then I want to manage my calendar. I'm pretty ruthless here. I'm very proactive with my calendar and I don't often have to cancel things because I'm so clear with my calendar SOP that's not usually what I need to do. But sometimes I do have to move stuff around. My kid is sick, I need to move stuff around because I need to be home and help him or something like that.
Sometimes I do need to free up time on my calendar or I need to block something I didn't think I was going to have to block in, and that's okay. I find that because I have such clear boundaries around my calendar and such clear processes around my calendar, in the very, very rare times when I have to cancel a client-facing appointment, it's never a problem. They know that it is seriously an important reason I can't make it to that appointment. It's never an issue.
I think that's really powerful. I have found the more I talk about how I manage my calendar and how I manage my boundaries, the more people respect my calendar and my boundaries. There's a little tip for anybody who's struggling to get people to stick to their appointments and not fall off. Explain your boundaries, explain how you work, and just be really, really kind and firm about holding those boundaries.
I love all of these things here that I just walked over with you. We talked about the model calendar, we talked about the CEO Date, and then I ask myself a couple of final questions which is where do you need support and where do you need self-care? People always ask why you include self-care in a CEO Planner. It's in the CEO Date Checklist. It's in the weekly spread where you’re managing your week. It's because burnout is an epidemic. I keep seeing over and over again when businesses grow to the level that I'm working at with my clients, they’re starting to have a team, they have dozens or even hundreds of clients, you're trying to take care of your business, you're trying to take care of your family, you can really start to feel the pressure build when you feel so responsible for all of these things.
But you can only do what you want to do if you have the capacity to do it. The capacity isn't the time on the calendar, the capacity is your energy, your attention, your focus, your clarity. So much of that starts with your self-care and your CEO habits. I'm going to talk about this a lot in the next episode when we're running a day like a CEO, but I want to make sure every week that I'm doing the things consistently proactively to protect the asset, to protect me.
Because if I stop working, as in, I'm not functioning, I'm not clear, I don't have the energy, I'm having to be reactive because I'm not taking good care of myself, then the business will slow down. Everything will slow down. I have to protect my energy, my mindset, crucially important.
I ask myself what support I need. Often this looks like reevaluating my to-do list and going, “Okay, is there something my team can do here for me?” Sometimes that means scheduling my grocery order instead of going to the store. Sometimes it means hiring a meal-prep service because I don't have time. I'm in a season where I just don't want to waste time that I could be spending with my kids standing in the kitchen chopping veggies.
It could be asking my husband for an afternoon just for myself and asking him, “Hey, can you take the kids on a hike so that I can have some quiet time at home?” I'm always thinking about who I need to ask for some support because I'm supporting so many people. If I don't proactively ask for it, I often won't get it. I plug these types of things into my calendar. Every week I'm tracking these key things and it helps me to show up, it helps me to have my energy high, and they're usually really, really simple.
A lot of these practices aren't about having super complicated morning routines. It's about drinking enough water, going on a walk, going to bed by 9:00 or 10:00. I track my sleep with my little smart aura ring here. I want to make sure that I'm taking care of myself and that my body, my mind, and my spirit are taken care of so I have the energy and the capacity to do this work.
Then once I go through all of this, I'm ready to kick off my week. I can update anything in our project management system. If there are changes I need to announce to the team, I'll update the team. I always follow up my CEO Date with my call with Amber so I can give her any changes that need to happen and give her the updates. She can also let me know if there's anything that team needs for me so I can adjust accordingly. It just makes sure that everything is going to run much more smoothly.
Then how am I sticking to what I just mapped out for the week? Well, this is where my CEO Score comes in really handy. If you have listened to me for a while, I've done some episodes on the CEO Scorecard but I'll give you a quick high-level overview. A CEO Scorecard is more than just time tracking. There is a lot of value in tracking your time, so actually recording in 15 minutes or half-an-hour intervals what you are specifically working on because it brings your attention and focus to what you're working on. It's holding you accountable just tracking the time.
But that's like level one. If we're going to level up here, if we're going to really get clarity about how we're using our time, then we need to give each type of task a score. Then at the end of the week, you add it all up to see whether or not you're focused on this higher level, higher value CEO activities. The CEO Score is based on a simple little formula. Your goal CEO Score is what you're trying to hit every single week. This is your goal revenue for the year for the next 12 months divided by the number of weeks you plan to work this year.
This is really important. I'm going to say it's not like your goal revenue for the next three months. It's the goal revenue for the business that you are working to build. I think this is really important. Because if you come to us inside of The Collective and you say, “Well, we're on track for $100,000 of annual revenue this year or half a million dollars annual revenue business this year,” but then I see that you're not doing the work associated with that level of business, it's going to be a very long hard slog to get there.
You cannot grow a half-million dollar, a million-dollar-a-year business, or even $100,000-a-year business if you're focused on $10-an-hour tasks. The math does not work. You have to be focused on higher-level tasks. This is the only way to really leapfrog your results over time and not do the super slow build-up. It's by making the decision right now that if your goal maybe in the next year, three years, or whatever is to grow a certain level of business, you want to show up like you already own that level of business.
I've been showing up like I have a seven-figure business way before I actually crossed the million-dollar mark. The reason that I got there is because I was working like the seven-figure CEO when I was still the low six-figure CEO. I was making sure I was in alignment, energetically in alignment, work focus output in alignment with that level of CEO. I want to make sure that that CEO Scorecard is in alignment with where I want to go. Otherwise, I'm just doing the work that will maintain where I currently am.
This is not actual money that we're talking about here. When we have the CEO Score, it is in the form of a dollar amount. So if my CEO Score goal every week is $25,000, It's really about a way to give the value to your sweat equity, to your time and energy, and it helps you stay focused. As I sit down, I look at my business, I'm looking at, “Okay, I don't want to be spending time on $10-an-hour activities or $100-an-hour activities, I want to be focused on the $1,000-an-hour activities and the $10,000-an-hour activities.”
I track my time. I have a scorecard which shows me all the different types of activities going on in my business so I can actually track my time, give all of those activities a score, at the end of the week, add it up. If I didn't hit my goal, then I know I didn't show up like a CEO with a million-dollar business.
What are those different types of tasks? The different categories I just said are $10-an-hour, $100-an-hour, $1,000-an-hour, and $10,000-an-hour tasks. The first category, the $10-an-hour, are going to be more of the administrative types of tasks. These are the more day-to-day. They need to get done, but they’re maintenance mode, they are not growth mode. You have to do them to maintain what you have, but they are not going to grow your business.
These are going to be managing your inbox, documents, managing your invoicing, your billing, your scheduling, basic customer service, some website updates, doing bookkeeping, research, tracking the metrics, scheduling newsletters, scheduling social, formatting blog posts, things like that. Things that as soon as you can, you really want to have someone else on your team who can come in and take them off your plate. Because like I said, you are not going to grow a business doing $10-an-hour tasks.
I really want to underscore, because I don't want any comments back about this, I'm going to be very very clear, this is an exercise in how you're managing your time, energy, and attention. Because chances are, you're not going to find a VA or an administrative assistant who you'll only pay $10-an-hour. That's probably not going to happen. You'll probably pay $20, $30 an hour depending on where you live in the world and what's the rate that you're going for.
But this exercise is all about you and where you're putting your time and energy. It is set up to default to you doing higher-value tasks as the CEO of your business. That's the $10-an-hour bucket. The next bucket is what I would call $100-an-hour bucket. Again, this is not related to what you would pay other people to take these tasks on, this is related to valuing your time and energy.
This area, the $100-an-hour, is more high level, more skilled. You are going to be bringing in people who are more expert and have more experience at these things to delegate them and outsource them, get them off your plate. You will likely still be doing a lot of these for a while and that's okay. But over time, as your business grows, especially as you pass the multiple six-figure mark and you start to grow beyond that, we want to bring people in or find a way to outsource these things to get them off of your plate.
This could be writing your copy, creating content for you, creating podcasts or editing podcasts for you, creating or editing your video content. That's a lot of where I outsource. I have people who do that work for me. All I have to do is sit down and press a button to record it. Then the team takes everything and makes the rest happen. They edit it. They publish it. They send the newsletters. They write the newsletters. They set up the social all out of the core thing that only I can do which is hitting record.
This could be running Facebook ads. This could be project management. This could be working on customer delivery, so anything related to delivering the service or the program to your clients. If you're offering services, anything customer delivery is related to your coaching program or your online program. Anything like that. You have a lot of technology here, website development, integrating all the different tools you use in your business, your tech stack, making sure everything works together, syncs together behind the scenes, setting up automation, setting up processes. All of this is in the $ 100-an-hour bucket.
This is where most of your team is going to start to come into play as you grow. The $10-an-hour bucket is generally more like VA, virtual assistant, administrative assistant type of work. As you grow, you might have an operations manager. You might have a Facebook Ads manager, you might have a social media manager, you might have people who come in and really take over these specific types of tasks.
These tasks, the $10-an-hour and the $100-an-hour, are what I would call maintenance tasks. If you just focus on these, your business is going to stay the same it is now, it is not going to grow necessarily. That's okay, but if you want to grow and you don't want to be in the day-to-day of running your business, you want to focus on only your zone of genius work, you want to focus on only the thing that you can do best, and have other people doing the rest of the work behind the scenes in the business, you got to get into growth mode.
That's where the $1,000-an-hour and $10,000 in our buckets are. $1,000-an-hour bucket, this is your strategic planning bucket. This is your CEO Date, which we talked a lot about. This is your strategic planning, so your quarterly retreat, your quarterly review, creating your annual plans. This is also where you're building out sales campaigns, writing sales copy, having sales conversations, so getting on a phone call or on Zoom and having sales conversations, writing proposals, creating sales presentations, all of that is under $1,000-an-hour bucket.
I would also say this is where I put a lot of CEO development. If you are working on becoming a better CEO, you're working on sharpening a skill set, you're working with your own coach, you're working with any area that you're really wanting to make better, you're going to your mastermind, you are attending things that are really helping you level up, that all falls in the $1,000-an-hour bucket as well.
Every week, if you're doing your CEO Date, guess what, you get to value that as $1,000-an-hour. If you go to your mastermind call and you're taking action from it, you get to value that $1,000-an-hour. If you are working on sales copy or having sales calls, same thing.
Finally, the $10,000 an-hour bucket is really when you're in scale mode, because honestly you'll have time to do it if you don't have these other things handled, if you don't have the systems in place and the support team in place to make it happen. The $10,000-an-hour bucket is where you are really scaling up and you are getting in front of a lot of people. This is scalable marketing, scalable sales strategies.
This is where you're teaching webinars, you're running challenges. Maybe you're doing public speaking, networking, being interviewed, being on the media. These things are all super high value because they are generating demand for your offers. When you hear this, and then remember, my goal per week is $25,000, my goal CEO Score, then you can see I need to do more of the $10,000-an-hour activities every single week. That is how I'm able to hit my score. There is no way I could hit my score if I didn't at least have one of those when I'm working 25 hours a week or less.
I have to do at least the $1,000-an-hour and $10,000-an-hour tasks because otherwise, I will default to maintenance mode. But I've got a team now I’m supporting that I'm responsible for in addition to myself, so it's up to me to lead the team, to keep them employed, and to keep taking care of them. That doesn't happen by me staying in the weeds in the day-to-day. It only happens when I'm focused on again, generating demand, building a community, building an audience, getting the word out, that is all what the $10,000 an-hour tasks are about.
I write down what I'm doing. I'm time tracking. I'm giving each task that I'm focused on a score. I add it up at the end of the day. I add it up at the end of the week. I review this on a quarterly basis because it's not about what you do each day or each week because we all have off days and off weeks, it's about over the course of a month, over the course of a quarter, are you performing at the level that you need to perform in business that you want to build?
Finally, I do a weekly review. The fifth thing I do to run a really great week like a CEO is reflection. I do a weekly review and it's built right into the planner. This is a series of questions that I ask myself so that I can have the data I need to make better decisions. I want to make sure that I am paying attention to what is and what isn't working. I want to make sure that I'm not just head down and never looking up to pay attention to bigger picture, how does this all fit together?
One thing that I'm asking myself is what are my wins for the week? I have a section in the planner that's five wins for the week. What are my wins for the week? I put this in the review process because I don't know about you but for me, I tend to really struggle to acknowledge my wins. I've tended in my life to be somebody who just keeps going and going and going and like I achieve the thing and then I'm like, “Great, done. Next thing,” and I never actually take a moment to celebrate. So I've made it a practice of celebrating my wins even if they're small.
Sometimes my win is I met a great person and had an amazing conversation. Sometimes my win is I had a rest day where I actually felt like I rested. Sometimes my win is more related to like, “Hey, we hit our sales goal.” Whatever it is, I write them down on a regular basis. This is a practice. It has changed my mindset so much. I really feel like this has helped me be a more confident leader because now I can look back through years of CEO Planners and see every week, I'm winning at something. I'm stacking those wins.
It has changed my mindset so much just this little practice. It's like a variation on a gratitude practice. What are my wins? It's all about progress. Then I check in and I ask myself did I get my top three must-do tasks for the week done? Did I hit my CEO Score? If I can get those answered, hopefully, I hit my score and I got my top three done, but sometimes, life happens, business happens, and maybe not. So then I need to ask myself what's working or what's not working.
Again, reflection is so important because sometimes things can be not working for a long time and we just don't address it. We just keep going. It's just inconvenient. It's just annoying. But we don't actually stop, pause, and correct it. This past month, I saw that what I had on the what's working in my review was very light but the what's not working was very heavy. There were a lot of things in there that I'd written a couple of times over a period of two or three weeks.
That's when I have to go, “Okay, time to sit down. I need to pull up my SOP or I need to pull up our project management system. I need to communicate to the team. I need to change some things moving forward so that I'm not continuing to run into the same challenge or the same bottleneck.” You do not have to settle for things that aren't working. You don't have to settle for things that are inconvenient or frustrating. You don't have to do that.
Instead, you can make a decision, make a call, and do better. Ask for the support you need. This is just an incredible accountability tool. This is proactively nipping the problems in the bud before they become bigger. The next part of my review is one of my favorite questions. Who did I support and who did I connect with this week? I believe business grows at the speed of relationships. It is one of the most powerful things to really integrate into the way you show up in your business.
I'm not an extrovert. I don't feel like I'm a natural networker or anything. But I've had people over the last few years who are like, “Oh my gosh, you know everybody,” and this has happened to me at a lot of conferences I go to or whenever I'm out at different events. People will be like, “You know so many people,” and I realized I do. I actually have quite an extensive network of peers, colleagues, and other people in the world and I love connecting them. I love supporting them. I love nurturing that.
I find that when I invest into others, it always returns back to me. I'm asking myself proactively, “Who did I connect with? Who did I support outside of just clients?” It could be clients too. There's no problem there. But I'm always asking myself that because I do want to be consistently investing in that. Then I ask myself, “What am I excited for next week?” Again, it's a mindset thing. What am I looking forward to next week? I don't want to have the Sunday scaries. I want to be sitting down Monday so excited about whatever I'm working on or whoever I'm connecting with. Then who am I connecting with next week.
If I haven't already planned to connect with somebody next week, then this is an opportunity for me to look in there and go, “Is there someone I should follow up with or someone I should send a message to or have coffee with?” I'm always asking myself that because again, if you invest in those relationships, you get that back, it always comes back either in just having real friendships and people who can relate to you or even in referrals or business being sent your way. I mean, it comes back to you so much.
Those are my top five things to run your week like a CEO. Just to recap, quick recap. I know this was a long one. Run your model calendar. Your model calendar has got to be on point. This becomes more and more important as your time becomes more and more valuable. Create the SOP for your calendar so that your team can help protect your time and energy. Your calendar is the biggest thing for me, especially if you're highly sensitive or an introvert, you have to manage your time and energy.
Next, your CEO Date, get the CEO Date Checklist. Check-in, handle things before they become an emergency, before they become a problem. Proactively plan out your week. Proactively see where the challenges are rising and nip them in the bud. If I'm wanting to make sure I'm going to have a great week, I'm asking myself, “Where do I need support, and what self-care do I need?” This is all about making sure you're optimizing your energy, your mindset, taking care of the asset, the asset is you. If you don't take care of yourself, your business is not going to feel very fun. It's going to drain you. That is not what we want.
No one wants to have a business that you resent or that you don't enjoy running. You want to be excited about your business and feel like, “Wow, it's such a privilege to run this amazing business I built. I can't believe I get to do this type of work.” Next, your CEO Score. Start tracking your work. Assign value to the types of tasks that you're doing. Pay attention. This is one of the best accountability practices, self-accountability practices you can do because you don't need to do all the things, you need to do the right things.
Remember, if your score is on the low side right now, just because you're early on in your business or you don't have a team yet, that's okay. We all start doing all the things until we start putting support in place. It will change over time. But the goal is as you grow your business, you fire yourself from the lower-level tasks as quickly as you can so that you can do the higher-level tasks.
Then finally, do a weekly review. Because a great week starts when the week before is proactive. Again, you'll hear me say proactive about a million times because it's true. We want to be keeping our finger on the pulse of the business. We want to be looking not just like five feet in front of us. We want to be looking miles in front of us and looking ahead so that we can navigate around those challenges and make sure that we're not stumbling into them because we weren't paying attention. The CEO review helps you adapt, adjust, and really nip problems in the bud before it becomes a real issue.
I hope you enjoyed this episode. If you did, two things, one, talk to me. Take a screenshot. Tag me @racheal.cook on Instagram. I want to hear from you, and more specifically, I want to hear what out of this you're going to implement. There are a ton of resources about how to implement this process and the best one is The CEO Planner.
If you have not purchased a CEO Planner, they are available on demand on our website. You can go buy yourself a copy. Or if you love this series, for the month of January, we are running a giveaway for a full year of CEO Planners. That's four 90-Day CEO Planners. All you have to do to enter to win is to leave a rating and review on Apple Podcasts. Then take a screenshot, share it with me over on Instagram, tag me @racheal.cook before January 31st.
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Thank you so much for listening. I cannot wait to talk to you next week, because we are going to be digging into how you optimize your energy day-to-day as you're running your day like a CEO. This one is going to be all about how to conserve time and energy, how to really take care of yourself so that you have the capacity to do the work you want to do. I'll see you then.