In this episode we discuss one of the foundations of successful entrepreneurship - CEO days.
I'll teach you time blocking, expense management, marketing strategy assessment, and the importance of being the visionary of your own enterprise.
I've found the secret to transforming my mornings into magic moments that fuel the rest of my day. I'm here to tell you - making your mornings work for you is possible, even if you're not a morning person.
🤑 Join my Free Masterclass: How to make $100k as a wedding photographer with half of your weekends free. In this free class, you will learn how we help female wedding photographers master the art of sales without having to book more than 20 weddings a year.
See you there on 2/22 at 12 PM ET
Welcome to the Wedding CEO podcast, where we discuss all things marketing, sales and scaling so you can become the CEO of your life and business. I'm Elora Rochelle and I've been a wedding photographer for over a decade and now I'm sharing all of my secrets so you can stop sacrificing your time and make more money like a CEO. Hello, hello, and welcome back to another episode on the Hello CEO podcast. I am your host, elora Rochelle, and I'm really excited to get started in today's episode, because it's something I really wanted to always talk about. I didn't know it had a name, though. I actually called it Admin Catch-Up Day, but CEO Day sounds way cooler. So we are going to be talking about today's CEO days, morning routines and why they're essential for entrepreneurs. It's probably not going to be what you expect. I'm not going to shove a bunch of. You must do X, y and Z to be successful, so I'm really excited. Let's dive in, okay, so the first thing we're going to talk about is morning routines. Do I even have to explain this? I feel like it's such a trigger word, it's such a trendy word, but yeah, it's a set of habits or motions that you go through when you wake up, basically like what do you do when you wake up and get started for the day? It helps you set your day up the right way and it can actually supposedly have effects on your focus and productivity. So you can do anything from exercising to journaling to reading or just grabbing a cup of coffee. That's what I pretty much do. I don't have experience exercising the morning, because I am actually not a morning person. Getting me out of bed is a very slow why am I here? Kind of process, but I know some people that get up. The first thing I do is stretch. My husband likes to go to the gym and I don't understand it, but also he'll roll out of bed and just have a conversation. He's a morning person. Gosh, I'm like a dreaded morning people. So, personally, here's my thought on this. I think that morning routines are unique to each person. Some people enjoy slow, quiet morning, like me, and others rather have a warm drink and get right to work. While it's still top of mind and while I do a mix of all these things combined, I don't limit myself to having one way to do something. I'm just going to preface this. There is no one way to do everything. Think about it. That's why there's so many different types of coaches, so many different courses out there. Everybody does it a different way. As long as it's successful for you and you feel like you have focus and you feel like you're starting your day right and, in your own way, productive, that's fine. You actually don't even have to be productive for a morning routine. I don't know. I personally think is what is something that you want to do that brings you joy to start off your day Plain and simple. So, like I said, coming from an anti-morning person, I just can't do too many intense tasks before noon. I don't even like to talk until about noon, like if I'm messaging a friend or a voice messaging, because do people still do phone calls or I know the younger generation likes FaceTiming but not showing their face. Me personally, I just want to voice message you and then get back on to what I was doing. So I have done the 5 am morning routine when I first became a mom, because it was like how to be more productive, how to get more things done. It was like a lot of shifting when you become a parent and you were used to having a business and running things a certain way and everything was successful. You feel like you're taking a huge step back by juggling the both of them, and so I was like well, there's so many YouTube videos on how to have a morning routine and it has to start at 5 am. Or it's not a morning routine, or you have to do these things to be successful. So I gave into it. There wasn't a lot of noise back then as there is now, but I did it. I woke up at 5 am every morning and, to be honest with you, it did work. I was done with absolutely everything in my business by noon, by noon, and I was like Okay, now what do I do? Well, I guess I will go grocery shopping and make dinner or lunch, because we have so much time in our hands. Like, what do we do with ourselves now? Was this sustainable? No, but it was doable at the time for whatever it was that I had to complete back then I think that was before I started outsourcing my weddings and photography. So it helped me be able to, like, take all that time aside and edit a couple galleries and deliver them by noon, like this. That I'm just. My mind is still blown by that. But the thing was, is that by 8 o'clock I was ready for bed. I was like, alright, it's 8 o'clock, I'm going to bed like I've been up all day, I'm good. Once my head hit the pillow, I was like completely and as usual, on the time that my husband got home from work and so, as the default parent the new term that I looked up in the complete runner of the home, it was just not sustainable for our life and just me not being able to do anything after 8 pm. Plus, we were much more busy and we had a lot of church functions going on and we had things that he had to be present for. And back then, I mean, it was a different world before COVID, but we used to always have like dinner plans with people. So 8 pm we just was not the time to be falling asleep at someone's house. So I had to let that dream go because it just wasn't sustainable in the long run. But now I'm gonna talk about something that has worked for me. So, personally, I wake up every morning around 8 am, 8 30 am, and this is because my husband he gets my daughter ready for school, because I'm pretty much with my son all day, so he takes that off my hands for me, and so I wake up kind of slow because I'm the morning person and I'll actually make myself a cup of coffee and then I will do some dishes, like really simple, small tasks. But apparently they say that if you do some sort of cleaning whether it's like making your bed, washing the dishes, picking stuff up it turns your brain on and Makes you productive. I don't know it's weird, but it works. So it's honestly my habit now is like I wake up, I make some coffee unless I'm like absolutely really tired and then I will wash the dishes and then I will have a seat and Kind of plan out my day. So I'll pull out my full focus planner and Look at what I did the day before, because I literally don't remember. Like, once I'm asleep, man, everything is done. Okay, I don't remember anything. I'm logging out of my job. So I pull out the focus planner and I schedule my day look at the past, look at the week, look at my Progress so far, which I think is really helpful because we do weekly previews and it has like daily tasks, and so I can see the ones that I did and didn't check off, and so I have to roll those over and to the next day and it keeps me not forgetting what I'm supposed to do. So I look at the previous week, the previous month, the quarter, just to see where I'm at on tasks and just like bigger picture stuff, and I can kind of see the overall status of where things are going. So it's easier for me because I like to keep my visionary hat on 99% of the time for me to make decisions on where we're gonna go moving forward and this is something I usually do at the beginning of the quarter. But just you can kind of have a sneak peek into what my CEO days are like. And then I check on the status of inquiries. If there anything I need to look at any email follow-ups Maybe a contractor hires, interviews, emails, tasks that need to be done by me. I usually manage about three slack channels that I just sit through every once in a while. My first one is for my associate team. The second one is for my CEO team, which manages the educational side of my business or just like graphic design, podcast management, social media management, like all those things is my CEO team. And Then I have another one just for my coaching students. So that is pretty much all I check, and then eventually I'll sift through my emails a little bit too. I I try to kind of save that for last, because I feel like once I check an email, if I don't answer it right away I'm going to forget what it was. So I have to sift through my personal emails, my daughter's school emails and then my working emails, but I only check them not even a handful times a day, maybe two or three times a day, and that's it. Because if not I will become like just super ADD, like I'll be sifting. It's almost like you're going through tabs on your website and just kind of going okay, this tab, this tab, this tab, and it's just, it's not doable for me, at least in the long run. So I am trying to be better about that. So I actually don't have email or Gmail on my phone, and if it's an emergency I'll be contacted otherwise. But usually email is not an emergency, it's like a follow up or an inquiry or something. So I just check those when I'm on my computer, but if I'm away, then I'm away, yeah. And then I check on the status of tasks done by the team and just kind of see are we going where I want to go. So another thing that I do is I have a lot of stuff mapped out in Asana. I've tried ClickUp, I have tried Mondaycom. Asana works better for me. I've been using it for years, like, if it ain't broke, don't fix it right. So I map out my podcast for the year, all the topics, things that people have asked me, I put it in there and then I usually fill it in with a blurb and record, like I'm doing now, and then I check through. I have an Asana category or channel I think it's called Asana Teams for every aspect of my business, like marketing, the podcast, emails, photography, management, all the things. So by the time all that stuff is done, it's about 1030 or 11am and then I kind of dig into the deeper tasks that need to get done. But sometimes there's things to get done and sometimes there isn't. But yeah, that is pretty much my morning routine. It probably sounds like a lot, but for me I like getting those little details done so that way the rest of the day can kind of flow. And, like I said, I like to plan my day as soon as I wake up, so I'm not wasting time. As a mom, you don't have a lot of time to waste. So with the time that you're given, you have to really just pummel through it. Which I am learning is I thought that I was definitely alone in that, but no, every mom is like I get maybe two to three hours where I can actually get something done, which is when the kids are napping, but since my daughter's in school like that's helpful, eli just kind of walks around, plays with his toys, says hi, he's chill, but you know, just having uninterrupted time to get something done. And then CEO days. So this is something that I think everybody needs to have. I think it's important to make sure you have a day where you make sure that all the eyes are dotted, all the eyes are dotted and the T's are crossed. So a CEO day is basically when you focus on business planning. So whatever is going to be moving the needle forward, you're going to be planning for whatever is most important to you as the CEO of your company. So this is the day that your phone is on to not disturb. If you're like some of us, aka me, your phone is permanently undisturbed and you block out your calendar. Like nobody can book any meetings, like this day is strictly for business tasks that are moving the needle and nothing else, and then you just spend that time, start strategizing and vision planning and all of these things that you want to see happen, things that maybe you need to have happen, or maybe you realize that you're taking on too much and it's time to find help. So, personally, I do these on Mondays, or the start of a new quarter or the start of a new month, so the start of anything new gets me really motivated to take control that everything that month is going to have, and so that's just what I like personally, and it makes me feel like a CEO. It's like all right, first day of April, let's do this. This is where we're at with our quarterly goals. It doesn't look like this one's going to work, so we're going to move that to another quarter, but I think we can get this done within a month. So that's kind of how you would do your visionary planning. In terms of strategy, this is where you're going to make sure that everything's going as planned. So how about your core values, your mission statement? Are you positioned in the market where you want to be? Are you attracting enough clients? Do you need to reassess what you're doing and see how you can make changes so that you can see more return. Do you need to make an investment? Is there something that you don't know that you probably need to hire a coach for? Do you need to take a course for something like this? It's just interesting how, once you look at the overall picture and realize some things are stagnant, that you can make changes. Otherwise this thing would go unnoticed and you realize that you're not moving forward in some ways and it's because of neglect. Another thing you can do in a CEO day would be your finances and accounting, so you can update your expenses. Personally, when I get paid, I like to make sure all of my money goes somewhere, so that way it's not just sitting there getting spent. I want to see what I'm actually working with, versus just seeing a large amount of money and being like, oh, I have this much money and no, you don't. Once your expenses are paid, once things are transferred to the people for that job, that's not the money you end up with, and that's with anything. Even if you're not a photographer and you're a creative business owner, or if you have a team or VA, you need to make sure that your expenses are calculated with the money that you have coming in. This is also a time to make sure and follow up. I think this will be good to do monthly. Make sure all your receipts and your accounting is up to date, your bookkeeping is up to date and if you have a bookkeeper, then they've obviously done that for you and just ask for a report but I think they already give you monthly reports anyway and just see how things are going with your sales. Are you doing good, profit wise? Are you spending too much? Do you need to have a budget? What is your projected income versus your actual income? So there's a lot of things that you can do on CEO days and, like I said, I broke this down in a couple categories so it's like easier to digest. You don't have to do these all in one day. It could just be one day. This will be for finance and senate accounting and that's it, and I'm not going to check my phone or anything else until this is finished. That's taking the discipline right. I know there's like a planner, that what is it called? The productivity planner? I have it, and the 25 minute increment doesn't help me. I have to get something done all the way I have to pummel through, so filling out bubbles and I don't know that didn't work for me, but for me I do schedule things in blocks, so I give myself an hour or two hours to do a task and then, I don't know, that makes me feel better. So, like I said, this is all intuitive to you and your process and the way that you work. But it's just ideas if you want them, if you need them. And then another thing you can do in a CEO day would be your quarterly checkup. How are things going? Is everything going as planned? Do you have 30, 60, 90-day projects or milestones? Are you accomplishing your goals? Are things going slower? Like I said, just constantly looking to see where things are going, because nobody wants especially if you are the CEO, nobody wants a boss that has no idea what's happening ever. Okay, if you're going to be the one moving this thing forward, you need to know all the facts, figures and numbers. So personally I would be looking at these things in a sauna or I would be looking at tasks that are getting done in Slack and then kind of tracking that and seeing where everything's going that way. But in terms of photography, you can also say I haven't booked this many clients yet, so how can I increase my marketing strategy? Or I'm actually going in a different direction with my brand. So by this quarter I want to hire someone for XYZ. Or I need a coach because I've reached the glass ceiling and I'm ready to invest in the next chapter of my business. So those are other ways you can do quarterly checkups and being like I want to be here but in order to get here, like strategizing that. And then the last thing would be, just like I said, checking on your marketing. So it's like a marketing regroup rounding up your CEO day. It's good to see what's working and what's not working. Is posting on social media working or not working? Is it better for you to focus on your SEO, your Google status, verifying your account on certain ways? Is your Pinterest marketing? Is that what's working? Looking at what's working and investing less in what's not working. So, like, if you have a social media manager but you're not getting inquiries from Instagram, you probably don't need a social media manager because there's no ROI return on investment in that. So if I invested a ton of money in Pinterest but I've never even gotten traffic on my website and the analytics show that I probably don't need a Pinterest manager, but I do think that just knowing all of these things full picture is definitely going to help you. And, like, once things get busier and once you actually have a full on business plan, so what next right? So the next thing I would do is, if this sounds interesting to you, I would schedule your next CEO day your first one, if it is into your schedule Like some people like to do it at the end of the month or the end of a quarter and make sure that they implement all of these things into the next quarter. Some people like to do it a month by month basis. Some people do CEO days every week, but I mean no, thank you. So block off that day, give yourself permission, take that time for yourself and your business, and it will thank you later. Remember that you're the visionary of your business. Okay, you are the one in charge of the whole ship. You're the leader, the commander, the CEO. If you're not clear on where your business is or what's going on, no one is and you are far from leading a team if you can't get these few things together, because how can you have standard operating procedures and train your team and tell them where to go if you don't even know where you're going. So that is pretty much everything on CEO days, morning routines and why I think they're essential for entrepreneurs. This is pretty much for everyone in the creative industry. I think I wish I would have had a talk on this earlier. I think I said that about every episode, but let's be real. There's so many things we're learning as time is going on and I feel like there's so much information out there for us to ingest. So I hope this was helpful. Let me know what else you guys want to hear about on Instagram, dm me or just vote in the polls when I list what to have the next topic on. We have a lot of amazing guests coming up here pretty soon and I cannot wait to speak to you guys again next week. So enjoy your day. Don't forget to rate, subscribe on Spotify, give us a review in Apple Podcast, be the most to me. Once again, thanks for being here and enjoy your week. Bye, wait, don't go yet. If you loved today's episode, I would love if you took five seconds to leave a rating and a five-star review. If you do, send me a DM so I can give you a virtual hug and, of course, a shout out. Now, if you're ready to grow your photography business, I invite you to join the waitlist for the wedding CEO. The wedding CEO is my signature program for wedding photographers who are ready to scale their way to 100k. You're finally ready to work less, make more and live your dream life. If you've seen my Instagram, then you'll know we have students making five-figure months, launching their dream brands, doubling their prices, taking vacations and more, which are lifetime skills that you can take with you even if you decide to leave the industry. Join the waitlist for when we open the doors on November 14th to the waitlist only, and you're going to get an exclusive, advanced private training on how to scale to 100k, booking less than 20 weddings a year. And, trust me, you don't want to miss this Link in the show notes. I'll see you inside.