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When you’re so focused on growing your business it’s really hard to work out how to work ON your business, not IN it. Whether it’s keeping your clients happy, paying the bills (and yourself of course), creating content, then sharing content and being visible so that there are more clients to keep happy – there’s A LOT of work to do to keep your business running.


However, it can be exhausting. Relentless. Overwhelming.

Here’s a serious question for you: How is that exhausting business working out for you? Is it what you imagined when you started your business? Is it giving you the freedom you dreamed of when starting out as an entrepreneur.

I was chatting with an entrepreneur yesterday who has a very successful business but is suffering from overwhelm and burn out. Her business has grown so quickly but she doesn’t have any time to be the CEO of her business and work on it, not in it.

She’s really struggling with her health, anxiety, and stress. She always feels like she’s chasing her tail and doesn’t feel like the mum or the wife that she wants to be. She described it as feeling ‘broken’. Here’s the thing though…she knows exactly what she needs to do, and she is totally capable of it. However, she spends all of her time reacting to her clients’ needs – and there’s never enough time for her to be the CEO and put in place the improvements, systems, processes and outsourcing strategy that she knows she needs.

Something has to change, because until she steps away from all of this ‘doing’, she will be in the same place this time next year – her family will be a year older, and she’ll still be running on empty. Taking time to work ON the business is going to be so much more valuable in the long term – as well as reducing her stress and anxiety, and increasing her productivity.

Today I want to give you 9 tips on how to work ON your business and not IN it.

These tasks help you balance out the big picture growth tasks with the doing – and improving that balance. Hey, it doesn’t even have to be about growth, they can also give you more space to systemise and make life easier.

More things to do? You’re kidding, right?

I know you’re thinking “she’s giving me 10 more things I have to find time for when I already have no time to spare?”

However, I challenge you to be strategic about your time. If you’re currently working reactively for your clients or potential clients (and by reactively I mean always being available to answer questions, emails, make little changes as soon as they ask), but rarely able to get to the CEO tasks in your business, then how will this ever change unless you start to ‘manage’ your time?

The tips I’m giving you may not all be relevant to your business, but there will be some that will make a difference. Even if you do the first 3-4, you will notice a big difference in the sense of freedom you feel in your business – because you are being proactive about your time, and taking charge of how you spend it – totally different to the current reactive way you might be giving away your time.

So, please understand that my intention is NOT to add more to your plate. ?

My intention is to help you transition from the burnt out, overwhelmed entrepreneur, and create systems and processes that support you and make your business more sustainable, and give you the balance and freedom that you dreamt of when you left your job.

There will always be more to do, but nothing will change until you break this pattern

There will be more clients. I know it. If you’ve already had one client, or 100, there will be more.
You won’t break anything – but there’s a change you could make life and business better.
I think it’s worth stepping away from all the doing, and carve out some time to be the CEO.

How to work ON your business not in it

Here’s 9 suggestions of CEO tasks you could do in your CEO time that will help you improve the way you work.

1. Design your Ideal Week

When you take a bird’s eye view of your week, you can block out time for the CEO tasks, the client work, and the other important elements you need to get done each week, so that it’s balanced and strategic.
Work to your strengths, (for me this means writing content first up when I’m fresh) and design your days to suit how you like to work. You can grab my Ideal Week Template from the Ready to Scale Workbook, so that you can print it out and make a start.

2. Prioritise

If you’ve ever done a brain dump, you know that the huge list that comes out of your head can still be overwhelming. You can supercharge your brain dump (that’s now a to-do list!) by categorising everything, and then prioritising it. Remember, you can only do one thing at a time, so once you start with 1, and work your way through. This is a really powerful process and gets me through many twinges of overwhelm.

3. Take charge of your income & expenses

Track your income and track your expenses so that you have a really clear picture of what’s coming in, how much is going out, paying yourself first, and paying yourself Super.

4. Check in on your boundaries!

If it feels like you’re stretched or pulled in too many directions, you probably are!
Learning to say no to yourself, or others are easier when you have a clearer idea of what it costs you to be so stretched.

5. Get clear on your vision, and the WAY you want to work.

This will help you determine your business goals, where to focus your energy, which areas need support, and how to spend your time. When you have clarity around this, other decisions become so much easier.

6. Check in with your team every week – or start to outsource if you haven’t already.

Regular team meetings are important for you to convey the priorities to your VA or staff.
If you haven’t outsourced yet, then work out what to outsource and start small.
You could also use this time to have a CEO meeting – with yourself!

7. Track your numbers

Along with tracking your money, it’s important to track your list, your lead magnet, and the conversions you get from the lead magnet.
Tracking your social media numbers is also a good idea (if it’s one of your goals to increase it)
The great thing about tracking, is that you can start to measure your growth. If you’re not aware of these numbers, then you won’t know where to focus your energy, which work best, or which to cull.

8. Plan your content

By now, you know the type of content you need to create, and where it’s posted.
This is great because it means you can start to map it out and be strategic about leading your potential clients through your content and inviting them into your tribe.. You can also be more strategic about your re-purposing and batching – because the decisions are made. This makes the creation so much quicker!

9. Document a process

Each time you complete a repetitive system (for example posting a blog on your site) document the steps or take a zoom video of you talking through it.
This means you can start to create a bank of processes to hand over to someone else – and you can start to step away from doing all the things. Getting all of these processes out of your head releases you from having to do everything in your business.

Where to from here?

  1. Block out some CEO time EACH week in your calendarready to scale your business
  2. Pick one of these to work on to focus on how you can step away from #allthethings, and start to transition into working ON your business instead of getting stuck IN your business – and never being able to experience the freedom!

Download the Ready to Scale Checklists that has loads of tips for working ON your business, including the Ideal Week template.


Your Next Steps

Decide which one you need to revisit so that you can focus on transitioning to your new system successfully.  Document it and then review it again.
If you want some support to help fast track this process, or help you transition to a new system that you actually use, then can book a  free systems audit with me so we can determine where to start, and what you need to get up and running with systems.
aerlie small business coach
Aerlie Wildy is a business designer. business coach and mother based in the Adelaide Hills. I specialise in designing and systemising business for growth. You can connect with me on Facebook, join my Chief Executive Entrepreneurs Facebook Group, check out my Youtube Channel or Pin with me on Pinterest.