Do you want to know what happens when three multi-six-figure CEOs get together for a CEO Retreat? Learn how we will be growing our businesses over the next 12 months, and how you can too? Well, you are in for a treat!
Today’s blog is part 1 of the Productivity + Business Series. Sit with me – Stefanie Gass, Chelsi Jo Moore, and Polly Payne as we go behind the scenes of our CEO retreat. This is a three-part series where 3 Christian business coaches come together to teach you everything you need to know to grow a sustainable, successful online business in less time.
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Productivity + Business Series: Recap of My CEO Retreat With Chelsi Jo More and Polly Payne
Before we get into the behind-the-scenes of our CEO retreat, let me introduce myself and two other amazing women. We’ve been in a peer-led mastermind for the last couple of years, where we learn from each other and grow together.
If you’re new around here, Hi, I’m Stef Gass! I’m a Podcast and business coach for Christian women, and I help them start a podcast and make money online.
So, we’ve been getting so many questions about our CEO retreat and what it is that we do. Today we want to be super transparent and open about what we’ve learned, how much we’ve been able to grow, and how simple it really can be.
Every year in December, we get together, and we go all in. It’s an immersive experience where we shut our phones off, look at hard data, and make hard decisions. We sit down and look at what it’s going to take to reach our goals. We really lean into what we think we’re called to do with our time and talents.
What Stef did and learned from the CEO retreat
Stef: I came into this CEO retreat like any other year, thinking, we’re going to go through some nice shiny new goals, write some numbers on the whiteboard, eat some yummy dinner and giggle. It’s going to be so cute!! But, in reality, that wasn’t what happened at all!
This year we all brought to the retreat something called a BHAG, which are our big hairy audacious goals. We all came with these big hairy audacious goals of revenue numbers and dreams we had for our lives. These dreams were bigger than just money; they included mission work, true financial freedom, and generational wealth in some cases. We brought these to the table and started asking: “how do we get there?” And it led to some insane revelation around the things that we shouldn’t be doing, things that we were focused on. For me, I’d been focusing on some things, which ended up being more of a distraction, shiny objects rather than income-producing. So as I was sharing with the girls the different positions I’d been creating in my company, initiatives, and focuses, the girls started asking me hard questions. What’s the ROI on that? Why’s that taking so much time? And the reality was, it really wasn’t worth it. The things that I had been investing in that I had thought were so important, things that I had spent thousands, even tens of thousands of dollars on and so many hours on, had not proven viable to meet this BHAG goal. The hard reality was that I needed to surrender and make some tough changes to my company.
What Polly learned at the CEO retreat
Polly: It was good! When we came with our BHAG, it felt so unrealistic, but once we started breaking down mathematically how to reach it, it started looking possible.
We broke it down mathematically using our KPI sheets (key performance indicators) that we had brought. Our KPI sheets were something we had created and worked on the previous year. And our KPIs helped us assess. What is our conversion rate for this system? What’s our conversion rate for that system? And how many leads do we have to get to this goal based on our funnels and our systems? So we all showed up with our KPI sheet, our cash flow, and profit and loss to see what our expenses were. Which answers the question for us, where am I investing?
Making the right investments
My big breakthrough was that I was investing in so many silly subscriptions that I thought would help my business. I transferred my email server from a service that was around $129 – $200 to $1200 a month because it crept up. It had all these hidden fees that I didn’t know about. Chelsi and Stef looked at me like I had three heads.
But I had to go back, I had to erase all my work. Stefanie said, “what if you took that investment and you put it into google ads to grow your leads? Think about how you can actually make these investments work”. One of my biggest takeaways was having people shake me up and give me the hard truth about wasting my money. Because I’m a spender, and I’m impulsive, and I know that about me. I’ll be honest, it was hard to hear and own up to and then make the change but I’m so glad I did and it didn’t take as long as I thought.
Chelsi’s biggest lessons and reflections from the CEO retreat
Chelsi: This year was really different. I started this CEO retreat concept with a different group of friends when I was in a totally different entrepreneurial space.
So this year, when we came into it, I had worked through so much already, and I’m the one person in the room where everything is super simple. I have one thing, it’s really clean, and nothing is complicated because I get afraid when things are complicated. Also, I get anxiety, and I don’t have the ability to work super hard like Stef and Polly do.
I was challenged (and still am going through this process) to see where my brain and mind – the way that I do things – can really encourage and support other people. And how am I going to use that?
I also wanted to think about how I can stretch myself. Because what I have right now is super simple, and it’s working, and I would stay in that safety zone for the rest of my life, but there’s so much potential for me in other areas, and I also have a lot of work to do in my little canal that’s working, pumping water through.
What is the number 1 thing you are walking away with from the CEO retreat?
Stef: One thing I learned is I often get the glimmer of an idea, and my downfall has been my big action. I take all this big action, and then I realize, oops! That one was wrong. Let me start over and take big action again. So what I walked away with, aside from a lot of insane tacticals, (one of the biggest ones, being my new operating system thanks to Chelsi Jo and her Systemize Your Life process) was that before I take big audacious action, there are four things I’m going to do.
Pause first: I’m not allowed to take big action until I pause and do these next three things.
Pray: Secondly, I’m going to pray. Because there were some things I took action on that I did without seeking God’s blessing, and anything, where I’m not partnered with Him, isn’t something that I want to do.
Seek wise counsel: I have these two incredible women in my corner and I know that they will give me biblical sound advice before I go and take big action. In the past, I would not say something to them because I knew they would tell me that that wasn’t a wise decision, so I would avoid them. But that’s not what’s happening this year!
Plan first: Planning first isn’t something I’ve been great at, and because of that, it’s been hard for my team to grow with me. While my business has been so successful, it’s been hard and didn’t need to be that way.
Simplify your business
Polly: the big thing I took away is simplicity. I’ve been working on trying to simplify my business. I did take away a lot of different products this year, and normally I’m putting out a bajillion different new things, and I’ve simplified, simplified, simplified as much as I can.
My team has been so small, and I’m always doing new products, summits, this and that. I feel like my messaging has been all over the place, I’m promoting too many things at once to where it’s confusing. So for me, it’s been simplifying my product line, investing more into my courses, and walking away with an operating system where I’m actually tracking my time, and I know what I need to do to get things done. And just seeing that productivity increase so much has been incredible!
Chelsi: I came home with very intangible things this year. I’m still working through some things this year on what this experience was like and what I learned. I came home with confidence. Confidence in a lot of areas that I needed to grow in for so long.
I’m not an insecure person by any means, but I’m the only person who’s ever run a business. I grew up thinking I was going to be a mum, and I could only be a mom. I thought that I would be a wife, which would be my main job, and take care of a house, but I have a burning passion to have a really successful business.
So growing in my confidence in that has probably been the biggest takeaway, in two different ways: knowing what I’m doing in my business is working and working really well in other people’s businesses too.
We all learned how important a good task management system is
Chelsi: After we got through that whole process, we were able to see that a lot of the problems that we were having come down to the fact that things have to be organized in our businesses.
I’ve always needed the how, the steps, and the systems. I needed to be able to tell my husband, “I need two hours of work today to not feel guilty about stepping away”. I can’t just go to work; it’s not in my bones. So I created this operating system that I felt in my gut would really help Polly and Stefanie.
Stef: I was not keen at all to do something hard and change operating systems. I was so resistant! But there are other people who have other special giftings that I don’t have on purpose. It’s okay to learn from people, it’s okay to change, and it’s okay to have been wrong and have done something that wasn’t benefiting you, and then it’s okay to change.
A new operating system
So once I got over myself, it took about an hour as I watched Chelsi walk Polly through this new operating system, and I prayed over it and slept on it, and then I woke up the next morning with 100% peace and I felt God speak to me, this is the way. And I said I’m in.
So what we proceeded to do over the next two days was Chelsi and her team selflessly poured into my company and me and showed us how to completely rebuild this operating system we had tried to piece together in Asana over in MeisterTask.
The difference was absolutely exponential. I immediately started clicking. It made so much sense! It was so much easier! Before that, I had no idea what anyone was doing. It’s embarrassing to say but humbling to know there is always growth as a CEO.
Chelsi and I went through every single action that I’d take daily, weekly, monthly, and the projects I have going on. Then we organized it into this giant board, a cockpit. It was a lot to sit there and go through. I was willing to do it but I was still hesitant to move over to MeisterTask. I ended up operating out of Asana for about two weeks, and then I said forget it. It feels so good to finally feel like I’m productive and I’m not working out of 15 different to-do lists.
If you want to learn from Chelsi, check out her free time management workshop and the Systemize Your Life Academy! You can save $100 with the code STEF100.
And if you’re curious about starting your own printing business, sign up for Polly’s Print School! You can save $100 with the code STEF20.
I hope you’ve loved this interview and feel encouraged to become more productive and organized in your business. Join us in tomorrow’s blog to discover how to grow a truly sustainable, scalable online business. Learn the number one way we’ve grown multi-six-figure businesses.
We will also cover the many things you think you should be doing and help you eliminate and simplify.
Check out the rest of the Productivity + Business Series:
Part 1: CEO Retreat Recap With Stefanie Gass, Chelsi Jo, and Polly Payne (you are here)
Part 2: Grow Your Online Business & Make Money Online By Doing This ONE THING
Part 3: How to Have Better Time Management in Home & Business
The more I get to know my students and the more I participate in masterminds with my peers the more I’m starting to comprehend the overarching problem and prevalence of one, perfectionism, and two, overthinking.
Perfectionism keeps us in a place of constant consumption and learning. Redoing things over and over and thinking that we can’t move forward until they measure up to some elusive standard.
Why do I believe we need a morning routine? I believe you must have a morning routine because it helps you get into the mindset of productivity and purpose.
When we get right with God we: Renew Our Minds
Get Into the Word
Are Able to Live Our Life Guided by the Holy Spirit
The difference in how my day goes when I do my morning routine and when I don’t is night and day.