Still Minimum Wage



Still Becoming a Boss: Taking CEO Days with Ashley Kang

Episode 13

Let's talk about making boss moves: by working ON your business and not just in your business. Ashley Kang from AHK Business Management joins us on this expert episode to give us permission to take care of ourselves with CEO days in our businesses in the Season 3 premier of Still Minimum Wage.


[00:00:00] Courtney: You're tuning in to still minimum wage. This is the podcast for creative solo preneurs, who are just trying to figure out this entrepreneurial. We cover the real and the raw experiences behind running your own business and what it looks like to try and make a living for yourself that is more than still minimum wage. Join us for round table discussions around juicy topics of things that we're dealing with every day. Even if people aren't talking about the hard parts about running your own business, this is season three of the podcast. That's giving you the real and the raw about the realities of being a female entrepreneur, trying to make a living by running a small business. I'm Courtney and we have so much good stuff in store for you. We also have beef and Sam here, and we are all approaching the completion of our second year [00:01:00] of entrepreneurship.[00:01:01] And the second anniversary of when we first met guys, we are still doing this

[00:01:07] Sam: well being two years in, um, what I've learned through all our, of our conversations. Time period was that there has been a recurring thread through our struggles. And that has been how our mindset along with our emotional wellness is impacted by the day to day operations of our businesses.[00:01:30] So this season, that is what we will be exploring with our guests of panels, a panel of.

[00:01:39] Fifa: And even more exciting. We have a lot of new entrepreneur friends who are transitioning from solar preneur to see. Joining the conversation as we introduce our new round table discussions so that you, our listeners can find more voices and businesses that you connect

[00:01:57] Courtney: with.[00:01:57] We're super excited for you to meet [00:02:00] them. And today we are starting with our new friend, Ashley King of business, strategist, and founder of a H K. Business management, who is passionate about something we've all been trying, but honestly, kind of failing to implement. And that is C E O days. Welcome Ashley.

[00:02:25] Ashley: Thank you so much for having me super excited to be

[00:02:27] Courtney: here. All right. Let's just get into it. What is a CEO day and why do you feel like they're so important to them? Ashley: Oh, man. I love this question. Um, it's very simply put a CEO day is a designated block of time. So that could be an hour or a full day that you set aside each week to work on your business and not in your business. So that basically means you don't do any client work during your CEO time. And usually. Usually on a Monday or a Friday typically. So that basic terms is what a CEO day is. Um, why it's important. I could talk about that all day, but succinctly it's important because it's time to pause and reflect on what has happened in your business.[00:03:20] Recently, planning and strategizing for moving ahead, time for self care professional development. Basically it's time for you to get your sanity, clarity and time back.

Courtney: Oh, let's get the sanity back. That explains a lot about what's been happening over here. Um, but you know, like let's be real. It's really hard to carve out time for anything besides client work.[00:03:47] That was something that I experienced last week. I was traveling in Vegas and like Friday, I was supposed to be off the computer, out experiencing things. I was at the BTS concert. And [00:04:00] even then I was like, still emailing. Desperately trying to find the Starbucks, but what is the way that we can not feel bad about prioritizing these CEO days?[00:04:11] Especially if it means putting off, you know, other things that feel more

[00:04:14] Ashley: urgent. I love to use this little analogy here. The oxygen mask on an airplane. So, you know, everybody hopefully has flown at some point or other. And when you get on the plane, they do the safety video. And they always say in the event that an oxygen mask falls from, you know, the ceiling you're supposed to fix your oxygen mask on yourself first, before helping those around you. Right. Because if you're helping somebody next to you and you pass out, cause you don't have. Well, then you're both in trouble, right? So it's the same kind of idea of why you need to prioritize CEO time for yourself and for your business. Because if you're not taking care of yourself and your business, you're not really able to help your clients to the best that you can't, you can't show up every day, 100%. So that's one of the things that I say about why you need to prioritize CEO days, whether it's. You are feeling that oxygen deprivation or not, at some point down the road, you're going to feel it. You just shared coordinate, you were feeling it. And I would also just say, you need to give yourself some permission and grace to be flexible, to experiment, find things that work for you and what don't and things change. Like I used to do my CEO days actually on Saturday mornings. And then I decided to try shifting it to Monday mornings. And I've been doing that now for a couple of months and it's been the best change, but I knew that I needed to let myself try. And it actually ended up working really well.

[00:05:48] Courtney: All right. So let's do a reality check for everybody on this call. So we know Ashley does hers on Mondays. Everyone else are you guys doing them successfully? And if you are, when has been the best time for you. [00:06:00]

[00:06:01] Sam: So for me, I also like Mondays, just because it's kind of hard to transition into like the grind from coming off the weekends. So having that time to just like.[00:06:15] Um, take more time on stuff on Monday versus saying, okay, this needs to get done on Monday. I can just kind of, you know, just kind of sit more quietly and like, and try to strategize come up with ideas because that's what I like doing. Like, like just thinking of new ideas. Um, maybe like problem solving on my own and just blocking out that time to.[00:06:38] To do that on Monday is both great to, as a transition, but also like just to get, get, uh, excited about the week

[00:06:48] Fifa: as for me. I been wanting to implement CEO days and I'm going to lie. It's been really hard. Um, right now I'm trying to put it [00:07:00] as Fridays, but I do understand the point that you're making Sam about doing it on Mondays.[00:07:05] Cause you know, you still have that delay from the weekend. You know, it's still transitioning into work. So. I guess with my schedule too Mondays would probably work best. Um, but nowadays I find that I've been doing it. Um, well, I've been trying to do it on Fridays, um, which is usually the time that I kind of wind down a little bit, but, um, Yeah.

[00:07:29] It's, it's been really, really hard for me to really implement it as part of what I have to do. And it's, it's something that my coach always emphasize is I know, like I'm supposed to be reading this book specifically, um, before we get on a call together. And I honestly haven't really been touching it because I haven't been prioritizing.

[00:07:50] Though CEO days, like I'm supposed to. And she always reminds me, like, if you're not prioritizing this time for your business, your business is not [00:08:00] going to be growing. It's just not going to grow to the point that you want it to. And it's, you're just constantly putting your mind in other people's businesses and not your own.[00:08:11] So. How can you ever grow and organize your business if you're not setting time aside for this. And it's like, you're sending out a signal to the universe saying like, you know, you're not you're, you just want to work on your clients that you're not ready to grow. Put in time for yourself to read and to grow your mindset and all that stuff.[00:08:32] So in return, you're signaling out like mixed signals. So like I'm very spiritual and you know, like I forget sometimes these things, um, unless my coach tells me, and then in the back of my mind, I'm like, okay, I should read because it's singling out these weird, these messages to the universe saying I'm not ready to grow because I'm not spending time.[00:08:54] So these things are still something I'm actively working on, but nowadays I do find, [00:09:00] I am, um, trying to at least put in 10 minutes to just at least read as part of like my CEO time, um, for every day. Um, even if. Um, put in one whole day for it. But, um, I think Mondays would be something that I would try to actually implement because it might be better, um, instead of Fridays, because Fridays in general for me, or it's wind down period, but it's also, um, a time that I do get lazy sometimes too.[00:09:31] And then I'm just want to stop doing everything and just like do nothing and go into the weekend.

[00:09:38] Courtney: For me, I think Monday has also been helpful right now. I'm actually doing like a group coaching program where the call is Monday at 10. So that eats into a little bit of that time. And during really like intense periods where there's a lot going on or like I'm getting ready to prep a marketing campaign.[00:09:56] I'll actually do that on Saturday afternoon. So. Saturday morning, I'll usually go to a cafe like, you know, sit, read, and meditate, and then that'll transition into work time. Um, but I find that when I don't do that, it kind of steals. Like I ended up stealing that time back throughout the week and then I just get really distracted and then actually sometimes kind of resent client work when I have. Like gotten myself organized. Cause like I want to be organized. I want to like manage my own projects. But, um, Ashley, now that you've heard all of our self con or our confessions, maybe as a business strategist, you can do a diagnosis of like, you know, where to get started, uh, bringing this in regularly and maybe even share with us, like, you know, how.[00:10:43] Did you get started as a business strategist and like, how are you helping people figure out like the things that they're supposed to be doing to actually grow right? Because for a lot of us, we started off and we just think I'm going to start posting on Instagram and then I'm going to get clients and it's all just going to work out.

[00:10:58] But I am sensing now that again, we're two years into this. There's a bit more to it.

[00:11:05] Ashley: Yes, I, man, I loved hearing for each of you, what kind of. Ax to grind with CEO day time is, and, um, the beauty of CEO days, I'll just start with the really positive note is that it's like a, choose your own adventure for each person who has a CEO date. It looks a little different and you need different things for yourself and for your business. So that's like an encouragement piece. I don't think there is one right way to do it. I don't think there is one, like set, you have to do all these things. I think there are a lot of common elements and things that you, that are helpful for everybody to adopt, but again, it's who you are and what you need.[00:11:51] So that'd be my first disclaimer. Okay. But I heard the echoes of like Friday versus Monday and, um, FIFA, I [00:12:00] totally get you like Fridays. We start to get a little lazy. Right. And we kind of check out for the week, which is why Mondays are great, because like Sam said, it's a great kind of transition way to ease into the week and have a little bit more of her time between the week really starting on the weekend.

[00:12:20] Um, and. I think another piece is it doesn't have to be a full day. We call it a CEO dime for some people. It is a full day because they have that time. And for some people it's maybe an hour or like half a day. And so that might be something to be playing around with. Like, don't feel the pressure that you need to spend an entire day if you don't have that time.[00:12:44] That's okay. Yeah. My CEO day is on Monday and I call it my CEO day. I'm not doing any client related work. The first hour is truly like CEO tasks, [00:13:00] responsibilities, where I'm reviewing my metrics for the week, my social media engagement, um, and you know, looking at more of that. Housekeeping for lack of better word tasks.[00:13:14] Um, and then I transitioned into more things like stuff self-development. So things like what you were saying, FIFA of being able to read through that book, that'd be self development or your coaching calls. Courtney. I would still consider that CEO time, you know, it's developing yourself.

[00:13:32] Sam: consider email part of a CEO day?

[00:13:37] Courtney: That was a big sigh.

[00:13:41] Sam: a big sigh.

[00:13:44] Ashley: All right. I would define defining email if you're like catching up with email, maybe I would say email in the sense that you're maybe emailing, um, Like referral [00:14:00] partners, maybe you're emailing your team. Maybe you're emailing your business partner, right. About things to grow your business. Or like, as long as it's not client work related, I would say email is okay.[00:14:14] Like I definitely check my email. Right. Cause things come in from the weekend or whatnot, but I try not to spend too much time on it because you know, you can be stuck in your inbox all day, if you really aren't careful. So. That was the side.

[00:14:29] Courtney: Maybe if you're like filtering, sorting, kinda like getting, getting the database, but for what I'm hearing, it's truly drawing that line between things that you're doing for your business and things that you're doing for someone else's business,

[00:14:44] Ashley: right.[00:14:44] Or maybe you're drafting like email newsletters or whatnot, but as long as it's for your business, I think. Um, but I was hearing a lot too of just like that whole consistency piece and knowing what to focus on. And one of [00:15:00] the things I also suggest to people is having a like CEO day agenda or checklist of things that you always want to get done during your CEO time, whether it's an hour or all day.[00:15:11] And having that checklist in like a project management tool, or maybe it's, if you want to be real simple, keeping it on post-it notes. A notebook that you can just consistently like open it up and know, okay, here we go. I don't even have to think about it. Boom, boom, boom, boom. And actually this morning for me, with my CEO time, I by 9:30 AM for me, I had already gone to the grocery store and done everything on my CEO day checklist because I didn't have to think about it.[00:15:40] It was like open the list. Wow. Go through it.

[00:15:45] Courtney: That's impressive.

[00:15:49] Ashley: The grocery store is not on my list. It was the thing that I need I needed to do, but I knew I was like, I have this list of things I need to get done this morning for my CEO time. [00:16:00] I know how long it takes me to do it because I do it every Monday. I can go to the grocery store.

[00:16:07] Courtney: Sam going to the grocery store could be on your CEO list because you always get inspired by looking at the branding here.[00:16:13] Like who's gotten shelf space and whatnot.

[00:16:16] Sam: my gosh. Yeah.

[00:16:18] Fifa: It's true. Like getting that, uh, creative, uh, those creative walks. This could be part of your CEO days. It's like you said, Ashley, like, it really depends. Like everybody has a different version of what a CEO day looks like. So whatever it is on your list, You just have to, if, as long as it gives you inspiration and you're working on your business, instead of in your, like, actually working in your business instead of. Now confusing to do and working you're working on your business instead of in your business, that's it? Yep. That's always the struggle, but, uh, yeah, as long as you you're taking time for that, and it doesn't really matter so much exactly what you do. It's like, okay, you have a routine and you're tackling some parts of it. Um, but at least you're, you're making that time for it, which is always the hardest part just to do this.

[00:17:12] Ashley: Okay. It's making intentional time having some form of self care or self delight, whether it's going to work at a coffee shop to do those tasks or, um, doing like starting a little later in the day. I know some people who their whole, like the morning is devoted to like CEO and business things.[00:17:30] And then in the afternoon they leave it open so they can schedule like doctor's appointments and like things that they need to, they have to do during the week. But don't. Infringe on client work time. So it's again, like I said, choose your own adventure.

[00:17:46] Courtney: along with choosing that own adventure, um, you know, so we'll use FIFA as kind of like a use case of FIFA is extremely busy.[00:17:54] For those of you who've been listening to the podcast, your business has kind of exploded. You're you're constantly [00:18:00] having client work that you're trying to slog through. You've booked some of your biggest projects today, right? FIFA. So like, Ooh. But also like, boom, because you know, like you're struggling to make time for all these things.[00:18:15] Um, but you know, some coaches will just say like, in that instance and case that you need a VA, if you feel really busy to delegate things to Ashley, what's your perspective on that advice? Cause I got that advice also from a coach. And they were like, oh, you just like need to hire someone. I look back on it now.[00:18:35] Like, yes, I was really busy, but I think it was harder because I was burnt out probably because I wasn't prioritizing the right things. But yeah. What's your perspective on that? Like, do you need a BA or do you just need to like, give that time back to your.

[00:18:50] Ashley: Hot take. I'm going to say I disagree. Ooh. Tell us more.[00:18:58] I think for anybody [00:19:00] listening, who has a team currently, you know, thinking about having a team at any point, anytime you're managing people, first of all, like it's actually more work one to just like, get your business to a place where you can bring on somebody. Cause you need systems. You need. You know, SOP, you knew a point yeah.[00:19:21] Revenue. Exactly. You need a plan to delegate and manage this person or people, and then you have to go hire them. Right? The hiring process is a whole another thing that you need, you're going to need to carve out time for, so that alone, you need to be very sure that that's what you actually need. Um, because in some cases, maybe it's just a matter of like some automations and.[00:19:46] CRM or something like that set up. So it'll just run for you. I think I heard somebody say that Zapier is the cheapest VA you'll ever hire. I mean, it's, [00:20:00] it's along those lines of some of the busy-ness could just be taken care of if you, you know, audit your systems, put in some automation. So there's that, um, But with, with hiring a VA again, you need to, I would say, take a step back first and think about where you want to take your business.[00:20:24] What's your vision. This is a piece that I work with clients. It's vision planning. And what, what do you actually want out of your business? Where do you want to be in 90 days? One year, three years, right? And. At where you are right now is bringing on a team member going to help bump you to that next place.[00:20:47] Um, I think if you're burnt out, like what you were saying, Courtney, if you're really burnt out, bringing on another person, that's probably not going to be the best thing at the moment. Um, that whole comment of check yourself before you wreck yourself.

[00:21:00] Um, you know, you're, you're going to, if once the minute you bring on somebody, you're the captain.[00:21:07] Of the ship or the team they're looking to look to you and if you're not ready and not fully, well, I don't think any of us are all fully put together, but if you don't have kind of a sense of how you're going to use this person and a strategy and a plan ready in place, then you might be paying this person for doing not a whole.[00:21:32] So that's my hot take and you know, there's other people like, um, Jamie Lynn weeks and Tatyana O'Hara who talk about this all the time with hiring and when's the right time. So I'll leave it to them, the experts, but that's my hot take. I would just say.

[00:21:49] Courtney: I love how you brought up the vision planning of it, because those are things that you can't outsource. Like you have to do that. And I have also experienced hiring somebody and then literally feeling like, what am I paying them to do? And I personally find that I need the CEO day to like, make the list to delegate out to everybody else. Um, and then, oh my gosh, just like bringing someone on board and doing SOP is, is like a whole nother thing in of itself.

[00:22:14] I think people can probably relate to.

[00:22:17] Fifa: Yeah, it's a, it's a lot to manage people like right now I'm working with, um, developers. Right. And I still have to manage their work, even though I told myself like, okay, I want to focus the design part of it. And I want to outsource the development at the end of the day, it's still my business.[00:22:35] And I'm the last person that says it's like, It's good to go. Right. And I still have to deal the quality assurance because it's my brand. And I need to ensure that everything is on point before I send it off to the client. So a lot of the time, especially if it's like a new person that you just hired, even though they are senior and they know what they're doing, and they have years of experience, there's certain things in your business that you see. Um, that you, you know, it's, you have your own standard, right. And you have to make sure that that is correct. And that goes well, and everything is good before you send it off. So a lot of the time that I'm spending my time, just like reviewing these things and it's like more time than I had to work on that. And I have to stop what I'm doing. And then I look at that and then they're like, oh, I'm waiting for your feedback. And then I'm like, okay, let me just, let me take some time. Like give me a moment so that I can finish this and then I can go and I can do the quality assurance. It's a lot of work. And I get what you, what you mean about the outsourcing, like hiring a VA versus automation because that's kind of.

[00:23:43] I thought the first thing that I had to do was hire a VA. That was like the first thing that was on my list. I was like, I want to hire a VA. I'm so busy right now. VA's the solution. But my coach was the one who was like, no, You know, there are ways to automate it. [00:24:00] And that's why right now I'm trying to do that where I, I bought like this whole program, which I haven't even set up yet.[00:24:07] Cause I don't make time for the CEO days. You know? So that's the issue now too, where it's like, I want to automate things. I'm not ready to hire VA yet, but at the same time, I have no time to set up my systems. Cause I'm so busy with clients. So it's like, okay, now I really have to make time for it and really prioritize those CEO days.[00:24:29] But it's always such a struggle. So it's like,

[00:24:33] Ashley: I mean, it is hard when you're like stuck in the middle and just trying to like dig yourself out of the hole. Um, this is where. Uh, time audit is really helpful. I don't know if you, um, time blocked or like task batch and have day themes, but that's where, you know, again, task and time blocking day theming, having healthy boundaries of like communication with your clients of saying I'm only available [00:25:00] during these hours to respond or, um, you know, when I, when you get a revision.

[00:25:10] You have X amount of days to respond to your revisions and starting to put some boundaries and communication pieces in place, also help reinforce your own schedule and your own time blocks. Like for let's use the example of social media, right? We were all in some point on Instagram or Facebook or whatever channels we're on, but we can only put so much time in the day for that.

[00:25:37] So for me, You know, put, I block off like 10 minutes, every couple hours to scroll through. And then I put my phone away and I, I don't look. Um, my clients, they know that I will respond to their message or their email within 24 to 36 hours. I try to hit it beforehand, but I set the expectation of [00:26:00] here's.[00:26:01] Here's what I'm going to respond. Um, if you're on retainer, Or if you're on like a project base, then sometimes time-blocking like, you know, every Tuesday morning from nine to 10, you're working on client A's work. Um, and then, you know, from 10 to 11, you're working on client B, you know, it depends on the business model you have to write and you have to figure out.

[00:26:27] What are the moving pieces? What are the things that you have to prioritize and have to get done, which is where the time audit comes in handy.

[00:26:34] Courtney: Yeah. So for those of you who are listening, if you want to start at a place that sounds like a time audit is a good place to start. I feel like we're all reminded and kind of rejuvenating and re motivated to put our CA.

[00:26:51] Day in place, even if it starts with an hour. So thanks for bringing all of these helpful tips and just really reminding [00:27:00] us of the fact that we're driving the ship. As you said, we are the captain of the ship, Ashley. So as we always love to do, um, we have a re free resource we want to share with our audience.[00:27:12] So why don't you tell us about it?

[00:27:14] Ashley: Well, I mentioned the time audit a couple of times and I have a. Time, audit worksheet for you that you can download, and it really just logging your activities for a whole week. So it's a bit more of a commitment as far as time, but, um, it forces you to log all of your activities for a full week.[00:27:35] And then it kind of shows you where your, what buckets. So what categories are you doing? A lot of client tasks. You're doing a lot of financial tasks. Internal projects. And that way you can kind of look and see where all of your time is going, and then it gives you some questions to reflect and things to look out for.[00:27:53] And then a new sheet where you can start building out some time blocks or day [00:28:00] theming to actually start making some of the changes based off of your results. You can get that off of my Instagram. I'm sure we can put that in the show notes to you, but it's, it's the first step. You need to have the data to be able to make those decisions.

[00:28:14] Right. Um, and then you can take that data and start trying to put together a CEO day start, actually. I mean, this is a point I probably should have made earlier is that a CEO day is only as good as how you manage the rest of your week. So. CEO day plus the rest of your week. And those are the things I help clients with too.[00:28:36] It's one of my services, but I'm always, I always, even with my clients who do the design, my CEO day, I'm always like, let's do a time audit first because without the information it's going to be hard. That's a free resource. You can have.

[00:28:50] Courtney: Awesome. Yeah, we we'll put a link to that in our show notes and you can also get it on our Instagram and we'll direct you to Ashley's Instagram. If you go to our profile, you'll see a little small business spotlight, but before Sam, did you guys have any big takeaways from our discussion?

[00:29:08] Fifa: I need a time audit. It's definitely, definitely something that I need right now, because yeah, the, the time, the priorities that I'm putting needs to be revisited and really it's, it's, it's that time to really just like, okay, put one hour side and really just look at where my time is going.[00:29:34] Right now it's about really prioritizing the time and time audit seemed like the best thing to do.

[00:29:41] Sam: Uh, I think the biggest thing that stood out to me was boundaries. You know, having boundaries between, um, client demands and, uh, the tasks that you have to do as the CEO, but also boundaries between CEO days and. Every other day. Right. Um, and also it's kind of like, cool. Cause I was thinking that, you know, now that Courtney and I have combined forces into a new company, which technically, uh, which in actuality, I am not the CEO of. So I feel like I could get away. Scot-free.

[00:30:23] Courtney: chief operating officer over here.

[00:30:26] Ashley: Oh, yeah,

[00:30:27] Sam: maybe I'll have like a C-O-O day

[00:30:29] Ashley: day. There you go. I mean, regardless of what part, I mean, having a CEO day for whatever position you're in, in a business, I think is still a pretty big.

[00:30:41] Courtney: Well, thank you so much, Ashley, for bringing us so much good stuff to think about.[00:30:46] If you guys are listening, we'd love to hear what your biggest takeaway is, where you can come and chat with us on our Instagram at still minimum wage. And this is just a preview of more juicy conversations. We have to come up to season.

[00:31:00] So tune in on Wednesdays for our episodes. They have experts coming on.We have round tables and we're all continuing to grow our businesses together. So. See you soon.

More about Ashley Kang

AHK Business Management

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Link to Ashley's Time Audit Worksheet: Download it Here

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