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Stop, Pause, Continue

Speaker: [00:00:00] Today, I just wanted to talk a little bit about how-- My business has gone through quite a bit of a transformation over the past few months, really transformative, especially over the course of the past year. One of the things that has helped me weed through the muck of all of the things that I could continue to do, stop doing, start doing, all of that. My guiding principle has first been, what can I stop doing. In order to be more effective in what I am doing, I needed to limit my activities. I had a baby this year. [chuckles] Many of you know this, but not all.

When I had Algernon I had no idea what my life was going to look like after he was born. I gave my life a lot of space to be shaped around what it is to be a mother, and what it is to care for a baby. I intentionally made decisions around how my life looked over the past few years, especially the last year so that I would be able to be fully there and present with him. That doesn't mean that it's not hard because it's really, really, really hard a lot of the time. It is also really, really wonderful, most of the time. We're going to the zoo right now, that's pretty sweet. [00:02:00] What can I stop doing, is the first thing.

Within stop, there is what does not need to be happening, no one needs to be doing this. I don't need to hire someone to do this, this is just like a thing that doesn't need to happen. That was one thing. Then what do I hire out? What are the things that I'm doing that take up a lot of my time, but that I don't need to be doing, that I already have systems around that I can transfer to somebody else? For me it looked like social media, video editing, blog writing, those pieces. Also within the projects that I do, hiring out the technical writing.

I don't need to be the one who puts together the first draft of an employee handbook. I have all of the policies, I can have the conversation with my client, and I can tell my contractor like, "Okay, feedback from the client, this is what they want," and they can move forward with that project. I can just be doing the part that I love which is working with clients. This is like the thing, what are the things that I stop so that I have more time to be able to spend on other things that are more meaningful and actually just better for the business and how they grow.

One of the things that I got to spend some time on recently is, what's the plan for the next six months? What am I going to be talking about? I love to speak and to share information and share what I know. How can I do that in a way that is sustainable, for me, and my family, and the business [00:04:00] and for all of you guys. The next thing is, within stop, what do I have a system handle for me? For example, Calendly is how I do all of my bookings. Stripe is connected to Calendly and that's how people pay for one-off HR sessions with me.

I'm looking at another system that's called ActiveCampaign that links- it basically helps manage-- It's like a CRM, it also integrates with web pages, it helps you keep track of all the people that you're in contact with. As my business is growing, the reach is growing, and the audience is growing, I don't know what's happening with all of that, just intuitively. It's hard for me to pull reports from just my brain, reading what's going on. That's stop. The next one is pause. In the realm of pause is, what does not need to happen right now? I am generally not a procrastinator, in my business and things that I love, I'm not a procrastinator.

In doing dishes or cleaning the house, there are things that I will procrastinate forever, like making the bed, I never do that. In pause, there are things that don't need to happen right now. I feel like in business, for me at least it feels like I'm behind and everything needs to be happening yesterday or [00:06:00] it has to happen today, it has to happen this week. There's just this pressure to be always doing. It's impossible for me to get done all of the things that are on my list, that I would love to get done this week, it's just not going to happen. In the world of pause, I schedule ahead.

I look at my capacity, currently I have a lot of work that's going on with clients, which means that the work that I do on my business and on growing my business needs to shift. I just don't have an insane amount of capacity for that at this time, which is a blessing because I have a lot of good work that's coming through with clients that I love. It also means that there are a lot of things that need to pause. I have a couple of ways of pausing. One is I use Asana for project managements. I put my tasks in Asana, which is great, because it got all of my tasks off of my Google Calendar, it just created so much freedom for me actually in my life to not go to my calendar and be like, oh my God, these are a million things that I have to get done today.

Now they're just listed all in Asana. I can take things and schedule them for next month or next week. There are some things that just- go to the bottom of the list all the time and that's fine. That's what it is. They're usually the things that actually will have the most impact on the growth of the business, which is-they take a lot of mental brain capacity in order to do. For me, [00:08:00] creativity needs various iterations and downtime, it needs space to grow. In the pause, you give your ideas space to grow, space to change, and it can be really, really a useful tool actually. When you get to the thing, you're better prepared to do the thing if you pause on the right ones at the right time.

The last is, what continues. I had to have a pretty hard look at the offers that I was putting into the world, and what was sustainable for me and my team to keep doing at scale and what didn't fit anymore. One of the things that didn't fit anymore is a coaching program that I was doing. That doesn't mean that I will never do coaching program again, this may be more of a pause than a stop. What I continued with were things that I learned when I was doing that coaching program that were the most impactful for my clients. I have strategy sessions, half hour, hour long calls where we can talk about how to do something together, or I can tell you how to do it and then you can go and implement it yourself.

VIP Day is where I can do training, there's another section of that which is still being built out that is a fractional chief people officer. These were the things that were a part of the coaching program that people really actually used all the time. I continued with those. In the bigger offerings, I was getting so frustrated about [00:10:00] building employee handbooks. It's so detail oriented and so technical, and it's so important to get it right but I was not loving it anymore. I was going to just totally put it on the shelf. Then I was like, "Wait, no, you can keep doing employee handbooks, you can just hire out the piece that you don't love."

Employee handbook stayed as a thing that Fortress and Flourish does. Building out HR systems and policies for companies is something that stayed too. This is a really important foundational thing to do in a business, especially as you're growing past 10 employees, past 20 employees, if you're preparing to be acquired by another company or you're looking for investment. If you have these systems in place that can show that you have your ducks in a row, you've got your shit together. That was important for me to keep. Also I love policy building and development. That was awesome. Then another piece that I love is building transparent systems of pay.

That stayed, because I think that in order to have a substantial effect on equality in the workplace, pay has to be looked at deeply and it has to be a part of the conversation. There has to be a fair and equitable system for distributing the money among the staff, and benefits and all of these other pieces are a part of it too. Stop, pause and continue is this lens through which I even daily [00:12:00] think about what I'm doing and whether I should be doing it or not, and to get through the sometimes quagmire that it is to be a business owner. I hope that's helpful to you.

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