Today, I have a brand-spankin’ new guest interview for you with the amazing Elisabeth Jackson.
Elisabeth is a ball of wisdom and an absolute gun when it comes to systems. She is also *spoiler alert* a very good friend of mine. Elisabeth was one of my first ever Instagram Management clients back in the day when I was a Social Media Manager. Nowadays, we play Mario Kart together and I just knew I had to have her as a guest on the podcast!
In this episode, we’re talking all about systems and how to avoid burnout. Plus, Elisabeth shares her own personal experience with burnout and how she now helps her clients to really focus on building a sustainable and healthy business that doesn’t involve the long hours, late nights and constant overwhelm.
If you have been looking for some guidance on systems and starting to grow and scale your business – you have come to the right place and you’re going to LOVE this episode!
In this episode, we talk about:
- The absolute must-have systems for every entrepreneur.
- Growing vs Scaling – what’s the difference?
- How to avoid burnout and create a sustainable and healthy business.
- Why you need to be super clear on your vision.
Tune in to the episode here:
🎙 Listen on iTunes – elleymae.com/itunes
🎙 Listen on Spotify – elleymae.com/spotify
🎙 Listen on iHeartRadio – elleymae.com/iheartradio
The episode breakdown:
Elley: Ladies, today I have systems extraordinaire, Elisabeth Jackson on the podcast and I cannot wait for you to listen to this episode and soak up all of her wisdom. It’s been a long time coming to have Elisabeth on the podcast and finally, she is here! I’m so excited.
So, let’s take things back to the beginning of your story and how you got into business. Tell us a bit about yourself, what you do and where it all began?
Elisabeth: I’m a business coach specifically in the system strategy field which is my zone of genius. I work with experienced entrepreneurs by helping them to build freedom into the foundations of their business and not treat it so much as a destination. In online business especially it can often feel like we’re chasing freedom and we’re chasing success. As long as we’re good little girls and boys and as long as we do the work, we put our head in the sand and we just grind, grind, grind, then we will pop up one day and magically we’ve made it to the finish line.
BUSINESS IS A MARATHON, NOT A RACE.
That’s what got me on my current journey with businesses of realising that there are so many entrepreneurs out there who treat business as if it’s the finish line but it is actually a lifelong journey where you need to be able to grow and evolve. It’s so important to make space for yourself so that you can be your own human being.
That’s where I come into play. I help businesses lay down those tracks and build out systems individualised to them specifically because we all know cookie-cutter programs just don’t cut it. I help my clients create those frameworks, create those tools, create those bridges so that they’re able to not only have autonomy from their business, but they also feel incredibly confident in building, growing and scaling their business in a way that feels really good to them. You got into business because you want freedom and you want to have more time to explore other passions, not for you to be chained up like in a prison.
For me personally and I’m sure many others listening, I experienced burn out constantly and I couldn’t figure out why. I started to have this journey for myself and realising that it’s because I’ve built literally no space for me the individual to be able to grow and evolve too. I was always tied up to my business and it was no longer working for me.
Elley: It is interesting because I think a lot of entrepreneurs really do experience that. You love your business so much and it is your baby, so you want to be thinking about it and working on it all of the time. I get that. But I feel as though it’s almost like the honeymoon stage that everyone talks. A honeymoon period where it’s fancy dandy and it’s all amazing. You are in this little entrepreneurship bubble where you’re like, oh my god, my business is my life. And then it hits you that holy crap, I have created no space for myself and no space for self-care. So many people probably listening can resonate with that.
So, if we take it back before you even hit burnout, why did you even start a business and how long ago was that?
Elisabeth: I started two and a half years ago as a side hustle while I was working in a marketing agency but I wasn’t feeling fulfilled there at all. Mentoring and coaching people in business was my side hustle. I’ve always had a knack for putting puzzle pieces together when it comes to strategy. When someone comes to me and says that this is what we want to do and this is where I’m currently at, I can envision very clearly the steps and the pieces that they need to put together in order to get there. So it’s like a superpower.
I helped local businesses and friends to start off with and my business coach at the time was like, you’re a business coach so why are you trying to be these other things? So I finally was able to step into that role and it was exactly like you said, it was a honeymoon period. I’m finally aligned with what I meant to do and I just wanted to nurture this baby and kind of be a mother hen. The problem with mother hens is that we can’t baby our business forever.
I experienced my first burnout about a year in. I was feeling really tired. I was feeling really discouraged. I actually wanted to quit my business at this time because I was working 24-7 and I’d ask myself, do I really want this? What am I actually trying to build here? I did not get into my business to baby it. I started my business because I wanted my business to be a partner in my life and to support the bigger visions and dreams that I have in my life. With that mindset shift, all of a sudden, it wasn’t about babying the business anymore. It was about helping the business grow up.
Elley: Burnout is something probably everyone experiences at least once in their business. If you learn from it the first time then that’s amazing but most people probably burn out a couple of times. So after that burnout and you realised that you needed to stop babying my business, you needed to let it grow up, and you need to put some systems and strategies in place, that obviously sparked your passion for creating sustainable businesses?
When it comes to growing a sustainable business that you love, that makes you money and that is fulfilling but doesn’t burn you out. What does that look like? Could you break that down for us?
Elisabeth: I always think of systems as an amplifier and not a battering ram. If you’re looking for a Hail Mary and thinking that as long as I have systems in place, then my business is going to be fine. *Newsflash* it’s not. Systems are an amplification of the visions that you have for your business. If you have a vision of a six-figure income and working only 20-hours a week then, by all means, we can build a system that amplifies that vision. But if you don’t have that vision in place already and you don’t know how you want this thing to run and operate, separate of you, it’s going to be really hard to build those systems. That is where we find a lot of disconnect when we have people trying to find strategies and constantly strategy and system hopping because they’re trying to fit their vision into a system that was never built for them. This alone can cause discouragement and then burnout.
When you are building a sustainable business, I always start with the person first before we even look at strategy or systems. We must look at you the individual.
- What do you want?
- What are your beliefs?
- How would you like to build this business if there were no rules?
My first step whenever anybody wants to build sustainability is audit currently where you’re at and get clear on what you want. Once we are clear on the goals that you have for yourself, we can start breaking those down into daily tasks. We must also build something repeatable, build something consistent and something that feels so good to you that you will enjoy doing it.
Elley: I love everything you just said! I’m all about building your business around the life that you want to live, how you want to feel and how you want to show up. Let’s dive into systems because I’m just going to put it out there that I’m not a systems guru. I have my basic systems and I just keep everything so goddamn simple in my business. I want to pick your brain!
Are there any key systems or key things that they need to have in place in order to build sustainability?
Elisabeth: Great question! I think there are some basics that every entrepreneur should have but I’ll preface it by saying that it’s not all going to look the same for everyone. A lead generation system for one person is not going to look the same for another because it’s going to be based on what they want and how they would like to build that within their own business.
The absolute number one thing is having an onboarding system. It is so magical. There is just something about when you get the sale and you and the client are so excited. You want to ride that momentum. It drops off when you don’t have an onboarding system in place because they’re like, okay, when do we get started? And you’re like, Okay, well, what works for you? Suddenly that momentum kind of slowly comes to a stop because now we’ve got to figure out all of these things. When you’re like here’s our next steps and then you automate the next step of just sending the email out with expectations, they’re continuing to ride that wave. So that the moment you get on the call you have all the information you need and they have all the information that they need so you can now show up with the energy of not having to deal with all the menial tasks.
Elley: Absolutely. I always talk about being the CEO in your business from both the mindset and strategy perspective. If we’re thinking about it from the strategy perspective of being the CEO, do you really want to be spending two hours onboarding someone by replying back and forth? So, onboarding. I am wholeheartedly on board. Well, no pun intended.
Are there any other systems for people growing personal brands or service-based entrepreneurs that really stand out?
Elisabeth: Another one that isn’t talked about as much, is offboarding. If you want to grow a business then you want to make sure that your business is only as good as your last client. If your client is leaving feeling really good about themselves and super clear on what they’re doing then that’s only going to benefit you. Having an offboarding period where you can ask the questions on how to improve your services and you can get that feedback is important. The second thing is having a referral program. I love it. It’s the best thing ever. Having word of mouth, especially from people who are so happy with how you’ve helped them is going to lead to more happy customers. Having an automatic referral form set up means you’re now able to have people coming in from another lead generation system that doesn’t require you to post every single day on Instagram.
Elley: So many women who listen to this are at different stages of business. I know some are still side hustling, some are full time in business, some are just starting out and some are a few years in. How does one know when to implement systems? Is there a right or wrong time?
Elisabeth: I have a model called the three lenses of entrepreneurship which essentially is helping to give people an understanding of how they operate as a human being. We have creator, strategic and visionary.
- Creators are people who are more technicians. They just want to do the business and then be done. What creators should do first is to build out really good communication between your ideal client. As long as you have communication with someone who you’d like to work with or you have an archetype of who you’d like to work with, you can then build that up. Get an understanding of the steps that you’re creating so that you can then create a protocol that you can create a system from.
- Strategics are similar to me where they want to figure out the best experience and the best things to put together to get to the goal. For a strategic, they’re probably already thinking about how can I make this better? How can I make sure that I’m giving this experience to as many people as possible? Building a super simple system from the get-go.
- Visionaries see the full picture and want to make sure that whatever they’re doing leads to the vision. If you’re not sure about what that vision is then no system is going to save you from it. Once you have clarified your vision then we can walk back the steps to creating a system for you. If you have a clear vision already then it’s just a matter of auditing and asking yourself, what are you currently doing? Is anything connecting back to that vision?
You’re going to feel a certain affinity to one of these three things from the get-go of your business. The best time to build your system really depends on what matters most to you.
Elley: There’s no particular time – start, middle or end. It’s more about having a clear vision and understanding of what you want. Kind of in a strategy mindset of I would probably take note of the tasks that I was doing and thinking that maybe I need to implement some systems.
You talk about how growing and scaling your business are to different things. I want to pick your brain on this because I think it’s interesting. Can you tell me a bit about that?
Elisabeth: Growing and scaling are usually used interchangeably in business but I’ve come to find that they’re two separate things. When I talk about growing, I’m thinking about just the growth of the business itself. So, you’re getting more clients and you’re making more income. You as an individual are evolving and growing because you’re getting more knowledge which comes with experience. Scaling, however, I think of as the support beams to growth. If you’re scaling, it means that you’re putting frameworks in place that are going to help with the growth of your business. Whenever I talk about scaling, I’m talking about making sure that we have those foundations in your business to support the growth that you already are going to have.
When we talk about systems, it’s an interesting conversation because people think that systems have to be complicated and all about software etc. Instead, think of systems as the support beams or the muscles in your business. You should never have to feel like you must be switched on 24-7 and that you have to do-to all the things in order for your business to grow. You must rest and have time to play and explore, which helps make your business better anyway. Now you’ve provided space for yourself for you not to be overwhelmed, be confused, or be incredibly burnt out. You’ve created space for yourself to avoid that. And that truly is the magic of systems.
Elley: What you said is 100% correct. When you give yourself the space to play, have fun and do whatever it is that you love doing in your life then naturally your business grows because you’re more passionate, you’re more energised and you’re more excited. Those things just naturally go hand in hand. It’s like this beautiful circle of life.
Okay. I want to wrap things up, but I do have one last question for you and it’s a question that I love asking all the guests on my podcast. Can you tell me what do you believe are the habits or personality traits of an empowered CEO?
Elisabeth: I think the biggest thing is recognising what your role is and then recognising your business’s role. I think it’s very easy to make those two things synonymous. One of the biggest things that helps me is understanding that there’s a role that my business plays because I made it like that. Then there is a role that I play, which is creating the direction of where my business is going. If you remember at the beginning, I had said that it can feel sometimes when burning out that your heads in the sand and you kind of pop out from time to time and hope that you’re getting further and usually, you’re off course or you’re sort of back to where you started? Well, as an empowered CEO, your job really is to make sure that your head is never in the sand so that you can see what direction you’re going in at all times.
And then if I were to pick a second, it would be to know your worth. Your worth isn’t measured by how many hours that you put into your business, by how much money you make in your business or by how many fancy tools or software you use in your business. Our worth comes from us just being us.
Elley: I love it! Elisabeth, I can’t thank you enough for coming on the podcast. I have absolutely loved this conversation so much! I feel like I’ve learned so many things about systems and I’m going to go now and do an audit of my own business!
Ladies, be sure to check out the links below to follow Elisabeth and say G’day to her if you loved this episode as much as we did. I’ll catch you on the next episode!
You can follow Elisabeth here:
- WEBSITE: https://theafrocoach.com
- INSTAGRAM: https://instagram.com/elisabethjackson
- YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLHKN4dLNzWzzm6BVzNE2Yw
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