Strategies, Entrepreneur

How We Put Our Business on Autopilot and Had 12 Weeks of Paid Leave this Year

Episode 144: Show Notes

Today on the podcast we are talking payments, money and how it all happens. Now we know we toot our own horns all the time because we are really freakin’ proud of ourselves for doing the work that we do; six-figure months, six-figure launches, just six-figure everything! However, sometimes when you hear that from business owners, especially online, you often imagine those people are working non-stop, night and day. But today, we want to come into the conversation and remind you guys we have never been those super-hustler type of creatives and entrepreneurs. It’s just not in our nature and we literally want to do the opposite.

Today on the podcast we are talking payments, money and how it all happens. Now we know we toot our own horns all the time because we are really freakin’ proud of ourselves for doing the work that we do; six-figure months, six-figure launches, just six-figure everything! However, sometimes when you hear that from business owners, especially online, you often imagine those people are working non-stop, night and day.  |  The Strategy Hour  |  Think Creative Collective

Inside this episode, we want to show you it is totally attainable for you to have a successful business and not be working around the clock. It is all possible by setting up the right systems, having the right processes, offering the right products and having all the things that make a great business. Success in business does NOT always mean you have to be working nights and weekends or not spending time with your families. In fact, we don’t believe in working like that at all because it’s actually not healthy. If you are ready to put your business on autopilot, then you better tune in to this one!

Our First Leave; Maternity and Recovery

This year we started off with a bang. Both of us went on leave almost immediately. In the beginning of the year, from January 1st to February, Emylee and her husband had adopted their new baby and she took maternity leave. During this same time, Abbie was in a major car accident so she took the time off to heal and recover from her injuries. She spent this time going to doctors appointments and focusing on her health, even though she was supposed to be the one left running the business while Emylee was on leave. Luckily, we benefited from already planning for Emylee to be on leave. We had set everything up to keep moving while she was gone. This included launching a new website, a new podcast and a new program, all while being completely on autopilot.

Preparing Our Business Before Taking Leave

The year before going into that leave, quarter three of 2016, we knew Emylee would be taking maternity leave. They were placed with their birth mother in July of that year, which gave a whole 7 months for us to prepare the business. With that amount of time, we were able to schedule blog posts, prepare team members for new roles and set up the systems to ensure everything would run smoothly and correctly. This included identifying which things could be pushed out and which could be easily prepared in advance. Since we also had a goal of actually making money, we decided to go out and sell something during this time of leave. We launched in December and were able to put the remainder of the launch on autopilot by pre-scheduling emails and working really hard to get ahead. However, keep in mind: we still did not go above and beyond and work a ton of overtime to make that happen. We put our teams in place to handle all the finer details and even managed to reach #13 in the iTunes Top Business Podcasts list. Amazing!

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Transitioning Back to Work

After our leaves, we didn’t exactly come back full-time. We had to figure out how to work around our schedules. Emylee was on maternity leave for four months and did not come back to work full-time until they found a sitter. In the meantime, Abbie was holding down the fort while also heading back and forth to doctors appointments. One of the biggest factors that allowed Emylee to go back to work part-time during these four months was that her partner received four months paid paternity leave during this time. So yes, we were half a man down, but we could still move forward, plan and communicate with people despite the circumstances. Once Emylee came back full-time, her schedule got changed completely to adjust to her new lifestyle. From there, we did a lot of things differently for the first time! We were able to test almost an entire new launching strategy. We launched a challenge and even launched Facebook ads for the first time. This was exactly what we needed to set up.

Summer Vacation Leave

In July, we had done our first massive launch ever. Everything was totally new and we were extremely tired afterwards! We had never been that tired in our entire lives, so we decided to take the fourth of July off AND the week around it. We weren’t launching anything during this break and decided to just take some time off to relax. We had literally wrapped up the launch a day before and moved the start of class until after our vacation. This gave our students a full week to dive into some bonus content while we took a little time off. When we came back, we started dripping content for Strategy Academy. We had done all the bonuses in advance but hadn’t recorded any of the main content until after we got back from our mini-vacation. That taught us another lesson. We learned that giving our students that small window of prep time really helped them be more in-tune and present once class actually started. This is something that we are definitely going to implement again.

Our Next Leave; Emylee in Mexico

The next leave we had to prepare for was when Emylee would be in Mexico for a week in August. We all wanted to take some time off, but we had to figure out what we can capitalize on during that time. What’s something we can do during that week where none of us really have to touch it but it can still work toward growing our business? We decided to promote a free challenge. Our plan was to literally roll it out the entire week that Emylee was gone. Then, once she came back, we would start the challenge right away. We knew we wouldn’t want to start the challenge while she was gone because we need to teach live and educate our people. But in order to get people excited and in the door, for that part, we don’t really need both of us to actually be here. We recorded the ads, got everything set up and scheduled, including emails, and we both simply checked out!

Our Biggest Leave-Prep of the Year

We are happy to announce we will be taking the entire month of December off! Because we planned our biggest launch of the year for November, we would have had one bat-shit crazy of an October. We took everything else off the docket; no interviews, no meetings, no strategies, no brainstorming, no nothing! Everything for November and December and the first part of January had to happen in the four weeks of October and it had to happen knowing we could only fit it in four days of the week, with every day ending at 4:15. So keep in mind, us prepping for basically three months of content, work and strategies literally happened in the same amount of time that we’ve ever worked before. We literally had to fit it in the hours we were given. Again, this wasn’t working nights and weekends. So to prepare, we put it all on a calendar. We mapped out everything on a schedule and blocked out all the time we needed to get it done! We spent a few days literally just planning and before we even did that, we had to promise to hold each other accountable to NOT work in December. We have big plans for this company and we definitely still want to take a lot of time off to enjoy our family. But ultimately, we want to grow, so we have to continue to plan every step of the way!

Putting Your Business on Autopilot

To get started in putting your business on autopilot, get as much of the promotional stuff out of the way as you can. We have learned that preparing for a launch at least 30 to 60 days in advance is the best for us so we can breathe a sigh of relief and know everything will go off without a hitch. It also helps us to know that if there happens to be a “fire” we have to put out, we are able to step in right away. We are talking about prepping your Instagram, your Facebook posts, recording and scheduling out podcast episodes. Batch your days as much as you can. Next, prep your emails. Get them uploaded, formatted and scheduled in your software. If you hustle hard for a month and use whatever time you have to be super diligent about getting everything prepared, this next question will be key! Are you using them to your best advantage when you are preparing to take time off? Make sure you have everything planned down to the T, even if it’s simply creating a workflow for your team to carry out in your absence. Take diligent notes on what worked and what didn’t to keep for your records, so you can rinse and repeat or tweak next time.

Highlights

  • Why we ended up both taking a leave, even though we only planned for one of us to be gone. [0:06:28.1]
  • How we prepared our business for a time of leave and launched products on autopilot. [0:07:41.1]
  • Find out how we transitioned back to work after our leaves and why it wasn’t full-time. [0:13:07.1]
  • Taking off an entire week around July 4th to better prepare our students for the Strategy Academy. [0:18:13.1]
  • How we capitalized on growing our business during Emylee’s vacation to Mexico. [0:24:30.1]
  • Preparing for the biggest vacation we have ever had and how we got it all done. [0:27:46.1]
  • The strategies you can implement to be able to put your business on autopilot. [0:36:03.1]

#TalkStrategyToMe [0:45:07.6]

  1. Research and decide on a social media scheduler.
  2. Spend a day mapping out and scheduling your posts.
  3. Prep emails, promos, and coupon codes for your launch.

Today’sGuest

Abagail + Emylee.jpeg

ABAGAIL & EMYLEE

The Strategy Hour Podcast

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We help overwhelmed and creative entrepreneurs break down their Oprah-sized dreams to create a functioning command center to tame the chaos of their business. Basically, we think you’re totally bomb diggity, we’re about to uplevel the shiz out of your business.

KeyTopics

  • Preparing for the unexpected.
  • Launching on autopilot.
  • Transitioning back to work.
  • Leave before a launch.
  • Capitalizing on vacation.
  • Planning for vacation.
  • Putting your business on autopilot.

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