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Name: Adriana Cowdin

Current title: CEO

Current organization: Dekaf Digital

Adriana Cowdin brings 20+ years expertise in marketing to the table with a strong emphasis on digital marketing. She’s the Founder and CEO of Dekaf Digital, a digital marketing agency serving VC-backed and mid-size companies with Digital Strategy, Social Media Management and Audience Intelligence.
This former corporate executive, turned published author and 4-time entrepreneur, came from the ranks of Corporate America where she was a Chief Marketing Officer for a private equity-owned $500MM company, Chief Digital Marketing Officer for a $5B home services company and Division Vice President of Digital Marketing for a $40B retailer overseeing 150 brands and 30 business units both online and in-store.
Cowdin holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management from Metropolitan State University in Denver and has completed management and leadership courses from Harvard Business School’s advanced program. She has been featured on ABC, WGN, CNNMoney, FoxBusiness, Forbes, Hoovers, Reuters, NYTimes, Inc. 500, Yahoo! Finance, The Denver Post, LA Times, NJ Star Ledger, Sydney Morning Herald, The Huffington Post and Windy City Live Morning Show.
What’s most unique about Adriana is her zest for life. In addition to running two successful businesses, she lives with 9 chronic diseases and has had radical surgeries to address them including the Whipple and TPAIT. In addition to her islet cell transplant in her liver, her pancreas, half of her stomach, small intestine, bile duct, gallbladder and appendix have all been removed. She lives with the rarest form of Diabetes (Type 3C), chronic pancreatic disease, gastroparesis, osteoporosis, Addison’s Disease, Hypothyroid, Hypopituitary, Mild Liver Disease and Celiac. Despite these odds, she fights everyday to get up, exercise, take care of her family and exude energy into her businesses.

1. What have you found most challenging as a leader of a small or medium enterprise?
When you found a business, and lead it, you become the “CEO” of everything from IT to Accounting to Marketing to your core competency. Wearing all those hats is a challenge, especially when trying to balance the core of your business.

2. How did you become a leader of an SME? Can you please briefly tell the story?
I was a Chief Digital Marketing Officer at a $1B firm, having stood up their entire digital marketing team and launched the industry-first eCommerce platform. After doing this for some time, I was getting regular inquiries about how I could help other companies. I’d founded two other companies and thought it was the right time to launch a digital marketing agency. That’s when Dekaf Digital was born and I haven’t looked back yet.

3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I’m a morning person so I wake up early and start with meditation. Then I check email and respond only to those that are of utmost urgency. After that, I walk the dog (love a morning walk), come back and do some yoga or cycling. Then it’s time for coffee and to jump into my day. I typically work straight through until 2-3:30 then I grab a bite to eat and rest. I’m usually resting from the mid afternoon until early evening. I’m a big fan of the siesta. After that I hop back online for an hour or so to close out my day and prepare for the next one.

4. What’s the most recent significant leadership lesson you’ve learned?
Take on clients you like and your work will be enjoyable. When we first started out I took on any client available so we’d have revenue. However, I wanted us to have a good time at work given how many hours everyone puts in so I pivoted to only taking on clients that we liked. Yes, it can cost dollars in the short-term but, in the end, if you both like working together they’ll refer business to you. win-win-win

5. What’s one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. The book is all about the law of attraction and the abundant universe. After reading it, I had everyone on the team do vision boards of what they wanted professionally, personally, financially and health-wise. We took pictures and kept them on our phones to continually remind us of our goals. I keep my physical one hung in my office as well. These visual reminders are a great way to recenter yourself and, on those hard days, find motivation to pull through.

6. How do you build leadership capacity in an SME?
Having come from corporate America, I was well versed in building leadership capacity in that environment. However, in a SME it’s more hands-on. You need to deeply understand each team member’s skill sets, passions, strengths and lean into them. In a SME, everyone has an important role regardless of title or function. It takes the entire team to create success. I build leadership capacity at Dekaf Digital by leaning in to my team member’s strengths and adding on responsibility when they’re ready. We have a former Director that’s now an SVP and excelling.

7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader of an SME so far?
Something that’s unique about me is that I live with 9 chronic diseases, many of which are difficult to manage on a daily basis. (hence the siesta/rest mid-day). I have a client I meet with every Thursday morning and this particular time I was in the hospital so I had to cancel our meeting. I was a bit worried as I’m not a fan of cancelling client meetings. Instead of being upset, they sent flowers. We’ve had a stronger, more open relationship since that day. It’s scary to share your personal trials with business colleagues and clients but sometimes, you get surprised.

1. Find a WFH entrepreneurial community

Being an entrepreneur can be very lonely, especially if you are a solopreneur. Find a community of other people who are running similar businesses, at a similar growth point, or who face similar challenges and engage with them several times a week. That might be on 1:1 calls, small group video chats, or in online forums. You’ll need a community to ask questions of when you feel stuck and to be a resource to you as you grow your business. Don’t try to do everything alone!

Carla Howard, CEO, The Professional Woman’s Mentor

Especially if you have spent most of your working life squished into a bustling office, it might be difficult to consider the drawbacks of operating your business from home. However, a severe disadvantage that is frequently ignored is a crippling sensation of isolation. Try to chat with clients or customers over the phone rather than through email if you spend the majority of the workday by yourself. Alternatively, network with like-minded individuals at trade exhibits or industry gatherings. This should broaden your target market for your company and lessen any feelings of loneliness.

Jenny Ly,  Founder, Go Wanderly

2. Double-check legal requirements

If you’re beginning a new business, it’s always a good idea to examine the state and municipal regulations. A business license or permit may be required in some states, and if you don’t comply, you could be punished. Local zoning restrictions may be necessary depending on the type of business you wish to operate. Find out if any rules could influence your firm after you’ve chosen a business structure and registered with your state.

Nely Mihaylova, Content Editor, UNAGI Scooters

Even though you’re operating from home, register for an EIN. Your company entity will be identified by your Employer Identification Number (EIN), which is a federal tax number. You will require an EIN if you ever want to register your company as an LLC or recruit staff. Applying for an EIN will help you protect your Social Security Number because without one, you’ll have to use it to identify your firm. On the IRS website, you can submit a free application and have your EIN right away.

Erik Wright, Owner & CEO, New Horizon Home Buyers

3. Find a reliable remote team

The majority of home businesses begin as one-person operations, but you don’t have to be a master of all trades. Jobs may always be outsourced. You may find reasonably priced independent freelancers on websites like Fiverr, Upwork, and PeoplePerHour. You advertise your project on these websites, and contractors then submit bids. You choose the contractor who meets your needs in terms of abilities and price.

Alex Uriarte, Personal Injury Attorney, 1-800 Injured

4. Embrace technology

As your business grows, so will the need to provide resources and tools for your team. At Dekaf Digital, we use Asana for project management, Slack for communication, Harvest for time tracking/reporting, QuickBooks for bookkeeping and invoicing, and HubSpot as our CRM. Many of these tools offer free basic accounts and, as you grow, they can meet the expanded needs of your business and/or team.

Adriana L. Cowdin, CEO and Managing Director, Dekaf Digital

I’ve been running my business virtually and from home for over a decade. … The best way to run a remote operation is to have the necessary processes and technology in place. For example, making sure that you have an onboarding document readily available for new hires using Notion or Slite. This way, the team member has a reference point when asking questions. Another very important topic is that of communication. We use Slack for most of our daily communication and Zoom for our weekly calls.

Jon Tavarez, Founder, PROhousekeepers

5. Save money during tax season

My top tip is to set up a space in your home to be your office. Not only will this help you focus on work more than just having your computer with you on your couch, but you can officially claim an office space. This can also help you during tax season depending on where you work. This means not only you’re saving money not renting an office, you can also use your home office to save in taxes.

Nicky Taveras, Owner, DNTHome Buyers

As a company owner, you likely have a ton of expenses that you write off every tax season. These could include the costs of your products’ packaging supplies and shipping, bulk raw materials, digital marketing costs, project management software, billboards and other advertisements, business dinners, and the list goes on. It is paramount to ascertain that all of these expenses’ receipts are properly documented each day. This will be vital in the event that your business is audited by the IRS.

Nathan Liao, Founder & CEO, CMA Exam Academy

6. Make your home client-friendly

If you plan to have consumers or professionals in your home, consider placement. Again, this relies on zoning laws. Make your home visitor-friendly. Maintaining it well reflects your competence and credibility. If you run a business from home, you don’t have to do everything there. Consider a quiet coffee shop or meeting space when meeting clients.

Dean Lee, Head of Marketing, Sealions

7. Look beyond LinkedIn to network

Facebook Groups are resourceful and can be a great community for startup businesses. Apart from being an avenue to promote your business, it can also be your gateway to cheaper suppliers, free knowledge and hacks that are vital to your business. Oftentimes, Facebook groups have users who post questions that eventually become a thread of facts. The best thing about this , is that it’s free and is also very easy to access and manage.

Caitlyn Parish, Chief Digital Officer, Cicinia

8. Make time to work on your business

Working in the business is what drives revenue (this could be emails, services rendered, etc.). But working on the business means moving the needle forward through marketing, continuing education, networking, and other bigger-picture dimensions of entrepreneurship that should not get put on the backburner.

Jenna Volpe, Founder, Whole-istic Living

Business management requires a broad range of skills, from financial management to effective communication, team building, and leadership. As a new entrepreneur, you may feel overwhelmed by the many hats you need to wear to ensure your business’s success. However, you’re not alone. Many successful entrepreneurs have gone through similar struggles and have learned valuable lessons along the way. Learning from their experiences can help you avoid common pitfalls and pave the way for your success. In this article, we’ll explore the top lessons from successful entrepreneurs that you can apply to your business today.

Importance of Learning from Successful Entrepreneurs

One of the best ways to learn business management skills is by studying successful entrepreneurs. By examining their strategies, you can gain insights into what worked for them and what didn’t. Additionally, learning from others’ experiences can help you avoid common mistakes that can be costly in terms of time and money. Successful entrepreneurs have a wealth of knowledge and experience that can help you grow your business. Here are some lessons to keep in mind.

Lesson 1: Time Management Skills

“Time management is crucial for business success. Entrepreneurs must juggle multiple tasks, from managing employees to balancing the books and marketing. To be effective, you need to prioritize tasks based on their importance and urgency. Successful entrepreneurs know how to manage their time effectively to achieve their goals. The key is to be organized and focused.

One way to manage your time effectively is by creating a schedule. Set aside time for each task, and stick to your schedule as much as possible. Avoid multitasking, as it can lead to decreased productivity and increased stress. Also, learn to delegate tasks to others who are better suited to handle them. By focusing on your core competencies, you can make the most of your time and achieve your goals more efficiently.” Says, Billy, Director of Gift Delivery Limited.

Lesson 2: Financial Management Skills

“Financial management is another critical skill for business success. Entrepreneurs need to understand their finances and make sound financial decisions to ensure long-term success. Successful entrepreneurs know how to manage their finances effectively, from budgeting to forecasting and investing.

One way to improve your financial management skills is by creating a budget. A budget can help you track your expenses and identify opportunities for cost savings. Additionally, it can help you plan for future expenses and avoid cash flow problems. You should also keep accurate financial records and review them regularly to monitor your business’s financial health. By understanding your finances, you can make informed decisions that can help your business grow.

Lesson 3: Effective Communication Skills

“Effective communication is essential for business success. Entrepreneurs need to communicate with employees, customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders to achieve their goals. Successful entrepreneurs know how to communicate effectively, whether it’s through written or verbal communication.

One way to improve your communication skills is by listening actively. When communicating with others, make sure you understand their needs and concerns. Additionally, learn to communicate clearly and concisely, avoiding jargon or technical terms that others may not understand. You should also be open to feedback and willing to adapt your communication style to meet others’ needs.” Says, Kevin Garce, a Head of Marketing of Iwoolfelt.

Lesson 4: Adaptability and Flexibility

“Adaptability and flexibility are crucial for business success, especially in today’s fast-paced and ever-changing business environment. Entrepreneurs need to be able to adapt to changes in their industry, customer needs, and technology. Successful entrepreneurs know how to be flexible and adapt to changing circumstances.

One way to improve your adaptability and flexibility is by being open to new ideas and perspectives. Additionally, learn to embrace change and view it as an opportunity rather than a threat. You should also stay up-to-date with industry trends and technological advancements to stay ahead of the competition.” Says, Adriana L. Cowdin, CEO & Managing Director of Dekaf Digital.

Lesson 5: Customer Service and Satisfaction

“Customer service and satisfaction are critical for business success. Entrepreneurs need to understand their customers’ needs and provide exceptional service to retain their loyalty. Successful entrepreneurs know how to build strong customer relationships and provide excellent customer service.

One way to improve your customer service and satisfaction is by listening to your customers. Ask for feedback and suggestions and use them to improve your products or services. Additionally, train your employees to provide excellent customer service and empower them to resolve customer issues quickly and effectively. By putting your customers first, you can build a loyal customer base that can help your business grow.” Says, Jason, CEO of BreakTheWeb.

Lesson 6: Innovation and Creativity

“Innovation and creativity are essential for business success. Entrepreneurs need to be able to identify new opportunities and develop innovative solutions to meet customer needs. Successful entrepreneurs know how to be creative and innovative, whether it’s through product design, marketing strategies, or business models.

One way to improve your innovation and creativity is by encouraging brainstorming and idea sharing among your team. Additionally, stay up-to-date with industry trends and technological advancements that can help you develop new products or services. You should also be open to new ideas and perspectives and be willing to take risks to achieve your goals.” Says, Michelle Gilmore, CEO of Hair Extensions Advisor.

Lesson 7: Team Building and Leadership

“Team building and leadership are crucial for business success. Entrepreneurs need to be able to build and lead a team of employees to achieve their goals. Successful entrepreneurs know how to build a strong team culture and lead by example.

One way to improve your team building and leadership skills is by being a good listener. Listen to your employees’ needs and concerns and provide them with the support and resources they need to succeed. Additionally, lead by example and demonstrate the qualities you want to see in your team, such as honesty, integrity, and hard work. You should also provide opportunities for professional development and growth to help your employees reach their full potential.” Says, Basak Kandirali, Founder and CEO of Smart Results Marketing.

Conclusion: Applying the Lessons to Your Business

Learning from successful entrepreneurs can be a valuable starting point for improving your business management skills. By applying the lessons discussed in this article, you can take your business to the next level. Remember to prioritize your tasks, manage your finances effectively, communicate clearly, be adaptable and flexible, put your customers first, be creative and innovative, and build a strong team culture. With hard work and dedication, you can achieve your goals and build a successful business.

Earning more income is one of the top New Year’s resolutions, but with half of January now in the history books, hopes for higher pay are already fading for many who vowed to beef up their paychecks in 2024.

Some of them might begrudgingly accept the status quo from 2023 because they don’t want to launch a side hustle. Others may not know how to make their employer cough up more than they’re already getting.

GOBankingRates spoke with three career experts who outlined why you shouldn’t give up until you try. Many people can add at least 10% — and even up to 20% — to their pay by using these suggestions for taking action.

Want More Money? Start by Asking for It

The fastest and most likely path to a double-digit-percentage pay increase is to do what your boss is probably expecting you to do anyway — ask for more money.

“The easiest and best way to increase your salary by a minimum of 10% is to negotiate,” said Harvard Business School-trained master executive coach Adriana L. Cowdin, founder of Be Bold Coaching. “70% of employers expect candidates to negotiate their salary, whereas a staggering 78% of candidates do not negotiate. This means you are losing out on tens of thousands of dollars over the course of your career. Go after what you want and what you’re worth.”

But is it truly realistic to expect to get 10% or more just by asking?

Leigh James, head of human resources at Page One Formula, said that’s precisely the range you should pursue and expect — if you can make a case that you’re worth it.

“Regularly assessing and articulating your worth to your employer might result in wage raises ranging from 10%-15%,” she said. “Understanding the skill of negotiating is essential.”

The Inflation Estimation Strategy

Career counselor and recruitment consultant Mike Jacobsen, founder of Career Building Jobs, agrees that “the quickest and easiest way to immediately increase your salary is to approach your line manager and ask for a pay rise.”

The trick in the post-pandemic era, he suggested, is to go into a raise-request meeting armed with the facts about how inflation has eroded your salary’s purchasing power since it was last adjusted. “Tell them that since your last pay review inflation has been X% and the salary given to you at the time is now worth much less in real terms.”

Jacobsen said to estimate the appropriate raise by dividing your salary by the inflation rate in your area. “For example, someone without a pay rise for three years earning $50,000, with inflation rates of 7%, 6.5% and 3.4% — the U.S. inflation rates for the past three years — should have a salary of $58,915,” he said. “Any less than that and they have taken a pay cut in real terms.”

Change Companies

Some career experts feel that it’s gotten much harder to climb the pay scale ladder internally compared to previous years. In the case of a boss who won’t budge, consider taking your skills to a new employer, then repeat the process as soon as you outgrow your pay once again.

“It might be time to make the leap to a new company,” said Cowdin. “Unfortunately, the majority of companies are not set up to reward loyalty, as evidenced by the fact that an internal promotion increase is a dismal 3% on average. Contrast that with changing companies and you can easily increase your salary by 10%, 15% or 20% when you start a new company.”

Data from Zippia roughly backs those numbers up, showing the average salary increase when changing jobs is 14.8% compared to the average wage growth of 5.8%.

“The one caveat here is that no one wants a job hopper,” said Cowdin. “So avoid doing this every 12, 18, or 24 months.”

Pursue New Skills and Certifications

Enhancing your skills and credentials will take more time and effort than asking for a raise or even changing employers, but nothing else has the potential to make you a permanently more valuable professional.

“Individuals should actively pursue professional growth possibilities,” said James. “Continuous learning, whether through formal schooling or industry-specific certifications, can prepare you for positions with greater responsibility and, as a result, higher income.”

According to Fortune, a new certification or other credential commonly boosts pay by up to 20%. While you might have to pay for coursework and credentialing, Fortune recommends offsetting or eliminating those costs by:

  • Researching free online offerings through platforms like Coursera and Alison, which offer free certificates and courses in fields like health care, IT, marketing, sales, business and language.
  • Applying for grants or private scholarships.
  • Checking with your employer’s HR department to see if your company will contribute to tuition, exams or courses, or if they offer learning and development stipends.

More From GOBankingRates

As an entrepreneur, you have that gadget, habit, app or a book that makes your work easier, motivates you to do more and that’s what we refer to as a CEO Hack. It helps you achieve maximum productivity and stick to your goals regardless of the hurdles we face as entrepreneurs. For instance, it could be a pro tip on managing employees to make the workplace a conducive environment for everyone. Maybe it’s an app that you have which helps you plan and execute tasks on time. It could also be a book that you read and it brings ideas your way on how to scale your business. The list goes on. You can check our CEO Hacks and different entrepreneurs’ CEO Hacks below where we have insightful responses.

#1- Preparing for the day ahead in the evening

Photo Credit: Michael Roub

Whether managing a team or working individually, working in the office or remotely from home, I have found that my best hack to make me successful is to take 10-20 minutes each evening to prep for the day ahead. A quick look at my to-do list and some thoughts on prioritization allows me to hit the day running. In the rare mornings that I did not prep the evening before, I find myself casually responding to emails as my coffee slowly kicks in. However, when I prepare the night before, I get to my desk and start going. I get more done in my first two hours when focused like this than I often do in an entire unfocused day. For me, a few different highlighter colors along with a to-do list and I can easily prioritize the most important tasks as well as those which I just want to get off my plate.

 


#2- Headspace

Photo Credit: Deborah Sweeney

My favorite CEO hack that makes me more effective as a business owner is called Headspace. This is a great meditation app that keeps me focused and able to handle what the day brings. Headspace gives me a moment (or a few minutes) to clear my mind, focus my intentions and set myself for a productive, effective, and calm day. I find it to be my most effective hack for handling anything that comes my way on any given day.

Thanks to Deborah Sweeney, MyCorporation.com!


#3- Never giving up

Photo Credit: Pranchil Murray

I believe that the most prevalent habit that made me successful is that I never give up and work tirelessly toward their objectives, although perhaps not in the most traditional methods. Those are cliched remarks, but they are absolutely correct. Though it comes to goals and visions, I never listened to my doubters, which is why I don’t give up, even when others might or do. At the same time, most highly successful people take care of themselves, which may entail taking regular breaks from work. But that’s part of what allows them to thrive and really ‘go for it’ when they’re working.

Thanks to Pranchil Murray, Malwarefox!


#4- Optimism

Photo Credit: Eric Rohrback

The best habit that has helped me succeed is my ability to have a positive attitude through thick and thin. Now, in order to succeed, I have put in a lot of hard work and thought. Much of my optimism comes from my work, but it also helps me maintain a positive attitude in the face of adversity. This is because I believe in myself, my organization, and the goal I’ve developed. When others are ready to give up, I roll up my sleeves not because I am a hard worker, but because I feel I am destined to succeed in the end.

Thanks to Eric Rohrback, Hill & Ponton!


#5- Leveraging a full-time assistant

Photo Credit: Adriana L. Cowdin

It may seem like an expense at first, but, when you factor your hourly rate as a CEO to the hourly rate of an assistant (let’s say $15-$20/hr.), there’s no comparing the value they deliver for a business. Since I hired my assistant full-time, I’ve delegated everything from bookkeeping to graphic design, blog management, social media posting and calendar management. She even manages my inbox on days I’m booked back-to-back with meetings. This is, by far, the best use of dollars and time I’ve made in my business to date.

Thanks to Adriana L. Cowdin, Dekaf Digital!


#6- Workflowy

Photo Credit: Paul Serra

I’ve tried pretty much every note-taking and to-do list app under the sun. Nothing works better for me than Workflowy. The secret is everything is in structured bullet points. I make an outline of the steps of my project the way my brain naturally thinks about it and then get my tasks done. It’s far superior to heavyweight project management programs. Best of all, it works for tasks and notes.

Thanks to Paul Serra, Sleepline!


#7- Strictly abiding the routine that I set up for myself

Photo Credit: David Stellini

I strongly believe that following a well-thought routine diligently and consistently can set us up for more sustainable success in the long run. But that’s only if you personally took the time and effort in contemplating on setting up your own routine because nobody knows what works for you the best but yourself. And since you took time and effort in making that routine, you’ll have no room to make excuses for not following them.

See also  21 Entrepreneurs Explain the CEO Hack They Use to be Effective and Efficient

Thanks to David Stellini, AllFront.io!


#8- Being flexible

Photo Credit: Daniel Rutberg

This past year has shown us the importance and value of being able to pivot as a business when it comes to our marketing campaigns, and that sentiment will carry into 2021. If one thing has become clear, to stay successful, you have to stay as flexible as possible. Actively engage with your clients to create turnkey solutions that work for them based on their individual needs and situation. Showing that you’re able to be innovative and change direction on a dime can be a sure way to prove your tenacity. Additionally, keep in mind that the most expensive strategy does not always produce the best results. Look closely into social media options, especially platforms that are still a bit new to businesses, such as TikTok and YouTube. Some of your competitors may not have a strong presence there… yet. So, you may be able to beat them to it!

Thanks to Daniel Rutberg, MuteSix!


#9-‘The customer is always right’ mindset

Photo Credit: Travis Killian

When you adopt the fact that the customer is always right, then you’ll see one important reaction, time and time again. Whether you need to offer a refund, or a free month of service, keeping a customer is priceless. And what may have started as a complaint, may just well turn into a customer for life – all because of the way that you turned a negative into a positive. Knowing that a company will stand behind their values can be of utmost importance to a customer, and it will establish a business environment based on integrity AND success.

Thanks to Travis Killian, Everlasting Comfort!


#10- Proper grammar

Photo Credit: Heidi Robinson

Preparing grammatically correct content is not just a suggestion, but a prerequisite for any brand that hopes to build a solid reputation. Believe it or not, something that may seem as simple as a typo in a report could reflect very negatively on your business. In a digital environment when there are apps and other safeguards to lower the probability of grammatically incorrect content, many see it as inexcusable when it occurs.

Thanks to Heidi Robinson, Because Market!


#11- Getting myself in the right frame of mind

Photo Credit: Jordan Dwayne

A CEO hack that I always use is to get myself in the right frame of mind to recognize that customer success will definitely revolve around customer service. As we learned in 2020, when buying patterns shifted and some consumers put purchases that weren’t essential on hold, the choice between two competing retailers was often based on their level of support. In other words, customers want to be able to trust the stores or sites where they purchase from – even if those purchases are small. And, if there is any issue with the purchase, they’ll need to believe that it will be handled in a timely manner. These are also the things that will change a one-time purchase into a customer for life.

Thanks to Jordan Dwayne, 6 Ice!


#12- Setting a dedicated time to check my emails

Photo Credit: Jennifer Harder

When I was a startup CEO, one of my favourite hacks was to set out a dedicated time to check my emails. It might be time-consuming to shuffle through your inbox. Simply responding to the many emails could take you 20 to 30 minutes. With this in mind, it’s critical to schedule time in your day to check your emails; you can do this twice a day, once in the morning and again later in the afternoon.

Thanks to Jennifer Harder, Jennifer Harder Mortgage Brokers!


#13- Keeping myself physically fit

Photo Credit: Ryan Stewart

One habit I find invaluable to my success is keeping myself as physically fit as possible. This means that I prioritize going to the gym, working out at least four days a week, and breaking a sweat at least five. Keeping my body fit is not only a great way to clear my head, but it also keeps my focus laser-sharp. There’s a ton of scientific research about the health benefits of endorphin release (from exercise) and increasing overall confidence.

Thanks to Ryan Stewart, Webris!


#14- Doing guided meditation

Photo Credit: Tyler Wall

As a CEO, I definitely have a lot on my plate each day. From jumping in different meetings/calls to assisting with daily operations of the business, my plate is full. To ensure that I stay sane, every day after eating lunch, I take ten minutes to do a guided meditation in my office. This helps me stay focused for the rest of the day and clears my mind.

Thanks to Tyler Wall, SD Bullion!


#15- Rejuvenating and brainstorming

Photo Credit: Robert Brandl

As an entrepreneur, a habit I developed a few years back, of taking time out to rejuvenate and brainstorm with fellow founders is now a yearly routine. Once a year I meet with a group of friends who are also entrepreneurs in a sunny location where we review the year’s biggest successes and failures. In these Mastermind sessions I find affirmation for the decisions I’ve made from my peers as well as to learn from them and their little genius ideas and tips for improving my own business path.  We also share business resources we’ve used or discovered during the year. It’s where I was first alerted to the book, ”Work the System” which highlights the importance of business processes. I never thought that a small business like mine even needs SOPs (standard operating procedures) but the opposite is true. Everything that gets repeated over and over again needs to be documented so you can hand tasks over to your employees easily.

See also  14 Entrepreneurs Share Their Favorite CEO Hack/Resource That Makes Them Successful

Thanks to Robert Brandl, EmailToolTester!


#16- Slack

Photo Credit: Richard Mews

Slack is a mix of a productivity tool and productivity killer. However, for many CEOs, Slack remains the most straightforward method of communicating with their staff. Personally, I am a major lover of Slack. It eliminates email and replaces it with an ‘instant messaging’ mode of communication that we have found to be quite successful.

Thanks to Richard Mews, Sell With Richard!


#17- Listening to business podcasts

Photo Credit: Chris Muktar

On your road to becoming a successful CEO, You’ll encounter and will be facing a lot of challenges and there are just some habits that will help you to overcome them. As a CEO myself, there is just one habit that I truly believe helped me to become successful and that is listening to business podcasts. Listening to different podcasts equipped me with different business knowledge and even perspectives that I applied in my own life and I’m happy that I didn’t stop listening to these podcasts.

Thanks to Chris Muktar, WikiJob.co.uk!


#18- Playing with my kids

Photo Credit: Jaya Aiyar

Playing with my kids, I believe, helped me succeed. When I am with them, they make me realize the simplicity of life. As Paulo Coelho once said, “A child can teach an adult three things: to be happy for no reason, to always be busy with something, and to know how to demand with all his might that which he desires.” These things taught me to strive harder and reach my goals while enjoying life’s pleasure.

Thanks to Jaya Aiyar, Créatif and Créatif Franchise!


#19- Growing internally and externally

Photo Credit: Martin Luenendonk

The best hack for me is the continuous acquisition of knowledge. We all know that the world never stops moving and ideas keep on emerging. To grasp these changes, we, leaders, should equip ourselves by trying to learn new things, ideas and concepts everyday. Filling our minds with new knowledge is like giving ourselves the opportunity to be committed in a wider industry. We need to cope with the trends and innovation because being unable to do so can put us in a problematic situation. This became the best hack not just because of the above reason but also because of practicality. You can learn in different ways such as reading, communicating and even through experience which almost cost you nothing but willingness. All in all, I believe that knowledge indeed gives a person power to make wise decisions.

Thanks to Martin Luenendonk, FounderJar!


#20- Todoist

Photo Credit: Jenny Bater-Sinclair

My favourite resource has to be Todoist, the task management app. I’ve never been more productive, Todoist offers an easy-to-use, customizable to-do-list type app that works seamlessly across devices. It is so customizable that I feel like it was built just for me. Not only that, it works with Alexa, Google Calendar, IFTTT and Siri to make adding and editing on the go a breeze!

Thanks to Jenny Bater-Sinclair, Hip Hop Pop Ltd!


#21- Write things down or typing them

Photo Credit: Andrew Raso

My favourite hack that makes me successful is that I do not trust my memory. This is because I get overwhelmed pretty easily and I tend to forget. Since I know that remembering things is a struggle for me, I learned to work my way around it. Whenever I need to remember something for later, I either write it down directly or type them in quickly to the notes app on my phone. I bet that without this hack, I might have forgotten lots of important meetings that would have meant losing clients. So yes, I owe my success to knowing that my memory betrays me and doing something about it.

Thanks to Andrew Raso, Online Marketing Gurus!


#22- Timely breaks and naps

Photo Credit: Erin Mastopietro

While most of us are busy hustling, we forget about how our brain can only be productive if it stays fresh. Many of the world’s most successful CEOs have told people to maintain a healthy work-life balance. They advise one to take due breaks at regular intervals to keep the brain fresh and working. If you work too much, it will exhaust your energy and reduce your capacities thus, limiting your potential. You will not be able to execute ideas at the quality you wish to achieve. Hence, it is important to take naps or breaks regularly.

See also  16 Entrepreneurs Explain the CEO Hack That Makes Them Successful

Thanks to Erin Mastopietro, Dope Dog!


#23- Using Notion app for planning

Photo Credit: Arun Grewal

Implementing the Notion app for all of my business documents has allowed me to streamline many of my processes. It comes with several pre-built templates for budgeting, business CRM, job applications, and much more which can all be customized. These can all be seen in a number of views that best match your workflow, allowing you to visualize a roadmap. It also has a load of integrations and uses easy code to be completely flexible and match your business needs. It is cross-platform and accessible on the go. The best part is that it’s easily shareable with your team, helping you work like a well-oiled machine.

Thanks to Arun Grewal, CoffeeBrewingPro.com!


#24- Self-evaluation system

Photo Credit: Malte Scholz

I have a system of weekly evaluations that I do by myself and reflect both on work results but also on my performance. I intentionally created a specific format for these reflections and I stick to it. For this evaluation, I always look at three categories. The first one are pluses and I list all of the achievements I had. These can be minor things such as great facilitation of important meetings. The next one are minuses, but I prefer looking at these as areas for improvement. I really dig deep in this one and come up with everything that I wasn’t satisfied with. Finally, the last step are takeaways from the process. It’s not enough to simply list minuses – I have to think about ways of overcoming them. This evaluation system helps me constantly grow and become a better leader to my employees.

Thanks to Malte Scholz, Airfocus!


#25- Prioritize my Sundays

Photo Credit: Kate Williams

I give myself the rest of the day to sleep in, spend time with my family, catch up on my fun reading, and do anything else that will recharge me for the week. I also set aside an hour to prepare for the week. For my work life, that includes creating my to-do list for the week, assigning tasks to my team on our Trello board, sorting through emails, etc. For home life, it means meal planning, grocery shopping (thanks, Instacart!), and figuring out with my partner who is taking which kid to practice on which days. I like to plan my week right away on Sunday. I consider this a form of self-care, because it lets me spend the rest of Sunday relaxing and enjoying life so I can go into Monday knowing I’m ready for the week.

Thanks to Kate Williams, People First Content!


#26- The Hard Thing about Hard Things

Photo Credit:

The Hard Thing about Hard Things by Ben Hrowitz is a good companion for a CEO. I’ll explain why. Ben was a wildly successful entrepreneur in Silicon Valley where you have to make some pretty cutthroat decisions. That’s what running a company from scratch is all about. He himself had to fire a close friend. It’s almost every entrepreneur’s mistake to try and bring close friends or family with them and it never works out. I myself had a friend from high school when I started Translation Equipment HQ. It’s really hard to deal with and it was good being able to see how someone else had to do the same as me, politely let them go.

Thanks to Will Ward, Translation Equipment HQ!


#27- Shoe Dog

Photo Credit: Katie Lyon

Shoe Dog by Phil Knight is a great book on business, written by the Co-founder of Nike, Phil Knight. In this book, he explains how he started with borrowed $50 and grew his business into the company we all know today. However, it provides more than just business advice, adding valuable quotes and input on life in general. In particular, the book offers insight into how to access situations, what to look for in others, and yourself. I adhere to one quote, especially which is: “When you see only problems, you do not see clearly.” I keep this in mind whenever I think a specific situation has no remedy. There are always solutions. It just takes thinking outside the box and a little bit of ingenuity. Thankfully, this book is one I can repeatedly reread as it continues to add more valuable information to my internal database as I grow older.

Thanks to Katie Lyon, Allegiance Flag Supply!


#28- Waking up early

Photo Credit: James Dyble

I developed the habit of waking up early in the morning early in my career, and I swear by its efficiency. Not only does it allow me to get ahead while others are sleeping, but I also find that it is my most optimistic working time; some of my best work and ideas have come to fruition during this time of day.

Thanks to James Dyble, Global Sound Group!

Women hold their own in leadership positions, proving their value as business executives and politicians. In fact, women made up over half of the U.S. workforce as of 2019 — significantly more than in previous generations.

Harvard Business Review analysis found that women in business scored higher than men on most key leadership qualities, including resilience and results-driven attitudes. Women also pull ahead in motivation, bold leadership, and teamwork.

The data also shows that managers who are men recognize women as more effective in several professional areas.

The 2021 Women in the Workplace report demonstrates women’s prowess in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) as well. Currently, 54% of senior-level women spend time outside of their job responsibilities to improve DEI in the workplace. Of senior-level men, only 46% do this.

Leadership Skills

Women in business bring skills that can shift workplace culture. Women often display different leadership styles than men, generally leading with compassion, ethics, and respect.

According to 2018 Pew Research Center data, 61% of Americans believe women business leaders show more compassion and empathy than men. Respondents also said men and women are both:

  • Strong role models for children
  • Good at compromising
  • Willing to take risks

Women tend to possess the following qualities, which may give them an edge in business:

Women value work-life balance

Many women leaders balance kids and families with their professional lives. Therefore, they know how to multitask and set priorities, and they encourage their employees to do the same.

Women are empathetic

Empathy allows leaders to build and nurture relationships with their teams. It also helps women in leadership understand what their employees need to improve their productivity and feel appreciated.

Women are strong communicators

Good communication skills lead to high-performing teams and projects. Communication is also essential for setting boundaries and expectations. Women leaders who communicate effectively and confidently can lead their teams to success.

Women handle crisis situations well

Organizational changes require flexibility and critical thinking. Workers look to their leaders for clarity and guidance. A leader’s response to crisis situations can affect the workplace climate.

Women Leaders in the Private vs. Public Sector

Data shows that women working in the private sector face more risk than men, especially during tumultuous times like the COVID-19 pandemic. Public sector jobs, however, typically offer more job security than the private sector.

According to the National Women’s Law Center, women have suffered disproportionate job losses related to the pandemic. For example, women made up 53.5% of overall net job losses in the U.S. between February 2020 and March 2021.

The pandemic also influenced where women worked in 2020. BLS data finds that a higher percentage of women than men worked from home in 2020. Likewise, 10.8% more men than women worked in the workplace during 2020.

Note that most statistical data comparing men and women does not account for nonbinary workers. Likewise, many data sources — including the BLS — conflate gender and sex, using terms like “female” and “women” interchangeably.