Operations Toolbox

The CEO Journey: Unpacking the Transition from Solopreneur

August 26, 2023 Tonya D. Episode 8
Operations Toolbox
The CEO Journey: Unpacking the Transition from Solopreneur
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Ever thought about the power shift that happens when you transition from a solopreneur to a CEO? Well, buckle up as we explore this thrilling journey in our latest podcast episode. As we bust some commonly held myths, you'll be surprised to learn that even as a solopreneur, you already wield the power of a CEO. We dive into the roles and responsibilities of a CEO, illustrating how they can vary based on the size of the company. We also take you through the three distinct seasons of the CEO journey - from the Chief Everything Officer, shifting gears to the Chief Expert Officer, and finally, taking the helm as the Chief Steward. 

The journey to becoming a CEO is filled with unique challenges and mindset shifts. We highlight the importance of starting from ground zero, where learning and growing lays the foundation for a confident leader. Gaining the necessary skills and fostering the right mindset is crucial for this transition. So, whether you're just starting your business or already running one, this episode will inspire you to embrace your role, evolve with your business, and embody the essence of a true leader. Tune in, and leap confidently into your journey from solopreneur to CEO!

Do you have a CEO Headquarters within your business? If you would like to learn how to create project management software to organize your business and create your own CEO HQ, sign up for the free course below.

Organize Your Business & Create Your CEO HQ

If you enjoyed this episode, leave us a five-star rating and a review. I'd love to know how this show inspired you to take action in your business.

You can also follow me on LinkedIn @tonyadharrison and Instagram @cignalpartners for quick tips to implement systems & structure that will propel your business forward and allow you more time freedom.

Tonya Harrison:

Hello and welcome back to another episode of the Operations Toolbox podcast, the show that solopreneurs turn to to learn about the fundamental tools, systems and structure needed to confidently run a successful business without feeling overworked and overwhelmed. I'm your host, tanya D Harrison, and today's topic is extremely thought-provoking. We are going to be talking about the journey from solopreneur to CEO. Are you the CEO or an employee within your business? So if you are a solopreneur or a micro business owner wearing multiple hats, this episode is specifically for you. We'll be discussing the evolving journey of a solopreneur into a full-fledged CEO and three distinct seasons that come with it. Let's dive in. Before we get started, I want to be extremely clear Just because you are a solopreneur does not mean that you're not a CEO. One more time for the people in the back Just because you're a solopreneur does not mean you're not a CEO. In fact, you are a CEO who wears many hats, and one of those hats happened to be Chief Executive Officer. Many solopreneurs and society undermines the role of CEO due to the size of the business. But let's start by clarifying the term so that we're all on the same page. According to Webster's Dictionary, a CEO is the executive with the chief decision-making authority in an organization or business, the executive with the chief decision-making authority in an organization or business. I want that to really sink in. It doesn't say the size of the business, it doesn't talk about the number of employees. I want you to let that sink in solopreneurs, because I hear a lot of online noise that says that you're not a CEO. But if the buck stops with you and you are making the decisions within your business, you in fact are a CEO. I really want you to start to embrace and embody the role of CEO, because that's what you are. Let's dig a little deeper. Let's talk about the roles and responsibility. So, now that we're clear on the definition, let's explore what the roles and responsibilities of CEO. Now, regardless of the size of the business, there is going to be some common tasks that CEOs share, while this may look a little different based on size, so there may be some that's added to it based on the size, but there are some core responsibilities that all CEOs have upon them. One of them is developing and implementing the company's strategy, vision and mission. So this you should be doing regardless of the size, but this is something that all CEOs do, so they have strategic partners that come in and help them redefine their vision and their mission and help them with the strategy, or, if you are a solopreneur, you may come up with it on your own. Another thing is making vital business decisions, and this could be about strategy, budgets, culture, key personnel Communicating with stakeholders, and stakeholders could be shareholders, the media, the public. Does this sound like you? Does this sound like you Staying vigilant about industry developments and expansion opportunities? We have to keep our pulse on what's going on out in the world. We have to be able to assess if it's time to adjust or pivot, ensuring corporate social and environmental responsibility and identifying, monitoring and mitigating business risk. I'm quite sure, even if you are a solopreneur and you have no one working with you, but you are doing some of these, and you may not be doing all of them, but I'm quite sure that you're doing some of them. Now I want to talk about different seasons of being a CEO, because I want to submit to you that, from the beginning, you are the CEO, you are in different seasons or different phases, and within these different seasons and different phases, you are performing different tasks. Your mindset is different and it shifts over time, and I say that the biggest thing in embodying the role of the CEO is the mindset shift that happens, not necessarily the number of employees or contractors you have working with you. Now the three seasons of becoming a CEO they basically mirror the evolution and you'll find over time you're becoming more in tune with your business and along with that comes mindset shifts and confidence. The very first season that most of us enter into and I have to be honest, I had a hard time with it and I'll share a little bit about that in a minute but the first season is the chief, everything officer. In this season, solopreneurs are the sole workforce. You're, it is only you. You got it. So you are handling every aspect of the business. I mean from developing the product and service to marketing it, to customer service. If someone has a question about something, you are it. It begins and ends with you. And this phase it demands that you work hard and you start to learn to work smart and that's the mindset shift that you're making during this time. You start with hands on and you're working really hard and then you start to figure things out and you start to work smarter and you have to be relentless with determination. This phase is one of the toughest phases. It was tough for me for a different reason. I came from corporate and I Was used to having teams. So at any time I have five and six different teams that were reporting up to me through supervisors, directors, etc. Now I'm out here in my business and I am the team and I am the leader. So it was a little different for me. You know what I mean, cuz I'm like I got you all this by myself, so you know. So coming from a team to being a Solopreneur was it was a bit of a challenge, but I believe that this phase is challenging, no matter what. So, having to do all of the things, and then you start to, like I said, the mindset shifts start to happen and you start to say, okay, yeah, I'm doing all of these things, but are there better ways to do this? And this is when you started implementing whether it be frameworks and systems and all of that stuff like that and you start to usher yourself into the next season, and the next season is chief expert officer. So these are seasons that I named. So, as the business grows, you start to transition into this phase and and now you're focusing on your core expertise, right? So what is it? What is the reason why I started this? So, for me, I really started to zone in on being a better trainer and consultant. That is why I started this business, right. So, trainer and consultant, zoning in on it, zoning in on my expertise. And then, because the business is growing, you're making a little bit of money, you start to outsource and hire experts for other functions, even if it's not an actual employee, you know it may be a contractor, but you start to hire people. So now I'm not doing the website myself, I need some updates I hire somebody, you know what I mean. I go and I hire a coach or consultant to help me in a specific area. I hire a Administrative assistant or a marketing assistant, and it kind of depends on where you are and what you need, but you start to hire people to help. So everything is not Beginning and ending with me. I am now starting to really focus on my zone of genius and the role of the CEO, and here is where you really start to See and feel your mission coming into place, as I started to really Get comfortable not too comfortable, because we still have another season, but as I started to get more comfortable in this Season. I saw myself not just focusing on my craft and Embodying the role of a CEO, but I really start to feel my mission, coming together to provide Micro-businesses with efficient and innovative solutions that position them to effectively compete, grow and thrive within their industries. I Really started to get into that. Like that is my focus, that is what what I want and that is why I started this businesses and, more specifically, minority owned businesses. So that is the next season and again, as you become, you know, more confident in this role, you're going to start to see things really come together and start to change. And then that last season is the CEO. So this is where you start to really transcend into being a CEO. Delegation becomes easier. It actually becomes vital to where you are and your role. And now you're empowering others, your team, to handle tasks and you're able to confidently do that. And you start to shift more towards strategic planning, being innovative within the business and steering the company towards the long term vision Right. So now your focus is more out, whereas before it was like really close to the vest, you're, you were doing the day. Today You're the chief, everything, officer, when you start to move into the CEO role, you start to look at things more from a bird's eye view. Now I'm looking outward, I'm seeing okay, here's my vision, here's how we're going to get there. Are we on track or not? You're being more strategic about what you were doing is no longer winging. It is not even an option. So that requires yet another mindset shift. Now I'm not doing everything. I have to be comfortable with delegating right, and it's imperative that I delegate Again. We're not saying that you have to have a large team to be in this space, because it's more of a mindset shift and your business has continued to grow. So you have a little bit more flexibility and a little bit more funds, whereas before you were hiring people here and there and outsourcing some things and doing it on a project basis and stuff like that. Here you may have more of a person or people that is ongoing or long term in your business, instead of spotty here and there. The most important thing to embrace during each of these seasons is the mindset shift that starts to occur. You literally go from I'm hands on, I'm doing everything to now I'm fully on the line. Now I'm focusing on the things that I really need to do from a skill set perspective and from a CEO perspective. To now, I'm focusing more outward, long term, where it is that I'm going. That is what I want you to really take from this. There are mindset shifts that has to occur. There are different things that are required at each level the chief everything officer this season. It demands resilience and adaptability. You're wearing numerous hats. You're striving to keep the business afloat. The mindset revolves around learning and resourcefulness and seizing opportunities in the midst of challenges. That's really what you have to embrace, the mindset that you have to embrace during this season. Then you go to chief expert officer. Now, as the CEO, you become more selective in your involvement. There's a blend of mindset shifts that has to do with expertise, where I'm focusing on my role and the things that I'm an expert at or I'm good at, and next leveling that to mastery and the leadership. I'm becoming more of the leader within my business and I'm trusting others and their abilities to do I have delegated for them to do During this phase. It's continuous learning. It's continuous learning. Then, in the final season which I'm saying just the last season of this evolution, but as a person, we're continuing to go. We're always becoming. But in this last phase, your mindset embraces the strategic thinking, the empowerment. You have honed those delegation skills and you focus on expanding beyond the daily operations. You're not so far into it, so deep into it. Then you are really focusing on the future of the organization. You're fostering an environment that's conducive to growth, and that's the main thing. Those are the three phases, and I want you to embrace where you are. Regardless of the phase that you are in whether it's the chief everything officer, the chief expert officer or the chief executive officer I want you to embrace where you are because there is something to be learned and gained from every single phase and you take that with you as you usher into the next phase of your CEO journey. Don't feel bad about where you are. There's many things that you can accomplish as a chief everything officer. There's many things that you are going to learn within that season, just like the other seasons. What I want you to walk away with is that there are seasons. Many of us start at the beginning, and I say it's in our best interest that we start at the beginning, because that's how we learn, that's how we grow, that's how you become more confident when you are delegating. You already know some of the things that need to be done, how they need to be done and as you're delegating it, you can be more confident with the outcomes that you're receiving and understanding. Is this something that I expected or not expecting? There are so many benefits from each one of these. So there you have it the journey from solopreneur to realizing, fully realized CEO. And I say again, the mindset is the biggest piece, but each demanding its own set of skills and mindset. Each season demands its own set of skills and mindset. And remember, just because you're a solopreneur doesn't mean that you're not a CEO. So embrace your roles, evolve with your business and embody the essence of a true leader. All right, thank you for tuning in to the Operations Toolbox podcast and until next time I want you to keep growing and keep thriving in your entrepreneurial journey.

Transitioning From Solopreneur to CEO
The Journey to Becoming a CEO