CBNationI AM CEO PODCASTProductivityTech

IAM208- Industry Leader Helps Overwhelmed Clients Take Control of Their Productivity

Podcast interview with Jennifer Stewart

Jennifer Stewart has been patiently empowering her clients to understand their computers and technology tools since 2011. She teaches her clients to reduce computer frustration and disorganization, eliminate email overwhelm and understand Microsoft programs. Jennifer is a recognized industry leader and is the immediate past president of the St. Louis chapter of the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals.

  • CEO Hack: (1)App; Slack to be organized (2) Time blocking
  • CEO Nugget: Be yourself in business and don't try to be someone else
  • CEO Defined: Chief everything officer

Website: https://www.gatewayproductivity.com/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jennifercstewart/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gatewayproductivity
Twitter: https://twitter.com/gwproductivity


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Transcription:

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Intro 0:02

Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview? If so, you've come to the right place. Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of. This is the I AM CEO Podcast.

Gresham Harkless 0:26

Hello, hello. hello. This is Gresham from the I AM CEO Podcast and I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Jennifer Stewart of Gateway Productivity. Jennifer, it's awesome to have you on the show.

Jennifer Stewart 0:36

Thank you. I'm glad to be here.

Gresham Harkless 0:38

Super excited to have you on and what I want to do is just read a little bit more about Jennifer, so you can hear about all the awesome things that she's doing. Jennifer Stewart has been patiently empowering her clients to understand their computers and technology tools since 2011. She teaches her clients to reduce computer frustration and disorganization eliminate email, overwhelm, and understand Microsoft programs. Jennifer is a recognized industry leader and is the immediate past president of the St. Louis chapter of the National Association of Productivity and organizing professionals. Jennifer, are you ready to speak to the I AM CEO community?

[restrict paid=”true”]

Jennifer Stewart 1:11

I sure am. Thanks for having me.

Gresham Harkless 1:13

Awesome. Thanks for coming on. And what I want to do is kick everything off to hear about what I call your CEO story. And what led you to start your business?

Jennifer Stewart 1:20

Yes. So I think like a lot of entrepreneurs, I was in the corporate world and I was in a financial management firm. And it was becoming more and more corporate and coming home overwhelmed, overworked, and dealing with traffic. I'm not a traffic person. And so I really felt like I wasn't making a difference to anybody in the world. And I wanted to have the freedom to make my own schedule, and also have the time to volunteer and feel like I was making a little more difference in people's lives not only in work but in the world. And so that's when I decided to start a professional organizing company. Yes, professional organizing exists.

A lot of people asked me if it is a thing. And so my first company was Organizing by Jennifer. And I figured out pretty quickly that organizing was not my thing as far as organizing homes. So I worked with a business coach and figured out that organizing people's computers and helping them and training them on computers and their software and their computers was really my thing. So I shifted to business productivity in that realm really focused on technology, organizing, and training, and started to realize that working with my clients really made me excited, I felt like I was making a difference. They were happier, life was easier for them. And that really felt like my purpose. And it really was the right thing.

So moving forward in 2016, I actually closed that company and created a new one called Gateway Organizers. And I had two business partners at the time. Since then one has left and the other one and I the other business partner and I have shifted focus really laser-focused into productivity, business productivity, specifically Small Business Productivity even. And we've changed to Gateway Productivity because that made a lot more sense for us. We've moved away from any kind of organizing in home or business, we can help a little bit with that. But we really like to focus on helping with processes and getting things done in the company. And so that's what we're doing and we love it.

Gresham Harkless 3:23

Yeah, absolutely. And it's great to hear like, it kind of seems like you had a natural talent or a gift. And you made one small little pivot from moving and doing homes to actually helping out businesses. And all of a sudden it kind of opens up all these opportunities. So sometimes it reminds me of like, sometimes you're closer than you think. And sometimes you think you need to make a wholesale change. But it's one little small shift, and all of a sudden everything changes.

Jennifer Stewart 3:45

Exactly, I had opened an organizing company. And I was like, oh, no, but I don't want to do home organizing Well, you just shift it. And now it's technology organizing. And then now since then, I've been able to move away from the word organizing in the company. So people don't get confused.

Gresham Harkless 3:59

Right, right, and definitely help you know, the small businesses to definitely move the needle because you know, being efficient being organized is definitely of extreme importance, and being able to, like you said, get things done, which is what we're all trying to do.

Jennifer Stewart 4:09

Right.

Gresham Harkless 4:10

Absolutely. And I know you touched on it a little bit. Could you drill down a little bit deeper on like, how you're helping out these small businesses and some of the things that you're doing?

Jennifer Stewart 4:17

Yeah, definitely. So our company provides services exclusively and we focus on it in the broad sense, it would be productivity consulting, is the way I usually explain it, and then obviously have to go deeper than that. So my business partner focuses on ADHD and productivity coaching. So she helps people one on one, usually over the phone, and helps them it's usually small business owners, entrepreneurs who have a place they want to get to and they just can't figure out how to get there. Either their ideas are too big and they can't drill down or they have too much going on. They're overwhelmed. They just can't be productive because of everything going on so she helps with that piece. We both go into teams situations are larger companies.

And if you've got a team that's not working well together, they're the processes aren't in place, or a smaller company that has no processes at all, which is really something we see a lot. That's where we both would go in and figure out, is it productivity based? Where she would need to coach some people or some teams? Or is it technology-based where we need to add some new technology or change technology? So we do that for teams. And then I specifically work usually with small business owners and entrepreneurs on, they don't understand their computer, it's confusing that type of thing. And I'll talk a little bit more about that when we talk about the uniqueness of what we do.

Gresham Harkless 5:38

Yeah, yeah. And that is definitely great to hear. And kind of, you know, I was visualizing you kind of as like a doctor, where it is not that there's one specific thing that you have to do you have to download this app, and then everything will be fun. Sometimes it can be the people are on your team sometimes could be the fact that you're afraid and don't want to touch anything related to technology. Or maybe it does, it is that app that you need to install, but it could be a number of things that could actually help you to move the needle.

Jennifer Stewart 6:01

Exactly.

Gresham Harkless 6:02

Awesome, awesome, awesome. And I know you touched on a little bit, but I wanted to hear about what I call your secret sauce and what you feel kind of distinguishes you and your organization apart.

Jennifer Stewart 6:09

Yes. So the company itself is unique because there are very few of us doing, this type of thing where we help small businesses improve their productivity and processes. Another thing that makes us unique as a company is that we're 100% client-centric. And what I mean by that is we customize specifically to what the client needs, we don't come in with any preconceived notions of what the company needs, we are going to figure out with you to do an assessment, of what you need, and then customize those needs, whether as you said, it's an app that we need to add, or it's something that we need to eliminate from your process, whatever that might be.

And then we always work with the client, we don't come in and dictate anything. But if it's something that the client is comfortable with, great, we'll move ahead, if they say, oh, that's just I'm not comfortable with that, then we'll figure out a different solution. And of course, what I do is even more specifically unique because I bring an extremely patient helping hand to small companies who have trouble understanding how to best use their technology, that's usually where we start, or they're overwhelmed by their email, that type of thing, help them get their digital files organized, and all those things that seem so boring to most people, I actually think it's really exciting, and I love it. So that's something that I very rarely hear that people do in their businesses.

Gresham Harkless 7:27

Yeah, absolutely. And that patience, and you know, that helping hand is definitely something that's extremely needed, especially related to technology. Because, you know, like, you know, most, I would just say most, but some small business owners are definitely overwhelmed with, you know, the amount of things that are coming at them and trying to understand a new technology or this new update, that X, Y and Z and all these things just become law. So sometimes you do need that patient air just to understand exactly what you're going through and be able to help you kind of bridge that gap.

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Jennifer Stewart 7:52

Exactly.

Gresham Harkless 7:53

Alright, now, I wanted to switch gears a little bit and ask you for what I call a CEO hack. And this might be an app book or a habit that you have, but it's something that makes you more effective and efficient.

Jennifer Stewart 8:02

Great. Yes, I actually am going to cheat I have two. And so the first thing I wanted to talk about is an app, and it's called Slack. A lot of people think this is just a chat within a company. And it is that but a huge thing that my business partner and I use for is eliminating email. Because having the emails going back and forth with a conversation that we're having, then you can no longer keep track of the emails that are coming from people outside the organization. So Slack really eliminates that need for emailing back and forth internally. And what I really like about it is it helps us organize Of course, we're organizers, we love that and being productive with that. So you can also create what's called channels.

And so that helps you organize your thoughts and talk about specific things in specific places. For example, we have a marketing channel, where we just talk about marketing ideas, maybe blogs, post ideas, things like that. And then we have one that's called review requests. And you can really call that whatever you want. We use that as you need to look at this right now. You know, pick up your phone and look at it. And so that's a huge thing for us. And then what I use it for also personally is putting reminders in there you can have, they have what's called a Slack bot and you tell it to remind you about something at a certain time on a certain day. It'll plug it in, and it'll remind you at that time and it's huge for helping me remember things that I need to remind my business partner or things I need to do or something to pick up from the store anything so I use that as well. And then my favorite habit that I want to talk about is time blocking.

And I know a lot of people on the podcast have talked about that. But I think it's so important. I want to say it again that time blocking is taking things that are important to you for the day that you need to get done and putting them on your calendar or maybe for the week. What I love about that is if you don't get done at the time you put it on your calendar, you can move it to another day. And what's really important there is you're not losing track of those priorities. Instead of them just being a list. Now they're on your calendar. And now you know, this is a priority, I need to get it done. And if I need to move it to a different day, that's fine. But it stays a priority for the week. And then on top of that, I use a timer during those time blocks. And that really, it takes away from you worrying about how long you've been working on something or how much longer you have to work on it and makes you more productive during that timeframe.

Gresham Harkless 10:31

Yeah, absolutely, obviously love both of those hacks, just because a lot of times as a CEO, entrepreneur, and business owner, we have so many things that are going on in our head. And sometimes if we could just move that out to understanding that this has a delegated time on our calendar, or even we can, you know, go through side channels, we have to go through a million emails to kind of get an answer to something, it helps take a lot off our plates and helps us to be more productive and efficient, which is always of the utmost importance.

Jennifer Stewart 10:56

Exactly.

Gresham Harkless 10:57

Awesome, awesome, awesome. And now I want to ask you for what I call a CEO nugget. And this is a word of wisdom or a piece of advice. Or if you can happen to be a time machine, what would you tell your younger business self?

Jennifer Stewart 11:07

The funny thing is, I actually had someone I mentoring asked me this the other day, so I know exactly what I would say, and hands down, I would say be yourself in business. And don't try to be something or someone else, because you're not going to get the right clients. And you're not going to have the right business going on. You might fill your pockets and fill your bank account, but you won't fill your heart and it won't feel right. So that's a huge thing that I kind of knew at the beginning. But you have to hear it from someone who's been in business and know that yes, it's true. You need to be yourself, your marketing needs to reflect you and your personality, or else the wrong people are going to come to you and you're never going to feel comfortable with your business.

Gresham Harkless 11:50

Yeah, that makes perfect sense. And that's why you know, I love the fact that you guys do customized solutions, because a lot of times, you know, you hear that somebody does A B C D E FG to be successful, and you're like, okay, I'm gonna do the exact same thing. And yes, you definitely want to have some, you know, strategies or things that people have done to be successful. But you have to be true to yourself so that you're attracting the clients that you want the things that you want, and you're running the business the way that you want. And to be able to be in alignment with that is absolutely huge. So I appreciate that CEO nugget.

Jennifer Stewart 12:18

Yes, thank you.

Gresham Harkless 12:19

You're welcome. You're welcome. And now I wanted to ask you my absolute favorite question, which is a definition of what it means to be a CEO. And we're hoping to have different, quote-unquote, CEOs on the show. So, Jennifer, I want to ask you, what does being a CEO mean to you?

Jennifer Stewart 12:30
So when I first saw that, you're going to ask that I was like, Well, I don't how I don't see myself as a CEO. But then I thought back to when I heard that mentioned for entrepreneurs in the past, and I've heard somebody say that CEOs should stand for the Chief Everything Officer. And so that is how I see CEO, I would never use the letter CEO for myself, I don't put that anywhere, because it just doesn't feel comfortable feels too corporate and I left corporate and I didn't want to be in corporate.

So but the Chief Everything Officer makes a lot more sense, I think for an entrepreneur. And so I completely agree with that. For me, being the Chief Everything Officer obviously means being on top of everything. Needing to know the finances, the marketing, the sales funnel, how client interactions are happening, all that kind of stuff, even having a business partner, I feel like we're both the CEOs of the company, we both need to know all of those things. So it seems overwhelming. If so for someone coming into being an entrepreneur, it seems overwhelming. But it's actually exciting because you control then the direction of the company and all of the moves that the company makes.

And as an example, my business partner, and I had a retreat in September of last year, and we actually made the decision to make small decisions and make slow growth for a while because of personal circumstances. And then also our values, which are really family and freedom and things like that. So having those things, we decided on some small growth, and for a while was fine. And what's cool is being the CEO, you can actually make decisions like that. So that's what I love about it.

Gresham Harkless 14:09

Yeah, absolutely. And I love that definition, the chief everything officer because you do have control of charting the path as you want it to go and making sure like we talked about earlier, you're attracting the right clients, you're building it according to your values and things that you want to do from your business. So Chief Everything Officer rings well with me and I love that definition.

Jennifer Stewart 14:26

Me too.

Gresham Harkless 14:27

Awesome, awesome, awesome. Well, Jennifer, I truly appreciate your time. What I want to do is pass you the mic just to see if there's anything additional you want to let our readers and our listeners know and then of course how best they can get a hold of you.

Jennifer Stewart 14:37

Sure. So the main thing that I haven't touched on is that I really would like to say to other entrepreneurs, and small business owners, be open. I've learned this in the last eight years be open to big changes for your company the little changes to but the big changes for sure. Don't just shut it down right away. I was really hesitant to start a partnership but honestly, I wouldn't be in business anymore if I hadn't done that. So that's the biggest and best decision I've ever made for my company. So definitely leave the door open for big decisions like that. And as far as contacting me, you can always go to the website, which is gatewayproductivity.com and then we're also on Facebook. I'm on LinkedIn, Jennifer Stewart, and you're always welcome to call me with any questions. I always love mentoring people, whatever people need 6364109212 is the business number.

Gresham Harkless 15:26

Awesome, awesome, awesome. And well, we'll make sure to have those links in the show notes. And I know that you can work with anybody across the country as well too. So we'll make sure to have those links so that they can contact you no matter where they are and what type of business they might be in. So I truly appreciate your time and I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.

Jennifer Stewart 15:42

Great. Thank you. You too.

Outro 15:43

Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO Podcast powered by Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at iamceo.co

I AM CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community. Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes Google Play and everywhere you listen to podcasts, SUBSCRIBE, and leave us a five-star rating grab CEO gear at www.ceogear.co. This has been the I AM CEO Podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listening.

Intro 0:02

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Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview? If so, you've come to the right place. Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of. This is the I AM CEO Podcast.

Gresham Harkless 0:26

Hello, hello. hello. This is Gresham from the I AM CEO Podcast and I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Jennifer Stewart of Gateway Productivity. Jennifer, it's awesome to have you on the show.

Jennifer Stewart 0:36

Thank you. I'm glad to be here.

Gresham Harkless 0:38

Super excited to have you on and what I want to do is just read a little bit more about Jennifer, so you can hear about all the awesome things that she's doing. Jennifer Stewart has been patiently empowering her clients to understand their computers and technology tools since 2011. She teaches her clients to reduce computer frustration and disorganization eliminate email, overwhelm and understand Microsoft programs. Jennifer is a recognized industry leader and is the immediate past president of the St. Louis chapter of the National Association of Productivity and organizing professionals. Jennifer, are you ready to speak to the I AM CEO community?

Jennifer Stewart 1:11

I sure am. Thanks for having me.

Gresham Harkless 1:13

Awesome. Thanks for coming on. And what I want to do is kick everything off to hear about what I call your CEO story. And what led you to start your business?

Jennifer Stewart 1:20

Yes. So I think like a lot of entrepreneurs, I was in the corporate world and I was in a financial management firm. And it was becoming more and more corporate and coming home overwhelmed, overworked and dealing with traffic. I'm not a traffic person. And so I really felt like I wasn't making a difference to anybody in the world. And I wanted to have the freedom to make my own schedule, and also have the time to volunteer and feel like I was making a little more difference in people's lives not only in work, but in in the world. And so that's when I decided to start a professional organizing company. Yes, professional organizing exists. A lot of people asked me that it is a thing. And so my first company was Organizing by Jennifer. And I figured out pretty quickly that organizing was not my thing as far as organizing homes. So I worked with a business coach and figured out that organizing people's computers and helping them and training them on computers and their software and their computers was really my thing. So I shifted to business productivity in that realm really focused on technology, organizing and training, and started to realize that working with my clients really made me excited, I felt like I was making a difference. They were happier, life was easier for them. And that really felt like my purpose. And it really was the right thing. So moving forward in 2016, I actually closed that company and created a new one called Gateway Organizers. And I had two business partners at the time. Since then one has left and the other one and I the other business partner and I have shifted focus really laser focused into productivity, business productivity, specifically Small Business Productivity even. And we've changed to Gateway Productivity, because that made a lot more sense for us. We've moved away from any kind of organizing in home or business, we can help a little bit with that. But we really like to focus on helping with processes and getting things done in the company. And so that's what we're doing and we love it.

Gresham Harkless 3:23

Yeah, absolutely. And it's great to hear like, it kind of seems like you had a natural talent or a gift. And you made one small little pivot from moving and doing homes and to actually helping out businesses. And all of a sudden it kind of opens up all these opportunities. So sometimes it reminds me of like, sometimes you're closer than you think. And sometimes you think you need to make a wholesale change. But it's the one little small shift, and all of a sudden everything changes.

Jennifer Stewart 3:45

Exactly, I had opened an organizing company. And I was like, oh, no, but I don't want to do home organizing Well, you just shift it. And now it's technology organizing. And then now since then I've been able to move away from the word organizing in the company. So people don't get confused.

Gresham Harkless 3:59

Right, right, and definitely helps you know, the small businesses to definitely move the needle because you know, being efficient being organized is definitely of extreme importance and be able to, like you said, get things done, which is what we're all trying to do.

Jennifer Stewart 4:09

Right.

Gresham Harkless 4:10

Absolutely. And I know you touched on it a little bit. Could you drill down a little bit deeper on like, how you're helping out these small businesses and some of the things that you're doing?

Jennifer Stewart 4:17

Yeah, definitely. So our company provides services exclusively and we focus on in the broad sense, it would be productivity consulting, is the way I usually explain it and then obviously have to go deeper than that. So my business partner focuses on ADHD and productivity coaching. So she helps people one on one, usually over the phone and helps them it's usually small business owners, entrepreneurs who have a place they want to get to and they just can't figure out how to get there. Either their ideas are too big and they can't drill down or they have too much going on. They're overwhelmed. They just can't be productive because of everything going on so she helps with that piece. We both go into teams situations are larger companies. And if you've got a team that's not working well together, they're the processes aren't in place, or a smaller company that has no processes at all, which is really something we see a lot. That's where we both would go in and figure out, is it productivity based? Where she would need to coach some people or some teams? Or is it technology based where we need to add some new technology or change technology? So we do that for teams. And then I specifically work usually with small business owners and entrepreneurs on, they don't understand their computer, it's confusing that type of thing. And I'll talk a little bit more about that when we talk about the uniqueness of what we do.

Gresham Harkless 5:38

Yeah, yeah. And that is definitely great to hear. And kind of, you know, I was visualizing you kind of as like a doctor, where it is not that there's one specific thing that you have to do you have to download this app, and then everything will be fun. Sometimes it can be the people that are on your team sometimes could be the fact that you're afraid and don't want to touch anything related to technology. Or maybe it does, it is that app that you need to install, but it could be a number of things that could actually help you to move the needle.

Jennifer Stewart 6:01

Exactly.

Gresham Harkless 6:02

Awesome, awesome, awesome. And I know you touched on a little bit, but I wanted to hear about what I call your secret sauce and what you feel kind of distinguishes you and your organization apart.

Jennifer Stewart 6:09

Yes. So the company itself is unique, because there's very few of us doing this, this type of thing where we help small businesses improve their productivity and processes. Another thing that makes us unique as a company is that we're 100% client centric. And what I mean by that is we customize specifically to what the client needs, we don't come in with any preconceived notions of what the company needs, we are going to figure out with you do an assessment, what do you need, and then customize those needs, whether as you said, it's an app that we need to add, or it's something that we need to eliminate from your process, whatever that might be. And then we always work with the client, we don't come in and dictate anything. But if it's something that the client is comfortable with, great, we'll move ahead, if they say, oh, that's just I'm not comfortable with that, then we'll figure out a different solution. And of course, what I do is even more specifically unique because I bring an extremely patient helping hand to small companies who have trouble understanding how to best use their technology, that's usually where we start, or they're overwhelmed by their email, that type of thing, help them get their digital files organized, and all those things that seem so boring to most people, I actually think it's really exciting, and I love it. So that's something that I very rarely hear that people do in their businesses.

Gresham Harkless 7:27

Yeah, absolutely. And that patience, and you know, that helping hand is definitely something that's extremely needed, especially related to technology. Because, you know, like, you know, most, I would just say most, but some small business owners are definitely overwhelmed with, you know, the amount of things that are coming at them and trying to understand a new technology or this new update, that X, Y and Z and all these things is just becomes a law. So sometimes you do need that patient air just to understand exactly what you're going through and be able to help you kind of bridge that gap.

Jennifer Stewart 7:52

Exactly.

Gresham Harkless 7:53

Alright, now, I wanted to switch gears a little bit and ask you for what I call a CEO hack. And this might be an app book or a habit that you have, but it's something that makes you more effective and efficient.

Jennifer Stewart 8:02

Great. Yes, I actually am going to cheat I have two. And so the first thing I wanted to talk about is an app, and it's called Slack. A lot of people think this is just a chat within a company. And it is that but a huge thing that my business partner and I use that for is eliminating email. Because having the emails going back and forth with a conversation that we're having, then you can no longer keep track of the emails that are coming from people outside the organization. So Slack really eliminates that need for emailing back and forth internally. And what I really like about it is it helps us organize Of course, we're organizers, we love that and being productive with that. So you can also create what's called channels. And so that helps you organize your thoughts and talk about specific things in specific places. For example, we have a marketing channel, where we just talk about marketing ideas, maybe blog, post ideas, things like that. And then we have one that's called review requests. And you can really call that whatever you want. We use that as you need to look at this right now. You know, pick up your phone look at it. And so that's a huge thing for us. And then what I use it for also personally is putting reminders in there you can have, they have what's called a Slack bot and you tell it to remind you about something at a certain time on a certain day. It'll plug it in, and it'll remind you at that time and it's huge for helping me remember things that I need to remind my business partner or things I need to do or something to pick up from the store anything so I use that as well. And then my favorite habit that I want to talk about is time blocking. And I know a lot of people on the podcast have talked about that. But I think it's so important. I want to say it again and what time blocking is is taking things that are important to you for the day that you need to get done and putting them on your calendar or maybe for the week. What I love about that is if you don't get done at the time you put it on your calendar, you can move it to another day. And what's really important there is you're not losing track of those priorities. Instead of them just being a list. Now they're in your calendar. And now you know, this is a priority, I need to get it done. And if I need to move it to a different day, that's fine. But it stays a priority for the week. And then on top of that, I use a timer during those time blocks. And that really, it takes away from you worrying about how long you've been working on something or how much longer you have to work on it and makes you more productive during that timeframe.

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Gresham Harkless 10:31

Yeah, absolutely, obviously love both of those those hacks, just because a lot of times as a CEO, entrepreneur, business owner, we have so many things that are going on in our head. And sometimes if we could just move that out to understanding that this has a delegated time on our on our calendar, or even we can, you know, go through side channels, we have to go through a million emails to kind of get an answer to something, it helps take a lot off our plates and helps us to be more productive and efficient, which is always of the utmost importance.

Jennifer Stewart 10:56

Exactly.

Gresham Harkless 10:57

Awesome, awesome, awesome. And now I want to ask you for what I call a CEO nugget. And this is a word of wisdom or a piece of advice. Or if you can happen to a time machine, what would you tell your younger business self?

Jennifer Stewart 11:07

The funny thing is, I actually had someone I mentoring asked me this the other day, so I know exactly what I would say, and hands down, I would say be yourself in business. And don't try to be something or someone else, because you're not going to get the right clients. And you're not going to have the right business going on. You might fill your pockets and fill your bank account, but you won't fill your heart and it won't feel right. So that's a huge thing that I kind of knew at the beginning. But you have to hear it from someone who's been in business and know that yes, it's true. You need to be yourself, your marketing needs to reflect you and your personality, or else the wrong people are going to come to you and you're never going to feel comfortable with your business.

Gresham Harkless 11:50

Yeah, that makes perfect sense. And that's why you know, I love the fact that you guys do customized solutions, because a lot of times, you know, you hear that somebody does A B C D E FG to be successful, and you're like, okay, I'm gonna do the exact same thing. And yes, you definitely want to have some, you know, strategies or things that that people have done to be successful. But you have to be true to yourself so that you're attracting the clients that you want the things that you want, you're running the business the way that you want. And to be able to be in alignment with that is absolutely huge. So I appreciate that CEO nugget.

Jennifer Stewart 12:18

Yes, thank you.

Gresham Harkless 12:19

You're welcome. You're welcome. And now I wanted to ask you my absolute favorite question, which is a definition of what it means to be a CEO. And we're hoping to have different, quote unquote, CEOs on the show. So Jennifer, I want to ask you, what does being a CEO mean to you?

Jennifer Stewart 12:30

So when I first saw that, you're going to ask that I was like, Well, I don't how I don't see myself as a CEO. But then I thought back to when I've heard that mentioned for entrepreneurs in the past, and I've heard somebody say that CEOs should stand for the Chief Everything Officer. And so that is how I see CEO, I would never use the letter CEO for myself, I don't put that anywhere, because it just doesn't feel comfortable feels to corporate and I left corporate and I didn't want to be in corporate. So but the Chief Everything Officer makes a lot more sense, I think for an entrepreneur. And so I completely agree with that. For me, being the Chief Everything Officer obviously means being on top of everything. Needing to know the finances, the marketing, the sales funnel, how client interactions are happening, all that kind of stuff, even having a business partner, I feel like we're both the CEOs of the company, we both need to know all of those things. So it seems overwhelming. If so for someone coming in to being an entrepreneur, it seems overwhelming. But it's actually exciting because you control then the direction of the company, and all of the moves that the company makes. And as an example, my business partner, and I had a retreat in September of last year, and we actually made the decision to make small decisions and make slow growth or a while because of personal circumstances. And then also our values, which are really family and freedom and things like that. So having those things, we decided some small growth and for a while was fine. And what's cool is being the CEO, you can actually make decisions like that. So that's what I love about it.

Gresham Harkless 14:09

Yeah, absolutely. And I love that definition, the chief everything officer because you do have control of charting the path as you want it to go and making sure like we talked about earlier, you're attracting the right clients, you're building it according to your values and things that you want to do from your business. So Chief Everything Officer rings well with me and I love that definition.

Jennifer Stewart 14:26

Me too.

Gresham Harkless 14:27

Awesome, awesome, awesome. Well, Jennifer, I truly appreciate your time. And I want to I want to do is pass you the mic just to see if there's anything additional you want to let our readers and our listeners know and then of course how best they can get a hold of you.

Jennifer Stewart 14:37

Sure. So the main thing that I haven't touched on that I really would like to say to other entrepreneurs, small business owners, be open. I've learned this in the last eight years be open to big changes for your company the little changes to but the big changes for sure. Don't just shut it down right away. I was really hesitant to start a partnership but honestly I wouldn't be in business anymore if I hadn't done that. So that's the biggest and best decision I've ever made for my company. So definitely leave the door open for big decisions like that. And as far as contacting me, you can always go to the website, which is gatewayproductivity.com and then we're also on Facebook. I'm on LinkedIn, Jennifer Stewart, and you're always welcome to call me with any questions. I always love mentoring people, whatever people need 6364109212 is the business number.

Gresham Harkless 15:26

Awesome, awesome, awesome. And well, we'll make sure to have those links in the show notes. And I know that you can work with anybody across the country as well too. So we'll make sure to have those links so that they can contact you no matter where they are and what type of business they might be in. So I truly appreciate your time and I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.

Jennifer Stewart 15:42

Great. Thank you. You too.

Outro 15:43

Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO Podcast powered by Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at iamceo.co I AM CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community. Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes Google Play and everywhere you listen to podcasts, SUBSCRIBE, and leave us a five-star rating grab CEO gear at www.ceogear.co. This has been the I AM CEO Podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listening.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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Mercy - CBNation Team

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(CEOBlogNation.com), podcasts, (CEOPodcasts.com) and videos (CBNation.tv). CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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