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IAM2000 – Unlocking CEO Hacks for Business Success

Gresham Harkless Jr.

When it comes to running a successful business, having the right tools and strategies in place is essential.

In this special episode of the I Am CEO podcast, Gresham Harkless, Jr., the host and CEO delves into the concept of CEO hacks – the apps, books, software, and habits that can make CEOs and entrepreneurs more effective and efficient.

We'll explore some of the key insights shared in the podcast episode and how you can leverage these CEO hacks to level up your business.

One of the foundational concepts discussed by Gresh is the importance of understanding the ingredients of your marketing strategy. He compares crafting a marketing strategy to going to a grocery store and gathering various ingredients.

These ingredients represent the different tools, marketing channels, and execution methods at your disposal. By experimenting and optimizing these ingredients, you can create a recipe for success that aligns with your business goals.

From optimizing marketing strategies to leveraging powerful tools and cultivating effective habits, these hacks offer valuable insights into driving success in business.

By implementing these strategies and adopting a growth mindset, aspiring CEOs can unlock their full potential as they navigate the ever-evolving business landscape.

Check out our CEO Hack Buzz Newsletter–our premium newsletter with hacks and nuggets to level up your organization. Sign up HERE

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Gresham Harkless Teaser 00:00

Often when I give a talk around being a media company, I say that a lot of times when you start to figure out what your marketing strategy is. You have to go to the grocery store and figure out what are the ingredients, the ingredients are all the different tools, all the different marketing channels, the different ways you can execute within those marketing channels to figure out what's your ultimate and the most impactful recipe that you could have for the things that you're trying to create.

Intro 00:26

Are you ready to hear business stories and learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and level up your business from awesome CEOs, entrepreneurs, and founders without listening to a long, long, long interview?

If so, you've come to the right place. Gresh values your time and is ready to share with you the valuable info you're in search of. This is the I Am CEO Podcast.

Gresham Harkless 00:54

Hello, hello, hello. This is Gresh from the I Am CEO podcast. This is episode number 2000 of our I Am CEO podcast. So I'm super excited to get to drill down a little bit more and get to celebrate a little bit with all the things that we've been able to accomplish.

Of course the last year or so we repurposed a lot of our episodes. But nevertheless, we have been able to generate a lot of content and a lot of, hopefully, support to our entrepreneurs and business owners.

So I look forward to really drilling down more and more and more, making it easier for people to not just hear the podcast, but also understand exactly how you can execute this within your organization.

So, for this episode, I actually wanted to drill down into 1 of the things that we wanted to focus a little bit more on going into the next episodes and the next, I think, iteration of what the I am CEO podcast will become. So still a daily podcast, we really focus on providing really valuable content.

But one of my absolute favorite questions outside of asking everybody what their definition of being a CEO is, which is usually impactful because there's never really that consistent answer. People have different perspectives and those perspectives change depending on where they are in the journey.

I would say my next favorite thing, and actually probably the most impactful thing, because I feel like you could execute right then and right there by listening to it, are the CEO hacks.

CEO hacks, they're apps, books, software habits that you can lean on to make you more effective and efficient. And the beautiful thing about the CEO hacks is that we often think of them as being something grandiose, something huge, something that takes years and years and years to implement.

But in actuality, it's something usually very quick that you can implement it often when I've even a guest on podcasts. One of the things that I love to talk about are those CEO hacks. And the reason I love the CEO hacks is because often you can take the time to really work backwards from the processes and systems that you have in place to figure out what are the best hacks for you.

Often when I give a talk around being a media company, I say that a lot of times when you start to figure out what your marketing strategy is. You have to go to the grocery store and figure out what are the ingredients, the ingredients are all the different tools, all the different marketing channels, the different ways you can execute within those marketing channels to figure out what's your ultimate and the most impactful recipe that you could have for the things that you're trying to create.

So very much. So the same with CEO hacks, think of CEO hacks, like you're going to the grocery store. You already have a process, a system, a way that you're executing, but you just want to know how can you improve that? How can you take that to the next level? And that's where the CEO hacks come in handy.

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It's really understanding that this is a system that I'm using. This is what I'm trying to accomplish. How can I optimize and improve that? Take that to another level so that I can be in my zone of genius. I can do all the things that could really make me go from good to great, all of those things.

But it really is, I think most impactful not by going on the outside end saying, Oh, that looks like that has a lot of really cool features. Rather, I think if you're able to understand what you're. processes are, what your systems are, what you excel at. If you're in your zone of genius as an organization and leaning more into that to figure out how you can maximize that, how you can spend more time, your zone of genius, how you can serve your clients to the best of your ability.

So with that being said, I'm just going to share some of the CEO hacks that I often talk about on the podcast. Some of them are exciting. Most of them are honestly probably things that you have already heard about. But hopefully I'll give you a little bit more insight into how you can leverage that so that you can be more effective and efficient.

And my number one CEO hack in largely because especially with the podcast, we interview people in different countries, different time zones, and I'm really, really a terrible person when it comes to figuring out what time zone you're in and coordinating that time. I use a scheduling software called Acuity.

There's also one called Calendly and there are many, many others that are out there. But the whole idea of these scheduling links is that you can send them and you can allow somebody to book according to their time zone. It's a huge, huge time saver. And when I first started using them, I actually used vCita.

It wasn't as prevalent and people weren't as open to it. I even remember getting pushback from people saying that, okay, you don't want to take time to schedule, but now it's something that's a lot more prevalent. So I really appreciate how this has grown and how simplistic it is to some degree, but I think one of the really cool things about Acuity is that you can use it in many different ways.

Actually had it hooked up to another scheduling software that uses AI called reclaim that I used for a little bit and that used AI to optimize your schedule to figure out what to do. You hadn't done and to really maximize that. So we I used to do with personally, to figure out all this to do is that I've done or haven't done.

And then it would actually connect to reclaim and reclaim, connect to my acuity and my, in my calendar so that it could maximize my to do list. Now it ended up being a little bit too much for me, but I thought it was really cool because at the end of the day, when you're able to schedule things out, that helps you to be able to execute on a bigger, better and better level.

So absolutely love scheduling software. If you don't use one. Make sure you can sign up for them. A lot of them have freemium packages where you can start out usually for free. And if you want to add on added features, you can do that, but definitely an absolute game changer for me.

Probably the next and probably even the more impactful CEO hack that I use is called Base Camp. Base Camp is something that we've used as a team. to really help us to put everything that we need to in one place. Rather than trying to go to this software, that software, we really this year, especially tried to figure out exactly how we can automate a lot of things or basically sync different software is using base camp as our foundation.

Now, Base Camp definitely has its limitations. So we've started using and originally Asana, but there's also project management software, like ClickUp as well to Trello. The bottom line is that you find whatever works best for you. Again, think about going to the grocery store, finding ingredients, and then you start to figure out how best you can leverage those, what the pros and cons of those might be.

And if you. haven't use, other software that you can actually use to pretty much be like a band-aid. You could connect two things together, like if this than that and other software is like that. What it allows you to do is really merge two of these softwares together. If there's not automation built-in base camp is one of the ones that I don't think has as robust automation features.

I think it has very, very basic, I won't say it has any, it doesn't have any, but I will say it's very, very basic. So we use that as a foundation, but we do some manual things and we try to connect it to other tools using specifically for us Zapier. So think about how you can, again, figure out what you're doing and if you don't wanna make a wholesale change, how you can make maybe tweaks that again can help you to be more effective and efficient for yourself, but also for your team.

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And I often say that the systems will set you free. And I think one of the most powerful things about systems is it doesn't make sure it doesn't confine you. I think especially for creative, sometimes we can feel as if we are confined by systems, but I really think the beautiful thing about systems is that it actually allows you to be more effective and efficient.

So one of the things that I really lean into and I tweak from time to time. But I think it's been really important is having a morning routine and my morning routine. I've gone through and different episodes and I won't drill down as much here, but the important part for me is to make sure that you have some type of routine that you're following.

If you have a morning routine, you have, especially an evening routine as well too, that's going to help you to make sure that before the day gets ahold of you, you have an opportunity to set yourself up for success. I usually, in my to-do list, always have a goal of completing five to-do lists or to our tasks on my to-do list.

And I literally have that goal built into to listen and, sends a little notification when I do get those five things done, the beautiful thing is I usually get those five things done or at least five things done. I should say before my day, honestly, get started. So it's a really great way to propel myself forward.

You find out you have a goal to hit whatever amount of goals and you're able to do that very early on in the day. Again, that's going to set you up for success so much more in a better way before the notifications started coming in and for all the things that start happening, usually from a day-to-day standpoint, whether we're talking about business or professionally, it really allows you to do that.

So make sure that you have a morning routine. That's something that has come up consistently over and over again in episodes. So make sure that you leverage that as much as possible.

And the next thing which I think that I read in a book, actually, I think when I first started a blog and I can't remember who exactly said it but he said, readers are leaders.

Our leaders are readers actually, and I have that in the verse. All that basically means is that There's an Einstein quote that I talk about a lot of the podcast where he said to see further, you must stand on the shoulders of giants, which I think I don't know a lot of Tim Ferriss is books tools of the Titans, I believe is called basically has that I imagined as a premise because you can learn so much more from other people.

And we're Often there's nothing new under the sun. So to be able to understand how you can do things it's maybe not necessarily completely reinventing the wheel. Maybe you're merging two different ideas into something new. But it's not really new by itself. So you want to be able to lean on others.

So, books are one of the big things for me. I listen to a lot of podcasts, but books are one of those big things. So I want to share just three books. There's lots and lots more. I can go on and on and on.

But if you haven't, if you're just starting out in business and even if you have been in business and you haven't checked out the book, the E-Myth by Michael Gerber, the E Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber, please check that book out. It's going to completely change the way that you look at business and entrepreneurship and how exactly I think to even sell or accelerate your business.

The next thing is The One Thing one of my absolute favorite books because it really changes the way that I looked at focus. And I think that was one of my Achilles heels of focus.

And even I've been on podcasts and I talked about this and talked about, like, how that's my Achilles heel and how I can harness that into, being more of my superpower. The whole entire, thesis or theme of the book or the foundational question I think of the book is what's the one thing that by doing it, everything else is easier and necessary and on the front of the book, it basically has dominoes.

The dominoes get bigger at one after the other. So the idea is that as you build momentum and you complete that one thing, it starts to be able to knock over larger domino than a larger domino than a larger domino. But you have to figure out what that initial domino is.

And I think that's something that it's not to say that you just do 1 thing, but it's the understanding that sometimes it's the idea of the 80-20 rule where there's 20 percent is actually what's going to move those things forward rather than 100 percent that we think are always moving things forward. It's actually that 20 percent focus that really is going to lean things forward.

So what's your 20%? What's your 1 thing? Make sure that you figure what that is. It's something I've heard about a lot and I have not listened to it before, but I've heard so many things about it. I've even read things, read this book, and I was like, oh, I heard this concept. I just never actually sat down and read the book or listened to the book.

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So I listened and read to the book on Audible and Kindle. And the book is Atomic Habits. It's so difficult. It's, I think especially in this day and age should really understand like what helps people to be successful. You listen to books like Outliers or read books like Outliers, you start to realize these people put it in their 10,000 hours, but those are.

Often people that have developed habits is something that they consistently do to get to the success. I think sometimes and often we see people at the finish line, but we don't see the day to day habits that lead people there. So you have to check out this book because I think it's the same. And the idea that the way to eat elephant is one bite at a time.

What are the bites that you're taking? How can you optimize those bites to be even better? How can you potentially stack some of the habits that you have to be able to get to the goal? So absolutely phenomenal books.

So again, low whole entire concept is really what the hack is, but there are some of the books that I just wanted to share. I can go on and on and on about all the different books, but I just wanted to share some of those that you should definitely check out.

And last but not least. This hack has completely changed our lives to some degree with the pandemic and everything that happened Zoom has been 1 of the really cool CEO hacks. I would call this because what it does is it allows people in 2 different parts of the world. Globe country, even in the same city at that to be able to meet instantly instantaneously.

And it's of course, not the only 1 is very much. So, Cliniques is not the only tissue, but everybody calls the Cliniques.

Do you want to go Zoom? Do you want? Can I can Google that? Google is not the only search engine, but Zoom has started to become that. So I wanted to mention that as a CEO hacks, because I think about myself in this day and age while we don't record podcasts on Zoom anymore, still, it was a really great gateway for us to connect with people.

And even for people that are coming on our podcast, we set up, set it up through Zoom and then we move over to a squad cast where we do our recordings. But the bottom line is this these tools and this software allows us to connect instantaneously. If you go into these virtual networking groups, a lot of them are on Zoom.

But at the end of the day, it's. All about being able to leverage that in a completely pivotal in an awesome way. One of the really cool things that I want to give you is just like a small bonus. Like one of the things that I talked about, and I'm going to give you an example that I actually heard about during a networking group is how you can use these hacks, how you can basically use these quote-unquote ingredients.

And implement them in such a way that it does take things to another level. And one of the really cool things that I heard in a networking group was that if you take and know, like people that are your referral partners, there may be your keep, they deepened your relationship with them and they actually absolutely trust you.

What you can do is start to get and compile their scheduling links. When you have their scheduling links you could basically set up a time for them on their behalf. So let's just say somebody is a really close friend with me or somebody that we've done a lot of business. We've referred business back and forth and I completely trust this person.

This person has my scheduling link and they meet somebody on my behalf, they'll be able to take, he or she will be able to take my scheduling link, book a time instantly there, put in details about how they met and who set this up and all of those things and be able to book it right there. So when you're having a conversation with a potential person that you want to connect with me, for example, you'll be able to say, okay.

Do any of these times work for you? I'm going to set this up for you right now. What this does is I think it allows the opportunity for people to be able to make those connections a lot quicker. And I also think it allows an opportunity for a win-win-win because that person that's facilitating that connection and that opportunity really has a great way of doing that.

With that being said, lots and lots of hacks. I hope you enjoyed this 2000 episodes. Hopefully, we have 2000 more and 2000 more and 2000 more, and we'll keep going if you keep listening. Thanks so much. This is Gresh signing out and I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.

Outro 16:10

Thank you for listening to the I Am CEO podcast, powered by CB Nation and Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at I Am CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community.

Check out the latest and greatest apps, books, and habits to level up your business at This has been the I Am CEO podcast with Gresham Harkless, Jr. Thank you for listening.


Dave Bonachita - CBNation Writer

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(, podcasts, ( and videos ( CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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