Catalytic Leadership

Mastering Entrepreneurial Growth: Strategies for Impactful and Sustainable Success with Donna Dube

April 11, 2024 Dr. William Attaway Season 2 Episode 41
Mastering Entrepreneurial Growth: Strategies for Impactful and Sustainable Success with Donna Dube
Catalytic Leadership
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Catalytic Leadership
Mastering Entrepreneurial Growth: Strategies for Impactful and Sustainable Success with Donna Dube
Apr 11, 2024 Season 2 Episode 41
Dr. William Attaway

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Are you tired of trading long hours at your job for even longer ones in your own business? Join us on Catalytic Leadership as we welcome special guest Donna Dube, a strategist with a proven track record in guiding entrepreneurs to work smarter, not harder. Together, we'll explore the essential shift from being consumed by business tasks to sculpting a thriving, sustainable business. Discover Donna's time-tested strategies that leverage the framework of time, talent, and tactics to catapult your business beyond burnout to sustainable success.

Leaders, get ready to enhance your arsenal with Donna's insights. Say goodbye to procrastination and hello to preparation with the art of addressing performance issues, keeping composure with objectivity, and letting data steer essential talks. Transform your calendar from a frenemy to a faithful ally by prioritizing CEO-level tasks that drive your company forward.

For visionary leaders aiming to etch their legacy in the stars, this episode is your guiding light. Reflect on incremental improvements and the power of habit tracking to keep your eyes on the prize. Inspired by 'Atomic Habits' and 'Traction,' delve into personal and operational growth. I, Dr. William Attaway, extend a personal invitation for those eager to continue their leadership evolution, to connect for a transformative coaching experience. Let's unite in embracing these catalytic principles and kindle the flames of true progress.

Unlock the CEO's secret to working smarter, not harder with a weekly CEO power hour: https://ceoamplify.ca/powerhour

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About Dr. William Attaway:

Meet Dr. William Attaway, your guide to peak performance. As a seasoned Executive Mindset and Leadership Coach with nearly 30 years of experience, William empowers high-performance entrepreneurs and agency owners to conquer challenges and maximize their potential. Join him on the Catalytic Leadership podcast as he shares insights on achieving Clear-Minded Focus, Calm Control, & Confidence, helping you thrive in business and life.

Grab your free copy of Dr. William Attaway's new book, CATALYTIC LEADERSHIP: 12 Keys To Becoming An Intentional Leader Who Makes A Difference.

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Send us a Text Message.

Are you tired of trading long hours at your job for even longer ones in your own business? Join us on Catalytic Leadership as we welcome special guest Donna Dube, a strategist with a proven track record in guiding entrepreneurs to work smarter, not harder. Together, we'll explore the essential shift from being consumed by business tasks to sculpting a thriving, sustainable business. Discover Donna's time-tested strategies that leverage the framework of time, talent, and tactics to catapult your business beyond burnout to sustainable success.

Leaders, get ready to enhance your arsenal with Donna's insights. Say goodbye to procrastination and hello to preparation with the art of addressing performance issues, keeping composure with objectivity, and letting data steer essential talks. Transform your calendar from a frenemy to a faithful ally by prioritizing CEO-level tasks that drive your company forward.

For visionary leaders aiming to etch their legacy in the stars, this episode is your guiding light. Reflect on incremental improvements and the power of habit tracking to keep your eyes on the prize. Inspired by 'Atomic Habits' and 'Traction,' delve into personal and operational growth. I, Dr. William Attaway, extend a personal invitation for those eager to continue their leadership evolution, to connect for a transformative coaching experience. Let's unite in embracing these catalytic principles and kindle the flames of true progress.

Unlock the CEO's secret to working smarter, not harder with a weekly CEO power hour: https://ceoamplify.ca/powerhour

Support the Show.

About Dr. William Attaway:

Meet Dr. William Attaway, your guide to peak performance. As a seasoned Executive Mindset and Leadership Coach with nearly 30 years of experience, William empowers high-performance entrepreneurs and agency owners to conquer challenges and maximize their potential. Join him on the Catalytic Leadership podcast as he shares insights on achieving Clear-Minded Focus, Calm Control, & Confidence, helping you thrive in business and life.

Grab your free copy of Dr. William Attaway's new book, CATALYTIC LEADERSHIP: 12 Keys To Becoming An Intentional Leader Who Makes A Difference.

Discovery Call:
Book your free 30-minute strategic and discovery call.

Connect with Dr. William Attaway:

Website
LinkedIn
Facebook
Instagram
TikTok
YouTube

Dr. William Attaway:

I'm so excited today to have Donna Dubé on the podcast. Donna is a certified director of operations, business growth strategist and the host of the CEO Amplify podcast. She works with established online service-based business owners who are ready to make a bigger impact and maximize their profit. And maximize their profit. Donna's journey into the world of entrepreneurship began with her own ventures, where she encountered the roller coaster of challenges and successes that come with building an online business. These personal experiences gave her a profound understanding of the unique pressures that business owners face, especially in the digital landscape. With a keen eye for identifying opportunities within chaos and a knack for devising streamlined strategies, donna became deeply committed to changing the narrative around entrepreneurship. Her mission became equipping business owners to shift from being overwhelmed by the daily grind to confidently steering their companies toward growth and sustainability. Donna, I'm so excited you're here. I've been looking forward to this conversation.

Donna Dube:

Thank you, I'm so happy to be here, william.

Intro/Outro:

Welcome to Catalytic Leadership, the podcast designed to help leaders intentionally grow and thrive. Here is your host author and leadership and executive coach, dr William Attaway.

Dr. William Attaway:

I would love for you, Donna, to share some of your story with our listeners, particularly around your journey and development as an entrepreneurial leader. How did you get started?

Donna Dube:

So, probably like many of your listeners, my journey is wavy and twisty, not narrow and straight.

Dr. William Attaway:

So common.

Donna Dube:

Yeah. So I came into this online space actually doing project management, and so, you know, I was hired by a client for a short period of time to manage a project with their team hired by a client for a short period of time to manage a project with their team and while I enjoyed doing that, I quickly realized there was so much more going on behind the scenes, right, and so many leaders, visionary leaders, especially drowning if you want to put it that way in their business, and so that really intrigued me. I wanted to be able to dig in a little deeper and help them further. At the same time, I was going through my own journey of being a solopreneur and trying to do everything, and so, while I was enjoying what I was doing, my family were wondering what happened to me Mom, are you going to do my husband? Do we have any time together? And so it really came to a head when my husband said something needs to change, Because what we're doing right now is going to break. And while I didn't really want to hear that, to be honest with you, I'm glad that he did say that, because it saved me from getting to a point of serious burnout, right.

Donna Dube:

And so at that point I had to take a step back and really review and reflect and say how can I grow this business without myself working 24-7? And I had to dive deeper into more than just delegate, right, Because that's the first thing people will say to you well, just hire a team member and delegate. But there's so much more under the surface. And so I was able to establish a framework for myself but then now also use that for my clients to really help them leverage three things their time, their talent and their tactics so they can grow their business without working 24-7. So they can grow their business without working 24-7.

Dr. William Attaway:

Yeah, I want to dive into that because I think that's something that I hear so often in the entrepreneurial space. You know, I work a lot with agency owners, right, and there's just this tension. They started the business usually for three big reasons, right, they wanted financial freedom, they wanted time freedom and they wanted location freedom they were able to do what they do from anywhere. And then they traded their nine to five for a 7 am to 10 pm job, right, and they're struggling and they're drowning, like you say. Do you see that as much as I do in the entrepreneurial space?

Donna Dube:

I think so, definitely, because I think the piece that we're missing is that, yes, when we start our business, we're the everything, but we quickly need to be able to take off that hat and put on the CEO hat.

Donna Dube:

And I know some listeners are going to be like no, no, I'm not a CEO, that's corporate. I don't have a board of directors, I don't have a VP. But we really have to be thinking and acting like the leader of the business, and the bigger our business, the more revenue we want to make, the more time we need to spend in our week doing those CEO level tasks. And so I think it's really important that, even if you are a solopreneur, you still have some time dedicated every single week to be doing those higher level tasks. And probably you're going to say, well, what are those higher level tasks? Right, and so it's different for everybody. But really we want to be looking at what tasks are directly tied to generating revenue and we need tasks every single week as a leader to do that. You'll hear people say we need time to work on our business, not always in our business.

Dr. William Attaway:

Yeah, and I think that's a struggle. You know, because you're in the weeds, you're doing the day-to-day and there think that's a struggle. You know, because you're in the weeds, you're doing the day to day and there's this tension. You really struggle to step back from daily operations. You struggle to step back from working in it. So you know what are some signs that you've seen that a business owner has spent too much time working in their business rather than on it, and are there some tips or suggestions you would make around how to transition to a healthier way of doing this?

Donna Dube:

So most of the clients that I see when they come to me, they've got an established business. They're selling whatever their signature offer is. They want to be able to grow more, but they can't. They're at full capacity, so they're working longer hours than they want to be. And again, that doesn't have to be a nine to five. Right, you might be someone who likes to start work at 10. And ideally you want to finish at three, but you're not doing that. They're, you know, going back to work in the evenings. They're working the weekends, and when I say working the weekends, it's because they feel they have to. It's not their choice.

Donna Dube:

Well, nothing's going on. I think I'll just, you know, open up the laptop and do something here. That's perfectly fine if you're choosing it purposefully, but if it's a state where I got to get this done and no one else can do it, I have to work on the weekend. That's working too much. Do you have time to step back and actually look at your strategy? Are you setting yearly goals and breaking those goals down into 90-day goals and actually following through on what those are? For so many of us, we set goals in December, January, the beginning of the new year, and by March those are out the window, right. We may not even know what they were. We're not certainly following or tracking that we're actually reaching those goals. So you know, really having that time every week to be able to say where am I and where do I need to be.

Dr. William Attaway:

No, I think that's brilliant. You know, one of the one of the challenges that I see with entrepreneurs as they begin to find success you know they're really good at providing a product or a service, and as they begin to find success, they begin to have to hire other people to help them with fulfillment. Yeah, and all of a sudden they have a group of people that are looking to them to lead. Yes, and this is a whole struggle point and a pain point for so many entrepreneurs. You know, finding the right people the first part of this, like that's so critical and it's so crucial for business success. Are there strategies that you have found that business owners can employ to identify and bring in the right people for their team?

Donna Dube:

And you'll be surprised to find that those strategies start long before you actually hire someone. So what I mean by that is, first, before you even put out that you need help, you have to be clear on what your mission and what your values are. The mission the people need to know, because you want them to get on the same boat with you and row in the same direction. Yes, right. So they need to know what you're about and what you want to build. Yeah, the values people need to know, because it's so, so important to hire people who align with your values Right, you can hire someone and teach them how to use your landing page software, your email software or how to set up zoom or whatever skill you need them to do, but you can't teach a value alignment yeah, right. So if one of your values, for example, is to be punctual and on time and the person you're looking to hire doesn't have that value, you're going to have friction.

Dr. William Attaway:

Right, and when there's friction, you know that, that I find that entrepreneurs typically go one of two ways they either ignore it, hoping that it will go away, because if you ignore something long enough, usually it just fades away. Never, you never have to deal with it Right.

Dr. William Attaway:

And we're both laughing because we know that's not the way that works Right. But that is a mindset that people get into, like I'll just ignore it, it'll go away, or they deal with it in an unhealthy way. And you talk about the importance of having good, difficult conversations and how that's critical and inevitable for any business. Like how do you coach leaders to have those difficult conversations?

Donna Dube:

And it's true they are difficult, for a reason right.

Donna Dube:

Because, most of us don't feel comfortable in that type of environment, but one of the biggest pieces of having this difficult conversation is to stay as objective as possible, and so what I do when I work with my clients is say what's the data right? I don't want to hear that. Well, she complained yesterday and the other day before she didn't do this. What's the actual data? What were your expectations? And how is this person delivering and where's the gap? If there is a gap, what have you done so far to try and make that gap smaller? Have you had any conversations with the person to try and say, okay, this is where you are, this is what I expect Next time. Let's move toward this. Have you made sure that the resources that the person needs to do the job is available for them Right, needs to do the job is available for them, right?

Donna Dube:

If all of that is in place you've had conversations with them and they're not meeting the expectations that you have then when you come to this conversation, you have to bring the objective down, keep the emotion out of it, because that's not what's going to help bring us forward, right? And the second piece is to have this conversation as soon as possible. Don't let something fester. You know you're festering about it. You're upset that they aren't doing X, y, z. They too could be festering about something, and that makes it worse. So hit it head on. Bring it as soon as you can and be as objective as you can.

Dr. William Attaway:

I love that, I love the practicality of that and I hope everybody listening just wrote those things down. A good friend of mine always says you know, bad news and difficult conversations are not like a fine wine. They do not get better with age.

Dr. William Attaway:

You know, shoving them under the carpet is not a good plan, a long-term strategy for success, and what you just dealt with there is so so critical critical, like I really hope people heard and will begin to apply these things, because having difficult conversations well is a leadership skill that too few people are working on and I think it is so absolutely critical. I love that you talk about that, donna, truly yeah.

Donna Dube:

Yeah, and I mean, if you're not sure what to say, go, you know, go to a Google doc or something and put down some notes, right. The other person doesn't have to know that you have your notes up on your screen, right. But it just gives you some talking points so that you're not going off on the wrong tangent, right? I've even had clients practice with me you know, we're on Zoom and they're practicing as if they're an employee.

Donna Dube:

That they want to talk to right, and so, just having you know we're on Zoom and they're practicing as if we're an employee that they want to talk to Right, and so just having you know that that sounding board can be helpful.

Dr. William Attaway:

You've worked with a lot of CEOs. You know, as you have been working in the operations space. Are there habits that you've seen these CEOs have that have consistently led towards success, these daily routines that they incorporate in their lives?

Donna Dube:

For sure. I try to help them with six habits that I believe are critical to adopt as the CEO and the visionary leader of the business, and we touched on a couple of them, but one main one I wanted to say is what I call a CEO power hour which is like a CEO date with yourself.

Donna Dube:

So if we think for a minute about big, big businesses Microsoft, nike, apple obviously they have a CEO, they have board of directors and they have VPs who are reporting what's going on in the company in different areas right, sales marketing, et cetera. We don't have that in our smaller businesses. But, as leader, we still need to be keeping the pulse on what is happening in our business, and so this one hour is a time for you to work on your business, to take that step back, review and reflect and see what's happening, and so it's one hour that you set up in your calendar the same recurring time, week after week.

Donna Dube:

And it's non-negotiable, meaning only a life catastrophe will get in the way of you not doing that one hour CEO power hour. And then really what you do is you're looking at a few metrics what's working, what's not working right. Your revenue goal is part of that. How many people are coming into your world is part of that, so that each week you're tracking these things. It doesn't have to take a lot of time, but you need to be aware of where you are. So if you have a revenue goal of a certain amount, you break that down to what your monthly goal is and then you see where am I?

Donna Dube:

Am I on track to meet my monthly revenue goal? If not, what can I do to tweak or change? We do this to prevent going six months and then saying, oh, I'm way off from where I wanted to be. If we don't track it and measure it, we won't know where we are. And then the second part of this power hour is to really look at what are the priorities that I, as CEO, have to be doing this week and naming those three top priorities and then booking time on the calendar for them to happen, because if you're anything like me.

Donna Dube:

if it's not on your calendar, it's not happening, that's outstanding.

Dr. William Attaway:

I live by my calendar, no doubt, and you calendar what is priority, right. You make the time for what's most important. I love the intentionality of what you're describing there.

Donna Dube:

And then the second piece that goes along with that power hour is your calendar, which I like to call your scheduling ninja, so you can have this ninja working for you or against you. I hope you all want it working for you. And so, basically, what you're going to do is you're going to start with a blank calendar and set up what your model, what your ideal calendar would look like for a week. So you're going to put first, you're going to put in your family or your lifestyle obligations, right. So if you have a morning routine, you're going to block that off in your calendar. If you have a date night with your spouse, you're going to mark that off. If you have, you know, pick up kids from school, whatever it is for you, but block that off first, because life needs to fit into your calendar. You don't need to be trying to squeeze life in around your business, so that's blocked off first.

Donna Dube:

Second piece decide what hours you're going to be open. And some people are going to say but I'm an online business, I'm open all the time. People can buy from you all the time, sure, but you shouldn't be working all the time. So these are the set hours when you will be at your laptop. Your team and your clients know that if they contact you during these hours, you will get the message. You will see it be able to respond. So you have your set hours and that doesn't have to be nine to five. Right? That's the flexibility that we a lot of us wanted when we moved into entrepreneurship. So decide what that's going to be for you. Maybe it's a 10 to three, maybe it's a 10 to 3. Maybe it's a 10 to noon and then 3 to 5, whatever that is for you, but block that off. So you know these are the hours when I'm available.

Donna Dube:

And then within those hours, you want to block off time for the CEO level tasks, right? So, just as an example, I'm recording, obviously, a podcast today, and so William has time in his calendar each week for doing these podcast recordings, right? It's not like, oh, let me see if I can find an hour somewhere to squeeze this in. No, this is an important part of his business and it's blocked off. Every week I'm doing podcast recording right Yep.

Donna Dube:

Yep, and so having those times set for whatever your marketing, your sales and your client delivery strategies are, you've got times blocked off for that.

Donna Dube:

And then the final piece of the scheduling ninja is to have white space, because, while I believe in time blocking, I also know the reality that life doesn't always fit in these little blocks, and so it's very important to have white space in your calendar right, know how many Zoom calls you can have in a row before you need a break. And build that in right, because we're all different people, we all act differently. If morning is your top productive time, then put in that block there for you to really focus on those higher level, bigger tasks that you want to complete in that morning time. If morning is not your time, then don't put your biggest client in the first thing in the morning.

Dr. William Attaway:

Donna, you have built your business. This isn't just something you advise other people to do. You have built your business from nothing, from an idea, into what it is today, and you have to lead at a different level today than you did a year ago or three years ago. And your business will need you to lead at a different level a year from now or five years from now. How do you stay on top of your game? How do you level up your leadership skills so that you will be the leader your business needs? Do you level up your leadership skills so that you will be the leader your business needs you to be?

Donna Dube:

your team needs you to be I truly believe that we all need a mentor, a coach, an advisor, right whatever that um you want to call that, and so I will always have someone in my back pocket, um, for just that right.

Donna Dube:

So, whether it's a weekly mastermind or a weekly meeting with a coach, that can look different in different seasons, but I do believe it's important that we have someone who we're learning from, because, yes, we're good at our craft, but there's always areas we need some personal development and professional development in, and so it's really important that we have that.

Donna Dube:

The other piece I really like to do is quarterly planning. So I will set up my, my 12 month goals, but then every quarter, I'm looking again and saying, okay, where am I, what was my 12 month goals? What's really going to be my focus for this next quarter? And then communicating that with my team. Right, because I want my team to be rowing in the same direction I'm going, and if I'm constantly switching oh, let's do this, let's do that I'm confusing my team. It's difficult for them to know what the priorities are. So I like to have that time to set up okay, what's my focus, what are we really promoting? How are we marketing? What's the strategy and then communicating that with the team so they also know what the priorities are.

Dr. William Attaway:

Yeah, somebody from the outside looking in may look at Donna and say, wow, man, donna's just got it all together, like she's doing this right, like she doesn't face the same challenges and issues that I face as an entrepreneur, you know can you talk about that for a minute?

Dr. William Attaway:

mean have you faced challenges in your business and as a leader?

Donna Dube:

100%. I will continue to do so. Right, it's a journey. It is a journey, but I have the mindset that I want to be 1% better this week than I was last week Right, better this week than I was last week, right. So what can I do? In leading my team and leading my company, in dealing with my relationships, whatever it is, what can I do to be 1% better? And I think that, for me, I'm a very objective person and I like to track where I'm at and what I'm doing. It just helps. It also helps to keep me, you know, focused on what those things are Right, and so I will track things that I'm working on right. For example, I enjoy having some exercise in the morning, but every once in a while I'll fall off that train and stop doing it and then I need to get back on again. So when I have a tracker that just you know, did I do my exercise today? When it's in my calendar, it's top of mind for me, and then I can make sure that I'm, you know, prioritizing that.

Dr. William Attaway:

You're a. You're a continual learner, Like I. Get that sense from our conversations that you are always learning, always wanting to grow, and you embody that growth mindset. Is there a book that has made a big difference in your journey that you would tell every leader listening? Hey, you need to put this on your to read list.

Donna Dube:

Yes, I have two. Yeah, bring them. Yes. So the first one is Atomic Habits by James Clear Love that book.

Donna Dube:

So many golden nuggets in that book. If you've read it, go back and read it again, because I find when you go back you'll find things that you didn't even see the first time. Right but helpful for business and also life. I find his you know his writing is so good. And then my other one of course I'm biased towards operations but it's called Traction and so so good in helping you sort of visualize, you know, my leaders, my 90 day goals and how I'm going to progress through them.

Dr. William Attaway:

At a certain point in our lives, we begin to think about legacy, you know, and I wonder have you given any thought to this, to what you want your legacy as a leader to be?

Donna Dube:

Good point. Not a lot, to be honest with you, but I think really, if I, if I look at it, I want to be able to have entrepreneurs live the life that they wanted when they started Right, Like we said at the beginning, that time freedom, that financial freedom and location freedom, and so many of us don't have any of those freedoms. To be honest with you, and I think really it's about you know, taking a step back, looking at the bigger picture and letting go of things that aren't helping our business.

Dr. William Attaway:

So good.

Donna Dube:

Because I found even for myself, you start layering on different tactics as you're growing because you hear, oh, that business is doing this, maybe I should start incorporating that. Oh, this sounds good, I'm going to do that. But then we don't take the step back and say, okay, was that strategy helpful? Three to six months down the road, am I seeing a return on investment or am I continuing to do this? Because I think I should.

Dr. William Attaway:

Yep, wow. I've seen that over and over and over again. Looking only at my own journey. If we look at so many others right Like I think everybody would resonate with that. That's so powerful. You know, often a lot of people are going to leave an episode like this, a conversation like this, with one big idea. If you could define what you want that one big idea to be that people walk away with what would you want it to be?

Donna Dube:

I would say that time is your greatest asset as a visionary leader, and be intentional with it.

Donna Dube:

So, we all have the same 24 hours in our day, but how we use it makes a huge difference, and James Clear actually has a quote about that that you know there's a myth there isn't enough time. There's enough time, but it's how we spend it and what we put our energy towards Right. So one hour of planning can save us 10 hours of implementation. So, as a visionary leader, really put on that hat, think and act like a CEO and do that. One hour of planning makes a huge difference.

Dr. William Attaway:

I know people are going to want to stay connected with you and continue to learn from you, Donna. What is the best way for them to do that?

Donna Dube:

So my website is CEOamplifyca, so they can pop over there. I have a few free resources which are welcome to download, and I also have a podcast, ceo Amplify. So for those who are looking for another podcast to have a listen to, you're welcome to check those out.

Dr. William Attaway:

And I want to encourage everybody listening to go check both of those out. I think you will not regret it. Donna, thank you for being so honest today, so open and so generous with your insights, your wisdom and your time.

Donna Dube:

Thank you.

Dr. William Attaway:

Thanks for joining me for this episode today. As we wrap up, I'd love for you to do two things. First, subscribe to this podcast so you don't miss an episode, and if you find value here, I'd love it if you would rate it and review it. That really does make a difference in helping other people to discover this podcast. Second, if you don't have a copy of my newest book, Catalytic Leadership, I'd love to put a copy in your hands. If you go to catalyticleadershipbookcom, you can get a copy for free. Just pay the shipping so I can get it to you and we'll get one right out.

Dr. William Attaway:

My goal is to put this into the hands of as many leaders as possible. This book captures principles that I've learned in 20 plus years of coaching leaders in the entrepreneurial space, in business, government, nonprofits, education and the local church. You can also connect with me on LinkedIn to keep up with what I'm currently learning and thinking about. And if you're ready to take a next step with a coach to help you intentionally grow and thrive as a leader, I'd be honored to help you. Just go to catalyticleadershipnet to book a call with me. Stay tuned for our next episode next week. Until then, as always, leaders choose to be catalytic.

Intro/Outro:

Thanks for listening to Catalytic Leadership with Dr William Attaway. Be sure to subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts so you don't miss the next episode. Want more? Go to catalyticleadershipnet.

Donna Dube's Entrepreneurial Journey
Transitioning from Solopreneur to CEO
CEO Habits for Success
Continuous Growth and Development
Legacy and Time Management