My Monthly CEO Day Routine
Whether you're a service-based business owner or a digital product creator, many entrepreneurs struggle with finding the time to work on your business (versus in). We get caught up in creating products and serving clients and we neglect some of the necessary tasks for nurturing and refining our businesses.
Taking the time to actually be the CEO of your business is critical for long-term growth and success, which is why I recommend designating one day a month to your CEO Day tasks.
I first heard of this from Krista Dickson of The Content Boss (the blog post no longer exists, but go worship her anyway!) and have since developed my own process.
Today, I'm going to share with you my 11-step monthly CEO Day routine that I walk through on the first workday of every new month!
Always get the ugly thing out of the way, right? The first thing I do on CEO Day is update my bookkeeping and reconcile my accounts.
I do this first because, yes, it's not very fun. But also because knowing my financial performance from the previous month becomes the foundation for how I plan out my next month!
I DIY my books in Quickbooks Online (Simple Start), but I also recommend Wave for those of you who would rather not pay for software just yet. You can learn more about DIYing your books with my Bookkeeping 101 Series!
Once the books are done, I pull up my financial statements and review them. While I'll review more than one, the main one is the Profit & Loss Statement!
2) Analytics Spreadsheet
The next thing I do is move into my analytics spreadsheet, also known as my growth tracker. This is overall a pretty simple spreadsheet that I use to track all kinds of metrics.
The columns are months and the rows are the different metrics in a few areas of my business. I've chosen what matters to me to track over time, but this will ultimately be up to you! To get you started, I'll share what I track at the time of this writing (I'm constantly adding and subtracting from this list):
This data comes from my Profit & Loss statement.
Revenue (by source)
I use Toggl to track my time and can more more specific reports for what projects/areas of business I was working in through there.
Total hours worked for the month,
Average weekly hours (I just do total divided by 4 for simplicity).
This data comes from Google Analytics.
Traffic sources by %
This data comes from my email provider analytics (I currently use ConvertKit).
Net new subscribers
This data comes from Google analytics and various social media analytics.
Net new followers
Sessions from source
Monthly viewers (Pinterest)
Average engagement rates
Discover call conversion rate
Ad spending and conversions
Landing page conversions
Traffic from various campaigns/sources/guest content
Most popular website pages or blog posts
Most popular search terms used to find your site
Client success metrics
3) CEO Report
Next up is the CEO Report! This is a document that changes for me all the time, depending on where I'm at (mentally) when I sit down to write it. Sometimes I write full paragraphs, other times it's just a bullet point list!
Usually I start by reflecting on the previous. I write about the highlights, the challenges, and write out anything significant that occurred. A lot of this comes from memory and all those metrics that I just gathered. Sometimes I even go back into my calendar to jog my memory!
I then turn that reflection into action for next month. I write out what I'm going to do to differently this month, start outlining my goals and focuses, and set new intentions.
Like I said, I usually keep these pretty simple! I have a folder in Google Drive where I keep all of my reports for each month. Sometimes I review them quarterly, sometimes annually!
4) Accounts Receivable
This one may just be the accounting nerd in me, but I usually take a moment to check on my outstanding invoices in Dubsado.
I do have automatic reminders set up in Dubsado for unpaid invoices, but I also want to be aware of what's out there still. It helps me to keep a strong awareness of my financial position!
This literally takes me seconds to glance through, but it's something I always check on.
I've also had instances where invoices have gone unpaid so long that I had to personally follow up and send additional reminders or make payment arrangements, so it's important I don't forget about any money I'm owed!
5) Cash Flow Forecast
This is one of my favorite parts of this routine! I have a cash flow forecast spreadsheet that allows me to plot out expected payments - retainer clients, new client contracts, affiliate payouts, digital product sale payouts, etc.
I don't use this as a sales forecast, as in, I don't guess how much money I'm going to make. Instead, I use this tool to help me map out the timing of payments I already know are coming in.
This would especially be useful for people who sometimes have to wait months for final payments to come through! For example, wedding photographers who get booked a year+ in advance!
My Cash Flow Forecast tool is just one of eight included in the totally free CFO Starter Kit.
Now, this, this is my absolute favorite part of the routine! Ya'll know I'm a budget fiend.
I use You Need a Budget, also known as YNAB, (try it free here! This is a referral link.) for both my business and personal budgeting. I also maintain my budgets constantly throughout each week, so this isn't usually anything special.
The reason I intentionally make sure I do this on CEO Day, though, is to make sure that I'm geared up for the new month.
YNAB allows me to assign the dollars in my bank account to various "jobs" or categories. I usually budget very intentionally throughout the month to be prepared for every subscription and payment that will come out.
I also try to budget into future months, which is why I'll sit down at the beginning of the month to assess how far I got and what I need to find funds for in order to make it to the end of the new month.
It's also worth noting that I use the Profit First method within YNAB, so I also do my allocations for any new income that hasn't been budgeted yet.
7) Pay myself
Once my budget is cleared up and I'm sure I'm well funded for the near future, I go ahead and pay myself!
Again, I use Profit First which means that I allocate a percentage of all my revenue to four main purposes: profit (emergency cash cushion), income tax savings, owner's pay, and business expenses.
The Owner's Pay category acts as a fund for my future salaries! So if my monthly salary is $2,000 but I had a good income month and saved $4,000 in this category, I'll only take my salary out. That leaves an additional $2k in the Owner's Pay fund which tells me I can guarantee my next paycheck already! Genius, right?
I've chosen to pay myself monthly because it's what I'm used to from my old day job.
If you're struggling to know how much you can pay yourself and/or what your Profit First percentages should be, those are also resources in my free CFO Starter Kit!
8) Monthly Goals
Almost at the end! The rest of my CEO Day is mostly dedicated to planning the month ahead.
A lot of times, I've already gained some insight into what my new monthly goals are going to be from my CEO report. So here, I simply write them down (or rather, put them front and center in my "command center" in Notion.
These goals are usually in some way aligned with my quarterly plans while also being flexible to the current times. My plans change often and I can't really plan too rigidly or too far ahead.
Keep it simple, make it intentional, be realistic!
I usually have goals around revenue, content or products, and other larger projects I want to complete. But again, it can be just about anything!
9) Task Dump
Then I usually do a huge task dump of everything I know will need to be done in the upcoming month. Having the goals planned ahead of time helps me with this, but sometimes I also have just general admin tasks I want to remember!
Again, I use Notion for this!
Once I have everything out, I can usually prioritize and sort-of schedule. I actually like to use Notion's calendar view to just drag-and-drop tasks for a rough schedule for what I think my month will look like. I also consult my Google calendar for any appointment times or events that are already claiming my time.
10) Quick Content Plan
Sometimes, but not always, I'll do a small content plan. I'm trying to be better about scheduling content and creating a more legitimate content calendar, but I'm still a work in progress on that.
Regardless, I'll sometimes just brainstorm the blog post titles, Instagram posts, and Instagram stories ideas I have so I can consult them when I finally sit down to create the content.
I rarely actually create content as a part of my CEO Day routine because everything else usually takes it out of me. Content batch day is typically another day of the first or second week of the month.
11) Inbox Zero
This is another maybe item! I really like hitting Inbox Zero, but I'm not very good at maintaining it. If I had a pretty efficient CEO Day, I'll go ahead and take a little extra time to revisit my inbox and get back down to Inbox Zero!
It always helps to use labels/folders in your email for items that don't absolutely have to sit in your inbox. Sometimes I save things for reference but let them clutter my inbox, which is just no good. Let your inbox only be for emails you have to take immediate action on!
The End of the CEO Day Routine
You've made it! That's what my monthly CEO Day routine looks like and I've got to tell you, I love this day. It's an awesome opportunity to sit back and just be a high-level CEO for once.
Overall, all of this can take me anywhere from 2-4 hours, usually. Again, it totally depends on what's going on, but I'll tell you - it's so worth it!
Take some time to write out what you'd like your ideal CEO Day routine to look like, then plan to implement it next month! Maybe dedicate a couple days to your first one while you set up your systems and documents to match what works for you.
I'd love to hear from you - do you dedicate any time, weekly or monthly, to focusing ON your business rather than always working IN your business? Let me know below!
Until next time!