From Operator to CEO

As an operator, you’re a lot of things to your business...


Making the transition into the CEO of your business will require your responsibilities to evolve.

You’ll have to become a builder of systems.

I like to see it as a builder of people.

What we’re talking about in today’s podcast is how you can start bridging the gap from Operator to CEO.

At some point, you have to give up being the operator to become CEO

​Transcript / MP3

What's good everybody.In this episode, I want to break down making the transition from an operator to a CEO. Let's get it going.

For three years, my agency built funnels and automation systems for the biggest names in marketing today since then have transformed that agency into a hyper profitable training and consulting business. While everyone is out there talking about scale like it's some sort of destination, we'll be asking the real question, how do you transform your business into a more scalable model using the knowledge, skills, and expertise that you already have? This podcast is here to give you the answer. Join me in, follow along as I learned, apply and share the strategies I'm using to build my multimillion dollar business. My name is Greg Hickman and welcome to Scalable

Welcome back y'all video. I want to break down a podcast.

I don't even know what to call these things anymore cause you know if you've been following along we got, we got the youtube channel where we're releasing the videos of this and we also got the podcast. It's a podcast, right? It's a podcast, but in this episode we are breaking down this notion of making that transition from an operator to a CEO and oftentimes by a lot of our clients and a lot of our prospects, you know, they talk about or ask us rather, how are we able to kind of get out of the day to day operations of, of our work, right? As former agency owners, someone who was like a done for you service provider, we very much built and I very much built my business off of the back in the heels of my own technical capabilities, right? Greg was there, you know, hands to keyboard, you know, doing the actual work.

We were building sales funnels, we were building automation for our clients and the business was me. Now there are still parts of the business that are very much me. Um, we're not at the point where the business operates completely without, uh, out of me, outside of me, but I was 100% of the operator. Like, if Greg was not involved, nothing would move forward. Now, if that's you, you need to start figuring out the way to make the transition into CEO. So I wanted to talk a little bit about the difference between, or at least how we look at it as when you're the operator and when you're the CEO, the CEO, and some of the things that you might need to be doing to start bridging that gap. Sound good? So, uh, let's jump over here. So we have to, we're jumping over to the iPad for those listening. Um, we obviously have the the two positions, right? We have an operator and we have CEO. Okay. Now as the operator, right? Um, you are, the marketing, right? You are sales, you are delivery, right? The business is, you, right? Oftentimes is the operator is the technician. If your business is doing technical work, building websites, doing Facebook ads, or you know, whatever sort of digital marketing agency you might be, you're oftentimes building things, right? And it started getting built by you, right? Even though you're the owner. And oftentimes when you're stuck in the operator side, a lot of these things are being done manually, right? The ideas rather, actually, I won't say ideas the,

We'll say the systems exist, but the systems are in your head, right? You haven't gotten the, the ideas and the process that you currently operate in and gotten it out of your head and onto paper, right? So those are some of the things that we see. As you know, you're still in operator mode. Now as you move over to the CEO, your, your tasks, your responsibilities start to evolve, right? You as a CEO, you are a builder of systems, right? You take those systems out of your head, you're putting them onto documentation, you're able to hand those off to somebody else and they go execute, right?

As a CEO, you are a builder of people right now. Every time I say builder of people instantaneously, the Solo preneurs and the people that want to live that passive income lifestyle, which is complete bs, is that like, I don't want to hire team. Now, look, if you want to build a business that has like the largest possible impact, you're going to have to get help period or else you're always going to be the operator. That's just how it is. So you have to be the builder of people. I mean, did you have to bring people on and many cases you're going to have some sort of lean and mean full time team that kind of rhymes. Um, android, you'll be operating with some contractors or a combination of both. And as you start to grow, you might want to have more of an internal team. I know as we keep growing, I want more and more people internal to our business and less and less contract positions, right? We want everyone living and breathing our mission. And so I need to be a builder of systems. Then I need to be a builder of people so that I can put those people in charge of those systems. And then I get to, whoops. Then I get to lead people, right?

Now if you asked me two years ago like would you like to be managing a team? Would you like to be building a team? I would have said, hell no. Like that's, that doesn't sound interesting to me. And in fact I often sounded like many you right now if you're sitting there and saying, I don't want a team at all, but let me tell you, as you start to have the systems in place, right as you started to have the systems in place, as you start to build people, one of my favorite things is to start working and helping develop my teams so that they can do things without me. I fall more and more in love with that every single day. Right? And as I do that, the need to bring on new people starts to grow. And that gets me really excited. The, the, the opportunity to bring new people into our team that are better than us in certain areas and are going to allow us to grow faster is really exciting.

So that I can show up as the CEO where I'm really just leading people, right? So when I think of what a CEO does is they're a builder of systems or a builder of people. And that they lead people right there. Also the vision in the organization. And you need to be able to translate that vision to your team so that they know what they're working on and so that they're efficient. Oftentimes when you have team and you feel like they're dragging you down, it's because they're probably being delegated tasks instead of delegated outcomes. And you haven't been able to delegate outcomes because you haven't clearly communicated the vision of where you want them to go and everyone's not bought in, right? So we need to be someone who creates the vision, then build systems that allow us to start to remove ourselves as the operator, right?

Give out, give us, um, as the owner some time back to, to get more sales, to work on the things we need to do to go hire people to get the help to serve our clients. Right? If you never start building systems as the owner, you're always going to be doing things manually, right? We're always stuck over here doing things manually. The business is still you and the systems are in our head. So what you really need to start doing. You might be saying, well, Greg, like, like I'm, I only have a tiny bit of help, one or two people or a contractor this or contractor that, or maybe I don't have anybody yet. How do I start acting like a CEO? Well, how I've always looked at it is you need to start knowing your role, right? Like, no, your role is really the, the story here. So as we start looking at, you know, how do we make this transition from operator's CEO, I want you to start thinking about, um, how can you pull up a different color here?

How can you start the needed role? What do I mean by that? I mean, so when you're doing the work, right, if you're over here and you're still the operator and you're doing work and say the marketing, well, like what role are you actually acting as? Maybe you're like the marketing coordinator. If you're stuck in delivery and you're in the fulfillment, maybe you're like the account. So understanding that while you are the owner, and maybe you are wearing all of these hats, you're the operator, right? There are different hats that you're wearing in your business that you're acting in while you're over in operator. So starting to understand what those hats are are really important because it helps you to start mapping out what sorts of people are you going to need to hire. And then also you need to say, okay, well I need to start wearing the CEO hat a little bit more as the CEO, I put my CEO hat on and I'm going to go over here, I'm gonna Start building a sales system so that I can remove myself or make my current role as the sales coordinator a lot easier, right?

You start adopting automation and mapping out your sales process, the way in which you enroll new clients and sell new clients, that whole sales experience is going to be streamlined and you're going to be more efficient, right? And as you become more efficient, as the sales rep, you have more time to spend wearing one of these other hats, right? So you need to start dedicating time to wearing your CEO hat and doing the things that a CEO should be working on. That's is how you start making this transition, right? And really what you're looking at is each of these become their own systems, sales, marketing, delivery. In a previous video, we've done a previous podcast, we've talked about the four CEO systems. You're going to start building your CEO systems over here as well, right? You're going to start working on your habits systems, your planning systems, your creation systems, your accountability systems.

So when you're operating in your business, each and every week, each and every day, you need to start looking for, and this is where the four CEO systems come in. You need to start building a habits and start planning to have CEO time, right? And then those CEO creation blocks, so to speak, you're going to start doing the things that you would be doing as the CEO of your business. You're not operating as the marketing coordinator, you're not acting as the the account Rep. You're not acting as, you know, the sales rep, whatever you are the CEO. What would a CEO do in this role right now? All right, well, we're going to start building a system to make sure our clients always get the exact same results, like they get the results that they want. So I'm going to start building this system first around client success, or I'm going to start building this system first around sales.

But those are those that this is how you start making the transition, right? So people are like, how did you make the transition? I was like, well, I honestly started dedicating time to doing CEO things, right? And I had to make that time on my calendar, which means I had to say no to a lot of other stuff, right? Um, this wasn't just me adding more time in the evenings and on the weekends, which was also that a time is, but as you start building some of these systems that you would as a CEO is you start planning accordingly. You'll have more freedom because you'll have people doing a lot of the operations within the specific hats that you've identified as the operator within your business. So if you really want to start moving forward and start building a business that serves you a business, that you can actually take a vacation and not actually work on that vacation, you need to start acting like a CEO. And the way you start making that transition and start acting, uh, in acting and operating within the needed role and sometimes that role is for you to make time and act as the CEO.

Have you been looking to grow and scale your agency, but you're tired of trading time for money, custom projects, and relying on referrals alone? It can be hard. That's probably why. If I gave you five, 10, or 20 new clients right now, you or your business would break. I struggle with the same thing for a while until I figured out a better way. So I created a special experience called foundations to help you package up your knowledge and experience into a profitable online program, launch your automated sales system and systemize your fulfillment. You'll work directly with me, my team, and a group of entrepreneurs just like you to implement the systems and get the help you need to learn more and see if it's a fit. Just hop on over to and schedule a call with us today.

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