What Happens Next – 3 Critical Steps to Execute Your Strategy

Welcome to the show. Episode 462.

I want to get through some housekeeping first. For this month, for October, we’re going to do something kind of special. We’re going to kick off Q4 with some bonus episodes, meaning for the next few weeks we will have two episodes coming out each week.

I am batching these right now and honestly kind of climbing the walls to share them with you because the reason we’re doing this celebration is we’re kicking something off in Q4 of this year, which is a brand new program that will run through 2020 called Backstage Live VIP. I’m going to talk more about it at the end of the episode, but I’m so incredibly excited for this program.

We’re basically going to bring Backstage Live to you in an annual pass kind of format. It’s funny because I call it that because I’m very lovely and luckily an annual passholder at Disneyland here in Southern California and there’s something about being able to access it whenever I need it. It just makes me feel really cool and I wanted to create that same kind of feeling for Backstage Live.

Backstage Live VIP is going to be your all-access annual pass to me and Backstage Live, so you’ll be able to attend all four of our Backstage Lives. The one for Q1 will happen in December, the one for Q2 happens in March, and then Q3 happens in June, and then of course Q4 happens in September. You and I are going to actually work together to plan the entirety of your year marketing wise. I’m so excited. But here’s the coolest part and this is really where we get into what we’re going to talk about today.

What happens between building those plans?

Because we come together and we build this incredible plan and then there’s the work of doing it and we talk a lot on this show about the importance of a plan and how to build a plan, and you and I have spent a lot of time on that first part, the strategy plan creation. What I want to dig into today is the actual execution. The reason I’m talking about this alongside Backstage Live VIP is because, full disclosure, in 2018 when I sat down and planned 2019, I in no way planned to offer a 12 month program.

The only people who work with me for that long are our retainer clients in the agency and that’s done for you stuff. I’ve kind of worked with people for that long because we’ve got people who’ve been in Backstage for four, going on five years. They just tripped over the four-year mark. We’ve got people who have been in BAM for 12 months. That’s usually about sort of the life span of a BAM member is 12 months, but this is the first time I very intentionally crafted something that is going to be a support piece for someone for 12 months. It really came out of running a handful of these workshops this year, of these Backstage Live workshops, and seeing that we did a great job building a plan. We did a great job putting all of that work together and then some execution happens, but it can leave people feeling a little adrift. It can feel a little like, cool, now I know what to do, but like when am I going to do this and how does this get done? Can I outsource it and how do I do that?

So, I built Backstage Live VIP, this 12 year annual pass kind of vibe for exactly that. Between each of those workshops, so any month there’s not a workshop essentially, we’ll have a two hour group call for the people who are in Backstage Live VIP where you can ask questions, you can get feedback, you can support each other, or we’ll have a coworking room set up in Zoom. For those of you who just want to be like, I just need someone to be with me while I sit down and do this uncomfortable thing, whether it’s writing some emails or whatever, you can sit in that room and do some coworking, and so we’re going to have two virtual rooms set up for each of those calls and you can be in whatever room you want to be in. You can pop back and forth. It’s totally 100% up to you.

But I wanted to take it a step further. I wanted there to be a one-on-one component. I took something from BAM, which is a program we’ve run for two or three years now, which we are closing in October. We’re cycling out our final BAM members this month. I think the valuable piece there was actually not one-on-one calls with me once a month, although rumor is those are great too, but it was actually the accountability that came from our private forum because every Monday I go in and I say, cool, what are we doing this week? Every Friday I go in and go, cool, what’d we get done this week? Granted, during the course of the week, there’s generally some conversation about what those goals were and how we’re going with them and things like that, but 100% guaranteed, every Monday you’re going to see me and every Friday you’re going to see me kind of poking you and saying, how’s it going?

We’re bringing that into Backstage Live VIP, as well. This is going to be an incredible, incredible program. But I really built it because of what we’re going to talk about today. That’s what I want to dig into to now. Dig into to now? Dig into now, and I’m going to leave that in guys. You’re going to just get it all today. Hey guys, I’m batching eight episodes for October. We can not be picky about me choosing words. Stay with me.

But my plan didn’t work…

I so often hear from people who have built plans before and they’re like, my plan didn’t work. My plan didn’t get me results. I’ve planned before and it just doesn’t help. Most frequently, the problem is not actually with the plan. How you planned, where you kept it, the length of time, the duration of the planning period. It’s generally a problem with execution. It’s generally a problem with right after you do it.

On the flip side of this, and this is something I’m guilty of. Let me just raise my hand right freaking now. Some of us plan as a form of procrastination. If I just plan what we’re doing next quarter, then I’ll feel more in control. But I continue to feel out of control because I’m not actually working a plan. We’re basically delaying action. I call this faux productivity. I’m pretending that I’m super productive and that everything’s going well and then this totally going to be great, when in reality I’m just avoiding actual uncomfortable action. It could be making an ask, it could be hiring someone, whatever. I for sure have done this with hiring people. If I just plan for what they’re going to do and write out their job descriptions and now I need to plan for their onboarding, and now I need to plan for such and such, oh wait, hey, I still need to hire that person and it’s been weeks or months, or let’s be honest guys, years.

I totally understand that and it’ll kill you every time. I want to talk today about how sort of the three pieces I use to stay in action after we’ve built a strategy because especially with Backstage Live, we spend six hours together in a room virtually or in person depending on the event, although for Backstage Live VIP, they’ll all be virtual just to make it super easy and there’s no barrier to entry here for 2020, although we will be running some standalone bonus in person ones just as a heads up.

I love, love, love, love, love that day. But I also know that, not infrequently, when the day ends, people are kind of burned out. It can feel like a lot. I don’t think it’s because of what we cover in the day. I really don’t. I think it’s because you start looking to what’s next and what’s next is that action piece. It can feel like all of that work and all of the things you just laid out are never going to happen.

Step 1. Braindump EVERYTHING

The first thing I do, and this is something we actually do inside of our Backstage Live day, is I brain dump all the actions that are going to need to happen to move the needle in that strategy. Step one, brain dump action steps, and I’m not talking about like putting them in Asana and scheduling. I’m talking about literally pulling out a piece of paper or if you’re somebody who would prefer to do this electronically, open up a doc, a Google doc, a notes, whatever. I generally do this on my iPad. I use Good notes and I write it on my iPad just because I get to actually physically write it, but it also exists electronically in case someone besides me needs it. But I have to get it out of my head.

It’s so easy to stay in overwhelm, which is where inaction comes from for me, when we’re trying to maintain that list in our brain. When we’re trying to sort of mentally go, okay, these are the 97,000 things I’m going to do, and so simply the act of getting it out of my freaking head allows me to calm my brain a little and really reconnect with what I’m doing. Reconnect with the larger purpose and the larger goal. And so first step, super simple, get it out of your brain, put it somewhere else.

Step 2: Editing and Assigning

The next thing I do is I start editing and assigning. I say editing and assigning and not just assigning because often as I go through this brain dump list, I’ll realize that some of these things don’t need to be done. Maybe it’s because I have said it three times in the list, which is something I’ve done frequently or in getting it out of my head, I was able to see that there was another thing that would work in place of that that I could really double down and put more energy into and get better results and sometimes it’s just like, no, that actually doesn’t need to happen. That’s dumb, we don’t need that step.

Assign is where I’m actually figuring out who’s going to do stuff and so if you’re a one woman shop, then some of this is going to be all you, but this task list is also a really great way to figure out who do I need because if I go through and I go, okay, I can do A, B, and C, but X, Y, and Z, I don’t do. Now I’ve got a really good jumpstart on building a job description for a VA, for a social media manager, for a graphic designer, for whoever it is that you need. Maybe it’s a techie VA to help you set something up. Maybe it’s a graphic designer to help you create social graphics or templates or whatever. Maybe it’s like a sales page designer because you’re like, great, we’re going to be driving all this traffic. What’s going to happen? Maybe it’s somebody who’s going to help you do PR to book some placements in blogs and magazines, and on news shows or in podcasts or whatever the goal is for you.

I want you to really look at where am I showing up and where do I need to give this to somebody else? And so, I go through and I assign and I edit. The other thing I do in this assign an edit step is I actually go in and I put it in my project management software. This is something that… A surefire sign of my overwhelm is that I don’t do this step, just to be super transparent. Callie who is on my team is probably nodding her head as she listens to this because she’s like, yep, yep, that’s Stacey. So, when I’m going through and I’m assigning, I’m actually putting it in, we use Asana. I’m using Asana to actually say, I need to do this, Callie needs to do this, so-and-so needs to do that. Breaking up steps because here’s the deal, this task list is not just like produce episode 465 of the podcast. It’s outline, record, edit, optimize, upload, create show notes, create cover art, submit to Rev for transcription, which really should come before the show notes, but it’s each of those steps.

I’m going through and I’m assigning each of those pieces. We have a podcast editor on our team who does a great job who helps us edit the shows. She’s going to get assigned stuff. There’s people on our team who are helping with show notes. They’re going to get that assignment. Outline recording, that’s going to be me. Cool, I get assigned that stuff. Creating social, Callie creates all of our social. Callie’s going to get that assignment. All of those pieces are broken up really cleanly so that I and my team can see exactly what needs to be done at each step. That’s our second step.

Step 3: Schedule Execution

The third step is I schedule time. I’m going to actually go through on my calendar and I’m going to say, cool, this is my window. This is when I work on my stuff and this is something I’ll be completely transparent, I know it’s shocking, I’m better at some times than others. I’m in one of those seasons in my business right now where I’m not great at this. I’ll be completely honest with you. I’m not great about this right now, but also because I go through this process, when I build my plan, I’m able to catch that and make it better really, really quickly. Because I do the CEO Debriefs, which are something I learned from Tara Newman and I will link to her podcast episode about these because they’re incredible, I’m able to catch that now really, really quickly.

As I look at my week and I have that feedback stop at the end of the week, I can very quickly go, what didn’t work this week? Oh, I had no time to produce the podcast. I had no time to do my Instagram stories. I had no time to write that email sequence I said I was going to write two months ago. This is such an important step for me because when I don’t schedule this time, it doesn’t get done. This is why I love the accountability piece of the one-on-one forum inside of Backstage Live VIP is I’m going to help you be that feedback loop. I’m going to help you go, oh, actually I didn’t do X, Y, Z, Now we need to do it.

I want you to really look at when you’re in execution of the strategy, maybe you’ve done Backstage Live with me before, maybe you have downloaded the 30 day social media planner or digital marketing planner from the website, but you haven’t actually executed that stuff yet. These are the steps. We start with brain dump, then we move to step two, assign and edit, and then we move to step three, time chunks.

Scheduling it on my calendar is critical and some weeks, I’ll be honest, some weeks it’s like cool, Friday, that’s my me day. I’m like dancing a little dance while I do that. I don’t know why. Friday is my day to on my business, I’m going to nail this today. Sometimes it’s, I have no full days of me-ness this week. It’s just not going to happen, so we’re going to do an hour on Tuesday for this, an hour on Thursday for that and I break it up, but it literally exists on my calendar because there’s no other way this stuff gets done.

Bonus Tip: Break it Down

It can feel incredibly overwhelming to do this stuff for the first time for a 90 day chunk. What I really encourage you to do, and this is a little bit of a bonus tip here, is break that 90 days into 30 days. Just worry about 30 days at a time. This is why we built the in-between calls in the Backstage Live because I want you to look at, as we go into a quarter, the big picture. What’s happening this quarter? But then month-by-month we want to look at cool, this is what’s happening this month, this is what actually needs to happen.

When we wrap up our Backstage Live day and we actually start these task lists, because again I think it’s such an important first step of getting out of overwhelm is getting all of this stuff out of your brain, we break it down into quarterly tasks, monthly tasks, weekly tasks. I think we have some daily tasks in there, so like if you’re somebody who’s going to do IG stories every day, that’s going to be a daily task or maybe it’s a weekly task and to record them all and it is a daily task to get them scheduled into IG or get them posted, rather, into Instagram. Whatever works. I’m not attached to that, but what I want you to look at is breaking these down by a time function because everything for the quarter doesn’t need to happen two days after you build the plan for the quarter, like at all.

Generally speaking, that week after Backstage Live, what I want you to be working on is any of the onetime things, rewriting an email sequence, creating a new opt-in, I don’t know, finding new show notes, creating new cover art for your podcast, whatever thing is. It’s going to be kind of be a onetime thing. Then, the monthly stuff is where we’re going to dig into the actual creation, batching and recording our show, batching and recording videos, batching blog posts, whatever your content type is, batching our social media foundation, batching our weekly emails or biweekly emails or whatever your email frequency is. That’s what we’re talking about on a monthly level.

Really look at what actually needs to happen right now and what can happen throughout this quarter, because otherwise 90 days can feel like a lot, especially if you’ve never done this before. And again, this is why we’ve built out Backstage Live VIP the way we have because this VIP pass is going to mean you get me literally holding your hand through this year, literally walking with you through this process. All right? Okay.

Here’s the deal with Backstage Live.

Backstage Live VIP is a 12 month program, meaning we’re getting started in November and it will run through next October. The reason this 2020 program starts in 2019 and ends before the end of 2020 is because we’re looking at the four quarters of 2020. We will do our Q1 2020 planning in December of 2019, we will do our Q4 2020 planning in Q3 of 2020 so that we have time to prep for the quarter ahead. Next year, if I run this program again, which I don’t know, I’ve not run it yet, I can’t decide that yet. But if we run this program again, I will be enrolling for 2021 this time next year.

This program is going to have an early bird price until October 18th. That early bird price is $500 per month. After that, it will go up to $800 per month before we close the doors before our first call. Our first call is going to happen in November, it’s November 21st. We have a 90 minute ideal client workshop to kick us off. If you’ve done Backstage Live with me before, you know we spend a good part of our morning talking about ideal clients and what we’re selling. We’re going to essentially do that or up front that for the year in that 90 minute workshop. It’s going to be really, really cool. I’m really excited about it. It’s going to allow us to really jump in as we move into our Backstage Live days over the course of the rest of the year. That’ll be our first call.

There are only 10 spots for this group. Now, you’ll notice at no point have I called this a mastermind because it’s not. What this is is essentially group consulting, so you are getting me doing strategy consultant work at a group level, which brings down the price of me doing consultant work astronomically. This is essentially you having me as an on-call consultant, so your on-call marketing director, VP of marketing, whatever you want to call it for an entire year for $500 a month. That’s crazy pants. I’m so excited. That early bird price will end, like I said, October 18th. At that point, it will go up to $800 per month. This early bird price is a total annual savings of about 3,600 bucks. Yeah, yeah. I know. Stay with me.

It’s going to be a really, really fun year. This is going to be a really, really, really cool way for you to get support. Some of the support may be me helping you get someone hired. Some of the support may be you having someplace to go, I’m wildly overwhelmed and I don’t know what to do and me going, cool, what’s one thing we’re going to do next? Let’s prioritize that list. Let’s just start at the top now.

I love being able to offer this and I’m so excited and I also want to be really transparent that again, this was not something I planned for. This is something that evolved from doing these workshops this year. What’s really cool is because I have this habit of planning, because I have this structure of an ongoing plan, I was able to slide this in with not a ton of effort. I won’t say it was effortless. We’re doing a bunch of extra episodes this month, so that meant more recording and more production and I had an email series I had to write and all of those pieces had to happen, but I wasn’t planning on it happening. But guess what? It wasn’t wildly difficult to create them because I had the space to do it because I have that foundation in my plan. I want you to have that as you move through 2020, as well.

If you have questions, if you want to know if this is the right thing for you, send me a DM on Instagram, send the team an email. Reach out and we can hop on a phone call and talk about if this is going to be a fit for you. If you’re like, I’m in, oh my God, where do I buy it? I want you to go to TheStaceyHarris.com/BackstageLive. That’s where you’re going to grab your annual pass for it. You can read some testimonials of people who have joined us over the course of 2019 for these Backstage Live events. You can get sort of the details of what we’re going to be doing.

I cannot wait to welcome you into this program. I cannot wait to spend 2020 really up-leveling your, not just your marketing front-facing, but your marketing experience as a business owner. I think we often talk about up-leveling the experience that people consuming our marketing materials are having and that’s great. It’s totally important and we should do that, but let’s also take a beat and realize that we’re going to up-level how you feel as you do this work, because that’s also super mother-loving important. Okay? All right. I’m going to put away that soap box before I get too ranty in this episode because quite frankly, it’s long enough.

I will see you in Backstage Live VIP. I can’t even say it without smiling. I’m so excited and I will see you a little extra this month because, again, we’re going to be doing two episodes a week for the remainder of this month. I will see you guys very, very soon. Bye.

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