030: Make Room For A Summit (In Your Already Full Business) with Ashley Gartland

guest expert timeline Nov 19, 2019

Wondering how you can possibly make time for a summit when your schedule is already full? I've brought in Ashley Gartland to cover 3 simple steps for making room for a summit without overwhelm.

Transcript

Hey, hey, welcome to the Summit Host Hangout Podcast where you'll learn how to plan, strategize and launch your profitable online summit, no influencer status necessary. I'm your host Krista from Summit In A Box, and we are currently in a series about planning your online summit. We're wrapping that series up today with a great episode with a special guest I can't wait to introduce you to.

Krista:
We're going to be talking about making time for a summit in an already full business, so we will talk about steps to do that, some mistakes this guest sees and then three steps to make room for a summit and then what to do once the summit is over to kind of reset yourself and it's way easier than I expected. I can't wait for you to listen to this one.

Krista:
To give you some background on our guest, she helps service based business owners and online entrepreneurs simplify and streamline their business so they can grow to the next level without the overwhelm. She works with them on intentional business design, smart systems, team support and focused growth strategies that allow them to work less and live more. She's been a speaker at two of my summits and always has such incredible content, so I can not wait to dive in and introduce you to Ashley Gartland.

Krista:
Before we do that though, she has an incredible freebie that I really want you to go grab. It's her simplified schedule workbook. I'll link to it in the show notes, but it really closely relates with some of what we talked about today and you having your hands on that will make what we talk about easier and make it so that you can move forward and implement after the interview. So go grab that and let's dive in.

Krista:
Welcome Ashley. I am so excited to talk to you today about all of the good stuff you have coming for us, but before we dive into that, I would love for you to tell everybody a little bit about your business and what made you start to do what you do because I feel like it's so unique. I would love to hear a little bit of your story with that.

Ashley's Background

Ashley Gartland:
Well thanks and thanks for having me. I'm excited to chat today. So I am a business coach for overwhelmed entrepreneurs and small business owners who want to simplify and streamline their business because they want to go to the next level, but also because they want to do it in a way that's a little more easeful and more intentional and create more freedom and flexibility in their life.

Ashley Gartland:
So it's been a long road to get here, to the work that I do now. And I guess the short version is, I've always been doing this work in my own business. So this is my second business and I have always designed my business with freedom of flexibility in mind. That was what got me into entrepreneurship in the first place. And so as I saw a lot of my peers, and even myself sometimes, going down the path of overwhelm and stressed out entrepreneur, I started to develop strategies to help people simplify and streamline their business. And so when I launched my coaching practice that was naturally the direction that I headed because my big why is helping people live rich, fulfilling lives. I love helping them grow their business, but I love helping them create space. And so it just was this natural evolution and fit for me once I found that sweet spot.

Krista:
All right, and I love it so much. And what you do is so powerful because people don't realize really how life changing, even though that sounds dramatic, but how life changing it can be to simplify. I feel like everyone looks as simplifying as something that's just like oh so simple, not worth my time. But when you actually do it, holy smokes. The things, the transformations it creates room for just can't be brought about by anything else. And that's why I've always just been drawn to what you do. And I just love it so much and I'm so happy to have you here because it's so important and people just don't even realize it.

Ashley Gartland:
It is. And I myself even didn't realize what results it was going to create. I was really clear that the more I simplified, the more I streamlined, the more time and space I was going to create for myself, but I actually had no idea that it was going to take my business to the next level. That was this kind of hypothesis that we were testing out as I started to implement the tools in my own business. And then suddenly I'm like wow, I'm working less and I'm making more and I'm working less than I'm making more impact and doing more big picture things. And it's counterintuitive but once you start doing it, you see how it all works.

Krista:
Yeah, it's incredible. So I would love to hear a little bit about what your experience with summits is like. So what part have you played in summits up to this point?

Ashley's Experience with Summits

Ashley Gartland:
So I have been a guest in summits, most particularly your summits, because they're so well run that I'm always a hell yes for them. So I have not hosted a summit of my own, but I've done some pretty big events that have kind of a lot of moving pieces like a summit. And so both from the participant side and from doing big picture projects like that myself, there's a lot of stuff going on and a lot of things that need to be streamlined in order to do it effectively.

Krista:
Yeah, you and right now as we're recording us, you have this 30 day challenge type thing going on. And so you do, you know exactly what goes in to lining up all these moving pieces, promotion, keeping people engaged, all of that good stuff.

Krista:
And that kind of brings me to want to jump right into our topic for today, which is hosting a summit when you already have a full business. And I think so many of us find ourselves in that situation. When we decide we want to host a summit, it's not oh, I'm going to do this. I'm going to cancel all my client work or block off my client schedule or stop selling this course or whatever so I can host the summit. That's not how most of us work. It's especially not how I work. So I'm curious to hear from you. Do you think it's possible to add something as big as a summit into the mix and actually do it well?

Adding a Summit to Your to Do List

Ashley Gartland:
Yeah. I mean I think it's totally possible, but it's only possible if you make some shifts behind the scenes first, both in how you're working and how you're delegating and how you're setting things up. And it's totally possible. It's that tension, right, that people are feeling where they're like I want to do this big picture thing, but I've already got a full load and I hear it from my clients all the time. And the only way you're going to get to that next level thing, like the summit or the big picture project that you're working on, is to make some changes behind the scenes first.

Krista:
So I want to dive into those, but first I want to cover, are there any big mistakes you see people make? Maybe it's just they just try to keep doing everything the same, but is there anything other than that that you see people kind of fall into a trap with?

Mistakes to Avoid When Balancing a Summit With Your Regular Work

Ashley Gartland:
Yeah. I think one thing is really that you try and add something like a summit your plate without subtracting something else. And you just said your plate is already full, you've got a bunch of client work and the natural thing to do would be to just say I'm going to hustle really hard for the next three months and I'm going to pull this summit off and make it happen. But then you end up in burnout and overwhelm and by the time the summit comes around, you're almost sick of the thing and you don't want to deal with it. It's hard to engage from that space. And so what I really encourage my clients to do is look at what they have on their plates and then figure out what could they subtract to make space for something really big.

Ashley Gartland:
So the event that I'm doing right now, this is such a great example from my own business. It's a month long livestream series. I knew that even with a team and even with strong systems in place, I wasn't going to be able to pull that off and keep my 25 hour work week unless I made some changes. So I decided to just let go of posting in my Facebook group and that that was the only thing and basically substitute. I'm going to be doing the livestreams instead. And I realized I didn't need to do both of those things. I didn't have the bandwidth to do both those things. So I subtracted something and it's made space for me to go live and do these content every day and it's been great and I'm not overwhelmed and I'm able to show up really fresh. Otherwise I would be really burnt out and probably resentful of having to show up.

Krista:
Right. No kidding. And what you said about being able to do this live stream series and keep your 25 hour work week struck me, because the route I've always taken when I plan my summit, it's quite honestly is to sacrifice the hours at work. I don't cut back somewhere. I'm like okay, we're going to hustle extra hard for three months or whatever and I'm going to work extra hours. And up until now it's been mostly fine. But as my daughter gets older, that's going to be harder and harder for me to do and I'm not going to want to do that. So I'm really excited to have you here to talk to us about alternatives to working extra to fit a summit in.

Krista:
So let's dive into that. You talked about a couple shifts you need to make about how you work and how you delegate, things like that. Can you talk us through some strategies we can use to make a summit work with our full business without major sacrifices?

Make a Summit Work With Our Full Business Without Major Sacrifices

Ashley Gartland:
Yeah, I think the very first thing, and I'm a really big time management scheduling person, so take this with a grain of salt. That's my thing. But it's really to create dedicated time for your summit work. So one of the things that I do with my clients when we're getting started in the process of working together is we design them a simplified schedule. And in that schedule we create space for their day to day work, but we also carve out a block of time for their big picture project. And they don't even need to know what the big picture project is, but the time that they want to be working on their business. And that can look like 30 minutes a day in the mornings or an hour a day in the mornings or maybe they decide they're going to block all Fridays off for their own business.

Ashley Gartland:
And what that does is it creates this dedicated time so that when you do want to launch something, like a summit or a challenge or some other big event, you've got the space already set in your calendar. Now if you're not doing something like that, you can use it for free time. You can use it, you can put some client work there, whatever you need to do. But having it already is such a beautiful thing when you're trying to launch something like this.

Krista:
I love that you schedule that block of time in no matter what, because it is so much better to have that block of time and not need it than need it and not have it. So it's great to have that time, whether you're planning a summit right now or you're not. It's a great practice to even get in to start giving yourself that block of time and then you can use it when a summit rolls around. I love that step.

Ashley Gartland:
Yeah, and the trick is keeping the boundary on it, right? So when you're doing the summit to not let all the other day to day busy work bleed into that, all the reactionary work and actually be productive and work on the summit during that time so that you don't end up working all weekend on the summit prep because you didn't honor your commitment.

Krista:
Right. Something new I've started to do with my schedule, I'm curious to get your take on it, is I still do a little time blocking but I've started doing weekly themes because I do have so many big picture projects going on at once. I do you know right now as we're recording this, we're in my podcast week so I batch all my podcast episodes, get them edited, ready to go. Another week I have scheduled is for my Summit Host Vault. I knock out all the resources for a month in one week's time. My other two are for client work. Is that something you've ever tried with clients and do you think that works for a lot of people or am I just a weirdo?

Creating Your Simplified Schedule

Ashley Gartland:
Yeah. I think it's so interesting. If you compared eight different simplified schedules that I designed with my clients, they all look different because we all have different styles of the way we like to work. So someone like you, it sounds like really likes to go deep and really immerse yourself on one type of activity for a week. And so that works really good for batching. Other people actually get more energy from doing a little bit each day. They want to work on a little bit of the summit for an hour each day and that works really well for them. It keeps them out of overwhelm. It keeps them focused and moving forward. It's just it's so dependent on who you are and how you like to work. For me personally, I like to have a day to really dive in and get a bunch of stuff accomplished. The little blips here and there just don't get, they don't work for me.

Krista:
Exactly. I always find that it's more overwhelming for me to dive in and see this big huge a list of tasks and know that I only have two hours to work on it and then I have to go to something else. So, but yeah, it's interesting that you can make this work for you however your brain works best, I guess. Whether it's an hour here or there, whether it's a day like you do actually, or whether it's a full week. So I love that that's the first step. Dedicated time for your summit work no matter what that looks like. So do you have any other steps after they have that work scheduled?

Ashley Gartland:
So I really encourage people to enlist support when they're doing something big like this. That doesn't mean that you need to have a huge team on staff to pull something off. And I'd be curious your take on this too, but the first big event that I did in my business, I remember it so clearly doing all the things myself and trying to set up all the tech and the automations and it was so much and it took me so far out of my wheelhouse that it wasn't a good use of my time.

Ashley Gartland:
So the second time I did a big event was I think a challenge and I just brought on somebody on a per-project basis and she helped me with the things that I was not so good at and it freed up a lot of my energy to focus on the thing that I wanted to do, which created great content and engage with the participants. So having someone like that, you can just bring someone on a per-project basis. I've also brought on a designer to help me with landing pages and banners and workbooks, so I'm not doing those things. And it can be short term, or if you do have a team, one thing I really encourage you to do is preemptively have a conversation with them. We're launching this big thing and instead of some of the stuff that you would normally be doing, I'd like to add a little bit more time and have you do these things. Or I'd like to kind of reallocate your time to work on these things and we're going to pause on some of this other stuff.

Krista:
That's such an important step. And all right. One of my best friends just launched a summit earlier, so in September, early September she launched her summit. And she's always been, I don't want to say she's against outsourcing, it's just never been for her. She just kind of struggles with letting go of control and she recognizes that. But whatever. She pushes through and after her summit, she told me you were right. I will never again do a summit without getting help.

Krista:
And it really does just make the process so much easier because in a summit there's a lot of repetitive tasks. You're making presentation pages for all of these speakers. You're onboarding 20 people doing the same process. Those are perfect examples of things you can outsource. The graphics, like you mentioned, are amazing. And through my resources, like the Summit Host Vault, which is going to turn into Summit in a Box, this big product with everything. My goal would be that maybe less outsourcing as needed, but it's never a bad thing to have that extra support and it just frees you up so much to think bigger picture, whether it's working on other things that need to be managed in your business or whether it's engaging with people once they're signed up for your summit, things like that. It just frees you up for so much more. So I love that that is your second step here.

Ashley Gartland:
Yeah, it's really helpful. I just had a client who logged a challenge and it's another really great example of this where she had some tech things come up and she before her challenge, a couple of months before, so we got a VA on board for her and she was able to message the VA, say, "Hey, some stuff's going on with my email and I want to be engaging in the Facebook group and I want to be doing the live streams." She's like, "Can you handle these things?" And it took a lot of stress off of her plate and allowed her to do the thing that most people wanted her to be there doing versus dealing behind the scenes with the tech stuff.

Krista:
Yeah, it just frees you up for it to be in your zone of genius basically. Awesome. What is your next step for us?

Ashley Gartland:
I think it's really important when you're doing a summit to get clear on what your most important deliverables or features are and what are the nice to haves. So I know you're a big on checklists too. So one of the things I do when I do a big event is I do a brain dump of all the things that I would like to include in that event. I've got the pre-event checklist, I've got the during event checklist, and then the post-event checklist. And some of those things are these are must do's, these are things that are essential. And then there's always a couple of items on that list that are if there is time and space and I have the energy or my has energy, then we'll add these things in. I think that's really important because otherwise I'm going to spread myself too thin trying to do all these things and I'm going to miss the essentials.

Ashley Gartland:
So a great example is, if you're doing your first event, you might be really gung ho about doing prizes or some sort of contest and it's great and I'm all for going big and doing a great summit. But if it's going to distract you and prevent you from doing the core thing, then put it on the nice to have list and let yourself off the hook and get to it if you can, but don't make it something you have to do.

Krista:
It's easy to get into the zone where every idea you have is a must-do end. If you can just reaffirm that and get in the habit of catching yourself a little bit, that can free up so much time and you might actually look at something that you wanted to do and be like wait, that's silly. That's not really going to even benefit me that much. But you have to be in the zone of being able to catch yourself like that for it to even realize it. So yeah. That's interesting. I never thought of that one.

Ashley Gartland:
Well, what it's the catching yourself happens like you're saying, when you write it down and you're able to write down, you're like well that would be really nice. I've seen other people do it. I like that when I'm a participant and it's fun when I'm engaging in that way, but that's not actually going to drive the result that I want or create the experience that I want. So you can decide I'll get to it if I can.

Krista:
That's such an important step. And seriously, all of these around out so well to like you said, just make something like this more manageable when you do already have so much other stuff going on. So having the dedicated time to work on it, getting some help to take some of those tasks off your plate, because not everything needs to be done by you, and then really getting clear on what you actually have to do, which is great for if things do get overwhelming, if something pops up in another area of your business, you have some of those tests set aside that you can be like okay, these aren't going to happen anymore and you can be okay with it. So I'm so glad you brought those things up and it can make something like this so much more manageable.

Krista:
Something I always struggle with then is after my summit is over, I always am in a slump for a little bit. It's like the post-launch blues type thing. I don't really know what to do with myself. I'm used to working all these different weird times, nights and weekends. And I'm like now what I'm going to do. So I'm curious. After you hustle hard to get a summit launch to all of these people, is it important to make another shift to go back and streamline things after your event is over?

Streamlining Your Business After Your Summit is Over

Ashley Gartland:
This is such an interesting question. And in my goals, if you'd take these steps beforehand, right, if you set aside dedicated time and you list support and you're clear on your deliverables, that hopefully there won't be such a big difference between the during the event and after. However, we all know it does take a certain level of hustle to pull something off. You are going to work a little bit more or you're going to be a little more energized around it. And so after a summit, I think it's really important to know what your baseline is and go back to it. So that's simplified schedule's a great place to go, to go to your norm, get back into your routine. And within that routine, we've already created time for that next thing. So the first week or two maybe that time is used for debriefing and saying here's what I learned from the summit, here's what I want to do next time, and spending that time on it. And then afterward it might be moving to the next thing and getting yourself to whatever that next level goal is.

Krista:
Yeah, you just made my life so much easier. You already have that block built-in for something and now you just have it free again. It's not a big deal. So, yeah, you just make everything easier.

Ashley Gartland:
Thanks. The only thing I'm going to say is when you're doing, when you have that time and you're looking at kind of the results of the summit and how everything went, I think it's really great time to also see what areas you can streamline in your business to make it even easier the next time. So you might, let's say your summit brought in a bunch of new clients for you and you're like this is fantastic. It's the result I wanted to get. But all of those clients at once make you realize that your onboarding process needs to be streamlined. So it's a great opportunity to fix that. Or maybe you brought in a bunch of revenue and you're like wow, my financial system, not as good as I thought. I'm going to take some time during that big picture block to streamline it. And that just creates an even more intentional effective summit the next time around.

Krista:
I love that. I mean to add that to my process, to use that time afterward to revisit all of those things because that's another thing I'd never thought of before. You're just a wealth of knowledge. I'm so excited that you would just come on and share so freely about something specific to summits because I don't know, it's just like its own beast and a unique thing that most people don't know how to manage. And what you've told us today makes it a whole lot easier. So I would love to know, do you have one big takeaway that you would like listeners to walk away from today?

Your Big Takeaway

Ashley Gartland:
It's that this is totally possible for you. If a summit is something that you really want, you're providing them with great resources through this podcast and all the resources that you share. They've got that in their back pocket and what they really need to do is set the time aside to do it. So it's possible for them if they take some steps to streamline and they set some time aside to do it and then that'll really dictate their timeline. Right? So if they know that they've got two hours a week to work on a summit and they probably need to give themselves a nice three month buffer to get it off their plate.

Krista:
Oh man, I love it. Thank you so much. Where can everyone go to learn more about you and what you offer? And I know you have an incredible workbook to help people figure out their simplified schedule, so I would love to hear a little bit about that as well.

Ashley Gartland:
Yeah, so if people are just curious about the whole process of simplifying and streamline their business, you can find a lot of resources and information on my website. It's just ashleygartland.com. And then the resource you're talking about is one of my very favorites. I help people design their simplified schedule through this workbook. It just takes a couple of steps and you'll have this new beautiful simplify schedule with space to work on a summit mapped out in there and they can get that at ashleygartland.com/simplifiedschedule.

Krista:
Thank you so much for being on Ashley. This was great.

Thanks so much for tuning into this episode. For show notes and resources mentioned, including links to Ashley's website and her incredible simplified schedule workbook head to summithosthangout.com/030.

In the next episode I'm bringing on a guest to talk about something a lot of you have been asking them about, and that is summit tech and choosing the right tech platform for your summit. So be sure to tune in for that, but for now, go out and take action to plan, strategize and launch your profitable online summit. 

Resources

About Ashley

Ashley Gartland helps service-based business owners and online entrepreneurs simplify and streamline their business so they can grow to the next level without the overwhelm. She works with them on intentional business design, smart systems, team support and focused growth strategies that allow them to work less and live more. To connect with Ashley and learn more about simplifying your business, you can check out her work at www.ashleymgartland.com.

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