12 Entrepreneurs Share How They Work Smarter, Not Harder

business optimization business strategies entrepreneurship growth mindset Jan 18, 2024

In business, we often hear the timeless adage to "work smarter, not harder."

During my conversations with my guests on the Lean Out Your Business Podcast, I have been inspired by the skills and strategies these successful entrepreneurs use to achieve efficiency and success in their fields.

This post is a roundup of all the wisdom shared on the skills and strategies you need to work smarter, not harder. 

Unlocking Efficiency: Common Threads Across Themes
Whether we're talking about the power of lean teams, streamlined systems, or strategic delegation, a few key themes stand out.

Strategic Support: Every successful journey to efficiency involves strategic support. My guests consistently highlight the importance of building a team that complements your strengths, allowing you to stay in your zone of genius. This strategic approach to team building is a common thread.

Simplicity and Alignment: From building lean teams that align with core values to ruthlessly simplifying operations, the pursuit of efficiency involves distilling the essence of your business. Cutting through complexity is a shared ethos among successful entrepreneurs.

Holistic Approaches: Many of these incredible business owners advocate for holistic approaches, considering not only the professional but also the personal. Whether it's creating a balanced lifestyle or fostering a healthy team culture, a holistic mindset underscores the journey to work smarter and achieve sustainable success.


Systems Mastery 

Visionaries like Cate Stillman, Amber Dugger, Beate Chelette, and Jessica Marx shared profound insights into streamlined operations.

Cate emphasizes simplifying operations and creating a lean business model.

"Being ruthlessly willing to simplify operations and deliverables is crucial for businesses to scale and grow profit margins." - Cate Stillman, Episode 151

Amber advocates for automating money management.

"One way I work smarter, not harder is by automating my money. I haven't ever billed a client. Everyone is automatically paying me, so there's no backlog and invoices."Amber Dugger, Episode 150

Beate discusses the constant need to evaluate and simplify business processes.

“Be careful what you add and always think about: How can I take steps out? How can I simplify this? How can I make this easier?" - Beate Chelette, Episode 136

Jessica highlights the significance of proactive planning for smoother business operations.

“I delegate everything in my personal life and in my business life. If I'm not the best person to be doing it, I don't do it. With the right team, I can focus on the things that I really enjoy.” - Jessica Marx, Episode 134


Lean Teams

Strategic support, simplicity, and the cultivation of a shared vision are pillars for creating teams that not only contribute to efficiency but also foster a thriving and collaborative business environment. Visionaries like Kris Plachy, Rachel B. Lee and Darrell Evans shed light on the transformative power of lean teams.

Kris delves into the significance of having a team that challenges ideas to prioritize effectively.

“The key to working smarter, not harder is having a team that can say ‘no’ and challenge ideas to help prioritize projects effectively.”- Kris Plachy, Episode 153

Rachel shares her journey as a new business owner, learning to identify and outsource tasks that drain energy

“A big part of working smarter, not harder is determining... How can I find the right people to do the things that I'm terrible at?”- Rachel B. Lee, Episode 131

Darrell shares the power of delegating and leaning on your team to move things forward.

"I say no to meetings that I have no business taking. I say no to doing tasks that are not in my best gift. I trust in my team... I believe in people operating within their superstar natural ability." - Darrell Evans, Episode 133


Intuition and Authenticity

Guests also underscored the idea that self-trust is fundamental for making strategic decisions, leading with authenticity, and achieving sustainable business growth. The self-trust theme echoes my own philosophy of working smarter by aligning personal values, instincts, and identity with business decisions.

Hannah shares her thoughts on staying focused on core values, leveraging strengths, and delivering high value with minimal complexity.
“Something I've done is become unapologetic about being a very value-based business...If it doesn't align with my core values, I don't do it." - Hannah Abad, Episode 154

Kim shares how to integrate intuitive and business aspects, trusting her internal energies while seeking external support to stay focused and accountable.

“Trusting one's intuition and instincts is crucial in business.” - Kim Woods, Episode 146
 
Sacred emphasizes the importance of leaning into one's true self, avoiding self-criticism, and creating a supportive environment for boundless potential to shine through.

“Avoid self-criticism and create a supportive environment when leading a business, allowing infinite potential to shine through.” - Sacred Walker, Episode 138

Staying Focused 
Prioritization and clarity are paramount in achieving business success. These entrepreneurs shared insights into maintaining focus on specific goals, areas of expertise, and impactful strategies to work smarter and not harder.

Amber underlines the significance of setting strict boundaries, particularly when it comes to business decisions and personal commitments.

“One of the things I do is have boundaries. I don't take calls that aren't going to benefit me and benefit that person... will connect them with somebody else when it's not my genius.” - Amber Griffiths, Episode 148

Nikki encourages entrepreneurs to spend more time thinking before taking action—both strategically and energetically.

“Working smarter, not harder for me means I spend more time thinking before I do...I spend more time prepping both strategically and energetically before I take action.“ - Nikki Nash, Episode 140

As we look back on these conversations, one truth stands out: success in entrepreneurship isn't just about the grind; it's about working smarter.

Each entrepreneur's journey is unique, but the keys of strategic lean teams, efficient systems, self-trust, and focus resonate across businesses and industries. 


by Crista Grasso

Crista Grasso is the go-to strategic planning expert for leading global businesses and online entrepreneurs when they want to scale.  Known as the "Business Optimizer", Crista has the ability to quickly cut through noise and focus on optimizing the core things that will make the biggest impact to scale a business simply and sustainably. She specializes in helping businesses gain clarity on the most important things that will drive maximum value for their clients and maximum profits for their business.  She is the creator of the Lean Out Method, 90 Day Lean Out Planner, and host of the Lean Out Your Business Podcast

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