New Look, Same Great Show (formerly Systems Made Simple)
Nov. 8, 2022

The Key Systems of a 7-Figure Business with Kate Erickson

The Key Systems of a 7-Figure Business with Kate Erickson

If you’re ready to achieve true financial and lifestyle freedom as a digital entrepreneur, this episode is for YOU! Today’s guest takes you behind the scenes of her 7-figure company to reveal the business systems you need to finally crack the code on how to work less and earn more.

As a digital entrepreneur, how often do you feel like you’re running your business by the seat of your pants?

The more scattered you feel in your business, the more you also feel like your dream of learning how to earn more and work less just isn’t possible.

Thankfully, today’s guest, Kate Erickson, is here to share with you that it’s not only possible, but she’s giving you the inside scoop on the business systems you need to get there! 


  • The 3 things you need as a digital entrepreneur before you can put a content system in place
  • Calendar hacks that show you how to earn more and work less by saving you HOURS of time each week 
  • One of the business systems you absolutely need if you want to run your company like a 7-figure entrepreneur

Connect with Kate on Instagram @katelerickson.

If this episode inspires you, leave a review and share your biggest takeaway with me. And while you've got your phone out, make sure to follow me on Instagram @thecourtneyelmer for more quick tips on how to streamline your business systems and spend more time in your zone of genius.

Some product links on this site are affiliate links, which means we'll earn a small commission for any affiliate purchases you make (at no additional cost to you). We only recommend products that we use and/or personally trust, so you can browse with confidence.

All Rights Reserved | © The EffortLESS Life®


Courtney Elmer 0:00  

Welcome back to the System's Made Simple™ Podcast. This is episode 147. And today we're talking about the number one system that you need to have in place as an online business owner. But unlike the other systems that we talked about so often here on the show, this one has absolutely nothing to do with your sales, or with your marketing or your client fulfillment. But I can tell you this, it is absolutely a system that you will struggle to grow without. 


Courtney Elmer 2:42  

Kate, welcome to the System's Made Simple™ Podcast, it is such a pleasure to have you here today.

Kate Erickson 2:48  

I'm so excited to be here Courtney Elmer.

Courtney Elmer 2:53  

I know and I know that you are like the system's queen. So I was so excited to bring you on this show.

Kate Erickson 3:08  

Thanks for inviting me Courtney Elmer

Courtney Elmer 3:09  

Absolutely. So I'm really curious then, because you know, for our listeners, as they heard you are the heartbeat behind entrepreneurs on fire, a brand that many of them are familiar with. And when it comes to the behind the scenes pieces of business, sometimes it's a little mysterious, like what actually goes on behind the scenes of an eight figure operation, you know, and how does that actually work? And so where I'd love to start with you as to find out before we get into systems, you know themselves, what have systems allowed you to be able to do you and your husband, you know, what have that, what has that really given you?

Kate Erickson 3:50  

Oh, gosh, I mean, I feel like I could talk about this from so many different angles Courtney Elmer, because we've been on quite the journey. And of course, no matter how transparent and you know, opening up the curtain we try to be with our business, we try and be very much that way. There still seems to be like kind of that but how did you do it like that type of how do I do it? So I mean, systems have allowed John and I pure financial location and time freedom. Bottom line.

I discovered this first in 2014. We had launched the business about two years prior John actually launched without me as a part of the business he launched by himself and then I ended up joining the team about six months into it. And two years later, about a year and a half later, we planned a two week Europe adventure and we said that we'd go completely unplugged from the business. That was scary. We had no idea what was going to happen. We thought that we had set it up in a way that we could leave and that things wouldn't break or fall apart. But we had never done that before. We never left the business and completely unplugged from it.

So we went on this two week European adventure, we had the time of our lives, we both got to express our love for travel. And, and that was really the first time that him and I had traveled together on a trip like that. And we got back, the business was still running, we generated more revenue that month than we had the month before. And that really opened up our eyes to how powerful systems can be in your business and in your life, because it changed our life, it changed the way we were able to create content, it changed the way we're able to impact more people, it changed the way we were able to build and grow our business, our revenue, and that all you know, equated to that lifestyle, location, financial time freedom that we have in our lives today. 10 years later.

Courtney Elmer 5:47  

That's the thing, too, like you mentioned earlier about transparency, which you and John are amazing about. I mean, you publish your income reports like that you really open the curtains for everyone to be able to see like, if this is possible for us, it's absolutely possible for you to you know, and here's how we're doing it, here's what worked, here's what didn't. And it's so refreshing to see that in this space. So I'm curious, then what were some of those systems that you put in place way back then to be able to go on that two week vacation? Like, what were some of the bare minimum things that you knew how to get taken care of?

Kate Erickson 6:55  

Yeah Courtney Elmer whenever we prepare for a trip, and I mean, in the past several years, we've taken those two week European adventures to three month European adventures, I mean, we really like push the limits of how long we can travel for and how far away we can go and how unplugged we can be. And those aren't always, you know, completely unplugged trips. But one thing that is always the case is that John and I don't record or for the most part, don't schedule like meetings and calls when we're traveling.

And so content creation is a big one for us Courtney Elmer. Because we're all about consistency and content. That is what helped us build our business. That is why our business does as well as it does. We have a daily podcast, we create content for website, we have constant email communication with our listeners, with our audience, we have online communities who turn to us and expect content and lessons and live q&a And all these things. So content creation is really a system that we've had set up from the beginning, that has allowed us a lot of that freedom Courtney Elmer. Because I see what happens with a lot of businesses podcasters content creators, online course creators, and even for service based businesses.

For a lot of us our content is what helps us grow our audience. And it's initially what creates the know like and trust that we have with people who end up hiring us because they know like and trust us. And if you don't have the consistency without content. And if you don't have a feedback loop or an engagement in place, then you don't know if your content is landing. And you don't know if that's doing ice or right by your audience to continue giving them that content. So our content creation system has really been like a huge one for us since the very beginning Courtney Elmer.

Courtney Elmer 8:51  

I'm curious to hear more about that. What I'm hearing you there is that there's the content creation piece, and actually iterating and coming up with the content, the process of creating that. And then there's the distribution piece to like actually getting it out there publishing it on the podcast, publishing it to the website. So I'd love to talk a bit about the creation process.  Can you unpack your content system for us? And what does that creation process look like for you and John, behind the scenes?

Kate Erickson 10:29  

Yeah Courtney Elmer, well, in the very beginning, starting out a place where you know that the content that you're creating is something that your audience wants and needs, which is obviously very important to establish that, that starts with your idea of the first three steps that we believe are critical to creating any type of like financial freedom and fulfillment and lifestyle, and time, freedom and all these things that we want, right. And that is choosing the right topic, knowing who your avatar is, and having a niche Courtney Elmer.

So all of us who are tuning in, probably have some idea what we want our topic to be right, we have a passion, we have some type of experience or expertise that we feel we can bring to the market. And that is the topic of our podcast, or our blog, or the service that we're providing, or the course that we want to create. Do we know our avatar, most people don't, they don't understand who the one perfect customer listener content consumer is of their topic, until you know intimately who that person is, is going to be very hard for you to ever gain traction to ever feel like you're creating the right things to ever feel like you're getting any type of momentum, that what you're putting out there, there is actually someone on the other end consuming that.

And then having a niche not, I'm going to start a marketing blog and talk about marketing techniques. But I'm going to start a marketing blog about Instagram, and why reels are the hot thing right now. Courtney Elmer, niche marketing is not a niche. There's 10 billion websites and podcasts and YouTube channels talking about marketing. We don't need another one I promise. So those three things and oh zero and on the avatar, because you talked about like that engagement? And how do we know that what we're putting out there is resonating or landing somewhere, when you are able to in your mind, even if you're imagining who this perfect listener avatar, customer reader listener is.

Once you have that Courtney Elmer, then you go out and find them. I'm not saying to like fairy tale up this person and then hope that they exist. And that's who you're talking to. You might fairy tale up this person. But then you go out and you find them. And you find them in online face book communities, you find them in LinkedIn groups, you find them at mixers that you go to you find them at events that you go to, and you have conversations with them real conversations. And one thing that I was thinking about earlier, when you were chatting about like, you know, kind of this mysterious like, Okay, you're like sharing all this stuff, but like, how do you do it?

And that's the thing Courtney Elmer, there is no silver magic bullet, we're not hiding something, we're not keeping something back until you pay us money. Like it's doing the work. It's putting in the reps, it's having these conversations. And yeah, it's awkward sometimes. And yeah, sometimes you're gonna have a conversation, and you'll realize that nothing came of it, or you'll realize that you thought you were talking to someone that you're actually not sure that you shouldn't be talking to. But every single one of those is teaching you something, whether it's teaching you that you're on the right track, or it's teaching you that you need to pivot, these are necessary required conversations for you to be having.

Not one thing that I said in the past couple minutes of talking was anything about a system for your content Courtney Elmer. Because before you even consider a caste system for your content, you have to know that you have the right topic, the right avatar and the right niche.

Courtney Elmer  14:01  

So important, Kate, thank you for sharing that and for backing us up for a minute because you're so right. Like before you can go out there and implement a system. You got to know who you're talking to, why you're talking to them, how your area of expertise is going to help that person, how are you out there solving their problem? What is their problem to begin with?  So let's  say then that someone has figured it out,  They know their topic, they've got their avatar pretty well figured out the know what niche they want to make a name for themselves in, then what where would they go then from there when it comes to a system for creating that content?

Kate Erickson  16:40  

Well, to your point on consumption versus creation Courtney Elmer, I think that there has to be a point when the scales tip, it's important for all of us to consume and learn. And we're all standing on the shoulders of giants, and we learn from each other and all of that, that's super important. However, to your point Courtney Elmer, you're never going to create that authority that know like and trust that connection with your audience, you'll never create a platform for yourself, if you don't tip the scales from consuming to creating.

So that has to happen, will the scales tip back and at certain points in your business, you'll be consuming more than you'll be creating Sure, but you have to have the creation part in order to make progress. So once you do tip that scale, Courtney Elmer, you start creating the most powerful part of our content system is batching. And that is taking like tasks and doing multiples of them at the same time, which allows you to get more done more effectively and efficiently. And it prevents you from context switching Courtney Elmer

So an example of this Courtney Elmer,  people say, Okay, I'm gonna do an interview podcast, and I'm gonna reach out to 10 people and ask them to be on my show, I'm gonna spend probably an hour going back and forth with these people and trying to find a time that works for us. And then it doesn't work for me, it doesn't work for them, we go back and forth 10 times, we finally find a time that works. I do this 10 different times, which means that I have 10 different interviews scheduled over 10 different days. That is  really the opposite of a systematic approach to your content.

What batching can help you do Courtney Elmer, is putting a scheduler link in place, reaching out to 10 people via email at the same time. And using a tool like boomerang for follow ups, including your scheduler links so that those people can book a time that works for them on your schedule, your schedule is only going to have batch recording times available. So they can only choose from the times that you say are available. And those are not going to be over 10 different days, they're going to be over two different days. And they're going to be back to back so that when you jump on, and you set up your microphone, and you set up your recording state and you get your software open, and you're in the mindset that you're about to go live and do recordings, you're going to do four of them back to back instead of one Courtney Elmer.

The amount of content that you can create when you put a batch like that in place.  When you experience the power of batching so that you're not going from jumping on an interview and then context switching and then you're gonna start trying to write and it takes you a while to kind of get out of that like verbal state and into that mind frame of writing. And then you're talking with your team Courtney Elmer and maybe trying to delegate something and  all this context switching is killing our productivity.

Courtney Elmer  20:37  

I am nodding my head, I know our listeners can't see me right up, my head is going up and down, up and down, through and I've experienced this in my own business. And I've also experienced what you describe if not time blocking, right or not having a batching process in place, and not having those days where I can  pull in and focus on one thing before switching gears. And on those days, it never fails. And maybe these are the days where something unexpected pops up, you know, or my son has to stay home from school even though it was a day I plan to batch record a bunch of videos, for example. And on those days, I always feel the drain, it's an energetic drain it literally it drains the energy from you to have to switch like that between all of those different contexts.

Courtney Elmer

And on your podcast, Kate's take, there was an episode recently that you published about time blocking kind of speaking more generally to this idea of you know, batching, but also  batching your time, in general. And what you  mentioned a moment ago is that it takes discipline. And this is the place where most of us drop the ball is we say we're going to do it. Okay, we might do it for a day or two. And then we have one of those off days where things pop up and life gets crazy. And then we don't get back to it. So do you have any tips for people to recover?  So someone might walk away from this episode that might say, Okay, I'm gonna do what Kate said, I'm going to batch my time, and I'm gonna structure my week. But then next Wednesday, something pops up out of the blue, and it throws them for a loop. How do we recover from that and to recover from that quickly, so that we can get back to that schedule to protect our time,

Kate Erickson  22:11  

you're reading my mind, because in a couple of days, I have an episode coming up about discipline and about how to get yourself back on track. Because I don't  believe that discipline is about like being in that moment. And being disciplined to be within a task. I also believe a massive part of discipline is being able to get yourself back on track after you've slipped off and slipping off and having one of those days and being disrupted or being distracted, and not getting done what you thought you were going to accomplish and feeling frustrated about it and feeling like oh, man, I totally dropped the ball.

That's all fine, we're all going to feel that way.  You need to be able to say, okay, that happened. tomorrow's a new day. Tomorrow, I'm gonna get back into my habit of my time blocks, I'm going to get back into my habit of sitting down at my desk and not being distracted by getting on social media and answering emails. Courtney Elmer, being disciplined is being able to say, my time is more important to me than continuing to sit here and be frustrated about what happened yesterday, that does nothing for you. And it does nothing for your audience and it does nothing for the future that you want.

So remind yourself, what are you doing this for, like those two weeks that I talked about in Europe, they changed my mindset about everything. Because I want more of that. And if I want more of that, then I need to show up and be disciplined. So if you have something that you're working towards, that's important enough to you, whatever it is for you. That's what you have to think of Courtney Elmer. That's why you're being disciplined so that you can have those things.

And when you put it like that Courtney Elmer, when you think about like, time is your most precious resource and you want more of it. Like what are you doing to actually act as if that's true for you? Because being pissed off about what happened yesterday or frustrated about the fact that you got distracted or angry because you know you were supposed to have this fully focused day and now your kids home from school like I totally get all that I'm not diminishing those feelings or those emotions or how difficult that is. But what I'm saying is in order to get back on track, what you need to do is be thinking about why you're doing this and that is Certainly more important, and something that you want more than to  wallow in frustration and anger and all of these things Courtney Elmer.

Courtney Elmer  25:08  

I'm thinking, for those listening right now who don't consider themselves to be a systems person, right, maybe they don't naturally  see a problem and then fix it with a system that will solve that problem, not  once, but for the whole entire future. For you listening right now, if you've been wanting to get systems in place within your business, you know, you need to you want to operate more efficiently, you want to be more productive with your time, then maybe the best place to start isn't with a specific system for content creation, or for customer, deliverability, or whatever it might be. Maybe it's simply a system for your time. And how are you managing that time? And even a better word than managing is valuing your time? And what are you prioritizing within the time that you have? And how are you staying committed to keeping your priorities, your priorities.

Courtney Elmer

Okay, any final thoughts to share with our audience today? I know we kind of went in a few different directions here, you know, with content systems, and then kind of coming back here to like time systems. And the truth is we can put systems in every area of our business. But for someone listening today, who's nodding their head in agreement with you like Yeah, I know, I need to do a better job, especially with this time piece. What else would you love to share with them today?

Kate Erickson  27:07  

Yeah, Courtney Elmer. You know, not everyone is systems minded. And that's fine. But what I do encourage you to consider is that if you want to improve, and value your time in a different way, and you want to make a change, then you have to start doing something different to the way you're doing it right now. If you know that right now, the way that you're managing your calendar, or your time blocks, or your meetings with clients, or the way that you create content isn't working for you as good as it could be, then you have to start doing something different. And that could be a super small step Courtney Elmer. It doesn't have to be overwhelming.

It doesn't have to blow up your whole like day to day Courtney Elmer. All it takes is considering what it might look like for you to end your day by stating one thing that you'll accomplish tomorrow. And tomorrow, when you get to your desk, that's the one thing you're focused on first. That's so simple. End your day with one thing that you want to accomplish tomorrow. And tomorrow, start your day with full focus on that one thing. And then whatever happens during your day, the distractions, the unexpected. You know, your discipline isn't where you want it to be. Your focus isn't where you want it to be, at least you've accomplished that one thing. And that's a really great feeling Courtney Elmer.

Courtney Elmer  28:35  

Said so simple. And I think sometimes we discount what simple is, again, spaking to what I said earlier,  we think it has to be hard. And it doesn't we  have to boil it down sometimes to brass tacks, like look at the root of it and  say, Okay, what is the one thing I can do? And it is so simple. Anyone can do that. It's the discipline of staying committed to doing it. So Kate, thank you so much for being here today for sharing this. And there were several moments in our conversation where it was a reminder for me some things that I'm like, Yeah, I need to tighten up the reins there. And it was super helpful. And I was  so grateful to have you on the show today. Thank you again for your time.

Kate Erickson  29:12  

You're so welcome. Thanks for having me Courtney Elmer.

Courtney Elmer  29:14  

We're gonna link to Kate's Instagram in the show notes. Make sure you tap over follow her and send her a DM. Let her know that you heard her here on the System's Made Simple™ Podcast and let her know what your biggest takeaway from this episode was. She's @KatelErickson on Instagram. And I know she would love to hear from you.

Courtney Elmer

Now coming up next week on the show, we are talking about the most underutilized and the biggest under monetized asset in your business that you have right now in your back pocket and I bet you don't even know what it is. And you can put it to use immediately to start making more money. So if you're curious to find out what that is, then join back here next Tuesday. And until then, go live For your EffortLESS Life®.

Kate EricksonProfile Photo

Kate Erickson

Kate Erickson is the heartbeat at Entrepreneurs On Fire, an award winning podcast where John Lee Dumas interviews inspiring Entrepreneurs who are truly ON FIRE. She is also the host of Kate's Take, where she shares the behind-the-scenes of a 7-figure business; and the co-host of Nicole & Kate Can Relate. Her goal: to help entrepreneurs achieve financial and lifestyle freedom.