I’m BACK from my 30-day sabbatical and I can’t wait to share with you everything I learned during this time that I disconnected and took a step back from my business. It’s been 8 years since I started Hirsh Marketing and this is the first time I’ve truly logged off and let my team handle the day-to-day tasks while I took some time to embody my role as a visionary CEO. In this episode, I’m breaking down how I organized this month-long break so that I could focus on creating space for brainstorming, introspection, and creativity. I’m also sharing the impact of deliberately disconnecting from social media, email, and other distractions to foster mental clarity and generate new ideas for my business.

 

I’ll be sharing:

 

  • How throughout the hiatus, I experienced a surge of creativity and excitement, leading to a flood of fresh ideas for new business ventures and strategies.
  • The freedom and privacy I enjoyed being offline and my thoughts on how I’ll show up on social media in the future.
  • What I’m doing to transition back to my routine. From this experience, I’m really acknowledging the need for harmony and how I’m now redefining my approach to business and personal life.

 

We live in a society the glorifies the constant grind and hustle, but this experience really taught me that there is value in having SPACE to reflect and allow creativity to flow. When you’re so overstimulated it’s nearly impossible to be innovative and I encourage you, as a business owner, to assess your own relationship with work, social media, and productivity. Maybe you need to take a step back to all more self-reflection and intentional decision-making.

 

Tune in to this episode to get exclusive insight into my business and how my sabbatical and the practices I implemented changed the way I’ll show up as a CEO and entrepreneur moving forward.

 

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READ THE EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Emily Hirsh:

Hello, my friends. Welcome back to the podcast! Happy week! Today is the day that I get to give you the behind-the-scenes takeaways and also how I did it. I want to tell you how I structured it of my thirty days off, which actually went over by about like four or five days, and I’m still not fully back on social media. So I want to just share it with you and maybe depending on where you are in your business right now, it will be inspiration for something that you can do in the months or years to come. Maybe you are in a place in your business where you could do something like this, and I can give you kind of what I learned, how I set it up, and also why I did it.

 

So I basically took the entire month of February off, with the exception of a few things, which I’ll share with you the why behind those and what those were first. The inspiration behind this was it was kind of the end of last year, and I was falling asleep, and I just had this thought, this message kind of drop in that was like, “You need to take thirty days off, and you need to disconnect to reconnect.” And one of my intentions going into this is I’m making a lot of changes and stepping out of Hirsch Marketing day-to-day anyways, like that has been a part of the plan. I have 20 employees. I have an entire leadership team. Like none of our delivery is dependent on me. I have an absolutely incredible team, incredible training. I have spent years, like 6 years building. What I have today.

 

And so there’s not really a reason why I’m so involved in the day-to-day. Besides, I was just operating from, well, this is what I’ve always done in terms of Slack and different meetings I’d attend and, you know, even conversations that I’m involved in. And so I knew I needed to create a new normal around that because of the changes I want to make and the kind of additional component I mean. I guess I’ll be starting. Not really starting a new business just kind of like a leg of what I’m doing, my mastermind being a part of that, so offers related to transforming. People’s lives are beyond marketing so business strategy but also my mastermind goes into a lot of, I mean, my mastermind is anything and everything. It’s direct access to me and growing their business. But there’s a retreat we touch on a lot of like leadership team building. Personal development and just everything like nothing’s off the table and I personally love all of that and have done so much personal development work and leadership growth and challenging myself to continually kind of step into that new level of me between the retreats that I go to the coaches that I work with like I invest a ton in my own personal growth personal development and how I show up.

 

And I feel I have a lot to offer people around that you know that goes well beyond marketing. Marketing will always be something that is very easy for me. I love it so much. I think about it very differently but I can build a process around that that my team represents and so I knew then I wanted to create a new normal in how the agency runs itself with and without me. I also wanted to cut off stimulation and noise outside of just reading books. So that was a huge motivation like getting off social media because I wanted to know what would happen. It was kind of like an experiment, what would happen to my creativity, my ideas, my clarity, and my presence if I was not consuming anything. So I wasn’t on Slack. I wasn’t on email. I wasn’t on social media, and I was just present and I created that level of mental clarity like what ideas would come through and what would happen. So when I say I took thirty days off, like it wasn’t going to be just like taking naps and going on vacation the entire thirty days. There’s nothing wrong with that if that’s what you want to do. For me, that’s not what I wanted to do. Like I didn’t feel inspired by that. I felt inspired by giving myself a tremendous amount of space to spend my time how I wanted.

 

But still with the intention of brainstorming, thinking, processing, and just seeing kind of where that took me. So I still had my nanny’s support during this time which meant that during the week I had full open days of space and. I would spend them going to the coffee shop. I literally took a chair one day and took it out in this forest area on our property and I sat there for 2 hours with a notepad and no phone and came up with something amazing. And so while I wasn’t like. Actively in my office at my computer working and on Slack and on email and all those things, I still was in the mindset of business. A lot of the days. But also I love that, right? Like to me, that’s fun and so it was really cool. So. Anyways, my rules for myself in this 30 days, if you want to copy me, was no stimulation. So I took away. I actually had my team change my social media passwords. So I still can’t get into them because I’m not I’m not ready to come back. I have to do a couple more things that I want to do or get to do and then I’ll come back but I had my team change my passwords so I have not been on social media since February fourth and I had my team change my password to Slack so I couldn’t come in Slack. I kept my email password because I don’t really check email anyways.

 

It hasn’t been on my phone in like 8 years or 7 years and so email’s not really an issue for me. I’m very protected from email like I have someone who checks it for me and I wanted to still be able to access like Google Docs so I didn’t lock myself out at email for that reason, but it’s not on my phone. So my phone. The only thing on my phone is text messages and I kept Voxer Voxer is something that I kept open with my 3 direct reports. So I have a direct report who runs our ads team. I have a direct report who runs my marketing team. And I have a direct report who runs our company operations and my essential program so those are my 3 right hands and they obviously had whatever access they need to me. But what I told them when I was leaving was I said I want you just to run a question, a situation. Anything that you want to bring to me through the filter of does Emily need to know this or can we solve it without her? I said I want to be on a need-to-know basis this month. Like I love talking to you guys and that’s part of it is like I think we’re friends too and so. Sometimes I found myself liking to be a part of the situation. The decision when I didn’t need to be and so it was like okay, a need to know like I cannot answer this I cannot move forward without Emily and so I definitely talk to all of them throughout each week very quickly and would weigh in.

 

And so the first week I purposely wanted to fully disconnect so I had things like my dad came, we went to Colorado as a family and I didn’t work at all like I was totally into doing other things and I think that was really that I wasn’t like totally intentional. But if I was to do it again. I would say to do that because I think there was something about not going right into brainstorming and coming up with ideas and solving problems and whatever but actually like. Completely almost distracting myself from the business like focus was on other things being with my family hanging out with my dad snowboarding and that was like a vacation completely unplugged, the only time that I would hop in and do something is if I had to approve copy. There are some things that I still like to review in my own marketing before it goes out otherwise that was it like that was the only time and so I ended up snowboarding and being completely disconnected and then I came back and that’s when the ideas just totally opened up and so i. Left my days very very open but I also so going into the thirty days before I started it I had a list of things that I wanted to brainstorm so I knew I wanted to brainstorm like what is my bigger mission that I have like. What are other offers and products that I see myself creating a company name. We’re going to be more to come soon shifting the name of Hirsh marketing and so there’s just things that I knew okay I would love clarity on these. They don’t have to come in a certain order if they don’t come. That’s fine, but like this is my thoughts.

 

And so I would keep my week totally open but as I would start my day or sometimes my week I’d start to get clarity like okay I I know I have some thoughts on this thing. So I’m going to sit with that. I pretty much didn’t work in my office at All. So any time that I was brainstorming like I purposely wanted to change up my environment I’d spend a lot of time at my favorite coffee shop. I would literally sit outside in a chair for hours or I’d sit outside on my patio. Um. I Just didn’t want to be in the environment of my office if something about it didn’t feel right. I wanted to be somewhere different and so throughout that like the level of creativity was insane and still is the clarity the ability to like just take. My creativity went to the next level and also ideas came to me that I wasn’t expecting which is why I left my time open is because I wasn’t sure what would happen right when I when I created that level of clarity. I came up with this thing called the scaling code that we will unveil on here at some point. That is probably the best thing I’ve ever created it essentially takes the levels that you’re at in business based on your revenue and tells you exactly what you need to do in your marketing as it relates to those and like the names like the.

 

Each one has a persona and it’s so accurate and it’s so good. And yeah that just came to me like randomly, like you should create this so I created that and I got clarity on a new offer that I’m going to launch. That’s not my mastermind but is in that kind of category of offers. That’s coming really really soon because of course I’m very excited about it. So we’re doing it. I got clarity around my new company name and just like I felt a level of excitement and passion that I haven’t felt in a really long time. Not that I wasn’t enjoying my business. It just has felt mundane and there’s a part of business that should be mundane right? Like there’s a lot of power in actually like when business is going really well and. Things are working. You don’t want to go create a problem and that is something that a lot of CEOs and entrepreneurs do because we thrive off of solving problems and having crisis right? and so I knew I needed to separate myself from all of this that is going so well. So that I don’t mess it up and Also. Can get clarity on the next thing because my agency is not.. The only thing I’m going to do so I felt this like especially the first week I was like I couldn’t even go to sleep. I was so excited like I was coming up with these ideas. I was just so Excited. It felt like the energy of when I first started my business.

 

Of that that like oh my gosh like just so excited so passionate so aligned and so that was really cool that was something that I knew that I wanted but I didn’t know how it was going to feel because I kind of forgot and there was literally like a week there where I was having a hard time falling asleep like because I was so excited. And was so excited about what I was working on and I was coming up with and that was really cool so that’s how the thirty days basically went. That’s how I structured it and here’s kind of the takeaways from it. So first of all my company ran incredibly well, actually better than when I was there.

 

Because what this does when you as a Ceo step away like this now I do want to be very very clear. You have to have a team and you have to have systems already in place to be able to do this. So if you don’t have that right now that has to be the goal before you could do this. It doesn’t mean that an entrepreneur without a team and without systems can just be like peace out. You guys like I’m taking thirty days off, good luck like that would be a disaster. The reason that this went so well for me is because my team for the last two years or more is already structured to completely run without me. The only thing that I am actually required to do is create content. Everything else has systems, people have a team and leaders to run everything. I have been very intentional about the level that I’ve removed myself but because I was removing myself slowly over the years I was still very involved energetically even like being a part of slack channels just because I’ve been in them. For 2 years You know what I mean and so it’s like then I’m seeing these things. It’s like that’s just taking time every day that’s taking mental capacity. So from this. My company ran better than when I was there because what it did naturally was instantly empower my team.

 

To a level They’ve never been empowered because I’ve always been there, especially my own 3 direct reports instantly that week like within 2 or 3 days of this. They were all collaborating together without me way more than they ever have 10 times more than they ever have. Solving problems weighing in on things. Whatever I don’t even know because I wasn’t a part of the conversations I do know that they talked way more to each other because I was on the need to know basis so that level of empowerment and. Authority that my direct reports had and my team had empowered everybody to step up and and just do incredible. Not to mention. Also our company grew. We signed new clients we launched a new offer so that’s one thing I did show up for is I had a 2 wo-part live workshop. That I wanted to sell our emerge offer at that date. So we could start it in March. Um, and so I chose to show up for that and again like the things that I chose to show up for was very intentional. It was like I would rather do this than not do this just because I made some rigid rule. So that worked out great like we so we launched a new offer and it’s so cool like we launched a new offer The only thing I did was show up to the live trading and then we sold the offer we crushed the sales like best webinar conversion ever. Best live show up rate and the entire delivery of the offer doesn’t require me.

 

Except for the the dripped content is created by me but the the actual delivery is without me so the business thrived the business had this was our best month we beat January in revenue even in a short month and my team the energy thrived now what I realized. Was very quickly so I stopped going to our daily team huddles obviously during these thirty days I stopped having specific weekly meetings that I would already have and I created some reports that people would send me in place of those weekly meetings. So that if I wanted the information I could check on it. And within the first week I was like wait this is better than that meeting like having a report sent to me that says here’s the numbers here’s all the updates and here’s what we’re doing as a team about it and here’s what we need from you if anything I’m like that takes me 4 minutes to read and this is faster than the 1 hour meeting that I was going to so it made me question every single meeting and every single place that I had my time I won’t be going back to our team huddles I’m going to go to a once a month all team meeting so basically the changes that I’m implementing is I canceled all my weekly meetings. So like my weekly person my marketing meeting I’m getting a report send to me instead because it’s way faster and I’m not going back to our team huddle. I’ll be going to our monthly all hands which adds.

 

A special feel to it like if the Ceo Once you have a team and once the whole team is running without you if the Ceo is constantly there and constantly involved in the day-to-day that really is just taking away the power from the team and wasting the Ceo’s time and energy because. Why put it into those things when your teams got it. So I’m going down to once a month all team meetings and then I have check-ins with my 3 direct reports once a week so those are 30 minutes so that’s about an hour of meetings and then. 1 time a month a 45 minute meeting so different than how I had it because I had like a weekly marketing meeting, a biweekly sales meeting, and a weekly ads meeting. Like I had all these weekly meetings that I’m like I don’t need to be there. Just give me the numbers. Give me the report and that’s how we run things for clients they get meetings. But it’s like here’s the numbers here’s what we’re doing That’s what you want as a Ceo you want to build the team around you. That tracks the kpis you need that tell a story then tells you what they mean and tells you what they are already doing about them and then you’re able to just weigh in right I might see something where I’m like oh this is a little bit off but that takes me four or five minutes to see it and get that information fed to me.

 

So what this ultimately did was it created a new normal like coming back into work last week was super easy because it was like oh it’s almost gonna be the same as my month off except for I’m recording content again and. I have one and a half hours a week of meetings, otherwise I have wide open days where I still brainstorm. I still go outside and sit in the trees like I still am doing that because I don’t want to lose that level of creativity now let’s talk about the social media piece. So I’m really passionate about this. I have I know have known this you know I know the impact the negative impact that social media has on people and. I have in the past 1 time done three months completely like social media deleted I’ve never locked myself out of my accounts where I can’t see anything. I just kept it on the desktop when I did that and every single time I know how powerful it is it breaks the addiction that social media is the mindless scrolling, this subconscious impact that it has on us around like how many likes did you get and what did people think of this like it’s designed to literally do that so being off social media I’m now going into my sixth week Fifth week Fifth week off social media.

 

And I won’t be going back on for at least another week and a half because I haven’t done my 12 hour walk because of the Crossfit workouts. So I am doing that before I come back on social media I’ve actually forgotten about social media like I don’t even think about scrolling it I don’t think about it at all The only thing I do is sometimes look at our posts that we’re putting out that are in a Google doc for me and will approve them I’ve also batch uploaded b-roll from my camera on my phone for my team to use so my social media still has a very connected personal feeling to it because it is still connected to me. Without requiring me to scroll social media and be on social media. So for me, it’s a huge impact not being on social media because number one. It’s an addiction like if all of you listening if you deleted it off your phone today. For the next week you will go to where that app was subconsciously without realizing it several several times the first few days that you deleted guarantee to me that’s scary like I don’t like that so that’s number 1 number 2 the impact that consuming content has on us as creators. Even if we don’t see it directly. It impacts our own creation because we’re being influenced by someone else now. This can sometimes be a really positive thing. It can give you inspiration. It can give you ideas, it can give you an idea of.

 

How to do something differently I wanted to see if I had no input from other creators like the only thing I’ve done the last five weeks is read books. That’s it if I had no input. How would that impact the authenticity of my own content creation? And my theory is proven right? because I’ve gotten many comments that when I go to create comment like when I go to create content like the video that I the 2 part series that I did it was like this is a new level of you Emily like a new level of energy of excitement of authenticity of like creativity that comes through in your content. And I do think that when you’re very solid in the content you create what you speak on the authenticity that you have the values that you have when you’re really solid on that and not allowing any other outside influence to come in and shift that because. Oh maybe like I want to sound like this person because I look up to them right? We subconsciously do that whether you realize it or not you have people that you follow on social media who you think are really cool who you want their business. And that’s going to impact how you show up on social media most of the time so just testing out what it does to your content creativity is really cool. The other thing is creating content like these podcasts and when I would give.

 

Hey, we should do a social media post about this or there was one time I wrote one about Crossfit like I just wrote it in a document and then being detached from how well it does like how many likes how people like it like being detached from that is a really cool place to be. And I noticed the first week after being off social media and that I had this like back of my mind programming. I guess that every time something would happen I’d be like. Oh here’s a takeaway from that so I can go turn that into a social media post or like a podcast or whatever and I was like what the heck I’m living my life through this lens of like how do I turn this into content what you know so I would something would happen with my kids or the bit. You know my ideas are Crossfit. And in the back of my mind instead of just being present for the experience I’m already predetermining and narrating the takeaways because I create so much content. That’s the way I started thinking and that’s not a bad thing. But I think it’s good to get a break from that so you can bring back some harmony into just living your life and I have really enjoyed the privacy of not being on social media and still being there but not documenting.

 

Like I went on 2 trips and did some epic shit and nobody knows about it last month you know like the only people that have had deep conversations with me are my friends who called me who text me who I met up with coffee for right? It’s not like oh I wonder what? Emily’s doing let me check her Instagram stories. Now being honest with you guys I don’t know what the new normal looks like yet coming back to social media I have loved not being on it and I don’t know anything that’s going on like I don’t know anything about anything politics like all the things getting posted I have no idea. Unless my husband or someone tells me directly like I don’t know and I don’t really want that noise so finding a new normal is my goal and I don’t know what that is yet because I’ve really enjoyed the privacy too I’ve really enjoyed being like. I’m in Utah snowboarding right now and nobody knows like my team doesn’t know nobody knows that I’m out here snowboarding and like it kind of sounds so silly because that’s also how most people live their lives but because when you have a platform. And you decide to share these things you stop kind of living your life that way you must feel this obligation to showing up and sharing things that are happening in your life and so definitely for me moving forward. There will be a different level of privacy in that.

 

I don’t want everybody to know, including my team, like I don’t need them to know when I go on a trip. I want that freedom like I will get you what you need. I will be here when you need me for what you need me for. But I have full autonomy and full freedom over what I’m doing and I don’t have to answer to anybody and that to me feels like next level freedom. So it’s the same on social media I don’t want to and the obligation is self-imposed to feel obligated to be like well. I need to put this on my stories you know and share this. I need to show up and so I don’t know what the new normal looks like but I’ll keep you guys posted on that. I do highly recommend a social media detox of at least a week to delete the app from your phone. And just see what happens like just see how you respond. The last thing I want to say about this is I think in. The digital online space where you have a lot of solopreneurs and you have people who have built their companies from the ground up and are also naturally entrepreneurs who therefore love to be in the chaos in the overwhelm like we are addicted to that.

 

I myself have recognized that like I like to be solving problems and meeting them and being overwhelming and having things that I have to do like I feel more comfortable in that place. But what we don’t realize is how much that’s actually holding back our company. And the people working for us and if we can take that energy and channel it into more productive ways. Creativity, new ideas, new methods like content. It will grow the company so much more and so I feel like this. Space that we’re in the definition of a Ceo is really not what it truly is and I started thinking as I was thinking about coming back. I was like okay, go to any very successful company. Sure they might have more corporate tendencies than I ever want to have but do you think the Ceo is in slack all day. Do you think the Ceo is on a daily team huddle just to be there because they feel obligated and I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with those things I’m just saying. What do you want the definition of being a Ceo to be and everything that you put your time and energy into takes away from something else whether you see it or not so me putting my time and energy into daily huddles slack.

 

Just being a part of conversations that then took my brain to that place when I didn’t need to be took away from my creativity took away from my visionary ability took away from new ideas took away from thinking about you know I started thinking not just about the next three months but the next three years Took away from my presence so I really have found a new definition of what it means to be the Ceo and where I think it’s necessary for the Ceo to show up versus where they’re actually probably hurting the company by showing up. I also just found a completely new level of presence in my life like I would go on a whim and go pick my kids up from school early and take them out to get hot chocolate like the reason why we start? our business is to be able to have those experiences to be able to go. Get your kids in the middle of the day to take a day off and decide that morning that you’re going to go do something fun, something crazy to go on a trip. You know I snowboarded nine days out of the month. That’s what most of the time why people start their business and then we rob ourselves of that and the only person to blame. Is typically us. Yes, there are seasons where this is not possible if you don’t have a team yet if you’re in those beginning phases. This is something that you get to shoot for. But then there’s a huge percentage of people who stay in the day to day of their business.

 

And in the overwhelming chaos and in the constant stimulation because they’re addicted to it and that is a choice and that is robbing you from what you really want. So if anything today my inspiration for you is to just kind of sit with. What your ultimate version of showing up as a Ceo looks like how do you spend your time, who do you communicate with, what problems are you dealing with, and what ones are you? Or not? What is your relationship with social media look like? What is your relationship with email or slack? All those things like what’s your ultimate ideal scenario once you have that defined. What would you have to do to get there, what support would you have to put in place, what process, what systems, what team. And then also challenging you when it’s appropriate to just take like at least seven days and disconnect or reconnect because it’s a very underrated strategy. And I’ll follow up in probably three months with how this completely exploded our revenue because I know it will because it already is. It’s pretty incredible when you actually get to like I said channel that incredible energy that we have as CEOs and ideas and visionary thinking and just.

 

The ability that entrepreneurs have I think we start our business with that and then we get stuck in places where we’re not using that anymore and it’s taking away so much from our business that we don’t even realize because like that became our new normal. That became again if you would have asked me a year ago I would have been like oh I have to be in slack I have to be on my huddle but I don’t and I didn’t know that until I did a massive pattern interrupt and a reset. So if you guys have questions feel free to. Send me a message on Instagram my team does get the messages they can pass them on to me otherwise I’ll be back probably middle of March on Instagram I’m doing my 12 hour walk soon and I can’t wait to share the takeaways of that but I wanted to do that still in this state of mind of like completely clean from consumption. So. All right guys. Thanks so much for tuning in and I’ll talk to you next time.