1579 – Time is The Most Valuable Resource with The Effortless Life’s Courtney Elmer

In this episode of the Thoughtful Entrepreneur, your host Josh Elledge speaks to the Founder & CEO of The EffortLESS Life®, Courtney Elmer.


Anti-fragile entrepreneurship is a concept that can help you build a business that can sustain itself and grow beyond your efforts. Courtney Elmer, CEO and founder of The Effortless Life shared her journey as an entrepreneur and offered insights on creating leverage and avoiding burnout. The 5 steps to building an anti-fragile business are: define success on your terms, run the numbers, approach decision-making logically, build systems for your business, and learn from difficult periods. 

You can create an anti-fragile business that can sustain itself beyond your efforts through the 5 steps. Check out Courtney's The Effortless Life Co website for resources and support in developing your anti-fragile business. 


About Courtney Elmer: 

Courtney is a highly regarded consultant, speaker, and podcast host. Her firm enables entrepreneurs to grow resiliently, enhancing their income, influence, and impact. Leveraging her psychology background and cancer survival experience, she helps digital business leaders build self-sustaining, thriving enterprises. 

Courtney's globally ranked Anti-Fragile Entrepreneurship™ podcast features industry experts, offering insights on leveraging adversity for growth. She's also a notable speaker at industry conferences and a trusted advisor for Forbes, Fast Company, and PopSugar teams. Her podcast was ranked #2 by Small Biz Trends. She resides in New Orleans with her family.

About The EffortLESS Life®: 

The EffortLESS Life® is a consulting firm specializing in business systematization and visionary leadership. They assist entrepreneurs in streamlining workflows, fostering strong team dynamics, and achieving business freedom. Forbes, YFS, Business News Daily, PopSugar, Thrive Global, Buzzfeed, and numerous others have recognized their expertise in business systems.

The organization focuses on establishing suitable systems, structure, and support for its clients, removing limitations on influence, income, and impact, and promoting its clients as visionary leaders. Their unique strength lies in enabling entrepreneurs to spend more time in their zone of genius, thereby augmenting business productivity and growth.


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Want to learn more? Check out The EffortLESS Life® website at

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Josh (00:00:05) - Hey, there thoughtful listener, would you like consistent and predictable sales activity with no spam and no ads? I'll teach you step by step how to do this, particularly if you're an agency owner, consultant coach, or B2B service provider. What I teach has worked for me for more than 15 years and has helped me create more than 10 million in revenue. Just head to up my and watch my free class on how to create endless high ticket sales appointments. You can even chat with me live and I'll see and reply to your messages. Also, don't forget, the Thoughtful Entrepreneur is always looking for guests. Go to up my and click on podcast. We'd love to have you

Josh (00:00:59) - With us right now. It's Courtney Elmer Courtney, you are the c e o and founder of The Effortless Life. You're found on the, and you're a fellow podcaster, which I always love. You are the host of anti-fragile entrepreneurship with Courtney Elmer, to our friend that's listening to our show. Listen, this is really easy. You're gonna love Courtney. Just go ahead and hit search right now and search for anti-fragile entrepreneurship. You're gonna find Courtney's show. You've had some big name guests on there. You're up to about a hundred fifty eight, a hundred fifty episodes, so you are well on your way. Courtney, thank you so much for joining us,

Courtney (00:01:41) - Josh. Thanks for having me. It's an honor.

Josh (00:01:44) - Yes. Alright. Yeah, give me, oh gosh, I, forgive me. You are, as of when we're recording this, you're in the one seventies, so I was just looking at some of your highlights there. But, yeah, Courtney, give us an overview of your work with the Effortless life.

Courtney (00:01:58) - Yeah, so Josh, you know, my story really starts back two days after my honeymoon when I was sitting in a doctor's office and was diagnosed with cancer. I was 25 at the time, and boy did it stop me in my tracks. Prior to that I had been working nine to five doing the side hustle thing, trying to figure out do I wanna go full into the entrepreneur space? What do I do? You know, and really it made me stop for the first time in a long time and really examine what was important to me, what did I want to get out of this journey on the other side. So I had to ask myself some big questions and some hard questions and really search for the answers. The answers weren't obvious, but I knew that I needed to make a change. So, fast forward from there, a couple of years after treatment and recovery started my business and said, you know what?

Courtney (00:02:48) - Life really is too short. I know that sounds cliche, but most people don't get a wake up call like that when they're in their mid twenties. I was fortunate to have that and it taught me a lot about who I was, who I wanted to be, that I was hiding from, and also led me to do the work that I do in the world today, helping other entrepreneurs use their voice to catalyze positive change in the world. To leave their impact, their legacy, their mission that they feel called to do in a way that doesn't burn them out so that they don't have to wake up with some kind of unexpected diagnosis like that at some point in their life.

Josh (00:03:26) - Yeah. Alright, so what did you end up like, how did your day-to-day, how did your schedule change? What decisions did you make? And, you know, compared to if you think about like maybe how you spent a typical day, a couple of months prior to that versus fast forward a few months later, what was kind of the difference of the content of your days?

Courtney (00:03:48) - Yes. So prior to that, it would be wake up, get ready for the day, put on my high heels, my corporate outfit, the makeup, go do my thing all day, work through, you know, early in the morning, work through lunch breaks, bring work home with me, work on the weekends. I was never, there was never any separation between Courtney and what Courtney did, and it was always, my identity was always wrapped up in my work. After that and starting my business, I really had to work to break a lot of those beliefs that really kept my identity wrapped up in who I am and is what I do. Who I am is what I do. But having gone through that experience, it taught me a lot about, gosh, what is it that I value? It allowed me an opportunity to get back in touch with that and to really examine that and what, what is the mark that I wanna leave in the world?

Courtney (00:04:36) - So shortly after starting my business, I also became a mom. So my day-to-day looked very different. Growing a business as an entrepreneur, working in the nooks and crannies of the day. I went from working literally 12 to 14 hour days and weekends to working in the nap windows of the day, 30 minutes here, one hour there trying to figure out where can I best leverage my time to create quick results, but also lasting results and where do I spend my time because I only have so much of it. I went from having all this time to having very little of it. So where can I spend it to get the most return? And so, like most entrepreneurs, I fumbled my way through that, trying to figure out, you know, do I spend it marketing, do I spend it creating our website, right? In the early days mm-hmm.

Courtney (00:05:24) - , you're trying to wear all the hats and do all the things, but very quickly realize that, you know, that is my most valuable resource and we only have so much of it and I've really gotta spend it wisely. And so that is, you know, the evolution that my business has taken through the past seven plus years is all about leverage. How can I create leverage for myself? How can I create, help other entrepreneurs create leverage? We get into entrepreneurship cuz we want more freedom, we want more flexibility, we wanna do work that fulfills us and that lights us up and that inspires us. But sometimes we don't know where to spend our time in order to, to really bring about that result.

Josh (00:06:03) - Yeah. Well, and I suspect that there's a, you know, you probably your lips to God's ears right now and there's someone that's listening to our conversation and like, okay, that sounds great, but I'm too scared to do anything about it, right? Because I don't wanna give up my day job. That's security. Security. You know, life without security might feel like ultimate pain for somebody. So Courtney, how can somebody, like how would you recommend someone figure out how they can have the best of both worlds?

Courtney (00:06:35) - Yeah. Ooh, such a great question. And I think a lot of it depends on what you want. You've gotta start by defining what success means for you. Before you can get into strategy, before you can get into planning, you've really gotta get clear on what does success mean for me? Not what does it mean to all the 12 influencers that I follow on Instagram are all the 20 people whose podcasts I listen to, but what does it mean for me? What does it look like for me? And then start to run some numbers. So for me, it always helps me to have, I'm, I think, very black and white. And I know in entrepreneurship there's a lot of gray area. We've got a lot of emotion going on. While we're also trying to discern the logic in our day-to-day, but when you can kind of take something, put it on paper, look at the numbers and figure out how much do I need my business to generate?

Courtney (00:07:21) - Let's say you're working full-time, you've got your side hustle. How much do I need the side hustle to generate in order to feel comfortable exiting my business or exiting my my job? And put some numbers to paper. And oftentimes the number might surprise you. It might not be as much as you think it is. You wanna make sure you have of course all of your baseline expenses covered and add on extra percentage from there just for lifestyle stuff and buffer and savings and, you know, figure what those numbers look like for you and then work towards that number in your side hustle and start by doing that. Don't just jump ship, don't just try to like jump. And then, cuz then, you know, you might wind up in a situation where you know, you realized you didn't have the stability you thought you did, you didn't have the savings built up, or you blow through the savings and you're back to square one and you're looking for another job.

Courtney (00:08:09) - So go into it with a plan, go into it and try to make it as logical of a decision as possible. Not so much of an emotional one. A lot of times, you know, we create our own beliefs around what security means. And so when we can really define, first of all what success means for you, what does it take for you to feel secure? Where is your sense of security coming from? Is it really from the paycheck? What are you worried about will happen if you don't have that steady paycheck? Do you trust yourself enough to replace that income? A lot of it boils down to some of these hard questions that, you know, we don't often take the time to answer, but in answering that and then working the numbers and coming up with a plan, then you can work the plan and you'll be able to see progress, which is very encouraging even in those moments where it feels like, oh my gosh, when, when can I finally, finally give my two weeks? You know? But it'll help you keep going.

Josh (00:08:59) - Yeah. Your podcast is called Anti-Fragile Entrepreneurship. What does that mean?

Courtney (00:09:07) - Yes. So anti-fragile means to me, growing through what you go through in your life and in your business. A lot of people look at, you know, when we're forced under pressure, we're faced some sort of pressure in our life. We're doing a stressful situation, there's chaos around us, there's a global pandemic. You get an unexpected diagnosis, your kid comes home sick from school and you have to cancel your day. And all of these things that we face in the course of our day, a lot of us just try to grit our teeth and get through it. There's a lot of people listening right now who are just trying to get through their day. They feel like they're going through the motions, they feel disconnected from the work that they're doing, and it feels like there's no light at the end of the tunnel. And often we're under the belief that, gosh, if we can just learn how to better face these periods of stress in our life, that we can be more resilient and more adaptable to stress.

Courtney (00:09:55) - But really there's a level beyond resiliency, which is anti fragility, which means growing through what you go through. Resilience doesn't necessarily mean that resilience means, okay, so you went through a stressful situation, you've been through stressful things before. Let's go back to the status quo. Let's keep our fingers crossed and hope nothing else. Stressful comes our way. So we don't have to flex that resiliency muscle. But anti fragility is a, a mental model that takes it one step further and says, no, I will go through difficult things in my life's part of the human condition, but I choose to grow through them and I choose to look for what the lesson is here for me. Yeah. And grow cause of it.

Josh (00:10:35) - You know, I think, you know, this concept of anti-fragility, I look, I think we're all human, we're all flawed. We all have our insecurities, our sensitivities, maybe times in the past where we've come up short or we've failed and we judge ourselves. Maybe we're not extending enough grace to ourselves. I mean, but I love the idea of becoming more, you know, becoming more resilient and, and being stronger being the type of leader I need to be. But at the same time, you know, I worry that I'm not enough. You know, I know that I'm not enough, right? But I, and sometimes I feel like I'm just faking it day to day, right? These are listen, and I think everything I'm sharing, we all feel it , right? So like, we wanna embrace our humanity. But at the same time, you know, we still wanna create success here. And I know sometimes fear can be pretty paralyzing. Are there any maybe coping skills, not coping skills, but just, you know, when we feel that insecurity, like, is there, you know, I know if it's a mantra, it's a practice, you know, if it's just taking action, like what do you normally recommend when someone is feeling particularly fragile?

Courtney (00:11:48) - Yeah, so two things. Number one is to remember that the valleys bear the fruit. So what I mean by this is that if you look back at ancient civilizations, they were going out there looking for a place to settle, right? Where are we gonna set up camp? They didn't settle on the top of the mountain yet in our lives as entrepreneurs, we tend to look and wanna be at the peak, at the top, at the pinnacle, you know, where we are under the assumption that that's where real success lies. However, going back to the ancient civilization, they settled in the valley because it was the most fertile ground. But how quick are we to forget that the valleys are what bear the fruit? So when we look at these dark seasons in our life, or a difficult period in business, or a period where you just don't have the revenue coming in that you're used to having and you're having to make cuts and you're having to make, you know, do a budget and do things that maybe you didn't have to do before.

Courtney (00:12:38) - Maybe you're just getting started and you're like, gosh, how am I actually gonna make it? That feels, feels like such a long road ahead of me wherever you are, to remember that the valley bears the fruit, we've gotta learn to look for the lessons in the valley. So that's number one. But number two, often in our lives when, especially for me, I'm speaking very much to myself right now, is that, you know, when we face these dark seasons, we tend to believe I can't do it. I don't know how much longer I can hang on. I don't know if I can keep going. What you need to do is replace the, I can't do it belief with, I can't do it alone. None of us can. And remind yourself of that. And that will give you the permission that maybe you haven't been giving yourself to seek support in ways that you need it. And to recognize, hey, I am human. I am gonna fail. I do feel really fragile right now. Where can I seek support in this moment so that I can grow through this experience and come on the other side, stronger, more equipped and more capable.

Josh (00:13:44) - Yeah. You know, there's their learned knowledge to our friend that's listening to us right now. I'm so grateful that you get to hear this and you get to kind of be with us here virtually, and you're learning really great principles. Then there's the activity knowledge, right? You just do the thing, have the power. But this modeling knowledge, you know, where, you know, if you can really spend time with someone and you can learn from people that have already made those mistakes, you'll find that your challenges are not that unique. We all share 'em and, you know, kind of this difference between a champion and you know, someone that doesn't achieve those champion levels. I would say the number one commonality is they kept on failing and they kept on, you know, they kept on with it. When her people said, oh, it's too hard, , I'm just gonna go back and do that again. And so, Courtney, I just wanna make sure that, that folks that are listening to our conversation right now, like I wanna equip them with some great ways that they can really plug into your ecosystem, you know, ways that you provide that support. How do you do that today?

Courtney (00:14:49) - Yes. So our podcast was our number one place where we teach people how to build what I call an anti-fragile business. What that means is a business that is self-sustaining, a business that can grow beyond you, a business, a business that's not so dependent on you being present in the day-to-day, that can really help you achieve that freedom that we get in, into business for in the first place. And to do the work you truly wanna spend your time on in the first place. So that is where I live. I live and breathe podcasting. I love it. It's there, I'm there every week. I interview top entrepreneurs and get into their stories. What were their moments of fragility? How did they navigate those? What were those moments where they thought, well, this is a, a major change, or I'm about to go out of business here.

Courtney (00:15:30) - Or maybe they did go out of business and something new came of it. What did they learn? What are those lessons so that we can take those back into our own experience no matter what level you are in business, and apply those same principles to help you build a business that not only is anti-fragile, but is also self-sustaining. And under that umbrella we talk about the systems you need to do that for visibility, for sales, for deliverability, for operations, and truly being able to grow through what you go through on the ups and downs of the entrepreneurial journey.

Josh (00:16:03) - Yeah, your website, the Effortless, the podcast you can search for right now, anti-Fragile Entrepreneurship with Courtney Elmer. Courtney, is there something specific that someone should click on or when they go to your website?

Courtney (00:16:20) - When they go to our website? It depends on what you're looking for. Cuz we help entrepreneurs in two primary areas. One of them being business systems and the other of them being a marketing system to help generate leads on autopilot. We teach podcasting as a way to do that and to expand your thought leadership. So depending on what your interest is and what you feel you have the need for the website will guide you on where to click, what to do, what's the next step you should take, whether that's reaching out to book a call with us or whether that's downloading a resource to help you, whatever piece of that journey that it is that, that you're in. So take a look around, we've got a lot to offer there.

Josh (00:16:56) - Yeah. Courtney Elmer, it's been a pleasure having you again, founder, c e o of the Effortless Life, found on the and the host of the podcast, anti-Fragile Entrepreneurship, Courtney Elmer, thank you so much for joining us,

Courtney (00:17:11) - Josh. Thanks for having me.

Courtney (00:17:19) - Thanks

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