Aug. 30, 2022

What Does it (Really) Mean to Run Your Business on Autopilot?

What Does it (Really) Mean to Run Your Business on Autopilot?

If your online business growth has plateaued it’s likely not because of your messaging, your expertise, or your skillset. Thankfully, the solution to scale a business is simple and that’s exactly what you’ll find out in this episode on growing a podcast for your company.

Did you start your online business with the dream of being your own boss, only to wake up one day and realize you’re working harder now than ever before?

If you answered yes, chances are you’re an overworked entrepreneur who’s lacking one of the four key systems needed to build a business that runs on autopilot… not one that runs you. 

Time, energy, and effort are limited resources, so when you depend solely on these to scale a business, you cap your income, influence, and impact.

But true visionary leaders operate differently, because they know that inconsistent lead flow and revenue isn’t a reflection of your messaging, your expertise, or your skillset — it’s a problem that goes much deeper, and (lucky for you) is a simple fix. 


  • Why most people don’t understand what the word “growth” really means 
  • The REAL reason your business growth has plateaued (HINT: it’s not the ‘fear of failure’ or ‘fear of success') 
  • The number one thing you need to run a successful business (that most entrepreneurs aren’t doing)
  • PLUS: the (hard) question you’ll need to ask yourself + answer if you want to experience more freedom in your life and business


Contact Dr. Christine Li:

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.





Ready to learn how to create, launch, and leverage your message into a top-ranked podcast of your own? ENROLL NOW in our brand new short course: How to Start a Profitable Podcast and get $50 OFF right now with code SAVE50! Guaranteed to shorten the learning curve and save you hundreds of hours of headache, trial, and error.

Making Interviews Better: Guestio is the world's only marketplace to find professional guests and platforms —  CLICK HERE to let Guestio know we sent you!


Some product links on this site are affiliate links, which means we may earn a nickel or two 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.

© Copyright 2022 | The EffortLESS Life®


Courtney Elmer

Welcome back to another episode of the System's Made Simple™ Podcast. This is episode 137. Recently, I was interviewed by Dr. Christine Lee. She is a well-known psychologist and expert in the field of time management and procrastination. Let's roll tape on that interview now.


Dr. Christine Li 6:35  

Hello, my friends my heart is happy because I am looking at and talking with Courtney Elmer. I want to introduce Courtney Elmer to you now as the CEO of the EffortLESS Life, I think she's got so many different things to teach us today including growing a podcast. I'm excited! Courtney Elmer, welcome to the show.

Courtney Elmer 7:09  

Thank you so much for having me here.

Dr. Christine Li 7:17  

You have helped me so much in my journey, as a businesswoman, growing a podcast, as a speaker Courtney Elmer. And as a colleague, you have helped me so much. Could you explain and describe pieces of your journey so that my audience can get to know where you're coming from and that base for your business, growing a podcast, and life?

Courtney Elmer 7:46  

Yes, so as the founder of a company called the EffortLESS Life, we're known for helping visionary leaders get the right systems and support in place in their business, so that they can thrive as the visionary leader of their business. And for you listening, if you own a business, maybe you don't, but maybe you've seen this with other business owner friends that you might have, as a business owner, we can really quickly get bogged down by all of the day to day of running a business. But it takes us away from the thing we often got into business for in the first place, which is usually some version of helping people right and bringing our expertise to the table to help make the world a better place.

At the EffortLESS Life, We believe that building a business is hard enough as it is. And that you shouldn't have to work harder than you were at your old job or harder than you really need to be in order to have the success you deserve. So that's where The EffortLESS Life comes into play and helping people get those systems and structure in place, whether that's with their marketing, whether that's with their operations, maybe it's their sales systems, growing a podcast, or the way that they're delivering their programs, really, there's four main systems that we help people with, so that they can thrive as the leader of their business because at the EffortLESS Life, we've noticed this link where if you are not thriving, as a human, as a person, in the various aspects of your life that make you who you are, then your business will have a very hard time growing and thriving, as well. And so we often expect our businesses to thrive because we're putting so much work into them and our heart and our soul and our blood and our sweat and tears, when really the truth is that we have to be thriving first ourselves and taking care of ourselves first as that leader of the business so that the business by extension can thrive too.

Dr. Christine Li 9:40  

Courtney Elmer, how did you come to that awareness for The EffortLESS Life that the focus needs to be on the overall well being of the leader or the visionary or the owner? Before all of the nitty gritty stuff needs to grow and get handled and managed?

Courtney Elmer 9:59  

[Courtney Elmer shares her background story]

Dr. Christine Li 14:08  

Thanks Courtney Elmer for describing the harder path to these realizations. I am left thinking What about the listeners who are really listening to your background story really thinking? This resonates with me I'm working much too hard. I'm spending too much time and too much energy at work or concerned about work things. I want an EffortLESS Life. How do you encourage people that it's actually wiser to release that hold that work has on us and what what what things can people tell themselves in that disconnection process? Courtney Elmer, what does that process to an EffortLESS Life look like in your view and in your experience?

Courtney Elmer 14:59  

Hmm, this is such a good question. It's a difficult one to answer, because the answer is going to be unique for each individual. But what I would suggest is really exploring your motivations. And what is it that's driving you to work to the degree that you are? And what are you afraid of will happen if you stop working? Or if you were to let your foot off the gas? And when I asked myself that question, what what what am I afraid of what happened if I stopped or if I let up. And it really boiled down to this fear of failure on the surface, but failure wasn't the root for me, the root was looking like a fool. And being rejected and being made fun of almost for failing.

Courtney Elmer

And that was the thing that I was afraid of. And growing up through my life, I'd experienced, as we all do various levels of rejection and various scenarios and situations, but that that had become a part of my identity, this fear of being rejected. And so I had built my identity around being someone who had it all together, and who was the picture of success, and who was polished and poised, and who knew what she was talking about, There was no way that you could refute me because I had it all backed up, and I had the facts, and I had it all laid out. And I had it together. And that was the image that I presented to the world. But that wasn't the reality.

Courtney Elmer

The reality was that I was someone who was so afraid of being rejected. If that was the thing I was running from, that was the thing that was causing me to work to the degree that I did. So I share that to say, when you ask yourself this question, don't be afraid to get quiet and really sit with the answer. And some of you might know the answer right away, it might come to you pretty quickly. For others, it might take a while to develop, but allow it to develop. And ask yourself, if I were to let my foot off the gas, what am I afraid of what happened. And that could be very revealing, and also help to illuminate what some of the first steps might be to take in order to be able to take the step back and gain perspective to kind of detach from this idea that we have to work this much, or this amount of hours to be successful.

Dr. Christine Li 17:43  

Courtney Elmer, it seems like if you stay in the original path where work means everything, all we do, then, if we're intending to improve or make a difference, or change things, is to add on more hours, more stress, more obligation, more of a feeling of fear, because those are are indicators of change, when you're caught in that attached relationship with your work. And as I am here, listening to your descriptions of what you can discover, when you ask those deeper questions. I'm fascinated Courtney Elmer because you speak with such authority and rootedness in what you've seen, and what you've gone through that you can really see the better things, the better options, the EffortLESS Life, when why you're operating the way you are today. summarize that, Courtney Elmer.

Courtney Elmer 18:42  

As you were talking to another thing that came to me is that, a kind of a next step from there, I would start with those deeper questions. But I will say this, because I feel it's of equal value, is to also ask yourself, how would I define success for me? How do I define it for me? And that is so key, because no two of us have the same definition of success. And what you might realize when you ask yourself that question and spend some time with it again, journal, let go for a walk and ask yourself that question, notice what comes up is that you might have been chasing after someone else's version of success, you might have adopted someone else's definition of success. Maybe it was someone's version of success that you look up to, because in your career path, you thought that's what was required.

Courtney Elmer

Or maybe it was a parent or a mentor or a teacher who might have instilled those ideas within you, at some point and that you simply took it at face value and never really questioned them for yourself. And what you might find, which is what people most often find is that they've never stopped to consider their answer to that question. And how would you define success? How do you define it and then You define it for yourself. And what you might notice is that not only does that relieve the pressure, if you have been chasing after another version of success, that's not truly yours that helps to remove that friction. And it helps you to realign with this idea of what success means to you.

Courtney Elmer

For me when I put my head on the pillow at night, and I know that I've done three things that day, number one, taking some time for myself, whether that's 10 minutes in the morning to meditate, or a quick walk, or whatever it might be, but some personal space for myself. Number two, I've made a point in a very intentional effort to connect with the people who I love, which is my husband, my son, clients who I work with and made that intentional connection. And then number three, did one thing, no matter how small it was, to further the growth and development of my mission in my business.

Courtney Elmer

And I know that that day was a success, I can check that box. And does it mean I check that box every day? No. But with that as my guidepost, that is the thing by which I measure my success. And so it's no longer about how much money is in the bank, or how many new clients we enrolled at our last launch, or how many people's podcasts we've helped launch or, or whatever it might be whatever those other metrics might be. It's really truly an internal definition that I can go to bed at night, knowing full well that I did what I needed to do today. And that was enough, because that was what success was for me.

Dr. Christine Li 21:37  

Thank you for describing that Courtney Elmer. I'm thinking here that your body when you hit the pillow at night must be so much calmer than it was when you were in that corporate cycle of your life, that period of your life, that there's a real difference with how we exist day to day physically, when we've got these questions examined and sorted out and worked on in little bitty steps every single day.

Courtney Elmer 22:08  

Yes, that's really the key to exponential growth. I find it so interesting. So I journal a lot. And a lot of the things that I share in my business, or on social media kind of these insights into business are things that I've learned along the way, because it's things I've had to learn the hard way. And one of those things is this idea that, , growth we often think of as about adding or learning more or doing more or evolving or changing growing in some way, When really, I believe growth is about stripping away to reveal what's already there within you. The things that are written on your heart, that maybe you haven't taken the time to ask yourself these deeper questions and to ponder and to consider, but that when you do, like you said, it's so much you have so much clarity from that, and so much peace and a groundedness knowing that you're on the right track.

Dr. Christine Li 23:12  

Okay, so let's go a little bit deeper here, because I'm going to bring up the topic of stress and the fact that Courtney Elmer and I before we started recording, we're talking about the past couple of years since it's been a while since we've connected and how stressful they have been. How have you used your model of the EffortLESS Life and effortless living to manage the stresses that we've been under?

Courtney Elmer 23:41  

So first, I have to share a really funny story about the EffortLESS Life. But when I first launched my coaching practice, my tagline was stressed less, live more, not the EffortLESS Life. And I noticing this trend of business owners people in general as well, who were struggling with the degree of stress in their life, and the root causes of what that stress was from and how to navigate that. Because most people believe that stress is a normal part of life. And that was what I kept encountering with people was that they didn't think the stress they had was a problem. Because it hadn't taken them out of the game yet, right. They hadn't had the wake up call the cancer diagnosis, the auto accident, the autoimmune disease, whatever it might have been.

Courtney Elmer

They didn't have that wake up moment yet because the stress hadn't gotten that bed yet. So I was on a mission really determined to help people before it got to that point. And in realizing all of that, as I've shown If did and since our focus is on entrepreneurs within my company really shifted to helping put the pieces of the puzzle in place that were missing in terms of systems and support, to help alleviate some of that stress, your messaging has changed, our marketing has changed, but at the heart of it, that was what we set out to do. And that is what we continue to do.

Courtney Elmer

So the reason I bring that up is because how we got from there to the EffortLESS Life, all boiled down to a trademark issue, because apparently, that tagline was trademarked, I didn't know it. And I had to come up with something else to really describe this idea of the vision that I was trying to help people create the movement that we're out to create within the world, this idea that you don't have to work so hard to the degree that you're working right now in order to have success, and to really make business and life like the EffortLESS Life. And in that really this idea of effort, EffortLESS Life, It's truly effortless, We think effortless is enjoyable, which yes, it is that but it is also having an EffortLESS Life. So that's a little insight behind the EffortLESS Life name there.

Courtney Elmer

And so to answer your question about how do we begin to navigate that and to really shift out of that it's really complicated to answer because the truth of the matter is that those stresses of life will always be coming, there will always be something going on. And right before we hit record, I was telling you how I feel like it's always something risky. There's always something we're always something, someone's getting sick, or someone's out of school, or there's a work issue, or there's a team issue, or there's always something. And I was like I don't know how much of that I'm actually manifesting, right. And I think we've come to believe that cash is always life at the same time. That's life.

Courtney Elmer 27:42  

I'll share a little something here is I haven't really talked about this very publicly, but I'm working on a book right now. And the idea of the book, really, the driving force behind it is this idea of how to navigate life in times of adversity. We can learn how to navigate through these challenging times. So for what that's worth, I don't have a very clear concrete answer to say, Okay, here's a system, which , is a systems girl, it's kind of funny, but here's a system for getting rid of stress, do step one, step two, step three, boom, done, eliminated, it would be so nice if we had that. Unfortunately, we don't. But what I can invite you to do is to look at the valleys in your life right now, what are those things that are weighing you down? Emotionally? Where have you been resisting those things? Because what we resist persists, You might have heard that old adage before, I don't know who originally said it. But what would happen if instead of resisting, you simply allowed it, you simply put your stake in the ground, set up your teepee, or your hut or whatever it is, and lived there for a while? And what might you learn, that would then equip you to be able to move through? So it's kind of a philosophical answer to your question but I hope that that makes sense.

Dr. Christine Li 31:44  

I love this EffortLESS Life conversation. I thought we were coming here to talk about growing a podcast. And we're getting a whole a whole lesson here Courtney Elmer. I'm curious about how did growing a podcast become a particular pocket of your expertise? And please describe how growing a podcast was for you to us as well. That's like four questions all in one.

Courtney Elmer 32:51  

My podcast is called Systems Made Simple. And on that show we talk about systems, but systems for your business systems for your life systems for simplifying whatever it is that you're currently doing, or trying to achieve systems for helping you thrive as a visionary leader of your business as a visionary leader of your life. So I invite you to come check that out.

Courtney Elmer

when I think back to when I was first growing a podcast, it was never something I saw myself teaching Not in a million years, because kind of the conversation we were having is where I really, really love to spend my time is on the philosophical side of life. But with growing a podcast, I had really been frustrated in my business, because I have all these deep thoughts and things to share. Social media wasn't cutting it for me. I would post and I felt like there was no engagement and I was trying to grow a business and to reach people. And to really help them think and change their mindset and all these things in it. It would fall flat and a 500 word social media posts, , if I were to have written everything that I shared five minutes ago, in a social media post, you probably have been like, scroll past, too long.

Courtney Elmer 34:10  

And so that was the frustration that I felt like I was doing all the quote, unquote, right things to grow my business. But the thing that was missing, which happily actually happens to be a deep core value of mine was connection. It was connection with my audience, with my people, with my person who was on the other end of that screen, freezing, whatever, whatever I was posting. And so at the time in my business, I had had my son, and I was working in all the nooks and crannies of the day, so he would be napping and I would hurry up and do a little bit of work, and then he'd wake up and so the only time that I would really get time for myself in the day was to go for a long walk with him and I would strap him in the stroller and I'm like, Okay, hands free. Here we go. And so I would push him through the neighborhood and we would walk for miles. And during those walks, I would binge listen to pie cast, I was trying to learn as much as I could and grow as quickly as I could. So kind of holding on to some of those old beliefs of mine, I got to work hard and learn and grow fast.

Courtney Elmer

And so one day, it dawned on me. And I said instead of listening to these experts, week after week after week being in their audience, what if I was growing a podcast and actually build a stage of for myself, build my own audience where I could share my expertise and wisdom and maybe in connect with people in a different, more meaningful way and go deeper on things, , instead of trying to like fit it into a little Instagram quote. And so that was the impetus for me growing a podcast, and launched it in February of 2020. Right before the world shutdown with the pandemic. And never did I imagine how quickly growing a podcast would transform the entire trajectory of my business.

Courtney Elmer

And so to give you a couple of quick stats with my own show, we launched in February of 2020. Within the first month, we'd received almost 105 star reviews, we had ranked on the podcasting charts, people were reaching out saying how impactful the show was for them. Other friends and colleagues were reaching out saying, What did you do when you started growing a podacst? Because I've never seen a show get that successful that quickly. So I started sharing with them that it wasn't a formula at the time, it was Well, here's what I did. Here were the steps is what I did, and I had friends that would take that advice.

Courtney Elmer

One friend in particular, Joey, I was thinking of him, and he was like, Okay, I'm growing a podcast of my own, what should I do? I literally gave him like the steps to growing a podcast. He went and did it, he got better results than I did. And I'm like, Hmm, okay, maybe I'm really onto something here. When he came back, and he was like, Courtney Elmer, growing a podcast of mine, it was the best month in sales we had had in our business, and so people were coming out of the woodwork asking me all about growing a podcast. So I was like, Well, let me put a focus group together and teach people what I know about growing a podcast. And if this turns into something great, if not, no big deal, but at least I could help these people get their voices out into the world get their message heard while growing a podcast.

Courtney Elmer

So Christine, you are in that growing a podcast focus group we had so much fun are such such a blast. And I discovered how much I enjoy teaching about growing a podcast that I never knew. But really, I think what it is for me is again, going back to that value of connection, and it's helping other people develop a platform where they can actually use their voice, where they don't have to worry about being shut down or shadow banned, or censoring what they say or fitting it into a 200 word little post, or 500 word blog post or whatever it might be. But to have these deeper conversations, and it created, or it fulfilled, rather this need for connection.

Courtney Elmer

I find that growing a podcast is one of the fastest, most effective ways, not only to grow your platform, it can quickly become a lead generation machine, particularly if you're in business, it can drive traffic and sales to your business virtually on autopilot. But it's a way for you to kind of look at it like the final frontier, it's really the only place that you can go to have conversations like this. It really collapses the amount of time that it would normally take someone to build that know like and trust with you. And that's why it's so impactful for business in particular. But even if you don't have a business, growing a podcast can be a very impactful way to reach people with your message, because of the level of trust that you can build with someone so quickly.

Dr. Christine Li 39:08  

Yes, thank you. That was a great description of the value of growing a podcast. I think Courtney Elmer got me through the building the bridge of growing a podcast, which was I have to share terrifying to me and I'm sure I'm not the only person in that group who was terrified of really starting something in this way because podcasting is very personal. It really is your creative act. And there's no basis of saying well this is definitely going to be a success. You don't know you have to trust that if you build the bridge that some people are gonna want to go on your bridge and go along with you and I also have to share it has quickly become my favorite thing to do. It's so much fun to talk with friends on the podcast and to think of new ideas to share and to build a community via the podcast and the ideas that are shared there.

Dr. Christine Li

So I want to recommend Courtney Elmer and her amazing teaching abilities and her abilities to collect a group of people who are interested in the same act of creating and growing a podcast. She's a wonderful leader, I remember the first thing that you did in the program was something fun, it was like kind of a challenge for the first few steps of growing a podcast identity, your brand. And I thought, I'm a games person, this is totally for me, this is exactly the way I learned the best. So I knew I was in with the right teacher. And she's so knowledgeable too, we could go on about that, as you've heard in this interview already. So Courtney Elmer, could you share with us how people can work with you learn with you join this growing a podcast course that you have?

Courtney Elmer 41:02  

Absolutely. So the best thing to do when you are growing a podcast, and this is where I would recommend you start is, it's one thing to think, okay, podcast sounds so exciting. And a lot of people take that idea, and they run with it. And I really recommend you don't do that. Because there are three big mistakes that a lot of people make when starting out growing a podcast that will cost you in the long run. And it's the number one, these three mistakes are directly related to the reason why most people will stop recording after episode six. And I think, if you're listening, and you're thinking, Gosh, growing a podcast, this is very timely, because I've been thinking of doing this for a while, Maybe this is the sign I've been looking for.

Courtney Elmer

What I would recommend is downloading a free guide that I've created, which is what are these three mistakes while growing a podcast and how to avoid them. Because avoiding these three mistakes will already set you lightyears ahead of most people who set out growing a podcast. And so these three mistakes while growing a podcast are actually the mistakes that directly line up with what I teach inside of the growing a podcast program. Because really, there's three components to growing a podcast, and it's all in how you create it and structure it. 

Courtney Elmer

Note to self here hitting publish on your first episode is not the same as a podcast launch. And a lot of people make that mistake, And then learning how to leverage it. And by leverage what I mean is yes, monetization while growing a podcast. Yes, taking your listeners, converting them to customers, and particularly coming at that from, business angle, but also learning how to leverage your message to reach a wider audience. How do we do that? How do we start growing a podcast, and scale it and to continue reaching new audiences? I would recommend is starting with that.

Dr. Christine Li 43:00  

Yes Courtney Elmer, we've got the link ready, it is And you can get the guide from Courtney Elmer to growing a podcast.

Courtney Elmer 43:16  

I would say that's the best place to start by learning what not to do while growing a podcast, I wish I had something like that in the beginning. Beyond that, I do have a mini course that I offer, which is how to start a profitable podcast and of course, the full program which precede your part of the complete formula, which we call the effortless Life podcasting formula. But that's what I'd recommend. Start with that guide to growing a podcast and reach out with any questions that you have.

Dr. Christine Li 44:09  

Thank you, Courtney Elmer, for teaching us today about the Effortless Life and growing a podcast. It's been a pleasure.

Courtney Elmer

Go live your EffortLESS Life®.