271 | Stepping Up Your CEO Game: A Client Case Study With Tim Clothier PART 1 [Replay]

271 | Stepping Up Your CEO Game: A Client Case Study With Tim Clothier PART 1 [Replay]
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Client Case Study:

Tim Clothier is the CEO of next-level fabrication shop Illusion Projects Inc. which originally  got its start in taking magicians’ large-scale magic props from idea to completion. Once Tim got married and the let’s-start-a-family-discussions began, he knew he had to get his business house in order fast so he could be a good dad. Due to his upbringing, Tim was already hyper aware that he wanted to be a present dad which hardly aligned with how he had been running his business. He was consistently starting work at 8am and leaving work after 9pm six days a week. He knew his future child(ren) deserved better. Around the same time, Tim was feeling so exhausted from working so hard day after day that he asked himself, “Am I a business owner or just working really, really hard for a job that is not paying me enough for the work I’m doing?”

Tim’s biggest wakeup call came shortly thereafter when he arrived back at his workshop one morning after a late night there and realized he had left the doors open. Things HAD to change. Tim got to planning and identified some changes he wanted to make in the way he runs his business and how it affects the rest of his life.

He wanted to STOP:

  • Getting caught up in the day-to-day instead of moving projects forward

  • Operating in firefighter mode 100% of the time, making him constantly feel scatterbrained

  • Underestimating how long it takes to complete tasks

  • Spending way too much time at work 

  • Allowing constant interruptions from his staff

  • The rinse and repeat of wake up super early, work until super late, sleep

  • Attempting to wear every hat 

  • Being the self-proclaimed “world’s worst micromanager” which prevents others from doing their jobs

  • Being a “horrible chokepoint” holding everyone else up

  • The Tim Show! and actually allow his talented team members to execute their own creative ideas and flourish

So, Tim started planning how he could make those changes. What he could not have planned on was how big his business was going to get during the transformation. The demand for Tim’s services exponentially increased and his plan for changing the way he ran his business so he could be home with his family more first and foremost, was at risk of imploding. Tim needed someone to help him stay focused, be organized, and get unstuck, just as he helps his client get unstuck with their ideas. His mentor recommended he talk to me about coaching and seven years later, here we are, still meeting together twice monthly for private business coaching sessions.

During our seven plus years together, I have become what Tim calls an “integral” part of his team. I work with his key management staff to ensure the business is running smoothly and Tim is able to continue achieving his goal of going home at a reasonable hour each night to be with his family. I’ve sat on the hiring committee to help him choose the right assistant out of 140 applicants. I love motivating Tim, helping him prioritize his ideas, and working with him to overcome his challenges as he continues to scale his business. We have accomplished a lot throughout our years working together (I say “we” because I partner with my clients in their success) and I am so proud of Tim for how he has transformed the way he runs his business and for what he has been able to achieve.

Since Tim started private coaching sessions with me, he has been ABLE TO:

  • Lead his team more effectively and stand tall in the visionary role of the company

  • Breathe and maintain a greater space to think and create

  • Go home a lot earlier to spend quality time with his wife and son

  • Hire more team members to reclaim time for focused design work

  • Take his son to school when he wants to

  • Take sick days and not be worried if his team is moving forward on projects

  • Successfully manage interruptions because there are far fewer these days

  • Not be stuck in the shop all day 

  • Have a CEO Day once a week in which he does big picture planning off-site, away from distractions, and flushes out the steps to execute his vision and ideas

  • Deliver projects to clients before they even ask about them

  • More readily step outside his comfort zone because he has the bandwidth to execute

  • Effectively manage his inbox, sales calls, and projects

  • Magically bounce between his CEO role and creative role in no time at all

Tim created his business because he loves to push the envelope and do things that haven’t been done in terms of design, and he wanted to share that passion with the world. Now that Tim’s much better equipped to navigate any situation that arises and run his business confidently, he is achieving his vision daily and actually enjoying the journey that once felt entirely too overwhelming and time-consuming. Top hats off to you, Tim!

What You'll Discover In This Episode:

  • Why Your Time Blocks Need A Makeover
  • The Secret To Preventing Your Passion From Getting Pushed To The Bottom Of The Pile
  • How CEO Days Can Help You Flush Out Your Ideas  
  • The Principles That Could Benefit Your Hiring Process  
  • What Going To The “Business Gym” Can Do For You  
  • So Much More!

In this episode of Productivity Straight Talk, I sit down with my long-term client and CEO of Illusion Projects, Tim Clothier, to discuss how he’s been stepping up his CEO game during our years of working together. We cover his magic power of jumping back and forth between creative and CEO, what hadn’t been working in his business, what he had to release to see better results, and what he’s doing now to stay on top of his game and run a successful international business. Yes, it’s a replay but it's packed with so much insight that I just had to reshare it. Plus, it tees up next weeks’ special update episode with Tim!

Episode Links & Resources:

Hear A Clip From Tim Clothier:

About Guest:

As CEO of Illusion Projects, for over 14 years, Tim and his team have collaborated extensively on projects with industry leaders such as Meow Wolf, Caesars Entertainment, Blue Man Group, Royal Caribbean and Cirque du Soleil, winning the ADDY Award for Best Out-of-Home Installation design in 2017 and 2018.

Tim produced the successful Stratosphere hotel experience 

'Dr. Havocks Sideshow of Curiosities'. He has created interactive exhibitions for the international tours of the 'Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N' exhibit and 'Jurassic World the Exhibition'.

Partnering with Mattel, Tim created and produced 

‘Barbie : A Cultural Icon Exhibition’ for a Vegas residency, followed by a national tour in 2023.

Tim's creative style and expertise in constructing a whole visual narrative is regularly sought after by brands including Audi and Intel, celebrities such as David Copperfield and Mike Tyson, Broadway shows and museums, exhibitions and top theme parks.

Tim is a designer, producer, consultant, writer and speaker. He is a husband and a proud father.  He is also pretty good a loading the dishwasher.

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Amber De La Garza

About the author

Amber De La Garza is The Productivity Specialist! Amber helps small business owners maximize profits, reduce stress, and make time for what matters most by improving their time management and elevating their productivity! Amber is a sought after coach, trainer, speaker, writer, host of the Small Business Straight Talk Podcast, and creator of Leverage Lab®.

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