Robin Carberry leaning against a white wall

What’s your most important job title as the owner of a small online business?

If you are running a small online business, you probably own most, if not all, of the job titles.

You are the CEO, of course. But you’re also the CMO, CFO, and COO. In addition, there’s

  • Bookkeeper
  • Customer Support Rep
  • Tech Wizard
  • Content Development
  • Social Media Specialist

And the list goes on.

A cowboy who isn't sure of his job title

But what’s your most important job title? To riff on George Orwell, some job titles are more equal than others 🐖 🐎 🐐

Let’s start by talking about what’s important and what’s urgent… and how to tell the difference.

The Eisenhower Matrix

The Eisenhower Matrix, which Stephen Covey popularized in his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People®, is a tool that helps you break down your time (and your tasks) into four categories:

  1. Urgent and Important
  2. Not Urgent but Important
  3. Urgent but not Important
  4. Not Urgent or Important

In addition to Stephen Covey’s book, there’s loads of resources out there that dive into the matrix.

For now, because I know you’re already short on time, I’m going to focus simply on the difference between urgent and important.

The urgent stuff? Those are the things that demand you to pay attention. Urgent could mean it’s an emergency – like illness or fire. Or urgent could simply be all those pinging notifications on your phone. 

The important things? That’s the really good stuff that helps us achieve our Focus Dreams. You can learn more about defining your Focus Dream here.

Urgent tasks (other than true emergencies – which mean they also are important) usually are about someone else’s priorities OR things we think we need to do because everyone else is doing them. 

As in… “omigosh, everyone’s on Clubhouse! I NEED to be on Clubhouse right now!” or “everyone says you HAVE to be on TikTok!” When you might be better off doing some personal outreach via dms or sending a nurture email to your list.

I’m not saying Clubhouse or TikTok shouldn’t be part of your strategy if that’s where your people are. In that case, they are part of the plan that gets you to your Focus Dream – and are important. Otherwise, they’re distractions.

Client emails are another example of something that might be urgent rather than important. Your client’s looking for an answer that may feel urgent and important to them. But it doesn’t always make sense for you to immediately stop what you’re doing to respond.

Let’s bring this conversation back to your most important job title as a small business owner. And, I’m going to cheat just a bit… because there actually are two most important job titles 😀


CEO is, of course, the queen bee of your job titles. Your vision is important. 

And, without you

  • ensuring that your business operations are aligned with your Focus Dream
  • making critical business decisions
  • managing resources
  • making sure the day-to-day things happen

there is no business. And all these things are important. Some of them also are urgent. 

As CEO, you are the ultimate decider.

You can choose to focus on the critical, needle-moving activities instead of running in a thousand different directions to deal with the piles of urgent (unimportant) issues of the moment.

Addressing lots of urgent unimportant tasks gives you the illusion of getting things done. I’ve definitely been there. “Look at all the things I checked off my list today – wow!”

But it’s exhausting. And there’s a whole new stack of stuff fighting for your attention tomorrow. And the next day. And in a month… or six months… are you any closer to the place you really want to be? Probably not.

That leads us to the other job title you must own each and every day.

CMO…and all things marketing

Marketing drives sales. And while your business doesn’t exist without you as CEO, it doesn’t live longer and prosper without money coming in. 

Billy Idol flashing the live long and prosper symbol

The difference between a real business and an expensive hobby often is marketing – or a lack of it.

We all have things in our businesses we love and the stuff we don’t much care for. And so many of my clients have mindset issues around talking about money, visibility, and sales. I’ve been there, too.

Limiting beliefs can play a big role in how you feel about marketing yourself and your business. Learn more about overcoming limiting beliefs here.

If marketing for your business feels uncomfortable to you, all the little urgent (unimportant) tasks can jump right in and “save” you from putting yourself out there. And that’s a trap. 

Remember, you started your business because you saw a need, and you were called to fill it. People need exactly the thing you offer. Marketing simply means connecting with those people, sharing your expertise, and letting them know you can help them. 

And I promise you. People are out there looking for you. If you don’t let them know you exist and that you can solve their problem, they’ll find someone else who will.

So prioritize marketing. Every single day. 

Email your list. Pop into some Facebook groups or join the right room on Clubhouse to answer questions. Reach out to people through dms. Schedule a chat to catch up with a former client – or with someone who’s been following you quietly – and find out what’s going on in their world. 

Maybe none of those things feel like priorities because they aren’t urgent. But they are important. So very important. 

So put those CEO and CMO hats right where you’ll see them every day. And wear them. In fact, wear them out and replace them with new ones 🧢 👒 🎩

And keep moving. 

Want to join a group of Gen X women who are making their business dreams happen? Join my free community where we talk about business and life – and we have some fun, too!