Inspirational Motivational Quote. In Order To Be Irreplaceable OAn old saying in business ‘everyone is replaceable

I agree… essentially anyone CAN be replaced within a business.  But there are some key elements that will make your clients feel as though you are irreplaceable.

One of my goals in working with new clients is to establish these elements within the first 90 days of our work together.  Most terminating decision will be made early into the relationship, even if the execution of that decision doesn’t happen for months later (execution of letting someone go has more to do with timing, replacing and convenience for the client.) So the challenge is to BE irreplaceable as a Virtual Support Professional.

Many might think this means not sharing the ‘how to’s’ of what you do, that way it will be difficult for them to replace you, to have someone have to start from scratch in figuring out processes and such.  Let me tell you, this mindset would get you released immediately from any team I am leading.  So trust me when I say, this is not one of the key elements in becoming irreplaceable.  Instead, this shows the client that you are essentially insecure in your role and not a team player.  Folks with this way of thinking, will always be replaceable.  Usually by someone who understands and implements the keys I am about to share ;-)

Key #1 – ALWAYS be a TEAM PLAYER

When your client feels you have their best interest and the interest of the business at the top of your priorities you will make a huge impact in them wanting to keep you around.  Every business owner is on the hunt for someone they feel is going to be as concerned with the success or failure of the business as they are.  Someone that will be willing to go the extra mile if that mile brings in a great return everyone can benefit from.  Someone that cares enough to keep an eye on the details AND the big picture, strong enough to call crap, crap and willing to take a stand for the success of the vision.  This is being a team player.  If you are on a baseball team, although you have a specific position to master and play, you still stay plugged into the rules of the game, the success of each player, and you win together or loose together. When you are working with your clients they need to feel you are in it with them!

Key #2 – BE a PROBLEM SOLVER

Your clients are in decision overload!  Not only are they making all the decisions for their business (often with little experience or surety) they are (if they are coaches) making decisions all day long for their clients or with their clients.  Exhausting, is the only word I can think of when I think of the many decisions our business owners are responsible for each day.  So when something happens in the ‘admin, tech, implementation side of things’ you better believe they are relying on you to support them by being a problem solver.  If you come to me with a problem and don’t have a solid solution (and preferably a couple of solutions) for me to decide from, you likely will not remain on our team long.  If the task is your responsibility and I still have to make all the decisions around it then you become very replaceable on my team.  But give me someone who is thinking ahead, asking the questions I haven’t even thought to ask yet, someone that is bringing solutions to the table and all I have to do is choose which solution best fits the initiative… trust me that person will be irreplaceable to our team!

Key #3 – EXCEED EXPECTATIONS

Expectations are a funny thing.  Each person can have a different level of expectations for the very same task.  The deciding factor is usually based on experience level, previous execution of the task, what has been communicated, etc… so it can get tricky to implement this key.  But if you can find the right formula for figuring out exactly what your clients expectation is in a specific task and then begin to build a culture of your work around EXCEEDING the expectation I promise you no one will ever let you leave their business.  This is such a rare quality in our fast paced, put our fires, trying to stay ahead of the curve industry… but if you can master it.  If you can be purposeful to go even one step beyond what the expectation is… wow oh wow the effect that will make on your client and team.

As I mentioned earlier… in reality everyone can be replaced but that doesn’t mean you can’t set out to make yourself irreplaceable on the teams you are on and for the clients you serve.  Be purposeful in your relationships and let your clients know you mean business with their business.  They will trust you, respect you and KEEP YOU!

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I What's Your Negotiation Story? Written On Paper Noteam writing this more out of curiosity than for the purpose to persuade you to think my way.  Do you negotiate your rates or do you take a hard stance on being non-negotiable with your rates.  The reason I ask is because it has become a topic of conversation with several of our mentorship clients recently.  To be honest I think it is a personal choice and I would like to layout the pro’s and con’s of each side as I see it, but would also love to hear from you: negotiable or non-negotiable?

Taking a Firm Stand – Non Negotiable

Pro’s -   I think the biggest pro to not being willing to negotiate your rates is simply that you have a firm boundary around what you will and will not do for a certain dollar amount.  This allows you the security of knowing that you feel good about your compensation and essentially not leaving yourself in a place of feeling undervalued.  For many this is a deal breaker, period.  Especially in our virtual support community.  One of the main complaints I receive from virtual support professionals is that they feel undervalued in their role with the businesses they serve.  Many times this stems simply from the agreement they have around their rate, not even from the way the client treats them.  I have heard time and time again ‘I really love this client by the only pay X and my current rate is Y, and they are not willing to change the rate, so I will have to let them go.’ This is not a good experience for anyone but happens very often.

Often times using the retainer or dollar per hour amount is a bit of a qualifier to the success or stability of the business that is looking to hire us.. ie:  if they can’t pay XX they are not ready to work with someone at your level of support.  I totally get this.  As an OBM I am firm believer in requiring a client to be at a certain level of success before they are ready to work an Online Business Manager.  When you are not willing to negotiate rates you take a stand for your expertise and for the level of expectation you have for your current clients.

Personally, I feel any seasoned virtual support professional should feel confident in not being willing to negotiate.  You bring a level of expertise through your experience and or results.  With this level of confidence you should feel good about your rates and being an asset to the businesses growth.

Con’s - well simply put, some folks simply wont work with you if they feel you are out of their price range.  Many prospective clients are interested in seeing if they can get your rates down and truth be told, some have this mindset even if they are perfectly capable of paying what your going rate is.  The biggest con I see in not negotiating is simply the loss of potential clients.  The good news is that most of us work with very selective clienteles and replacing one or two prospects is not that difficult.

Let’s Make a Deal – Negotiation Time

Pro’s – There is no secret that negotiations is a standard practice in business.  In most industries I would even say it’s an expectation that negotiations would be part of the contractual process.  So when you are working with seasoned business owners who negotiations is simply a part of doing business, you need to be certain you know how to play the game.  And if you do it effectively it will not leave you feeling like you got the raw end of the deal.  Folks who are willing to negotiate need to have a very clear grasp on 2 things in my opinion:

1.  What is your bottom line to ensure you are making a profit and feel great about the arrangement
2.  What is exactly are you willing to negotiate, dollar amount, services, both, etc… there is often more room to play to get a win/win then what simply meets the eye.

Being will to negotiate allows you give the feeling that your prospective client is getting a ‘deal’, which is a real embedded mindset in today’s consumers… so if your prospect doesn’t feel he is getting the best pricing you could loose the contract.  Again, not because they couldn’t pay, but because you didn’t play into the psychology of the sale.  This might give you a higher close rate and have a bit of a more appreciative attitude from your client.

Con’s – You can under sell yourself and end up in a not so great contract.  To be honest I really think that negotiations are better handled by folks who quite love the process.  If you don’t love the process it is likely this would not be a good option for your business model or sales process.  If you are not a strong sales person with great confidence to what you bring to the table, you could find yourself on the loosing end of a negotiated contract that your committed to for a certain time period… so think about seriously before you consider going this route.

That’s my take.. I would love to hear yours and find out what is happening in these conversation industry wide!  Go ahead and pop me a note below, feel free to share your experience or ask any questions you may have.

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Would love to hear what you think below…

Do you have tips or tricks to get your team working with Project Management tools with new team members (or new client teams?) Let us know…

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keep it real text on a wooden background

Are you a bit stuck in your business growth?

  • either working with the same clients you have been working with for years
  • in a transition a bit longer than you had planned on (without clients)
  • simply can’t figure out how to land ‘ideal’ clients?

If you just answered yes to any of these three questions there is a good chance it’s time to get real about your virtual support business!

When chatting with virtual support professionals I am always so surprised at how many feel they should not really have to ‘build’ a business.  As if the clients are supposed to just show up and beg them to work for them.  Often the resistance to market, sell, promote themselves (or services) is so strong that they literally shut down in their ability to grow.

In my mind I am thinking, ‘what is going on here… this is business, you must market, promote, sell, how else does success happen,’  then I am reminded that because the product is the actual person, they must first deal with their own since of worth or value before they can begin to see how to develop their business.  Essentially: they must develop themselves then move into developing their business!  This, I totally get ;-)

Promoting myself has never really been an ‘issue’ for me (lol those of you who know me, know I love to talk)…. but there are MANY other personal development lessons, tests and obstacles I have had to be purposeful in hurdling to ensure I continued to grow my business and develop what I truly wanted from my business. On several occasions, I have had to have a pep talk with myself that sounded something like:  “it is time to get real about my business AND get real about who I want to be as a business owner”, for me this looked like:

  • becoming more disciplined in my time management ensuring I was successful in accomplishing not only what my clients needed from me but what my business needed from me (time investment)
  • taking a training or getting coaching around something I wasn’t as efficient in as I needed to be (financial investment)
  • even making changes in core characteristics of my personality or habits, likability plays a part in connecting with people ;-) (personal investment)

Regardless of the area time, money or personal there is always an investment that needs to be made when the decision is to get real about my business.

When I say REAL, I mean:  get clear, get purposeful, get committed, make the hard decisions on what I must do to go to the next level and then put an action plan to ensure I can get there.  Every step, I have had to get to this place of being ‘real’ with myself and what I want before I could move into the next level of business development.

When I am chatting with people about their business and I find them resistant to the development or investments needed to go to the next level I am reminded that not everyone enjoys the journey of getting ‘real’.  Some want what the real folks have but don’t want to do the work (personal, sacrificing, time dependent work) that the others have done!  I love this quote:

“Today I will do what others won’t, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can’t” 

To be successful in building your virtual business there is a resolve needed of being willing to do, not only what others won’t, but more specifically what you do not want to do ;-)  That way you can push through those uncomfortable moments of promoting yourself or selling your services.  This is what it is to start getting REAL with your commitment to what you want your business to be.  What you are willing to do to make it what you want it to be and what you are willing to invest to ensure you have all you need to see it become that!

My question to you today is ARE YOU READY?  It’s time to get real about your virtual business!

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What’s Wrong With Being Bossy?

by Tiffany on April 15, 2015

in General Biz

I want every little girl who is told sheI have a bit of a confession, I have always been bossy, I have always wanted it my way and for the most part I still feel I am usually right!  However, most of my life I have been encouraged to NOT express these things or I might come across as bossy, controlling, dominating, etc..  Well to that I just want to ask:  What is Wrong with Being Bossy?

It’s true, I almost always have a plan, I can absolutely see the best way to do something (generally the most efficient way), I do feel it will be done better if someone else does it, but does it my way and I am not shy in sharing any of this at any point with pretty much anyone.  That being said, I am not mad if you don’t do it my way but I am pretty sure it will work out better if you do ;-)

Does this sound at all like you?  Are you (like me) just a little bit bossy and quite frankly don’t understand why it is such an issue with folks?

The image with this article I saw on FB a few months ago and I LOVED IT!  Because the truth is if you are the person with the vision, the plan and the understanding of how to implement it you are likely the leader of it (which also means you might just be a bit bossy too.) Granted, there are ways of communication that can limit the conflict around being bossy or being a leader, but it doesn’t change the fact… this is who we are!

I have hundreds of conversations with virtual support professionals a year who are considering becoming a Certified Online Business Manager and one thing I know is a common thread for most who make the decision to step forward in the OBM journey is that they are just a little bit bossy… or let’s call them natural born leaders ;-)

I always have to laugh when someone will say:  “I always seem to be the go to person, everyone rely’s on me to know what needs to be done and so I just tell them!”  Usually they are not even in the OBM role at this point, it is just who they are.

See I have a theory that there are thousands of virtual support professionals in our industry who are functioning at the OBM level with clients, they are running the show, it’s just natural for them to ‘be’ the boss.  They carry a great deal of responsibility with their role, they are supporting their clients with all of the strategy and planning of business initiatives, they are overseeing the development of automation and processes BUT they are being paid as an assistant.  They are working hourly, bouncing from client to client ‘doing’ specific tasks and just giving away these higher level results.

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe every virtual assistant is an OBM, nor do I believe they all want to be or that it is the ‘next level progression’.  I actually believe that a great VA truly wants to be just that, the VA.. they don’t want to be the OBM.  They enjoy doing the tasks in front of them, checking off their list of things to get done and on a great day have everything they need from client and team to do it successfully.  They enjoy the details, don’t mind the repetition of a task, are overjoyed for a proven process that will get them the same result every time (and see no reason to change it.. ever!)  They really don’t want to have to ‘deal’ with people that much, nor are they interested in being the one telling everyone else what to do, they quite enjoy someone telling them what needs to be done and then getting it done for them.  Oh… how I love a good VA!! The true backbone of any sustainable online business is a great VA ;-)

YET… there are many of you who do so much more… who truly function in the OBM role but are not being recognized or paid for the service you are providing.  Some of you are literally carrying your clients business… I know because I have chatted with you.

The time is now to embrace your bossiness and step into the opportunity of becoming an OBM.  You know who you are…

Come May 1, 2015 the OBM Certification Training tuition will increase… so if this is something you have been considering or you just read this article and YOU KNOW I am talking to you… then take action now!    Get full details here: http://www.CertifiedOBM.com  (read through the details, sign up to apply, fill out the application, then grab a spot on my calendar… see I told you I was bossy ;-)

I look forward to connecting!

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Are You an Exceptional or Adequate Service Provider?

April 1, 2015

As I mentioned in my last post we have recently had the hardwood floors refinished in my house.  It seems everything in my life is an analogy of the current experience we are having with completing this house project.  I love it when life experiences coincides with life lessons!  Currently the lesson in front of […]

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Are you a surface team member or a deep team member?

March 25, 2015

Currently we are having our hardwood floors refinished in my home and are staying with some friends.  Now this is never an ideal situation but I will admit our current host are more than gracious and we are truly enjoying the friendship we have with them.  Even with that being said, their home just ain’t […]

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I love the KOLBE Assessment!

March 11, 2015

One of the biggest questions we get here at Online business Manager.com is business owners reaching out to us asking “Who should I work with and can you give me a recommendation?” We have several routes in which they can connect with our Certified Online Business Managers – including our Directory and RFP – but […]

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5 Steps to Building a Successful Implementation Business

February 18, 2015

Are you a virtual assistant, online business manager, graphic designer, web designer, copywriter, etc… struggling to build a successful business that allows you to provide a service you love AND the financial support you need to live? If you just answered yes, you need to PRINT this article as I share 5 Steps to Building […]

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Don’t create info products!

February 4, 2015

Bookmark on Delicious Digg this post Recommend on Facebook Share on Linkedin Share with Stumblers Tweet about it Subscribe to the comments on this post Print for later Tell a friend

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