Own It!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 my home, you know what I mean.  So I was thinking about how this is EXACTLY what it’s like with being a virtual team member in someone else’s business.  And how it’s easy to do the surface stuff in someones home, but not the deep stuff you would do in your own… ie:   I haven’t exactly scrubbed their toilets yet ;-)  My question to you today is are you a surface team member or a deep team member?

I think often when we are working with our clients we tend to function more from the visiting friends mindset rather than setting up house!  BUT what our clients really want and are expecting from us is to make their business our business… and if you think about it , it really should be.  Your business is to serve your clients business.  So your success solely relies on the success of your clients businesses.  Do we think of this in that way though?

Do we think about taking OWNERSHIP within our clients business?  Are we visiting or have we officially moved in?  What I fear is that because many times we are building our own confidences and expertise while working with our clients that we never fully establish our ownership within the processes and results we bring to the business.

I don’t want to talk in generalities here as I am afraid we are having a bit of an epidemic in the industry right now that if we don’t get a hold of it, the very way we love to work with clients (virtually and on our own terms) is not going to be as available in the future.  More and more business owners are coming to us wanting someone local, someone they can work face to face with, someone that can be an employee.  Why?  Because they are tired of team members visiting their businesses.  Every time one leaves they have to go back through and clean house from the mess the last one made.  This is a real problem so please hear me out.

Ownership is basically making the commitment to serve that business the same way you would if it were your own.

Now in your own house you are going to clean, organize, maintain, establish best process etc… why because it’s your house.  You don’t want a nasty, disorganized, chaotic home… so you make the decisions and commit to the work needed to keep your home the way you want to live in it.  Same should be for your commitment of service to your client.  Whatever is your responsibility,  you would maintain it in a way that a visitor could stop by anytime and take a peak in.  As a matter of fact lets do that….

How about I come take a peak into your back end processes for how you serve your clients.  I wont touch anything would love to do a quick walk through… how organized are your tasks, how effective is your communication, how committed to deadlines are you… what  quality control standards do you have in place…. will I be comfortable there for a short visit or is the clutter, chaos and mess going to make me have an absolute panic attack?

See while I am visiting my friends they have a beautiful home and it is welcoming and accommodating for me and my family… but it’s not my home.  I am not going through and cleaning out closets setting up meal plans or scrubbing toilets.  I am visiting (although they may be feeling at this point we are never leaving.)  Don’t get me wrong, I am not a lazy guest, I have kept the kitchen cleaned, laundry done (ish), bathroom straight, etc…but when I am in my home I will be responsible for ensuring all these tasks and many more are not only done but done to the standard my husband and I have set for our home.   See the difference… one is surface the other is deep… surface commitment and execution or deep commitment and execution.

So are you visiting your clients businesses or have you made yourself at home in them?

Ownership is just one level of leadership that we cover in teaching leadership to implementers.  If you haven’t already signed up for Tina Forsyth’s Leadership Essential Webinar coming up this week I encourage you to do so now:

http://www.implementersclub.com/leadershipessentials

 

 

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I love the KOLBE Assessment!

by Tiffany on March 11, 2015

in Recommended Resources

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 they still prefer a personal referral.

When asked for a referral we’ve historically looked first at “who is available?” Not anymore. I will tell you why in a moment but for now let me introduce you to the KOLBE Assessment (http://www.Kolbe.com) To be clear I am not trying to sell you anything (although the assessment costs money I do not get anything if you decide to take it – this is not a referral link). The folks at KOLBE don’t even know I am writing this blog post… what I know though is how powerful a tool KOLBE is when it comes to finding the right client match.

Let me tell you a bit about why we no longer start with ‘whoever is available’ when asked for referrals. Every Online Business Manager is unique in their strengths, skills and experiences… every business needs specific strengths, skills and experiences. When looking to make a good match we need to consider strengths and work-style alongside skill and experience. After 6 years of training, certifying and working with online business managers we have pretty much heard and seen it all. From business owners who expect WAY too much to OBM’s who deliver WAY to little. Good or bad we tend hear about it, which we LOVE as this allows us to continue to serve the community with a clear and exact understanding of the issues that can arise for the business as a whole.

What we have learned is often the problem isn’t the business owner or the OBM – it’s the mismatch between their thinking and work styles.

The KOLBE Assessment (Index A) allows us to see the natural instincts or distinctive method in which a person is going to think. I know there is an exact science behind all of this and I will not reveal my ignorance in trying to explain it, I encourage you to go check out their site and learn that for yourself.

When it comes to matching and referring potential OBM’s to business owners we want to ensure that there is a common ground for them to work together. For example, if the Kolbe assessment proves that the business owner is an initiating quickstart (meaning they make most of their decision from their expectation of the future and all that they see or desire of it- and they want to move fast!) and we pair that person with an initiating fact finder (meaning they make most of their decision from what is proven from past experiences – and they like to be methodical and move slower) these two styles will very quickly experience conflict. They are naturally disconnected in their ability to both communicate and work together for a common vision.

There are many factors that can bridge gaps between these two styles but what if the gap didn’t need to be that big nor the bridge that long, the relationship can move to a very successful place much easier. This is why we love the Koble Assessment as it allows you and your potential clients to start on a foundation of success vs. struggling through differences. Through the assessment we can take a look at the results and have a starting place to determine how the two thinking styles will work together… making it ohhh so much to assist OBM’s in finding ideal clients! And vice versa…. which in my book is a win for everyone.

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Motivational BackgroundAre 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 a Successful Implementation Business.

The reason I chose the word ‘steps’ instead of keys, tips or alike to express how to make your business successful, is because I want you to think about or picture the actual up leveling that takes place at each step I mention.  Ask yourself these 3 questions:  “What is required of you?”,  “What is required of the business?”,  “What is required of your process?”  to be successful at each step.

Step #1 – The Mindset

The first step to ensuring you are building a successful implementation business is ensuring you have the right mindset around your business.  I talk to hundreds of implementers a year and am always surprised when they treat their business more like ‘extra’ income or a hobby rather than an operational business.  How you see your business will be the extent of how others will see it, both clients and team.  Your mindset about your business will determine how much money you make, how quickly it grows, what type of clients you attract, etc… What is your mindset about your business determining for you?

If you see your business as an extension of yourself then you will only create what you can see in yourself.  But if you have the mindset that your business is the result of an executed skill set meeting an in demand need,  well then, your business can be anything you desire it to be (regardless how you think or see yourself.)  This is a huge mindset shift because many of us get so caught up in what we do or do not see in ourselves and that limits how we see our businesses.  Set your mind on being a business owner not a service provider.  The service is the product your business sales…

Step #2 – The Model

I cannot tell you how many implementation businesses are trying to build their 1:1 service based business on a 1 to many model.  This simply does not work.  Your model is not the same as what 90% of the business coaches are teaching on how to build a business online.  As an implementer you provide a 1:1 service (even if it is your team who is providing the service this is still the model.) The model that fits a service provider is different than a passive income model (think product based sales) or a leveraged income model (masterminds or mentorships), instead the way to successfully build an implementation model is on systems, processes and proven result based initiatives.

If you want to get  out of the day to day business operations of 1:1 service required of an implementation business you will need to hire someone to provide that service.  Therefore you will need a solid process structure in place for that person to easily follow and provide the same result you have to your clients.   Skip this step and you will work 24/7… develop this step into mastery and there is no limit to what you can build in your business.

Step #3 – The Mastery

Once you have settled on your mindset and your model the MASTERY is where success actually begins to become a reality.  In mastery you learn to manage the time, effort and result of every aspect of your service.  With mastery comes the ability to train others, create solid workable processes, streamline systems or automation to how you deliver your services.  It will allow you to see what is coming and have a better grasp on the ‘potential’ unknowns that slow down production.  With mastery you become a better communicator of both your skills and what is needed to be successful in a given project.  There is a greater since of confidence that lends to you being able to charge more, promise more and produce more.

As you master your craft you will no longer be an implementer but instead a problem solver, the one who generates solutions rather than simply executing tasks.

Step #4 – The Marketing

Time and time again I speak with Virtual Assistants who essentially are having to ‘start’ over… either they have worked with the same clients for a long time and now need to take on new clients or they are new to being a VA and need to take on new clients. Either way the same thing comes out:  I have never had to market myself.  But the truth is if you want to build a business with any longevity at all you will need to master this skill of marketing your services as quick as possible. Again, this does not have to be done the same way as other business models.  You don’t always need to grow a list, but you do need to keep your site up to date and with the most up to date templates.  You don’t need a blog, but you do need solid copy on your site that intrigues the prospect client and shows you know what you are talking about.

Think about your web presence like this… if you were going to hire a housekeeper and went to their house and it was a mess or even less than your expectation would you have them come and clean your house?  Your clients web presence is their house and many times as implementer’s we are the ones who keep it clean, tidy, in good running order… they need to see that from your web presence as well.  Not only your website but also your social media presence is being considered by every prospective client.  IF you are complaining how you have so much on your plate you don’t know how you are going to get through the day, then a prospective client takes a peak at your facebook post, you just lost a client. Could be that was the most IDEAL one you have been hoping for…

Step #5 – The Money

Ahhh the money conversation… seems as implementers we tend to really avoid this aspect of business.  We either don’t charge enough, don’t bother to even bill (invoice) or inflate our value, not giving the client what we promised.  I hear every angle of the money issues from both sides.  This is what I know to be true… if you do what you say you are going to do you can charge what you believe it is worth and no one will ever question you.  If you believe you are charging more than what your service is worth everyone will question you (as you are out of integrity with yourself) or if you charge more than what you deliver on, there will always be a money problem at hand.

The truth is everyone has money issues at some level, we do, they do, everyone does.  Now what to do with it is the question.  If you don’t figure this out you will never really make any money in your business.  If you don’t overcome this issue you will continue to fall in it’s traps.  So what to do?

Make a plan is my answer… know exactly what you need to run your business (include paying yourself), know what you desire beyond your need, come to terms with what you are willing to do to make that money, then do the work and GET PAID.  Ensure you have a solid contract in place with clear expectations of payment (how much, when to be paid by, etc…), then do the work and send the invoice (if you are paid in the rears) or require payment before you do the work.

It really is that easy… but if you see it as something else, give it an emotional weight, or allow it to revolve around YOU and not the service you provide. Then there can and will be breakdowns in your ability to both generate and collect money.

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Don’t create info products!

by Tina on February 4, 2015

in Info Products

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New Habits for the New Year

by Tiffany on January 14, 2015

in Life & Such

Inspirational quote by ancient Greek philosopher AristotleI am a HUGE goal gal!  I believe the only way to truly stay the course of success is to set goals, long term, short term, attainable and a bit unattainable (whats the old saying if you shoot for the moon and fail at least you land among the stars ;-)  But for this New Year I decided resolutions would not be the plan for me this time around.  Sometimes getting so focused on the future robs us a bit of the present, right now, carpe diem, so with that in mind I decided to set new habits for the New Year rather resolutions, goals, ect… As my habits are mostly business related I decided to share them with you.

Habit #1 – Stop Multi-Tasking!

Having worked online now for the past 6 years I have to say a terrible habit I adopted along the way was one in which I spend a chunk of my day jumping from tab to tab, from conversation to conversation, from system to system.  Well I have decided this is not the most productive way to spend my time.  As well, I am truly convinced this is absolutely the WORST way to create exceptional quality work.  Sure I can get things done.. I do get a lot of things done, but is it the best I can do?  Am I truly giving my absolute best to the task in front of me when it is sharing the brain space and screen space with potentially 3, 4, 10 other things?  I think not!  So I have a plan ;-)

I will be honest, I do not know if I will succeed in this habit or if it is even a realistic expectation but if I can get even a small level in increased quality from my efforts I feel it will be a win!

Habit #2 – Sit Up Straight In My Chair

The truth is I spend about 8 hours a day at my computer.  I have a wonderful Herman Miller chair with ideal positioning etc.. yet if I do not purpose myself to sit up straight and not slump my back KILLS me!  This might be a bit too much TMI but hey, I am in a sharing mood ;-)

So by sitting up and having better posture I hope to ‘feel’ a bit better and ward off some of the symptoms of poor posture – backache, headache, shoulder ache… you get the picture.  Seriously I am not a whiner, but lately I have had to whine about being in pain and that just doesn’t work for me, so I will sit up straight on purpose and enjoy the benefits of proper posture!

Habit #3 – Minimize Social Media

Geeze.. I don’t know when it happened but all of a sudden I found myself being ‘Betty Busybody”, keeping up with everyone, everything!  Well enough is a enough.. I really don’t need to know what my friends kids are doing at the dinner table, what political rant folks are on or how many cute animals can fall asleep standing up.  So new habit is check family friend social media for 15 min in the morning and 15 min in the evening – done!  Work social media I will connect with during the day at a scheduled time as to ensure I am not multi-tasking the check in.. lol see Habit #1.

Habit #4 – Eat Whole Foods – Drink More Water

Do I need to lose 30lbs.. I wont lie it wouldn’t hurt my bathing suit shopping if I did ;-)  But the reality, I don’t really care that much about my weight, however, I do care about eating whole foods.  I want food that has actual nutritional value and will fuel my brain and my body to feel good and enjoy my existence.  So not eating whole foods to lose weight, not interested in setting some never gonna reach, already over it ‘health’ goal.  I just simply want to eat whole foods.  Preferably if and when I can they will be organic.

Secondly to this habit is drinking more water.  I love water, unfortunately I get sucked into what I am doing most days and totally forget to go refill my water bottle (am I the only one?) So I am setting a timer that will remind me to go fill my water bottle and enjoy more water this year.  Whoo hoo… hydration, you would be surprised at how much better you will feel when fully hydrated!

Habit #5 – Finish the Task at Hand

Most of the stress I carry is because I have unfinished pieces of projects or tasks all around me.  This little bad habit is a combination of multi-tasking and being on and off calls all day.  So I tend to start things and generally get them functioning enough to pass along to a team mate but not totally, 100% closed out finished.  This is highly annoying to me and I do not enjoy this in my life at all at this point. So I am instilling a habit of completing all tasks throughout a day.  What this means for me is if I start a task and to hop on the phone for a call that I do not leave my office that evening until I have completed it.  I am hoping this will train me to only start the tasks that I know I can complete and now that I am no longer multi-tasking I will complete it will a much higher level of quality and attention.. yay me!

I must admit my new habits for the New Year are a bit random, but they are what will hopefully meet my very simple goal of 2015:  Feel my best, do my best ;-)

Curious… are you tackling any new habits this year?  Share below…

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Avoid Burnout and Hire Early

January 7, 2015

As virtual support professionals we don’t always give ourselves permission to expand.  We think we have to do it all… often because the way we have our business set up requires for us to be the one to do everything. When I opened my VA business almost 6 years ago now, I hit the learning […]

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You are Santa and You Get To Decide!

December 10, 2014

This is the time of year to layout the PLAN, to determine the strategy, to write it all and check it twice… to find out if you are naughty or nice… sorry a bit caught up in the moment, well kinda.  See what I want you to know is this:  ultimately YOU ARE SANTA and YOU […]

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You know you’re an online business manager when…

November 18, 2014

Recently I was working on our OBM StarterKit (if you have’t signed up I encourage you too, as the video series is AMAZING if you are considering becoming an OBM).  One of the autoresponder topics is ‘you know you’re an online business manager when…’ So I began to think about the attributes that seem to […]

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Purposefully Build an Online Business

November 5, 2014

I enjoyed a wonderful conversation with a relatively new business owner recently.  She is in the start up phase of her business, looking to share her message of hope with the world.  (I love the excitement of start up business owners… it’s almost contagious.) We talked about what she wanted to create and why she wanted […]

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How to Get Online Business Manager Clients

October 29, 2014

“How do I get Online Business Manager Clients?” I have to admit this is likely the #1 question I hear, both from those who are Certified Online Business Managers as well as those who are learning more about the industry.  For this reason, Tina Forsyth created the Get Clients Mentorship Program, where we have walked […]

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