Do you ever get to the point where you just think:

“When did this stop being fun?”

I asked Tina this a few weeks back and she had the PERFECT (of course) answer for me… she said it stop being fun when it became an OBLIGATION.

WOW that is so true! The minute my business, services, deliverable became something I simply had to do, rather than something I wanted to do is when it quit being fun. This past year has been a huge transition in my life, in many ways I have had a lot of responsibilities change in my life that require my business to play a much bigger part of our budget than it once did. I know many reading this right now understand the importance of your business being the sole provider for your home, livelihood and such. It’s hard to not see obligation, when you feel the weight of that responsibility. I totally get it.

But even with that in mind, we have a unique opportunity to be in control of how we choose to view the expectation… and it doesn’t have to be an obligation.

Honestly, running, growing, leading, managing a business is not always easy. It is not always sunshine and roses. Some days things simply go wrong, some days are long and some days our clients, team, etc… can be on our last nerve. Which might lead us to think: “Why am I doing this?” Is it because I said I would, is there a bigger reason behind it other than I need to get paid? Do I really want to do this 6-8 hours a day, am I feeling the value I am bringing to my clients businesses?

When that moment comes (and to be honest it likely comes to me about every 3 years) I have to remind myself of my vision for myself and for my business.

See it’s not always going to look FUN… but fun comes in many forms.

  • Is it fun that I can take a long weekend this weekend and I didn’t have to ask anyone’s permission… that is pretty fun? (could have been a whole week if I wanted it and that is fun too.)
  • Is it fun that at the end of the day I get to know that I have made a difference in the lives of my client, their customers and my team? (heck yea it is!!)
  • Is it fun that when I need extra money I can simply add a client or do a project and pay off some debt or enjoy a vacation? (you betcha!)
  • Is it fun that I get to be creative when I want to be creative and be super linear and analytical when I want to be analytical, or personable when I want to be personable? (a role that fits all my personalities..LOL sweet!)

We talk a lot about definition of success within our programs. Mine has been the same for about 5 years now. My definition of success is:

That I can be 100% present in the moment that I am in.

When I really consider what I do and the vision I have for my business and my personal definition of success… I have to ask myself, “Why isn’t this FUN?”

Being an Online Business Manager allows me to be fully ME, everyday. That is pretty fun right!

So the real question isn’t when did this stop being fun, but rather, how can I focus on the fun of today!

See what we focus on grows…

If you are focused on the negative, then you will simply grow the negative experiences within your life. But if you are focused on the positive, oh how things can change so quickly!

So what can you focus on today that will be FUN???

Do you know your own personal definition of success… and if you don’t how do you know when you are being successful? It’s important to clarify your expectations on yourself to know when you are achieving your success.

Want to connect about it? Pop on over to our facebook group: http://www.Facebook.com/iaobm and lets chat about what FUN you are having in your business right now!!

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For the most part we are purposeful to write super uplifting and focus on the positive type of articles for the community. We do this because ultimately it is a core value of ours that we desire to reach for what we want rather than run from what we don’t want. Most of the time I do see this as the goal in our communication as well.

That being said though… there are a couple of mindsets I have noticed as a recurring theme with our OBM community and I want to just tackle them straight on (you know me, that’s kinda how I role :)

Leadership Fail #1 – Not believing in yourself and the value of what you bring to the business!

By far our OBM community is one of the ‘smartest’ groups of people hanging out online. We are strategy, tech, customer service, problem solvers, innovators, activators, therapist (for our clients often), marketers, analysis, business developers, and the list could go on and on… OBM’s are the backbone and the cornerstone of many of the businesses they serve. YET we will allow our lack of belief in ourselves to create these experiences:

  • often we allow clients to under value our contribution both in payment and respect (granted this can happen also because the client simply doesn’t know how to do it differently)
  • we do not take ownership of a project to see it to the desired result because we are insecure in our ability to produce… even though we have proven time and time again what we are capable of it.
  • we do not pursue bigger, high-end, high-performing clients. If you want to know how much you believe in yourself look at your clients… do you work with clients who play small… if so it might be that you are comfortable yourself with playing small… which likely stems from your personal believe system about yourself.

Others will only believe about you, what you believe about yourself!!

Sure you can put on a good front and ‘pretend’ for a bit and folks will see more in you. However, they will eventually see you exactly like you see yourself. Occasionally a true mentor will come into your life who sees your potential and will call it out of you, but if you don’t step in to it, they too will eventually only see you as you see yourself. How you view yourself will be the only true portrait others see in you.

SO PLEASE decide today to TRULY start BELIEVING IN YOU!

Leadership Fail #2 – Following rather than leading.

To be honest if you haven’t settled #1 yet… it will be very difficult to overcome #2! But the truth is I talk with many OBM’s in our community who are simply running… running after the client, running after the business, running after team members, running after the fires, running after the chaos… running! Guess what is happening when you are running after all of those things. You are following them, they are not following you!

YOU CAN’T LEAD WHAT YOU ARE CHASING!

So stop the crazy! Stop trying to chase the result and start leading yourself, the business, your client and the team to the desired outcome they are entrusting you with. We cover this in-depth in our Online Business Manager Certification Training so if you have not checked this out I encourage you to… but in the meantime here are 3 simple steps to take to regain control of your leadership:

1. Make a plan (I bet you saw that coming) – with realistic expectations and timelines. This is the map to success for any element in the business that you have currently been chasing, every time!
2. Effectively communicate the plan – get everyone on board with how things are going to work moving forward. If they are not on board find new people. If that means finding new clients who are willing to let you lead, so be it, if that means letting go of team members who do not want to be a part of the solution, let them go.
3. Protect the plan – Which means hold fast the route you are on and empower everyone else to do the same. I promise it might be a little like herding cats at first, but eventually everyone will understand the culture of the team is that of solid planning and executing that plan. They will learn to love you for it!!

Leadership Fail #3 – Not building a bridge between you and the client

Let me explain. I believe most of us would agree that our high-end, high-performing clients simply think differently than we do. They are always thinking grow, move, go forward, future, make more, do more, build more. We are often thinking, slow down, catch up, finish what we started, test it, prove it, perfect it… lol So you can see where these two mindsets can be a bit differing when we ultimately have to be working toward the same goal. So what are we to do to work together successfully.

We have to look at how we build a bridge. Many OBM’s are trying to walk on water rather than building a bridge… The approach is, well if I run after them fast enough I will be able to catch up and stay caught up. But the reality is you will not. What you will do and what many of us do (and I am included in this) is we hit burn out, we feel like a failure, we never feel like we are producing at the level we could be and it’s discouraging. The reality is, this is no way to live your life or effectively run your business. So a bridge must be built.

This bridge is based on these 3 points of success:

1. Vision
2. Priorities
3. Results

If you can clearly define on both sides these 3 things with every initiative you are working on you will build a solid bridge between you and your client.

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Move On

by Tiffany on March 2, 2016

in General Biz

There is nothing worse then the feeling of being stuck. I know I have been there, several times throughout my business journey.

  • Stuck -> working with clients I didn’t truly believe where a good fit for me
  • Stuck -> doing work I didn’t love doing
  • Stuck -> in obligations (thanks Tina, for helping me see this recently)
  • Stuck -> not knowing the next steps (this one is HUGE where business is concerned… want to get unstuck just not sure how)

The truth is being stuck sucks!

Let me ask, would you rehire the clients you currently have? Or if you could get away from them and know you could replace the income you would in a minute?

What about your team? Would you rehire them or if you could let go of the emotional string, would you be ready to set them free and go forward with new team members?

See what happens when we get stuck is we begin to believe that there is no way out… but there is always a way out.

The question is are we strong enough to MOVE ON?

  • MOVE ON -> to new clients
  • MOVE ON -> to offering new services that we know we are better suited for.
  • MOVE ON -> from relationships we feel obligated to serve
  • MOVE ON -> strategically in taking your business to the next level

These are the hard decisions in business, and these are the decisions that keep us in a season that causes us so much frustration and anguish.

Often we will not allow ourselves to MOVE ON, simply because we don’t want to do these 3 things:

1) Experience Risk – what if it fails, what if I don’t replace the client, what if I waste my money, what if I don’t really like the next thing I offer…
2) Invest the Money – John C Maxwell has a saying: “If you won’t bet on yourself, why would I want to bet on you?” When we do not see our own value in a way that promotes investing in ourselves we will never MOVE ON…
3) Commit the Time – honestly, time for me is more precious than money at this point, so to MOVE ON means we have to make the time commitment needed to transition through the season to the next.

WHAT IF WE DID? What if we did these 3 things… what if we did MOVE ON?

Just think about that because where you are now is not where you have to remain! It’s 100% YOUR CHOICE and you get to determine if you are going to stay in the dead of Winter or if you are going to experience the new life of the Spring!!

If you choose to MOVE ON… look at where you can purposefully engage these 3 decisions.

If you know moving on for you is working with High-End Clients, truly partnering with business owners to be an advocate for their business and creating a sustaining revenue for yourself… check out this recent webinar Tina hosted: Working With High-End Clients (it’s AWESOME!)

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Create Space for Grace

by Tiffany on February 17, 2016

in For OBMs,For VAs,General Biz

Shocked woman looking at computerNothing is more destructive to the production of my day then to find out that I or one of my team members has made a mistake that will effect a client. Seriously, I get physically ill with this when it happens. And the reality is, it does happen. No matter how hard I try to safe guard it from happening with processes, planning and communication… it still happens from time to time.

It’s easy when it’s someone else, to point a finger, blame the team or even react negatively. Especially if I know it’s going to look bad on me. BUT as a leader the truth is the buck stops here.

It’s my name. Period.

So how do I handle this with my team? I am sure, like me, you have likely experienced clients who did not handle mistakes in a way that made you feel empowered to ensure they would not happen again, but instead blamed, out lashed and erupted with emotion and/or anger. Albeit this is often what we feel when someone makes a mistake that makes us look incompetent. I totally get the desire to respond this way AND I know it’s the worse possible option if you want to progress forward and create a safe environment for people to grow, learn and do better.

Fear / intimidation / threats and over all negativity actually intensifies the opportunity for errors.

Where as GRACE creates space for success.

There is no way, to work at the level we do, with multiple clients, ever moving variables around tasks and continually changing process without there being mistakes, oops, errors. We make them, our clients make them and our team will make them. How you handle them will actually determine the type of leader and business owner you are.

Can I just say: Handle them with Grace… because Grace is something we all need from time to time. Sometimes I choose to have Grace today, simply because I am aware I might need it tomorrow.

Grace says: yes there is an issue here, yes there is a solution, and yes we can address, resolve and move forward.

What Grace isn’t: it isn’t ignoring, becoming passive aggressive or minimizing the mistake.

When you create a space for Grace to be real in the businesses, teams and relationships you are in, what you are doing is recognizing that no one is perfect. That perfection is not attainable but process is.

Mistakes are shining a light on 3 things:

1. A broken process
2. Ineffective communication
3. Team working out of their strengths

I tend to address them in that order as well… if the process is correct and the communication was effective then I look at the person, their strengths and aptitude toward the execution of their role. When mistakes happen on my watch it is as much my fault as it is the person who executed the mistake. Therefor, I want to correct the root of the issue not slap a bandaid on the symptom of the pain. This will be done by remembering that Grace is needed for us all to grow, learn and move forward after a mistake has happened.

So I encourage you to create space for Grace in your environment, even if its just for yourself.

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Are You an Online Business Manager?

by Tina on February 10, 2016

in For OBMs,For VAs

After 6 years and hundreds of conversation with virtual support professionals about the opportunity to become an OBM, I can confidently say I know a thing or two about ‘who’ the OBM is. I say ‘WHO’ because in all actuality being an Online Business Manager is much more about how you identify yourself and your services rather than what you ‘doing’ when you provide them.

I can be sending a broadcast (doing) but it doesn’t make me any less of an OBM (being) because the reality is when I send that broadcast I am not simply copy /pasting someones content into an editor and sending it out the door. I am thinking about, testing, experimenting with and considering all the aspects of that broadcast. Is it informational or promotional, are their links that need to tracked, is there a specific outcome we need from the result of this email to ensure the next step of the funnel is being executed. I am often thinking of that single broadcast the same way the client who owns the business would. Sometimes even more so based on my experience and expertise.

See often we think of the OBM in a way that is only categorized as the doing:

  • Project Management
  • Team Management
  • Operations Management
  • Metrics Management

Certainly these are key elements in the role of the OBM BUT the reality is there are a lot of VA’s ‘doing’ these same tasks. After all, depending on what the client needs, we tend to just jump in and do it regardless of our title (and often our pay.) Sometimes the same goes with the OBM role… there may be a tech or customer issue we have to hop in and cover or take care of, which in and of itself might look like a VA task but the reality is the ‘doing’ simply doesn’t define what it is to be the Online Business Manager.

So what defines it and Are You an Online Business Manager?

There are 5 Key areas that I feel (and have seen as the DNA of those who ARE OBM’s):

1. Ownership – this is a biggy, because it really can’t be taught it is simply a way of being. Do you take ownership of the results you are creating in partnership with your client. I don’t say this in a way to scare you the result of their success is not on your shoulder but the result of the email that just got sent might be. Is it your responsibility to ensure the editing is correct, links work, the copy fits the desired result? Do you feel responsible to ensure all the pieces are set up correctly to support the over all strategy behind that email or are you simply content to copy/paste what the client sends over, do a quick one over, test the links and send it without another thought?

If it is the first: you see the big vision and you are always looking to fit whatever task is in front of you in with the bigger picture strategy you likely are an Online Business Manager
If it is the second: you want to accomplish the current task in front of you with excellence and with as few mistakes a possible and move on to the next task you are likely a Virtual Assistant (and trust me WE LOVE YOU and all that YOU DO!)

2. Strategy – This is an area that I find most of our OBM’s tend to get the most frustrated if they are not allowed to play all out in. When you are working with a client and see a lack of a plan or strategy in place does this frustrate you? Are you always trying to get your client to plan ahead, look at the over all strategy and hold to a specific course of action. (Let’s be honest with many of our clients this is a much needed ‘learned’ navigation in and of it’s self.) But if you find yourself attempting to do this on a regular basis with your clients there is a good chance you are an Online Business Manager (in who you are being!)

3. Vision – It’s important to you, not that you need to create it but you need to see where everything is going. The big picture, you want to plug into it and make sure it is being pursued. This is a great motivator for you. Ensuring the business is working toward a vision, that the client has a vision that you can understand the vision (either the big one for the whole business or the smaller one for this initiative.) The vision, or big picture means something to you. When it’s not their you are very aware of it’s absence, when it is there you are very aware of it’s pull.

4. Project Management – if it is simply ‘the way you do things’ to breakdown all the big pieces into bite size pieces so they can easily be managed and executed, you are likely an Online Business Manager. In case no one has ever told you this, that is a strength and a gift and not everyone has it. Sometimes we can get caught in the “well this is so obvious, can’t everyone see it” after years of working online and being a PM myself I can assure that NO not every one can see what is blatantly obvious to you in the progression of workflow to see an initiative accomplished. This is by far a DNA aspect of Online Business Managers. Yes project management can be taught but it is also a natural skill some have. If that is you, there is a good chance you are an OBM :)

5. Business – truly my favorite aspect of being an OBM is I get to make a difference in the business everyday. I love business, the understanding of the development, growth, sustainability, operations, marketing, sales, etc… everything that is business is intriguing to me… and not just to me, but also to many in our community. Often my motivation is more to serve the business properly rather than just serving the client. There is a huge distinction between these two things. As an OBM we are advocates for the business. It’s health and development. As much as we would like to think our clients are too, often they are not. They are chasing one month of cash flow to the next and whatever it takes to make that happen and the health and development of the business is not always at the top of the initiative for them.

So let me ask: Are You an Online Business Manager? If you are passionate about at least 3 of the 5 above there is a good chance you are. If that is the case then the next question is are you being paid for ‘who’ you are being in your clients business. Because the result you are bringing them could be well above the ‘traditional’ result of a virtual support professional.

I would love to connect and see if I can help you determine the difference and your next steps. So be sure to check out the Online Business Manager Certification Training here: http://www.CertifiedOBM.com and follow through to have a conversation with me.

I look forward to connecting.

(PS: you don’t have to be executing all these areas to be an OBM, it’s really about are they are on your mind? Would you like to learn more about how to execute them more successfully and be valued for doing so)

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5 C’s of Customer Service

January 27, 2016

Regardless of your role in an online business, customer service is the first step to making a good and lasting impression. Lets be honest, bad customer service annoys us all! There is nothing more annoying then going to a restaurant or a department store and dealing with someone who is poorly trained in customer service. […]

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I AM SYSTEMATIC

November 18, 2015

Yes, yes, yes!  The good ole methodical system…this is key folks!  The key to EVERYTHING online business success: Systems I get that it’s not always that sexy to talk about processes, automation and systems.  But sexy or not it is the foundation of what any predictable success must be built on.  So as an OBM […]

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I AM CREATIVE

November 16, 2015

If I am being completely honest our team would not consider me the most creative person.  When a ‘creative’ needs to be produced someone else on the team is doing it.  Specifically as it pertains to graphics. My creativity doesn’t flow through pictures or vision.  Even to the point that my husband does most of […]

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I AM INSPECTING

November 13, 2015

One of my husband’s favorite quotes is: You get what you inspect not what you expect! As a leader there is really not a truer statement.. but as an OBM we have to be purposeful to ensure we are inspecting our teams execution and performance. Working with virtual professionals creates a different dynamic as it […]

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I AM CONFIDENT

November 12, 2015

Can I just start by saying confidence is not arrogance.  I feel like there is such a negative vibe around being confident.  When you think of confident people do you automatically think of the most arrogant person you know?  Confidence is not what you are doing (or saying) but who you are being. Let me […]

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