Breaking Up Is Hard But Necessary

by Tina on August 3, 2016

in General Biz

Breaking-up is one of the hardest elements of being a business owner, especially when you are a service provider.

Breaking-up with your client

It might be that your clients needs are not exactly your strengths or the work you desire to do anymore. It might be that your workload has become so much that you have to prune away the non-ideal clients.  Often it boils down to the person you desire to be in the business and what you know would be best for the business is not a match to your clients work style or vision.

These are hard decisions. T stay and fight through, simply because you need the money or to release and believe another more ideal client will come.

I have listened to dozens of Online Business Managers battle this very quandary over the past 6 years.  When they share with me how they have over-communicated what they need to be successful, when they have pushed for automation to minimize mistakes, when they have had the boundary conversation time after time, but nothing really changes.  The client is set in their way, it is who they are, and even if they want to change, they simply are not doing it. 

So what to do? Continue in a relationship that causing you the highest level of stress, causing you to know longer enjoy your service… no I don’t think that is the right answer.

But here’s the thing… dump and running isn’t the right answer either.  This is what we hear from the other side, the business owners… so-in-so just disappeared.  Nothing is more frustrating than hearing that someone disappeared and left a client high and dry.  Regardless of if you like them, are mad at them, or if they just suck and it is truly all their fault… be of the integrity to ensure the business is not ‘robbed’ and their paying clients do not suffer because you decide to break-up.

In a marriage with a child, when the end comes it is vital that the child is of the highest importance through out the ending of that relationship… in this scenario the business is the child.

Here are a few tips for amicably breaking-up:

1.  Always take the it’s ‘me not you’ approach.

Here is why, you will not change that person on your way out the door.  Who they are is who they are, if it wasn’t a good fit for you so be it, that doesn’t necassarily mean they are wrong it just means it wasn’t a good fit for you.  A few starters for this conversation would be:  “I have learned the value of working with ideal clients, and you need XYZ in your services and those are really not my strengths and I don’t feel I am the best person to support you at this time.”  or “Based on the conversations we have had about the differences between us I feel the best thing for me to do is get out of the way so you can find and hire someone who will be a better match for you and your business needs” or “My business is going in a different direction and I am no longer offering XYZ services“.

The great thing is it is rare when working as a virtual support profession that we have the opportunity to make it solely about us… when you are breaking up that is a great time to just make it about what you need without the ‘throwing shade’ as my teen would call it, on how they did it wrong.

2.  Always process out what is needed for the business before you leave

Ensure the next person who comes into that business will have a better chance of success than you did.  We have a motto we leave a business better than we found it ALWAYS!  No exception… this is just good business, good character and good karma.   I am not talking about teaching folks how to work Infusionsoft or set up WP sites.. but if there are key processes for social media, program management, launch management that are recurring tasks you cover… then ensure the next person is set with covering those areas… again it’s about ensuring the business is still supported in the break up.

3.  Always offer 1 week to connect with the new person coming on

Offering a hand of support to the new person is just decent and for the love of all things holy… do not vomit all your issues with this client onto that new person… give them the chance to find out who the person is, The things that are an issue for you might not be an issue for them.  Either offer an hour to hop on the phone or be willing to give some email support if they need it.

In the heart of service you can leave a relationship with the same grace you started it.  I encourage you to do just that.. after all, you will simply feel better about you :)

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virtual assistant love client

When I talk with potential Online Business Managers, the first thing I want to know from them is “What services do you want to implement on a daily basis” ie: what will make you love your services and love your clients?

The answer to this question is imperative when you are building a service based business. Specifically if you are a virtual assistant or online business manager.  I personally am not a fan of the ‘maintenance’ mode of a business.  If day in and day out I had to spend all my time doing recurring tasks, copy / pasting replays, etc… I would likely loose my mind.  Simply put, these are not services I enjoy.  Are they needed in the business? Absolutely/ These tasks are vital to the health of any information marketing business model.  The goal for an OBM is almost always to find a way to wash, rinse, repeat. But if I have to ‘do the doing’ of it, forget it!

Knowing what I enjoy and how I am created to best perform in the business really helps me LOVE the services I provide. And it allows me to love working with my clients. The sense of satisfaction in my work is a key indicator of whether or not we can build a successful business in the virtual service business model (OBM’s, VA’s, bookkeepers, social media specialists, etc…)  No one wants to sell a service they do not enjoy performing.

I have experienced this time and time again within my own business.  Being willing to compromise the package to fit what a client desires. Knowing I do not want to perform that task.  What happens, three months later, I am figuring out how to know longer work with that client.  Creating a constant stream of chaos and break-up, which doesn’t serve my vision nor does it lend well to creating long term relationships with clients. I know I am not the only one who has had this experience :)

So what do we need to do to love our services and love our clients?

STEP 1:  We need to be very purposeful in understanding what we love.  (both in services and ideal clients)

If you are not clear on what services you truly love, how can you love your business?  Does this mean you ALWAYS get to ONLY do the things you love, unfortunately not.  But what if you get to spend 60% of your time doing the work your really love, then the other 40% isn’t that bad.  Think about parenting… I love my kids and love being a mom… but let’s be real, changing diapers, toddler fits, character building, disciplining, cost… these are not the things I really love.  Business is much like this.  If we can focus most of our time and attention on the things we do love, then the other tasks will not be huge deterrents to our success (or enjoyment).

Just as important is understanding what type of client you really enjoy working with.  It is very important to me that I work with high performing, fast moving and big vision clients.  If I am too far ahead of them in what I believe is possible, that is not enjoyable for me.  If they want to take it slow, test, process and develop every piece before moving forward, or have a real need for perfection over progress then they are not a fit for me.  I know this because every time I work with clients that fit the latter, I get annoyed.  This did take some time to learn and develop and understanding of as I worked with various types of business owners.

STEP 2:  Change your mind, decide today to love the work you do!

When I married my husband 20 years ago, I decided I was going to have the greatest love affair of my life.  It was a decision that has expanded many ups and downs through 20 year of marriage.   When I started my business I decided I was going to love the work I do.  Love the lessons, love the tasks, love the experience, love the journey… what does this mean.  It means:  I am NOT going to complain, whine, judge, fear, quit… no matter what the experience at the moment is.  Often we do not enjoy the work we do because we are so busy complaining instead of being in gratitude for the clients and revenue.  We whine to anyone who will listen to what our clients are doing that they shouldn’t or we think we are right and they are wrong and so we get stuck in that place of not loving what we are doing.  It’s a mindset, a decision to focus on what we love.

What you think about is exactly what you will create.  So if you are always thinking about what you don’t enjoy and how much you don’t like a client, or tasks… guess what, that is all you will experience.  Our experience always flows through our thought processes.  If you truly want to love what you do, simply decide to.

STEP 3:  Commit to doing what you love and loving what you do :)

Simply merge Step 1 and Step 2 and commit to it!  A commitment is going beyond simply making a decision but putting action steps to it.  What are the actions you are going to put to ensuring you are building your virtual service based business based on packages you love to do with clients you are excited to work with? Committing to focusing what you love and enjoy and not what you feel is lacking…  will ensure you love your service, love your clients!

 

 

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Is OBM a Specialized Niche?

by Tiffany on June 21, 2016

in For OBMs,Uncategorized

Niche as a Manager

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net”

One of the questions I often get when talking with folks is “OBM specialized enough or should you niche further”.  This is a great questions because I don’t think there is an easy yes or no.

Being an Online Business Manager is a presumed expert skillset a niche of it’s own.  So drilling down further isn’t really needed.  As not everyone can be an OBM or even really grasp the fullness of what the role in-tells (which is why we have the Certification Training.) The expertise of an online business manager is that of an operational manager, which includes, project management, team management, process management and metrics.  These are not area’s that are often represented efficiently  in an online business.  So being an OBM, in and of itself, is a specialty.

In the OBM community we talk a lot about understanding your strengths and really showcasing where you shine.  If your experience is in marketing and your strengths are in communication you may highlight that you are an Online Business Manager specializing in Marketing.  You are still responsible for operations but you have an added skill to bring to the table.  In the same way, every OBM still has to do marketing so it’s not as though those who don’t see this as a specialty are abdicated of this responsibility.  It just means you have additional skill or  talent in that area.  Same with being a team leader, it might be that you are really skilled with PM and team development and as an OBM that is where you want your expertise to shine.  Great!  Then showcase that in your marketing but again if you are the OBM the whole picture is the expectation.

If you are trying to figure out how to best define your area to shine.  Which by the way is a great way to stand out from the crowd and get noticed.  I would encourage you to do these 3 things:

  1.  Take the StrengthsFinder Assessment – this is a great tool for helping you determine where you are strong and how to best create services around your strengths.
  2. Look at your past work experience.  Where have you really shined and what did you truly love doing? It is often funny to me when folks go online all of a sudden they no longer see value in the work they have done the past 20 years.  It still has great value and those experiences are something to highlight and build on!
  3. What are your competitors offering.  Take a look around the web and get a really good idea of what others who are serving your same market are offering and packaging their services.  This is important in being relevant when you both market and speak with potential clients.

 

 

 

 

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As I was thinking about my to do list today I was really moved by how much I love what I do. Granted I am not the typical OBM as I do as much sales, coaching and technical implementation as I do operations at this point in my business journey. BUT even still I know at the core, everything I do is about BEING the OBM. Even if some of the tasks look like the VA or look like the Coach :)

So I wanted to share what I love about being an Online Business Manager:

1. I LOVE to help small business owners get the structure and automation in their businesses that allow them to focus on what they love and serve the community they are called to serve. There is a sense of knowing that I am making a difference in someones life everyday that means something very deep and personal for me. It’s more than just simply getting things done, or fulfilling a role, its the opportunity to make a difference. Sure that person receiving the email doesn’t ‘know’ that I sent it or that I am the one who set up the optin page to ensure they could get the information they need to change their life. But I do.. I know the life changing information they are receiving is coming to them because I was here doing my part. I love it :)

2. I LOVE the experiences working with high performing, brilliant and powerful business owners has provided me. On a personal note I have grown into an entirely different person having these influences in my life. I have grown up, I have grown confident and I have grown in wisdom. I have grown my income, my expectations and my resources to live in abundance. The experiences I have had to travel all over the US/Canada to attend and speak at events, these are life long memories that where both a blast and part of what molded me into who I am today.

3. I LOVE that I get to serve a community everyday that I am passionate about. A community I believe in, with people I am in awe of, everyday. Online business managers and the implementation community are brilliant… they are smart, dedicated and hard working. The character and integrity of those in our community is by far the highest of any community I have connected with yet online. At the core this industry is made up of people who have a true desire to serve. This is a beautiful and privileged journey I get to walk out with so many who entrust their future and their education to us. I do not take it lightly or take it for granted. Instead I stand in awe of the fact that I get to play a part in the lives of so many that I admire everyday.

4. I LOVE that I can do what I want :) This is a great feeling, the ability to simply do what I want. If I want to take the day off… I can (although i don’t because it’s not really who I am, I like to work.) If I want to take a trip, I can. If I want to make more money, I can. If I want to work less hours, I can. If I want to only work with businesses I am hugely passionate about, I can. If I want to quit working with a client that doesn’t fit my ideal, I can. I simply can do whatever I want. This is a powerful understanding if you grab hold of it. How many people can simply say… they can do what they want. But because of the business I have and the way I have it set up. I simply can… and most the time I do :)

5. I LOVE working with my teams. I love empowering people to step into the best version of themselves. I love the opportunity to know that I am making a difference in their lives. That they will be satisfied and feel fulfilled by working with our teams. I love to see the potential in someone and figure out what makes them tick so that I can help bring that potential to the top of their lives. I love to see them believe it for themselves.

6. I LOVE a well thought out launch that gets results! OH SERIOUSLY!! I LOVE THIS… to see all the automation, branding, copy and hard work morph into a true value service to those who need it… I LOVE THIS! It’s powerful, it changes lives, it creates abundance for everyone, it is a beautiful thing :)

7. I LOVE that my clients know they can count on me. That myself or my team is here for them. That they are not alone in this very big and sometimes scary vision they see for themselves.

I am going to stop at the number 7 because that is the number of completion. And because I know the work I do is part of what completes me as a person…

Would love to hear why you love doing what you do.. feel free to share :)

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You ARE what you THINK

by Tiffany on May 18, 2016

in For OBMs

The old saying: you are what you eat… might be true. But the reality I live in is you ARE what you THINK.

So let me ask, do you think:

Your not making enough money?
Your working too many hours?
Boundaries are always an issue?
You don’t have enough clients?
You no longer enjoy the work you are doing?
You have too many projects, not enough help?
Your clients don’t respect you?

I dare say if you are a virtual support professional you have thought at least one of these things! We can easily get sucked into the hole of how the answers to these questions make us feel. It might be that you feel as though you are failing or completely overwhelmed, maybe you feel your clients are inconsiderate or that you are hitting burn out. What we think determines how we feel. Which can then lead to a domino effect of discouragement, frustration, hopelessness… all of which can destroy your ability to create the business and life you desire. And it all starts with a single thought.

The question I most get asked when I am talking to potential Online Business Managers is:

“How quickly can I get clients and make money after the training?”

To which my answer is always: “Well that depends on you and your ability to market and sell yourself.”

Many of our trainees come out of their Certification training and start working with clients right away. These same folks will easily grow their business and push through their entrepreneur journey until they finally land on exactly what they want. They have a ‘no stopping me’ attitude and they approach everything about their business that way.

Then there are others that really struggle landing that first client…. or maintaining long term relationships with clients.

The difference? What they think… about themselves, their business and their clients.

We ARE what we THINK!

Consider this:

Two people can take the exact same effort and end up with two totally different results. I have seen it happen time and time again… follow up with the same rfp’s do the same social media, update their web pages, concrete their communication, yet one will end up the business they desire and the other wont… why is this?

In my experience it has everything to do with what they are thinking about each of those efforts. One is celebrating every effort as a success, the other is loathing every effort as though it’s chipping at an oversized bolder in their way. One is positive in their ability to be successful, where the other is certain the hammer is going to drop at any time.

EVERYTIME, I see someone in our community totally rocking their business and I chat with them, they have one common thread: how they think about themselves, their business and their clients.

If you know you need to shift your thought process and your mindset.. join us on TOMORROW for the Mindset Retreat. I am going to share practical tips and habits on how to shift your thinking to align your thinking with building the business you truly desire.

http://www.CertifiedOBM.com/mindsetretreat

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Boundaries are not the REAL issue!

May 11, 2016

When you are starting your Virtual Support business there is nothing more exciting then getting new clients. I love it… even now 8 years later I still love closing a new client. Sure I love the money but I love the newness of the relationship, a bit like the honeymoon stage… Unfortunately, it has not […]

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Girls Just Want to Have Fun (guys too :)

March 23, 2016

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, […]

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Top 3 Leadership Fails Online Business Managers Are Making

March 9, 2016

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 […]

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Move On

March 2, 2016

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 […]

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Create Space for Grace

February 17, 2016

Nothing 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 […]

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