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

by Tina on January 7, 2015

in For OBMs

outsourceAs 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 curve with full gusto.  Creating an almost impossible pace in which to sustain a healthy work/life balance.  I was up early and to bed late.  After all, I had to get the work done AND I was kinda in the learn as you go, so there wasn’t much room for down time.  Unfortunately, once I passed the learning curve and begin to move into a bit of mastery, completed the Online Business Manager Certification Training and began working as an OBM I kept that same pace.  Somehow I had convinced myself that working 12 – 14 hours a day was the only way I would be able to keep up with everything.  That was a lie!  But there did come a point when I needed help, I would love to tell you that I jumped right out there and grabbed it when I needed it, but that is not the truth.  The truth is I hit burnout… big time.  It almost cost me my business as well as my relationship with all of YOU! I almost quit… so my words of wisdom from this experience is simply:  Avoid Burnout and Hire Early!!

I know what you are thinking… “I can’t afford to hire anyone”,  “I don’t want to be responsible for someone else’s work”,  “I don’t have time to train anyone I can barely run and pee now”, “I don’t know anyone to hire”…

Okay so you may not be thinking that, but those are the thoughts I was having when I hit burnout and realized my only hope was to hire someone.

Hey Tiffany “Avoid burnout and hire early!” If only someone had told me that I could, that I should, that it was the best next step… maybe they did and I just didn’t listen (that is always possible.. I am a bit headstrong), had I done so though it would have saved me so much time, money and precious hours of sleep!

I know that the prospect of hiring your own assistant can be a bit scary, even seem impossible.  But if you want to truly serve your clients at the highest level and continue to generate a revenue that supports your personal goals, you may need to hire someone to help implement the tasks that you have out grown or that can easily be processed and accomplished by a new person.  For me these where all of the recurring tasks that my clients needed each week.  Tasks that truly took no thought and just simply needed to be done the same way every week ie:  sending reminders for programs or posting recordings.

You would be amazed at what 10 hrs a month of recurring tasks off your plate could create for you… sanity and/or sleep, time with your family, a new client, higher quality work in other areas, etc… Once these tasks come off your plate (and get out of your mind, so you don’t have to carry the burden of there execution) you are able to regain your focus.  Do the work that is truly needed by you and only you, create balance back in your life and allow yourself to enjoy the feeling of building your business while assist in building your clients.

When I hired my first person to work with me… truly I had hit that stage of burnout that you either fight or flee… and although everything in me wanted to flee, I chose to fight.  My first step was to get my own VA and train her.  How did I do this… well I looked around my life and I basically thought “who is in my life right now that

a) has a much higher potential then they are offering themselves?

b) that I want to spend a lot more time with than I do right now?

c) is super detailed and inquisitive (because I am so lacking in detail I knew I needed this person to be able to save my butt with details)?”

Lo and behold the person was right there already in my life.   Can I just say, hiring her was one of the very best decisions I made for my business.  She now has her own full practice VA business and is still to this day mine and now Tina’s right hand.

Sure it was a slow start… I think I only paid her like $200 a month when we got started as I didn’t have a lot to offer.. but those where the first 10 hours to my freedom!

So this is me saying :  HEY (INSERT YOUR NAME HERE) “avoid burnout and hire early!”

Need help with this?  Check out our Team Based Business Training here:
http://www.OBMAcademy.com/teambasedbiz

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You decide!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 get to DECIDE on the gift that your business is to your life!

You get to decide who you work with, ideal clients or just folks who can pay an invoice.  Businesses that you are strongly passionate about their messages or work that ultimately you love doing.  However, you want it you are Santa and YOU get to decide

You get to decide if you want to work a few hours a week or a full time position, if you want to work nights (because you are bit of a night owl and everything flows better after 9pm) or you want to work early mornings and enjoy the sunrises.  YOU are Santa and YOU get to decide.

You get to decide if you want to work from the couch in your PJ’s or a home office in sweats… if you want to work in an office building or at Starbucks or if you want to work at each of those places different days of the week (or each, everyday of the week) YOU are Santa and YOU get to decide.

You get to decide if you want to build websites, submit articles, manage launches or oversee projects, if you wan to spend 4 hours a day answering emails or making sales calls… the good news is YOU are Santa and YOU get to decide!

See when it comes to the GIFT of your business, you and only you get to chart the coarse and make the decisions.  Too many times I have conversations with virtual support professionals who simply are NOT enjoying the business they have created, it is not a gift to them but instead a burden they carry.  One of the first things they learn with working with us is ultimately it is your decision how you work, who you work with and the work you choose to do.  I wanted to give you permission today to make the decision to have the business you truly want to have.  To set the terms on your desires and too pursue the clients, hours, work you love and want to do.

So if Santa gets to choose the gifts to bring the boys and girls, then just know for your business YOU ARE SANTA and YOU GET TO DECIDE!  

So go.. make your decision and enjoy the benefits of this beautiful gift you have given yourself called:  Being an Online Business Manager, YOUR WAY on YOUR TERMS!

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Winning Attributes words on a billboard, sign or banner to illusRecently 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 be a common theme within our community of OBM’s.  I wanted to share just a few with you (don’t worry these are not even the same ones I used in the autoresponder series… so sign up and see the rest ;-)

You know you’re an online business manager when…

you are the go to person on your job, in your current group of friends or with your current client relationships.   I say this because I have discovered that online business managers (please don’t take this personally, as I am talking about myself as well) tend to often be the ‘know it all’s’ of a group.  Not in a negative kind of way but in a ‘in the know’ kinda way.  Folks trust you, confide in you, you are very responsible so others often rely on you.  You are at the very core a person of service to others and love to be needed or love to feel as though you are actually helping.  It is important to you to make a difference.

You know you’re an online business manager when…

“problems” excite you!   I know this sounds a bit odd, but the truth is most of the online business managers I know that truly love the work they do, THRIVE when they get to troubleshoot a problem.  Fix a process or mend a relationship.  We are the people that want to bring calm to the chaos.  We work best under pressure and love to save the day with our calm, collected, triage ability to simply fix it.  Doesn’t really matter what ‘it’ is either, we are the people to fix it.  A problem is simply an undiscovered solution, in which we are energized to find and reveal.

You know you’re an online business manager when…

you have a real passion for business.  I am not talking about your business, but business in general. You want to see how processes can be streamlined, how team members can be empowered, and how automation can be utilized to the fullest.  You have a desire to ensure productivity is functioning at its highest level and systems are being used correctly.  Business is a big puzzle in your head and pure joy comes from connecting the pieces and seeing how each element makes the success of the vision (puzzle.)  You would essentially do this even if you were not getting paid, especially if people would get out of your way and let you truly implement what you ‘see’ is needed to be successful.

Does this sound like you at all?  If so you might want to get more information about our Online Business Manager Certification Training.. you can get all the details and get started with your potential OBM business simply by signing up for the OBM Starter Kit!

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Purposefully Build Your Online BusinessI 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 to create it. During this conversation she mentioned a desire of one day taking her message globally.  Honestly, I think she was a bit embarrassed even saying it, the reality seemed so far away for her.     The actual reality, right now, is that she needs to get her website up and create a free offer.   Her business vision is so big, she feels very disconnected from it, and honestly I am not convinced she truly believes it is even possible (although her vision board in front of her stares her down daily with that vision).  Does she have a big vision, yes!  Is it doable, YES!  But not unless she purposefully builds an online business designed to meet the structure and success of the vision!

If you want to build a house, you wouldn’t show up on a raw piece of land with a hammer and nail and think “let’s get started.”  There is a process that must be followed in successfully constructing a home out of a raw piece of  land.  Long before the first 2×4 shows up, there is testing, prep and clearing of the land.  After the land is ready, then there is marking the site, pouring foundation, and a hundred other tasks. Every aspect of the land and house is being executed based on a blueprint!  The blueprint is the guide of the entire process from which trees need to be removed to the angle of the roof; every detail will be implemented according to the blueprint of the house.  Yet many times, we jump into business with a hope and a dream and then wonder why we are not ending up with the beautiful, spacious home we envisioned.  Purposefully build an online business by developing a success blueprint that will guide you through the various stages of business.  Otherwise your business VISION is really just a wish!

Every day we should get up and put something into place that is working toward purposefully building our online business.  Not simply moving from milestone to milestone (although the milestones do have to be met), but also putting solid structure around the desired outcome we hope for.  As this wonderful, brilliant business owner was discovering on our call, the need to get a website up and create a free offer were simply the next milestones to be met, and not the end-all in how her business would become successful.   Her business will be successful when she decides to purposefully build an online business, every day, in every decision and every task. The success of her vision will require her to create a process or documentation for how she gets results with clients.  This is a purposeful practice in the early stages of business to ensure you are working FROM the vision and not TO the vision.  When you purposefully build an online business, the vision will not be something you are running toward, it will be the very truth that is directing each step along the way.

Many online business owners, specifically in the information marketing world (coaches, authors, speakers, trainers, etc.), have built online businesses that solely rely on them to deliver, every single time.  Because this is the model the entire business and revenue is built on, it becomes very difficult to leverage or expand the brand when there are only so many hours in the day.  Do you want to have multiple offerings, take a vacation, or retire, you may want to consider building your business around the result your clients experience from a formula or method you’ve created.  When you need to hire a coach or trainer to support your clients, you will have a clear path for them to follow. This will ensure your clients get the same result, as though they were working with you. This is how you purposefully build an online business, laying out clear paths to multiply yourself when the time comes (long before you need that time to come).

This is true also if you are considering building a multi-VA team or any type of implementation expansion.  You are doing tasks every day that need a process, then you could easily hand the task over to a team member and essentially support the expansion of your business.  As OBMs, we have to function at the level of leadership that allows us to see around the corner many times.  If we are so focused on the right-now of a task, we will miss what is needed for the next step, hindering us from successfully supporting a business owner in their vision. To build something is to understand the varied layers needed to make that ‘something’ strong and sustainable.  The same with business. It’s important that the business is strong and sustainable through the strategic operations and processes we implement as online business managers. We are careful to not get sucked into the reactive nature of progression, but keep our eye on the vision to ensure WE purposefully build an online business for each or our clients and our ourselves. ;-)

If you are struggling with what this blueprint looks like for your business (or potentially, you have a client you know is really struggling with how to develop this blueprint for their business), Tina Forsyth (our beloved pioneer leader here at OnlineBusinessManager.com) has a new program she is launching that takes ALL THE GUESSING out of successfully building an online business, from vision, to team, to process, to revenue.  I encourage you to check it out here:

http://www.TinaForsyth.com/ceoschool

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