5 Reasons Why OBMs Get Fired

by Tiffany on October 22, 2014

in For OBMs

Donald Trump - You're FiredWhen I think of the partnership between the OBM and the business owner I think: marriage. Now maybe this is because I have been married for almost 20 years and it’s the only parallel I know in which to describe the partnership with the OBM and a business owner. So when I hear something has happened and they are no longer working together I think: hmm wonder why they broke up. ;-)

The truth is that a business “breakup” is just as unpleasant as a relationship break up. Especially if the two have been working together for a long period of time. Emotions are raw and feelings can often get hurt. It is no easy thing to endure one of these business breakups, and I would desire to protect every Online Business Manager in our community from ever having to experience one. But I know that simply is not possible, and quite frankly, although difficult, it can be the best think to have happen.

So let’s look at why these breakups happen anyway… why do clients fire OBMs? (And let me add… sometimes the OBM fires the client, but that’s a whole different article. ;-))

Reason #1 OBMs Get Fired…

…simply put, they were not the right fit for the position to begin with. Just as every business owner is unique in their skillset, strengths and experiences, so is every OBM. When a pairing happens that is not the right fit from the beginning, then very soon the relationship will dissolve.

This will happen when a business owner hires an OBM that is the exact strengths and skills as they are. When business owners think they need to multiply themselves, they are not always wise in discerning that actually what they need to cover are the areas where they are weak, not the areas where they are strong. Often the areas we are strong are the areas we are not going to easily delegate. They are the areas where we will be the most critical of others, and they are the areas of work that we enjoy doing. So when a business owner hires an OBM with the exact same strengths, it will not take long before the two of them are having to play tug of war with decisions and expectations. Not a good space to be in.

Being unequally yoked, if I may, also happens when there is an extreme difference between the OBM and the business owner. This happens when, let’s say, the business owner is a fly by the seat of their pants, shoot from the hip, everything last minute, needs no information to make a decision kinda of business manager and they partner with an OBM who is a precise, process driven, containing, detailed person. One extreme to the other will never bid well in this type of relationship.

So to ensure you are not on a path to breakup from the get-go, become very clear in how you function as an OBM, and then partner with a business owner who is 3-5 degrees different than you… not the same as you and not the opposite of you. (LOL this works well in marriage too.)

Reason #2 OBM’s Get Fired…

…because there is not a defined role description of what is expected of the OBM. Many times when we get started with clients, the ol’ “Hero Syndrome” kicks in right from the beginning, and the OBM will jump in to save the day in all aspects of what needs to get done. Put out all fires, fix all process and team issues, etc. Also, in those first few months, the OBM is in the learning curve place and often will be overly available to the client.

At this point it looks like ALL roads lead to the OBM… but the truth is that no one should carry that load at that level. So the OBM will either start dropping balls because of overload/overwhelm, or start backing away with boundaries to regain their sanity. Either way, now the lines of who is responsible for what are very blurred.

Without clearly defined expectations from the beginning, the business owner can “assume” expectations which may or may not actually meet the definition of what the OBM feels is their role. Or the OBM may assume expectations that the business owner isn’t looking for. Either way, this is often what I hear from both sides when a breakup comes. Either the OBM wasn’t meeting expectations, or they did early on in the relationship but then shifted. And when the shift happened, the business owner no long felt fully supported.

To keep the scope creep at bay and confidently execute what is expected, define your OBM role and duties from the get-go.

Reason #3 OBMs Get Fired…

…when the OBM is transitioning from the VA to the OBM there is a mindset shift that HAS to happen or else the breakup comes. This shift is moving from being that “support – how can I help you” mindset to the “leader – this is what needs to be done” mindset. This can be a tough transition. Especially since, as OBMs, we come from a very supportive motivation. Essentially we want to “help” our client be successful.

Even with this “help” mentality, we have to show up and execute as partners, decision makers and the person who has the clear plan for how to execute the desires of the business owner. If we are in the “wait and see what they need” state of mind, we will very quickly be seen as a VA and treated as such.

Truly, breaking the habit of being the “support” to being a true advocate for the business took a bit of time and some purposeful work on my behalf. If you find this to be a not-so-easy transition, just know it wasn’t for me either, or many others. Easy or not, it is desperately needed both for your own growth and for the growth of the business.

The way you can begin to break this habit is to start asking yourself: “how do I want this to go, be done, playout, etc.”? Have a vision for what you would like to see happen, then work with your client to merge your visions together to ensure all the bases are covered. Please note that when I say “vision,” I am not talking about the vision for your client’s business. That is theirs to come up with. I am talking about a clear plan of how you want to execute the desired result.

Reason #4 OBMs Get Fired…

…due to a lack of proactivity! The number 1 reason business owners start to reach out for an OBM is because they recognize they are the bottleneck to the business moving forward proactively. Even if they have no experience or understanding of how to grow the business in a proactive state, they do expect that the OBM will be able to.

Literally 8 out of 10 times I ask a business owner why they broke up with their OBM, I will hear:

“I had to chase them down to get things done. I expected they would be chasing me down, but instead, I had to chase them down; they were not proactive about anything.”

Ouch!! I can tell you this is a hot button for me because of both sides of the coin. From the OBM’s point of view, likely the hot mess they walked into and the lack of planning for the current everyday ins and outs of the business likely left them with little time to be proactive. And since I mentioned time, don’t get me started on the fact that many OBMs are still trying to work with clients on a very broken dollar-for-hour model in which you are literally paid to hit the hot spots and move on. So I get where the breakdown is with being able to successfully be proactive.

But on the side of the business owner, if the OBM is essentially an overpaid VA, I can see where their frustration might come from as well. Either way, this is a HOT Topic for clients and they are truly drawing a line in the sand around how well their OBMs can move the business to a proactive state (regardless of the business owner’s own bent toward all that is reactive).

Keep the 3 Ps of proactivity handy and always ask yourself: have we planned, processed, THEN performed this task?

Reason #5 OBMs Get Fired…

…the disappearing act… and truly, if you are one of those OBMs who takes the money and runs, you do not want to connect with me in a dark alley! This is the worst of the worst that gets done in our industry. Sadly enough, the fact that I even have to mention it makes me a little sick to my stomach. But the reality is, it does happen.

Rightfully enough, the client will fire the OBM! With any luck at all, they will fire the OBM, then come and tell us that was their experience, and we will do everything in our power to protect the industry from folks like them.

If you’re in over your head, said yes to a situation you don’t know how to get out of, or just overbooked yourself, please, please, please, give people their money back and let them move on to to someone who can truly support them the way that they need it. Because the OBM who does this may not know, and I personally feel likely doesn’t care, but this behavior hurts the whole industry with that lack of integrity toward the work we do!

Well there you go… this is why OBMs are getting fired – some you can fix, some you can’t! I encourage you to go out there and rock your expertise with the best of your ability. My guess is you will end up in a great business marriage one day (even if it’s not today, after all, we had to kiss a few frogs before we found Mr/Mrs Right).


Why Everyone Needs a Mentor in Their Lives

by Tina on October 15, 2014

in For OBMs

Are you interested in becoming a Certified OBM get full details here: http://www.CertifiedOBM.com

If you would like more information about our OBM Mentorship Programs (3 in total):

  • Get Clients
  • Leverage
  • Leadership

Simply post a comment below and our team will connect with you to get you all the details.


If You Call Yourself an OBM…

by Tiffany on October 1, 2014

in For OBMs

OBM LogoIs it okay if I just get real with you today? (If not, you may not want to continue reading this article. ;))

The online business manager industry is, for the most part, still in its infancy. Tina Forsyth founded and pioneered this industry with the book Becoming an Online Business Manager – Playing a Bigger Game with Your Clients (and Yourself)  in 2008 which was followed by the Online Business Manager Certification Training  in 2009. Although the industry was birthed and pioneered through Tina’s vision, we have always understood it would be bigger than us. ;-) (I say us, because, well… I was the first person ever to read the book, I have been working with Tina now almost since its conception, and I was in the very first OBM Certification Training.)

We have AMAZING Certified Online Business Managers™ we have trained and sent into the world. With them came all variations of “types” of OBMs. Which is an added bonus to the industry – that each us have our unique spin on how we serve our clients. Of course, just as with all industries, there are those who have not attended our training yet and offer OBM services.

With that in mind… I would like to clarify a bit the expectations of our industry, both on the client side and on the peer side, as to what it means if you decide to call yourself an Online Business Manager.

So if you call yourself an OBM…

Be an Advocate for the Business

What I mean by this is, as the OBM, your role is to be the person who understands and progresses the operational development of the business. It is your role to ensure the business is moving from a reactive state of operations to a proactive state of operations.

You are NOT simply the person who is getting things done based on the demands of the client or the urgencies of current projects. That is being a doer, not an OBM.

Your role is to ensure the business is being fully developed, which may or may not always be the client’s highest priority. Many times, our clients put the priority on the sales, revenue flow, etc. As OBMs, we need to keep those things in mind, but also be purposeful in getting all the foundational elements in place – processes, project management, team development, metrics analysis.

If you are not certain what it looks like to execute these four areas consistently and with strategic progression, you are not meeting the desired standard of supporting a client at the OBM level.

At the end of the day the OBM has to be about the business.

Granted, many clients may or may not see the value or understand the priority of leading a business from this perspective. Often, they just want to get done what is right in front of them to progress the cash flow. I get this. This is why we, as OBMs, have to be educators of the role, executers of processes that support growth, and drivers of automation to ensure both teams and systems can become streamlined in meeting the client’s priorities – which is generally, again, cash flow. ;-)

Be an advocate for the business.

If you call yourself an OBM…

BE Proactive!

Proactivity is a habit; it is purposeful, it is strategic, and it does not happen by accident! Most business owners hire an OBM because they have hope that they will be able to help them move their business from the chaos it is in to a proactive well running machine.

The #1 complaint we get from business owners is: “I thought the OBM would be proactive about what needs to get done in the business. Instead, I had to tell them every step, just as I did the VA.” Ouch!! If you don’t know what needs to get done to support a business owner at the OBM level, and you are always waiting on the client to “lead” you in how to support them… then please do not call yourself an Online Business Manager.

An OBM knows how to lead the business, the client, and the team. You understand the progression of work flow and what needs to be done next. You are purposeful in looking around the corner to see the next step to ensure no one is falling down, or getting tripped up, and above everything else you are ensuring none of this falls on your client’s plate!

Everything you do is for the purpose of putting proactivity into the operations of the business. I get that this is not an overnight possibility and that if you are new with a client you may be working out the kinks for getting this level of support created, but if you have been with the client for a while and everyone is still running around in chaos… this is not just the clients fault.

If you call yourself an OBM…

STOP being the VA!

This is, in my opinion, the #1 biggest OBM industry killer we are facing. Folks who call themselves Online Business Managers but are essentially VAs. When I say VA, I mean if you are the person DOING all of the day-in and day-out tasks for the operations of a business, you are a VA. Don’t get me wrong, there is NOTHING wrong with being a VA, and every business needs folks who will get the work done. (Not to mention that a good VA is worth their weight in gold, as they will always make the OBM and the client look GREAT!)

If you are trying to be a VA and an OBM… ie: doing all the VA tasks and therefore never really getting around to the higher level, proactive, strategic, managerial OBM tasks… then you are likely hurting your own ability to serve your client AND setting up a standard of what an OBM is that is simply not the role.

If a client hired you to be the Online Business Manager, it wasn’t because they wanted an assistant, they really wanted someone who would proactively be an advocate for their business.

When you are the VA, you can’t keep an eye on or give the attention needed to truly implement at the level of process or structure needed to truly serve at the OBM level. Therefore, you’re misrepresenting your role as an OBM.

Think about it this way: if you work at a manufacturing plant, the general manager can’t be on the line cutting, putting pieces together, operating the machines and STILL be leading, overseeing, developing the next production. One or the other will get done, but not both!

So if you want to be a VA… fantastic, the OBM community needs you, clients need you; you do a great and mighty service in this world!


If you call yourself an OBM… please, please, please actually be one!


Keywords Are … Well, Key!

by Tina on September 19, 2014

in General Biz,Marketing/Traffic

keywords-are-keyKeywords, the select words and phrases you focus on in your website name and copy, blog posts, and even social media, are a vital part of your brand’s online marketing strategy. Choosing the right keywords and developing a keyword strategy are among the first steps to building an online presence around your brand – it helps potential customers find you, know who you are and what you do.

Why Keywords Are Important

Content is king, but keywords are the crown jewels. When you choose a domain, develop website copy, and write blog posts, you’re not only telling the world who you are, but you’re also leaving breadcrumb trails for your potential customers to find you.

When search engines, such as Google or Bing, crawl through your website (as they do with every page, on every site, on all of the Internet), their bots will index your pages based on the terms and phrases in your copy. The headlines in blog posts, the alt tags on your photos, and the meta data on your site should all be written with your brand’s keywords in mind.

This isn’t to say that keywords are the only important part of your copy. Search engine rankings have developed algorithms to detect the difference between keyword repetition with poor quality content and keyword usage with well-informed copy. Your keywords should be backed up by your wealth of information and great product offerings in those areas.

Great keywords and well-written copy also give influencers in your industry a reason to link to your pages. If someone who ranks highly for particular keywords links to your blog post or website from their site, your ranking for those keywords will improve as well.

Social media messaging should also use your keywords. When your followers share or engage with your posts, your keywords show their friends and followers what your brand is all about.

How to Identify Your Keywords

Keywords are not just about SEO. They are at the heart of a company’s marketing campaign at its most granular level. ~ MICHAEL MOTHNER

One of the biggest mistakes that an entrepreneur or marketer can make is to develop keywords using the company’s internal terms. We each have a deep knowledge about our area of expertise and it’s easy to forget the types of words and phrases a layperson might use when searching online. Keywords help them to find you when they conduct a search.

You want to rank for the problem you solve, not just for the solution you offer. That’s why it’s vital to develop a marketing campaign with potential customers’ needs in mind.

So how do you find the words and phrases? A great place to start is with words from the customers’ mouths (or keyboards!). Go to Amazon or Yelp and read through the reviews for a book you wish you wrote or would give to a client as a gift. Look for the words and terms happy customers use in their reviews, the words that are emotional triggers will pop out, these are very likely your keywords. Try using them on social media, and see how customers and potential customers respond. If you have a book, product or business that is reviewed online, read through your reviews too.

Have a long list of potential keywords? The Google Keyword Tool is a great, free way to research searching patterns on Google and determine the best words to use in your content.

Once your keywords are in line, you’ll be amazed at how much easier it is to develop an online marketing strategy around your business.



Donna Cravotta is the CEO of Social Sage PR and the creator of the Total Social PR System™ and Publicity Prowess™. She helps entrepreneurs and small to mid-sized businesses maximize their online presence with a very different approach to social media and public relations. Her commitment is to ensure that her clients are empowered to amplify their unique voice and share their purpose, without overwhelming their schedules.

A natural connector of people and a relationship builder long before Facebook even existed, Donna has created a simple, yet strategic method to reveal hidden opportunities online that create authentic situations for her clients to grow their networks, gain loyal followers, connect with the media, and do it all with ease.

Donna knows a thing or two about creative (and cost-effective) social media and online strategy, the best part is… she teaches her clients how to build these strategies into their own businesses in an ongoing and sustainable way. Her techniques can be easily implemented in just a few minutes each day to create valuable business connections, resulting in lasting relationships that lead to mind-blowing opportunities and endless possibilities.

You can reach Donna at SocialSagePR.com.



successsignSocial Media is STILL one of the hottest topics amongst business owners today, regardless of the size of the business, regardless of the target market, whether they are online business only or brick and mortar or somewhere in between. Social Media Marketing is often the topic of discussion.

If I can be completely transparent with you, here at Online Business Manager.com (and all Tina Forsyth Companies) we have spent the past 2 years purposefully focusing on this area of the business. Sadly though, much of what we have done has resulted in very minimal return. This is by far one of the areas of the business that we can find ourselves on a bit of a hamster wheel… running, running, running, but never really getting anywhere.

However, through our efforts all was not lost! We learned some invaluable lessons along the way, and developed (finally) a clear path to social media success. Hopefully you will be able to take these suggestions and consider them for yourself or your clients to ensure you are actually getting a measurable result.

Social Media Success #1

Hire an Expert – we simply do not know what we do not know! There are tips, tricks, apps, software, etc. that make social media so much easier to manage. Often we lose time, money and prospects under the umbrella of “figuring it out” or “learning on the fly.”

When I say an expert, let me clarify: I am talking about someone who truly understands both the strategy and implementation. An expert knows how to read the metrics and bring an analysis of what is working, what is not, and how to fix it. This person should feel comfortable that you are hiring them with the expectation that they will produce a result, rather than be paid by the hour for implementing a task.

An expert will help you successfully create these 3 elements in social media initiatives (both for ongoing and launch purposes):

  1. education
  2. empowerment
  3. engagement

Once you have the strategy and know what the best practices are, then you’re ready to move forward in your social media efforts. These efforts are calculated and purposeful in execution.

Simply put, there comes a time when all of us will need to extend beyond our own expertise. When this happens, it is sooo important to bite the bullet and hire someone who can get you the result you desire.

Social Media Success #2

Consistency – stay in front of folks CONSTANTLY! I will admit, we totally dropped the ball on this one in a few places through the “bootstrapping, we will figure it out, can’t be that hard” approach to social media. Honestly, what seems like an absolute annoyance of communication, is without fail one of the most important elements to being successful in social media.

The key is to keep your BRAND in front of your market, not your offerings. Which means, we must be relevant on multiple layers of connection with what is going on in the lives of our prospective leads. Which has a whole lot more to do with them and a whole lot less to do with us. So it’s promoting, it’s engaging, it’s educating, it’s empowering… and it’s consistent.

For years, we as a brand have been purposeful to ensure our fan base knew what we were offering and when. We have always tried to be available for questions and such as they would surface and felt this was the “win” of social media. But the truth is, it wasn’t the win. If anything, it actually hurt us and our efforts. By not keeping the BRAND in front of folks on a consistent basis when we did share something, it resulted in almost no return. If you do not STAY relevant, you will very quickly become irrelevant.

Social Media Success #3

Keep It Real – at the end of the day people are people. People want real relationships, they want to connect with folks who are having real experiences in their businesses. One of the things that Tina Forsyth has always done brilliantly, and that I desire to excel in, is always being herself with the communication throughout the brand. We are simply real women, growing real businesses, with real successes and real failures just like everyone else.

As leaders in the industry, we desire, above all, to keep transparency at the core of how we serve. We are not perfect in our efforts (and trust me, social media has been far from a perfect journey for us), but we don’t quit, we don’t back down and we don’t let it beat us. With this attitude, we desire to keep it real with folks, and so far this has been one of the most successful elements of social media we have experienced!

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How to Craft the Perfect Social Media Post

September 12, 2014

You hear that an important rule of marketing is to “know your audience,” but what you don’t hear as often, is that it’s just as important to “know your platform.” Crafting the perfect social media post is about the means and the message. Each social media site has it’s own personality and language, you want […]

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How to Sell to a High End Client

September 10, 2014

On Thursday (tomorrow), 9/11 Tina Forsyth will be hosting a BRAND NEW free Webinar: 7 Keys to Working with High End Clients You can register for the webinar here: http://www.onlinebusinessmanager.com/highendclients You do not want to miss this webinar if you are interested in up leveling your clientele and really producing a top quality service that […]

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3 Habits to Adopt as an OBM

September 3, 2014

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit” – Aristotle As Online Business Managers it can be really easily to get stuck in a trap of what I like to call: Adrenaline Addiction. This is where we run from one fire, to the next fire, to the next […]

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Implementers Unite!

August 27, 2014

        Recently Tina Forsyth announced a brand new membership program: The Implementer’s Club. As we here at Team Forsyth have been working on the back end to lay out all the pieces of this very targeted empowerment community, I have realized a few things. Although they seem as though they should have […]

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Find Out What Folks Are Excited About with The Implementer’s Club

August 22, 2014

Recently Tina Forsyth launched a BRAND NEW membership program for ALL IMPLEMENTERS! Not just Online Business Managers, but anyone who works as a contractor / freelancer in the implementation role: VA, Graphic Design, Web Design, Copywriter, Social Media Specialist, etc… So if this is you… be sure to watch this video and find out what […]

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