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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How to Get Online Business Manager Clients

by Tiffany on October 29, 2014

in For OBMs,For VAs

Untitled“How do I get Online Business Manager Clients?”

I have to admit this is likely the #1 question I hear, both from those who are Certified Online Business Managers as well as those who are learning more about the industry.  For this reason, Tina Forsyth created the Get Clients Mentorship Program, where we have walked dozens of OBMs through the process of landing their ideal OBM clients.  From this I have learned a few key ‘must do’s’ in being successful to get online business manager clients.

The Law of Momentum basically states (paraphrased) that it takes more effort or energy to get something started than it does to keep it going.  This is sooo true in business, specifically when it comes to landing that first client, or first ideal client.  So what is person to do?

I would like to answer that question and give you 5 Must Do’s to Get Online Business Manager Clients.  What I request is that you do not get mad at me about what I am about to say. ;-)

#1 Must Do to Get Online Business Manager Clients – Only DO What Results in Clients

Stop everything else you are currently doing OUTSIDE of getting clients!  Often I find the folks we have in our programs that do not get the success they desire are simply not taking the steps needed to be successful.  When I ask how many calls did you make, emails did you send, comments did you leave on blog posts, or social media attempts to connect did you make, they want to tell me how they were doing all this other stuff.  As a coach, I find this very frustrating, because it’s counterintuitive to what they really want.  So if you want to get clients you must first stop doing anything and everything that doesn’t result in a CLIENT!

A few of these distractors could be:

  • working on your website (endlessly trying to get it perfect).
  • ‘following’ folks on social media but never really making contact.
  • researching everything (you know who you are).
  • everything else in life but your business (you too know who you are).
  • working endlessly for clients you don’t really want to work with, but letting that be the excuse to not getting the clients you do!

Get these distractions out of your daily habits.  Again, if the end result isn’t NEW CLIENT, quit doing it on a daily basis.  Set time up in your calendar to be purposeful to connect with potential clients, to make calls, to send out emails… whatever it takes to get you on the phone telling someone how you can support their success.

#2 Must Do to Get Online Business Manager Clients – Know Your Ideal Client

Get 100% clear on who you want to work with and how you want to serve them.  A biggie, because, if you are not clear on your languaging about how you want to work with clients, then essentially you will find yourself stumbling through the sales conversation without any real direction.  You need to know exactly what that client will get by working with you.  Exactly what problem you are meant to serve and who needs that service.  You should be an expert of YOU at the very least to ensure you can connect your greatest assets to the clients who need you most.

Don’t get me wrong, there is a season to say YES to everything that can happen at the start of any business, when any work is better than no work.  Any experience is better than no experience.   But you always want to know exactly who is going to be the best fit for your services.  You want to ensure that you can always connect with that person first, either through their writing, your qualifying process or the first few minutes of a call.

If it is an ideal client, but for whatever reason they don’t (or you don’t) feel that your current services meet their need, I encourage you to sell them something… anything!  Here is why I say that… because if they are truly ideal for you, then even if neither of you are explaining your problem/solution very well, you will find it together and you’ll eventually be able to serve them at the highest level.

This is so important as an Online Business Manager.  Say ideal client doesn’t exactly need an OBM at the moment that you speak or their business doesn’t have the revenue to support your retainer.  You can still sell them a service, sell a 90-day package of setting up systems for them, sell a launch management package for their next launch… there is always something to be sold.  But if you don’t know that’s your ideal client, because you haven’t figured out who your ideal is yet, then there is a good chance the opportunity is going to pass you right by.

#3 Must Do to Get Online Business Manager Clients – Go Where Your Clients Are

On some occasions your clients will find you.  This often will happen once you have already established a bit of momentum.  (Again, the Law of Momentum states that it’s easier to keep it going than to start it.)  What happens is you will get that first client.  Then they do a referral and now you have two clients. Or you are now more familiar with the problem of that ideal market and you begin to speak to them differently resulting in more conversations.  But what do you need to do BEFORE that happens?  Go Where Your Clients Are!

If this means getting out to events, then go.  If you need to join a program where your clients are, then do it.  I am amazed at how many virtual support professionals are surprised that they may have to invest in their own business, in creating a prospective client list or in traveling to where potential clients might be.  It is necessary for you to be strategic to get in front of ideal clients.  The good news is that you generally only need to get in front of a few, as most of us are not building businesses on volume but instead on 1:1 services.  This means you won’t have to invest long.  But to get started you may need to.

When we go to events, if there is an implementation company booth set up as a sponsor, that booth will be one of the busiest booths EVERY TIME!  Why?  Because at least 70% of folks at live events need a team, or they need a better team.  They are in the decision making mindset to go forward in their business, and this is a great opportunity to get a commitment on a contract.

Ideal clients are not likely to land in your lap every time.   They will sometimes though, so enjoy that when it comes your way.

#4 Must Do to Get Online Business Manager Clients – Look Professional

Clients do the first thing we do.  They go to your website, your facebook page, your twitter page, your linked in, etc.  They want to KNOW who you are, often before they even talk to you seriously about the position.  If your facebook page is riddled with ‘woe is me, he did me wrong’ or cute little kitties, you are not exactly ‘looking professional’.  If your twitter posts are all your favorite TV shows being commented on (and you might be surprised to find out how many people use twitter to connect with others over their favorite shows… strangely a lot) you are not coming across as a professional, internet-savvy, support person.  As much as we would like to think living transparently online is completely acceptable, it may be the exact reason you can’t get that ideal client to return your email or phone call.

You have to look professional.  Don’t have a blog on healthy food and then try and offer folks virtual support services.  Clients won’t understand what you expect from them or what you can really offer them.  If you have different companies or interests, great… brand each one differently and know where each has its place in your ‘professional profiles’.  If you look like you are ‘too busy’ for one more thing on your plate, then that is exactly what your potential client will think.  So read through your posts, check out your profiles, be strategic in how you represent yourself online and always ‘look professional!’

#5 Must Do to Get Online Business Manager Clients – Pick Up the Phone and Make the Call

Seriously, if you don’t ask you will never receive.  The folks who rock out our Get Clients Mentorship and ALWAYS end up with clients are the ones who take every opportunity they can find to simply ask to work with the client.  Really all of your to-do’s simply come down to this one… ASK for the SELL!  But you can’t ask if you are not connecting with folks, if you are not making the opportunity happen, if you don’t make the call.

Earlier this month I challenged all of our Certified OBMs to make 30 calls this month to increase revenue.  What I am most surprised by are how many folks didn’t bother to take the challenge.  Not only did they not want to make the 30 calls, but they essentially didn’t want to WIN the challenge.  Now I don’t know about you but if you give me a challenge, I want to WIN it!  Regardless of beating anyone else, let me beat my own belief system.  But many of our Certified OBMs didn’t see the value in this challenge and simply didn’t participate.  I would love to say that I truly believed it was because they simply didn’t need clients.  But I know that is not the case.  They simply didn’t want to pick up the phone and make the calls.

You know what, though.. next month they will have that same story they had this month, of not growing their business, not getting clients and not making money.  But I assure you those who took the challenge will have an entirely different problem in November:  What do I do with these clients now that I have them?  ;-)

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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).

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Why Everyone Needs a Mentor in Their Lives

October 15, 2014

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. Bookmark on Delicious Digg this post […]

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If You Call Yourself an OBM…

October 1, 2014

Is 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 […]

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Keywords Are … Well, Key!

September 19, 2014

Keywords, 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 […]

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Our Top 3 Social Media Successes

September 17, 2014

Social 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 […]

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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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