As a mom I am forever telling my kids to clean their room… it seems that they have a hard time adapting to the fact that as they have become older the responsibility of keeping their living space clean is their’s and not mine. If you are a parent you know what I am talking about. My frustration in this isn’t so much that I have to tell them every day, or stay on top of them about it, it is more that they can’t seem to ‘get’ the fact that it’s their room, they should take ownership of it.
So in my ever analytically thinking mind, I started to look at it from their perspective:
I own the house (they don’t), I determine decor, for the most part (they don’t), I have veto or restriction rights (they don’t)…
hmmm.. but yet I want them to make the decision to be the ‘owner’ of the space when they so very obviously don’t own it… this has been the dilemma of teaching my kids to keep their rooms clean.
So as a Trainer and Mentor to Online Business Managers I have come to realize this same dilemma is plaguing the business community…
When I talk to business owners who are DESPERATE to work with people who can fully support them in the development and operations of their business, there is a recurring theme in those conversations: team members taking ownership of their role.
If you are a graphic designer… you role is easy to take ownership… need graphic, provide graphic. Easy… still your house, you own it. When it comes to web design same thing… but when it comes to the processes of managing a business, each business being unique to the structure of it’s needs, each client being unique to the ‘way’ they want their business to run… you are now taking your expertise and living in someone else’s house.
So how do you take ownership of something that is essentially NOT YOURS?
I know this is the question, I know business owners are asking this question, because they are in such great need to find someone who will step in and manage, run, love, care, about their business to the same extent that they do. And I know there are amazingly professional and dedicated virtual support professionals who want to support these owners, but unfortunately they find themselves in the same place as my kids trying to take ownership of something they do not officially ‘own’.
I don’t want to toot my own horn but.. I will.. this is a skill I have mastered. Why: because it’s the only way to be the best Online Business Owner I can be.
Here’s how I do it:
1. Engage Your Passion
You will never be able to take ownership of something you do not care about. You need to really be passionate about the work you do, who you are doing it for, and how it is received. This needs to be on a greater scale than on a personal level of “I love setting up structure, organizing or managing the process of business,” it needs to be something more along the lines of “I love setting up structure for the businesses I support because I believe that my clients message of X deserves the highest level of support”.
You need to be invested in the product… you don’t need to be an expert in the product just invested in it, i.e. if you work for a business that sells high-end carbonate customized bicycle parts to cycle enthusiast, you need to “care about cycling on some level.”
Why do you need to engage your passion? Because the owner is passionate about the product or service they are providing and the only way for you to step into the ownership of your role is to be passionate about the outcome it effects on those it serves.
2. Treat It As Though It’s Your Own
Grab all your ‘stuff’ and move in! Seriously this is soooo important when it comes to taking ownership of your role as an Online Business Manager. If you have processes, systems you love, formats, formulas, templates of how you manage a business – implement it, get it plugged into the business. The more of your management style you can assert, the more invaluable you will become to the business owner, and the more you will feel a part of owning the success of the business.
Every business lives and falls on its ability to deliver on product. The product is really up to the business owner… however it doesn’t really matter how fabulous the product is if the delivery (process of operations) is less than superior. If a book is delivered and the pages are printed upside down… really doesn’t matter how good the book is, what folks will remember and take away from it was that it was printed upside down. The ability to deliver sets the standard for how the product will be received. This is your role: get it right and implement your way of ‘getting it done.’
3. Take Accountability
Going back to my kids cleaning their room… the one area yet to be instilled in them is that they are accountable for that space. If it’s clean, straight, organized, destroyed, messy or somewhere in between… it is a reflection of them. They are accountable for that space, whether they want to be or not.
You MUST see yourself as the accountable person for the operations of a business to truly take ownership of your role as an Online Business Manager. No more pointing fingers, no more excuses, no more indecision… if you want to play at this level with your clients, you need to take accountability… when it’s running beautifully smooth… you are accountable, if it’s falling apart at the seems you are still accountable. Accountability is the anchor to all leadership and management.
Online Business Manager = Ownership. It really is that simple..
My question to you is where are you taking ownership in your OBM role and where do you still need to take ownership.
There came a point in my business.. where I simply new it was time for a change. As I talk with prospective Online Business Managers there is a recurring theme I hear about WHY they are ready to make a change in their business. In this video I talk about these themes and what can be done about making that change.
Also I wanted to invite you to a call with
Tina Forsyth and I on Thursday 8/16 :
The Bare Naked Truth of What it Looks
Like Behind the Scenes at Team OBM
So here’s the thing – this fall is going to be rockin busy as it always is in our industry. I wanted to share a few of my tips for finishing off the summer strong while getting ready for ‘go time’ this fall.
1. Closeout any lingering projects
As OBMs there are the things that absolutely must get done, there are things that should get done and then there things that ’I would love to have done’. See if by the end of the summer you can knock out all of those projects. Often we get so caught up in the absolutely must get done things that we leave the other projects hanging. Or we don’t get to the things that might help the flow, create better communication behind the scenes, set the business up to be more easily managed.
Here are just a few projects we completed through the ‘lazy days of summer’ here at Online Business Manager.com.
- Converted our Certified OBM Training Program from a live 5 day event to a 90 day automated digital access program.
- Cleaned up and organized our Affiliate System in Infusionsoft
- Set up a full lead management funnel for anyone who visits our site and downloads the “100+ Ways and OBM Can Help Boost Your Business’ by Tina Forsyth. (which I don’t mind saying is freakin awesome and I need to give a shout out to Dan Forsyth for leading the project).
- Launched a NEW OBM only Newsletter (which you are reading now 🙂
Most of these projects had been in the works for several months but we were able to bring them to a close this summer. And we still have a few more projects to complete before the end of August to fully have our operations running as smooth as possible for all the big things to come this fall.
So if you have a few dangling projects that need just a bit of TLC to complete I challenge to you get them done! You need to free yourself up for the big things your clients will be doing this fall.
A few things I have also covered this summer that are on a quarterly basis but the summer is a good time to give them some focus:
- Look over the SOP Guide to make sure there aren’t any gaps or out of date processes
- Get a solid template in place for everything that is ‘recurring’ in the business, for example following up on declined payments.
- Look at the team, how well is it functioning as a whole? Make sure everyone is on the ‘right seat on the bus’. (you want to have solid support around YOU so you can give solid support to your client)
- Make sure all of your team members have taken time off and ‘played’ a bit this summer, you do not want them tired or burnt-out going into a fall busy season.
2. Plan out the second half of the year (with your clients)
Do you know what the revenue generators are for your clients between now and January 1, 2013? If not, I suggest you chat with your clients about it very soon.
I have had clients in the past who slowed things down purposefully in the summer months to enjoy their kids being home and such… but come August it is time to create a plan. Often my clients were not ready to get started on that plan till September when the kids go back to school. However, what that meant for me was, rushing launches, crazy hours, crunch time in every direction come September. PLEASE do not do this to yourself or your team. Even if your client isn’t ready to go at it full swing here in August do your best to get everything planned out, set up and ready for their full return.
This will save you a lot of chaos and allow your client to fully feel the support they deserve!
3. Organize Yourself
If you are at all like me you have had kids home all summer. Work has been maintained between breaking up fights (LOL… 11 yr old and 14 yr old), running kids to and fro, and later than usual mornings in the bed (woo hoo).
If you don’t have kids maybe you have enjoyed a few extra vacations this summer or more days out in the sun playing 😉
Either way I have found by the end of August my usually tidy very organized office, house, and routine has become a hot mess… therefore I like to get everything in order, ideally before the kids are back in school. Then I’m ready to rock – n – roll for the rest of the year. This can even include things like cleaning out the closets, dusting under the beds and getting my home ready for calm, quiet hours of work when we are back to our regular schedule.
When you do this you feel so much focus and energy toward what you are doing. There is no worse feeling than sitting down to work but thinking: ‘I should be taking care of something else’. Get the something else’s out of the way and prepare your surroundings for a strong finish this 2012 year!
(excerpt from Chapter 4 of Becoming an Online Business Manager)
Coaching Approach Tactic #5: Recognize that a business is one of the world’s most effective vehicles for personal transformation there is.
As an Online Business Manager the trials and tribulations you go through as you invest in the vision of your clients will coach you, if you let them.
One of your clients is taking a sabbatical for three months and you will earn considerably less. Have you become a little complacent about your work as an OBM and what will this 3-month window allow you to do, or become, as a person and a professional?
The business is taking a new turn and you don’t have the specialized expertise required. Is this an opportunity for you to release your preference to be the one who knows everything? Can your identity as a success survive the fact that you won’t be the smart one in this scenario?
You’re in a low energy mood for a while and you realize it’s because you’re tired of using a coaching approach with your client! Instead, you turn it on yourself and ask yourself where are you not stretching?
The ways in which a coaching approach can be applied to your path as an OBM are limitless. In fact, I would encourage you not to think of a coaching approach as something you turn on and off, or as a blanket you put on top of something. It’s the inner fuel that drives the work, not decoration.
As you read on in the chapters that follow, I know you’ll benefit beyond measure from what is provided as concrete direction for how to play a bigger role with your clients and yourself. Read and listen closely and you’ll see a coaching approach between the lines, and that this theme runs as a thread throughout the OBM conversation. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that quite possibly, without a coaching approach to business, the OBM role would not have emerged quite this way!
The very best OBMs are an embodiment of the coaching approach and speaking as a business owner, I’m incredibly grateful for this.
I hope you don’t mind if I say on behalf of the business owners whose lives and business you will touch, thank you, for your willingness to wade into these uncharted waters.
You’re about to enter into the guts of the “doing” part of the book, where the “what you do” steps are revealed. As you soak in the wisdom there, read with a coaching approach in mind. And when you’re ready to apply a coaching approach in real-life, here are some sample questions you can refer back to:
As we talk about X (where X is a new project, idea, problem that needs solving), what happens in your physical body?
- Why do you think X is happening? (Where X is a recurring problem, results that aren’t as stellar as hoped, an emotional reaction on the part of the client)
- Would you prefer to earn more money and work a little more, or earn about the same amount of money and work a lot less?
- What is the end goal of your business – is it to work it until you retire at a certain time? Sell it to someone for a lump sum? Have it be run by a team while you pursue other interests?
- What other area of your life have you experienced success in? What can you transfer from that success and apply to your business? (A person trained in martial arts might recognize they aren’t being as strict or disciplined with themselves in their business as they can be, and can enjoy being.)
Officially taking a stand on NOT working while on vacation… can I get an amen?
I talk with a lot of OBM’s and Virtual Support Professionals and one thing I hear often is how they feel they can’t ‘really’ take a vacation.. they often find themselves with phone, iPad, laptop in hand ‘checking in’ when they should totally be checked out.