What is an Online Business Manager?

What is an Online Business Manager?

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Hey there, Sarah Noked here. Welcome back. Now,   today, I want to chat a little  bit about what it means to be   an online business manager, or probably  you've heard the term OBM but first, coffee. Okay. Now, we are all set. One more  thing I got to do. She wants to eat.

Okay, I'm back. I got my coffee in hand and  I'm ready to tell you more about the role of   an online business manager. So this is going to be  really, really useful for you if you are looking   to hire an online business manager, or if you are  looking to become an online business manager. You   have definitely found the right video. So I want  to speak a little bit about what the role of an   online business manager is. An online business  manager works directly with small business owners  

and is responsible for managing the day-to-day  activities. Now that's the official definition of   an online business manager, but I want to dive in  a little bit more to what business activities are   and to clarify what that means. Because there's  a lot of business activities that happen within a   business that are related to the profitability,  such as managing the day-to-day operations,   managing projects, managing team, managing  launch, managing a sales team for example.

There's lots of things that are managed.  And I think it's important for an OBM or   for a particular client who's looking to hire  an OBM to really, really start to think about   what the business activities are in their  business. This is actually something I love   to do. This is definitely a topic for another  video, but this is something that I really   love to do when I'm first getting started  with my OBM clients, is have them really   sit down and think about what they  do day to day in their business.  

And so that's just a little bit of a tip on  the side here for another video. But back to   the OBM role. So online business managers are  really focused on managing business activities   for their clients. Now, I mentioned earlier  that we primarily work with small businesses,   and I really want to be clear here, especially  for those of you who are looking to hire an OBM. We always work with clients that fall into  a few different categories. First of all,   the team size. The team size, typically in a  small business, I think the true definition I  

Googled it last week. I think it's like 200  team members. So all my business managers   work with businesses that have 10 team members  or less. And honestly, it's usually the business   owner and maybe a virtual assistant or some other  freelancer role. It's usually smaller teams,   usually 10 or less, or maybe 15 or less. Now, the  other piece is revenue. The revenue is typically   between 200,000 a year in gross revenue.  I'm talking US dollars, to about a million   in revenue gross US dollars. So that's also  sort of a sweet spot because once you kind  

of get the million dollar mark then I'm always  encouraging clients to hire a full-time employee.   One of the key characteristics of an online  business manager is we are self-employed. We are freelancers or contractors, or however you  want to deem that name. So typically, it makes   financial sense for businesses once they reach a  certain point to hire an employee. And typically,  

for the small business owner making less  than a million in revenue with a small team,   online business manager is going to  be a really great financially viable   next step for you if you're looking to hire  an OBM. Now, back to the role of an online   business manager. So as I mentioned, we work  very closely with our small business owners.   Some would even say that an OBM partners with  their clients. A lot of the clients I've worked   with in the past have been wonderful, wonderful  people to partner with. Whether that be me as  

the OBM being the sounding board for that client  who's sharing their ideas or helping to get clear.   Now, the other key thing that I should  mention here about the small business owner   is that they really need to be clear on the  vision, mission and goals in their business. This is one of the things that I also really  focus on when I'm first getting started with   a client and it's really kind of diving in and  understanding in the first conversations that   I have with this client, if they are very clear  on their vision and goals. If you, as the online   business manager are not clear on the client's  vision and goals, it will be next to impossible to   manage, to drive the team and to really make  an impact in that business. So recognizing the  

qualities of the small businesses that we love  working with as online business managers is the   first, first key to kind of unlocking the OBM  role. It took me a very long time to honestly   get clear about who my ideal client was. And  I'm going to be talking about that in a video   shortly here to come. So do hit subscribe  and do hit that little bell to be notified   so that you can get notified when I do drop  a new video every Wednesday. Now, moving on. So I want to talk a little bit about the actual  things that we do as online business managers.  

So this is definitely for you now, if you're  thinking about making this career change. And   if you are, I'm so excited for you because  there's nothing more freeing and more fun   than working from home in your pajamas  and being able to set your own schedule.   So there's a lot of sort of freedom and  flexibility that comes with being an OBM. But   in that same breath, I will say to you that you  need to really have some other things in place   in order to make sure that you are designing  your business to suit your lifestyle and to   suit the hours that you want to work and the kinds  of clients that you want to work with and all that   good stuff. So I want to talk a little bit  about these misconceptions and there's two big,   huge misconceptions that I encounter day to day  as an online business manager and as somebody who,   a big primary leg of my business, aside from my  OBM agency is training online business managers.

So one of the misconceptions that I see happening,  the notion that an online business manager just   works with online businesses and this could  not be further from the truth. Over the years,   I've worked with a lot of online businesses. I've  worked with course creators, consultants, coaches,   all that jazz, e-commerce clients, selling  stuff online. And that is such a wonderful,   amazing world that's not going anywhere  anytime soon. And I think for an OBM,  

it can be very intimidating and  fun to work with those clients,   but there's this other side that is often  overlooked by a lot of the OBMs that I train,   simply because it's just maybe just not as fun or  as unique or different. And that is the brick and   mortar offline businesses. Over the years, I've  worked with real estate agents. I've worked with   doctors and lawyers and all that  fun stuff, financial advisors. I have an OBM I'm training, she works specifically  with profit first accountants. There's the brick  

and mortar, the traditionally offline people and  then there's the online people. But the truth is,   is with the way the world is going and  everything that's happened with the   pandemic. I think it has become apparently clear  to small business owners that they really need to   be equipped to having their team work from home.  So this has really opened up a lot of opportunity   for us as online business managers. This has  opened up a lot of opportunity to small business  

owners who are looking to hire OBMs. It's a really  big misconception. So I want to just put that out   there, right off the bat. So that if you are a  brick and mortar or you are an online business,   or you're an OBM looking to work with  brick and mortar and online businesses,   it's more about the size of the business  and the headspace of the client. I mentioned that they need to be  clear on their vision and goals,   but they also have to have a delegation mindset  too. So there's a lot of stuff about the client.  

It's not so much of their particular industry  or if they're online or offline. The truth is   an online business manager can work with any kind  of business, just as long as it's not too big   basically. Now, the other huge misconception  is that an online business manager manages   all the bits and pieces of a business, and that  could not be further from the truth. Typically,   an online business manager will manage,  as I mentioned, business activities. But   usually will have certain activities that we're  responsible for. I'll give you an example here.  

I worked with a very well-known online business  owner and she is a fitness coach and she trains   other fitness coaches on building and  growing sustainable online businesses. And she's got a big ol, huge team. Now,  particularly in her business, believe it or not,   there were three OBMs. There were one OBM our team  was responsible for managing client care, that   business activity. There was another OBM that was  responsible for managing the marketing activities.   And there was another OBM that was responsible for  managing the product delivery activities. So we  

had three OBMs on that team, and we were just  responsible for managing specific activities.   One of the big misconceptions that I think one  of the things that we feel like we need to do as   online business managers, is we need to come in  guns blazing able to manage all the things for   our clients. This is what I teach my students  is it takes a good solid 90 days to really kind   of go through the learning curve of what this  business does, what are their revenue streams,   what's the team all about, what does the backend  office look like? What's all that good stuff. So by no means, do we manage all the things.  Usually, we manage parts and pieces. We create   a plan for the client where we are going  to be establishing what we're working on   first, second, third, over those first 90 days.  So this is also really important. You're not doing   all the things for the client. You are taking  baby steps into that business to really  

understand fully the business model, the revenue  generating model. What is it about the client?   Because that's the other thing. There are lots of  qualities, lots of differences between the types   of clients that we work with. I once worked with a  photography client. She has an amazing photography  

business, where she sells courses online to  photographers. Naturally, she's very techie. So she loved managing a lot of those marketing  activities or being really kind of getting into   the doing of some of that stuff. So every  client you're going to work with is going to   have strengths and weaknesses, is going to like  doing certain things in their business and not   like doing other things in their business. And  these are all really key considerations when  

you step in as an online business manager and  are considering what you should and shouldn't   be doing with that client. So those are the two  misconceptions. We don't just work with online   businesses and we certainly don't do everything  in the business. We're not managing the whole   entire business. Now, what can happen over  time is that you might take on more and more   responsibility as an OBM. And as you sort of  bake out and hire on different team members,   responsibilities will change and  certain things will shift naturally.

Let's really dive into what this role entails. And  the first big piece of being an online business   manager is the implementation piece. It's the  actual doing piece. A big part of what we do   as online business managers is getting into the  tech, getting into the systems in the business,   getting into what the team members are doing in  the business. And whether you are documenting   a system and, or creating a particular file in  Google Drive so that your client can access all   their standard operating procedures in one place,  or you are helping the client plan a launch. So  

perhaps you're sitting with a client and they are  telling you, "Hey, you know, this is what I want   to happen. These are the types of things that  I'd like to see. These are my goals for revenue   and all that jazz." So when it comes to being an  OBM, the first thing that you should know is that   online business managers implement. We do quite  a big degree of doing in our clients businesses.

And this is really important to understand because  I often talk a lot about the different types of   clients that I want to see my OBMs working with  and all that good stuff. But the truth is is that   depending on where your client is at in their  business and what the team size is and how many   people are on the team is going to determine the  amount of actual implementation you do. So I'll   give you sort of the worst case scenario so that  you can really understand what this looks like.   So typically, when my students, when my online  business managers start working with clients,   very small clients, maybe they have a freelancer  or a virtual assistant on their team. There's no   systems documented. There's no project management  tool in place. Perhaps this client does their own  

onboarding and offboarding of clients. There's  no customer relationship management in place. So as an online business manager coming in, you're  going to be implementing. So you're going to be   doing stuff like coming up with job postings,  posting those job postings, figuring out what   the client onboarding process looks like and  documenting it and setting up the technology or   the customer relationship management system that's  going to be really suitable for your client. You  

might be doing a degree of research. That's a huge  piece of what we do as online business managers.   So there's always stuff happening. There's always  implementation happening. The second key thing   that we do as online business managers is we  strategize with our clients. Now, would I call  

ourselves or would I call an OBM a strategist?  That might be something that you become very   proficient in. I know myself personally,  I have a big passion for digital marketing   strategy. On my better days, I've occasionally  called myself a digital marketing strategist. It's just part of it. Typically, our clients  come with the strategy, right? That's part of   being clear about the vision and the goals and  the strategy around the business. There might   be certain things that I might bring up to the  client, especially in a brainstorming session,   which is another huge thing. Another huge piece of  the role of the OBM is being that sounding board,   which I'll talk about in a second. For me,  one of the tips that I have for you today  

is that I will always try to speak in relation  to experiences I've had with other clients. So   if you're just getting started, this is why it  might feel a little bit difficult. But I promise   over time it will become your sort of second  language would be like talking in strategy tongue.  

So for me, I always tell my students, like when  you're talking about strategy or when you're   helping a client strategize around perhaps the  launch angle, maybe they want to do a webinar. They want to start their launch with a  webinar, and then they want to do X, Y,   and Z. I will always give my client advice  based on the experiences that I've had with   past clients. So I will say to a client,  "Hey, I totally hear you on wanting to   do a webinar launch. I had a client a few years  ago who did X, Y, and Z with their webinar. And  

they had really great results. Perhaps this is  something that we can try in your business?" So   I would be coming at it from that angle.  So am I wearing my strategy hat? Yes.   I'm also really expecting the client to be driving  the force on what the strategy is. And then once  

we're clear on the strategy, then I back to  rule number one, it's all about implementing   that strategy. Third really big piece about  the role of the OBM is the sounding board. I had briefly mentioned that in my last  tip. But I want to dig in a little bit   deeper here because I think as OBMs, we don't  necessarily recognize the importance of being   a sounding board for our clients. And being  that person to bounce ideas off of, to share   opinions. More important than a lot of  the role of the OBM is really leading the   client and this is a little bit of that soft  skill again, talking, but it's really about   being able to hold space for your clients and  giving them an opportunity to share their ideas   so that they can get clarity themselves. That's a  huge, huge benefit of bringing on an OBM on your  

team, but it's also hugely beneficial to us as  online business managers, because I really enjoy   this part with my clients. I think this  is a huge piece that really solidifies   that sort of partnership that we're having,  that real trust and bond with your client. That's so important. And you'll hear me say  this 8,000 times, but I lovingly joke that   I niche on personality but I really do. So for  me, it's important when I'm vetting out a client   as an online business manager, to make sure that  there's that personal click so that I know that I   can like be having these honest conversations. And  also for me as an OBM that I really love what my   clients are doing. That their business model, that  their vision and goals are really aligned with me  

personally. That's important to me. I think more  than ever in today's world, it's important to find   businesses that are really resonating with you.  My fourth role of the OBM is being the keeper of   the vision and the goals and all that good stuff  that your client needs to be really clear on.

So the vision, the goals, the strategy, all that  stuff, you need to be the person on the team   to really fully understand that, at times even  more than the client. You might be reminding   the client here and there. That happens. But I  will say that this is really, really important.   Why is it important? Because as an online business  manager, when we are managing business activities,   naturally things happen. Naturally hair goes on  fire. Naturally, there are decisions to be made   for a manager and for an online business manager.  It's important for us to really, really be aligned  

with the client's goals and visions so that we can  make decisions on behalf of the client. So that we   can make suggestions knowing what the goals are,  what the vision is, what all of those juicy pieces   are in our client's businesses. If we're not clear  on that stuff, they're going to be some problems. If you don't know what your client's goals are,  you're not going to be able to create a plan for   them. And you're certainly not going to be able  to execute that plan. If you're not clear on  

the vision, a team member is doing something that  isn't the best for the business. You're not going   to know that if you're not clear on the vision.  The fifth big, big role or the fifth big part of   the OBM role is this soft skills piece that quite  honestly, when I started off at my OBM journey,   I didn't really understand the influence that  my soft skills have. And how important it is   for me as an entrepreneur as well because online  business managers are entrepreneurs. And it might   be hard for you to say that at first it might  be freaky, but it's the truth. So as an online   business manager, you need to flex those soft  skills. Soft skills are things like leadership,  

mindset, all that good stuff that's really,  really going to help you be a better leader   for your team that you're managing, be better  leaders for your client, be able to communicate. So your communication skills, how you  are communicating with your clients,   what happens when something runs a muck? Which  naturally will it happen? Do you blow your top?   Do you stay calm, cool and collected. How  are you approaching situations? How are you   creating a company culture for your clients?  Because this is the wonderful thing that we   do. Even in my own business with the OBMs that  I've hired. I've been blessed over the years to   have of teams and managers in my own business  that bring in very distinct management soft   skills that have really helped to build  the community culture in my own business   and in my own community of online business  managers, which is a really great place to be. It's just all around good stuff. Now, I've spent  some time talking to him about the OBM role  

and what it entails and what the clients look  like. And I want to just touch briefly here on   what success looks like as an online business  manager. How do we define success? I mean,   it's important to understand what we do as  OBMs, how we manage the business activities,   how we leverage our soft skills and our hard  skills and how we implement and how we work with   the client on defining strategies and all that  good stuff. What actually does success look like   for an online business manager? So number one,  wringing the business out of reactionary mode.   My goodness. If you are an OBM or you are or small  business owner, you know what I'm talking about.   Reactionary businesses are those where their hair  is on fire. We're always like five steps behind.

We forgot about that. The email went out without  that first name field, whatever. Part of what we   do as online business managers is we help  to really define the systems in a business   and implement structure in the form of standard  operating procedures so that the business runs on   systems and not on people. That's how you're going  to really take it out of reactionary mode is about   being proactive and documenting things and  bringing in the right team members on and all   that good stuff. That's a huge, huge part of the  success of an online business manager. Now, the   second success thing that we do for our clients is  we really free up our clients from the day-to-day   of their business. There are a lot of really  awesome clients out there for you, if you were an  

online business manager, this will be an upcoming  video. So again, don't forget to subscribe. You know, a lot of the times that you  meet these clients who are just doing   all the things in their business.  And I lovingly call these clients   successful despite themselves. Because  you're like you get into their business,   oh my God, there's no product management tool.  Oh my God, there's five team members and nobody   really knows what anybody's doing. They haven't  had a team meeting in ages. They're communicating  

on WhatsApp and Facebook chat and all these  different platforms. And it's such a hot mess.   Getting the client out of that day-to-day and  freeing them from that day to day is such a huge   sigh of relief for the client. They can go on  to really focus on what they really need to do   in their business. So this is really important to  point out here. The thing to remember here is that   sometimes, and this is especially for  you if you're looking to hire an OBM. Sometimes when an online business manager  comes on a team and we work our magic,   the online business or offline business owner, the  small business owner is like elated. They're like,   oh my God, I've got all this free  time. I'm going to go and do yoga,  

spend some time on the beach. And while  that's all fine and dandy because I'm all for   work-life balance. I want you to remember that  when you free up that client's time, they need   to be focused on the things that only they can do  in their business. It might be about creating that  

course. They might be writing that book. It's  things that only they can do, the sales calls   or focusing on nurturing their own community.  Those are things that only the clients can do   themselves. So when they do have more free time,  they need to be focused on staying in their lane. This goes back to those soft skills and really  flexing the soft skills. Because sometimes you're  

going to have to say to your client, "Dear client,  I love that you love scheduling email broadcast   but it's just really not a good use of your  time. I'd rather you be focusing on engaging that   joint venture partner who said that they would  promote your product to their list and so on and   so forth." You get my drift. So the other thing  that is really going to define your success as an   online business manager is giving it to yourself.  When you have success with a client, whether you   get them out of their day to day operations,  implement that project management tool, hire   that team member that takes the client care and  is able to be in there implementing and doing that   day-to-day stuff, whatever this looks like for  you, I really want you to celebrate your success.

I know that this might sound a little bit cheesy,  but if you don't document your successes. When   it comes time at the end of that first 90  days with a client, and you're like, huh,   what have I been doing all this time? I want you  to have like documented things that you've been   successful at, or perhaps things that maybe  haven't been so successful, but that you have   come back and done something different or you've  made some changes. It's all about improving. It's   all about growing. One of the things that  I think is important to point out here,   if you don't know this already, which kind of,  I think to me, it seems like first nature or   it seems really obvious. So apologies if  this is like really obvious. You need to  

recognize the fruits of your labor. So when  it comes time at the end of that 90 day mark,   to talk to your client about all the fabulous  things that you've been doing in their business,   I want you to have that go-to place that  you've been documenting your successes. So make sure that you actually document your  successes and that you celebrate your successes,   whether that be at home, by yourself,  in your pajamas, in the bathtub.   Whatever that looks like to you, scream it from  the rooftops. This might sound obvious, business   is a personal growth journey. I know if  you are a business owner watching this  

looking to hire an OBM, you likely know this.  But if you're just getting started as an online   business manager, it might not be apparent  that being an entrepreneur is a personal   growth journey. Part of recognizing  your successes and even some failures   and being able to document these things and  celebrate these successes is going to be huge,   hugely important to your ongoing success. Now,  the next tip that I have for you, if you are   getting your feet into this career as an online  business manager is to celebrate your uniqueness.

Now I've trained hundreds of online business  managers. I think I'm up to about 400 now.   And I have never, in all of my years met  two OBMs that were the same. A lot of us   have similar qualities, but we all have these  unique flares. Whether it be something that you   did in corporate or in a nine to five or as a  kid or some sort of uniqueness that you have   that you're bringing to the table.  Maybe you're a really great writer,   maybe you are a strategist, maybe you're I  have a coaching background, maybe you come   from a project management background. Whatever  you are coming from and whatever makes you  

tick is so important to really embrace your  uniqueness. I mean, I think this is sometimes   overlooked or sometimes maybe even kind of  pushed down and made to be not as important,   but if you celebrate yourself and celebrate  whether that be splashing yourself on that website   and owning it and being who you are. It's really,  really important to own your unique strengths. It really is important to your clients. It  really is important to you in the long run to  

really nurture yourself as an online business  manager. The better off you are going to be,   the faster you're going to reach success,  the faster you're going to get confident.   So thank you for sticking around. I'm going to  drop some juicy links below this video for some   free resources that I have, especially if  you're looking to get started as an online   business manager. And stay tuned next week  for my next video, where I will be diving into   the differences between an online business  manager and a virtual assistant. See you soon.

2021-07-22 22:04

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