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Do you still complete tasks in your business instead of handing them over to a team member because it’s just “easier for you” to do? You don’t have a video tutorial or any procedure in place to help them complete the task for you, so you decide it’s better to keep doing the task week after week or month after month. Once you set up systems that work for your business, it makes it easier to assign tasks to a team member and allows you to continue doing the work you love. Even though many entrepreneurs believe hiring a virtual assistant is where you should start, what you may actually need before that is an Online Business Manager to help you create systems, manage and streamline your business, so that you can run your business more smoothly.
Our guest on the podcast today is Certified Online Business Manager, Cassandra Comeau of CMC Virtual Professional Services. Her goal is to make business simple by helping you set up systems, launch a new social media strategy or just help manage your business. The sky’s the limit – the goal is to help you stay in your zone of brilliance as she is in her own.
In this episode, Cassandra and I dive into her entrepreneurial journey to becoming a certified online business manager. We discuss what an online business manager is, some of the amazing tools OBMs use daily, how to implement systems that make a huge impact, transitioning into an OBM role, and much more.
Growing up Cassandra always had an entrepreneurial spirit about her and although she didn’t know exactly how it would happen, she knew it was her future. She graduated high school and started her college career, but she wasn’t your typical college student because she finished college before she even turned 20. At this time she still didn’t know what she wanted to do career-wise, so she went into sales and administrative-type jobs. She had an average 9-5 career until she went on maternity leave with her second child. She transitioned into working from home during this time and it allowed her to also be home when her oldest child got home from school. While on maternity leave, she stumbled upon Abby Ashley, who introduced her to the Virtual Assistant space.
She learned how to take her 15 years of corporate experience and turn it into a business that was on her terms and allowed for more flexibility to be with her family. She had experience in bookkeeping, mortgages, and had technical abilities, so she took all of that and made it an opportunity for herself to create more flexibility. She not only met some amazing people, but she learned so much from her clients. With the work she had been doing though, she realized that she loved the system side of things. This led her to become a certified Online Business Manager where she now gets to help clients manage, systemize, automate, and streamline their business.
If you have no idea what an online business manager is and what it is they can do for their clients, then let’s break it down. Tina Forsyth, the author of Becoming an Online Business Manager defines this role as a virtual-based professional who helps manage online-based businesses, including the day-to-day management of projects, team members, metrics, and general operations. Cassandra adds an OBM is someone who comes into someone’s business and looks at it from the perspective of the business owner by knowing the ins and outs. They know the small things can take the business owner away from their zone of brilliance, so they take this perspective and offer ways to automate and systematize things in bite-sized chunks which allows the business owner to grow and scale their business.
At the beginning of your business, it is true that you are more hands-on with every aspect of your business, but as you grow and hit bigger revenue goals, then more than likely you will need to outsource and hire help. You need someone to help manage your team as you grow with adding and training team members, and an online business manager can do these things for you. They find the gaps in your business, offer suggestions on how to make things better, and make things more simple in your business. Cassandra also says that when you come in, it’s like you just hug the owner saying, “you’ve done great, now it’s my turn”, and you are able to bring their vision to life.
If you have a team member or two and they weren’t able to complete their task because you as the business owner didn’t have the bandwidth to train, teach, or explain it, then bringing on an online business manager helps you get back to what you are good at. It would be nice to have someone just ready your mind in terms of what you want to be done, but that’s not always possible. You need systems, or standard operating procedures in place for your team members to have insight on how tasks are done, so that you don’t have to keep doing them yourself. It may seem easier to continue doing something if you don’t have any training in place to share with your team members, but creating video tutorials by using a program like Loom and breaking the task down by writing them out into those bite-sized pieces can create those systems you need in your business.
This also allows another fresh set of eyes to view the process and to see if any of the steps can be done away with to simplify the procedure. It’s all about working together to meet a common goal, so don’t overanalyze how you want to translate the process or get in your head about it because your online business manager helps you organize these documents. Once that is complete on your end as a business owner, you have made free time for yourself that you can put back into your business however you see fit.
Are you a VA already doing some of the tasks that are included in an OBM role? If you want to transition into being an online business manager, then Cassandra advises to start by asking questions and diving in with learning how to achieve your next level. Once you do that and you still want to move forward, then the next action step for you is to find a mentor to help you get to that next level or taking an OBM certification course, but it’s not a requirement to become an online business manager as long as you ask questions, get the experience you need and then going for it.
If you are a virtual assistant, and you see the tasks that you’re doing and maybe think about the bigger picture of the pieces, and how they could be expanded or automated, then you can share with your client what you see that could be improved. From there, you can ask them about giving you a bigger role, so that you can implement these systems. You will never know unless you ask, so even though it can be hard as an introvert to do, share your knowledge and put yourself out there. Stay true to yourself and who you are in this process of asking for more. In Cassandra’s case, she kept pushing, pulling, and asking for more. Eventually, it got to the point where she was able to make different pieces work cohesively together. If it’s a current client, they are going to be all over that because clients want somebody to come in and tell them, I have an idea for this, or I have a way to make this better.
If you’re at that point where you really need the help, there is a high probability that you are so busy and overwhelmed that you are basically working on your business as a VA yourself, doing checklists, to-do lists, and no longer getting into the bigger picture of it anymore. It can be hard as a business owner to let some stranger help manage your business and hand over the reins to them, but it is worth it. When you realize the benefits of hiring another set of eyes for your business to help manage, it’s the best feeling because you know that you are taken care of administratively by someone who might just be better at it than you were. This allows you time to go sit, digest, and brainstorm more. It also allows you to spend time with your family and friends. You also have room for more self-care practices. You no longer have feelings like you are all in on your business all the time because you know you are taken care of in this one area.
There are so many great free tools out there. From the OBMs perspective, there are a few tools that help keep you and your clients’ businesses organized. Two really great areas to focus on are project management software and a communication tool to stay in touch with your clients on a daily basis with many different topics. Two project management tools that Cassandra loves and uses are ClickUp and TeamWork. They’re very similar, but they’re different. And the other piece that Cassandra really likes, is the interactiveness of using a group of the Google Suites because you can work as a team and develop these documents and not miss any points of view. When it comes to your client’s documents, it is best to keep them in one location like Google Drive to keep them from getting scattered around. The communication tool that Cassandra uses is Slack that allows you to direct message, create different channels to chat about different topics regarding your business, and it keeps everything very organized.
Cassandra gave so much helpful advice on working with an online business manager and using systems in your business on this episode of the podcast today. She shared her entrepreneurial journey to becoming a certified online business manager, what an online business manager is, some of the amazing tools OBMs use on a daily basis to make their client’s lives easier, implementing systems into your business that make a huge impact, how to transition into an OBM role if you want to take the next step in your own business, and allowing your OBM to take care of your business. If you want more information on working with Cassandra in your business then you can head over to her CMC Virtual Professional Services website to learn more. Don’t forget to follow her on Instagram and Facebook for more tips on organizing, creating systems for your business, and working with an OBM.
[1:37] Cassandra’s backstory on how she got started in her business and became a certified online business manager
[7:21] What an Online Business Manager is and the impact they can have on your business in terms of simplifying, managing, and adding systems
[11:29] If you’ve hired a VA and you are the bottleneck holding them back, then more than likely you need an OBM to implement systems in your business
[15:51] What an SOP is (standard operating procedures) and how it gives your team members procedures/guidelines to follow
[18:12] How to transition into an Online Business Manager role, especially if you’re a VA doing some of the OBM tasks already
[26:47] The types of client’s Cassandra works with as an OBM and allowing your online business manager to take care of your business
[29:06] Tools that Cassandra uses to keep herself and her clients organized
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