Welcome to Chapter 2!
Now that you’ve learned what an Online Business Manager is, including what the difference is between an Online Business Manager, a Virtual Assistant, and a Project Manager, now let’s deep dive into how you can become one!
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Paths You Can Take as an Online Business Manager
This is my model. I am self-employed and work as an “independent contractor” for the clients who hire me. I may outsource things when I need help, but when it comes to working with a client, I’m their only point of contact during a project. Anything I do in order to get the job done remains behind the scenes and is my responsibility.
Partnership or Agency
This is what I am considering working towards, and if you really want to scale an OBM business, this is what I would recommend.
Since there are so many different skills that an OBM can specialize in, there can be tremendous power in numbers.
For example, I specialize in course creation, sales funnels, and launches. If I partnered with an OBM that specialized in podcasts, ecommerce, or even systems integration, we could triple our client base and the services we offered.
Not to mention the support that comes when working in a team.
As the internet evolves and more and more companies emerge with thriving online businesses, there are more and more opportunities for Online Business Managers to find salaried, benefited positions if that suited them best.
This may sound contradictory for many who enter this space who want freedom and the autonomy that being self-employed promises, but more and more companies are realizing that they need to provide flexible and alternative work arrangements for their employees if they’re going to retain them.
There are more and more remote positions available, the salaries can be tremendous, and this path can be a great fit for someone who really desires to be a part of a team and culture.
Your Transferable Skills Will See You Through
Okay – so by now I think it’s understood that there is no one-size-fits-all type of Online Business Manager. There’s not a specific job description, and what you do from day-to-day is bound to change.
So what are the skills you need to be successful in this type of role?
They mostly boil down to what I call your “transferable skills” – things you’ve learned along the way (via past employment and client work) – and your intrinsic work ethic.
Your work ethic here is key. Everything else can be learned.
Examples of Transferable Skills from Previous Experience
- Working knowledge of software / tools (i.e. WordPress, Email Service Providers, CRM like Infusionsoft, Webinar platforms, funnel building tools, etc)
- Copywriting experience
- Course Curriculum Design & Creation
- Social Media Strategy & Management
- Membership Site Management
- Customer Service
- And so, so much more.
Examples of Transferable Skills nurtured or intrinsic in you
- Confident in your abilities
- Problem Solver
- Can do mindset!
Internet Marketing Strategy – Your Key to a Lifelong Career
I’m letting my nerdy self shine here, but I really enjoy learning internet marketing strategy of all kinds, and I am confident that my raw interest contributes to my success as an Online Business Manager.
I invest in myself and take courses, I read books, I attend events, and participate in communities where people congregate and share lessons learned, ideas, and support one another.
And then I take action!
Keeping yourself informed, and then putting what you learn into practice, is the key to being able to help your clients grow their business.
Here are some books I recommend for anyone interested in becoming an Online Business Manager
TIP: In order to retain info, I have to read and take notes on a topic. But that used to mean I was a SLOW reader. Not good with a busy business to run. To speed up the process drastically, I also get the audible version. I can speed up the audio to at least 1.5 and follow along with the book at the same time.
Tools to Use as an Online Business Manager
As an Online Business Manager, you’re expected to have working knowledge of the software systems and tools your clients use to manage and grow an online business.
In this section are just some of the more common tools used in online business.
If you’re overwhelmed at the thought of having to learn a ton of different platforms, don’t be. Most paid tools have great resources for users, communities of users that help each other, and when in doubt, there is usually a YouTube tutorial on exactly what you need to learn.
And as you’ll learn below, when you recommend certain tools to your clients, and they sign up through you, you can earn affiliate commissions from the software platform.
I like to offer my clients a discounted rate for having me set them up using a preferred tool I recommend in exchange for receiving ongoing commission payments. My clients like the discounts too.
I am an affiliate of some of the platforms I recommend in this post, and will earn a commission if you sign up through me.
Social Media Networks
- All the majors: Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.
- Scheduling tools like Hootsuite, Buffer, etc.
Funnel Tools & Landing Page Software
Email Service Providers
- Active Campaign
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
Payments & Bookkeeping
Team Communication & Cloud Support
- Amazon S3
- Google Drive
How to Make Money
(and how much money are we talking anyway)?
I consider being an Online Business Manager as being one of the most flexible business models online in terms of generating revenue from a variety of different sources.
Because you are an authority – even for a very small group of people – you have the opportunity to serve them in a variety of different ways, which can lend to a diverse and eclectic revenue model for your business.
This is the most obvious revenue path. Charge clients for the work you do. But how you get paid can vary a lot. Here are a few ways to structure your relationships with clients and get paid.
While the easiest to figure out in the short term, I caution you to avoid this model. It doesn’t really serve either party, and can negatively affect the outcome of a project. Not only are you still trading time for dollars, but your client deserves to understand the real cost of brining you on board. When hours worked become a factor, shortcuts are inevitable. Still, let’s assign a dollar amount here. Work for no less than $50-$100 per hour depending on the level of complexity of what’s involved.
This is probably the most common method when working on short term projects, and getting paid by project gives the client the advantage during more difficult projects when things become time consuming or complex of understanding what they will need to pay to have you onboard.
When bidding a project, your responsibility is to use the law of averages (how many easy tasks, how many difficult, and how much time overall with this project take) to come up with an appropriate bid.
Every project is different, so I can’t guide you here on what to charge. My only advice here is to walk your client through your proposal and help them understand where you’re coming from with your bid. If they have questions, address them, and be flexible where you can. Also – tap into your strategy brain and come up with alternate solutions to their plan if their agenda is overly complex and expensive.
Help them simplify things as to be able to afford you.
I only recommend this model after you’ve worked with a client a few times and know what’s possible. Not every client will have a great business, so no matter how awesome you are, you may not be able to help them get results on a product or launch so you’ll want to avoid a revenue share model until you’ve properly vetted them as a business.
But here’s where things get fun when you’re talking revenue.
Let’s say you’re helping a business owner with a course launch. If you were to just bid the project out, they may only be able to justify bringing you on if you could do the work for $5000. But if you negotiate a 10% revenue share, you could be looking at a $10,000 pay day if their course sales reach $100,000 within the window of time you define for the launch.
RETAINER OR SALARY
If your client work is ongoing and if your client wants to ensure access to you long-term, you may want to opt for a retainer or monthly salary.
After I have worked a project or two with a client, I usually transition them to this model in combination with a revenue share agreement for individual project launches.
For reference, I set my “maintenance” retainer with a client (where access is guaranteed at a certain # of hours per month) at no less than $1500 per month.
This package is ideal because I remain involved in the strategy side of the business, help out with the day-to-day as needed, but the business owner isn’t on the hook for keeping me on in a large capacity long-term.
When I recommend a tool to a client (i.e. a landing page tool like LeadPages or ClickFunnels, a bookkeeping system like Freshbooks, or possibly an email service provider like Convertkit), I will offer a discount on my services to have me set it up for them in exchange for them signing up via my affiliate link.
I then earn recurring commissions on their use of the tool I recommend.
Something to note: Earnings here are not huge, but are great nonetheless. And I only recommend things I approve of and am happy to manage for my clients.
I don’t recommend a tool for the sake of making more money; in most cases, I lose a bit of revenue in these situations had I just charged full price for my services. The benefit (for both of us) is that I end up getting to use a tool I am very familiar with and the client saves a little bit of money.
Other Monetization Strategies
There really are so many different things you could do as an Online Business Manager to earn additional revenue in your business. Remember – you’re an authority. SO LEVERAGE THAT.
Here are some ideas:
- Hold paid workshops / retreats for your clients to help them scale, learn a new strategy, get to the next level, etc.
- Create a course to sell to your audience. You’re not convert every lead into a paying client, but maybe there is something you can teach to your wider audience that they are looking to get help with.
- Create a continuity program. You may not be able to get every lead or every client to hire you on a retainer, but perhaps there is monthly training you can offer in a group setting to help your audience achieve a specific result
- Offer coaching. Once you start building an audience based on your expertise, you’re going to find out that there is a segment of business owners attracted to you that are not prepared to hire you, but want your help. Offer these people business coaching. Help them become DIY experts in their business. Empower them to be their own problem solvers and implementers.
How to Market Yourself
If you’re currently working as a freelancer in some capacity (as a Virtual Assistant, Social Media Manager, or other), then the best and first place you should be marketing yourself is to your existing clients.
Tell them the direction you want to be headed in, how you want to deliver more value to them as an Online Business Manager, and open the lines of communication to taking on more responsibility (and getting compensated more).
Go for low hanging fruit. Your existing client base will the best place to start to expand your services with. They trust you, and will most likely allow you to learn on the job with them.
Until you are able to confirm results from your efforts, be flexible and don’t ask for too much up front in terms of an increase in compensation. Prove your worth.
Outside of existing clients, here’s a great list to get started with in terms of marketing yourself to new clients:
- Make sure you have a simple, yet clear website detailing your services and offerings
- START BLOGGING. Share your wins, client results, insights, and ideas. This is HUGE. Don’t neglect starting and nurturing a blog as an Online Business Manager
- Engage in Facebook groups where your ideal client hangs out and contribute to discussions without being overly self-promotional. Focus on being helpful first. The client interest will come as a result of being helpful.
- Update your LinkedIn profile and focus on including keywords related to the work you want to do as an OBM.
- Launch a client acquisition campaign. Here’s a very simple client acquisition funnel you could launch:
- Get results and a case study under your belt
- Create a case study video detailing your the results you obtained (and how you got them) for a client.
- Create a lead generation landing page using the case study as the lead magnet.
- Send targeted Facebook ads to that landing page
- Follow-up with leads and get bookings for discovery calls.
Whew!! We covered a ton in this guide, didn’t we?
My goal with sharing all this information is to help you understand the landscape a little bit better in order to see if going down the path of being an Online Business Manager is right for you.
And if you are ready to take the next step, I’ve got a special invitation for you.
On March 5th, 2018 I am launching the beta program for my new course, Online Business Manager School.
This beta program will be a 6 week small group coaching program designed to help you land your first client as an Online Business Manager and set you up with the information and tools you need to build a thriving OBM business.
My goal for you is that by the time our 6 weeks is up, you will be working with at least one new client as an OBM and be making at least $2000 from this new client.
In order to achieve this, I will be working with students 1:1 to help them not only learn the skills and strategies needed to become and Online Business Manager, but I will be helping you build your first client acquisition funnel.
Because this is my program’s test run, the cost to join this beta group will be drastically reduced and will be by application only. I want this beta program to be a “no brainer” investment for the right people.
** THIS BETA PROGRAM IS SOLD OUT **
If you’re interested in learning more about joining me in Online Business Manager School, send me an email directly so that I can add you to my VIP notification list when OBMS opens again.