How my OBM got started [Get Started Online – Episode 1]
I've made plenty of content in the past where I shared with you, high paying jobs that have a low barrier to entry, high-paying jobs that you don't necessarily need a degree or a lot of experience to get started with, and online business manager has made my list several times.
An online business manager essentially makes sure that all of the projects are happening by the right people at the right time. Every sort of operational thing that goes on in an online business is something an OBM ensures is being pushed through to completion.
The business owner is really responsible for deciding what the business will do, and then making those key decisions, but an OBM helps make sure that things actually happen. Before hiring my OBM, Courtney Loveridge, I was making these plans, but things were slipping through the cracks. It was really hard for me to keep up with the deadlines, especially for other people on my team. It's really helpful to have an online business manager or an operations manager in your business.
I Interviewed my online business manager, Cortni Loveridge about her experience getting started as an OBM and I want to share that with you.
What were some of the motivations for wanting to work online and how did that journey start?
I'm a multi-passionate person and I love to travel. I was really interested in the freedom aspect which I know is super common for basically anybody who wants to start their online business. They want freedom and flexibility!
I was also kind of dabbling in going back to school for a second bachelor's and I had tried on a bunch of different careers and worked my way up as far as I can go. I was sort of just searching for what's the thing that is going to be sustainable, something that I enjoy doing that I feel really passionate about and that allows me to not be stuck to a desk or stuck to the 9-5.Cortni Loveridge
What were some of the first steps that you took to becoming an OBM?
I basically fell into a sales funnel on Facebook, so I was sort of scrolling through and I found an advertisement for a free training, and I can't even remember the business or what they were exactly, but they were sort of like the first journey to looking into what it would be like to work online and I think they were doing travel blogging. It just kind of got the wheels turning. People are online.
I did a lot of reading blogs and planning and trying to figure out my business name but all these things really held me back. The thing that really was the struggle was working full time in my corporate job and I just couldn't manage to plan my business and work, and then also working in my business so I eventually was like okay if I want to do this I just have to jump in and actually quit my corporate job.
I started out being a virtual assistant, so one of the first things I did was I read the book The Four Hour Workweek. In that book, Tim Ferriss talks about virtual assisting and so I was like “Oh, this seems like something that I could do. So, I actually started out as a virtual assistant (not an OBM).
Normally when you're first starting you join a whole bunch of Facebook and you help people sort of start the conversation. My first client posted a job opening and it was for $10 an hour as an intern, basically doing virtual assistant work, and even though that was pretty low, I was like, “Oh great!” I love the opportunity, the experience, and so I applied and I got it! That experience alone really actually opened a lot of doors for me.Cortni Loveridge
Why did you become an OBM?
I was doing virtual assisting for my clients and I noticed that I was always gravitating towards trying to fix their business like their messy systems in their business. My clients would hire me as a virtual assistant but then they would realize that I was really good at that skill and they'd be like, can you help me do these things. A lot of the times they were sort of tech VA related, so it was like setting up systems but I was also doing some like process documentation for recipes and things like that. So I realized like, oh this is more what I'm enjoying doing, and my clients are enjoying this work as well. And so from there, it was sort of a journey of trying to figure out what that was and how to do that.
I started researching that and I found the term, Online Business Manager, and from there I was able to find this certification for online business management and so I decided to make the leap because I felt like that's more in line with what I wanted to do with my clients.Cortni Loveridge
What is the average pay for an OBM?
A virtual assistant might make $25(USD) to $50(USD) an hour, although, you might start a little lower than that. For online business manager's $65 is the average price per hour for certified OBM's.
What was the process of getting certified as an Online Business Manager?
The process is really streamlined and really professional. Part of the reason why I wanted to get the certification is that I'm not usually the type of person to create my own proprietary system. I really like having a solid framework to be able to work from. They have a series of courses that you do and then from there they have basically like test projects, so they'll have certification week and they go through and they assign you projects in your inbox, and they actually simulate what it's like to work with a higher level OBM client.
One of the things that I mentioned earlier, but usually if a business has an online business manager, they've already like validated their offer and they're making a decent amount of sales and they're doing a bit of marketing so you get all kinds of different projects, some of them are how to manage specific scenarios with team members, there was one for building a project for a launch. Then there were a few for like researching tools like my interviews and things like that so they were definitely really fun.Cortni Loveridge
When is the right time to hire a business manager?
I've heard experts recommend you should wait a long time until you actually have a business making a lot of money. I think you should hire a business manager earlier than a lot of people would advise. I was past that initial validation stage, I had a couple of products I was selling. I was making a decent amount of money, and I was really coming to terms with myself in the fact that I was the visionary of my business and I had all sorts of ideas and I was just becoming very aware of the shortcomings that I had. I started getting honest with myself about some things that I was really bad at. I could see that gap really clearly and that it was really holding me back.
I knew exactly what I needed, it just made sense for me to hire Cortni.
How did you actually get your first client as an OBM?
I had been working with a couple clients and sort of in the Virtual Assistant capacity, but they were kind of at that lower level of business that I mentioned before, and I actually got those clients from word of mouth and I found that the majority of my clients have been, word of mouth.
When I was looking for a true OBM client after my certification I actually found you(Gillian) in a Facebook group. I remember that you posted the opportunity and one thing I always tried to do was to personalize my application.Cortni Loveridge
How to have a Leadership Mindest as an OBM
One of the things that we learned in the certification is to always approach with a leadership mindset. When I was first starting out as a virtual assistant, it was very much, “What can I help you with?” That actually puts more work on your plate as a business owner. If you can show your potential clients that you have that skill, or that you have that desire to really lead your clients business and lead your client that can go a really long way in the business manager position.Cortni Loveridge
Yeah, that was definitely something that stood out about her, especially because I hired a few virtual assistants before and I have found it really difficult to work with them not because they were difficult people, but it was difficult to have them actually help me have less on my plate because I spent so much time managing them and trying to figure out what I wanted them to do and how they could do it. Cortni came in and she really took ownership of things. I remember when I first hired her, I hired her to be a project manager, but she came into my business, and she immediately took over a bunch of processes. She made new processes for us and organized files.
How to gain clients from word of mouth or referrals?
It actually happened because I networked and I was really afraid of networking at first. I'm very much an introvert and the first client that I ever got was a coach, and she hosted this sort of Mastermind course. A few people joined the course, and I also joined the course because I was required because she was my client. I got to meet these other online business owners. It started out as just sort of friendships, but from there, a few of them actually became my clients a lot of them would refer me because they were in touch with other people who needed organizational type of projects to be completed.
They referred on a lot of work to me and then from there, those people I worked with referred me to other people. It's all really powerful when you're able to network.Cortni Loveridge
There's a lot of interest out there in becoming an online business manager. It's a really cool career opportunity that I really like to highlight because it's something that doesn't require, years of schooling, but it has a pretty great pay rate. It's also a type of work that you have the right personality for.
If you want to inquire more about the certification Cortni took to become a certified online business manager, you can learn more here.
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