After many, many, years, and many, many, hats I've decided that it is time to retire my Online Business Manager (OBM) practice. Last week I notified my current clients and those on my wait list that I was finally off the market for good.
Does that mean I'm not longer running a business? Hell to the no, in fact I'm taking some huge risks in the business world because it's time.
Throughout this spectacular journey I've come to realize some really REAL stuff about being an Online Business Manager and this blog is being written to share those things with you.
I'm a supporter by nature so being a Tech/Admin in my early years was my way of learning all I could about the online world of business. I worked for some of the biggest Guru's in the business as a peon. I made shit, I earned shit, and I did shit for several well-known businesses. Believe me, what I learned was worth its weight in gold so I'm not too bitter about the grunt work and crappy pay.
When I first heard the term OBM it was touted as being the natural progression for those who wanted to no longer be on the frontline doing the crap work. I was told I'd have more flexibility in my day, and it was about strategy and managing in a way that helped the business prosper. I was told I'd possibly manage a team, I'd get to use my strategy brain instead of ticking tasks, I'd also have way more responsibility and get paid more. Of course I was in.
I was told I was already doing the job so why not get paid for it. Yes bitches, indeed.
Years later I'm burned out (for the second time) and finding that the world of online business is changing in a direction that worries me. The first time I burned out, I admit I wasn't ready and I certainly didn't work SMART. Instead of hanging with my family during their Christmas get together, I worked. I mismanaged my time and teeter tottered between being a shitty VA and an even shittier OBM. I didn't sleep, I was overwhelmed and not able to switch hats quick enough. That's ok though, I learned and emerged as a goddess riding a fucking unicorn.
Nowadays, some people see hiring an OBM as a status symbol and they don't have the chunk of cash needed to justify hiring one. Sure you can try and bank on future stuff but there really is a point where some businesses need to cut back rather than keep absorbing costs. Inexperienced OBM's are jumping into crap situations out of the gate (because you gotta eat) and I see several of them struggling because of it. OBM's if you are listening, qualify your clients via revenue/profit otherwise you'll end up in the poorhouse. And you will end up in the poorhouse, I speak from experience.
Others see hiring an OBM as a way to have a 4-Hour Workweek and they dump their entire shitty business on you. This is the reality of what it's like to be an OBM sometimes. It's not always fun and it surely isn't always pretty. Yeah yeah yeah it's your job to make the biz run like a machine. I'm sorry (not sorry) but even for the most on point OBM's there are just some things you can't fix. This normally wouldn't be a problem for me, because I love a challenge. I love to fix broken shit, build it from scratch and make a stinky shit of a business smell like a luxurious $12,721.89 per ounce perfume. This is my thing.
I know, not everyone needs that service, but everyone could use the money that comes along with shining like the heart of a comet. This is what I helped do most of my time as an OBM, make fucking dough. Swim in it, roll in it, play in it. Running an online business and making sure it's profitable is one of the hardest gigs in the universe. It's the reason so many business owners give up and so many supporters burn out quickly.
Speaking of supporter burn out, that's another dish I'd like to serve up. If I had a buck for every VA or OBM's name that came across my desk this year because they screwed their client, I could travel the world on a 24K gold yacht and still have enough to buy a private lap dance from Drake. By day I was Olivia Pope, and by night I was chasing shitty supporters like the non-racist version of dog the bounty hunter. Supporters stop using this industry as your own personal toilet paper. It's ok to duck out, but stop it with the casualties already.
Contrary to popular belief in the OBM world, being an OBM doesn't mean getting to chit chat on the phone and play around with projects. It means dealing with all of the fires that come along with running an online business, pushing the business and sometimes the business owner, in the direction of profit with strategy, and being there when everyone else can't. While I'm grateful for every client I said yes to (which is far less than those I said no to), it's about being realistic as to what your life will look like should you decide to become an Online Business Manager.
Even with the best clients in the world you'll face times where the weight of carrying someone else's business is just too much. Online business isn't life or death, but some people try to make it so. The patterns people have in their day to day life will always bleed into their business. It's so much more than just managing a business.
Do you see where this is heading?
There are oceans of people with amateur mindsets that hold them back. You can't be a #ladyboss if your shit is falling apart...and I say that rawness, wisdom and truth. The more realness you put into it, the more you'll get back.
So many are shooting for the stars and receiving fistfuls of dung beetles and there are legit reasons, some of which will go to the grave with me and others will be future blogs. I take the act of being in business pretty seriously and I'm telling you that you need to choose your friends, clients, coaches, supporters and others in your circle WISELY. No more mass Facebook groups with the same faces. You can't trust nor win them all.
Some people feel that online business isn't real business, as if it's not the real world. They do things online that they'd never dream of doing in people's faces.
A skype call is real.
The exchange of money is real.
Over the past 8+ years I've seen my clients clients screw their coaches/mentors for non-payment (and shame them in public with lies to cover it up). Then I've seen coaches/mentors/business owners screw their clients with shitty advice and poor service, and supporters screw their coaches/mentors/bosses by not showing up. All while holding public witch hunts and using each other to gain more (insert fame, success, money here). Fast-food companies have been doing this exact same thing for the past 20 years. It's called lowered standards in business, and profit before people. So is online business now the equivalent of working for the big red clown, maybe.
Not all clients suck, in fact I've worked with some of the most generous and lovely people. I gave them my all and they handed me their business. It's something I'll be eternally grateful for and the experiences have helped make me a better Olivia Pope. I can spot a badass business babe from 53 miles away, I can look at your business and know within seconds if it's going to make it.
I've been so lucky as I've been behind the scenes of some some truly magical shit. I can easily continue on in this industry, but I don't want to.
If I could call out every mean girl whose story I've been privy to because of my behind the scenes status, I would but I'm bound by legal obligation to just let it go. Instead, I'm choosing to get out of the perpetual rat race and do business differently, aka with strategy and people before profit. I'm moving on to become the Director of Operations for A Freaking Great Company a Boutique Agency, and to serve up a raw dose of Business Wisdom for some of the most passionate and vivacious clients out there. You can also have a scheduled chat with me or have me help you with your website or tech stuff. Just ask.
In this chapter of my story, I'll be working on other people's businesses less and working on my own, more.
At home, I'll be tending to my little life in ways that make me smile.
My advice to any of the new business birds is don't waste your time worrying about what everyone else is doing. Put time into being gentle with your business and give yourself space to expand and learn. You will make mistakes, it will happen. Focus on spreading more good, learn from those who inspire you and all of the bullshit in your view will fade away. Also be real and don't bite off more than you can chew. Don't even try to fake it until you make it.
And I leave you with this, a one card reading that forced me to take a step back, breathe and make some hard decisions on what happens next in my own business story.
The Shapeshifter in shadow: You’re a chameleon and the constant shift to please everyone is doing you harm. Make it stop. You need to come to terms with what is true for you. Trust yourself Dani.
Disclaimer: This is a personal weblog. The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of my clients.
The above mentioned incidents either are products of my imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental. This blog does not represent my current nor past clients.