The Role of an Online Business Manager

Many business owners are a little confused between an Online Business Manager and a Virtual Assistant – they think they’re one and the same.  To some extent they are, but there is a role for both types of virtual support professional in your business. And it very much depends on where you’re at in your business.

The Role of an  Online Business Manager

To put simply, I equate an Online Business Manager with the traditional Office Manager/Executive Personal Assistant in the corporate world; and a virtual assistant with an administrative assistant.  I think most people understand these concepts.  So in an online business, the Online Business Manager and Virtual Assistant fulfill these same roles.

When you first start out in your business, you typically have very few clients; your marketing strategies are simple; and you have a limited budget.  In this situation a Virtual Assistant can fully support you and take some of the basic day-to-day tasks off your plate, leaving you to build and grow your business.

But as you do your job in growing your business – you get more clients, your income increases, you start to offer products and programs – then typically you’ll find yourself not only growing the business and working with clients, but also managing a lot of the day-to-day activities that you shouldn’t really be managing.  This shows up in ways such as:

  • Knowing that you don’t have enough systems in place, but not having the time to put them together.
  • There’s so much going on in your business that you don’t know what’s getting done and what isn’t.
  • Delegating work between your Virtual Assistant, your web designer, your graphic designer, or your affiliate manager, and having to constantly check in with them.
  • Not having the technical expertise (either yourself or your team) to get your Infusionsoft or 1ShoppingCart account set up properly.

And as a result you become frustrated and overwhelmed, and all the fun goes out of running your projects.  A lot of those projects you want to implement, which you know will generate additional revenues for you, are getting put on the back burner because you’re spending most of your time putting out fires.

This is when you need … an Online Business Manager!

In an organizational chart (see graphic), the Online Business Manager will sit between you and your team members.  They can see the Big Picture for your business (because they’re big thinker strategists), but they are also be able to break down that picture into step-by-step projects to delegate to your team.

Your Online Business Manager will take responsibility for:

  • Project Management – setting up that new online program or membership portal.
  • Operations Management – ensuring that your Infusionsoft or 1ShoppingCart account is set up correctly to deliver your automated marketing plan, programs, and products.
  • Metrics Management – tracking your stats so you know exactly what’s working in your business and what isn’t.
  • People Management – managing the day-to-day tasks of your team members so that you don’t have to.

And your time is freed up to focus on growing your business. The result … your Big Picture gets implemented and your goals are achieved!

Understanding how these various roles fit into an online business will help you determine the best needs for your business. You’ll be able to hire the right team member, at the right time.

And when you have this level of support – someone who understands both business strategy and is very detail oriented – you have a winning combination for growing your business from five figures into six figures and beyond.

If you’d like to explore the possibility of having me on your team as your Online Business Manager, then let’s schedule a time to speak.  Click Here to set up that call!

And you can find out more about the role of an Online Business Manager here.

Tracey LawtonAbout the author: Online Business Development Strategist, Tracey Lawton, teaches life coaches, business coaches, and virtual assistants how to become more organized, streamlined, and automated so that they don’t constantly bottleneck projects and processes. Having the right systems in place leads to consistent revenues, more clients, and less stress and overwhelm. Find out if you have the right systems in place for your business with Tracey’s free quiz, “Is Your Business Set Up To Fail?” at http://bizsuccessquiz.com

 

5 Tips for Finding a Great Virtual Assistant

I’ve been hearing too many stories of late from fellow business owners, clients, and colleagues who have had bad experiences when partnering with a virtual assistant.

So in this article I thought I would shake things up a bit and share with you my five tips for finding a GREAT virtual assistant for your business… and believe me, there ARE many great VAs out there; you just need to know what you want before you go looking!

1.  Decide what your requirements are.  What skills and abilities do you want your VA to possess? What projects/activities do you want them to be working on? Do they match your needs?  Check out their websites, view client testimonials, and examine their profile.

2.  One hat doesn’t fit all.  Although VAs primarily provide administrative support, many are now specializing in different areas of business support. If you’re a speaker, look for a VA that specializes in speaker support; if you need help with your online marketing activities, look for a VA that specializes in this area.  This might mean that you’ll work with more than one virtual assistant but each one has their own unique skills and abilities that they can bring to your business.

3.  Cheaper isn’t always better.  Don’t always go for the cheapest, even if you think they have a great skill-set.  Here’s why… if a VA is charging quite a bit less than the average rate, how many billable hours do you think they are going to have to work or how many clients are they going to have to be serving so that they can make a good living from their business?  I’m betting too many! This translates into too many balls to juggle, work slipping through the cracks, projects not being completed on time, and so comes the bad experiences that I’m hearing about.  Which leads me on to the next point…

4.  Business owner first; VA second.  Like any business owner a virtual assistant will know that they are a business owner first, and a virtual assistant second, and so will be running their business accordingly.  They will have systems in place for handling new client enquiries, and have a firm client consultation process in place.  If, when you approach a potential VA, they ask you to book an appointment for a consultation take this as a very good sign – they have their system in place!  You cannot begin working with a VA unless you’ve had this initial consultation first to ensure that you’re a good fit for one another.  This process is a two-way street and one that is absolutely essential in ensuring you have a great experience in working with a virtual assistant.

5.  Get it in Writing.  Always ensure that you sign an agreement before any work starts so that you both know exactly what is expected of each other. This should include information about the fees, terms & conditions etc.

Bonus tip:  Contact, contact, contact!  And finally, contact your potential VA as many times as you feel necessary to ensure that you are 100% happy with them before any work starts.

Partnering with a virtual assistant is a great business investment for you; they can take a lot of the day-to-day work off your hands, freeing up valuable time for you so that you can focus on growing your business and doing those activities that only you can do, i.e. working one-on-one with clients, developing products etc.

And if you partner with a VA who has a business and marketing mindset they will be able to help you plan, strategize, and achieve your goals as well as making your To Do list their To Do list!

Don’t let prior bad experiences cloud your future decisions.  If you take on board all the tips I’ve shared with you today, I guarantee you’ll find a GREAT virtual assistant!

(c) 2009 Tracey Lawton

About the author:  Office organization expert, Tracey Lawton, teaches professional speakers, coaches, and authors how to create the essential online marketing and office organization systems needed to operate an efficient, organized, and profitable business.  Learn how YOU can create an efficient and organized office in 7 EASY steps, and receive free how-to articles at http://www.OfficeOrganizationSuccess.com

5 Tasks You Can Delegate to Free Up Your Time

Very often solopreneurs owners know they have a need to partner with a Virtual Assistant (VA), but are not really sure how a virtual assistant can help them grow their business – they don’t fully understand what services the VA provides. This is usually discussed during the client consultation process, but sometimes the client can still feel a little overwhelmed and are not sure about delegating their workload – in fact that is how one of my clients felt recently!

If you’ve not partnered with a Virtual Assistant yet, these tasks will make an ideal ‘first project’ for you to work together on.  If you’re already working with a Virtual Assistant, have a planning session with her right away.

By letting go of these five tasks that you SHOULD be delegating ensures that you can free up your time and focus on your clients and income generating activities:

#1 Designing promotions

Need to send seasonal cards to your clients? Or maybe you have a special holiday promotion? A VA can help you here by designing custom cards, calendars, flyers, postcards, brochures, or any other promotional item.

#2 Organizing and maintaining your mailing list

Is your mailing list all together in one place? Or is it on bits of paper and business cards that you’ve collected over several months, or even years? Do you even have a mailing list? Your VA can help you here by setting up and maintaining a mailing list for you.  She can maintain your list all year round so that you can send regular mailings and promotions to your clients.

#3 Sending out your promotions

So, now you have your custom-designed promotions, and your up-to-date mailing list, but do you have the time to send out your promotions? A VA can help you here by sending out your seasonal cards and promotions for you. Once you have your promotional literature and mailing list organised, then your VA can save you HOURS of time by sending them out on your behalf – via email or post.

#4 Planning your Event

Thinking of hosting a teleclass or workshop? Your VA can organize and plan that event for you–from sending out the invitations to collating the RSVPs, producing the literature, or booking the venue – with today’s technology all of this can be done online!

#5 Helping you plan your marketing campaigns

If you’re already thinking ahead, then your VA can assist you by helping you to organize your year-round marketing campaigns.

Your VA is your long-term partner in your business, and a person to hand over those time-draining projects to, giving you the time to focus on your business.

And they want your business to succeed just as much as you do!

(c) Copyright 2008

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About the author:  Office organization expert, Tracey Lawton, teaches professional speakers, coaches, and authors how to create the essential online marketing and office organization systems needed to operate an efficient, organized, and profitable business.  Learn how YOU can create an efficient and organized office in 7 EASY steps, and receive free how-to articles at http://www.OfficeOrganizationSuccess.com

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Are YOU ready for an Online Business Manager?

To my clients I’m much more than their virtual assistant – I’m their Online Business Manager!

So, what does that mean?

Well, my role in their business is to source, set up, and maintain the best online solution for their needs.  I manage their shopping cart, their autoresponders, their ezine.  I continually research and advise on new places for them to promote their products and services.  I work with them to grow their subscriber list!

My client’s want to share their ‘expertise’ with the world, not run a business, so I also take over all those administrative tasks that are taking them away from what they do best and basically get their stuff done!  And we manage all of this through a ‘virtual office’.

In fact, just last week I had a client call with one my clients.  We discussed different ways in which she could grow her list, and how I can support her in doing that.  I offered solutions to some of the problems she was having i.e. not having to write new content for her newsletter each time, but instead revisit some of her popular newsletter articles and update them.  At the end of the call my client said,

Wow, Tracey! I feel like I’ve just had a coaching session.  And here I was thinking I was just going to give you tasks!

Now that’s the role of an Online Business Manager.

Ready to get have an Online Business Manager in YOUR business?  Let’s get started today.  Schedule your complimentary Client Consultation.

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How Did I Know I Needed A VA & Needed to Spend the Bucks?

I just read this great article from one of my fellow Solo-E colleagues, Marcia Merrell, on knowing when to work with a Virtual Assistant!

I thought it summed up the whole VA/client relationship beautifully, and really highighted how you can’t  afford NOT to partner with a VA!  And as it comes from the client’s perspective and not mine 😉 it may be just what you need to hear in order to grow your business!

I had to share it here…

How Did I Know I Needed A VA & Needed to Spend the Bucks?

How Can a Virtual Assistant Support Your Business Growth? (Part 2)

Okay, so in part one I discussed how a Virtual Assistant (VA) can provide you with marketing support so that you can grow your business. In this article, I’ll briefly outline how a VA can provide you with program support so that your Teleclasses and one-on-one programs go without a hitch!

And remember, let’s be clear on roles. The client’s role is to grow their business; my role (as a Virtual Assistant) is to support them in the growth of their business by taking on all of their administrative tasks, thereby allowing them to focus on what they do best!Â

Even though the client might be quite happy to carry out some or all of these administrative tasks, they really need to ask themselves if this is really the best use of their time? Is it a job they could delegate to me?  Wouldn’t their time be much better spent on growing their business/income generating activities/working with clients etc?

Program Support

One-on-One Programs

I can take on all of the administrative tasks associated with working one-on-one with clients. These can be tasks such as:

  • Confirming appointments with clients
  • Scheduling appointments with clients
  • Sending them out a Welcome Packet
  • Designing client contact sheets, program overviews, client tracking etc.
  • Invoicing clients

To be able to confirm and schedule appointments I need access to client’s calendars. When I start working with a client I set them up with their own ‘virtual office’ through HyperOffice, so that we both have access to calendars, and can schedule appointments.

Teleclasses

Organizing and running teleclasses can be a huge drain on your time. Here’s how I currently support clients with their teleclasses:

  • Set up a Teleclass autoresponder so participants can sign up automatically
  • Update website with details of the Teleclass and include a sign-up form which integrates with autoresponder
  • Send notification of the upcoming Teleclass to list
  • Source and set up a Teleconference company – see Teleconference Guide
  • Transcribe Teleclass afterwards so that the transcript/audio can be made available to participants or sold via website
  • Set up a shopping cart to receive and process Teleclass payments

Services that I use to manage and organize Teleclasses are:

I hope that I have given you some great ideas and insights into how collaborating with a Virtual Assistant can support your business growth. Remember though, that each VA will have their own unique set of skills and expertise, so before you partner with a VA I always recommend taking advantage of their Complimentary Client Consultation – most VAs will offer you one!