In today’s conversation, I am joined by Victoria Klein. Victoria is an author, a strategist, and a certified online business manager, dedicated to helping authors, podcasters, and individuals alike. She likes to cultivate curiosity to have thriving businesses and live meaningful offline lives. She's been an entrepreneur her entire adult life, starting five businesses in 15 years, all of which operated with a 50% profit margin. Her current focus is on writing her third book, a memoir, and a self-improvement guide – through 15 years of depression, anxiety, false starts, wrong turns, and getting the f*** out of your own way personally and professionally. When she is not following her curiosity into a new book, restaurant, or conversation, you can find Victoria studying Japanese with the goal of spending three months a year in Japan.
If this bio shows us anything, it’s that you don't always have to just do one thing. You do need to be very clear about each business, but you can run multiple businesses at the same time. With Victoria, we have 3 main pillars: author, strategist, and OBM. But running different businesses, as separate entities was overwhelming. For Victoria, it all has to relate to each other, because she can't compartmentalize. She wants to be able to talk about all the things all the time. This is one of the reasons she became a system pro because she needed to make the system work for her.
Victoria’s career started with writing. Writing has always been her most comfortable method of communication. Soon, alongside writing came a number of other creative endeavors. She was a model, as well as an actress for years. So, that kind of creativity has always swirled. But that's only one part of Victoria because at the same time, she is also very analytical. Over the years with all the experience running her own businesses, she started to wonder – can I do this for other people? This is where her career as an OBM (Online Business Manager) began.
What is an Online Business Manager (OBM)?
If you are not familiar with this term, an OBM is a step under the CEO. They are not only the gatekeeper between the rest of the team, and the CEO, but they're also the manager of all the things.
- They manage the projects
- They help organize everything
- They create systems and processes
The CEO is the visionary and that's a very important distinction because it can start to get really gray between the CEO and the OBM. The OBM needs to stand her ground. They do not make the visionary decisions for the company. That is the responsibility of the CEO and the OBM is there with their experience, their strategies and they can offer options. But, it is never the OBM’s job to decide the strategy.
Victoria encourages a rather diverse selection of metrics and tracking (at least six at all times). But you also need to know what key metrics you're tracking.
For example, if you're trying to grow your email list that is a metric you need to pay much more close attention to, then what website traffic are you getting. You need to know where people are signing up and why they're signing up!
- are they signing up for a freebie?
- are they signing up on this page because you said something specific?
You need to know what's working, what's not working, and what should you try more of!
- Do you need more blog posts?
- Do you need more videos?
- Should you do this or that?
Then you choose a strategy and you try it for a little while, track the metrics and see how it works.
Don't overlook your finances
Another important thing is your finances. Finances are just another collection of numbers, but the numbers don't lie to you, they are completely unemotional, and they're very brutal. Pretending they're not there will not make them go away. Being very aware of your numbers is good. If you don't have a bookkeeper, you need to hire one, because you should not be the one actually tracking that. Have at least a monthly meeting to see where you are going, what worked, what didn't. Like that you'll be able to make predictions based on the past. If you have a high-level VA or an OBM, they should be updating numbers for you before the meeting. That way you can have a straightforward conversation.
Want to hire an Online Business Manager?
There are a number of benchmarks you can use for when to hire an OBM. Most of the time we focus on a financial one, because an OBM is a significant expense, and it is a consistent monthly expense. So, that is something to keep in mind. It is an investment, but you shouldn't go into debt, just to hire an OBM. There are steps you can take in between to prepare for an OBM.
- If you're located in the USA, Victoria recommends that you make at least $10,000 a month consistently (and that's revenue into the business) for at least six months, and you're able to predict that that will continue. The reason being is that a really high-quality VA can be anywhere from $3,000 to $5,000 a month. This obviously depends on how much work you're providing them with. What sort of agreements you have with them, etc. You can find them more affordable if they're starting out, but if they're certified they're going to require being paid more because they have a different standard. The good news is that you will get what you pay for!
- If this is too much for you at the moment, most OBMs (including Victoria) offer Interim packages, as well as one-off services to help you establish SOPs in a day. This way, you pay one flat fee, you work with an OBM, you get a lot set up, and you get your processes started. Any other team members you have are recruited to write the SOPs as well. This gives you something to work off of, to get you started, to create a stronger foundation for yourself.
The beauty of systems and processes
The beauty of setting up systems and processes is it frees up the visionary to be the visionary. They're not bogged down with customer service inquiries or tracking the metrics. If all this seems so far away and you think, you will never get there- it's not as far away as you think! Get your foundations straight and have your system on autopilot on a mini scale. This will enable you to create that minimum revenue you need and once you have that in place, once you get more targeted it means more revenue even further. So, you're just going to grow effortlessly.
Victoria now offers intensives, allowing you to hire her for the day and get 3-months of work (that you would do with an OBM) done in just 6 hours. Visit Victoria’s website or her Instagram to find out more.