I hear it all the time — Online Business Manager, OBM, How to become an OBM… and I never understood what it meant or how it was different from being a virtual assistant!
That’s why I’m so excited to introduce you to Sarah Noked, who’s here today to explain the difference between an Online Business Manager and a Virtual Assistant, what kind of people are best for both roles, and what business owners would hire each role for.
From the moment I met Sarah I knew I had to have her on the podcast ASAP!
What resonated with me about Sarah was her story — Going from overworked and underpaid, desperate to leave her 9-5, to a multi-6 figure OBM business-owning queen.
I know many of you listening today can totally relate to that, and Sarah’s here today as proof that it IS POSSIBLE for you to go from side-hustle to self-employed and have that dream life!
Sarah doesn’t sugarcoat what it takes to build a successful business, but she’s there to teach you exactly the steps you need to take to be successful.
If you’re wanting to start your OBM business, or you’re curious to learn the difference between OBM’ing and Virtual Assisting like I was, then let’s get started!
Sarah and I talk about:
- Sarah’s journey to become a certified online business manager.
- What an Online Business Manager (OBM) is and what they do.
- The knowledge and skills needed to become an OBM.
- Sarah’s path from a VA to certified OBM with a multiple 6-figure agency.
- How to get started as an OBM.
- Sarah’s advice for someone who is struggling to get traction in their side hustle.
- The belief Sarah had to change about herself to get where she is today.
My favorite quotes from Sarah:
- “I'm also really obsessed with helping people grow successful online businesses with stability and systems.”
- “Everybody has systems in their business.”
- “I'm so grateful for the things that I have and the ability to teach other women to be able to have a sustainable life and business from home.”
- “If you want to make this side hustle work, you actually have to really get clear on your value and charge for it.”
Shannon Mattern: Sarah, thank you so much for being here on pep talks for side hustlers. Can you share a little bit more with our audience about you and what you do,
Sarah Noked: Right? Yeah. So, um, my name is Sarah OCAD. I am a certified online business manager and about, Oh, about three, four years ago, I became one of very few certified trainers. So I, for the last three years have been solely training certified OBMs and helping to create liaisons between online business managers and clients, as well as just, you know, bringing a lot to the community at large and just, you know, showing women and men that there are other opportunities out there. Um, I, so I, for one I'm Canadian originally, but I live in Israel now. So I moved 10 years ago and moving, you know, all the way across the sea was an opportunity for me to just try something new. And I had to be resourceful. I knew that, you know, working a nine to five was not going to suffice for me. So I started the side hustle and I did the whole virtual assistant thing, um, on the side of my corporate job.
Sarah Noked: And then I was just like, this is never gonna really necessarily get me to where I want to be. Um, and that's when I discovered the international association of OBMs cause I was like still I'm like VA side hustling, but still, you know, Googling, how do I legitimately make work from home? And I know you listeners can relate to this. So one thing led to the other and I became a certified OBM and I have over the last almost decades scaled a multi six figure agency. Um, I've been solo OBM, I've had employees, contractors, and I just feel like I've really been able to take this, um, to the direction I want. Cause I've also had three kids along the way. So I've all my kids are, you know, seven and under. So it's been crazy. It's been some wild times, but like, I mean, I wouldn't change it for the world. I love what I do.
Shannon Mattern: I have so many questions and I want to start off with, for those of you who might be listening in are thinking like, what is an online business manager? Can you break down for us? What a, what an online business manager is and what they do.
Sarah Noked: Yeah, absolutely. So an online business manager or commonly referred to as an OBM basically, um, we are like sort of synonymous with an integrator or a director of operations or a project manager. Um, so we are, we are essentially managing people's businesses, which means, you know, making sure the right things happen by the right people at the right time. And it's really appropriate for an entrepreneur or a small business owner to bring on an OBM when they are at their bursting point. Meaning, you know, they recognize that they need to delegate the management and bigger picture responsibilities in order to focus on making more revenue or to focus on, you know, creating that new product. So essentially, you know, I mean an entrepreneur will bring on somebody when they're really ready for it. They'll bring on an OBM. Um, it takes a special revenue point and business side and there's gotta be a team in business to manage.
Sarah Noked: So really big on kind of educating people, you know, showing clients can, you're maybe ready for a virtual assistant right now. Okay. You're at the point where you're ready to bring on an OBM in addition to that VA. So we typically will work, you know, on businesses with teams and launch management, project management, you know, all that good stuff, metrics management, big proponent of link systems and SOP set ups and you know, all that fun stuff. My personal background is business development. So I'm also really obsessed with helping people grow successful online businesses with stability and systems. So that like, look I'm on the three, like I don't want to work 24 seven and I want to be able to take a holiday. So I wouldn't try to like tell someone something that I don't personally use in my own business, or haven't tried before.
Shannon Mattern: I love that you've mentioned that an business manager is someone who would, you know, run the higher level operations. So can you tell, share a little bit more like what's the difference between the role of a OBM and a virtual assistant?
Sarah Noked: Yeah, that's a really fantastic question. In my opinion, every single business, regardless of the size or stage of business they're in needs a virtual assistant, you know, there always needs to be a Dewar and there always needs to be like a, um, like someone who can come up with the big picture and holds the vision and the strategy. And it's very hard to wear both those hats, which is oftentimes why entrepreneurs will burn out. So I'm always like get that VA on your team. So a virtual assistant, again, is the Dewar there, you know, setting up, scheduling your emails, they're managing client care. They might be creating graphics for you or transcribing something like, you know, it runs the gamut on all the things. Whereas an OBM is really focused on just the management pieces. So you'd see us managing a launch or strategizing with a client on things, how things need to roll out and making sure that they happen or, you know, assisting the client to create that new course and making sure that it, you know, sometimes even implementing, but it's a bigger, you know, bigger kind of picture implementation where it's there's strategy involved and how does this integrate?
Sarah Noked: And, you know, what's the, what's the system that we're developing here so that, you know, the, the entrepreneur has the peace of mind knowing, okay, my business is in good hands. This person understands and cares just as much as I do. Uh, but again, you know, it's a specific revenue level. So typically, um, a client who's ready for an OBM is usually making over 10 to 15,000 a month in gross revenue, like at the, at the Adam minimum and anywhere to about a million and a half in total yearly, you know, revenue, gross revenue. But again, you know, it's, it shifts like it's not like set in stone or anything like that, but I feel like once you're over a million and you have all the things and you really need to look at bringing on someone on from a nine to five, instead of having a flexible OBM who can, you know, it's a little bit more economical, let's say to bring on somebody who can manage that you and a few other clients on the side. It's great. It's a great income for an OBM great for the client. Win-win. Yeah,
Shannon Mattern: Absolutely. And I think, you know, I think where I see a lot of people in my audience or community get frustrated is that they hire a VA expecting an OBM, you know? So do you see that a lot with what you're saying?
Sarah Noked: I do. Oh, I do. And you know, I feel like the unfortunate reality is that every business could benefit from an OBM, but it, and as OBMs, you know, this is what I tell my students. I'm like, look, you, you have to protect your own business. You know, you can't take on clients that aren't a good fit, even though, you know, you can help them and you want to help them. And you, you know, they're making an impact with their business and all of the things. But I try to get them to understand that look in the long run, it's not the best fit because an OBM needs to be on the team for a minimum of 90 days, minimum even have six months to really set up the systems, create value, like free up the OBS, uh, free up the client rather to go and create the things that they need to create, build the team, all the things. So, you know, it's just, yeah, it is what it is, I guess.
Shannon Mattern: Yeah. I feel like it's, you know, a lot of times what I hear is like people come in, people want someone to just like, come in and, you know, get their business organized. So they don't have to be the one to like delegate. And so they, they just, I mean, I think like want a VA to come in and like build their systems for them and do all this stuff for them. And then they get like frustrated and unhappy that, that doesn't happen when they didn't hire the right person for that. Like, you know, and so I just, I find that fascinating because you know, an OBM is a term that I've, I've only really heard, you know, in the past, maybe 12, 12 to 18 months. And I know you guys have been around for
Sarah Noked: Yeah. I mean, I've been certified since 2011.
Shannon Mattern: Yeah. So I just, I think, you know, when we're talking, I'm talking to online businesses and they're like, Oh yeah, everybody needs a VA. I don't hear like people saying like, Oh no, you need an OBM. And, and I, and I just, I, I think that's where, um, where they, you can really take it to the next level when it's not just you're delegating tasks that like are not in your zone of genius and all of that. You're really having
Sarah Noked: I'm like that you need to do anyways. Right. Like I think, I think for some of us bootstrapping entrepreneurs, like there's a, there's a time and a place like, you know, I too, at the beginning of my journey online, you know, you had asked me about like my first six to eight months. And I remember, you know, I hated writing. There were so many pieces. I hated about building a business, but I knew that I had to do them and I bootstrapped them. Or if I was resourceful, I would maybe project manage one or two kind of contractors to get that project together. Now I recognize that not everybody has a project mindset, but there are things that I will tell my clients and clients who want to work with entrepreneurs. Like you need to set your systems up. And they're like, well, I don't have systems in my business.
Sarah Noked: Or I don't really know what the systems are. My business. I'm like, look, everybody has systems in their business. It's not like you just make these up. You know, it's how you onboard a client or awkward a client. If you're a coach or, you know, how you manage a project, if you're a web designer, like all of these things are systems that you already have. It's just whether you choose to reinvent the wheel every time you onboard a client or every time you roll out a project. So I think it's important for us as business owners to do our, our due diligence, set up the systems and start to document things before we bring on team members. Cause that's by far, especially in the virtual space, the highest or the most, I think valid reason for high team turnover, just cause there's no systems, there's no organization.
Sarah Noked: And genuinely that the client is a visionary. They're not a project manager. They're not a systems or operation person. So it's like, of course, you know, they're, I lovingly say successful despite themselves because I've seen clients making like, Oh my God, like tens of thousands of dollars in revenue every month. And I'm like, seriously, you don't have a project management tool or really like, you don't know what the sales person on your team is doing. Like, how do you sleep at nighttime? They're like, I don't, we don't. I'm like, well, that really accounts for why you're still working 24 seven because you have no peace of mind. So, you know, I feel like you have to put your time in and, you know, unless you're going to take out a line of credit to invest in an OBM or systems in your business, which I don't recommend, you know, you have to do the hard work yourself and that's business development.
Sarah Noked: And the reason why people don't do it is it, cause it takes up way too many brain cells, honestly, you know, we've got two solid hours in the day, you know, if you're a mom or whatever, like it can be even less, you know? So like if you have like two hours of like brain juice time where you can sit down and like go from, start to finish, baking out a system or streamlining something like you need to just have time for your business development and setting up systems. And also too, cause I'm on the topic of team. I will say that when you're thinking of hiring a team member, think about the team member, that's going to be on your team in a year from now not the one that you needed three months ago or four months ago or when you started.
Shannon Mattern: Oh, so, so good. I think that's all like fantastic advice. And it's just like, yeah, it's like the next time you sit down to go do that thing that you always do, just pull out a piece of paper and write down all of this stuff.
Sarah Noked: Literally like, like I love loom, that's my number. Like even if it's like a five hour long loom, people can watch it on double the time. It's still going to save you those five or more hours of having to like convey the information and all the nuances, you know,
Shannon Mattern: I love it. So on the flip side, you know, we're talking about what businesses, you know, who's right for an OBM, what kind of person makes a great OBM
Sarah Noked: Somebody who loves to clean up a mess. So I that's like the number one thing I get on my, you know, discovery calls with potential people who want to become an OBM. They're like, I just really love to get in there and clean up, you know, the projects, the people, the team, um, I love organizing, I love telling people what to do. I'm a real control freak. I'm type a like it's like that person that's like, and also too, they're sort of humble and introverted in a sense where they're like, well, you know, I'm not going to charge for project management because I'm really good at it. I'm like, no, these are the things you actually do need to charge for, you know, but they're like, but it comes so naturally to me and I just really love doing it. I love helping people. I love strategizing and you know, bouncing ideas off of one another.
Sarah Noked: And I'm like, no, that's actually really valuable. So I think it's also because there's a of these VA's, I call them the OBMs and disguise where they're like the VA for a long time and they're doing all the things plus the strategy and it's, and then they're like wondering why they get burnt out or, or, or they're too hesitant to scale their team because their pill, their pay rate with the client is that a VA rate that they can't, there's no meat left on the bone. If they actually bring on a VA to take some of that responsibility off their hands so that they can scale. So I see people really in that phase where they want more for themselves and they're doing more, but they're spinning their wheels with the wrong client. I'm like that client doesn't serve you like you serve them. So it has to be a really good match. And you know, it's funny. Cause you mentioned that, you know, over the last 18 months, I think over the last three years, I would say there's been a really big uptick in like people wanting to work with OEMs just naturally online businesses and you know, offline businesses have to have an online presence. There's just more happening in the online space. Like businesses are more sophisticated, there's more revenue and stuff coming. There's more tactics and strategies. It's just an amazing place to be in right now.
Shannon Mattern: So if someone wants to become an OBM, you know, do they need to know all of the techie backend systems to be able to do that? Or how does that, how does that
Sarah Noked: Yeah. Their knowledge level. Honestly, that's a great question. Cause I, you know, I, someone, I, myself, I love technology. I love, I also recognize that it's, it's always evolving and I think there's, there's peace of mind for me knowing I'll never know everything and know, nor will anyone else I'm like, okay. So I'm okay with that. But I think people become very intimidated with, um, Google or YouTube. I'm like, everything is on Google and YouTube, you know, every kind of new technology and they're so user-friendly like, I remember when I started off as an OBM and in my first six months I was building my own website and I was like, of course I'm going to bootstrap WordPress. That's another characteristic of an OB. I'm like, of course you're going to learn everything on your own. So I bootstrapped WordPress, you know, and then in the end just hired somebody to build it for me, you know?
Sarah Noked: But I feel like there's so much that we like, even now you have these Jobbik drag and drop templates, like you wouldn't even be in a position where it would take you that long to figure out WordPress. So it's like, things have evolved with my guys. It's so easy now. Like everything is really, really, almost like the other, like, you know, or this new project. Like I like click up now. I'm like, well, that's something new. I, you know, it's a new project management tool. You should I move to it? Shouldn't I move to, I'm like, well, if it's not broke, don't fix it. And you know, they're all the same characteristics and qualities, you know? So it's, you know, I think people just have to be really, um, okay. With the being uncomfortable or like as Marie Forleo would say everything is figureoutable. I say that like on a regular basis and like guys, everything is figureoutable and my mantra is like, no small babies were harmed. Like this is an online business. It's not like, you know, we're not, I mean, we're, we're, we're making an impact and helping people, but we're not, you know, at that life or death type situation. So it's like, it's easy. It's great.
Shannon Mattern: I love that answer because you know, I can imagine, you know, I, as a former web designer, um, who now teaches people how to DIY it's like, I get a thousand questions, like, should I use this tool? Should I use that tool? Which is the right tool, all the things that I'm like, it doesn't matter. They all do the same thing. They just call it something different and they, you know, so it's really just a matter of, are you the kind of person who is just willing to dig in and figure it out? Like all of these companies have knowledge bases, tech support, like a thousand different ways. Other people like me creating courses on how to use it. Like there's no reason to be afraid of, you know, of like technology, especially when it cuts. And especially like you said, if it's the kind of person who's like, Oh, I love cleaning up a mess. They're not going to be afraid of any kind of technical tool they're like, give me the password. I'll figure it.
Sarah Noked: Exactly. Yeah. Or like, yeah, totally. I hear you on that. So I mean, technology is like, I don't know. I like, I like that it's evolving. I think it makes, it makes it a challenge for us. It gives us work. It like evolves. This economy of like feels more and more like we're in a vacuum in a way, you know, this online space.
Shannon Mattern: And I think, you know, kind of like when you liken it to like the person that's like, Oh, I love project management. So I won't charge for that piece. It's like, Oh, I love technology comes easy to me. So I won't charge for that piece. It's like, no, that's your super power.
Sarah Noked: Yeah. You gotta, like, you gotta like leverage that in market. That that's your thing. That's what you need to lead with. And it's just, I feel like, you know, there's just a subset of us that just like to play or our best qualities down, you know? And like, no, no, that that's just stops here. You know, if this is something that you want to do, and there's so many women and men that come with these transferable skills from corporate and they want to work from home and you know, they've been, I get it all the time. I was like, I was an executive assistant. I used to manage $3 million budgets was the right hand to the CEO. You know, do you think that I can do this online thing? I'm like, are you kidding me? Like whatever you were doing, then it was like a million times harder and a million times more pressure.
Sarah Noked: You know, now it's just, I think it's the onus on you. Cause you need to maybe come up with the business and develop the business, but you've got the skillset or they're like, I'm a mom. Like, am I going to be able to do this? I'm like, well, you juggle everything in life too. Like I spent, Oh my God. So many years of my life working from like eight 30, till one 30 in the morning, you know, naturally, cause I've got little kids and it's the only time that I have to think like now it's 10 30. I'm like pepped up. Like, it's go time for me because it is like used to working these hours, you know, also. So
Shannon Mattern: I love it. So I want to talk about like your personal business growth. I mean, you know, you you've, you started off, um, you know, doing, like you said, kind of doing all the things and how did you what's what's the path from where you started to the multi-six figure
Sarah Noked: Agency? Yeah. I'd love to share that story. So, I mean, I started off as a VA. I was making definitely not as much as I was making in corporate understandably. Um, and it was when I got pregnant with my daughter, who's now almost seven years old that I was like, I'm getting certified, um, NEF at this VA stuff I have to get certified. This is what's going to position me in front of clients that, you know, I had an MBA was already doing the corporate business development gig. I'm like, I'm not really someone's assistant. And I say that with all the love and respect in the world, but I was like, this is not me. Um, you know, I'm, I'm wanting to, I'm growing their teams. I'm helping them with HR. I'm strategizing with them, like was doing so much more. Um, so when I became a certified OBM and I was on my mat leave, it was literally the day that I told my boss, I wasn't coming back to work was the day that I got my first OBM client.
Sarah Noked: And it was like the most glorious day. Um, and it was the day of, it was the day also where I had just finally gotten my revenue up with that new client. Like now it was going to hit five, like five K a month. And I was like, yes, now I can leave my corporate job. And then it just snowballed, you know, I did the whole solo BM thing for a couple of years and was making my nice six figure salary on that, you know, I'd hit 10 K months. Wouldn't be, you know, so foreign for me with just three or four clients as an OBM where I would like to do that with an as with the VA business, you'd need like 15 clients. And I was like, I'm not, I can't manage that many personalities. So I had my few clients, I was sitting pretty.
Sarah Noked: And then what I realized, cause I live in Israel and as an Anglo that lives here and, you know, you know, even, I mean, I'm sure fluent in Hebrew now, but I definitely wasn't back then. I was suddenly meeting all of these Americans and Canadians who also have fallen in love with Israeli and, and ended up here. And they were like, can you help me? I've got this great background, I've got a master's or whatever. So I was finding out that there were all of these people here and I was like, it suddenly became a, um, I became really driven to help these people make money, you know, working from home and I wanted to profit off of it as well, you know, from being truly honest. Um, and that's what started the agency and it was, I was totally like agency employment model. So I had, at one point there was five of us full time employees on the team.
Sarah Noked: And, um, I did that for a good three, four years. And then, um, I, in, in tandem I hand selected by Tina foresight and the international association of OBMs to start training and certifying people. Um, and then it sort of became this like where I was like straddling, you know, I was making great money, you know, I was doing like I was doing, you know, Hunter Kaimana it's like, I was making really great money, but I was like working 24 seven. We had clients in all the time zone. So mostly U S Australia and the, so it was like all the time zones. And I was also teaching courses and, you know, having to hold space for women and men that were, and to the certified OBM role. And I just had to, at one point be like, okay, the agency I love, but I'm going to split that up amongst the people that were at, I certified them.
Sarah Noked: And I was like, now you go and spread your wings and fly. And I'm going to focus on training because I have a much bigger vision to share with the world. And I see now more than ever with having like, you know, hundreds of clients and just a really successful agency that there's, the demand is clear to me that this is something that is not going away and I can help more women, more women and men work from home, be with their kids. Like I'm home. When my kids get off school, I drop them off in the morning. Like I take it easy in the morning. Cause like, you know, things are quiet around where most of my clients are. And then at nighttime, after the kids go to sleep, I pipe up for a little bit and then that's it, the day is done.
Sarah Noked: So I'm really loving it. And it's just been so much so fun. And I like, I had this pipe dream way back when I started, when I was still daydreaming. And I know a lot of, a lot of listeners can relate to this, of wanting to get out of corporate. Like I had this big dream of having like a VA agency with like literally 50 VAs. And I had actually like mapped out my business plan and financially what that was going to look like. And I wish I wish to God, I still had it today. Cause I think I would literally like, I would like spit out my wine all over it because I was like, Oh my God, you know, this is just, it was like, not anything like I would have imagined it, but it's amazing. And I, and I'm so happy that I took the risk and, and left my corporate job for something that I knew was, yeah, it was scary. It was scary as hell I had a baby. My husband was in school. You know, we were like, I was living in a foreign country. I'll be at the weather's much nicer here, but
Shannon Mattern: I love that story. And a couple of things that stood out to me was just like, you kind of followed the thread of, um, of what you were experiencing, like what you were hearing from people like really seeing those opportunities and not shying away from like being the person that could help them. You know, instead of saying like, Oh, here I'll point you in the direction of someone who can help you, you really like stepped into that and um, and saw that opportunity to become the person that could help them transform. And I think that that's, um, just, just one thing that I, that I think, you know, listener people, listening, you know, those are clues to you when people are asking you how you're doing, what you're doing, that there could be an upper level opportunity for you to kind of like step into something beyond what it is. The thing that it is that you're doing.
Sarah Noked: Amen. Yes. I a hundred percent agree with that. And it's such a beautiful thing when you win. It's so empowering to help others. You know, it definitely is. I get so much energy. I get energized from help from seeing women meet their revenue goals or leave their corporate job or finally step into their own. Cause you know, entrepreneurship really is a personal growth journey. Like, gosh, yeah, you have to really be, have to like, remind yourself, you have to put like that sticky note on your computer. Cause otherwise, you know, you just, you kind of lose sight of like what your vision and goals are. So I'm very, also very goal oriented too. You know, I set goals for myself and I'm also not afraid to pivot, especially like in these times, you know, we have to really be light on our feet and keep that open to opportunity. Like if, if people are asking you and you feel like you can help people, there's nothing more rewarding than helping somebody get to where they want to be in my mind. And it's just an incredible world that we live in that we can really help people at that at this level.
Shannon Mattern: Absolutely. And I, you know, it's, it's so funny that you say like, it is a personal growth journey and I talk about that on this podcast all the time, but this podcast was like born out of like me needing to share my own personal growth journey, going from side hustle to, um, what I called self-employed before I really identified as like an entrepreneur and all that. And so
Sarah Noked: Kind of putting it down a little bit, but it's like, no, no, no.
Shannon Mattern: Yeah. From the rooftops that's exactly. Exactly. So, and then the other thing that, that you said that made me think, wow, you know, it was, it felt scary back then to leave corporate for this, but you're feeling all they fit. Yeah. They're just like crazy. Oh my God. Get away from benefits and all the things. And it's like, I feel, I feel more powerful now and then I ever did. Yeah. I mean, and it, it, it really is. It's like you decide that you're going to make this work no matter what, and you just do the things, you know, it's, it's not like you're no longer beholden to someone else, even though it feels like you're maybe leaving behind some security. I think it's almost like the myth that we have all bought into for, you know, so long that someone else is responsible for our financial security. Yeah.
Sarah Noked: Yeah. I agree with you on that. It's quite crazy. Yeah.
Shannon Mattern: Yeah. So speaking of this interview is going to be coming out later in 2020. So who knows what the world is? Um, but it's, it's about, uh, the end of May, 2020 when we're talking, what are you hearing from your community, um, your audience or your customers about, um, with everything going on with the global pandemic and, you know, I was hearing from my audience, like they're afraid. They think people aren't spending money, people aren't going to hire them, all of these things. And I really had to like have a moment with them to get their minds back on straight. But I wanted to know like what you, what you were, what you're hearing from your audience on your side and what your thoughts are. Yeah,
Sarah Noked: Absolutely. I mean, I'm, I'm definitely, you know, there are some, I do speak to OBMs and VAs quite regularly. So there obviously have been some businesses that have, you know, unfortunately not survived during these times. And you know, quite honestly a lot of them probably wouldn't have survived to begin with. Right. No. So I will say that, but the other thing that's coming up is that all these businesses are pivoting quote unquote, and they are moving their services online or they're moving their courses online. So all the OEMs in particular that I talked to they're like, I'm swamped more than ever. This system that was working for all these years is now broken because the whole kind of object, I think for an, an OBM is to get things streamlined. So that things pretty much operate on auto to an extent, you know, when you're just kind of checking in.
Sarah Noked: So when one big system breaks or suddenly the offline event is now online, then it creates a lot of work and a lot of sort of being in reactionary mode, which is never where we want to be as OBM. So there's, there's been no shortage of work. Um, and I, and I don't see in the clients that I sort of advise and, you know, being on the, Oh, like, you know, working with people who are hiring, OBMs like, there's been no real. I mean, maybe there's been blips here and there, but I mean, is coming in, people are selling online courses. Like there's no, like I'm sure the eCommerce is like somewhat alive and well, you know, in, in light of everything that's happening. But the, the really fantastic thing that I'm seeing that surprised me is I'm seeing a lot of people from corporate who are finally ready to like leave their corporate job.
Sarah Noked: Cause they're already working from home. Like I spoke to my best friend and I was like, so how's it working from home? She works at a bank, you know, in hedge funds. And she's like, Oh my God, it's amazing. And I was like, see, all of these years that you were like, making me feel bad for working from home and like, Oh, is you bored? Don't you want to get dressed and put on makeup? Like I was like, now that I know now I know you're relying to me all those years because she's like, she's like totally working from home was the best thing ever. And she can say that cause she'll probably be working from home at least until the end of this year. So I'm seeing like corporate people having that change of heart and finally making the shift. I'm also seeing a lot of like coaches and, um, you know, other kinds of business owners, you know, wanting to offer these OEM services too, because they're like, well, you know, it's kind of what I've been doing where I feel like I can also offer that in tandem. So they're like looking to kind of expand their offerings.
Shannon Mattern: Yeah. I totally agree. I'm seeing so much opportunity. I, the web designers that I mentor are like, Oh yeah, like
Sarah Noked: I'll be so busy because then suddenly everyone's like, Oh my God, my website actually matters all these years, but I never invested any time and energy. And now I have to, or my business won't
Shannon Mattern: Yeah. Now I need it to actually do stuff for me instead of just sit there doing nothing. Yeah. Yeah. But I also think, you know, some of the fears that I heard from my audience, I'm like, Oh, these are things you've always thought it's just now being bubbling to the surface because of this. It's like you, you were always worried that no one was going to hire you. You always felt like people couldn't afford you. And so this I I'm like, this is a perfect,
Shannon Mattern: Perfect opportunity for you
Shannon Mattern: On your, on your business mindset. It's not just this other things are going to happen. So what are some, yeah, go ahead.
Sarah Noked: Yeah. I mean, people have these limiting beliefs that they, you know, they could only do X, Y, and Z or only make this much money or serve this many clients or, or offer this service. And it's just like, you know, again, you know, it's, that goes back to the whole personal growth development. Like you have to, at some point, write that down and be like, okay, this, I recognize that that's my limiting belief. And I'm going to choose to not believe that any more, even though it's hard for me, you know, like I used to think that, I mean, like in retrospect, and obviously, you know, hindsight is 2020, but like how was I ever fearful of leaving corporate? Like if I could see myself in 10 years, I would have been like, I would have been like, get me outta here. And I would've told my boss to like, you know, and I would have left, you know, I'd be like, no, cause I, I knew I wouldn't was never going back there again or anywhere for that matter. And I was going to create the, all the opportunities for myself thus forward. So I think we just live in amazing times. Really. I'm so grateful for, um, for the things that I have and, you know, the ability to teach other women, especially, you know, be able to have, you know, a sustainable life and business from home.
Shannon Mattern: Absolutely. I could not agree more. I think that the opportunity for anyone that wants it is there and the only thing that's standing in their way is their own thoughts about whether or not that they can have it. And I know that that's like true for me too. Back when I started, you know, it's the only thing standing in my way. It was my belief about whether or not it was possible. Thank goodness I had enough belief to keep going, but I made it way harder on myself than I need.
Sarah Noked: I always, the first thing I tell my students is like, you need to be really clear about your, why, like you have to really, it has to, it can't just be like to make more money or to have like a little bit of flexibility. Like, you know, if it ha, and for me, I was like, it had to be about my kids. Cause like, I know maybe it's not great to make your why about somebody else. But I was like, that's a big part of my life. And you know, it's, it's an opportunity. And I want my kids to have a certain lifestyle. I want to be able to fly to Canada at the drop of a hat and not have to ask my boss for time off. Like, that was my why. And it was strong enough to get me through anything. Cause it was a matter of seeing my family or not. And now I know that a lot of people might not be in that circumstance, but you almost have to like create a circumstance around yourself that makes it like it's this or nothing. Like I have to do this because of X, Y, and Z.
Shannon Mattern: It has to be a non negotiable. Absolutely. I totally agree. Um, and you know, I've, I've, I always ask people that come on the show, like, you know, how did you transition from corporate? And um, some people get fired. Some people, um, you know, some people started the side hustle and take three years to transition. Like I did other people are having kids and didn't want to go back to work. Like there's so many reasons, but it all boils down to like there was a non negotiable why that like kept them going. And, um, I think it's better. Uh, well, not better, but like, if you can be in control of that, why and decide that for yourself instead of waiting for letting it happen to you.
Sarah Noked: Oh my God. Yes. Oh, that's yeah.
Shannon Mattern: Then I think you're like, you know, starting, you have an advantage. I think if you create your, why instead of having it created for you,
Sarah Noked: I feel like, you know, it's just like sort of putting our power in the man with, in terms of corporate and being like, I'm just going to let corporate decide. It's sort of the same thing when we're choosing to be an entrepreneur, you're sort of, you're almost waiting for like life to shine upon you and make you feel all warm and tingly inside. Like it's the right thing to do, but it's the complete opposite. You're nauseous. You can't sleep. You're thinking all the time you're on adrenaline because you're like neat. You're wanting to move from a certain state of mind and body to a different state of mind and body. And I think people have this, this sort of fantasy land that it's going to be like all butterfly and roses and, you know, the harps will kind out and so on, but it's really like, it's an uncomfortable thing to make that change. So I think that deters people because they feel like, Oh, this is a bad sign, but really, I mean, it has to, it has to be hard, otherwise nobody would, you know, everyone would want to do it. So yeah,
Shannon Mattern: He just described my experience very, very well. It's like, you do have to transition from external validation from your employer, employee, employee mindset, external validation that I'm doing a good job and they're still paying me and they're giving me the raise and I'm just like looking up like waiting for them for whatever too, on the flip side, like that messy middle of like, okay, now I want the clients to pay me and I'm waiting for them to tell me, validate me. And you know, all of this to finally like stepping fully into the entrepreneur where it's like, no, I am amazing. And they would be lucky to work with me. And, you know, I dictate all the terms of how this happens. I decide what services there are. I'm in control of all of this and I'll go out and find the right people. And I think that, that took me a long time to like, not a long time, but that was my journey from like employee to freelancer, to entrepreneur. Um, and it's so worth it.
Sarah Noked: Yeah. I think also too sometimes, like I see this a lot with VA's transitioning to be OBMs and I was there too, you know, when you're a VA and you're set, you're used to being someone's assistant. It's very much like that employee role where you're used to getting your validation and being told what to do. So it's, it really is such a mindset shift, you know? And when you're coming into, like, you know, whether it be managing your own business or managing yourself within your business, or like, I think it's really leadership to, you know, being, you're a leader to yourself and, you know, in your life. So I think it's just such a wonderful transformation transition. And it's obviously, you know, it's definitely not for the faint of heart at all, but there's so much opportunity for people who are like, and, you know, I mean, I think the unfortunate thing, like you were talking about, like, don't wait until it's too late because there does come a time where suddenly, you know, financially and you've got suddenly, you've got three kids, like, you know, I've got three kids now and you know, I'm lucky my husband's also self-employed and we, you know, we both are doing well, but you know, if I, if for some, you know, if the circumstances, weren't what they, what they are right now.
Sarah Noked: And I had to suddenly do this now with three kids, I could be harder. I'm so happy that I, you know, had that, um, push really. And just being like, I have to do this cause I don't have a different choice. And I was my, why was really, non-negotiable, I'm happy that I, you know, it's like, you better start it sooner rather than later, it just gets harder and harder and harder to do. Um, because you know, your mind and like, Oh, responsibilities. And can I can't tie, my mom says this, my dad says this. I asked my sister, no, these are people who don't understand our online world also. So be, yeah, that's the other thing, listeners be careful who you ask advice for from,
Shannon Mattern: Oh my goodness. I could not agree with that more. You know, of course like you have friends and family that are like encouraging on one hand, they love you. They want to protect you. They're either scared for you or they tell you everything is rainbows and daisies. Like I think that, you know, having people that are always behind you a hundred percent is fantastic. But I think, you know, to layer on to that, like asking other people who like aren't your eye or your client, if your business is a good idea, like is, you know, it's like, you need to talk to the people who would be buying your services to figure out if what you're offering is the right thing. Not like this guy over here who doesn't know like, no, what you do,
Sarah Noked: Who likes it? Who works at the bank? You know? Exactly. No, he doesn't know what the inter the interwebs are even. Yeah,
Shannon Mattern: Love it. Oh my gosh. So, um, for someone's listening, who is like, okay, all of the things that she is saying makes me think that I would make a fantastic OBM. How would someone get started pursuing that?
Sarah Noked: Yeah, well, they could visit my website cause I've got tons of free resources over at Sara and [inaudible] dot com. That's Sarah with an H and O K E d.com. I've got a ton of stuff there. I've also got the SOP templates for people who want to create. Cause that was the thing I, you know, I don't just want to help people become OBMs. I also want to help entrepreneurs streamline and you know, just cause I can't work with someone doesn't mean I can't be like, here's an SOP template. Here's what it looks like in Google drive. These are, this is how you integrate it with your project management tool. Now you can like create some sustainability in your business to bring on that VA, you know, cause I mean, it's never easy to bring on a team member, but at least you can make it like that.
Sarah Noked: They're going to stay for more than three months. So I've got tons of resources on my website and more about the OBM certification.com as well, which is where they can go. And look, if there, you know, cause I feel like there are, there is a lot of people out there who are ready to get certified, they're ready to step it up. And then there are people who are like, you know, they're just looking and you know, maybe they're still sitting at their, you know, nine to five. Maybe not, maybe not right now in the office, but maybe when the Spears they will be back in the office.
Shannon Mattern: Yeah. They're on like a zoom meeting with their camera turned off on your website
Sarah Noked: Because that top party down below.
Shannon Mattern: Yeah. Oh my gosh. I love it. So, um, what are the things that you mentioned that just made me think of this is like back when I was like transitioning out of corporate into to my business, one of the things that prevented me from getting help for so long was I don't have time to bring someone on and teach someone. And when you said you had these standard operating procedure templates, I'm like, why didn't I know about these three years ago? Cause like that is like, if you find yourself thinking, I just don't have the time to bring someone on to train them. Like definitely go get your hands on those and just do yourself a favor and just spent like, just take a day
Sarah Noked: Time, block time on your calendar and be like, this is my business day limit. Save it all in. That's the first thing you get your VA to do is come in and set up some of these, some of these systems for you and then you'll be, you'll be happier. They'll be happier. You'll open a line of communication that really is professional and about, you know, the business development side of things. It's a magical, magical thing.
Shannon Mattern: Oh my gosh. I love it. It has been so awesome talking to you. I have a couple more questions that I ask everybody who comes on the podcast. One of them is what advice would you give to a side hustler who is struggling to get traction growing their business?
Sarah Noked: You need to raise your rates period. Good one period. Okay. So you need to, whatever you're charging, you need to know. I just feel like I, you know, I'm, I'm all about like making it work. And I think people fail to understand that a large percentage of the revenue we make as freelancers or whatever goes to taxes. And you know, if you want to make this side hustle work, you actually have to really get clear on your value and charge for it. Because if you're not going to charge for it, your business is not going to be sustainable and you will have to go back to corporate. So like, I just feel like if someone's at a point in their life where they're like that, so people will say to me, Oh, you know, I sold, I've been, I sold 10 out of 10 of the last discovery calls I had.
Sarah Noked: And I'm like, that's not something to be proud of. That just means your pricing is too low. You should be, you know, you should be selling three out of every 10 discovery calls. If you're selling 10 out of 10, then you can afford to raise your rates. You know? So I think people the night, cause when you're in scarcity mode and you're trying to all these clients and you're selling yourself short, then all of a sudden you have a roster. Cause I've been there have way too many clients way too many personalities to deal with. And you're still going to be side hustling. You're never going to actually leave your corporate job. So it wasn't until I really got smart started, started positioning myself as an OBM because that was truly what I was doing. That I was able to command a higher rate and that I was able to make it sustainable for myself and then grow from there. You know? So that's what I would say to that.
Shannon Mattern: So good. Okay. Simple, simple and sweet, right? Yes, it is the opposite. Oh my gosh. That's so the next, the final question, and we've talked, we talked a lot about this throughout this episode, but I love to ask everybody, what is the one belief that you had to change about yourself to get where you are today?
Sarah Noked: That people wouldn't work with me? Cause I'm in Israel. Really? Yeah. Yeah, because I thought it was weird, you know, and like Canadian in Israel, like I'm like people aren't going to want to work with me in this time zone because limiting belief, limiting belief, limiting belief. And then what I realized was like, actually this is really great because I can get a lot, a lot of stuff done when my clients in Eastern time are working and then I can also balance it with Australians, which I love. I love, I love Australians. I love working with Australians. I think they do so many amazing things for female entrepreneurship over there. And we have such a, we have a great community of certified OBMs there as well. So I just, you know, I just think that like it's such, we live in Glee's global times. And so I used to hide the fact that I was in Israel. Cause also like, I didn't want people to, you know, be pre-judged me for whatever. Um, cause you know, I'm not, I'm not about that. But um, but then I didn't care anymore. And I was like, if people aren't going to work with me, cause I'm geographically located somewhere. Then I was like, that's a red flag and I dodged a bullet. So it's like owning it. I just started owning it. But it was scary for me. You know,
Shannon Mattern: I love that. You're like, you know, Oh, people might not this. And it's like, it took me so long to be like those aren't my people.
Sarah Noked: No, no, don't do that to ourselves. I wasted like I wasted at least two years with that mindset. Yeah.
Shannon Mattern: Yeah. So it's fine. It's so freeing when you can finally be like, there are people who are okay with me as me and I'm just going to be me and man life is so much easier when I'm just me then find the right people who are like people that make this feel like, you know, the dream job that I always wanted. You know, I love it. I love it. So thank you so much for all of the amazing stuff that you shared. Can you let everyone know? I know you already shared some resources, but where's the best place for us to go get connected with you.
Sarah Noked: I'm always on Facebook, always on Instagram. That's probably where people can connect with me. And also I've got a great community called the comp the confident OBM community. If somebody is, you know, a free community on Facebook, that's where a lot of, uh, magic happens for on the VA OBM front. Huh.
Shannon Mattern: Awesome. Well thank you so much.
Sarah Noked: That was such a blast. It was,
Shannon Mattern: It's a really fun, I'll link up all of the stuff in the show notes. Everyone definitely go check out all the things cause you're you're if you don't want to become an OBM, you're going to need one at some point. Go get ready for that. So thank you. I really, really appreciate you being here.
Sarah Noked: Thanks Shannon.
Don't miss an episode!
Sign up to get new episodes + info about free trainings to help you go from side-hustle to self-employed delivered right to your inbox every Wednesday!
Sarah is the founder and CEO of Sarah Noked OBM. She is one of the leading experts in implementing systems within digital businesses, having achieved maximum results for hundreds of women worldwide, and teaching them how to grow team-based online businesses. Over the last decade, she has grown from VA solopreneur to a Certified OBM®, has trained her own team of five OBMs in her very own OBM Agency, and has generated a multi-six-figure income in the process. Now as one of only a few Certified OBM® trainers in the world, Sarah’s focus lies in using her first-hand knowledge to help female entrepreneurs sustainably scale up profitable digital businesses.
- Tina Forsyth
- OBM Masterclass
- OBM Starter Kit