Ep. 352: How to Land Your Ideal Clients as an Online Business Manager with Sarah Noked

I'm so excited to introduce you to this week's guest on Pep Talks for Side Hustlers, Sarah Noked!

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.

Push play to listen to this week's episode, or read the full transcript below!

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Shannon Mattern: Welcome to episode 352 of Pep Talks for Side Hustlers. And I am so excited to reintroduce you to today's guest Sarah Noked. She's been on the show before. We'll link up her previous interview in the show notes. You might also remember Sarah from the Side Hustle to Self-Employed Summit. Sarah, I'm going to let you introduce yourself and tell everybody what you do.

Sarah Noked: Thanks, Shannon. I love that. So yeah. Hey guys, I'm so glad to be back here again. I love this community. I love all things Side Hustle! So I started my side hustle back in 2009 at the seat of my corporate job. I was working as a client account manager, kind of liaise. And I started a virtual assistant OBM business, an online business management business from the side of my corporate job. So I can relate to a lot of our listeners here. And since then I have thankfully left my full-time job and I made my side hustle my full-time gig, and I am pleased to say that these days I am running my OBM agency, as well as training online business managers and training individuals who are at their corporate desk or who are already working in our digital space, how to become online business managers and how to really take the reins in their client's business and manage.

Sarah Noked: And that has just been the most phenomenal part for me, because I think, as a lot of you might feel it, like I did, you know, when I discovered this amazing way to make money working from home I just wanted to really share it with the world. And I spent hours and hours and hours Googling how to legitimately make money working from home in my pajamas for years in my corporate job. And I finally came across this sort of pseudo assistant management executive type role and I just really have embraced it and just sort of really continue to push it forward and help other people do this from home.

Shannon Mattern: I love it. And I think that's one of the reasons why we have become such fast friends is because we have the same mission. We want to help people who are in corporate break free from corporate. But also to utilize a lot of the skills that they have developed over the years in their corporate job and not feel like you have to just leave all of these skills that I've built up behind. Not specifically like Microsoft Excel, but talking about how to be really successful in a corporate job and pick that up and translate that into running your own business. You don't have to completely reinvent yourself to have a really lucrative career working for yourself, working from home. And that's what I love about what you do and what you teach people, because it's like that whole freedom, flexibility, financial independence thing that we were chitchatting about a little bit before we started with just what we're able to do when we don't have to report to a boss.

Sarah Noked: You know, it's so funny. That really rings so true for my community. I think the community of freelancers at large, one of the things that I always hear from my students, and bear in mind, this is shocking and surprising for them, but they're like," you know, the greatest thing about becoming an OBM is that I've realized that I have all of these transferable skills", or they say things to me like," you know, looking back at my career" as an executive assistant and as a project manager and managing events for my clients or even working in real estate, every single story and every single specific past really leads to the ability to really be good at what you do as a freelancer, regardless of what you want to be doing. And again, as freelancers, we are managing our own businesses, but we're also doing things for our clients that really do require a lot of the skills that we learn along the way. So I love that because I think it's one of those things that people kind of realize after the fact and they're like, "oh my God, this is amazing because it's all kind of built up to this" and I'm like, yeah, of course it has. Or, you know, that's right. It's amazing, right? Like isn't this obvious, but I guess it's really not. And I think that's just an important thing to bring up important point to make.

Shannon Mattern: Yeah. I think back on how I was so desperate to leave my day job and all these things that I didn't like about it, and focusing on all of that, and now that I'm where I'm at in my business, so many of the things that I had to learn to be successful at that job I use every single day to run this business, which is incredible. And I also want to acknowledge you and thank you because the last time you were on this show we really kind of dug deep into what an OBM is, what an OBM does, all of that stuff, which I will definitely link that up so you guys can go listen to that. But after that episode, I got my hands on the freebie that you had put in there and

Shannon Mattern: I was like, I'm gonna hire an OBM someday. And I started creating my own standard operating procedures and I followed all of the advice that you gave in that episode to do that. And then I brought on a team. I had a team member and I started kind of handing more stuff over to her. And then I brought someone else on and I started handing more stuff over to her. And then I was like, oh, wait, I'm being the OBM. And I don't want to be the OBM. So, I brought somebody on to be my OBM, and then we brought another person on. And I can tell you, it's been awesome, but it has been hard for me to let go of a lot of the things. But I wouldn't be where I am right now if not for that conversation with you. So thank you. Because I feel like I have my life back.

Sarah Noked: That's like the most amazing, wonderful thing. I got chills, because that is also part of this mission. It's empowering people to recognize that they have the skills innately to be successful online, but also to help other overwhelmed entrepreneurs realize that the solopreneur way of life, I mean, it's definitely a time and a place and we all have to go through the metamorphosis of doing it on our own and hustling and all that stuff. It's a beautiful, beautiful adventure. But at some point you have to give it up in order to continue to scale. Sometimes it's scaling yourself kind of out of the business in a sense, or scaling yourself in ways where you can focus on maybe the things that you're amazing at, like this podcast. You know, when we hopped on this podcast, you're like I've got everything ready in a file that my team put together.

Sarah Noked: Like that is spectacular. The fact that you've been able to really get into this delegation mindset. And this one of the three kind of pillars of the OBM client. And the big one that I always try to sort of really drive it home with my OBMs, especially when they're looking for clients. And I think that this is important if you're an online business manager or you are maybe a project manager, or maybe you are managing someone's website and managing their online presence, you have to really recognize that the client is in a place and a space where they are having a delegation mindset. And that is easier said than done because we want to be in control. That's what's kind of fun about this. And it's also very gratifying to be the person who is making it happen and leading the charge and all this stuff. But leadership is an interesting thing. And it really is interesting how it shows up for us. And I think what you've done in your business is the highest form of leadership, because you're sort of, and I'm curious to hear your answer, but would you say that some of your team members are better at it than you are or were doing some of these things

Shannon Mattern: Oh for sure! And the challenge, the biggest challenge for me, I knew I needed to delegate. I knew I was drowning. I knew I was way overworking. And our conversation put me on the path to do that. But I still struggled to do it. And I don't think it was because, yes, they absolutely do it better than me. They just do things I don't want to do, things that I dread. They're better at all of it. I think for me was the fact that I kept doing things because I was disorganized and I just wanted them to be done and off my plate. And so for me, I had a hard time really letting go of a lot of the things even though I'm like, I know I need to delegate this. But because the mindset that I developed over really bringing on the OBM was that.... I brought on the virtual assistants and I am still acting as the OBM in my business, which did not actually get me back any more time. Here's the fascinating thing, and I'm sure you hear this all the time, me hiring virtual assistants did not actually save me any time. It was just that they were doing things for me that just weren't going to get done anyway if I hadn't hired them. Right? So it was like, 'oh, because I've hired them we can do more', but it didn't actually save me any time.

Sarah Noked: It put more work on your plate actually managing the virtual assistants. And that is like a key part of the OBM role. It is managing teams. Managing your team, having team meetings, following up on whatever. So if you delegate something to a virtual assistant, that's amazing, but someone still needs to QA, to check the work to make sure that that task got checked off properly. Someone still needs to check the work. And when you're bringing on a virtual assistant, which I will scream it from the rooftops. I have got two VA's on my team right now. They are a godsend. I feel like that's the first person you need to hire. And I almost feel like every person going through this metamorphosis as an online entrepreneur, and as an entrepreneur in general, that's leveraging a virtual team and all of that wonderful goodness, does really need to recognize the work that goes into managing a virtual assistant.

Sarah Noked: It not like about, "I'll just throw this her way and she'll get it done. It'll be all fine and dandy". It's not like that. It's a lot of work. It's also frustration because when we are training new team members, especially if we don't have our standard operating procedures in place, it can be a real pain to constantly feel like, 'why am I bothering to delegate this? I could get it done in 20 minutes, and it takes me 20 minutes to check her work' and so on and so forth. So yes, I really appreciate you bringing that up because I think it is part of the transition and sort of part of this bootstrapping thing that we do as solopreneurs. It's sort of like that right to passage. And then when you get to the revenue point, and that sort of the second pillar of the. as I mentioned, the delegation mindset, the second pillar is actually having the revenue that's coming in to afford an online business manager on the team.

Sarah Noked: You know, it might be fine to bring on a VA for 10 hours a month. And if you don't need her, there's no stress. But when you're bringing on an OBM, you are at a point in your business where you can actually afford to delegate to an OBM and have a manager on your team who can actually take the reins on many things. I think it's so funny. Every business needs an OBM, of course. But can every business afford an OBM? No. And the third pillar of the OBM client is they have to have a proven business model. You know, startups don't really qualify. I mean, do we work with startups as online business managers? Yes, there are OBMs that actually really love working with startups. I teach my students that that's not a great place for an online business manager. Your business is a perfect example, because you have a lot of these systems. You have a system for your whole podcast procedure, how you publish it, how you promote it, all of those systems are in place.

Sarah Noked: It's your proven business model, even how you deliver your courses. So there things that can be captured. There are things that can be documented in a standard operating procedure, streamlined and then effectively delegated. Whereas with a startup, I mean, yes, an OBM is a great project manager and can definitely hire and do certain things. But there's not a lot of systems that are working in the business. You're still like trial and erroring things. And it's just like a hot mess. Not a hot mess. With all the love and respect in my heart I do love startups, but they're a difficult client to work with as an OBM.

Shannon Mattern: Yeah. And I love how you're talking about this and it makes so much sense and I can see myself in every stage of this. I've talked on the podcast this year about how I've been transitioning from solopreneur to CEO. And part of that transition has been really seeing this progression to like 'oh, okay, I've hired virtual assistants'. My virtual assistants are invaluable, incredible, amazing people. But like I said, it didn't save me any time. And I found myself in that trap of 'I might as well just do this myself because then it's done because it's going to take me just as long to delegate this to them'. And then that just led me to still being overworked, still being overwhelmed.

Sarah Noked: And I want to add onto that, because the truth of it is, you know, let's take you Shannon, cause you're a perfect example. You are a true visionary, right? You had the vision for this podcast, the vision for your programs, the whole Side Hustler movement that you have been leading the charge on, is a real visionary quality. I'm not that visionary, even though I am now sitting at the helm of my own business. I'm more of a behind the scenes person. And as an OBM, I really get my kicks, my shits and giggles, from doing things like project managing and organizing the project management tool and organizing Google drive with standard operating procedures. That lights me up. I love it! And this is the true tale sign of an OBM, you see a mess and you want to clean it up.

Sarah Noked: Whereas with all the respect and love in my heart with visionary types like yourself, even as an agency owner where I'm sure you got down and dirty with a lot of the stuff, like project management and team management, and this is just generally speaking, because I know you run a lot in the backend of your business. But generally speaking, visionary clients that we work with that are leading the charge on impact driven movements and all this amazing stuff that we see in this space, they absolutely and equivocally suck at project management. They are terrible team leaders. They don't know how to lead a team meeting. Like agenda-schmenda! No one's setting any agenda. And their communication sending. I mean, I'm all for sending text messages and whatever you need to send to your team as the CEO when you have to send it.

Sarah Noked: But, also recognizing that sending messages on WhatsApp and Slack and Facebook messenger is just making such chaos for your team. I see this all the time. The clients that I've worked with, the real visionaries, they don't even, and this is something tell my students, don't be surprised when your client doesn't step foot in your project management tool. That is for you and the team to be managing on your own separate from that client. Leave the client to do what they're best at. It might be building a course. They might be doing a podcast. Only you can be the podcast host. Right? But everything else is up for grabs. Only you can teach the program, but everything else is delegatable. So I think it's really important to kind of recognize that these visionary clients, even though I lovingly call them successful despite themselves, because you've gotten to multi-six and even seven figures, and you maybe have a couple team members, you're not even sure what the VA does. If she ups and leaves you tomorrow, you're going to be up shit creek with no paddle and nobody's going to help you then. No one's gonna want to step foot near your business cause that's scary. Or it's going to cost you an arm and a leg, and it's going to be sleepless nights of feeling so uncomfortable with how things are going in your business and almost wanting to give up. So I think it's really important to mention that typical entrepreneurs and CEOs don't necessarily, I mean they have the qualities, but they probably don't love doing any of that stuff.

Shannon Mattern: Yeah. Yeah. They just want to charge ahead and do all the things and they don't care about a process. It's like, let's just get it done and move forward. I'm a little bit of a hybrid of like visionary and you.

Sarah Noked: You run your agency. So you've had to delegate, you've had to be organized with your project management tool. It was so funny when I was scaling my own agency of OBMs and I was actually hiring on employees, totally green, not from the digital space. And I was training them to be online business managers. And that was kind of what really started the whole training OBM things for me being getting really serious about it. But what I recognized was that these people, I was training them and yes, I was vetting them out because that's what OBMs do. We look at people's personality. We look at their traits to see how organized they are and how diligent they are about follow-up. I used to lovingly call myself the professional nudge, because I was just nudging everybody about everything.

Sarah Noked: But what was really interesting was that when I trained these perfect candidates, they were actually better OBMs than I was, you know? And it was just so interesting to me because I love OBM-ing, but I really love doing more of the systems projects with clients and less of the ongoing OBM work. But we still had clients that needed the ongoing OBM work - launching, project management, team management, all the things. But I just wanted to focus on the systems. You know me girl, I love me a good system. It's just crazy. My husband would say I'm such a hot mess. You know, he'd be laughing if he heard us talking. Right. But he'd be like, "What? Did you see how she left the kitchen?

Shannon Mattern: Right. So only in certain places. Well, I want to touch back on the money thing about, when it's time to hire. Because I love how you said that there's a right time to do it. And for me, I felt like I was buying my life back. That's how I felt when I hired my project manager, my OBM. I felt like I was buying my life back and it was such a relief to have her on the team. And she came on and I was able to hand over the SOP's that I created and she took them and started implementing things and really started kind of ....what she had to do to me was just take over because I was not going to let the reins up as easily as I probably should have. And I think it's partly because I did build all the systems and then there was also just a trust thing. And I did not realize... I trusted her, right? I've known her for years. I trusted her. And so that's why it was so easy for me to hire her. But then I didn't realize I had all these other trust issues of like, "oh, if I let this go, then what if something happens? And then I don't make the money." And then it uncovered a lot of mindset stuff and leadership stuff and other stuff that I got to work on to understand that my role needs to change in the company now. I am now stepping out of being the one who knows all the things that are happening all the time and when they're happening and what's done and what's not done. And I get to trust someone else to do all of that. Give them everything that they need to be successful, you know? Help the VA's that I've been working with for years. Trust this person as well, this new person that I'm bringing on. Let her do her job and get out of her way. And it took me a couple months.

Sarah Noked: And that's actually not a lot of time. The trust is so, so important. You had mentioned that you knew her and you probably had experienced her work before. It's the same with the OBM on my team. I've known her for years. I've actually worked with her as an OBM. I was actually the OBM on one of the teams that she was working on as a VA, because a lot of people do that transition. And so I knew her and I knew what she was capable of and I knew she had the right skills. And so it was easy for me to bring her on. But back to the financial piece, because I think this is really an interesting topic of discussion.

Sarah Noked: So I always tell my students, you don't want to work with a client that is making less than six figures in annual revenue. And even like 8K to 10K a month, it consistently is kind of on the cusp of really needing an OBM. You might be your own OBM at that point. I think it's when you kind of get over the 10K a month mark that you can look at bringing on an OBM. First of all, I think people wait too long to hire an OBM. Shannon. You waited way too long so you could bring her in to manage all the things. But what I really advise potential people wanting to hire OBMs is, with all my business managers there's this sort of notion, even in the name, that they're going to manage my entire business. And the reality is an online business manager who is coming into a "freshly minted business" that's ready for an OBM is by no means managing every part and piece of your business. They might be managing a specific system. Like for example, I've worked in a lot of businesses, big businesses, I'm talking like seven figure online businesses with digital courses where I have been the OBM of the client care department, online department. So we've been responsible for creating the SOP''s for client care, managing the client care team and making sure that they have everything they need and reporting back to the client on the metrics around client care. But that's not by any means is managing the whole business.

Sarah Noked: There was a separate OBM on the team that managed the marketing. And there was a separate OBM that managed the delivery of the products. And there were three OBMs in that seven figure business. So just as an example. So typically when you are in the low six figures of annual revenue in your business, you want to be looking at bringing on an OBM to manage. a system. So maybe it's a client onboarding and offboarding. Maybe it's a particular project. We have OBMs that come in just to manage launches and then maybe go on to handle the delivery of the program and managing the community of sort. So you have to really be strategic in a sense of being like "what is systematized enough for me to be ready to take this off my plate?" And then as you were saying, Shannon, as you really established the trust with your OBM, then you can start putting more and more on their plate and then essentially taking more and more off your plate.

Sarah Noked: And if you hire a good trained OBM, I train my students how to actually be the leader for their clients. And because I know this personality, I know the personality of our client, you're kind of like not withholding information, but sort of like a dog with a bone on some of the things that really don't require you doing it. So we teach our OBMs how to eloquently and swiftly really take things off the client's plate. And it's also a mindset thing for our students because a lot of them are coming from the VA space where they're used to being told what to do. And here we are telling them to almost instigate or be the person who's driving the force and literally driving the bus in the client's business. And recognizing where the client's business is perhaps bleeding money because their funnel is broken. And going out and actually hiring the team to fix the funnel and managing that project, especially in the first 90 days as you're learning the business.

Sarah Noked: That's the other thing, that's kind of what you experienced the first two months. It's so funny that you're like" it was two months for me", but typically it takes 90 days to six months, realistically. And this is the thing that is very different from hiring a VA. When you hire a virtual assistant on your team or some other skilled freelancer, you're hiring for a specific role. Maybe they're scheduling your email broadcast. Maybe they're writing your copy. Maybe they're designing your website. They are proficient in that skill. But when you're bringing on an online business manager, they're coming in, they're learning your business, they're aligning themselves with your vision and your goals in your business. They're learning your team, learning your unique systems and learning your technology. And there's a learning curve for the OBM when they're coming in. And there's also that learning curve for the client that I think is even more of an upheaval of the things in your business, because it shines a light on the cracks and maybe the things that you're not so proud of. And honest to God, I've seen it myself. I've seen seven figure businesses that, and Shannon, I know you've probably experienced this as well in your days, but you're just like "how the hell do you make the money that you make and you have no project management tool?" And you're talking to this lovely entrepreneur and they're like, "I haven't slept in so long. I'm thinking about the things to do". And they're disheveled and haven't showered in days. And you're just like, "oh my God, for the love of God". And they're like "I want to launch tomorrow". And it's just so like chaotic. So again, this kind of goes back to the whole, "don't wait too long". You can bring an OBM into manage facets of your business. It doesn't have to be the whole kit and caboodle right off the bat.

Sarah Noked: I mean, it can be of course. A lot of clients wait too long. But you can start to experiment with what it would be like working with an OBM on a 20 hour a month retainer. And that's generally how I advise my students to start working with their clients, 20 hours a month And then after three months and you get to know each other and the trust is established, then you can scale up to like 40 or 60 hours. To me, a full-time OBM is coming in between 60 to 80 hours a month. That's full-time in the digital world, right? It's like dog years. Businesses grow in dog years and 90 hours is full-time.

Shannon Mattern: I just love that. And you know, I sit here and I think, man, if I wanted to like start over that's what I would do. I would love to go into other people's hot mess businesses that are running million dollar businesses and just fix it all. It sounds so awesome to do that. And then on the flip side, I waited way too long. And the impatient part of me wanted everything to just happen right away. Right? It was a challenge for me as the as solopreneur, the solopreneur me, who just gets to decide "oh, today I'm doing this" and I get to do it because I just get to push the buttons and do it and I'm not giving it to somebody else. That impatient part of me had to really say, you have to slow down so you can speed up. You have to slow down so you can grow. You have to slow down so you can get your life back. You cannot keep going at the pace that you're going and have this all work.

Sarah Noked: And expect to have your health intact. I think the reality is that a lot of our clients are overwhelmed entrepreneurs, who don't see their families, who don't have any work-life balance. Maybe they're making some great coin, or whatever, but the truth is they can't afford to take a vacation. They can't afford to go on that Hawaiian trip without their laptop. You know what I mean? So it's such a miraculous, amazing opportunity for an OBM to step into the business, but it's also a lot of leadership. Leading the client in exactly this way, because it's not unnatural for clients to be like, "okay, well I'm used to doing this on my own. I wanted it done yesterday". I notice with clients that a lot of them are really, believe it or not, against systems and documenting systems in their business because they're like, "well, yes, we need to do that", and they recognize that it is important, but they're like, "but that's not the priority. The priority is launching and hiring this new person on. And in reality, if there's no solid foundation, it just ends up crumbling and it's better to slow it down for just a hot second to really speed it up and get the momentum which you're experiencing right now, which is like, "hell yeah, I got my team on lockdown. Everybody's sitting in the right seats, including me. I'm feeling like I have balance". And that to me is such a big part of why I really love being an OBM. And it's also such a rewarding part that I get to train these fabulous people to go on and make these really amazing transformations in their client's businesses. Because I'm just one person.

Sarah Noked: And truthfully, when I had my agency, we had too many clients and too many people wanting to work with us. So that's what really started the whole thing, almost a decade ago, of just really ramping up, training people to effectively get in there and manage these, for lack of better way of describing them, micro businesses. Because we are like the top five team members, you know, seven team members. Once you're over a million in revenue million and a half in yearly revenue, then you're looking at hiring full-time employees. The contractor OBM role doesn't make sense. But the freaky thing that I'm seeing, which I think is really surprising to me, not surprising in a sense, but now that COVID is somewhat behind us, dare I say, there were all of these like entrepreneurs from the offline space that are actually scooping up OBMs as employees.

Sarah Noked: It's kind of this like new hot thing that's happening in our industry. For some of us, especially for those OBMs that are coming from the corporate role and don't want to do their own marketing and want to just work from home and have flexibility, but work for somebody else. It's great for them. But for me, I love being an entrepreneur. I love having my own business. So it's like kind of very counter-intuitive for me, but there's such as big space opening up. And it's, I think, a real testament to how our digital world is incredibly here to stay. I feel like that's such a silly thing to say. But it's not going anywhere. I mean, it is not moving. So you better have that digital presence. You better have the digital storefront, the website, all the things. You just need to have all of these things in your equation.

Shannon Mattern: Yeah. It's gone mainstream, in a way. As all of us who've been doing it, you've been doing it for twice as long as I have, but for all of us who've been doing this for a while, the rest of the world is now coming with us because of COVID.

Sarah Noked: Zoom? What is Zoom? That's a thing?. Yeah. Like, hello? Have you been living under a rock?

Shannon Mattern: Right! Oh my gosh. It's so fun to have this conversation with you because I can sit here and tell anybody out there who's considering becoming an OBM that there are people out there like me who really, really, really need you. There are more of the "me's" out there. I look back when I started in 2015 and the people that I built relationships with back then, and we've all kind of grown together and we've all had like our growing pains and gone through these different transitions. There's a whole crew of us that are going through the same thing that I'm going through right now from side hustler to solopreneur, to CEO. And for those of you that are listening, no matter where you are in that journey, think about the day when you're not the one doing everything. Because I don't care if you just want to make a full-time income from your business, wouldn't it be amazing to have some support? And then there are some of us that want to scale. I've been back and forth on this. I'm like, "oh, let me just stop here because this is enough for me," because I was stressed out and I couldn't possibly think of taking on any more. But I still wanted to have a bigger impact. I had a bigger mission and that's when it's like, "oh no, you just actually need help". Stop being a lone Wolf and get some help and get the right kind of help.

Sarah Noked: The lone wolf. Yeah. I think that's very, very typical. And that's exactly why we've got a directory up as well. So, if you are really looking, if you're here listening right now and you're like, "you know what, I'd really love a solid OBM on my team". We can hook people up with these amazing trained individuals that have gone through our programs and have what it takes to really help people have that work-life balance, understated, work-life balance, right? Underrated, understated, whatever. I mean, it is terrible to be overwhelmed and to be that lone Wolf. Because I really recognize that in myself too. I think we all kind of can default to "well, I can do this better myself". But in reality, it's just not fun. I mean, I bet you'll have more fun now on your team.

Shannon Mattern: Oh my Gosh. Yes. Life is much more rewarding, fulfilling when I'm not like just doing everything on my own. And I think I equated that with freedom. I equated being able to do whatever I want whenever I wanted with freedom. Well that is great for a little while, until you find yourself chained to it. And then you have to realize, "oh wait, going it alone is not freedom". Building a team, becoming a leader, empowering other people, it benefits all of us. We all get what we want out of it. It's mutually beneficial to everyone. So back when the first time we talked, I should've just hired an OBM then. But my I'm like, "no, no, I'll do all of these things".

Sarah Noked: Actually I do tell clients, if you're thinking about hiring an OBM and you're not so sure what it's going to look like, start creating the standard operating procedures. We have that sarahnoked.com/SOP. That was what we were talking about. That's the template. And the nice thing about that is, it's almost like an exercise. If I could delegate something in my business, I would be putting it in these terms.

Shannon Mattern: It is an experiment.

Sarah Noked: So I do think that that's something that is a naturally important part of the transition, sort of recognizing that, "wow, I'm amazing at doing all the things in my business, but here it is on this paper and oh my God, now it looks manageable for somebody". And you mentioned trusting and you mentioned successfully being able to bring on this person and handing over SOP's That to me is you were intuitively doing the most amazing transition bringing on an OBM with even just a few systems. Because to me that's a green flag waving in the air because this client clearly is ready for an OBM. They're embracing systems. They are understanding how these bite-size things can be delegated and how these bite-size procedures fit into the bigger system.

Sarah Noked: So I actually think that what you were doing in fact is the only way to successfully bring on an OBM because if not, then it's like, "here's my project management tool and go talk to that team member". And it feels very isolating and it's very off putting for an OBM as well, even though we're trained to deal with that too. It's not the best, most trusting way to bring on somebody. And I think what you did was really the best way. With all the love in my heart, you waited too long. And at least when you did decide to make the move, you did it in a way that had integrity and really spoke to the fact that you love your business, you care about it. And if you're delivering it to somebody else and you're like, "take care of my baby", at least you're doing it in a way where it's like a loving hand-off of things.

Shannon Mattern: Yeah. And I want them to be successful too.

Sarah Noked: Right. It doesn't have to be everything yet. And don't think for one second," oh shit, now I need to document everything". It can be one or two systems Here are the two systems that I think you can hit the ground running with as you get up to snuff with our vision and our mission and the specific nuances in our business that make us who we are and our company culture and our team members, and all the things that come. Like new software. I'll be honest, software is really intimidating for OBMs because there's just so much of it out there. But in the same token, it roughly fits into the same buckets for everybody whether you got a CRM or project management tool, a payment processor, whatever, it's all the same. It's just how are these integrated and how do they really work?

Shannon Mattern: So for the people that are listening that are like, "that sounds fascinating and I want to do this for other people's businesses". Maybe they've been a virtual assistant or maybe they're side hustling in corporate and they've been trying some other kind of business. They're like," oh, but wait, I have all these skills at corporate that could use.

Sarah Noked: Like every social media manager out there. We are get our footings in social media.

Shannon Mattern: Yeah. So I know you train people to learn all the skills to become the kind of OBM that I'm like "here, here you go. I know that you have the skillset to do to come into my business and learn it and do what I need". Talk to me about like how you do that.

Sarah Noked: Yeah, absolutely. So like we have actually, funny enough, we have this amazing opportunity coming up. It's happening August 23rd to 26th and it's OBM Week. And OBM Week is a specifically curated opportunity for people who are making the VA to OBM transition, or who are, just like you mentioned, very intrigued and want to learn more. And it is a free, four-day opportunity to be involved in these live trainings where we go over "what is an OBM?" And "what kind of clients do we work with"? "How to get started"? "How does my tech stack look like as an OBM"? "How do I find clients"? So we are going through the core, basic, important foundational things of learning what is an OBM and how do I become one?

Sarah Noked: And that is happening. And if you guys head over to sarahnoked.com/shannon-freebie, we have a really, really special opportunity to get you guys signed up, hooked up for free. It is a live event happening August 23rd to 26th. So I would invite people to just kind of take the chance. You got nothing to lose and everything to gain there. And we've had amazing people come out of your community. Because again, we all start with the side hustle. And I really commend you for really forging the path for so many people who otherwise would be, you know.... I knew when I was at my corporate desk, I was like, if I'm going to be a happy wife, happy life and be a mom, I'm not going to be able to work till six o'clock every day. This was not happening for me. So we got OBM Week coming up. And then of course, if you're wanting to learn more about hiring an OBM, we have an amazing directory of our students at sarahnoked.com. And we do specific matchmaking, but we also just have our directory. So you can always reach out to me. I kind of really love hooking people up because it feels really good to A) help my students find clients, but also really help entrepreneurs take it to the next level ,for the love of God! Just take it to the next level already.

Shannon Mattern: I love that. I love that. You're like, "please stop killing yourself. You do not have to do everything on your own".

Sarah Noked: If your eye is twitching,

Shannon Mattern: I have experienced that.

Sarah Noked: If you eye has been twitching for more than a week., and you go to bed at night time with a pad next to your bed. I mean, it's okay to have a pad of paper next to your bed, we got great ideas. But if you're using that pad of paper for a to-do list, this is you. This is you. If you're constantly to-doing things and then putting things off? It's just about freedom and that's the beautiful thing about hiring a contractor. It doesn't have to be a full time employee. It can be a few hours a week, a few hours a month. And that's going to afford you, even if it gives you back only five hours in your month and you use those five hours to go to the gym every week and go to that yoga class, you're going to feel like a more balanced team human being, guaranteed.

Shannon Mattern: Oh my gosh, I love it. And I'm just thinking about the people who are listening that are like, "I'm a control freak. I love systems. I love cleaning up messes. I am the go-to person at my company because I know where everything is and how it all works. Sign up for OBM Week.

Sarah Noked: Yeah. Sign up for OBM Week. You got nothing to lose and everything to gain. And it's just fun. It's good times.

Shannon Mattern: Oh, awesome. It has been such a pleasure talking to you again. We chit chat offline when we're not recording it all the time. So I love it when we get together and we do record it. And you always come with such good information, almost like you see the future. I know it's because you've worked with so many people. But every every time we talk, I know what's going to happen next because you've explained the path. And I'm like, "Shannon, listen to her. Listen to her". It's that work-life balance and I'm achieving it. And what I'm seeing in the future is this is what's gotten me here and I want to even have a bigger impact.

Shannon Mattern: So what's going to get me to seven figures is going to be multiple OBMs doing different pieces of the business. And I'm seeing that vision. And I guess that's what I want for the people listening is to see the vision of there will come a day when you're not the side hustler anymore. You're the solopreneur. There will come a day when you're not the solopreneur anymore, you're the CEO. And like you said, it's a journey that we all get to go on and learn what we're going to learn on it. And it's the most fun thing I've ever done. The most rewarding.

Sarah Noked: Yeah. I think where you are is you're appreciating how rewarding it is. And also sitting back and being like, "I built that!"

Shannon Mattern: I know! It's so cool!

Sarah Noked: How cool is that? And also being like, well, I can just shoot the shit today because I know my team will pick up my slack. Always. When you're not feeling great or whatever. You know you don't have to work. And also too, I think it is important just to mention here that there are so many things that we do as entrepreneurs, like the mindset work, the time alone, the thinking time, having more of that is only going to allow you to have more of an impact in this space you are in. And you deserve that time. That time is quality time. Only you can have those thoughts and experiences. And so afford yourself a little bit of that time to do it without feeling guilty that you're letting everybody down or you're the project manager and you have to do everything in your business. So I love I love that.

Shannon Mattern: That is a perfect place to wrap up this episode. So go sign up for OBM Week. That's sarahnoked.com/shannon-freebie. I will link that up in the show notes for you guys so that you can make sure that you sign up for that. Go check it out. If you are a stressed out, overwhelmed, solopreneur, definitely go check out the directory. Start exploring this OBM a world. Go to sarahnoked.com/SOP. Just start thinking about" what would this look like for me?" And thank you so, so much for being here.

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