fbpx
Introvert, Extrovert or Ambivert: People are still your secret weapon to business success

Introvert, Extrovert or Ambivert: People are still your secret weapon to business success

Introvert, extrovert, or ambivert. People are still your secret weapon to business success. Now you might be thinking, “Leanne, where the heck did you pull this from?”

I was talking to some members in OBM Academy and Audacious OBMs and giving them advice about different things and how they can approach different situations. I like the little community that we’ve really built in OBM Academy and Audacious OBMs. It made me think if you isolate yourself in any way, you would miss some big resources.

I think sometimes we go into a little box where we go, “Oh I’m an extrovert, so I find this easy. I’m an ambivert, so I can do both. Or I’m an introvert, so I find it way too hard.” But connecting with people happens in all different ways and you can do it in ways that suits you. So you can still get the support that you need in your business. So that’s what I want to talk about today.

Now specifically on the Introvert level, there is an amazing human. Her name is Hayley Maxwell and she’s the unstoppable introvert. She’s incredible. If you’re an introvert, look her up. She gives you all different tactics on how to do business as an introvert in a way that’s not going to push you out of your comfort zone too much, or try and be someone you’re not. Awesome resource if you need that.

Back to what we were talking about – business, just like life, is totally unpredictable. When we recognise those things, I don’t know everything, and something that I don’t expect will happen, we can start putting in place the things that we need to be able to manage these things.

How do I get the knowledge? What do I do when the unpredictable thing happens? If you don’t have a pre-plan, it makes it a lot harder and that’s when we spiral. So I’m going to talk about the 9 different things. 9 different kinds of help people can give you in your OBM or Virtual Assistant business.

 

This episode shares:  

  • Small Business Coaster Help
  • Expert Knowledge Help
  • Celebration Help
  • In Case of Emergency Help
  • Imposter Extraction Help
  • Laughing and Perspective Help
  • Competition Help
  • Accountability Help
  • I’m Scared of Driving Help

Small Business Coaster Help

If you’ve been running a small business, you know it goes up and it goes down. Sometimes you need a person or a group of people where you can say, “Hey, this is going on. I’m panicking. I feel stuck. Or I feel like something bad just happened and I feel really quite sad or like I’m failing or this really awesome thing happened.”

Small Business Coaster Help is all about having the people that you can go to who can go, “nah, it’s okay. It’s just the up and down. Or, yeah, I’m actually seeing that everywhere in the market right now. So it’s not just you”. That gives you the ability to go, “Oh, all right, cool”.

Little bit of perspective. I’m not rowing this boat on my own.

 

Expert Knowledge Help

I have different people who I’ve got quite strong relationships with. Even students in my academy. I know that if I have a Dubsado question, I’m going to go and talk to Sophie Carr. I’m going to talk to Robin. Because they know Dubsado so much better than me, and that’s amazing.

But I have connections with different people so that if I’m in a situation where I really need the answer to this question, or I need someone I can refer to for this because it’s out of what I know right now, these are the people I will go to.

That’s the expert knowledge help.

Having the people you can reach out to based on different things. People who are quite happy for you to check in and do that. You don’t have to have a 45-minute leading conversation. They’re people who are in your community. 

 

Celebration Help

We’re in small business and a lot of the time we have little wins and we have big wins and we have no one to look over at and go, “Hey, this happened”, or nobody else to see what’s happened and go, “Hey, do you know that that’s actually awesome”. So that you can appreciate the work that you’ve put in. A lot of the time we need the Celebration Help. We need a person or a few people who can go, “Hey, this is amazing. This is actually happening. Look at what’s been going on for you”.

 

In Case of Emergency Help

If something big happens, if something breaks that you built and you’re panicking, you don’t know what to do, you need to have some people you can go to and go, “help, I don’t know what’s going on. This thing’s broken. I don’t know what to do about it.” Or, “hey I’ve gotta rush my dog to the vet and that’s gonna sound really silly to some people and I have these jobs I need to do. I need somebody who can help me”, and have your core people who will jump in and go, yeah, cool, we’ve got this. You go and we will keep the ship floating.

So you need, In Case Of Emergency Help, these are all the things that keep small business doable.

 

Imposter Extraction Help

We all face imposter syndrome. We all struggle with the, uh, I’m not good enough, Maybe I don’t know enough or I’m not doing it right or, I should be further along than I am. I’m not getting any clients. Is that because of me and maybe I should just give up?

All of that is imposter syndrome and sometimes all we need is somebody else to look at us and go, “No, none of that is true and pull out the imposter and extract them from our thinking”. So that we can see clearly and we can move forward and we can keep building.

Laughing and Perspective Help

Sometimes, terrible things happen and we get quite stressed or someone says something nasty or someone reacts to a situation in one way and you think, “Did I handle this completely wrong?” Or, what is going on here? You start to feel really uncomfortable and worried and you don’t realise until you have someone else to tell, and then their reaction says it all.

They’ll start laughing and go, that person is hilarious. I cannot believe they’re behaving that way. Or to give perspective to what is happening and it changes your whole view on the situation. Sometimes we need that. Sometimes we need the ability to offload the worry and the panic so that we can see clearly and move on as professionals.

 

Competition Help

You can be in competition or you can be in community. I know some of my competitors are my best friends in business. We do very similar things. We help each other and we choose to be community. There is enough work that goes around.

Sometimes we sit there and we worry about people who could be our competition, and sometimes we need the people who are in our corner to go, “Well, are they your competition though? Do they really talk to the same people that you do? Do they speak the same way you do? Have they experienced the same things you have? Because if not, they’re not really your competition and it’s okay”.

Accountability Help

We live in shiny object syndrome land. That is our world now. You walk into a supermarket and there’s all different things flashing at you saying, buy me, buy me, do this, do that. Sometimes we need help to focus and we need that in a safe space. That is what people give us.

Sharing where you want to go and how you plan to get there with somebody else. 

I’m Scared of Driving Help

Now, this is very specific to me.

A few years ago, I met in person someone I’d been talking to online and was in online communities. We live close to each other and we both wanted to go to events that were in the city. Which is, a solid hour drive from us and it’s city driving. So it’s different to suburb driving. We were both like, Oh, yeah, I ain’t driving like that. It’s so much pressure. Then we worked that out. So it was like, okay, so now I have a driving buddy and now every time it’s like, I want to go here. Do you want to come so that we’ve got this driving buddy. Then one of us will drive and the other will sit there and it becomes fun and it becomes a lot easier and there’s somebody else to help us navigate the scary driving in the city.

But you won’t ever get that if you don’t talk to people and you don’t build real relationships.

And… that’s a wrap!

So that is the whole point of this. It’s that, find your people, people who do what you do similar to what you do, in a way that you do it, in an online land, however it works. Because no matter the kind of person you are, the people are the secret weapon to building business success. I do not doubt that for a second. I hope that that helps you and gives you a new perspective.

I would love to have you in my community. We’ve got lots of free resources. We’ve got a Thriving OBM Challenge. We’ve got a six figure OBM roadmap you can grab. We’ve got OBM Academy where you can learn to be a wildly profitable OBM.

There’s this podcast, leave a comment, leave a review if you’re liking what you’re hearing and DM me. I would love, love, love to hear from you. 

Want more OBM tips & tricks leads?

We’ve got just the resource for you.

Embark on your path to becoming a six-figure Online Business Manager with our comprehensive FREE roadmap. Gain insights into key strategies, and build the confidence needed to align your service with the value you bring. Don’t wait.

Hungry for more? Yearning to fast-track your journey to a successful, 6-figure OBM career? Our OBM Academy is here for you. Gain access to exclusive support, invaluable resources, and the tools you need to sharpen your skills and elevate your OBM career. Don’t miss this opportunity.

Follow along with the transcript

E33 Introvert, Extrovert or Ambivert: People are still your secret weapon to business success

Leanne Woff:[00:00:00] 

Hey, hey, hey there. Welcome to today’s episode of the Audacious OBM. Today we’re [00:01:00] going to talk about introvert, extrovert, or ambivert. People are still your secret weapon to business success. Now you might be thinking, Leanne, where the heck did you pull this from? But this actually came from, I was thinking about it a couple of weeks ago.

And in this process, I was talking to some members in OBM Academy and Audacious OBMs and giving them advice about different things and how they can approach different situations. And I just like the little community that we’ve really built there. And I thought if you isolate yourself in any way, you would miss that and you’re missing some big resources.

And I think sometimes we go into a little box where we go, Oh I’m an extrovert, so I find this easy. I’m an ambivert, so I can do [00:02:00] both. Or I’m an introvert, so I find it way too hard. But connecting with people happens in all different ways and you can do it in ways that suits you. So you can still get the support that you need in your business.

And so that’s what I want to talk about today. Now specifically on the Introvert level, there is an amazing human. Her name is Hayley Maxwell and she’s the unstoppable introvert. She’s incredible. If you’re an introvert, look her up. She gives you all different tactics on how to do business as an introvert in a way that’s not going to push you out of your comfort zone too much, or try and be someone you’re not so awesome resource if you need that, but getting back to the point of this episode.

It is , don’t be arrogant. You don’t know everything. And [00:03:00] business, just like life, is totally unpredictable. And so when we recognize those things, I don’t know everything. And something that I don’t expect will happen. We can start putting in place the things that we need to be able to manage these things.

How do I get the knowledge? What do I do when the unpredictable thing happens? If you don’t have a pre plan, it makes it a lot harder. And that’s when we spiral. So I’m going to talk about the nine different things. Nine different kinds of help people can give you in your OBM or Virtual Assistant business.

Okay, so the first one is the Small Business Coaster Help. So if you’ve been running a small business, you know it goes up and it goes down. And sometimes you need a person or a group of people where you can say, Hey, this is going on. [00:04:00] I’m panicking. I feel stuck. Or I feel like something bad just happened and I feel really quite sad or like I’m failing or this really awesome thing happened.

And then this really bad thing happened and now my head is just spinning. Small Business Coaster Help is all about having the people that you can go to who can go, nah, it’s okay. It’s just the up and down. Or, yeah, I’m actually seeing that everywhere in the market right now. So it’s not just you. And that gives you the ability to go, Oh, all right, cool.

Little bit of perspective. I’m not rowing this boat on my own. The second one is expert knowledge help. I have different people who I’ve got quite strong relationships with. And even students in my academy. I know that if I have a Dubsado question. I’m going to go and talk to Sophie Carr. I’m going to talk to Robin.

Because they know Dubsado so much [00:05:00] better than me. And that’s amazing. But I have connections with different people so that if I’m in a situation where it’s like, I really need the answer to this question, or I need someone I can refer to for this because it’s out of what I know right now, these are the people I will go to.

And so that’s the expert knowledge help. Having the people you can reach out to based on different things. And people who are quite happy for you to check in and do that. You don’t have to have a 45 minute leading conversation. They’re people who are in your community. So they’re quite happy to get the, Hey, can you just let me know blah, blah, blah.

And it goes both ways. They’re Celebration Help. We’re in small business and a lot of the time we have little wins and we have big wins and we have no one to look over at and go, Hey, this happened, or nobody else to see what’s happened and go, Hey, do you know that that’s actually awesome? So that you can appreciate the work that you’ve put in. A [00:06:00] lot of the time we need the Celebration Help. We need a person or a few people who can go, Hey, this is amazing. This is actually happening. Look at what’s been going on for you. And then there is In Case Of Emergency Help. So if something big happens, if something breaks that you built and you’re panicking, you don’t know what to do, you need to have some people you can go to and go, help, I don’t know what’s going on.

This thing’s broken. I don’t know what to do about it. Or, hey I’ve gotta rush my dog to the vet and that’s gonna sound really silly to some people. And I have these jobs I need to do. I need somebody who can help me and have your core people who will jump in and go, yeah, cool, we’ve got this.

You go and we will, keep the ship floating. So you need, In Case Of Emergency Help, these are all the things that keep small business doable.

Then there’s Imposter Extraction Help. So we [00:07:00] all face imposter syndrome. We all struggle with the, uh, I’m not good enough, or. Maybe I don’t know enough or I’m not doing it right or, I should be further along than I am. I’m not getting any clients. Is that because of me and maybe I should just give up?

All of that is imposter syndrome and sometimes all we need is somebody else to look at us and go, No, none of that is true and pull out the imposter and extract them from our thinking. So that we can see clearly and we can move forward and we can keep building. Then there’s laughing and perspective help.

Sometimes, terrible things happen and we get quite stressed or someone says something nasty or someone reacts to a situation in one way and you think, Did I handle this completely wrong? Or, what is going on here? You start to feel really uncomfortable and worried and you don’t realise until you have someone else to tell, and then [00:08:00] their reaction says it all.

They’ll start laughing and go, that person is hilarious. I cannot believe they’re behaving that way. Or to give perspective to what is happening. And it changes your whole view on the situation. And sometimes we need that. Sometimes we need the ability to offload the worry and the panic so that we can see clearly and move on as professionals.

Competition Help. You can be in competition or you can be in community. And I know some of my competitors are my best friends in business. We do very similar things. We help each other. And we choose to be community. There is enough work that goes around. And sometimes we sit there and we worry about people who could be our competition.

And sometimes we need the people who are in our corner to go, Well, are they your competition though? Do they really talk to the same people that you do? Do they speak the same way you do? Have they [00:09:00] experienced the same things you have? Because if not, they’re not really your competition and it’s okay. And then again, we can walk through lighter.

Then, second last one is Accountability Help. We live in shiny object syndrome land. That is our world now. You walk into a supermarket and there’s all different things flashing at you saying, buy me, buy me, do this, do that. And sometimes we need help to focus. And we need that in a safe space. That is what people give us.

Sharing where you want to go and how you plan to get there with somebody else. And so then they can come back and go, Hey, how’d you go with this thing? So that you can keep following to get the results that you’re after. And then the final one is the I’m Scared Of Driving Help. Now, this is very specific to me.

A few years ago, I met in person someone I’d been talking to online and was in online communities. [00:10:00] And we live close to each other. And we both wanted to go to events that were in the city. Which is, a solid hour drive from us and it’s city driving. So it’s different to suburb driving. And we were both like, Oh, yeah, I ain’t driving like that.

It’s so much pressure. And then we worked that out. And so it was like, okay, so now I have a driving buddy. And now every time it’s like, I want to go here. Do you want to come so that we’ve got this driving buddy. And then one of us will drive and the other will sit there and it becomes fun and it becomes a lot easier and there’s somebody else to help us navigate the scary driving in the city.

But you won’t ever get that if you don’t talk to people and you don’t build real relationships. And so that is the whole point of this episode. It’s that, find your people, people who do what you do similar to what you do, in a way that you do it, in an online land, however it works. Because no matter the kind of [00:11:00] person you are, the people are the secret weapon to building business success.

I do not doubt that for a second. And so I hope that that helps you and gives you a new perspective. I would love to have you in my community. We’ve got lots of free resources. We’ve got a thriving OBM challenge. We’ve got a six figure OBM roadmap you can grab. We’ve got OBM Academy where you can learn to be a wildly profitable OBM.

There’s this podcast, leave a comment, leave a review if you’re liking what you’re hearing and DM me. I would love, love, love to hear from you. I’m Leanne Woff. I’ll see you, I’ll see you next week, guys. Bye!

[00:12:00] 

How to bring more operational excellence into your seven figure business

How to bring more operational excellence into your seven figure business

How you can bring more operational excellence into your business.

This might be a term you’re not fully familiar with. Let me explain it.

Operational excellence is when the day-to-day functions of your business happen without friction.

It’s operational excellence that creates a business that is like a well-oiled machine.

So that term you’ve probably heard, operational excellence underpins the well-oiled machine.

So what does that look like?

It is a concept where you are connecting every business resource that you have with your impact goals.

What are you here for? Why are you here? How does each piece in your business get us closer to making that impact?

It’s connecting everything back to your big, big goal. Because without that, you end up very disjointed and then you lose efficiency, and productivity, it costs more money, and you’ve got people that just really aren’t that happy.

You always have a better work environment when people understand where they fit and how what they’re doing impacts everybody else. Operational excellence is about pulling that all together and seeing that big picture.

If you’re looking for operational excellence, the first thing that you have to do is take a bird’s eye view. You have to look at your business as a machine. From a high level, pretend that you’re an engineer. Put your engineer cap on and have a look. What are the cogs that you have in place? How is every cog turning? Is there enough oil? Are the right things happening in the right sequence? Is there any friction?

Once you’ve kind of got the lay of the land, we want to review our cogs.

The five cogs that we’re going to look at in this episode are the People cogs, the Process cogs, the Tech cogs, the Sales and Marketing cogs, and the Completion cogs.

This episode shares:

 

  • People Cogs
  • Process Cogs
  • Tech Cogs
  • Sales & Marketing Cogs
  • Completion Cogs

 

People Cogs

This is always my favourite because I am a people come first, peopler.

What is the People Cog?

It is your team.

What we’re wanting to see is do you have the right people in the right place to get the outcome that you’re looking for? So have you got the right ingredients for the outcome cake you’re trying to bake? Because if you’re trying to make a recipe that requires you know, four of a certain person, one of another and seventeen of a senior, and you don’t have that right mix, your cake ain’t gonna come out good. So it’s really important to look at the different team members that you have, if they’re in the right role, and if there are things missing, or do you have excess?

Sometimes we can have excess people, and it doesn’t necessarily mean we need to get rid of people, it means that we can shift people over to different roles where there is a need to get everything to happen smoother.

Are the roles and responsibilities crystal clear? Does everybody know what they’re doing, what they’re here for, and what they’re responsible for? So that when there’s a big win, yeah, they get the credit and if something falls over, hey, they’re responsible for fixing it. We want people that are taking ownership of their roles, and we want them to be confident in the decisions that they need to make on a day-to-day basis.

So we need these roles to be really clear. We don’t want confusion because that’s where friction gets created, including like people friction between people. Whereas if roles and responsibilities are clear, that doesn’t happen.

The final thing that you want to look at with your people cogs is your structure. Where do the people sit within the organisation and what’s the reporting structure? What’s the communication structure? Who reports to who? How are people meant to communicate? What are those lines? It’s important because it means that when someone is stuck, they know exactly who to go to. They know they know how many layers of communication there are to go above them, above them, above them. They can see, it helps them see how their job impacts the business as a whole. Because they can see their one spot versus all the things surrounding them and that only comes with structure.

The other thing is having really open communication channels and that is so that we can free up as many resources as possible to help navigate any problems. So if somebody is empowered in their role, they’re going to do the best that they can to foresee any problems that are going to happen. And they know their limits. They know when they’ve reached the point of they’ve tried too many things that’s not working. They don’t know what to do. If you have a really clear structure and they know who they can communicate with and go sideways or up to say, Hey, this is what I’ve tried, I don’t know what to do and get that support. You’ll find that all these problems get resolved a lot faster and when it is that clear pathway, there’s less confusion and there’s less worry. People get less stressed about, who am I going to speak to? And what are they going to think? And maybe this is something I should have worked out.

Whereas if it is a group effort and those communication lines are clear, things happen a lot quicker, which is exactly what you want happening.

 

💎Tip: Conduct a comprehensive audit of your team composition and roles. Ensure each member is placed in a position that leverages their strengths and matches the needs of the business. Implement clear role definitions and responsibilities, promoting ownership and accountability. Introduce flexible structures for easy navigation and open communication to encourage swift problem resolution and enhance overall team dynamics.

Process Cogs

What are the things that are happening regularly in your business, what is the day-to-day stuff? The marketing, the customer support, the planning, the admin, what are all these things? Because that’s what makes up the process cog.

We want to look at if those processes are accurate, if they are continuously being improved, if they are easy to implement and if they’re effective.

To do that, you need to have functional SOPs.

I say functional because, you can write an SOP, and it can be this beautiful 100 page long document, but it can make no sense. Or it can be too much detail and too hard to navigate, and it effectively becomes useless.

So what we want is actual functional SOPs, and we want to start with our core processes. Because I know that a lot of people shy away from SOPs because it’s boring. Like, really, can’t we just go for the next shiny thing? Can’t we just go for the next goal? Can’t we just, play with the new marketing tool? Why do we want to invest our time and money in SOPs?

So that’s why I’m saying you need to do it for your core processes. Because if you have the core functionality of your business documented properly in a way that is consumable and actionable, then you’re giving your business continuity. That means that if somebody is sick or away or gets hit by a bus, which none of us ever want to happen, but it does happen. Chloe got hit by a bus on the way to work one day. Was not good. But, having functional SOPs gives your business the ability to continue without any one person. So let me tell you a little bit of a story.

We had a client who was working with Chloe quite closely and she was doing all of the operations and overseeing all the projects. Chloe was going away for a little while. So we’re getting closer and we’re getting closer to when Chloe was going to go away and the client said to her, so what’s going to happen when you’re gone?

Chloe said, what do you mean? And they said, well, I don’t know, like, is there going to be a gap? Chloe said, no, Leanne is here. She’ll do it. And I wasn’t an unfamiliar piece in this project. I was in there with her too. Then they’ve said, Oh, but like, is she capable? I found it hilarious. I found it so funny because I taught Chloe all of our operations. So we have general rhythms that we follow. So I’m like, she’s following my blueprint with her tweaks. and in this situation, I just found it really funny. Anyway, so she said to the client, no, it’ll be fine. Leanne is more than capable. Like she’s already totally across everything. So then the client was like, ah, okay, cool. No worries. But how is it possible for somebody to be fully across everything?

The way that we’re able to navigate that is with SOPs. It is a a system that we create. So then no matter which client we are working on, we know where to go looking for something. We know how to hand over really well. But we wouldn’t be able to do that if we didn’t have the functional SOP foundation. Then when there is Chloe needs to go away, everything would have stopped and that’s just not a good business plan.

We also need to have a continuous improvement mindset when it comes to processes. What I mean by this is we never want to document a process so that it is for one certain person. We want to document SOPs in a way that looks at the business as a whole. 

It’s giving it context in the system and that changes how you do a task. So if you have the right context, you know when you can change something. Or you know if you do this slightly differently, it’s going to have this impact. So we don’t want to do that. But we also want people to be improving their documenting of processes as they’re going.

So when you’re doing this, if the process is wrong, fix it. Otherwise, this ends up being a really big overhead to go back and document and document and re-document. Because we all know that really, as soon as an SOP, that 100 page document is created, it’s out of date. Things move too quickly. So we want a way to make it really simple for people to be able to keep that data up to date.

And then we want to look at automation. Have we automated our processes? And it doesn’t have to be a whole process. It can be a piece of a process. and have we done it right? Or have we removed too much human? Because sometimes we do that. We can automate pretty much anything, guys. But that doesn’t mean you’re going to get the outcome that you want.

Because if you take too much human away, you lose sales. You lose connection. People feel like they’re talking to robots and that’s not fun. Or one glitch in the system and the whole thing comes crashing down. So we want to get that balance right too. So you want to be looking at your automation side.

 

💎Tip:Start with identifying and documenting your core business processes. Simplify and standardise these processes with functional SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) that are concise and user-friendly. Adopt a culture of continuous improvement, where processes are regularly reviewed and updated. Explore opportunities for automation, optimising efficiency without sacrificing the human touch.

Tech Cogs

Then we want to look at the tech cogs. 

I love tech cogs because I’m a little bit nerdy that way and I love tools. So we want to review, what is the technology that we’re using? What’s in our digital ecosystem? And in our group of tools in our tech stack, is there overlap? Are there things that we have that have the capability to do what the others are doing?

So then we’ve got crossover and where there’s crossover, there’s wastage. Or do we not have enough tools. When we work with clients, we’ve got like this big digital ecosystem map. It’s really cool. But it has like all the different tool kind of categories and tool types and we use it to go, okay, what does the client have now? And what do we think they need? Because then it’s kind of like we can see the gaps pretty clearly if they have a cluster of this kind of tool, but none of this one. And usually if that tool doesn’t exist, it means there’s inefficiencies for whatever that tool brings. So it gives us that starting point to review.

But it is all about looking at what we do have, what they, what these tools are capable of, what we’re using them for, and if we really need them. And then if there are things where we could benefit from having a different tool, and it might even just be an integration tool. How are we going to connect tool 1 to tool 2? 

Then, we want to look at the ROI. What tools are we paying for and what are they doing for us? Are we getting what we want out of them? Could we scrap some and use a different tool that we already have to do that same thing? Therefore we’re not doubling up on cost. Or are there capabilities of one of the tools we’re already paying for that we’re just not using?

We want to be making sure that every resource, whether it’s a person or a technology, is working towards our impact goals. To the best of its ability and capacity.

 

💎Tip:Audit your technology stack to identify redundancies and gaps. Streamline your digital tools to eliminate unnecessary overlap and optimise resource allocation. Evaluate the ROI of each tool, ensuring it aligns with your business objectives. Prioritise seamless integrations and explore new technologies that could fill current gaps, enhancing operational efficiency and productivity.

 

Sales & Marketing Cogs

Now this has its own cog because there is so much that goes into sales and marketing from an operational perspective.

I really wanted to talk to you about creating marketing rhythms. So things that happen on a repeatable cycle and applying system thinking to your marketing and your sales.

It’s one of those things where if you can look at it from a bit of a higher level at the purpose of what you’re trying to achieve, we want to be able to connect with our audience on a regular basis.

We want to do it in these different forms. We want to cover, you know, our set branded topics and then it’s how do we do that as an organisation. Well, we get a long form piece of content and then from that, we’re going to distribute it in these ways to these channels and then here is how that gets executed.

So each time we’re coming down a layer, coming down a layer so everybody can see what’s happening from a high level, medium, low, and then you start to create these rhythms, which is all about, okay, this is how we find our content topic. This is what the kind of content we’re doing is. Are you doing podcasts? Are you doing blogs? Are you doing YouTube videos? What is it that you’re doing? Then what happens once that’s done? What’s the rhythm that happens? Well okay, it gets recorded, then it goes to the editing team, then it gets chopped up by the social person, then the copy gets approved. What is it? How do we create this rhythm and the time frame so we know we’re always going to deliver what we need delivered on time?

So it can sound complicated, but it’s not. It’s complex because there’s lots of moving pieces, but it really keeps your sales and marketing running smoothly because of the way it’s built. And it’s built to consider every other piece. Well, if I don’t do this by then, that means that The designer won’t get the bits they need to do their job, which is going to make it late. And if I don’t do this, then if I don’t get the draft to the copywriter, the copywriter isn’t going to be able to write it out properly. And then the social person isn’t going to be able to divide it into how many posts they need. So it gives really great visibility into how this system works and the flow on effect.

It puts more accountability on different people because they have that clarity that they didn’t have before. So that’s all about how we create brand cohesion. If we can have these systems in place, we’re going to be visible, we’re going to be consistently present, we’re going to create brand stickiness.

Now we also need to consider, when it comes to our sales and marketing cog, connection to create sales. So, how are we connecting with our audience? How are we having conversations? What are the processes that underpin that? And it doesn’t mean that there has to be an automated process or a rigid process, but something that encourages these conversations.

When someone is talking about one of these five things, send them a DM and ask how they are. If you connect with someone at a networking event and they have these characteristics. Connect with them on LinkedIn and try and further that conversation. Get to know them more. Like, what are the tactical things you’re doing to build these relationships?

The only way to stay in tune with what your audience needs is to talk to them. And then we also need to consider any missed opportunities. So when we’re doing the things that we’re doing, we want to review them and go, Ah, maybe we could do this and if we had have done that for the last 50 events that we went to, possibly could have put us here by now. So it’s constantly that reflection and then improve what you’re doing, or try new things

 

💎Tip:Develop a systematic approach to content production and distribution, establishing consistent marketing rhythms. Focus on creating coherence across all channels to maintain brand visibility and engagement. Encourage direct interaction with your audience to foster connections and understand their needs better. Regularly assess the effectiveness of your strategies, adjusting to optimise performance and explore new opportunities for growth.

 

Completion Cogs

The final cog that I want to talk to you about is the completion cog. 

It is not your typical business department and that is because I made it up. I have worked with enough visionaries and thought leaders to know that the completing bit is an issue.

We get really excited about the next thing we can try, the next thing we can do, the next problem we can solve. A lot of the time what happens is some of the things that we had started to do already get paused.

We’ll come back to it. We’ll come back to it.

Can I tell you something? Each time you come back to it, you are losing. efficiency and where that thing got up to. So let’s say you got something to 80% complete. When you go back to it, it’s now at 50% because of the amount of work you have to do to translate everything from where you were then to where you are now and get back into what the purpose of it was in the first place.

Like you are reworking and reworking and you’re losing that 30% just by doing that. Whereas if you had have just spent the extra 20% of time to get it to 100% complete, you would be getting the ROI from that activity now.

So sometimes we really have to look at, okay, what is in our work in progress? What are we actually finishing? What have we started and then gotten out? And what’s that doing for us? So I think that this is really important when you’re looking at operational excellence. It’s, that is crucial. And if, even if you just make this one change, it will get you so much further, so much faster and get you creating the impact that you really want.

 

💎Tip:Implement a focused strategy to prioritise and complete ongoing projects. Assess your project pipeline, identifying tasks at risk of stagnation. 

 

Wrapping It Up

I hope that that helps explains what operational excellence is, how you can start using some of these things to turn your business into a well-oiled machine and get more out of the resources that you have. 

 

 

Need help creating amazing client offboarding experiences?

We’ve got just the resource for you.

Embark on your path to becoming a six-figure Online Business Manager with our comprehensive FREE roadmap. Gain insights into key strategies, and build the confidence needed to align your service with the value you bring. Don’t wait.

Hungry for more? Yearning to fast-track your journey to a successful, 6-figure OBM career? Our OBM Academy is here for you. Gain access to exclusive support, invaluable resources, and the tools you need to sharpen your skills and elevate your OBM career. Don’t miss this opportunity.
Follow along with the transcript

Ep 2 How to bring more operational excellence into your seven figure business

Hello, hello, hello. Welcome to this week’s [00:01:00] episode of the Audacious Empire’s podcast. Today, I want to talk to you about operational excellence and how you can bring more operational excellence into your business. So, this might be a term you’re not fully familiar with. Let me explain it. Operational excellence is when the day to day functions of your business happen without friction.

It’s operational excellence that creates a business that is like a well oiled machine. So that term you’ve probably heard. Operational excellence underpins the well oiled machine. So what does that look like? It is a concept where you are connecting every business resource that you have with your impact goals.[00:02:00] 

What are you here for? Why are you here? How does each piece in your business get us closer to making that impact? It’s connecting everything back to your big, big goal. Because without that, you end up very disjointed. And then you lose efficiency, productivity, it costs more money, and you’ve got people that just really aren’t that happy.

You always have a better work environment when people understand where they fit and how what they’re doing impacts everybody else. And so operational excellence is about pulling that all together and seeing that big picture. So today, I’m going to tell you how you can bring more operational excellence into your business.

[00:03:00] And I’m going to go through five different cogs. Now, there are more than this, but I’m hoping this gives you enough of an overview that you think can take some pieces, get some quick wins and go and start building your well oiled machine. The first thing that I want to talk about before we jump into the cogs is reviewing.

If you’re looking for operational excellence, the first thing that you have to do is take a bird’s eye view. You have to look at your business as a machine. From a high level, pretend that you’re an engineer. Put your engineer cap on and have a look. What are the cogs that you have in place?

How is every cog turning? Is there enough oil? Are the right things happening in the right sequence? Is there any friction? And then, what you’re going to do is start to tinker a little bit. So with our [00:04:00] different cogs, we’re going to look a little bit deeper, and then we’re going to go, right, maybe it is this piece of friction, and maybe it’s this that’s causing it.

What if I change something? And then you’re going to look at the impact that that has when you change it. Once you’ve kind of got the lay of the land, we want to review our cogs.

The five cogs that we’re going to look at in this episode are the People cogs, the Process cogs, the Tech cogs, the Sales and Marketing cogs, and the Completion cogs.

The first one, the People cogs, which is always my favourite because I am a people come first, peopler. What is the People COG? It is your team. And so we need to get your team sorted. What we’re wanting to see is do you have the right people in the right place to get the outcome that you’re looking for?

So have you got the right ingredients for the [00:05:00] outcome cake you’re trying to bake? Because if you’re trying to make a recipe that requires you know, four of a certain person, one of another and 17 of a senior, of senior people, and you don’t have that right mix, your cake ain’t gonna come out good. So it’s really important to look at the different team members that you have, if they’re in the right role, and if there are things missing, or do you have excess?

Sometimes we can have excess people, and it doesn’t necessarily mean we need to get rid of people, it means that we can shift people over to different roles where there is a need to get everything to happen smoother. And so what we’re wanting to look at when we’re looking at our people is the roles and responsibilities.

Are they really clear? Crystal clear? Does everybody know what they’re doing, what they’re here for, and what they’re responsible [00:06:00] for? So that when there’s a big win, yeah, they get the credit. And if something falls over, hey, they’re responsible for fixing it. We want people that are taking ownership of their roles, and we want them to be confident in the decisions that they need to make on a day to day basis.

And to have that level of ownership. Over everything that they do, the result will be better work. That’s just reality. So we need these roles to be really clear. We don’t want confusion because that’s where friction gets created, including like people friction between people. Whereas if roles and responsibilities are clear, that doesn’t happen.

And then the final thing that you want to look at with your people cogs is your structure. So where do the people sit within the organisation and what’s the reporting structure? What’s the communication structure? Who reports to who? How are [00:07:00] people meant to communicate? What are those lines? It’s really, really important because it means that when someone is stuck, they know exactly who to go to.

They know they know how many layers of communication there are to go above them, above them, above them. They can see, it helps them see how their job impacts the business as a whole. Because they can see their one spot versus all the things surrounding them. And that only comes with structure.

The other thing is having really open communication channels. And that is so that we can free up. As many resources as possible to help navigate any problems. So if somebody is empowered in their role, they’re going to do the best that they can to foresee any problems that are going to happen.

And they know their limits. They know[00:08:00]  when they’ve reached the point of they’ve tried too many things that’s not working. They don’t know what to do. If you have a really clear structure and they know who they can communicate with and go sideways or up to say, Hey, this is what I’ve tried.

I don’t know what to do. And get that support. You’ll find that all these problems get resolved a lot faster. And When it is that clear pathway, there’s less confusion and there’s less worry. People get less stressed about, who am I going to speak to? And what are they going to think? And maybe this is something I should have worked out.

Whereas if it is a group effort and those communication lines are clear, things happen a lot quicker, which is exactly what you want happening.

So the next cog is the process cog. All right. So what are the things that are happening regularly? In your business, what is the day to day stuff? The marketing, the [00:09:00] customer support, the planning, the admin, what are all these things? Because that’s what makes up the process cog. And we want to look at if those processes are accurate, if they are continuously being improved, if they are easy to implement and if they’re effective.

Like, is it the most effective way to do something? And so, to do that, you need to have functional SOPs. And I say functional because, you can write an SOP, and it can be this beautiful 100 page long document, but it can make no sense. Or it can be too much detail and too hard to navigate, and it effectively becomes useless.

So what we want is actual functional SOPs, and we want to start with our core [00:10:00] processes. Because I know that a lot of people shy away from SOPs because it’s boring. Like, really, can’t we just go for the next shiny thing? Can’t we just go for the next goal? Can’t we just, play with the new marketing tool?

Like, why do we want to invest our time and money in SOPs? And so that’s why I’m saying you need to do it for your core processes. Because if you have the core functionality of your business documented properly in a way that is consumable and actionable, then you’re giving your business continuity.

And that means that if somebody is sick or away or gets hit by a bus, which none of us ever want to happen, but it does happen. Chloe got hit by a bus on the way to work one day. Was not good. But. Having functional SOPs gives your business the ability to continue without any one person. And so let me tell you a little bit of a [00:11:00] story.

We had a client who was working with Chloe quite closely and she was doing all of the operations and overseeing all the projects. And Chloe was going away for a little while. So we’re getting closer and we’re getting closer to when Chloe was going to go away. And the client said to her, so what’s going to happen when you’re gone?

And Chloe said, what do you mean? And they said, well, I don’t know, like, is there going to be a gap? And Chloe said, no, Leanne is here. She’ll do it. And I wasn’t an unfamiliar. Piece in this project. Like I was in there with her too. And then they’ve said, Oh, but like, is she capable? And I found it hilarious.

I found [00:12:00] it so funny because I taught Chloe all of our operations. And so just, we have general rhythms that we follow. So I’m like, she’s following my blueprint with her tweaks. and in this situation, I was just, I just found it really funny. Anyway, so she said to the client, no, it’ll be fine. Leanne is more than capable.

Like she’s already totally across everything. And so then the client was like, ah, okay, cool. No worries. But how is it possible for somebody to be fully across everything? And. The way that we’re able to navigate that is with SOPs. It is a a system that we create. So then no matter which client we are working on, we know where to go looking for something.

And we know how to hand over really well. But we wouldn’t be able to do that [00:13:00] if we didn’t have the functional SOP foundation. And then when there is Chloe needs to go away, everything would have stopped. And that’s just not a good business plan. We also need to have a continuous improvement mindset when it comes to process.

So what I mean by this is we never want to document a process so that it is for one certain person. We want to document SOPs in a way that looks at the business as a whole. And so it is the, this is what this role impacts. Doing this process will have this flow on effect.

It’s giving it context in the system and that changes how you do a task. So if you have the right context, you know when you can change something. Or you know if you do this slightly differently, it’s going to have this impact. So we don’t want to do that.[00:14:00] But we also want people to be improving their documenting of processes as they’re going.

So when you’re doing this, if the process is wrong, fix it. Otherwise, this ends up being a really big overhead to go back and document and document and re document. Because we all know that really, as soon as an SOP, that 100 page document is created, it’s out of date. Things move too quickly. So we want a way to make it really simple for people to be able to keep that data up to date.

And then we want to look at automation. Have we automated our processes? And it doesn’t have to be a whole process. It can be a piece of a process. and have we done it right? Or have we removed too much human? Because sometimes we do that. We can automate pretty much anything, guys. But that doesn’t mean you’re going to get the outcome that you want.

Because if you take too much human away, you lose sales. You lose [00:15:00] connection. People feel like they’re talking to robots and that’s not fun. Or one glitch in the system and the whole thing comes crashing down. So we want to get that balance right too. So you want to be looking at your automation side.

Then we want to look at the tech cogs. 

I love tech cogs because I’m a little bit nerdy that way. And I love tools. So we want to review, what is the technology that we’re using? What’s in our digital ecosystem? And in our group of tools in our tech stack, is there overlap? Are there things that we have that have the capability to do what the others are doing?

So then we’ve got crossover and where there’s crossover, there’s wastage. Or do we. Not have enough tools. So when we work with clients, we’ve got like this big digital ecosystem map. It’s really cool. But it has like all the different tool kind of categories and tool types and we use it to go, okay, what does the client have [00:16:00] now?

And what do we think they need? Because then it’s kind of like we can see the gaps pretty clearly if they have a cluster of this kind of tool, but none of this one. And usually if that tool doesn’t exist, it means there’s inefficiencies for whatever that tool brings. So it gives us that starting point to review.

But it is all about looking at what we do have, what they, what these tools are capable of, what we’re using them for, and if we really need them. And then if there are things where we could benefit from having a different tool, and it might even just be an integration tool. How are we going to connect tool 1 to tool 2? 

Then, we want to look at the ROI. What tools are we paying for and what are they doing for us? Are we getting what we want out of them? Could we scrap some and use a different tool that we already have to do that same thing? [00:17:00] And therefore we’re not doubling up on cost. Or are there capabilities of one of the tools we’re already paying for that we’re just not using?

And we could, and it would benefit us. So we want to be making sure that every resource, whether it’s a person or a technology, is working towards our impact goals. To the best of its ability and capacity. And then the next cog is the sales and marketing cog. Now this has its own cog because there is so much that goes into sales and marketing from an operational perspective.

And I really wanted to talk to you about creating marketing rhythms. So things that happen on a repeatable cycle and applying system thinking to your marketing and your sales. And it’s, one of those things where if you can look at it from a bit of a higher level at the purpose of what you’re trying to achieve, we want to be able to connect with our [00:18:00] audience on a regular basis.

We want to do it in these different forms. And we want to cover, you know, our set branded topics. And then it’s how do we do that as an organisation? Well, we get a long form piece of content. And then from that, we’re going to distribute it in these ways to these channels. And then here is how that gets executed.

So each time we’re coming down a layer, coming down a layer so everybody can see what’s happening from a high level, medium, low, and then you start to create these rhythms, which is all about, okay, this is how we find our content topic. This is what the kind of content we’re doing is. Are you doing podcasts?

Are you doing blogs? Are you doing YouTube videos? What is it that you’re doing? And then what happens once that’s done? What’s the rhythm that happens? Well okay, it gets recorded, then it goes to the editing team, then it gets chopped up by the social person, then the copy [00:19:00] gets approved. What is it? How do we create this rhythm and the time frame so we know we’re always going to deliver what we need delivered on time?

So it can sound complicated, but it’s not. It’s complex because there’s lots of moving pieces, but it really keeps your sales and marketing running smoothly because of the way it’s built. And it’s built to consider every other piece. Well, if I don’t do this by then, that means that The designer won’t get the bits they need to do their job, which is going to make it late.

And if I don’t do this, then if I don’t get the draft to the copywriter, the copywriter isn’t going to be able to write it out properly. And then the social person isn’t going to be able to divide it into how many posts they need. And so it gives really great visibility into how this system works and the flow on effect.

And it puts more accountability on different [00:20:00] people because , they have that clarity that they didn’t have before. So that’s all about how we create brand cohesion. If we can have these systems in place, we’re going to be visible, we’re going to be consistently present, we’re going to create brand stickiness.

Now we also need to consider, when it comes to our sales and marketing cog, connection to create sales. So, how are we connecting with our audience? How are we having conversations? What are we, what are the processes that underpin that? And it doesn’t mean that there has to be You know, an automated process or a rigid process, but something that encourages these conversations.

When someone is talking about one of these five things, send them a DM and ask how they are. If you connect with someone at a networking event and they have these characteristics. Connect with them on LinkedIn and try [00:21:00] and further that conversation. Get to know them more. Like, what are the tactical things you’re doing to build these relationships?

And to stay in tune with what your audience actually wants. The only way to stay in tune with what your audience needs is to talk to them. And then we also need to consider any missed opportunities. So when we’re doing the things that we’re doing, we want to review them and go, Ah, maybe we could do this.

And if we had have done that for the last 50 events that we went to, possibly could have put us here by now. And so it’s constantly that reflection and then improve what you’re doing, or try new things. 

And then the final cog that I want to talk to you about is the completion cog. And you may not have heard about this one.

It is not your typical business department. And that is because I made it up. I have worked with enough visionaries and thought leaders to know [00:22:00] that the completing bit is an issue. . We get really excited about the next thing we can try, the next thing we can do, the next problem we can solve. And a lot of the time what happens is some of the things that we had started to do already get paused.

We’ll come back to it. We’ll come back to it. Can I tell you something? Each time you come back to it, you are losing. efficiency and where that thing got up to. So let’s say you got something to 80 percent complete. When you go back to it, it’s now at 50 percent because of the amount of work you have to do to translate everything from where you were then to where you are now and get back into what the purpose of it was in the first place.

Like you are reworking and reworking and you’re losing that 30 percent just by doing that. Whereas if you had have just spent the extra 20 percent of time to get it to 100 percent [00:23:00] complete, you would be getting the ROI from that activity now. And so sometimes we really have to look at, okay, what is in our work in progress?

What are we actually finishing? What have we started and then gotten out? And what’s that doing for us? So I think that this is really important when you’re looking at operational excellence. It’s, that is crucial. And if, even if you just make this one change, it will get you so much further, so much faster and get you creating the impact that you really want.

So I hope that that helps explains what operational excellence is, how you can start using some of these things to turn your business into a well oiled machine and get more out of the resources that you have. Let me know in the comments. Thanks for listening. Bye!

 [00:24:00] 

How to deal with angry clients

How to deal with angry clients

Angry clients can be your biggest challenge or your greatest opportunity for strengthening relationships.

I’ve had people ask me before, “how do you go about managing difficult clients and difficult conversations?” And so I’ve had to spend quite a bit of time thinking about this and actually analysing what it is that I do.

Let me tell you a little story.

Last year, we were working away, my team and I. We’re all doing our different things and then, an email lands in our inbox. Chloe says to everyone, “guys, listen to this” and proceeds to read this email. So we’re listening and we’re listening and the office is really quiet and the client is having a good old winge. Everybody in our office starts sharing their opinions on what we should say back. We’re all just reacting to what’s in this email. Then it came to me – our client is just having a reaction. They’re reacting to something else that’s happened.

We’ve read this email and we’ve gone straight into research and investigation mode. What is it that happened here? Is this something that we even should be reading? Like, why are you sending us this email to complain about this? What is our role here? You can see how everything puts a spanner in the works. Everybody stops. We’re all scrambling. And in the midst of all of that, I have realised this is a reaction.

Now, luckily, I had actually just been updating the module in OBM Academy that’s all about difficult conversations and giving clients what they really need, not necessarily what you just see. I paused and I had all of this information rolling around in my head and I found it so funny because it’s like, Leanne, you’ve just been, talking to OBMs about this exact thing.

So, I have eight tips for you. Eight tips on how to gently deal with angry clients and difficult conversations.

 

 

This episode shares:  

  • Breathe, don’t react: Do not react to their reaction.
  • Redefine your purpose: Learn why rethinking your response strategy can turn confrontations into collaborations.
  • Look beneath the surface: Search for the hidden why.
  • Think about who the problem relates to: Keep your emotional distance.
  • Measure the level of input needed: Assess if the complaint reflects on your services.
  • Take an outsider perspective and come up with a solution.: Stop thinking about the who and help with a solution.
  • Don’t be passive aggressive: No one likes it and it makes the situation worse.
  • Take ownership: Own your role, mistakes and all.

Breathe, don’t react

Do not react to an angry client’s reaction. Stop and take a breath. When you react to something so fast, yo’re often not thinking clearly. What you need to do, is take a breath and think about whatever the situation is that you’re in, regardless of whether it’s an email from a client or something completely different in life, then reply.

 

Tip:💡In the heat of a client crisis, implement a ‘reflective break’ where you step back to defuse and deliberate before replying.

 

Redefine your purpose

When we’ve received an angry or unpleasant email, we need to remember that our purpose for reading the email and our purpose for responding to the email is not to defend anyone.

You never should read an email with the pretence that this is just an attack on you. “This is just someone saying that I’ve done the wrong thing.” Ac accusatory. Because let’s be honest, email has no tone and there are so many other things that can come into play. When we’re reading things like this and when we’re responding, our purpose needs to be to re-establish security. Usually, if you’ve got an email or are having a conversation where it feels a little bit like, “hang on, are they trying to say I’ve done the wrong thing?”, it’s not actually about you or what you’ve done. There’s something that is underlying that the person that you’re communicating with needs security around. They’re concerned about something. If they weren’t concerned, they wouldn’t have brought it up.

 

Tip:💡Change your communication lens and view client complaints as a request to reassure, not retaliate.

 

Look beneath the surface

Look beneath the surface. What is the problem really?
Or what is the question that they’re asking you really? Because just like you, people can be quite intimidated to have conversations that make them uncomfortable. They also might not be super confident having to ask for help with something because it makes them feel like they’re not the most knowledgeable.

People find it hard to ask for help. People find it hard to go, “oh, I don’t know how to do this, but these people will know”, and sometimes in their own stuff, they get stuck there. Then when they come back to you and say, “I need help. Can someone just show me this thing?”, it seems like they’re having a go, but really, they’ve had this whole internal dialogue already and it has nothing to do with you.

So, we want to work out what the problem really is because the reaction that you’re seeing is just that. It’s a reaction at their action to an occurrence based on something. It’s a symptom. So it’s not the actual source and that’s why usually when you get some kind of email or conversation that has a negative connotation, there’s something it’s stemming from. That’s why I say don’t react to their reaction. I’m not reacting to their action. I’m reacting to their reaction. Because it reminds me that there’s a reason they’re doing that. They’re reacting to something else and if I can work out there’s something else this will all get resolved calmly.

 

Tip:💡 Assign a sleuth’s mindset and inquire deeper, looking past the complaint for underlying issues that, when resolved, dissolve the anger.

 

 

Think about who the problem relates to

This will change how you manage the entire situation. Sometimes you get the brunt of a reaction, but it actually has nothing to do with you. It has to do with something someone else did and you just happen to be the person who usually has the answers.

So in this situation, my team and I are pulling all of this aparta and it actually had nothing to do with any of us. It was aimed at somebody else, but we’ve been included because we usually have the ability to go, “ah, if this is what you’re needing, here you go”.

So, it’s really important to think about what your role is in the situation and keep a cool head.

 

Tip:💡Think about your role and how it relates.

 

 

Measure the level of input needed

When you’re dealing with things like this, when you get an email that lands in your inbox like that, measure the level of input needed.

In this one scenario, the email was read, everybody stopped. Then we had a big conversation. Then we thought about other things. Imagine how much time we wasted. Collaboratively. It might not have been much individually, but that’s an hour of our time just because we all decided to talk about it and have our little panic.

And really, it wasn’t even for us. So I could have just saved myself an hour by going, hmm, not quite sure about this, I’ll deal with it later and see what happens. So we want to measure how much time we’re going to put in, discussing with other people and investigating what happened and when, right? You don’t want to spend hours gathering facts and information for something that’s not really a priority or doesn’t matter.

It just seems like something at the moment or you’ve just perceived it a certain way, not that the client has. You’re just wasting precious time. So I really want you to think about the impact of whatever the conversation pertains to.

Tip:💡 Remain professionally detached to assess if the complaint genuinely reflects on you or your services.

Take an outsider perspective and come up with a solution

Without going down the rabbit hole of here’s a 27 step pathway to fix this, you might read that email and go, okay, I can see that you might have perceived it as they’re really annoyed because they can never find the podcast episode that they’re looking for and they’ve asked 57, 000 times and I can’t believe it’s not in my inbox and can someone just give me the link?

You might have nothing to do with the process of how this person gets access to a podcast or where they’re saved or anything. But, you might also know exactly where all the episodes are. Instead of reacting and being annoyed, just email back and go, “Hey, saw your email. I’m guessing you probably want to know where the latest podcast is. It’s here, and where the stats are that show how it’s performing. These are here. Let me know if you need anything else”.

Instead of going down the pathway of trying to justify and think about all the things, you’ve just given them exactly what they needed and it’s taken two minutes.

So, it’s taking all the drama out and looking for what it is that they actually need right now

Tip:💡Convert reactive impulses into proactive, thoughtful solutions that address the root of your client’s dissatisfaction.

 

 

Don’t be passive aggressive

Here’s the thing with passive aggression, it’s easy. It’s quite easy to be passive aggressive and then to hide behind the fact that we haven’t yelled and, I don’t understand why anybody could really point some blame at the way I’m behaving because I haven’t done anything that’s overtly aggressive.

But passive aggression is just another form of aggression, and it will just make it worse. Adding in snarky comments or being sarcastic with situations like this, just blows it up. Except when you behave that way you’ve behaved the wrong way as well. So all of a sudden if someone else has been behaving in a manner that’s incorrect, you’ve just put yourself in the firing line straight with them because you’re not dealing with it in an assertive manner. You’re still being aggressive and snarky in a different way and it doesn’t make anybody feel good and it will not make the situation better.

At the end of the day, you might feel like you’ve had your two cents of, “I showed them”. It doesn’t really give you satisfaction and it just means there’s going to be another conversation that’s had later.

Tip:💡If you find someone is being passive aggressive toward you, call it out and tell them you’re happy to speak but not like this and end the conversation for now. Passive aggression gets you no where and it makes situations worse.

Take ownership

If you get this email and it is a result of an error that you’ve made or something that you’ve done or not done, don’t reply.

Just pick up the phone and apologise.

Don’t beg. Do. Not. Beg. If you’ve made a mistake, you’re a human being and we make mistakes.

If saying sorry and doing what you can to rectify the practical situation in front of you is not enough, then really, your client is a butt. That’s the reality here. They’re not very nice, they’re not going to accept that humans make errors sometimes. That you were a big enough person to go, “Hey, yep, that one was me fixing it”. They can either move on or they can fester and be annoyed about it. But I find that a lot of OBMs will go into that begging for forgiveness point. “Oh my goodness, I can’t believe I’ve done this. I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry. What can I do? I’ll do anything”, then the next thing and the next thing. And that’s the narrative they always get. Whereas if you can step back a little bit. Fix the situation and then put in place things so that that kind of thing doesn’t happen anymore, you’re going to get a lot better of a response and you’re going to have much more ownership over your role.

Everybody can move forward like grown ups, which is the aim of the game here.

Tip:💡Own your role and find a solution to whatever mistake you made.

 

 

And… that’s a wrap!

If you follow the eight different things that I’ve said in this episode, usually what will happen is you’ll be dealing with your angry client in a way that diffuses the situation, which is the aim of the game  – to recognise that someone is unhappy about something. That there are multiple perspectives as to what it is and why that could be and working out a way to give the person what they really need so they can walk away feeling good and not have that frustration anymore. I hope that that helps you so that next time you get an email like that or have to have a conversation like that, you’re not panicked and you have a little bit of a roadmap on how to handle it.

If we have steps to take, we can remove part of the emotion and that’s the hardest bit – removing the emotion from these situations.

 

 

 

Want more OBM tips & tricks leads?

We’ve got just the resource for you.

Embark on your path to becoming a six-figure Online Business Manager with our comprehensive FREE roadmap. Gain insights into key strategies, and build the confidence needed to align your service with the value you bring. Don’t wait.

Hungry for more? Yearning to fast-track your journey to a successful, 6-figure OBM career? Our OBM Academy is here for you. Gain access to exclusive support, invaluable resources, and the tools you need to sharpen your skills and elevate your OBM career. Don’t miss this opportunity.

Follow along with the transcript

E29 How to deal with angry clients 

Leanne Woff:[00:00:00] Hey, hey everybody. Welcome to another episode of The Audacious [00:01:00] OBM. I’m your host, Leanne Woff, and today we are digging in to how to deal with angry clients. Doh, doh, doh. Okay, so I’ve had people ask me before, how do you go about managing difficult clients and difficult conversations? And so I’ve had to spend quite a bit of time thinking about this and actually analysing what it is that I do.

So let me tell you a little story. Last year, maybe in the second half of last year, we’re working away, my team and I. We’re all doing our different things. And then, an email lands in our inbox. And Chloe says to everyone, Guys, listen to this and proceeds to read this email. [00:02:00] So we’re listening and we’re listening and the office is really quiet and the client is having a good old winge.

So Chloe finishes reading and then all of a sudden everybody’s saying, Oh, we need to say this. We need to say this. Maybe we need to do this, including me. We’re all just reacting to what’s in this email. And then I walked away to get coffee, got inside, I’ve come back. And as I’ve come back, I’ve thought this client is just reacting.

They’re reacting to something else that’s happened. And my team has read this email. We’ve gone straight [00:03:00] into research and investigation mode. What is it that happened here? Is this something that we even should be reading? Like, why are you sending us this email to complain about this? What is our role here?

And you can see how everything puts a spanner in the works. Everybody stops. We’re all scrambling.

And in the midst of all of that, I have realized this is a reaction. Now, luckily, I had actually just been updating the module in OBM Academy that’s all about difficult conversations and giving clients what they really need, not necessarily what you just see. I paused and I had all of this information rolling around in my head and I found it so funny because it’s like, Leanne, you’ve just been, talking to OBMs about this exact thing.

Today, [00:04:00] I have eight tips for you. Eight tips on how to gently deal with angry clients and difficult conversations. The first one is do not react to their reaction. Stop and take a breath. So in my team’s scramble of why are they saying this and what has happened and, we’ve all gone into a fluster, we’re just reacting to something that has landed.

And here’s the thing, when you react to something, it’s unexpected for you to react as a quick response to something. And so you’re not really thinking properly. You need to actually take a breath and think about whatever the situation is that you’re in, regardless of whether it’s an email from a client or something completely different in life.

Number [00:05:00] two, redefine your purpose. So when we’ve received an email like that we need to remember that our purpose for reading the email and our purpose for responding to the email is not to defend anyone. You never should read an email with the pretense that this is just an attack on me. This is just someone saying that I’ve done the wrong thing or that someone else has done the wrong thing or, it’s accusatory or whatever.

Because let’s be honest, email has no tone and there’s so many other things that can come into play here. When we’re reading things like this and when we’re responding, our purpose needs to be to re-establish security. Usually, if you’ve got an email or are having a conversation where it feels a little bit like, [00:06:00] hang on, are they trying to say I’ve done the wrong thing?

It’s not actually about you or what you’ve done. There’s something that is underlying that the person that you’re communicating with needs security around. They’re concerned about something. If they weren’t concerned, they wouldn’t have brought it up. Number three is look beneath the surface. What is the problem really?

Or what is the question that they’re asking you really? Because just like you, people can be quite intimidated to have conversations that make them uncomfortable. They also might not be super confident having to ask for help with something because it makes them feel like they’re not the most knowledgeable.

People find it hard to ask for help. People find it hard to go, oh, I don’t know how to [00:07:00] do this, but these people will know. And sometimes in their own stuff, they get stuck there. And so then when they come back to you to go, I need help. Can someone just show me this thing? It seems like they’re having a go, but really they will, they’ve had this whole internal dialogue already.

And it has nothing to do with you. So we want to work out what the problem is really, because the reaction that you’re seeing is just that. It’s a reaction at their action to an occurrence based on something. It’s a symptom. So it’s not the actual source. And that’s why usually when you get some kind of Email a conversation that has a negative connotation.

There’s something it’s stemming from. And that’s [00:08:00] why I say don’t react to their reaction. I’m not reacting to their action. I’m reacting to their reaction. Because it reminds me that there’s a reason they’re doing that. They’re reacting to something else. And if I can work out there’s something else This will all get resolved really calmly.

Number four, think about who the problem relates to. Is it even you? So this will change how you manage the entire situation. Sometimes you get the brunt of a reaction, but it actually has nothing to do with you. It has to do with something someone else did. And you just happen to be the person who usually has the answers.

So in this situation, my team and I are pulling all of this apart. And it actually had nothing to do with any of us. It was aimed at somebody else, but [00:09:00] we’ve been included because we usually have the ability to go, ah, if this is what you’re needing, here you go. Or this is why they did that to settle the issue.

So it’s really important to think about, hang on a sec, what is my role here? Because it might not be, your role here is for me to yell at you or be annoyed at you because something is broken or didn’t go the way I expected. So we want to keep, a cool head. 5. When you’re dealing with things like this, when you get an email that lands in your inbox like that, measure the level of input needed.

In this one scenario, the email was read, everybody stopped. Then we had a big conversation. Then we thought about other things. Imagine how much time we wasted. Collaboratively. It might not have been much individually, but that’s an hour of our time just because we [00:10:00] all decided to talk about it and go, uh, and have our little panic.

And really, it wasn’t even for us. So I could have just saved myself an hour by going, hmm, not quite sure about this, I’ll deal with it later and see what happens. So we want to measure how much time we’re going to put in, discussing with other people and investigating what happened and when, right? You don’t want to spend hours gathering facts and information for something that’s not really a priority or doesn’t matter.

It just seems like something at the moment or you’ve just perceived it a certain way, not that the client has. You’re just wasting precious time. So I really want you to think about the impact of whatever the conversation pertains to. Number six. Take an outsider perspective and come up with a solution.

[00:11:00] Without going down the rabbit hole of here’s a 27 step pathway to fix this, you might read that email and go, okay, I can see that you might have perceived it as they’re really annoyed because they can never find the podcast episode that they’re looking for and they’ve asked 57, 000 times and I can’t believe it’s not in my inbox.

And can someone just give me the link? You might have nothing to do with the process of how this person gets access to a podcast or where they’re saved or anything. But, you might also know exactly where all the episodes are. Instead of reacting and being annoyed, just email back and go, Hey, saw your email.

I’m guessing you probably want to know where the latest podcast is. It’s here, and where the stats are that show how it’s performing. These are here. Let me know if you need anything else. And instead of going down the pathway of trying to justify and think about all the things, you’ve just [00:12:00] given them exactly what they needed and it’s taken two minutes.

So it’s taking all the drama out and looking for what it is that they actually need right now. Number seven, don’t be passive aggressive. So here’s the thing with passive aggression, it’s Easy. It’s quite easy to be passive aggressive and then to hide behind the fact that we haven’t yelled and, I don’t understand why anybody could really point some blame at the way I’m behaving because I haven’t done anything that’s overtly aggressive.

But passive aggression is just another form of aggression, and it will just make it worse. Adding in snarky comments or being sarcastic with situations like this, just blows it up. Except when you behave that way you’ve behaved the wrong way as well. So all of a sudden if someone else has been behaving in a [00:13:00] manner that’s incorrect, you’ve just put yourself in the firing line straight with them because you’re not dealing with it in an assertive manner. You’re still being aggressive and snarky in a different way. And it doesn’t make anybody feel good and it will not make the situation better.

And it won’t make you feel good. At the end of the day, you might feel like you’ve had your two cents of, I showed them. It doesn’t really give you satisfaction. And it just means there’s going to be another conversation that’s had later. And number eight, if you get this email and it is a result of an error that you’ve made or something that you’ve done or not done, don’t reply.

Just pick up the phone and apologize. Don’t beg. Do. Not. Beg. If you’ve made a mistake, you’re a human being and we make [00:14:00] mistakes. And if saying sorry and doing what you can to rectify the practical situation in front of you is not enough, then really, your client is a butt. That’s the reality here. They’re not very nice, they’re not going to accept that humans make errors sometimes.

That you were a big enough person to go, Hey, yep, that one was me fixing it. Now. Like they can either move on or they can fester and be annoyed about it. But I find that Alot of OBMs will go into that begging for forgiveness point. Oh my goodness, I can’t believe I’ve done this. I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry.

What can I do? I’ll do anything. And then the next thing. And the next thing. And that’s the narrative they always get. Whereas if you can step back a little bit. Fix the situation and then put in place things so that that kind of thing doesn’t happen anymore. You’re going to get a lot better of a response and you’re going to have much [00:15:00] more ownership over your role.

And then everybody can move forward like grown ups, which is the aim of the game here. Now if you follow the eight different things that I’ve said in this episode, usually what will happen is you’ll be dealing with your angry client in a way that diffuses the situation, which is the aim of the game is to recognize that someone is unhappy about something. That there are multiple perspectives as to what it is and why that could be. And working out a way to give the person what they really need so they can walk away feeling good and not have that frustration anymore. I hope that that helps you so that next time you get an email like that or have to have a conversation like that.

You’re not panicked and you have a little bit of a roadmap on how to handle it. [00:16:00] Because if we have steps to take, we can remove part of the emotion. And that’s the hardest bit is removing the emotion from these situations. But if we have a little list, well, there’s no emotion in the list. It’s just a list that can help our head get in the game.

Hope you found it helpful. If you are an OBM and you are looking to up your OBM game, Google OBM Academy. Check it out. That is where I share the ins and outs of everything I have learned as an OBM, so that you can be a rockstar too. Bye everybody! [00:17:00] 

How to handle multiple client projects as an OBM

How to handle multiple client projects as an OBM

Have you ever wondered how to manage a multitude of clients without dropping the ball?

Let me, Leanne Woff, share valuable insights and practical tips with you on how to handle multiple client projects with ease.

I understand the challenges that OBMs face when it comes to managing a high-touch, personable role while juggling multiple clients.

So if you’re an OBM looking to improve your client management skills, this is for you.

 

 

 

This episode shares:  

  • Clarity is King: The clearer that you are about things, the easier it will be and the smoother your schedule will run.
  • Efficient Time Management: Mastering the art of scheduling and prioritising.
  • Strategic Project Planning: Breaking down tasks and setting milestones. Using digital tools like project management tools can streamline your workflow and keep you organised.
  • Effective Communication: Keeping clients informed and engaged.

 

Clarity is King

When we are quoting, when we are creating packages or when we are having Introduction Chats with clients, we want to get super clear on what the job actually is and what the capacity will be for you to commit to this. So if we can list out inclusions that are really specific and even list out exclusions, so things that aren’t going to fall into what you are offering, this is going to add that layer of clarity. I’ve learned that success or failure in managing multiple clients hinges on clarity. It’s about being clear on what the job entails and the capacity you can commit to. This clarity comes from specific inclusions and exclusions in your offerings, helping you manage your time and expectations effectively. Imagine a scenario where you’re crystal clear about your tasks – it’s like having a roadmap in an unknown city, guiding your every turn and decision.

Tip:💡Make detailed lists of what your services include and exclude.

 

 

Efficient Time Management

Now what I want you to be doing is looking at these inclusions and managing your capacity. How much time is involved in each of these things? How much consistent time is needed? So sometimes it is easier for us to say, do some planning one day, and then do you know, some strategy prep the next day, whatever it might be, how you work with clients.

You really need to think about blocks of time, and if what’s required of this quote, this project, this retainer, whatever it is that you are doing, is it consistent time or is it going to have to be spread out over these days in these weeks until you have a really nice map? Really the aim here is to get a project plan going, even if it’s a retainer.

Because we still should know how long roughly things take us. We also should know where our critical points are. We know when a job is big and when there will be tight turnarounds, and we know when something will be fairly cruisy, and so we want to be factoring all of this in and laying out the pieces.

How do we do that? When I’m first mapping anything, including my own time, usually I start with a calendar. Always block in your breaks or you won’t have them , you’ll just keep working. Whereas when they’re in there, they become like an appointment for you and you wanna meet your appointments.

Tip:💡Utilise time blocking to organise your week and always include breaks in your schedule.

 

Strategic Project Planning

Project management tools have been lifesavers in my workflow. They provide a central place to manage tasks, set milestones, and track progress. Asana rules my life. I love it, but it only works if I have that clarity that I was talking about earlier. So all of my client projects go in Asana. My clients cannot access them. This is for running my business, my team, and me, the work that I am doing with clients also gets put into their own internal project management system. That is where I give them updates. And so what this means is there’s double handling, but can I tell you double handling, this one thing is worth it. I have not found a better way to do this, but giving your clients the information they need within their system is crucial.

Knowing what your day, week, month looks like and what the priority is and your timelines are for things, your ability to save things somewhere where no one else can see it, or to keep notes as you’re going, is also crucial. So Asana does that for me, and sometimes it means putting an update in the client’s Asana and putting the same update in mine.

Sometimes mine has extra notes that my client doesn’t see. Sometimes the client’s one has links that mine doesn’t need. It’s all very holistic the way that I do it, but I have clear objectives. Again, with clarity, I need to know that the client has what they need, that everything that business needs to function, have a trail create systems to scale later on, have a history of what’s happened so that my clients can get their update as soon as they want it, for them to see if things are on track or off track, it needs to be in their tool. And then for me to be able to coordinate my own work, my week, my team, what they’re doing, be able to see where all our clients are up to across the board, I need Asana updated.

Tip:💡Create a separate project for each client in your project management tool, including both high-level planning and detailed task tracking.

 

Effective Communication

Maintaining open lines of communication with clients is essential. I make it a point to update my clients regularly, keeping them informed about the progress of their projects. This proactive approach helps in building trust and ensures that clients feel valued and understood. Regular updates and weekly meetings not only keep clients informed but also help me stay accountable and on track.

Tip:💡 Communicate any changes to clients promptly and clearly.

 

And… that’s a wrap!

Managing multiple clients as an OBM is an art that requires clarity, effective time management, the right tools, excellent communication, and the ability to adapt. By incorporating these strategies into your daily routine, you can transform potential chaos into a well-orchestrated symphony of productivity and success.

 

Want more OBM tips & tricks leads?

We’ve got just the resource for you.

Embark on your path to becoming a six-figure Online Business Manager with our comprehensive FREE roadmap. Gain insights into key strategies, and build the confidence needed to align your service with the value you bring. Don’t wait.

Hungry for more? Yearning to fast-track your journey to a successful, 6-figure OBM career? Our OBM Academy is here for you. Gain access to exclusive support, invaluable resources, and the tools you need to sharpen your skills and elevate your OBM career. Don’t miss this opportunity.
Follow along with the transcript

E26 How to handle multiple client projects as an OBM

 Hello, hello, hello. Welcome to another episode of The Audacious OBM. I’m Leanne Woff, and I’m super excited to have you here with me today. Today’s episode is all about client management. It is how to manage multiple clients as an OBM. This is a question I actually get asked a lot. That is, how do you go about having more than one client, especially with the kind of role that being an OBM is.

We are personable, we are in depth, we are high touch. So how can you possibly go about that and be that invested with multiple clients? So in this episode, I’m gonna give you some tips and tricks into how you can do this with ease and give you some examples of some of the things that I do and have done in the past that makes being an OBM, manageable and keeps your schedule, nice and sharp and succinct with  your clients feeling loved up.

All right, so let’s get stuck in. The success or failure, when it comes to managing multiple clients at one time, when you’re working to this level, really comes down to clarity. Clarity will be your indicator. The clearer that you are about things, the easier it will be and the smoother your schedule will run.

So when we are quoting, when we are creating packages or when we are having introduction chats with clients, we wanna get super clear on what the job actually is and what the capacity will be for you to commit to this. So if we can list out inclusions that are really specific and even list out exclusions, so things that aren’t going to fall into what you are offering, this is going to add that layer [00:03:00] of clarity. Now what I want you to be doing is looking at these inclusions and managing your capacity. How much time is involved in each of these things? How much consistent time is needed? So sometimes it is easier for us to say, do some planning one day, and then do you know, some strategy prep the next day, whatever it might be, how you work with clients.

You really need to think about blocks of time, and if what’s required of this quote, this project, this retainer, whatever it is that you are doing, is it consistent time or is it No, it’s gonna have to be spread out over these days in these weeks until you have a really nice map. Really the aim here is to get a project plan going, even if it’s a retainer.

Because we still should know how long roughly things take us. We also should know where our [00:04:00] critical points are. We know when a job is big and when there will be tight turnarounds, and we know when something will be fairly cruisy, and so we wanna be factoring all of this in and laying out the pieces.

How do we do that? When I’m first mapping anything, including my own time, usually I start with a calendar on one screen and a spreadsheet on the other, because I’m very visual that way. I wanna be able to see, okay, here’s my week and here’s all of the things I need to fit into this week, next week, the week after, or in general.

And then I have a spreadsheet so that I can, . brainstorm and brain dump a little bit without having to create more calendar events if I don’t need to right now, so I can play with it. And first, I work in blocks. I love time blocking, even if it is just for setting up your overall [00:05:00] high level plan. So if you are trying to work out, okay, I’ve got family, I’ve got clients, I’ve got business, what do I, how do I map this?

Okay, family. I know that that might take 10 hours a week, and I know that Susie has soccer on Wednesdays. Map in those things first. And then in your spreadsheet you can go, okay, out, out of my, 30 hours to work this week, I will have to take five of that for picking kids after school. So that leaves me with 25 hours.

Now, if I know that I want to take 30 minutes every day for lunch, that takes another two and a half hours out of that total. Now I’m gonna go and block in my lunch, in my calendar. So this is another thing. Always block in your breaks or you won’t have them , [00:06:00] you’ll just keep working. Whereas when they’re in there, they become like an appointment for you and you wanna meet your appointments.

So block in your breaks. Now, we’ve got breaks, we’ve got kids, we’ve got what’s left in work time, and I want you to think about each of the different services that you offer. How long does it actually take you to deliver those services? So you might just have a general OBM package and if you are charging by the hour and selling hourly packages, it becomes really easy, right?

Because then it’s just, okay, I’ve got 10 hours a week in clients across the board, so I know I have to find 10 hours of time to deliver my client work. That’s so set those blocks up. It might not be as straightforward as that because even though charging by the hour can be great. A lot of the time packages are more profitable.

So we sell those, which is where your [00:07:00] deliverables C become really important because we need to be able to see, this is what I’m operating to for the next however long. So you might have a project that’s going over three months and you might have mapped that project out and you know you are going to spend about five hours a week on that project, mapping the time for those things.

Then. Once we’ve done that, we need to add in some business management time. Nothing about running a business is hands-free, and you know that ’cause you run other people’s businesses. You also know that if there is no time mapped for it, you are not going to give it any. So if you don’t put in marketing time, if you don’t put in client update time into your overall schedule, you are never going to do it.

And it will impact your client experience and it will impact your business and your profitability. So we wanna try and put chunks as much as we can. And it’s not even [00:08:00] saying you need to do this week on week, like week on week. You might have a marketing block that is a whole day in a month or half a day every week, or once a fortnight a day, whatever works for you.

But make sure you’re putting something in there. so once we’ve got a map and we understand how much time we actually have, how much working time do you have, that shows you how many clients you can take on roughly. If you know your services really well, which you need to do, then you start pivoting over to your project management tool. So Asana rules my life. I love it, but it only works if I have that clarity that I was talking about earlier. So all of my client projects go in Asana. My clients cannot access them. This is for running my business, my team, and me, the work that I am doing with clients [00:09:00] also gets put into their project management system. That is where I give them updates. And so what this means is there’s double handling, but can I tell you double handling, this one thing is worth it. I have not found a better way to do this, but giving your clients, the information they need within their system is crucial.

Knowing what your day, week, month looks like and what the priority is and your timelines are for things, your ability to save things somewhere where no one else can see it, or to keep notes as you’re going, it’s also crucial. So Asana does that for me, and sometimes it means putting an update in the client’s Asana and putting the same update in mine.

Sometimes mine has extra notes that my client doesn’t see. Sometimes the client’s one has links that mine doesn’t need. [00:10:00] it’s all very, holistic the way that I do it, but I have clear objectives. Again, with clarity, I need to know that the client has what they need, that everything that business needs to function, have a trail create systems to scale later on, have a history of what’s happened so that my clients can get their update as soon as they want it, for them to see if things are on track or off track, it needs to be in their tool. And then for me to be able to coordinate my own work my week, my team, what they’re doing, be able to see where all our clients are up to across the board, I need Asana updated. And so how I do that is I have a project for each client. And I have our key milestones.

So what are the things that we are doing with this client that are going to show me that we’ve completed something or that are going to show me that we’re progressing towards our goal? And again, this can look [00:11:00] different based on how you’ve structured your services. If it is, say you are setting up, 

you are creating processes for a client. You wanna streamline things in your project, your milestones might be, okay, we’re gonna do an audit first, then we are going to, once we’ve got that audit, we’re going to map out all the gaps. Then we’re going to, create the plan of what we think is missing, what we think is needs to be updated and overhauled, but maybe some of these processes are too old.

We’re going to include in that possibly the different tools that we need or the different team members we need to talk to. So creating that plan would be one of the milestones. Then rolling out that plan is going to be the next thing. Potentially your plan has three big areas. Each one of those areas becomes a milestone, and then there’s handover.

So you’ll be able to look at that all different ways. Okay? So whether it’s [00:12:00] retainer or not, then you’ll have that for every client. So you’ll be able to pull reports on where everything is up to. And for each action that is in your tool, I want you to know how long you plan to spend on it. Give things a time estimate and then plan that time.

Make sure that these things are feeding in together. Otherwise you’ll be over capacity and you won’t be able to meet your needs, and then you’ll be upset and your clients will be upset and it won’t be great. . Once we’ve got everything in our tool, so we’ve got things in our calendar in terms of the blocks of when we are gonna work on things and who’s working on what, when our meetings are, we’re making sure our balance is right in terms of how many hours we need to commit to different things, life and business.

We’ve got our tool, which [00:13:00] has our tasks, it has our big plans and our little plans. It has all of our team. It can run reports and give us progress updates so we know, oh, these are the tasks I have to do in this block, and we can go and do it. The next piece is using that to boost communication. So we really wanna keep our clients up to date.

And this can be part of the hard bit of having multiple clients is we feel like there’s this big burden on how much we have to update everybody. But really that’s just reactive behavior. If you already know what you’re going to be working on, you can give a pre-update, Hey, just letting you know that this is gonna be my focus.

Keeping them in the loop and then giving them an update when you’re done. Hey, just letting you know everything is on track. You can see it here in your project management tool. And I’ve left notes. And here this is over to you to review. And if that is not natural for you, [00:14:00] try and make it a habit.

But if you can’t, then block that time in. Put it in there. Must update client. Have the weekly meeting. Make sure you know what you’re talking about in those weekly meetings. Give them the recap because I tell you what, if you are not meeting your objectives, you are going to know when you are doing the notes for that meeting.

When you are setting that agenda, you are gonna start feeling like, I actually haven’t done it. Why haven’t I done it? We wanna review and be really clear, be honest with yourself, what your capacity is. And then

 I really want you to add extra time. So as humans, we always don’t give ourselves enough time. We underestimate how long something will take us, and the more time pressure we have, the lower the client experience is the lower quality of work. Because then we start rushing and we miss things, [00:15:00] and then your reputation is at stake.

So how do I handle multiple clients? I’m clear. I’m clear on what I’m doing. I’m clear on when I’m doing it. I’m clear on what I need to fit into my week, and I’m clear on what my process is. Those are the things that keep my business on track. And I’ve built in rhythms. So I know this is when I go and look at where everything is up to.

This is what I do. If something is off track, this is how I update clients. This is the areas where things might go off track, and here’s why. Sometimes you’re gonna have instances where you can’t predict everything. You can ballpark, but until you’re actually there, you won’t be able to give the full scope.

And all it means is you have to be really clear with your clients again in communicating with them. When we get to this point. I think from what I [00:16:00] know now that it’s going to look like this, but here’s some key factors that might change that. And if I get in there and I see that well, actually you’ve got four email marketing tools and not just two like you thought you did, and you’ve got more data, and it means that this job is going to roll on, it means we will need to alter the project plan because it is not within scope now. It is different. Some pieces have moved. So what do we need to do to cater for that? And we do it in advance. All of these things are going to help you manage multiple clients and still be fully in it. Keep notes, keep documentation, and always work from a place as if you are not the only one that is going to touch it.

Because then when you go back to it, you’ll be able to see exactly where you’re up to. You’ll be able to jog your own memory. You’ll be able to give the client the experience they deserve and that you can deliver. [00:17:00] So I hope that that helps you . there, I could go on and on and I could pull this down into multiple layers.

So I just wanna reiterate that this is more of a high level overview. Lots of clients, biggest things – Communication and Clarity. If you can do that, then you’ll be well on your way to doing this stress free. See you next week everybody. If you’ve enjoyed this episode, please leave us a five star review because that’s how other OBM’s find us and it can help them too.

 

I got thrown under a bus. Here’s what I did

I got thrown under a bus. Here’s what I did

It’s a tale rich with lessons about navigating unclear client requests, steering through miscommunication, and the crucial importance of maintaining integrity in the complex world of business politics. This isn’t just Leanne’s story; it’s a vital roadmap for anyone encountering similar challenges, offering practical insights on how to emerge not just unscathed, but with triumph.

 

 

 

This episode shares:  

  • The Power of Clarity, Honesty, and Kindness: How these values can steer you through business turbulence.
  • The Art of Dealing with Unclear Requests: How to respond to vague client demands.
  • Maintaining Professional Integrity in Difficult Situations: My approach to keeping my composure and professionalism intact.
  • Navigating Miscommunication and Misrepresentation: Strategies for handling situations where your work is misunderstood or misrepresented.

 

The Power of Clarity, Honesty, and Kindness

These three values are my compass in the business world. They guided me when I had to explain to my client the mismatch between their request and our services. Being clear about our capabilities, honest about the situation, and kind in my approach helped maintain a positive relationship with the client, despite not being able to meet their changed needs.

Tip:💡Always be clear about what you can and cannot do, honest about your reasons, and kind in your communication.

 

The Art of Dealing with Unclear Requests

Dealing with a client’s ambiguous request can be like navigating a maze blindfolded. I encountered this when a client asked for a quote with minimal details. My strategy? Crafting a comprehensive plan, assuming the client’s needs based on my understanding. This approach was a deliberate choice to provide a clear starting point for further discussion and refinement. It’s about making an educated guess and being ready to pivot as more information becomes available.

Tip:💡When faced with unclear requests, develop a broad strategy and use it as a basis for further discussion.

 

Maintaining Professional Integrity in Difficult Situations

Maintaining composure and professionalism in the face of unexpected challenges is crucial. When the advisor unexpectedly changed their stance, it was a test of my ability to remain calm and collected. It’s essential to manage such situations with tact and diplomacy, focusing on the issue at hand rather than the emotional turbulence surrounding it.

Tip:💡Let your professionalism shine by not getting involved in the emotional aspects of disputes.

 

Navigating Miscommunication and Misrepresentation

Miscommunication can turn a straightforward task into a complex puzzle. This was evident when my well-intentioned plan was misinterpreted by the client’s advisor, leading to an awkward situation. It’s about understanding that miscommunications happen and that they can be resolved through patient and clear dialogue.

Tip:💡 Always approach miscommunications with a mindset of seeking clarity and resolution.

 

And… that’s a wrap!

Navigating the complexities of client relationships and business politics requires a delicate balance of clarity, honesty, kindness, and a focus on solutions. I hope to inspire you to approach business challenges with the same values, ensuring that even in the most trying circumstances, you emerge with your integrity and professional relationships intact. Remember, the way you handle difficult situations can define your career trajectory. Stay audacious, stay empowered, and most importantly, stay true to your values. 

 

 

Want more OBM tips & tricks leads?

We’ve got just the resource for you.

Embark on your path to becoming a six-figure Online Business Manager with our comprehensive FREE roadmap. Gain insights into key strategies, and build the confidence needed to align your service with the value you bring. Don’t wait.

Hungry for more? Yearning to fast-track your journey to a successful, 6-figure OBM career? Our OBM Academy is here for you. Gain access to exclusive support, invaluable resources, and the tools you need to sharpen your skills and elevate your OBM career. Don’t miss this opportunity.
Follow along with the transcript

E24 I got thrown under a bus. Here’s what I did

Hello, hello, hello! Welcome to this week’s episode of The Audacious OBM. I’m Leanne Woff, your host, and today I am going to tell you about that time when I got thrown under a bus and what I did about it. Now, I sound chirpy and I say this with smiles on my face, but it was just really not nice, if I’m being honest.

So something about me. I’m very direct and I’m kind And I’m honest. And that being my person, I’ve always run my business with that at the baseline, is be kind, be honest, be clear even if it’s a little bit uncomfortable. And human politics drive me nuts. I hate games. And I don’t play people off against each other.

I think it’s yucky. I think it’s petty. I don’t like the saying one thing behind someone’s back and another to their face. And I do my very best not to be involved in anything like that because I know how easy it is to get sucked in. But it just very much grinds me the wrong way. And then when I’m pulled into situations where games are a thing, I get very frustrated because it just is like, why this is a colossal waste of everyone’s time.

So let me tell you the story. Recently, I had a client. And they asked me to do a quote. Hey team, can you please create a quote for a new initiative I’m looking at doing? Here’s some things I’m thinking. I need someone to pull it together. And it’s like, okay, there’s pretty much zero detail here. Not a lot for me to go with.

But, that’s the way this particular client tends to work. It’s like, you come to me for the information that you need. [00:03:00] You pull it out of me. Show me what it could look like, and then I’ll help you shape it. We’ll go from there. So knowing that and knowing next to nothing about where we were actually headed or what the outcome we were looking for was I said, yeah, cool.

And I’m based my quote on the notion that I’d put what I knew and what I could extrapolate from that, of what might be an option. And we would go from there. So what I ended up with was a plan to get that clarity. So to get crystal clear on what it is that we wanted to create why we wanted to create it, how we would measure it, what the purpose of the business would be.

And then to be able to map pathways and different options available to do it. So I did this in a way that was very [00:04:00] start to finish. Okay, if this is what creating a concept or a new thing looks like, these are all the things someone would have to do. And I put it all together. And then when you add that all up, it’s huge, right?

It’s a big, big plan. And so it ends up being a lot of money. Now, I knew that when my client saw this, that they wouldn’t say yes. They’d see that this big thing, this big dollar figure and go, what? No, but getting them to say yes was actually never my goal. So my goal was to go to this visionary and show them what it was that they were actually talking about and see how committed to this initiative they were.

Because sometimes with visionaries, there are so many ideas. And until somebody can show them, hey, this is [00:05:00] what’s actually involved in this, is this is what you were really wanting. Makes them step back and think about things from another perspective. And gives them that level of insight that they might not have gotten to on their own.

Which is okay. I wanted to see how committed this client was once they saw the level of work and the cost and the effort that would be behind it. So my goal was to give them a starting point so that then they could come back to me and say, okay, I didn’t really want this. I wanted one, two, three, four.

X, Y, Z. Can we do that? And then I would revise and review.

In the process of sending this off, my client’s business advisor contacted me, had a call, said that my client was never going to say yes to this big list. It’s too many things. Can we just break it down to the first bit? And so I explained to the advisor why I had done it the way that I did it and explaining that the level of planning that was needed for something like this was actually going to be quite large, which the advisor agreed with and said, okay, so what are the things that we have to do that would get this off on the right foot, give us the best chance for success. and we mapped that out together.

So we went through the whole strategy, broke that first piece down. This is what we need to identify. This is what needs to look like, this is how we’ll do it, did all of that and then I resent it to the client and to the advisor, a revised version, smaller price tag, because it was just a piece of it to get us started.

And then we had a call. So myself, my client, their advisor, the advisor did a complete 180 in front of the client. And I’m sitting there, absolutely stunned, keeping my full composure, but like, what the heck is going on here? , and so, you know, the advisor is going, oh yeah, this is really strange, I don’t understand why they would have done it this way.

And  but I didn’t. And I didn’t because, what’s the point? If I was already sitting there stunned and going, okay, I need to pivot and that’s okay. Like I need to manage this situation. There is no point in me turning it into a big gossipy, he said, she said kind of thing.

And it’s not the way I operate anyway. So I had to take a different approach.

And so in this call with my client and the advisor, [00:08:00] I said, okay, so if this isn’t, you know, what you wanted, that’s totally fine. What is it that you wanted? Like, give me some more information to go off them. And then what my client ended up delving into was actually something that we don’t offer. So far from what we offer.

And it was very different to what they requested in the first place. And so I said, okay, thanks for sharing it with me. I will go back, rethink and come back to you. Then off the back of that call, I thought about it. And when this actually isn’t something we do, like we would come in at the next point.

It’s not at this point. So I contacted the advisor and then I said, Hey, I’m actually not going to re-quote because this isn’t something that we do. and so, he brought up a lot of different things, but talking it through and [00:09:00] wanting to know, okay, what, what did I think? And I just reiterated that I found it really strange because we had discussed a lot of things, one of them being this quote that we created together.

Like we had both decided this was a great strategy and it was very odd that then it was, it wasn’t what we ended up needing, uh, which is cool. And I’m happy if that’s not what we need, but I wouldn’t be spending more time creating another thing, another plan, when 1. I’m not going to get backed up and 2.

Like, it’s not our ballgame. So, sorry, can’t do it. Then I was on a call with my client and they asked me, what happened? I thought, you’re going to do this quote, you’re going to do this with me, and [00:10:00] then all of a sudden it was just hard, no, we got stonewalled, like, what’s the go? And so, which is not what happened.

But the client didn’t know that. So then I explained the issue around clarity and the difference between what I was originally asked and now what the request was and how that had changed. I also explained that I didn’t believe it was in the client’s best interest to get us to do this, to get anyone on the current team to do it.

It was out of the skill set of the different people that the client currently has working in that business. And, um, it actually needed some external knowledge, and I never want to take on work that I can’t guarantee kind of the delivery of the outcome. I already know that’s not our wheelhouse. I’m not going to take your money and just try.

Like, that’s not great. So it was best, it was in the best interest to get somebody else. And I explained that, you know. The advisor and myself, like the people on this team, we’re very clever. We’re a bunch of very clever people. And if this approach and this quote that the advisor and me had put together wasn’t quite right, then the likelihood is that we just need an external person.

We need an external skillset. And then that helped me determine what that skill set was. If I don’t have it and they don’t have it, what is it that we’re looking for? And so on this call with the client, I then went through, okay, you kind of need someone like this. Here’s what to look for. Here, here’s how you can start trying to find this person.

and I was helpful and I didn’t speak badly of anybody. I [00:12:00] just explained. The whole thing could have gotten very ugly. Very fast, if I had wanted to play games, but I didn’t. So instead I was clear and practical. And even though it was incredibly uncomfortable and upsetting, I didn’t destroy my relationship with the business advisor.

We’re still a team and people make mistakes, particularly when life is happening, if they feel backed into a corner, or if they’re stressed, or they’re not processing information properly, or they feel like they’re being weighed and measured, there’s all different reasons why people act the way they act.

And that’s okay. But what I did do was reiterate the situation both to the advisor and to the client that the advisor and I had done this together. That’s where my reputation comes in and protecting that reputation. This wasn’t just me not listening to you. Because it’s important, and I don’t ever want my clients to think that I’ve just gone rogue.

That’s never my intent, and although that’s not something that, you know, they would necessarily think, it’s still important to me to reset that standard. So I was honest with my client, without saying nasty things about anybody else. I was kind, I was clear, I was factual, and I saved face for myself.

And the outcome was that I ended up helping my client find what it was that they really needed, which in my opinion is my job 100 percent of the time. Now, I just want to reiterate that I could have kept going. I could have blown this up. I could have stood [00:14:00] my ground. I could have said, Hey, I’m being really disrespected here.

But what I know is if I had have done that, the friction and the emotion in it would have been really hard for me. I don’t like that. And I don’t like arguing with people or having all of this unsaid stuff drive different decisions. And so to have this dealt with and done… in a day feels so much better to have everybody still working together and harmoniously.

So much better. Even if it means I had to like shirk my pride a little bit to go, no, this wasn’t me. This was someone else. And I’m getting the blame. The end of the day, it didn’t matter. My client didn’t think any less of me. My relationship with everybody else is all still good. We’re still going in the right direction.

And so I just want to say to you that even if you’re stumped, and something very strange is happening in a call or in a conversation you’re having. Take a breath. It’ll be okay. Think about how you can handle it and how you can all get what you want out of this situation, even if somebody else has done the wrong thing.

And what you might find is that you resolve it in a way that’s quite calm and peaceful and you’re content rather than getting really stressed, worked up and not sleeping at night. So I hope that helps, and although I hope you are never placed in a situation like that, if you are, you are not alone and there are ways to manage it with less friction.

Thanks everyone.