As an Online Business Manager, you’re bound to encounter a variety of challenges. But there’s one particular mistake that can cause significant frustration and difficulties in your work. It’s not a mistake you make once and then learn from, but rather a habit that can often creep into your routine. This mistake is altering your process to accommodate client requests. In this article, we will dissect this issue, sharing insights from the podcast episode “The biggest mistake I’ve made as an OBM.”
This episode shares:
- The tendency of OBMs to change their established processes for clients.
- The short-term happiness versus long-term effectiveness.
- The negative impact of changing processes on efficiency and overall results.
- The importance of using your expertise and experience to make process decisions.
- The risk an OBM takes on when they deviate from their processes.
Giving In To Client Requests: When Flexibility Backfires
As an Online Business Manager (OBMs), you’re used to wearing many hats. You’re adaptable, resourceful, and you’re always looking for ways to improve your client’s business. It’s not uncommon for clients to come to you with suggestions or different ways of doing things, and because you’re a problem-solver at heart, your first instinct might be to accommodate their requests. After all, making the client happy is always a priority, right?
However, there’s a fine line between being adaptable and completely changing your process to meet the client’s preferences. In the process of trying to make your client happy, you might find yourself deviating from the processes you’ve worked so hard to establish. And that’s where things can start to go wrong. When you modify your process, you risk undermining your own expertise and even jeopardizing the success of the project.
TIP: 💡 Remember the value you bring to the table. Be confident in your knowledge and expertise. Don’t hesitate to explain your process to the client; they’ll likely respect your transparency and your commitment to achieving the best results.
The Consequences Of Changing Your Process
Changing your processes to meet client’s preferences can lead to more work for your client, which is often the opposite of what they wanted. The whole point of hiring an OBM is to take work off their plate, not add to it. And if they find themselves having to lead the charge and put more time and effort into projects because of changes they requested, it could lead to dissatisfaction.
What’s more, changing your processes too often can blur your professional boundaries. It can undermine the wealth of experience you’ve brought to the table, and it could even decrease the quality of your work. So while it might seem like a good idea to be super accommodating and flexible, it’s important to know when to draw the line.
“Because my guess is if they could do it themselves to the level that you could, they wouldn’t need you. So it doesn’t make much sense for the client to control the process.”
Action: 🎯 Learn to set boundaries and stick to them. It’s okay to say no when necessary. After all, delivering quality results often requires maintaining your tried-and-true processes.
The Appeal Of Learning And The Risk That Comes With It
As an OBM, you have a natural curiosity and an innate desire to learn new things. So when a client suggests a different way of doing things, it’s natural to want to explore it. But it’s important to remember that new isn’t always better. Sometimes, venturing into unknown territory can result in a considerable time investment and even put projects at risk.
While it’s exciting to learn something new, it’s crucial to balance your desire to learn with the needs of the project. And remember, if the altered process fails, it’s often the OBM who bears the brunt of the blame. This can lead to unhappy clients and could potentially damage your professional reputation
ACTION: 🎯 Always weigh the impact of implementing new processes on your timelines and deliverables. Conduct a risk assessment before deciding to change your process. Evaluate the pros and cons and make your decision based on solid reasoning, not just on the client’s requests.
Setting Boundaries And Communicating Effectively
Learning to set boundaries is one of the most critical skills an OBM can develop. It’s not about being rigid or inflexible, but about using your expertise to deliver the best possible results. If a client asks for a process change that you know isn’t effective, it’s important to communicate why you do things the way you do.
Effective communication is all about transparency. You’re not shutting down their idea; you’re explaining why your methods work and how they benefit the project. This is your chance to show the client that you’re not just an order-taker; you’re a strategic partner who’s there to guide them towards success.
Tip: 💡Effective communication is key. Always articulate why you follow specific processes. This will help the client understand your perspective, and they’ll likely respect your decisions more.
Avoiding the Mistake and Embracing Growth
Learning from mistakes is a part of life, especially in the professional world. If you’ve made the mistake of changing your processes without proper reasoning in the past, don’t be too hard on yourself. The important thing is to learn from it and to grow as a professional.
Instead of changing your processes to appease the client, focus on communicating the value of your expertise. Show them how your tried-and-true methods can contribute positively to their business and help them reach their goals. After all, they hired you for a reason.
ACTION: 🎯 Keep growing and learning from your experiences. Reflect on past scenarios and think about how you can better handle them in the future. Remember, you’re here to offer your skills and expertise, not just follow orders.
Wrapping It Up
Mistakes are a stepping stone to success. They’re a part of the learning process, and they’re what makes you a better professional. As an OBM, it’s important to recognize the potential pitfalls of constantly changing your processes to meet client’s preferences.
Learn to set boundaries, uphold your expertise, and communicate effectively. These strategies will not only protect your professional credibility but will also enhance your ability to deliver successful projects.
Your role as an OBM goes beyond just completing tasks. You’re here to use your unique expertise and experience to navigate complex business scenarios and create real value for your clients. So next time a client suggests altering your process, take a moment to think. Is this change really going to enhance the outcome? Or is it a deviation that could potentially compromise the very expertise you were hired for?
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Follow along with the transcript
The biggest mistake I’ve made as an OBM.
[00:00:00] Hey, hey, hey. Welcome to this week’s episode of the Audacious OBM, and [00:01:00] yes, I just clapped because I’m excited. Today’s episode, I am going to be sharing with you the biggest mistake I made as an OBM not only did I make this mistake once, I made it repeatedly, and I’m still tempted to make it. I have not fully learned.
So what is this mistake? Why is it so elusive, and why haven’t I been able to master not doing it yet? Today, I am going to share this with you so that you don’t have to follow my ways. Learn from my mistakes and become a better OBM.
Without further ado, this mistake is changing my process for clients. I don’t know about you, but [00:02:00] there’s been many times where I’ve had clients come up to me and say, uh, can’t we just do it this way? Or I would really prefer if we did this, this, and this first, then did that, or this one you’ll love. Can I just give you the draft or just these three pieces and then when I’ve done the other three, I’ll give those to and we can just update as we go.
Now in each of these circumstances, my answer should have been, no, sorry, I can’t. And here’s why, but I didn’t. I second guessed myself. I second guessed my expertise and I thought, Hey, we’ll give it a go. Has not turned out well for me, even once. I wanna share some of the benefits and the consequences of each of these [00:03:00] decisions and why I believe I keep coming back to this mistake.
So first benefit I want to share is it makes clients happy. Usually this is only short term though. They feel appreciated. They feel like you’ve been a little bit flexible. You’re making allowances for them. They’re getting the thing that they asked for. It makes them happy, but does it really get them the outcome that they wanted?
Because my guess is if they could do it themselves to the level that you could, they wouldn’t need you. So it doesn’t make much sense for the client to control the process. Sure. Input into the process. But if it goes against your experience or your expertise, explain that. Don’t just say yes and change it [00:04:00] because it has the consequence of the client having to do more. You can’t just follow your usual steps or identify the patterns and rhythms that you have before for the things you’ve seen and done over and over, and your client ends up having to lead whatever the change is, if you’re going about things differently and your client is the one that has requested it be done that way.
Generally, they’re going to know more than you do about this thing, and then all of a sudden the responsibility is on them to help you do it, which generally isn’t what we want. It also has the benefit of being seen as open-minded and flexible. We’re humans. And we want people, especially our clients, [00:05:00] to see good in us and to think that we are good people and we are trying hard and we are invested.
And we think that being open-minded and flexible will help create that picture of us. There is room and time and place to be flexible and open to ideas and to be able to leverage multiple opinions to come to the best outcome. But in terms of process, in terms of things that you have done and done repeatedly that you are confident in.
More times than not, it is detrimental to your client to just do the thing that has been suggested just because it’s easier to [00:06:00] agree or you think it will make them happier. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if right now it’s a little bit easier, if it doesn’t get the outcome in the end. What you are doing by just saying, “Yes, okay I’ll be flexible. I’ll do it this way and that way”, not only are you crossing your own boundaries, (if you haven’t read Dr. Rebecca Ray’s Setting Boundaries book, please do. Full disclosure, she’s one of my clients and I adore her, but genuinely, the book is really good.) You’re crossing boundaries.
It also has the consequence of throwing away all of your experience. You’ve spent your life building up your tools and your thought process and the way that you go about things. And the second that you just say, okay, [00:07:00] we’ll do it your way, you’re, automatically discounting, all of that experience and that experience and that expertise, and the fact that you have done this before and seen this time and time again is really valuable.
And if you are not using that experience and expertise to build up your client’s businesses and to help them, then you are doing them an injustice.
The next benefit. This might be very specific to me, but I love to learn and generally if someone is saying to me, “Hey, have you seen this or have you tried doing it this way?” I get excited and I want to learn the new thing, which is all good and well. I have built a business that [00:08:00] has always had the purpose of allowing me to learn and to learn and to learn some more, because I value that and I like that, and it brings me joy.
That does not mean I necessarily have to change my processes when delivering things for clients to serve my need for learning. That’s a desire. It’s not a necessity and although I’m inclined to say yes because I like to learn or I wanna see how it would look, it has the consequence of a really large time investment, which could then put projects at risk. More time needed, because it’s not what we’ve experienced before, we face different problems. We can’t foresee the hurdles quite as well. All of a sudden that fun thing that when you [00:09:00] were asked, “can’t we just do this?”, has backfired
Now, we will come to the very biggest issue with saying yes and changing what you do or going against what you believe is the best option. And that is, it leaves all the risk on you. You are the service provider. You are the online business manager, and every time I have changed my process or done this a little differently, and I go against my better judgment and try and please the client.
It has backfired and when it backfires, my clients end up unhappy and somehow [00:10:00] it’s all my fault. And it’s not something I argue with, and it’s not something that I hold a grudge with, but it has taught me that there are things that you can be flexible with and things that you really shouldn’t be flexible with.
And the second that I hear come out of my mouth, we don’t usually do it that way. Now it’s an indicator I need to think really carefully before I commit to anything because there has to be logic, reason, solid evidence of why I should do it a different way, if all of my experience and expertise is saying the opposite, because history has told me that usually my process is correct and that trying to please other people only ends [00:11:00] up getting my clients a worse result, or with them being unhappy than instead having an incredible experience.
And if I learn to have the harder conversation upfront and explain why I do it the way that I do it, or why I don’t think it is a good idea to change that path,
I could end up with a very unhappy client instead of a very happy client. And it’s not a great exchange , if I’m honest. So, please don’t this mistake. And if you do, please do what I have done. And try again and try again. And remember, if you’re going to change the way you operate, have solid reasoning as to why.
And if you’re not confident in changing the way you operate about [00:12:00] something, communicate that to the client and explain that you are not trying to be inflexible, but your experience tells you, this way will give a far better result because at the end of the day, clients want you on board and to partner with you and for your experience to be added into this equation.
They know they want an outcome and usually they’re more than happy to share how to get to that outcome because they wanna do it with you, but it’s not in exchange for your advice and experience, it’s to be brought together. So that is my biggest mistake, and I will continue to try and not make this same mistake.
But I hope that has helped you and maybe helped you [00:13:00] identify some patterns that you have in your own business or brought clarity to why you’ve had unhappy clients in the past, possibly. Let me know in the comments. Otherwise, thank you for joining me on today’s episode. I will see you next week.
And if you want more insight, head to www.audaciousempires.com/roadmap, where you will find my Nine Steps to becoming a 6 Figure OBM Roadmap. Bye guys.