Episode 9 – Why You Need An Online Business Manager with Meaghan Lamm and Meighan O’Toole

Today, I’m joined by Meaghan Lamm and Meighan O'Toole about what it's like to be an Online Business Manager (OBM) and why you need one.

pimp it out:

“An OBM relationship is a partnership because you have to get to a space where you trust that that person has your business’s best interest at heart. Which, unfortunately, does not always line up with what the client wants to do. They’re like a voice of reason in the sense of having that partnership of someone who can see things more objectively.” – Meaghan Lamm, Inspired Solutions Co.

Episode Summary:

I am super excited for this episode because my cherry is getting popped. It’s the first time I’m interviewing two amazing people on this podcast. So yes, it’s a threesome. 

Today, I’m joined by Meaghan Lamm and Meighan O’Toole about what it’s like to be an Online Business Manager (OBM) and why you need one.

Meaghan Lamm is a hiring strategist and host of the Feminist Visionaries podcast. She supports purpose-driven coaches and course creators who are passionate about changing the world and impacting the lives of womxn they work with. She helps them identify, source, interview, and hire a skilled dream team that aligns with their mission, vision, and values.

Meighan O’Toole is a strategy, systems, and operations nerd. She’s obsessed with helping clients run easier businesses so they can get back to what they love to do in their business and find more time to do what they love outside of business. Meighan wants to change the way we work. She believes the best way to do that is to change the narrative by building our own businesses.

Since I’m not an OBM, I have a lot of questions to ask. I’m super excited to be learning along with you. 

Before we dive into this episode, shout out to my friends at Boxx Bar for sponsoring this episode. Boxx Bar is a place where you can find toys, clothes, and jewelry for all women with a hint of kink. So do yourself and your pleasure a huge favor and go to boxxbar.com and make yourself happy.

What You’ll Learn From This Episode:

  • [03:03] How Meaghan and Meighan started as OBMs
  • [06:30] Knowing when you need an OBM vs. a virtual assistant (VA)
  • [10:35] The mindset shift required when hiring an OBM
  • [13:27] Establishing a trusting partnership with your OBM
  • [15:46] Getting started with an OBM
  • [19:44] The first 90 days with an OBM
  • [24:19] How to work with businesses with existing OBMs
  • [28:12] Working with an OBM during various stages of growth
  • [29:41] When to hire an OBM to manage the CEO
  • [33:04] Examples of the OBM role during multiple stages of growth
  • [35:27] 3 things business owners should know before hiring an OBM

Connect with Us: 

Connect with Meaghan Lamm:

Connect with Meighan O’Toole:

Resources Mentioned:

Thank you to our friends at Boxx Bar for sponsoring this episode. Toys, clothes, and jewelry for all women with a hint of kink. Go to boxxbar.com

“It’s almost like going to the chiropractor. It’s uncomfortable and feels weird, but afterward, you feel amazing. That’s the perfect analogy because you know you’re coming in, and you’re asking these visionaries to put their ego aside and trust you and let you get into your expertise around how you know a business can run better.” – Meaghan O’Toole, My Love For You

Meaghan is a hiring strategist and host of the Feminist Visionaries podcast. She supports purpose-driven coaches and course creators who are passionate about changing the world and making an impact on the lives of the womxn they work with. She helps them identify, source, interview, and hire a skilled dream team that aligns with their mission, vision, and values.

Meighan O’Toole is a strategy, systems, and operations nerd. She’s obsessed with helping businesses run better using proven strategies, smarter systems, & lots of heart.
I’m a Strategist | OBM | DOO – I’m the right hand to my clients. I’m no bullshit about how hard it is to run a business and because of this, I don’t believe in gatekeeping. I am truly obsessed with helping my clients run easier businesses so they can get back to what they love to do in their business and find more time to do what they love outside of business. I love to be of service to my clients and I get great meaning from the trust and confidence they have in me. I want to change the way we work and I think the best way to do that is to change the narrative by building our own businesses.

veronica-yanhs: [00:00:00] Hey, I’m Veronica Yanhs and I’m obsessed with backends. Specifically your business backend your operations, and I’m the CEO and founder of Business Laid Bare. We’re a digital operations agency that builds well lubricated and Orgasmic Operations ™   so that your business is pleasurable, productive, and ultimately profitable because when you feel good, everything else feels good too.

Like your team, your customers, and your bank account. I mean, who doesn’t want to consent to that?  This podcast gives you the tips, interviews, and mindset shifts on how to run your business and its operations so that it’s immensely pleasurable, productive, and profitable.

So ready to whip your business into shape with me? Let’s get it on.   

veronica-yanhs: [00:00:48] Welcome to this episode of The Business Whip. I am super excited for this episode because my cherries getting popped. It’s the first time I’m interviewing two amazing people on this podcast. So yes, threesome, here we go.  Today we’re going to be talking about what it’s like to be an Online Business Manager and why you need one.

And Meaghan Lamb and Meighan O’Toole are both going to share their wisdom because they are both amazing OBMs to talk about everything you pretty much need to know in like 35, 45, 60 minute episode. As to who they are, what they do, how they’re going to help make your business more orgasmic and like just all the good things.

I’m not an OBM so I just have questions to ask. So I’m super excited to just be learning.  

Before we get into the episode I just want to give a quick shout out to my sponsors of this podcast. My friends at the Boxx Bar. They are an amazing shop and sell clothes, jewelry, and toys with a hint of kink.

So go to www.boxxbar.com and go make yourself happy.  

Okay, so I’m not going to introduce the both of you. I would love for you both to introduce yourselves because you know yourself best and yeah just tell us who you are and what you do. 

 meaghan-lamm: [00:02:02] Hi, my name is Meaghan Lamm and I am a certified OBM and business strategist. And honestly I’m just really passionate about helping women grow their businesses to put money in the hands of people who are interested in creating social change in the world. So I do that through hiring strategy as well as business strategy with my clients so that they are able to take that and make more money, grow teams that are aligned with their mission and vision and make more money and use that money to create change.

 meighan-otoole: [00:02:36] Awesome. Love you, Meaghan.

I’m Meighan O’Toole and I am obsessed with helping businesses run better using proven strategies, efficient systems and lots of love. I’m an OBM, DOO, and really like my main obsession is being people’s right hand in business.

I really love, love helping women build their businesses, get them out of the weeds and help them save money and time. 

 veronica-yanhs: [00:03:03] How did you both get into the work that you’re doing? Like did you always start in the OBM level or did you start somewhere else and transition to an OBM? 

 meaghan-lamm: [00:03:13] I started out as a blogger, a food blogger,  and then sort of quit my job as a teacher by accident and started working as a virtual assistant with food bloggers. And somehow I don’t even remember how it happened, but I like accidentally found online entrepreneurs didn’t realize they really existed, but like that. And I was like, oh, this is, this is interesting. And so I switched to virtual assisting through them. And then I first heard the term OBM and I was like, what the hell is that? And when I looked into it, was like, oh, I think I’m already doing this for half my clients anyway. I should do this and make more money. 

So, I transitioned to that and then ultimately got certified. And so that’s sort of how I wound up here through the wonderful world of blogging all the way to business strategy.

 meighan-otoole: [00:04:00] So I was in retail for a really long time and I actually loved operations, was like super obsessed with operations. And I was kind of known in the stores that I worked in to kind of come in and clean up other stores. But in the like early aughts, I got super obsessed with MySpace and Friendster and taught myself how to code.

And then I launched this blog that became somewhat popular in its niche, in the new contemporary art world and I ended up living off of that. And by 2010, Yahoo poached me to come work for them to help them figure out this thing called social media. 

And so I went to work for Yahoo. Was there for six months. Absolutely hated it. Then went on to work for Wikipedias for-profit community site and then went on to work for wired magazine. And so I was like in the in Silicon Valley and the tech world in San Francisco for about two years. And, you know, both of those. That experience was book-ended by Yahoo and Wired and they were both very corporate tech companies. Whereas Wikipedia was really amazing and  I just realized, like, I don’t want to ever work in corporate again. And so in 2012, I got laid off and friends of mine from my old blog were like, you need to teach creatives and artists how to like, build their online presence.

So I did that  probably till about early 2000, mid 2018. And I was just so burned out on like community, and social media, and online presence from the, you know, the U.S. presidential run. It just like having Trump in office was really difficult. 

And I just was like realized I had learned all of this stuff on the back end of  how to run businesses. And yeah, around 2019, I answered this  gig for somebody that was looking for like a right-hand project manager. Didn’t know what an OBM was, knew that I was too qualified for a VA. And I just fell into it from there as spring of 2019. I’ve just been doing, I’ve been an OBM and, slash right hand, you know, fractional COO for companies.

And yeah, I love it.  I love helping people find inefficiencies in their businesses and  have them make more money in the process, you know? So that’s kind of, that’s in here. I am now doing the DOO certification, which is amazing.  Yeah, so that’s my story. 

 veronica-yanhs: [00:06:18] And DOO is director of ops/operations. 

meighan-otoole: [00:06:22] Director of ops. Yeah. And that’s Natalie Gingrich’s course and it’s incredible.

veronica-yanhs: [00:06:27] Shout out to Natalie. We love The Ops Authority. 

 Okay. So an OBM is not a Virtual Assistant. I think a lot of times I’ve seen a lot of intern people using those two acronyms interchangeably and that’s clearly not it. So how do we know when you need a Virtual Assistant versus when you need an Online Business Manager? 

 meighan-otoole: [00:06:48] Yeah. So a really good way to look at it is like, think of the management piece, right? Like an OBM is really the visionaries right hand, and they are going to help you run the backend of your business. They’re going to manage your team. They’re going to make sure your vision is in place. They’re going to do the hiring and firing. They’re going to do the project management for the most part. 

They’re really not supposed to be doing any implementation. You will find that some OBMs do, because it’s hard to kind of break that habit. And a lot of us like to over-deliver, but the difference is that. And then a VA is really like more like task oriented, right. They don’t bring strategy. OBMs really have like a strategic mind and can like push the visionary to think bigger and larger about their visionaries, but also kind of hold them back from like self-sabotaging. Or, you know, spreading themselves too thin. Whereas the VA doesn’t do that. The VA does all the implementation.

meaghan-lamm: [00:07:42] Yeah, and VA’s are usually more specialized. Especially as your business grows, you’ll find a VA who does,  you know social media specifically, or this thing specifically, or podcast specifically. Unless you’re a humongous, eight plus figure business, you’re probably not having department heads and  other things like that.

But  the way I always explain it is that like, as a CEO, your business growth comes in stages. So there’s a point usually where the CEO is doing everything themselves, right? Most people start out kind of bootstrapping it and figuring it out. And then there’s a point where you can’t do it all yourself if you want to continue to grow.

That’s usually the point at which you hire a virtual assistant. That person is coming in to take admin tasks off your plate, like scheduling exactly what you tell them to social media, sending out your email newsletter.  You know, checking comments on Facebook posts, things like that. They’re doing those backend admin tasks.

Then, usually for the CEO, there’s a period where you get to do more work at that point because this person is handling these admin tasks that were taking up your time.  You might bring on another VA and then at that point you have become the person who’s making the decisions. Like telling the VA’s what to do. That becomes a big part of your job.

And when you get to that stage, that’s usually when you need somebody in that management role, whether it’s whatever acronym you decide on OBM, DOO. Whatever, you need somebody who’s going to come in and then manage the people who are doing the things for you so that the CEO can kind of stay in their genius work.

It’s always like a process. So usually the OBM is coming in because you have now become the bottleneck when it comes to decision-making and moving projects along because your team members are always coming to you. So it’s almost like you want to stick a buffer in between you and the implementers on your team so they can ask the OBM.

And then the OBM is just coming to you with all the really important stuff that, you know, like the high level stuff that you need to make decisions on.   

meighan-otoole: [00:09:37] I would also add to that and say that what got you to where you are now, where you hit six figures, you know, low six figures is not going to move you forward to 150 K and further. Like normally when OBMs come in, the client is just wasted. Just so tired of putting out fires they’re no longer able to focus on the visionary aspect of their business or like the relationships or the marketing.

I mean, they are on some level, but they’re exhausted by the end of the week, right.  Because they’re constantly delegating. And so what happens when you start to,  when a business is ready for an OBM is when you’re starting to realize your systems are broken.  You’re not moving forward. There’s, you know, like that. I think that that starts to really happen around onboarding  for clients, like client onboarding for them. When they start to see their audience, their clients are being affected. That’s when they start to freak out and we’re like, okay, what got me here Isn’t going to get me to the next stage.

And  I can’t do it by myself.

meaghan-lamm: [00:10:35] Yeah, it’s definitely a mindset shift.  When you bring someone in who has more of a daily presence in your business in terms of actually making decisions on behalf of the business, because that’s what you’re bringing in an OBM to do right,  they in some way require autonomy from the CEO to make decisions on behalf of the business so that nobody is coming to you every single day with like, Hey, do you think we should make this tiny microscopic change to this email.   

You want them to just to be able to go ahead and say, yeah, make that change or don’t make that change or do the thing or whatever. And so, there has to be a mindset shift and like, oh, I’m not going to see everything that’s happening every single day.

You’re just going to have to be comfortable knowing that it’s handled. And a lot of the clients that I’ve had when you start in that they’ve never worked with an OBM before. They’re kind of brand new to the process. They can be a little bit like. 

meighan-otoole: [00:11:29] It’s painful.

meaghan-lamm: [00:11:30] Yeah,  it is painful. You’re giving up control of this thing that you’ve built probably up until this point. A lot of bootstrapping  and you’re sharing that sort of control with someone else who  you hope has your best interest at heart, right.

meighan-otoole: [00:11:43] Yeah. And that’s what I think is so interesting that ties to your business, Veronica is like, this really is a trusting relationship. That you have to put absolute trust in this person, that they are going to be honest with you, you know,  and tell you things that you might not want to hear, but they’re doing it in a way that they care about you in the business. Right. 

And that can be really hard for visionaries because your business philosophy is like, really ties into this whole relationship with when you bring on an OBM, because you have to be able to have like that safe word, right. When shit goes awry, where they, like, I’ve seen sides of clients that have been really difficult for them to show, but it’s done one of two things.

It’s either strengthened our relationship or it’s made it more stressed and I eventually don’t work with them anymore.  But the majority of the clients that I’ve worked with, they trust me implicitly. And that’s really what, like where the value is in that relationship, is that they really do have your businesses best,  you know, they have your businesses back.  And sometimes for the visionaries, they’re too close to that,  you know, it’s too, they’re too close to like to see things.

And so that’s another piece of the relationship that’s quite valuable because an OBM can come in.  They’re not taking things personally and they can be honest with you about like, Hey,  your onboarding system is broken and this is where we need to clean up.

What I was going to say, is not to talk shit about VAs because VAs are an integral part of any business, but it’s a real mindset shift when you move from just having VA’s to bringing on somebody that has, I wouldn’t say equal.  You know, they’re not equal to you. They’re not actually a partner, but they do become a partner to you in your business. And it’s just a different relationship and it can, it can be really hard for people in the beginning.

meaghan-lamm: [00:13:27] Yeah. I was going to say the  best sort of CEO OBM relationship really is a partnership because you have to get to a space where you trust that that person has your business’s best interest at heart.  Which unfortunately, does not always line up with like what the client wants to do.

Like sometimes the client wants to do something that’s not necessarily  in the best interest of the business as a whole. And it’s kind of the OBMs job to be like, are you sure that that’s a good idea because it might affect things in the business in this way, this way, this way and this way. So they’re like a voice of reason in that sense of having that partnership of someone who can see things more objectively, like Meg said.

 meighan-otoole: [00:14:08] Yeah, and say it to you in a way that you can hear. I mean, I think some of the best relationships that I’ve had with clients over the past few years of doing this is like, I’m not there to tell them how to change. I’m there to get them to see how they can change. Right?  Nobody wants to be told what to do. Nobody wants to be told what they’re doing wrong. And I think when an OBM visionary relationship is like real magic is when they kind of grow together. Right? Like when the client sees that stuff on their own, and then you’re able as the OBM to facilitate it, even though you already see it it doesn’t work well when you tell them what they need to change. Like they need to figure it out on their own.

And also just to underline that  there are times when you have to say like, listen, this is a bad idea,  but I would recommend to most OBMs that you really want to be careful about that. 

veronica-yanhs: [00:14:57] But it’s coming from a place of looking out for the best interest of the business. So you wouldn’t just hire an OBM just to have them tell you something and think, oh, they’re trying to sabotage me. So it’s something that a lot of us have to like, especially CEOs, regardless of what business you’re in. It’s like, I think that’s part of leadership, Right. Is to know how to take constructive criticism, because it’s all about making that business better. 

meighan-otoole: [00:15:18] Right. And that’s where, that sort of metaphor comes in with  you know, kink and that trust, right. You really have to enter in this relationship with real trust and not take things like, let your ego get involved. Right. Because I’ve definitely had that happen with one client in the past where it really eroded our relationship.  

They would kind of shoot down everything that I would say and so after a while I was like, okay. You know, I just didn’t offer that. And looking back on that, that was a huge lesson for me to learn.

 veronica-yanhs: [00:15:46] Thank you for sharing. And I think Megs, you brought up earlier that sometimes it can be painful when an OBM first comes in. So question to the both of you, how do we make that OBM entrance, less painful, more lubricated and more fun. Like,  what are some things that you can share with our listeners today to prep for you both to come into your businesses, to help make it better? 

 meaghan-lamm: [00:16:09] Systems, which I know you love to talk about Veronica, so  even if you don’t sit down and write out some sort of beautiful SOP.  If you have even documented your system, just by recording you or recording your team member,  doing that task, it makes being able to document that stuff so much easier.

Honestly though, I think the best advice is just be willing to be uncomfortable.  A lot of the times people bring on an OBM and they just kind of assume they know exactly how it’s going to go  without necessarily waiting for the OBM to tell them how it’s going to go. Like you’re bringing on a person who owns their own business.

They’ve worked with other clients, they know what they’re doing, trust them to be an expert in their field and kind of set the expectations for you and let you know, kind of like how this will go and what this will look like and what you can expect and that sort of thing.  And The biggest thing beyond the systems piece, which I always just think is important. Cause I’m a nerd about systems.  The biggest thing beyond that truly is for the business owner to just be open to doing things differently in their business, in terms of like how they make decisions, how they communicate with the team.  

One client I worked with, she had a team before I got there of  two people and she found it really difficult in the beginning to not go directly to the team with whatever she wanted them to do.  And instead to come to me first so that I could slot in whatever task she was giving me in their schedule so that it jived with like other projects that they were doing. And so that was something that she really had to work on. 

So it’s like, you just have to be open and willing to doing things differently while you adjust to that person coming into your team. And also, don’t expect them to move mountains.  They’re not going to get in there and take care of your shit. Like you’re miles long to do lists that you’ve had for the last six months that you haven’t had time to get to.  They’re not going to come in and just because they’re an extra warm body, you take care of all that stuff in like the first 30 days. There is a transition period in that too.

meighan-otoole: [00:18:15] Yeah. I had a client who is still with me, who I adore.  Who, she said, cause it was really hard for her at first. There was a point where I was like, I don’t know if this is going to work out for us because she was held everything’s so tightly.  But she has been like, the relationship that we’ve developed has really shown me a lot.

And  one of the first thing she said to me, like, I think it was where I was like, okay, she gets it. Well, she said she feels like it’s almost like going to the chiropractor. It’s uncomfortable and feels weird, but afterwards you just  feel amazing. And I was like, that’s the perfect analogy because you know, you’re coming in and you’re asking these visionaries to kind of put their ego aside and trust you and let you get into your expertise around how you know a business can run better. Right. And the hard point is not taking that personally. Really trusting that person, that they want you to be the best.  

And where it goes awry is where people start to think like you’re just a task master and they can just load to-do’s on you. And let’s get this done, let’s get this done,  you know, but also where the responsibility lay for the OBMs is true leadership. Really leading the client, for those who have never worked with an OBM, letting them know like this is how we work.

Giving them a welcome packet, going over that welcome packet when they meet them, setting clear boundaries around things, because otherwise some people just think OBMs are VA’s on steroids and then that’s how they’re treated and that’s, it just doesn’t work out well.

 veronica-yanhs: [00:19:44] So you both bring up really great points. So then what does the first 90 days look like for the both of you when, if I was to hire you today, and you both started tomorrow, what does the first 90 days look like? Like what are we looking for in terms of benchmarks of success and also like, what would you be doing?

 meighan-otoole: [00:20:03] Yeah, I think  Meaghan and I are really aligned on this. When you come into the business for the first 90 days,  first of all, you have a discovery call before you hire them. So you find out what’s going on in their business. You give them some things to fill out like a tools sheet, you know, what tools they’re using have them audit their own personal time where they’re spending time. But the first 30 days are really taking that information, figuring out what goals you can achieve. They almost always change because once you get into the business, you know, all of a sudden, like you can start to see things that need to change

meaghan-lamm: [00:20:36] Yeah. Sometimes the client’s goals are ambitious based on what currently exists  and what current structures exist in the business?  

meighan-otoole: [00:20:44] I mean, that’s why like you said, we don’t move mountains because the first 90 days are really getting to know what’s going on and where the problems are and where the opportunities are. You know, it’s not all about problems. It’s also about what’s working. So I used to, I learned the hard way that, you really have to set the client up to understand that the first 90 days is really discovery and like maybe getting one or two big projects done or at least underway.

But if you’re planning on working with them longterm and  it’s not a project, 90 days is crucial to take a  look under the hood and see what needs to be fixed and tightened up.

meaghan-lamm: [00:21:19] Yeah, I would say for my team and I, our process in that first 90 days as kind of like, we like to come in and we like to give the client a couple of really quick wins. So is there that thing that’s been sitting on your to-do list for six months, that we could probably knock out for you in like a week? We’ll probably tackle that for you right away. 

It’s a nice dopamine hit for everybody. Right? The client is like, oh, you got something done for me. And we’re like, oh, we got something done for that. And we’re very excited. We’re ready to go.  And so we’ll do usually a couple of those things, but yeah, a lot of it, I mean the first two weeks, sorry, everyone is just. boring. 

It’s like, did you send over your passwords? Have we been able to log into your passwords? Have we had to coordinate getting double authentication into all your shit? Cause that takes forever.   

meighan-otoole: [00:22:06]Yeah. Can we both sit on and get on Stripe at the same time?

meaghan-lamm: [00:22:08]Hey, do you mind sending me that code that they just text you so I can get into your Google account? Yeah, a lot of it is that. But we have to in order to be able to get to that place where we can make decisions on behalf of your business, we have to learn your business and not just in that, like here’s what we sell and whatever we have to know, like, what’s your process for selling this? What’s your roadmap when you launch things? How’s things going with your current team? Is there anybody who’s being under or over-utilized? Is there someone who’s not happy in their role and they need their role to shift? There’s so much discovery  that we have to do in those first 90 days.

Where again, it’s not like we’re not doing anything in terms of starting a project or helping you with a launch or whatever it might be. But I think a lot of the times, a lot of clients have this idea,  an OBM will just be able to come in really quickly and pick it up from, you know, and just start off running where we have to be able to have that time to assess where you are and almost in a sense of like where you actually are and not where you think you are, because sometimes clients have  a very, they might be shielded from some of the own problems that are going on in their business, from their doers, right? Like their implementers might be shielding them from some of the problems that they see.

So  we want to get in and talk to the team. We want to dive through all of your systems and see if there are any holes that we can plug. Anything that we can like, are you paying for something you don’t use and you don’t need, and we can save you a couple hundred dollars 

meighan-otoole: [00:23:35] Yeah, I was just going to say,  what are the seven tools you’re using that do all the same things? Like where can we save money?

meaghan-lamm: [00:23:43] Yes. I’m sure you deal with that too, Veronica. 

meighan-otoole: [00:23:45] Notion, Airtable, ClickUp, Asana.

veronica-yanhs: [00:23:48] Yeah. I hear you. And it’s not uncommon because we are so immersed in how things run. We know a lot of the tech, like, I feel like being an OBM kind of lends you to not having a lot of, a lot more tech experience. And so you have that insight, right?

Because you’re about piecing the different pieces that make it all run together. So it’s interesting that we’re having this conversation because we don’t position ourselves as Online Business Managers. Like, I position ourselves as a Digital Operations Agency. It’s almost like we’re the consultants who come in and depending on how our clients want to work with us, we create the strategies for all the systems. 

And it’s funny, cause I was listing all the systems that we needed, that we are implementing for our clients. And I’m like, what are the core systems? And then there’s like a list of 15. I’m like, that’s not very core. So it’s like, how do we work with businesses with existing OBMs.  Sometimes I feel like we’ve been hired to work with the OBM because they don’t have that maybe outside systems or operations strategy because we’re  immersed in operations. How to create capacity. 

Like that’s basically when clients come to us, when they’re ready to increase capacity. Whether that’s revenue, how many clients they can have actively, even increasing the capacity of how many team members are in the business. That’s the type of capacity people think about a lot, but don’t account for. So it’s like, how would you envision Business Laid Bare working with a business that either first doesn’t have an OBM, but needs to bring on someone or what if they have an existing OBM?

Like, where are the synergies that both can play together well with. 

 meighan-otoole: [00:25:18] Oh, so first of all, I just wanna say I’m obsessed with your business and like what you do. It’s like, I’m so interested in it.  I’d like to take the answer of, or take the question of what to do  when you come in and there’s an OBM. What has probably happened, the reason why you were coming in, or the reason why the visionary has reached out to you,  I’m willing to bet that the OBM is overwhelmed and just like can no longer wrangle the visionary and they need somebody to come in and sort of plead their case. 

So what I would say is,  get real with the OBM. Like, find out what, what are like, you know, what are you up against?  What are the things that they wanted to implement and put into place. And they just haven’t because the visionary has been throwing things at them. Or has refused to plan 90 days out. Is like springing things on them every week, you know, because we are humans, right.

And after a while, especially with the past year and a half that we’ve had in the states especially , you know, I’ve seen so many people just get super burned out. And they’re unable. They can only do the bare minimum. And if they’ve got a visionary on there, you know, as a client that is a little intense things can kind of go off the rails a little bit.

So that’s what I would think. Is if you’re being brought in it’s because the OBM is either, I want to give them the benefit of the doubt, like that they’re not terrible, but that they are, you know, they’ve just kind of lost the plot and they now need somebody to like help them.

 veronica-yanhs: [00:26:45] I love that. And it is what happened with a few of my clients. Like, you hit the nail on the head. Not to sit in the clients, were just like yes, they just had a lot on their plate and they’re like,  we know we need better systems and op and whatnot, but like, my OBM is so busy managing the team and everything else.

It’s like, there’s no capacity to do it. And then on the flip side, if you don’t have an operations person and you’re ready to bring on an OBM or, but you haven’t had any systems or operations in place. This is where you would bring us in  to do the implementation because we’re not involved in your day-to-day.

We may chat with our clients and the ops person or ops people in the day-to-day, but we’re not involved in the business running.  It’s our job to know how your business runs. Just like the both of you said about, we have to know how you serve your clients or customers, but what are the systems that go into it because  it’s her job to make it more lubricated, easier, more efficient. And so the prep part is easy when there’s no OBM. That’s why I was like, what is it like if there is already an OBM.

 meighan-otoole: [00:27:42] Like there’s gotta be that tension. And I would say this is actually why I pivoted my business this year to building my own team because I found I don’t want to change. I don’t want to get off the subject here, but just like a brief sidebar, I found that running other clients teams, sometimes that’s where you get caught up.

And you’re just like, you’re the one who’s all of a sudden putting out all the fires and you’re unable to actually get  real strategy into place.  So I can see why a team like yours would come into a situation like that. 100%.

 veronica-yanhs: [00:28:12] I love it. And I want to ask how do we have this conversation? So I’m kind of switching gears here because you, that idea popped in. It’s like we’ve talked so much about what an OBM is when you need them, but how do we break that down into different stages of growth? 

What is the first stage of growth for when you need to bring on an OBM or the next? Can you both give some insight into that? Cause  I’m super curious as to what those a litmus tests or like those criteria are for both of you.

 meighan-otoole: [00:28:42] Yeah, I know Meghan has a lot of experience around this.

meaghan-lamm: [00:28:44] Well, I was going to say, are you talking in terms of revenue or, I mean, if you’re looking at revenue numbers,  you typically want to be somewhere in the one 125K and up crowd, right? Like you’re hitting six figures. You’re probably making consistently. Right, consistently being the keyword, like $20,000 per month and you also want to have a team, right. 

If you were at a point where you cannot afford a VA and an OBM, you’re probably not ready. because the OBM needs something to manage. We need people, we need businesses, we need revenue, we need product launches. We need things to actually manage for you. If you just need someone to come in and take doing off your plate, then you’re not at the stage of business growth where you need an OBM. Uum, you need a doer, or maybe a high level doer who can kind of help you with that a little bit. 

 veronica-yanhs: [00:29:41] What about hiring an OBM to manage the visionary or the CEO? Is that common or is that not a good practice? 

meighan-otoole: [00:29:49] It depends on the visionary. You know, like I’ve had really great experiences with some of my clients because it’s a delicate line, right.

I mean, you definitely are managing the visionary here and there, but  you’re not helping them build out funnels or new products or, you know, you’re not doing that kind of strategy stuff. You’re more herding cats. Like let’s make sure this happens. Get those emails to me, you know, gotta to work on the webinar.

 meaghan-lamm: [00:30:14] And you want to hire a person who’s going to mesh with your vision for your business and your values.  And also someone who, its  just my jam anyways, everyone should be doing that for every team member on your team.  But when you’re also talking in terms of stage of growth, you want someone because OBMs are people we’re all going to specialize in different things, Meg and I just both happened to be really good at systems and processes  and stuff like that.

But I know OBMs who are really good at marketing. They really specialize in launching or, you know, they’re really good with the team stuff. But it just depends. So it’s like if you have a large team that’s really good at getting all of the stuff done and you need a person to come in and manage that team, then you want to look for somebody who kind of specializes in jams out with that.

So it’s almost a little bit of, depending on your stage of growth and where your business is, you need to know a little bit,  kind of what you’re looking for too as a business owner. And an OBM, hopefully we’ll be able to help you figure that out during the discovery call process.  In terms of,  what it is you’re looking for based on where your business is as the CEO. 

 veronica-yanhs: [00:31:25] I love that because at first, when I was crafting together this episode, I’m like, okay, does like an OBM need to have operations skills in terms of like creating systems or being able to come up with efficiencies and the answer now I’m learning is not always, yes. I always thought that was an assumption because  if you’re an Online Business Manager, it seems like you have to manage, but does that mean that creation or implementation is on that list?

And it might not be the case for every OBM. Right. So that’s why it’s like doing your due diligence is important.   

meighan-otoole: [00:31:59] It’s really important for you to know like what you need and obviously people don’t know that out the gate, right.   We all own our own businesses. We all know there’s a lot of learning. And like the best thing for people that are going to bring on OBMs is to really have a growth mentality.  To really be up for growing themselves, right?

I mean, I know for me, like we call this a unicorn in the industry where like they can do everything and I have definitely been a unicorn. I burned myself the fuck out, like with one client over working two years for them.  I did everything. I did systems, team hiring strategy, and launching. I mean, it’s too much. 

So it’s really important for the OBM also to pay attention to where, you know, their limitations are. Like, when you were talking about  hiring, launching there’s something else, I was like, yeah, I don’t ever want to do any of that stuff again. It’s not where I.  I can do it. I can do it, but it’s not where I shine. I shine in ops. I shine inefficiencies  and strategy, and really like being my client’s right hand. Like they’re trusted  confidants. 

 veronica-yanhs: [00:33:06] What are the different stages of growth that clients have brought you both in? Is there a way you can categorize different, like different categories so that people who are listening might be like, oh, I think this is me or. I’m about to reach this stage of growth. I should consider an OBM. 

 meaghan-lamm: [00:33:20] So I have worked with clients at multiple stages of growth. I would say I have worked with clients who hired before they were ready.  So they were preparing for their next stage of growth, where she had hit 200 K on her own kind of by accident. It was a little bit of a fluke and she was like, I know that I can’t do that again by myself so I’m going to need to bring in someone else.

So we started working together and that was almost three years ago now, and we’re still working together and I love her dearly.  And I’ve had clients bring me in when they were a little bit further along.  So client specific, but it’s like, you are genuinely in that transition period.

If you’re having thoughts of like, I’m ready to move up to my next level and I know that I can’t do it by myself and it’s something that’s beyond a business coach. Right. I do prefer my clients to work with business coaches because that’s just invaluable information that’s coming from a different person.

A lot of times business coaches can like talk them off a ledge in the way that I can’t. But it really is if you’re having thoughts of like, in order to get to my next stage of growth, I can’t do this by myself.  You know, you’ve hit the six figure mark, you’re ready to go to  200 K or 500 K or whatever your next number is. And it’s just a point where you realize. I’m not going to be able to get there  operating the way that I have been operating up until this point. So I need to bring in someone who can support me  in these areas that are my blind spots.  And once you have that realization, you’re typically ready.  and you’re in that revenue spot. You’re typically ready for someone to come in and support you.

 veronica-yanhs: [00:34:56] Gosh,  this is so good. Thank you both so much for sharing. Like, I’m just like, I have so many questions, but I’m like, this is going to take like hours and hours and hours. I could just talk with the both of you forever. So can we make this like maybe a standing date to have you both come back on? 

 meighan-otoole: [00:35:12] Of course. I mean, I would tell you that my client is, is sort of before,I think Megan’s client. Every single one of my clients, I’m their first OBM and I kind of liked that. I sort of like it but they’re at the like one 125, 180, 200 K mark.

 veronica-yanhs: [00:35:27] This is good to know.  Okay. So before I close out this episode, I would love for you to both tell everybody how they can all find you. And then I’m gonna ask the both of you to give three, like what can a listener do today to get ready to hire an OBM  in the future. So that  whenever they’re ready, it’s not going to be so painful for you and painful for them or uncomfortable.

 meaghan-lamm: [00:35:53] You can find me at my website inspiredsolutionsco.com Honestly, I spend most of my time on Facebook because, I dunno, I guess I’m an older millennial at this point. And you can find me there. I don’t go through my friend requests as often as I should, but you know, please follow me.

 Three things that you’re a business owner needs to know to get ready for an OBM. That’s the question that I’m answering, correct? 

What do you need? Like, how do you like to be, or want to be, or need to be supported in your business?  I would say also mentally preparing yourself for what’s, like the changes that you know, you’re going to have to make. It’s so much easier when a client comes in knowing about those changes are going to happen. Hands down, the clients that are open to change are always the clients that grow the quickest when they hire an OBM. And then be ready to be uncomfortable. And just feel like 90% of being ready for it. Because an OBM can come in and help you get all the stuff done. I always feel like 90% of it is just being ready to operate your business differently and like being willing to be uncomfortable and just be open to change.     

meighan-otoole: [00:37:04] So you can find me on my half done website, which is myloveforyou.co, which like a few years ago, I never would have had that happen, but now I’m old and jaded and don’t give a shit. But you can find me there. And I also am really not on social media anymore because that’s what my old business was. So you can find me on Facebook. I also hang out on Facebook a lot and post publicly there about this stuff.  

So three things I would recommend is 1.)  I would start to think about what you hate doing in your business and what you’re doing, what you’re caught up doing every day and what you want to get off your plate. I would start to list that out, like really start to focus on what are the things you don’t want to do anymore. 2.)  I would start to get some kind of standard operating  procedures in place where people are just like, even if it’s just checklists, the things that you’re doing all the time, try to get those,  systematized. And then 3.)  I would say, start to look at where things feel broken. What do you know isn’t working?   And then a little added bonus. I would  make sure you have a list of all your tools and log-ins  

meaghan-lamm: [00:38:12] If you don’t have LastPass, get LastPass. 

meighan-otoole: [00:38:15] Yeah. Like start to figure out all the tools you own. Tagged with what Megan said, like getting your mindset, you know, and then also looking at like the areas of your business  that you know are broken. So because that’s where the time is going to get freed up for you. That’s where it’s going to be valuable to hire somebody.

 veronica-yanhs: [00:38:31] This was amazing. Yes. Like we have a good combination right here between action items and mindset shifts. It’s beautiful. And  hire somebody, not always me. However, if you are thinking about working with Business Laid Bare, imagine the systems that we can implement for your business together so that when your OBM does come onboard, everything is so much more efficient and pleasurable, and it just makes their job easy so that they can hit the ground running, managing your business in a way that frees you to do what you do best.

 So this was an amazing episode and I don’t want to close it out, but I have to. So let’s just set another standing date  to do this again, and you both were amazing and yep.

Before we close out, I just  wanted to say thank you. 

Thank you for coming on the show and thank you to our sponsor Boxx Bar for this episode, because they sent me an amazing toy to try the We-Vibe Tango, and it’s been so much fun. So go to www.boxxbar.com and get yours and other things too.

And we’re done.

Thank you so much for listening to this episode today. If you want to book a consult call with Business Laid Bare, go to www.businesslaidbare.com/consult  and let’s chat about how we can make your operations orgasmic.

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