You know you're getting to that point of growing your team, but where do you even start? The thought of juggling team members (not to mention training them) can feel too much.
Andrea Elibero was a guest on my podcast in Episode 23, and she shares how her work as an OBM has transformed so many businesses... and how she uses her passion for hiring to grow your team. I loved her practical tips that you can start applying today to make that transition even smoother!
What’s the difference between a VA and an OBM?
First, let's lay the foundation. I don't want to assume everyone knows what I mean by VA and OBM. In many ways, they are similar in that they both work on the backend of your business... but how they do this will differ.
- VA: The VA industry is broad and full of variety. VA’s range from admin, tech, systems and processes, and content creators. Traditionally they are very task-oriented. You give them a list of things to accomplish, and they make it happen. They take the minutia off the plate of the business owner.
- OBM: An OBM is the chief operating officer of an online business. The OBM is the partner with the business owner. They often combine strategy with the management, overseeing the day-to-day of the business. Common tasks include managing launches, managing the teams, and assisting with hiring. The OBM makes sure the right thing gets done by the right person at the right time.
Basically, an OBM pivots from the big picture to the small as necessary while the VA completes the task provided.
What would be the signs that you need an OBM?
If you're looking into hiring your first team member, start with a VA. This is the first hire you're going to make so you have someone assisting with the tasks. That’s the baseline.
You should be thinking about getting an OBM when you have too much going on even with a VA on your team. You don't have the time to do all the things and answer all the questions from your team!
Are you stressed out?
A good sign you need that other person to step in.
Developing Your Team
One of the most overlooked and important aspects of hiring a team member is this:
Often when a new hire goes south it is due to miss-matched personalities. It is so important to explore if you will mesh together because personality will impact communication. Determine their communication style, and expectations and learn how they like to work.
Questions to Ask in an Interview
The art of interviewing boils down to the questions. You can learn so much by asking strategic questions, and Andrea has a few of her favorites:
- “What are your boundaries?” This is huge! Knowing these details can save you so much time and heartache. There are communication boundaries to cover, work times, and overall expectations. If you need someone to be available on the weekends, this is the time to clarify. Clearly layout when you expect emails to be responded to (especially if you’re a morning bird and send those early emails... relieve them the pressure of thinking they need to be responding to you at 5 AM!)
- “Tell me about a time you made a mistake” This question is not about the mistake, it is about how they handled it. Everybody’s going to make mistakes! What did they do in response to it? Did they try to fix it? Did they quit the job and run away? Did they respond… defensively? The answer will tell you a lot.
- “Why do you want to work with me?” Listen to their answer, do you hear passion and excitement for your business? Skills can be taught, but passion for your business is not so easy to pass on. Assess their excitement for your work and you will find this to be a uniting force within your team.
This is just a sample of many questions you can ask, but try to think about what you value in a team member and prepare to ask supporting questions.
How to Prepare for a VA or OBM
You may not be at the place yet to hire on a VA or OBM, but that does not mean you are off the hook quite yet. Here are two things you can do today to make your (and their) life easier…
Record your Systems! Start observing your systems! What does that mean? There are things in your business that you know you're going to off-board eventually because you're going to grow. When you're doing a task, simply create a screen recording of you doing it. That way an SOP (standard operating procedure) can be written, which is really just a step-by-step instruction about a task.
Create that training manual now, and save yourself hours of time for you and your future VA. Do this EARLY. If you have a process, record it. Your future self will thank you!
Oftentimes when people hire they're already at a crazy level and they hire later than they “should”. You CAN be ready to go when the time comes!
Start Using a Project Management Tool Have a project management tool in place such as ClickUp, Asana, or Trello. You do not have to manage everything through emails… texting… carrier pigeons… create your project hub!
I like to call it your virtual office.
It's okay if it is not pretty or optimized, simply get in the habit of using something to keep things organized. Someone can come in and make it pretty later, but this will be the place where you will delegate your tasks, and provide instructions and due dates.
"Your business should not be processed-based, it should be people-based." If you hire Sally and then she's sick one day and she can't do it… but she's the only one who knows how to do this thing… everything falls apart!
It doesn’t have to. Keep it all in one place!
Learn More About Andrea
Andrea Elibero has years of experience helping business owners level up by being the grounding force within their business. To learn more about Andrea listen to Episode 23 of The Discovery Call Podcast. and visit her website.