As previously mentioned, you should not settle for the first OBM you meet, but instead find the right one for you. Here are some things to consider.
Characteristics – What characteristics would you like to see in your OBM? Which are most important to you? Here are a few to get you started:
- Forward Thinker. They see the whole picture & offer ideas to help you reach your goals.
- Self-Motivated. They are go-getters. They don’t wait until the last minute to start a project.
- Takes Initiative. If they see something needs to be done, they do it.
- Resourceful. If they don’t know an answer, they know how to find it
- Organised. Disorganisation leads to frustration and potential mistakes
- Good Communicator. Good communication reduces confusion and errors
- Professional. They conduct themselves in a professional, self-confident way
- Dependable. They ensure work is completed as requested
- Trustworthy. If they cannot be trusted, the contract should be cancelled
You may not find someone who possesses every characteristic on your list, but if the most important ones are covered, you can work with the rest.
Personality – While thinking about characteristics, you may want to take it a step farther and consider the type of personality it takes to do the job. For instance, if your OBM will be overseeing other staff members, they’ll need to be a good team leader, be able to teach and have good follow up. Beyond that, based on your team members and customers, do you need them to be tough as nails or easy going? A timid OBM may not be right for the job if your team members need a firm hand and your customers are the pushy or cranky type.
The thing to remember is that you aren’t looking for a mirror image of yourself, but someone who is easy to get along with and handles things in a similar way as you. While personality and characteristics may be difficult to determine when first contacting an OBM, as you start working together, keep these in mind while trying to determine if they are right for your business.
Price – Online business manager rates vary considerably. You can find both great and not-so-great OBMs across the pay scale so price does not always reflect how qualified they are.
That being said, if you hire an OBM who has been in business a while & is highly experienced or if you plan to have them oversee the majority of your operations, you should expect to pay a higher rate. You’ve gone to all the trouble of finding the perfect OBM for you so you won’t want to lose them by not valuing their service.
Ask Questions – Unlike hiring an employee in a brick and mortar business, you may not have the opportunity for a face-to-face interview. Therefore, the only way to get a feel for the person is to ask questions.
Creating a list of questions or a pre-written questionnaire will help you in selecting the right OBM. Remember, they too want to ensure you are a good fit for their business; therefore they may have a list of questions for you as well.
These questions are simply to make sure work ethics; communication styles, etc. meet each other’s criteria. After all, if you want to touch base by phone on a daily basis and the OBM prefers email communication once a week, you probably won’t be a good fit.
If you are unsure of what questions to ask, here is a list to get you started.
- What are their hours of operation?
- When would they be available to start?
- How do they prefer to communicate?
- How often do they check their email & reply?
- Are they available by phone?
- What time zone are they in?
- Are they willing to do weekly or monthly planning meetings?
- Will they need anything special from you? (software, training material, etc)
- Do they have a list of contractors that they work with or is this something you need to provide?
- What are their rates?
- When and how do they invoice?
- What type of payments do they accept?
- Are they willing to sign a non-disclosure agreement?
- Do they require a contract?
- Do you have to commit to certain amount of time (6 months, 1 year, etc)
- Can they offer references?
- What do they like to see in a client/obm relationship?
- What are their pet peeves when it comes to work?
- Are there any tasks that they aren’t comfortable doing?
- Are there any holidays or blocks of time that they would be unavailable?
Whether your list is short or long does not matter. The important thing is that you get your questions answered.
Job Descriptions – Having a complete job description is important when hiring an OBM. It will save you time & frustration when considering potential candidates. It also clears the way for the OBM to quickly and easily transition into the new role.
Locating an OBM – While virtual assistants have been around for 20 years or more, online business managers are fairly new to the playing field. The best place to look for an OBM is in your own inner circle. Have you been working with a VA for a long time? Do you feel they would make a good OBM? If so, you might approach them with the offer.
Ask your colleagues, JV partners and those you network with if they have any recommendations. While they may not be willing to give you the name of their OBM, they may be able to recommend others or see if their OBM has any recommendations.
Next week we will look at how to let go so your Online Business Manager can support you effectively.
Not sure how a Virtual Assistant or Online Business Manager can support you? Get in touch.