PP 572: Scale Your Business with Sarah Noked
“I think it’s just about being a leader and leadership is huge…you have to lead the client.” -Sarah Noked
Sarah Noked is the founder of her company, Sarah Noked Online Business Management (OBM). She is a Certified OBM as well as a Certified OBM trainer. Sarah has helped over one hundred clients scale their business and yours may be next!
Every business needs one but not every business has one. What are we talking about? Why OBM’s, of course! OBM’s are a trend in today’s business world. Learn what they do and how they differ from Virtual Assistants in today’s episode of Positive Productivity. Most importantly, learn how OBM’s can help you scale your business and learn from Sarah as she offers guidance on how you can set up boundaries and truly lead your clients. Lastly, Sarah will leave you with a couple of tools to help you run your business with ease. Tune in today!
01:21 From Israel to Anywhere in the World
06:53 VA vs OBM
16:29 The First 90 Days of an OBM
19:06 Setting Up Client Boundaries
22:54 Say “NO.”
29:24 The Perfect Ideas Tool: Notebook
37:28 Creating a Virtual Office
44:56 Looming It!
Connect with Sarah Noked
Welcome Page: https://www.sarahnoked.com/positive/
07:35 “And the OBM is really almost a VA on steroids.” -Sarah Noked
20:20 “Be really clear about your schedule… Sometimes it’s not always going to be a good fit.” -Sarah Noked
20:46 “Entrepreneurs are special people. Most of them are very specific about what they want.” -Sarah Noked
21:29 “You have to really be clear with yourself about what you’re prepared to do; the hours that you work.” -Sarah Noked
22:15 “I think it’s just about being a leader and leadership is huge…you have to lead the client.” -Sarah Noked
25:44 “When you say ‘No’, you’re actually saying ‘Yes’ to yourself.” -Sarah Noked
38:12 “It’s just about crafting some system around it that is really unique to your business and works for you.” -Sarah Noked
44:28 “Time is the only thing that we have so little of. So, let’s be productive!” –Kim Sutton
46:34 “We all have tons of systems even though we think we don’t everything is a system whether it’s documented or not.” -Sarah Noked
KIM: Welcome back to another episode of Positive Productivity! This is your host Kim Sutton and I’m so happy to have you here today. I’m thrilled to introduce to you our guest of the day, Sarah Noked. Sarah is the founder of Sarah Noked OBM. We have already had such a great chat during our pre-chat and I was like we have to push record because there were so much gold here already that we have to share it all with you. So listeners, I will share the show notes page with you later on in the episode. I know you’re going to get so many “aha’s” and “oh my gosh, why aren’t I doing that?” moments so make sure you head on over to www.thekimsutton.com/pp572. Sarah, thank you so much for being here. I’ve enjoyed every second of our conversation already and I can’t wait until you see where it goes. I would love if you would share with the listeners who you are, where you are and what you’re doing today.
SARAH: Yeah, absolutely and thanks Kim – so much – for having me on the show! I love all things productivity and positive productivity sounds awesome, so thank you for having me. A little bit about me. I am a certified Online Business Manager. Basically, I help my clients streamline, automate and hire teams and build these fantastic businesses, mostly on the online space. I’m also a certified Online Business Manager trainer, meaning I get the privilege of supporting, helping and nurturing up and coming Online Business Managers or people who are transitioning from corporate or from the Virtual Assistant world step into their zone of genius as Online Business Managers. I have a great agency that provides services. I have my trainings.
I am really lucky! I’ve had a great business thus far and I am doing this from Israel. I’m actually originally Canadian, I’m from Toronto. Ten years ago I moved to Israel, my husband’s Israeli. I was like, if I can do it from here, then nobody has any excuse, most of my clients are in Eastern and Pacific time zones and we’ve got a lot of clients in Australia on the agency side of things. Then when it comes to teaching women and men how to be Online Business Managers, I’ve got clients all over the world who are stepping up to the responsibility that is the OBM.
KIM: I love that you brought that up. I mean I’m in Ohio and my agency has one client in Ohio and I’m not even working with that client. I have a team –
SARAH: There you go.
KIM: – of working with that client because minor international as well and I absolutely love just to hear what’s going on around the world. But I want to step back a little bit, in 2012, I started my business and I never meant to start a business, just putting it out there. My husband, he lost his job again. It wasn’t the first time. I said maybe this is God saying that it’s time for you to pursue your dreams because he had never gone to college. He had a childhood dream of becoming a videogame designer.
KIM: Yes. He’s a United States Air Force veteran. I said: “Why don’t you look into how much time you have left in your G.I. Bill? Coincidentally, he had three years left. When he contacted the school to see if he could do it from at home, he could and he got it done in three years. So once he started, he couldn’t even consider doing a full time job because he was in back to back to back to back courses. I had lost my job as an interior architect four years prior and I was working as an administrative assistant. My wages could barely cover our household expenses.
SARAH: Oh, yeah.
KIM: It was like: “I was going to do something different.” I had remembered that a few years prior I’d seen a freelancer website ad and I went on there and started submitting proposals and I got one right away. I got a project [inaudible], but Sarah, I was charging $8 an hour.
SARAH: Oh my god, you’re kidding me?
KIM: No, because I saw all the international (workers I was competing with) and I just want to put this out there. I do not see anything wrong with hiring international. I do have international –
SARAH: No, no. Me too.
KIM: – team members from the Philippines.
SARAH: Me too, yeah.
KIM: I have a large VA group on Facebook where I got death threats on my 40th birthday because I stood up for the international VA’s who were charging a low amount of money. What a lot of people don’t realize is that the cost of living is so much less that –
KIM: – they don’t need to charge more, but on the flip side –
SARAH: So, are you kidding me?
KIM: Oh, I got death threats. They did extensive research on my family and told me exactly how they were going to kill me and my kids.
SARAH: I don’t believe it.
KIM: I don’t know that I’ve shared that. Well, I guess I have because –
SARAH: That’s terrifying.
KIM: It is. So I ended up taking my whole –
SARAH: You were standing up for people who were raising their rates?
KIM: Well I am standing up for the clients who couldn’t necessarily pay as much right now.
KIM: And for the Filipino VA’s who weren’t charging a lot, because –
KIM: – in my own team, like my podcast producer who will undoubtedly listen to this, she was green. Meaning she had no experience when she started working with me a year and a half ago, but she’s gotten more than a ton of referrals from me. She has at least quadrupled her rate from where she started with me and she’s getting constant referrals. Her husband has quit his job and is now working with her and she has, I don’t even know how many people on her team. I think we need to stop looking at, you know, are we not doing them justice because maybe we are doing justice and we’re helping them create the new life that we’re working to correct ourselves.
SARAH: Right. That’s right.
KIM: But that’s a tangent. So I started at $8 an hour and as a VA. And –
KIM: – but along that note though, there is that topic of undercharging, undervaluing ourselves, which I know I was just talking about with Filipino VA’s. They’re not even charging $8 an hour a lot of them. So it wasn’t working for me because there was the respect in the value from the client. I would love to hear how you got more, how you got to where you are now and can you also explain the difference between a VA and an OBM to listeners who may not know?
SARAH: Yes, totally. So I’ll start off with that. So basically my whole stance on the difference between the VA and an OBM is that conceptually every business needs a virtual assistant. Every business needs a doer, needs an implementer, needs somebody that’s going to be down in the grass and doing. An OBM comes into a business when there is a proven business model. Meaning that you know it’s tried and true. The business is making money. There’s a proven business model. There is a VA on the team. There’s a team to manage aside from the client. I’m sure a topic for a whole other podcast. But you know, you have the team to manage, you have the business model in place. The OBM is really almost the VA on steroids in a lot of way. I hate using that expression, but I feel like it really does justice –
KIM: Oh, I love it.
SARAH: – because, yeah, we come in and we work with that client who’s really ready to delegate their role as OBM in their business because there’s always somebody managing all the moving parts. And the truth of the matter is, most of my clients are coaches, consultants, e-commerce people, like you name it. I’ve worked with hundreds of businesses over the last 10 years and most of my clients are creatives. They are the brains behind the operation, whether they’re creating a product or they are creating a course. They can’t create that course and make that new stream of revenue if they’re pitch patching on managing their launch or if they’re pitch patching on trying to bootstrap how to use teachable. You know, so the OBM comes in and the OBM has the marketing mindset, but they also have the responsibility that “I’m going to manage this. I’m going to take responsibility. I’m going to see this until it’s done, until the end.”
Most of my clients are between the $200,000 to $1M mark in revenue. The specific kind of client that I personally work with, that my agency personally works with, that’s ready to actually delegate the day to day project management, operations management, team management, metrics management, launch management. It’s like those core pieces. The role of the OBM isn’t, you know, doing like, you know, I’m an Ontraport user myself. I know you mentioned you’re in Infusionsoft, like I geek out on tech for better or worse, but –
KIM: I call them learning gazumps when I learn something new that I can do –
KIM: – in Infusionsoft or other marketing tools. I know that’s not so the appropriate word, but I love it.
SARAH: I’m with you on that and I think that’s going to be my new word too, but I like geek out hardcore on that stuff. I will help my client strategize a funnel and look at the parts reasons, but I’m probably not going to be the one that’s building it out. I’m going to be testing it. I’m going to be making sure that it’s all buttoned up and tied up and ready to go when we go live. But I’m going to call in the right people to get the job done. So again, that’s why there really has to be a proven business model and a VA on the team. So if a client says to me, oh well I don’t have a VA because you would be surprised Kim, how many clients approach me? These people are making 40k in revenue a month, which is amazing. I lovingly refer to these people as successful despite themselves. I was like you’re a solopreneur, albeit maybe you have a couple team members you leverage here and there when you’re really hard up, but you’re more or less of that solopreneur mentality. You’re making 40k a month. You are hustling to the extreme. I find that there are just so many people out there that are, you know, they don’t have a VA but they certainly need one. For those clients, part of that first 90 days, and as OBM’s, you know the first 90 days is really critical with a client, because there’s so much learning that goes into understanding the business and the strategy and the vision and the why’s. That’s a little bit different than a VA coming in. To go back to the differences, a VA coming in doesn’t really need to know… I mean, they need to know your vision, right? They don’t need to necessarily know the launch strategy. They’re hooking up this and making sure that that works and they’re queuing up some emails, that sort of thing. But they’re not really necessarily in the big picture. So for our clients that come in that are making a serious chunk of change every month but still really in the weeds – and again, I can’t emphasize how many people I speak to on a monthly basis that are in that situation – part of that first 90 days, what we will do in our agency is help to find them the right OBM. Because I’m sure you’ve run into this, but you know, most people are not the greatest project managers. They’re not great team managers. They are really great at what they do. For example, I had somebody in the e-commerce business. He had this amazing product that he was selling. That he was designing that he had taught himself how to use InDesign. And he was facilitating the production of it in China and then going into sending it to Hong Kong and then over to Singapore. He was doing all these things and I was like: “Well, what is it gonna take for you to be happy in your business?” Because he was miserable and he’s like: “If I could just design my product, that would make me so happy.” I’m like: “Well, then why are you pitch patching with the logistics and all of this other stuff and marketing it. You know, and you’re making more than 40k a month, you can outsource this stuff. Be happy designing, create a new product that you can go live with and make, you know, exponentially more revenue every month. But yet, cause you’re not a good project manager and because you suck at hiring, your hands are tied behind your back.” So, we came in there and we had to whip him into shape, but now –
KIM: Oh, I love that.
SARAH: -he was much happier entrepreneur. Right?
SARAH: Happy entrepreneur has a team, has automations, has people in there who are better at those things than they are, because they’re the creative. They’re the visionary.
KIM: Absolutely. So, I don’t think I’ve really gotten into this on the podcast before, but I chatted with you a little bit about it in the pre-chat, but my sister has joined my company.
KIM: She is completely left-brained and teaching her about the online space has been fun and challenging and sometimes a headache. But I say that with love because she just really doesn’t understand it. I’ve even had to walk her through how lead funnels work. Like –
KIM: – what does it look like in different capacities? And she had 15 years in retail, like grocery store, huge grocery store management retail. So I walked her through that. But then she started looking at all my stuff and she’s like: “Kim, I don’t understand what you do.” And she wasn’t saying that because she didn’t understand what I do, but she’s looking at all the text on all my websites and on my social media and she’s like: “There’s nothing in here that will tell somebody whose looking, this is what I do.” And –
KIM: – I knew when she came on that she was going to be at a higher level than some other people just because of the skillset and the experience that she has, especially, I mean in grocery store management, there is so much. And she was a kick ass, pardon my mouth, but she was a kick ass store manager, managing –
KIM: – you know, snow storms in the northeast with all of her team members and all the deliveries and all that. So, I knew right away that she was going to serve at a higher capacity. But from those little things, I’ve had VAs come in who just do the job and keep on going. I think that’s typically what a lot of people get into with their VA’s. You assign tasks, they get done. You don’t get a lot of feedback. I’ve been glad-
KIM: – my team is not like that. They always give feedback. When Jackie said, I don’t understand what you do. I was like, oh my gosh. So I started looking at it all and I realized she was totally right. I had a whole bunch of fluffy text all over.
SARAH: Well, yeah, because in your defense, your website is talking more about your client’s pain point and not necessarily about specifically what you do. You know, it’s not, it is a little fluffy. Yes.
KIM: Yeah. Well, it’s been changed in the last week. So if you haven’t looked in the last week, it’s been upgraded.
SARAH: Oh, I’ll look. Okay.
KIM: Yeah. So she’s like: “Oh my gosh! You did such a good job. I could kiss you, but that would be weird.” Our family is –
SARAH: That is so funny.
KIM: – not a touchy feely family like that. It’s sort of like, this is my space. This is yours. My sisters and I grew up watching “Dirty Dancing.” Okay. Stand on my space.
KIM: But right away I was like, whoa. And then she’s like: “I need to know what all the other team members are doing so I can follow-up with them.” And I was like, oh I just wanted to cry and I’m not really a crier.
SARAH: Oh, maybe you should start calling her the OBM. That she is. Because it sounds to me like she really is the OBM of your business because she –
KIM: I told her she’s going to be the Director of Operations. And she’s like –
SARAH: Oh, very [inaudible]
KIM: – that’s what I wanted to be. But I loved how you talked about bringing team members in and they don’t necessarily know what you’re doing. But that’s the one way that I think I’m a little bit different than a lot of online entrepreneurs. Every team member who comes in has to do something in the podcast, so that they understand where my passion comes from. Because if they can’t survive working in the podcast, then they’re not really going to survive in any other role business.
SARAH: Yeah. It’s interesting that you say that, because one of the things that we do as OBMs in the first 90 days is we map out the revenue streams, like so what better way? Because obviously it’s about the money, right? That’s what makes it a viable business. So, if I come in as an OBM into your business, I’m not coming in just to do stuff like a VA. I’m coming in to fully understand where is the revenue coming from. And, to the entrepreneur whose business it is, it’s very straightforward. You know my revenue, and so like with your whole podcast thing, by having them map out revenue or understanding how the podcast works and how that relates to the business as a whole, then they start to understand what the business model is. How we make money. How we bring people in. How we show them what we’re doing. And then how we eventually sell them onto something, right? To make it that viable business.
KIM: Oh, absolutely. I just need to be totally transparent to listeners though that the podcast to this point really hasn’t made me much money. I think Sarah, you and I have to have a conversation –
KIM: – about the OBMs on your team because – and this is how I would love to see every listener’s business, all of our clients come from referrals. All of them. We’re not out there – my sister asked me yesterday, how many podcasts have you been on besides your own?
SARAH: Yeah. Right.
KIM: I was embarrassed because I mean, I’m an Icon of Influence at Steve Olsher’s New Media Summit. I’ve been on five podcasts.
SARAH: Right. Hmm.
KIM: But we’ve got more than enough clients right now. I mean, it’s about time that we started waiting lists and I would love to see every person likes that or business running like that. You don’t just have a full load, but you’ve got a waiting list and you can choose –
KIM: – whether or not you bring on another team member to support them. But along with that came a big curve of learning as far as respect and boundaries and I would love for you to address that a little bit. Like what have you learned on your journey on setting up those boundaries with your clients and what do you teach the people that you’re certifying?
SARAH: Yeah. So, I’m sorry, I don’t really understand what you’re asking me. Do you mean like in terms of with the services setting up?
KIM: Well, I mean –
SARAH: – The metrics and stuff or performance?
KIM: Boundaries. I mean, as far as you-
SARAH: Oh, boundaries.
KIM: – and I like, what are our boundaries like because I’ve gotten texts on Christmas Eve.
SARAH: I see what you mean. Oh yeah. So, okay. So –
KIM: In 3 o’clock in the morning like,can you do this or on Friday nights?
KIM: I need this new funnel created this weekend. It’s like, hello. No.
SARAH: Yeah. So one of the – I mean that is a huge, never-ending struggle, I think having open – so this is why I mentioned, like as when we come into a client’s business and what I tell my OBM to do is this – the first 90 days is really critical for setting the tone of boundaries and also the trust. When we start with a client, there’s a 90 day plan that we deliver with deliverables that we’re going to hit every month, so that the expectation is really clear on what they’re getting. And there is conversation around one line of communication. You know, we’re not communicating via email and via Chat and I’m a big Slack advocate, I actually use Teamwork Chat myself because I’m a big Teamwork pm user. We still call it Slack even though it’s Teamwork Chat. Having a place where you can communicate with your clients and same with your team. Having that one place where you communicate and having a clear “this is where I work, these are the times that I work.” It’s either going to – so when you’re transparent about that from the onset, it’s either going to work for that new client or that new team member even or it’s not. So being really clear about your schedule, like I’m a mom, you know. I can’t afford to have people emailing me on Christmas eve and stuff like that. You know what I mean?
KIM: Oh yeah. I didn’t respond, just to be totally transparent, I didn’t respond and I got fired. And, you know what, it was one of the best things.
SARAH: Exactly. And you know, sometimes it’s not always going to be a good fit. So you know, there are people, bless them, right? People are people and entrepreneurs are special people. A lot of them are very specific about what they want and sometimes it’s not gonna match. And that’s why it’s really important to be – to not over deliver, like over deliver but also do it in a way – so for example, like I have a whole thing and I talk a lot about these sorts of little hint. So for example, if a client is asking me for a last minute request, if I have the time and I can actually do it and it’s a two to five minute job, okay fine. You know, I can do that. It’s a little quick niblet, but if they are continuously asking me for these last minute things or little things here and there? No. So I think you have to really be clear with yourself about what you’re prepared to do. The hours that you work. I like, do my calls on Mondays and Tuesdays. I don’t have calls at any other time of the week. So if someone’s like: “Hey, can we schedule something on Thursday?” I’m like: “Sorry, you know, my calls are on Mondays and Tuesdays. If you want to hop on a call with me, you’re just going to have to schedule that in advance.” And then they know for the next time. Sometimes I think it’s just a being a leader and leadership is huge, right? For you, for me, for OBMs and for anyone who works in a service based industry, you have to be a leader. You have to lead the client. You have to lead the client into understanding how you work and what makes you happy as well as the person on their team. I think when it comes to boundaries, it really can get a little bit uncomfortable with some clients. And like you said, some people are going to be like, well, if you’re not gonna respond to me on Christmas Eve, then you’re off the team. Well, then that’s just gonna happen. I’m also in that place of abundance. You know, for me and my agency, there’s not a lot a shortage of clients, we are on a wait list and have been for many, many months. I’ve just been referring people onto the International Association of OBMs because they have an RFP system and they just pass people along to the certified OBMs. So I come from an abundance standpoint, so if maybe I’m not a good fit with that client, that’s okay.
KIM: Oh, I love that.
SARAH: There’s plenty more. There’s more where that came from. And also like nipping it in the bud, saying no. Say no. You’re like, I’m sure you do this too, like you do everything every day. Like one thing a day that scares you. Sometimes that means saying no to a client because it’s scary, you know?
KIM: Yes. And I have only just this year gotten better at saying no. And I’ve had numerous people say: “I can feel your confidence shift. –
KIM: What happened Kim?” And listeners, if this is not your first episode, you know I’m totally transparent on here and I actually have a whole episode that talks about this. But at the end of 2018, we were broke because I am a chronic giver. And I had been giving away so much time for free, but there was also some other circumstances as I already shared in this episode, my husband is a vet and he has a disability. He has PTSD, so there are times when I just can’t work. So we are facing some, a whole bunch of challenges altogether, but a lot of those were compounded by the fact that I was saying yes to everybody and no to the people who needed it most.
SARAH: Yeah, you owe it to yourself too, Kim.
KIM: Yes. Oh my gosh!
KIM: I was in the ER four times last year because I was saying yes to everybody else.
SARAH: Are you kidding me? Oh my god! That just breaks my heart honestly.
KIM: But I decided… I wrote a 19 for 2019, I don’t normally like to timestamp, but for all the listeners, I want you to have your list. I said, I am not going to the ER this year. I also have five kids, so the likelihood of that actually not happening is slim, but I’m not going for me. Okay?
SARAH: Right, right. [laughs]
KIM: I’ve started saying no, but on the flip side, that difficult client that I talked about, I am a chronic giver. I’m working on that and –
KIM: – I was charging a sixth of what my normal rate is.
SARAH: Oh, there then you go. It looks like those squeaky little clients are always the ones that are demanding the most. That’s why I’m a big advocate for time tracking too, you know, to get understanding of like, what are the needy clients? And is it relative to how much they’re paying you? Because a lot of the – you know, in my agency we work off of retainer, hourly retainers, because I need to be managing projects and I need to be managing everybody’s time and making sure that all the clients are getting their fair share of our OBM services. And also too, I wanted to say like one of the mantras that I’ve also been saying this year to myself is, you know, “when you say no, you’re actually saying yes to yourself.” And I was like, oh, that just lands with me in a way that it feels so much more magical. And I’m like, you know, you know what? Saying no isn’t really that hard when it is benefiting me cause I’m saying yes to myself and yes to something I need. Because I have three kids, you said you had five kids Kim?
SARAH: Oh, you’re amazing. I mean, kids are the most wonderful blessings in the whole world, but I’ve got three kids. And I can’t, you know, when I say yes to somebody, I’m saying no to myself and my kids for something maybe that we had planned to do because now mommy needs to work. You know, I don’t want to be that mom. Part of the reason why I got into the OBM world and why I work the way I work is because I grew up with the stay at home mom. And it was the most amazing experience for me and I think it really structured me to be a more confident person as a kid cause I always had my mom around and, you know, I felt secure. And I wanted to give my kids that experience and it’s just not feasible in today’s day of age.
You know, you need to work and everybody needs to work and, you know, my husband was in school. And my husband’s also an army guy, so I know where you’re coming from. And so, you know, I was like, no, I need to still work, but I also want my kids to feel like I’m always around. And I swear until they were like, until my daughter was about four or five, I don’t think she thought that I worked. You know, mommy was just going upstairs, you know, she didn’t know that her office to be on her computer. She wasn’t, you know, building this like multi-six figure amazing, incredible business.
KIM: Oh, I love that you said, because I was just telling my five year old daughter over the weekend. I said: “Did you know that there’s mommies and daddies who have to leave the house to go to work? And she said: “Why?”
KIM: I said: “Because they don’t work at home like mommy does.”
KIM: And she’s like: “But I like having you here.” But that brings up an interesting point because I’d love to know, like even if you, and I’m not saying that you have to make the money, don’t think I’m assuming that at all.
SARAH: Yeah, of course.
KIM: But would you be able to not work or would you get bored?
SARAH: Oh, so, I mean I have to work because my mind doesn’t turn off. So, I mean, funny enough like I’ve taken mat leaves, but I have not taken a creative leave for myself. So every time I go on mat leave I find that, because I’m, you know, a big on breastfeeding. I breastfed all my kids, you know. I’m blessed to be able to breastfeed. I know it’s not possible for everybody, but for me it became like a meditation almost. And when I was breastfeeding, I would have all these amazing ideas for my business, like I couldn’t turn my brain off. So I’ve never actually, I mean I’ve taken a mat leave, so like in the sense of like leaving my team to like man the business operationally, but I’m not been able to turn my brain off. Even when I go on holiday, like I’m always reading like a business book, like I just genuinely love it. So I mean, I like to do it, why should I turn it off? But yeah.
KIM: I am an advocate for breastfeeding myself. And I feel sort of selfish saying this and I tried, well, I managed a few months with my twin.
KIM: Which was a challenge.
SARAH: Yes. Twins.
KIM: Twins. Yes. Okay listeners, if you’re pregnant with twins or know somebody who is, there’s this awesome pillow and it’s called my breast friend.
SARAH: Oh, I had that. Yes.
KIM: Yes. But it fits twins on it. One on one side, one on the other.
SARAH: That’s so funny.
KIM: But I love what I do so much, and I don’t know if you know Sarah, but I’m writing a book called Chronic Idea Disorder, because my –
SARAH: Oh, I didn’t know that.
KIM: – brain does not shut off.
SARAH: My brain doesn’t shut off. My husband sometimes at nighttime looks at me and he’s like: “Turn it off.” And I’m just like: “I can’t. I wish I could. I can’t. It doesn’t stop these ideas chronically.” Yes. That is perfect the perfect name for it.
KIM: Yup. And I feel bad for my husband because, and this is sort of TMI, but, you know, there’s an activity that led to having as many kids as we could as we have.
KIM: And it will happen and then all of a sudden I’m wide awake and 30 more ideas has hit my head and he’s like: “Where are you? You’re not going to sleep?” And I’m like: “No. You just woke me back up again. I got to get out of bed and go write these down.”
SARAH: So funny. Me and my husband also like the same. Kim, I feel like we’re kindred spirits. So I actually keep a notebook next to my bed and my husband knows, like if I’m not necessarily stressed out, but maybe I’m going through like, you know, metamorphosis or figuring out a product or something that I want to do with a client or whatever, I will have a notepad. Like I always have something in the drawer next to my bed, but the notepad will be out and I’ll be like literally write. I’ll wake up in the middle of the night and write. I’ll have to write down my idea because I know I will forget it. And it’s like, you know, revolutionary, you know?
KIM: Yeah, absolutely. I love that you said notebook. You may use all these other tools, but I’ve tried Evernote. I used notes because it’s convenient when I’m driving.
KIM: But I found that all the digital ones didn’t work as well for me because I needed to write it down because it just came out.
SARAH: Yeah. Also too. I find that when I write in an idea like I like almost take a snapshot of it in my head so that when I go back to that idea, I can almost remember what I was thinking when I wrote down the idea. And it like, because I can remember my handwriting or maybe something that I specifically like a certain way that I wrote it down. You know, maybe it was in caps lock, or capitals or whatever. I don’t know. So it’s like it also triggers that feeling of how I felt when I wrote down that I idea initially.
KIM: Absolutely. So the sharing with you Sara, before we started that, I’d been having my team members take the sparketype quiz by Jonathan Fields. And I took it myself last week and it told me that I am a maven maker. I forgot the second one, but basically my primary sparketype is a Maven, which means that I love to learn. And the second one, which I’m just having a brain fart on, it means that I like to create and make, maybe it was [inaudible]. And that’s so fits in with why I need my sister or an OBM because like she has been managing my inbox. I’m surprised. And here’s one of the first feedbacks that I would love back from listeners. By the way, the show notes will be at thekimsutton.com/pp572. How many emails are in your inbox? Because like you were saying, I have clients who will Facebook message me. The only reason I have Facebook messenger on my phone is because my husband refuses to text. He always uses Facebook messenger.
SARAH: It’s so funny.
KIM: Yeah. But beyond that, like I will post Facebook posts and I’m not a Facebook scroller. I post everything from my phone and I’m not in there looking at stuff. And then I have clients who text, I don’t live by my smart phone, so while I will post stuff, to be totally honest, my phone is usually in the hands of a child.
SARAH: I know. [laughing]
KIM: Okay? So –
SARAH: Who’s eating soup and on your phone? Yeah.
KIM: Yeah. They’re swiping up on my notifications. And if I get it back at 11 o’clock at night and I’m going through because I hear like my sister messaged me, then I may see your text message. Or thankfully I have a Mac book now, so my messages come up on my computer too, but really it’s email. And then we also use teamwork chat, which I love. But streamlining, and we’re actually, and I’d love to know if you do something like this with your clients, even help them set up their intake process so that their clients, not just your clients –
KIM: – clients know how to communicate with them because, oh my gosh, that has been such a learning curve. No, don’t – like I had to put up on Skype. I am only on Skype for scheduled calls now because I had people messaging me through there. Now I just shut it down. If I’m not in there, –
SARAH: Yeah – yeah.
KIM: – I’ll shut it down. Or I’ll just one more –
SARAH: Good for you. Again, hashtag boundaries, you know?
SARAH: Like we can’t be just because we’re like online doesn’t mean like we’re online 24/7, I also need a healthy work life balance.
KIM: Oh, absolutely.
SARAH: You know, my brain doesn’t shut off. But like I like to be with my own ideas and my own thoughts.
KIM: Hmm. What’s the secret to do it into having time for that?
SARAH: Yeah, I mean, so I just was yesterday and the day before, so we did a Saturday Sunday mastermind. So I’ve got a few good girlfriends here that are also entrepreneurs in the digital world. And we all met up and we were talking about one that we have a friend that we have in common. And it was lovely because I could literally, you know, I mean I was with a baby because he’s eight months old and I’m breastfeeding. So, you know, I did tote him along. But, you know, he’s a little guy. And so I was free to like brainstorm during the day and at night and talk to people and share ideas. So, you know, having time as an entrepreneur to go away and mastermind and create and be just like amazing to me. It’s been so long since I was able to do that. And again, I think sometimes you need to almost block it off and schedule it in. And I felt selfish doing it and I was like: “Oh, well, you know, the kids are going to be with their dad. And you know, he’s going to have to cook and he’ll have to put them to bed by himself and whoa, what was the him and all.” But I’m just driving off in the car and like: “Oh, well now I don’t feel bad anymore.”
KIM: Oh my gosh! Sarah, I burn every meal I tried to cook. I do not enjoy cooking at all. Yes, I am a maker.
SARAH: But if you outsource that then you –
KIM: Oh, my husband’s love to cook.
SARAH: – mostly have dinner. Oh great. So great. Amazing.
KIM: Yeah. I shared on a podcast last week that when we met, we met through craigslist. I was on there looking for furniture and decided the laugh at the guys who are looking for women. Little did I know that the second one I found would be my husband, but I had just written my soulmate spec sheet, which I think we actually need to do for a lot of people think they know who their ideal client is. But how many times Sarah have you sent or seen, oh everyone, oh women.
SARAH: Yeah. I was joked that I nishawn personality cause like as an Obm I love different businesses and part of the rush of working with a client is learning a new business. So I try to be in different niches and I have over the years, but I like to nishawn personality. [laughs]
KIM: I love to hire on personality and [inaudible] skills.
SARAH: Yes, so do I.
KIM: But I had a soulmate spec sheet and my husband had covered just about every single one in his –
KIM: – long novel of a want Ad. And I said on mine loves to cook and he said loves to cook. So it works really well for me, although I’ve gained a lot of weight and he says he loves it. [laughing]
SARAH: Oh, right. [laughing]
KIM: Yeah, I’m like 60 pounds heavier than when we got together. Just putting it out there, listeners, if you’re on my list, you know, I shared my weight in an email last week, which was so scary.
SARAH: Actually it’s so funny, yeah.
KIM: Yeah. But so, oh my gosh, I am just so intrigued because we do not team clients with OBMs. We do have several VA’s on staff that for people who come into my business client wise, they can get the VA help, but the OBM just takes it to a whole new level. I mean –
KIM: – Jackie is, and this isn’t necessarily a VA skill, but I don’t have a VA doing this right now because we’re looking for that person. But Jackie’s responding to emails for me or as me or a combination of both. You know, if it needs to actually come from me, then she’s pretending she’s me and she’s managing that. She’s got my calendar on her phone and she knows that when I’m in creative mode I can lose track of time. So Kim, are you getting on that call? Oh, I’m already here. Oh, good for you. You know?
SARAH: Yeah, totally.
KIM: And then what do we need? And –
KIM: – there’s just so much.
SARAH: So you just, I mean, I take it you’re an SOP gal like you standard operate procedure all your stuff?
KIM: We’re working on that. We’re going to have about a three. I would love to know how you do it, but we have a Google spread sheet which outlines all of the SOP’s and then each one lives in a Google doc.
SARAH: So you’re already one step ahead. So I just link it to the recurring task and teamwork pm and then that’s that. So making sure that everything is in like I call it the virtual office.
SARAH: So I have a program that goes over teaching how to set up the SOP’s, and they give access to my SOP vault and everything. But yeah, mine live on – and I’m also happy to give your listeners my SOP template. I mean, it’s not brain surgery.
KIM: I would love that.
SARAH: It’s very simple. Yeah. So can you go to sarahnoked.com/positive I’ve got some goods there. And I also have my on-boarding kit, which I think will be useful for some of your people. You know, how to like swiftly, nicely on-board new clients having an SOP for that. So when it comes to client care management, it is something that is usually one of the last things to come off of an entrepreneur’s plate because there’s just so much happening there and it’s kind of the catchall.
So when you can sort of systematize and have canned responses for certain and, you know, there’s also teamwork desk by the way, which is great. So having a way to, like a ticketing system for managing what’s coming through. But I gather you probably have tech issues. You have people emailing you about the podcast, like there’s certain, so when you sit down with Jackie and you’re figuring out the system around and optimizing and streamlining that system, it’s like you kind of have to look at, well, what are the buckets that, you know, it’s tech issues. It’s, you know, podcast stuff. It’s, you know, whatever.
KIM: I absolutely love those though cause we weren’t using desk.
SARAH: Yeah, teamwork desk is great.
KIM: That is a fantastic idea.
SARAH: And then you can sort of, you know, so I feel like Jackie as the sort of person who’s coming in your inbox, Jackie will delegate some of the tickets. So the emails that come in, we’ll just call them tickets, like it’s ticketing system. You know, if anybody on – if your listeners are familiar with what that is, you know they have like the tech issue, email tickets that come in, those get passed onto the VA. And the nice thing about using teamwork desk is those can go straight to tasks. Then you know, they know what they’re done and then they get closed out. And then there are certain things that, you know, Kim, unfortunately only you will be able to answer.
So those either get forwarded on to personal inbox that secret from everybody else or you come into teamwork desk once a day and you answer the emails that are flagged as Kim needs to answer this, right? Which hopefully is one or two, right? When you get all down to it. And then there’s probably a lot of affiliate in podcasts management and things that Jackie probably has her finger on any ways that, you know, you really, it doesn’t really need to be you following up. Like yeah, you can follow up and it might take you two minutes. But the whole point is that going there to answer that for two minutes is taking you away from a bigger idea project that you’re working on. And if you leave that project that you’re working on, it’s going to take you half an hour to get back into the swing of what you were doing.
So that’s why those two minute jobs that: “Oh, it’s not a big deal. I don’t need a VA, I’ll just do it myself.” Like those actually could ramp up into what you were focused in working on before. Now it’s going to take you another half an hour to get back into what you were doing that actually generates you money. Right? So it’s just about crafting a system around it that is really unique to your business and works for you.
So, you know, having Kim responses, having a VA to answer the tech stuff, having Jackie in there to answer some of the higher level things and then having a way to direct emails that only you can answer but in a way that is like, you know that you only answer maybe at two in the afternoon you go in, you answer the emails that only you can answer and then you properly use that ticketing system as well, which means you know, following the SOP and marking the ticket off as closed when you’re done or in process if you’re still waiting for a response from the client. So it’s great and you can leave notes and comments on certain emails.
KIM: You’re blowing my mind. Sarah, I think I need to ask you to come back for a part two.
SARAH: I would love to come back for a part two. I mean, like to me this stuff is so natural. Like, I mean it’s like I just, I’ve been in it for so long that I’m like, I feel like sometimes what I’m saying isn’t that groundbreaking, you know? But then I, and then people are like: “Oh, no. Oh, I never thought about it that way.” But yeah, I love to chat with you more and talk about some of the other ways that I’ve learned over the years, how to really streamline, especially in online business because we’re lucky. We have things like Ontraport and Infusionsoft for our customer resource management systems. Then we have these great project management tools that are peanuts. I mean, it cost me like 50 bucks a month. My gosh, it saves me hours and hours of so much time and using all these tools and having things like Zoom and podcasts and just all of this technology that allows us to really leverage what it is to have a virtual office in this day and age.
KIM: Oh my gosh. Listeners, I want you to go over to thekimsutton.com/pp572 in the comments, leave your ahas and also your questions for what you would like us to discuss in part two.
SARAH: Yes, absolutely.
KIM: Yeah, because, oh my gosh, this is just the beginning. I know that you’re busy with kids and I just heard mine wake up. I could keep on talking to you for hours, but –
SARAH: I know, right?
KIM: – this was just the first of our conversations, I guarantee you.
SARAH: I love that Kim. I am so down.
KIM: Thank you so much for joining me for part one of let’s just say many, if you’re up for this.
SARAH: Yes. I am.
KIM: Where can listeners go to learn more about you and I know you have a waiting list but to inquire about getting on your waiting list? I know I would love if you would also just put out there one more time where they can go and get the the SOP template.
SARAH: Yeah, absolutely. So if you go over to Sarah Noked sarahnoked.com/positive. You can opt in there and get my SOP on-boarding toolkit and I also give my SOP template there and all of that goodness. You can learn all about me on the website. I’m on pretty much every social media platform there is out there for better or worse [laughing] some more than others. The best place is to head over there and download that. Then once you’re on my list, I send juicy things like this all the time.
KIM: Love it. I love people like you who give out juicy things.
SARAH: Yes! I’m all about juiciness. I’m all about sharing it. Yes, I don’t think it makes sense to keep it in, especially because I know a lot of us are moms and dads. I’m like time is the only thing that we have so little of so let’s be productive and let’s share our learnings, too.
KIM: Absolutely. If you can share a little tidbit that will help somebody take their business to the next level then they will come back to you when they’re ready to hire you.
SARAH: Yes, yes. I’ve got so many good ones.
SARAH: For the next one, for part two. Listeners, come back for part two.
KIM: Definitely. Sara, I would love to hear what you have for a golden nugget for the end of part one.
SARAH: Yes. Yes. So I would say the golden nugget would be for the listeners who are ready to step up their team, they’re ready to organize the back end of their business and they realize that that’s the only way that they’re going to grow or actually scale their businesses to have that strong solid foundation. So one, I’m really big on using loom L-O-O-M as a, you know, screencasting software. So download loom onto your desktop and like if it’s you – so this is my challenge for you, Kim. So why don’t you screen cast yourself going through your email inbox. Here’s how I filter this. Here’s the bigger vision around, so obviously somebody who’s managed your inbox has got to know like, well, what’s your vision here for your business too? Even if they’re managing your inbox.
So by you doing a loom and talking about walking them through them, talking about the importance of following up properly with certain affiliates and certain influencers in the industry versus other things, so by doing that and by looming it, and then handing it over to the team members who’s going to be responsible for it, they can then document that into an SOP. They can have all the policies and the prerequisites around it, and they can make it a system for you. And take it one step further and look at it from the outsider view of, okay, here’s what it needs in addition to. So my tidbit would be download loom, screencast one system or process in your business, we all have tons of systems, even though we think we don’t, everything is a system, whether it’s documented or not, document that system handed over to a team member. Bada boom, bada bang.