PP 590: Providing Clients with Premium Service While Sustaining Strong Boundaries with Sarah Noked (Part II)

“You got to have strong boundaries with clients, you got to stick to your guns and you really have to do things in the best interest of the clients’ business. Just remember that.” –Sarah Noked


Don’t be a leaking money bucket. There’s a better way to run your business and invite more revenue. Be a master of expectations and boundaries. Develop attitudes that will help you scale your business and find a reliable OBM that matches your work style. Tune in to part 2 of Kim’s interview with Sarah Noked and learn how. Work Smart. Live Smart.



02:23 Enjoying Life in the Mediterranean
07:34 How OBM’s Work
11:04 Loose Boundaries vs. Strong Clients’ Expectations
19:29 Tough Love
26:00 Don’t be a Leaking Money Bucket
32:00 Working with Clients with A Lot of Potential
39:26 Kim’s CCC Week
43:34 Wear A Tough Skin

Run your business efficiently with reliable OBM’s. Join @thekimsutton and @SarahNoked in Part 2 of this thrilling conversation. #beProactive #boundaries #time #toughlove #toughskin #scaleyourbusiness #virtualsupport #OBM’sClick To Tweet

About Sarah Noked:


Only a 10-minute drive away from the mystic Mediterranean Sea, Sarah enjoys a peaceful life in a Kibbutz in Israel with the love of her life. Besides this, she also enjoys the fruits of her thriving business. She is a Certified Online Business Manager (OBM), Certified OBM Trainer and founder of her own OBM agency. She helps people through her community of the best OBMs and Virtual Service Providers to transition and level up in their endeavors.

Website: www.sarahnoked.com/
Facebook: www.facebook.com/sarahnoked/
Twitter: www.twitter.com/SarahNoked/
Instagram: www.instagram.com/sarahnoked/
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/sarahnoked/
YouTube: www.youtube.com/c/SarahNoked/
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/sarahnoked/ 



The Kim Sutton Podcast: Sarah Noked Part 1: Scale Your Business with Sarah Noked


Profit First: Transform Your Business from A Cash-Eating Monster To A Money- Making Machine by Mike Michalowicz
Clockwork: Design Your Business to Run Itself by Mike Michalowicz


Inspirational Quotes:

“The business is actually your client. So despite what your client thinks, it’s actually the business that you have to do, what’s in the best interest of the business. And that doesn’t always match up with what the client wants.” –Sarah Noked

“As an OBM, the success of the client is your success as well. If you don’t have that success, then you are not going to have a client.” –Kim Sutton

“If we don’t give ourselves that time, then we’re always going to be fried.” –Kim Sutton

“You can’t take everything to heart, you need to be confident.” –Sarah Noked

“The ones who get upset over the little things are the ones who are struggling with the most.” –Kim Sutton

“You got to have strong boundaries with clients, you got to stick to your guns and you really have to do things in the best interest of the clients’ business. Just remember that.” –Sarah Noked



“You got to have strong boundaries with clients, you got to stick to your guns and you really have to do things in the best interest of the client’s business. Just remember that.”



Kim Sutton: Welcome back to another episode of Positive Productivity. I am so happy to have you here, and today for part two, and I will let you know what episode part one was in just a moment. We have Sarah Noked, and I really want you, if you haven’t listened to part one yet, go back, listen to it, because it was just so full of valuable insight, valuable insight. That’s not what I’m looking for. Help me out here, Sarah. Just–

Sarah Noked: –Yeah, it was so full of just nuggets of juiciness.–

Kim Sutton: –Yo. Yeah, I like that. That’s so much better than me. Clearly, (laughs) you’re in a different time zone and have it have had your coffee this morning.–

Sarah Noked: –I’ve had 800, it’s all good. (laughs) —

Kim Sutton: –Yeah. So, episode 572 folks that will be in the show notes, but we only touched the surface–

Sarah Noked: –ehm

Kim Sutton: –in part one, and I was just sharing with Sarah a little bit of what has gone down. And even though this is a Positive Productivity Podcast, there is stuff that goes down, even though you know, we want to look at it positive from time to time. So, today we’re just going to pick back up. There were some questions that came in, and comments from the last episode. So yeah, we’re just gonna have a blast part two, and who knows, there might be a blast part three, but Sarah, for people who didn’t listen to part one and aren’t listening to me, when I say go back and listen to it, can you just give a brief introduction, hey, come on. I know I’m stubborn, and if I’m already listening or driving, I’m not gonna push pause and go back.

Sarah Noked: Right, right, right. So we, we basically touched on the differences between an OBM, and a VA. We’ve talked a lot about delegating, a lot about team growth, and all kinds of like juiciness in between. So, it was like a really jam packed session that we had last time.

Kim Sutton: Absolutely. And for people who don’t know your story, can you?

Sarah Noked: Yeah, absolutely. So if you’re just catching the second part, so again, my name is Sarah Noked, I am a certified online business manager, and online business manager trainer. I also run a full scale OBM agency. So, I’ve been doing that for quite a long time, and I have community of online business managers, and virtual support providers, and it’s just all good things, you know, it’s just about uplevelling, if you’re a VA wanting to sort of transition to being an OBM, you know, it’s kind of like my story. So, I also live in Israel. Funny enough, which is kind of interesting. I’m originally from Canada, and I moved here for love, and a little bit of insanity. So, I feel like that too plays a critical role in like, I guess my story because, it really forced me to be more resourceful, and to actually leverage the skills that I have. So most of my skills don’t even really come necessarily from my short stint as a VA. But actually come from, you know, my corporate experience. I had a landscaping company in Canada with my then boyfriend, now husband, which is oh my God, maybe that will be episode three (laughs) talking about going into business with my significant other. It was fun times, but I remember at one point saying to him: “are we going to be able to laugh about these things one day? Cause we were fighting like cats and dogs. It was just crazy.” So, here I am, you know, running this really successful multi six figure business all the way from this little keep books in northern Israel. So it’s been pretty cool.

Kim Sutton: Keep book, is that a real word?

Sarah Noked: It is, yeah. (laughs)

Kim Sutton: It just sounds like such–

Sarah Noked: –Yeah

Kim Sutton: –a fun word that would

Sarah Noked: — [inaudible] village

Kim Sutton: –come out of my mouth and when I couldn’t.–

Sarah Noked: –Yeah, I keep books. Yeah, it’s like a little village. So it’s like, yeah, I think it comes from the Yiddish word, maybe kibitz which I think is like, like slang for gossip. I don’t even know. That’s probably not, I mean that’s like really derailing, but yeah, it’s like this. Maybe they’ll come and visit me one day. It’s like a farm. It’s like I basically live on a farm. I’m like looking at my window, we’re about ten minute drive from the Mediterranean Sea. It’s really exotic–

Kim Sutton: –Oh, my goodness

Sarah Noked: — (laughs) It’s really nice. And it’s always hot here, which I do miss the cold weather. But the nice thing about being an online business manager is I can, you know, go travel whenever I want and work pretty much from anywhere as long as there’s Wifi, right?–

Kim Sutton: –Right, right. Oh my gosh. I was on a Skype call with my operations director last night, and it was about ten o’clock okay. To all of you who are listening, I do not advocate working late–

Sarah Noked: — (laughs)

Kim Sutton: –or staying up late, but my operations director is my sister, and we have packed days. So, we fit it in when we can, and maybe I abused the sister cart a little bit.–

Sarah Noked: — (laughs)

Kim Sutton: –Okay. But the Wifi was just breaking up, and I’m like, why the heck is this happening? And then I think about it, okay, we’re on summer vacation–

Sarah Noked: –(laughs)

Kim Sutton: –at the time of this recording. I have my teenage sons playing whatever they play. My husband is on two computers designing his game, and then my three littles are playing the older brother card, and trying to abuse, you know, sleep time. They’ve wrapped at a year around their finger–

Sarah Noked: –Summer vacation, oh–

Kim Sutton: –Yeah

Sarah Noked: –God, yeah

Kim Sutton: –They take iPhones to bed. I know

Sarah Noked: –I know, I

Kim Sutton: –parenting coaches who are listening, you don’t need to send me any e-mails. I know

Sarah Noked: –I know

Kim Sutton: –it’s not great

Sarah Noked: — I don’t want so

Kim Sutton: –Yeah

Sarah Noked: –don’t simmer down,

Kim Sutton: –Please

Sarah Noked: –Right

Kim Sutton: –Not at all. But

Sarah Noked: –I know, I’ve thought about that plenty of time, and I’m just like, well you know, I mean that they’re still young. Maybe, maybe at some point.

Kim Sutton: Well, my five-year-old has started recording videos coz she wants to make a You Tube station, or You Tube–

Sarah Noked: –Oh

Kim Sutton: –channel of her own.

Sarah Noked: –Maybe it will make 20 million. Like Ryan’s story.

Kim Sutton: –Exactly, exactly. She’s like, how do I do that? How do I get those little in, those little cartoons? I’m like, yeah, that’s, yeah

Sarah Noked: — (laughs)

Kim Sutton: –Okay, but I think we really got into the OBM process

Sarah Noked: –ehm

Kim Sutton: –a lot. Like we know that it’s more than a VA.

Sarah Noked: Right.

Kim Sutton: So, I started my business as a Virtual Assistant in 2012, and then in 2014, I had a client who wanted to use Infusionsoft–

Sarah Noked: –hmm

Kim Sutton: –and she had a whole bunch of friends who wanted to use Infusionsoft, but they were scared because they didn’t want to pay the hefty rate that

Sarah Noked: –I bet they’re kicking themselves in the ass today (laughs).

Kim Sutton: Well actually, we ended up cooking up a deal that they–

Sarah Noked: –hm, hm

Kim Sutton: –paid. They sponsored me is how I’ll put it. They sponsored me to become an Infusionsoft top certified in return

Sarah Noked: –Oh, wow

Kim Sutton: –for a set number of hours a piece, and like I gave them basically the VA rate that I was charging before I went and got infusionsoft certified.

Sarah Noked: –Wow

Kim Sutton: –So, It worked. Oh. It was really beneficial for them, really beneficial for me,and the client who was the head, you know, the head honcho on this whole deal is still a dear friend, but

Sarah Noked: –hm, hm

Kim Sutton: –I know it was time to move up because I saw the opportunity. But that that is not becoming an OBM. So what does the OBM process look like? Do you need to have a certification to call yourself an OBM?

Sarah Noked: –Yeah, that’s a great question. So you don’t obsolete, you don’t need to be certified to call yourself an Online Business Manager. So, I have these five differentiating things that make for like really explaining well what the differences. So the first thing is that, as an OBM we’re more focused on strategy rather than implementation. So that doesn’t mean that I’m a strategist per se, although I do consider myself a Digital Marketing Strategist coz I’ve, you know, that’s just been a hobby of mine for many years. So the client, the high end client that we like to work with, you know, these are people who are really clear on their goals. They’re really clear on the strategy either, and they’re usually working with a coach, or are they, you know, they’ve been in the game for a long time, so they know what their goals and strategies are.

So, it’s up to us as the OBM to make that happen. And that usually means delegating to a team, creating plans. So, a lot of what we do is project planning and management, team management, metrics management, you know, funnel management, all that, all of that goodness. So we’re really more focused on strategy. The other thing is, is we really work with lesser clients. So it’s like less is more, so as an OBM, as an OBM working solo. I mean, I personally have an agency, which means I have people on my team that work with clients, but as a solo OBM, you know, I can work with probably four, maybe five clients max, depending on, you know, what kind of capacity I’m working with them on. So it’s Kinda like the less is more situation. So the other defining factors between the OBM and the VA is that you’re coming at it with a different mindset, and it’s the mindset of a leader, rather than an assistant, or like a manager slash/leader. So it’s a different sort of, you know, I’m basically telling people what to do rather than being told what to do. And for a lot of people who are sort of like, maybe they’re a VA or they’re even in corporate or whatever. For me it was this kay, like I didn’t like obviously being called somebody assistant that kind of rubbed me the wrong way, which is lame, but it is what it is. And then just being truthful, but also—

Kim Sutton: –Oh, I’m angry, I didn’t like it either.

Sarah Noked: –Yeah. Like I’m like, I’m not your assistant because I was actually, even as an, as a VA, I was always doing more. So, I was also really focused on, you know, making their business grow, helping them grow their team. So, I was that sounding board as well. So they were like, you know, bouncing ideas off of me and we were, you know, strategizing together and sort of planning out things like that. So it’s, there’s like a leadership quality to it as well. The other thing is, is that, an OBM can’t work with everybody. So the whole thing is that, the business of the OBM is working with has to actually be a business. So, it’s not like startups are not our forte because, as OBM’s were coming in it more for the long haul, which means that, you know, I’m not gonna come in there and do some tasks, you know, I’m gonna come in there for the long haul because, like learning someone’s business, like there’s a significant learning curve that needs to happen there. I need to basically figure out their entire business. I need to understand what their screams or revenue are. I need to understand what each team member does. I’m getting into their projects, and all their planning, and all of that stuff as well.

Kim Sutton: Positive productivity is not about perfection.

Sarah Noked: Right, and then the other last piece is that, it’s loose boundaries versus strong client expectations. And this is why I was saving this one for the last. But–

Kim Sutton: –Wait, repeat than again.

Sarah Noked: –Yes. So the last point that I want to chat with, but the differentiating factor, the fifth one is, is this concept of boundaries and expectations. So as a VA, you just naturally have very loose expectations, loose boundaries with a client because, the client is sort of, it’s on the client to give you to task things out to you in a lot of ways. So you’re kind of sitting there, waiting for the client to give you something to do. Whereas, as an OBM, we’re being more proactive. And I like to say it’s about having stronger client expectations. You have to, and this is again where the leadership comes into place, you really have to lead the client, and really instill these strong expectations between like, in the relationship so that this whole, you know, a lot of the times, even when I was a VA, like I’d get a call, or I’d get like a task at like, you know, two o’clock on Friday afternoon, and they want it done before the weekend kind of thing, you know?

But as an OBM, you know, that’s just not gonna fly, right. Cause, I am not gonna be doing you’re implementing, but I’m also not gonna be able to get to track down that team member. So it’s, it’s really about creating a better foundation so that the client really knows what to expect from you. You know, I’m around. I’m, I’ll even though I am your, you know, your full on OBM, I’m not gonna be around 24/7, but here’s when I’m available. Here’s my turnaround time. Here are our team members that can do X, Y and Z. So it’s really about, like having these better expectations, and I like that more instead of just, it being kind of like the ball is in the client’s court, we’ll as an OBM, it’s kind of both in, in both of our courts, you know, it’s up to us as a partnership to have that really successful relationship.

Kim Sutton: Absolutely. I just realized, I don’t even know what microphone I’m talking into. People–

Sarah Noked: — (laughs)

Kim Sutton: –Bear with me if this is not my normal microphone quality, but I have a feeling I’m not talking into the right one. You know, you brought up an interesting point because, even for people who are VA’s, even as Virtual Assistants, we have to understand that this is our business, and–

Sarah Noked: –Great.

Kim Sutton: –There has to be boundaries, is what I’m trying to say.

Sarah Noked: –Right

Kim Sutton: –because, I did have that. I had one specific case that I can remember where I was actually on the way to a soccer match for my now 13 year old. It was the first game that the whole family was going to after my twins were born. It was like seven o’clock at night, and the client wanted me to set up a whole funnel. Now, I wasn’t a Virtual Assistant, but I don’t care what your role is. When you have your own business, you have the right to say yes and no, and when–

Sarah Noked: –right.

Kim Sutton: –you start saying yes all the time. You’re going to basically strip yourself of the ability to say no in the future because, you’re setting up that expectation that you’re gonna say

Sarah Noked: –Yes

Kim Sutton: –yes all the time. So, I was like: “No, I can’t do that tonight. I’m on my way to a soccer match for my son.” She’s like: well, “Isn’t there a McDonald’s nearby? Don’t you have your laptop? You can just go serve by Wifi.” Like:

Sarah Noked: –Ouch.

Kim Sutton: –“No, I am going to my son’s soccer match. I am not doing that.” And

Sarah Noked: –Yeah, that’s crazy, yeah.

Kim Sutton: Our Virtual Assistant clients, or our OBM clients, or even in my case like my Marketing Automation clients, they are not our boss, they are clients–

Sarah Noked: –No,yeah

Kim Sutton: –And, if we are to be expected to be there 24/7 for them, then that actually makes our employer, and at least here in the states that does impact the taxes involved.

Sarah Noked: That’s right. Yeah.

Kim Sutton: Yeah. Thinking about just there is that, the degree of not waiting around, you had to be proactive, and you have to, it’s like the forward thinking firefighter. Like, you don’t want to be fighting fires as a OBM.–

Sarah Noked: –Ehm, ehm

Kim Sutton: –You want to be making sure that those fires never happened.

Sarah Noked: –Right? Yeah. You want to try and be as proactive as you can be.

Kim Sutton: Thank you. That’s so much–

Sarah Noked: –Yeah

Kim Sutton: –eloquently you (Iaughs)

Sarah Noked: — (laughs) Well, I talk about, I mean this is like my elevator pitch. I’m the productivity and all of these things, you know, like, cause most clients that in my experience as an OBM, and I’ve been doing this just like you since 2012, in my experience, you know, a lot of these OBM clients even still, you know, you can tell they’re very in, they’re in a reactive mode both with how they hire their team. I find this a lot, and this is one of the things that I am, my other passion is team growth. And I like to always say to people, you know, hire for the role you want on your team in a year from now, not the role you needed three months ago. You know, so it’s like they’re hiring in reactive mode, they are firing in reactive mode, they are project planning in reactive mode, they are launching in reactive mode, and it’s all a hot mess. So you know, the OBM comes into that hot mess. And like that’s what I’m saying, it really is a long haul thing cause you don’t just clean it up and then set it and forget it. You know, there’s like the businesses living and breathing, the systems are living and breathing. All this stuff is always kind of, you know, evolving, and entrepreneur is evolving, and they’re, they’re having their, you know, wanting to sort of implement different things. So, it’s really on us as OBM’s to really be proactive and make the right things happen.

Kim Sutton: I am absolutely loving this conversation.–

Sarah Noked: — (laughs)

Kim Sutton: So my sister, even though we’re calling her Operations Director, she is essentially my OBM–

Sarah Noked: –Ehm

Kim Sutton: –and it’s so interesting though working with her because, she is completely new to this space. When she was completely new, when she started working with me. So, there’s been a lot of education involved in just letting her, you know, teaching her–

Sarah Noked: –learning her, yeah [inaudible]

Kim Sutton: –But I really, yeah, I love it though because ,she didn’t come in with a preconceived notions of, this is how it should be, this is how it should be, this is how it should be. But,

Sarah Noked: –Great

Kim Sutton: –her background was, she was a Grocery Manager for 15 years, working for a large chain in northeast United States, and she was often the one sent, or reassigned to the stores that were in a lot of trouble. So listeners, you know

Sarah Noked: –So she was up cleaning it all, she was already cleaning up messes.

Kim Sutton: She was.

Sarah Noked: Before she got into your business. (laughs)–

Kim Sutton: –Before she got into my business. And listeners, you know, I’m very transparent, she walked into a giant mess here because, I mean my inbox had maybe a thousand emails in it, many of which I had opened, gotten distracted and never responded to people. So, that was like huge issue. And, I want all my clients to feel heard, and acknowledged. But when I was running around like a rabbit, not a rabbit, chicken with my head cut off, I, don’t ask me where a rabbit just came from.–

Sarah Noked: –Hm, hm

Kim Sutton: –it wasn’t happening and people were getting upset. First, she was responding as me, and then they shifted her to responding as herself, and just letting them know that, you know, she’s either taking care of whatever their question was, or that she’s talked to me and here’s the response, or why don’t we set up a quick call for you, or whatever needs to be done. And they are so much happier just, just off of that alone.–

Sarah Noked: Yeah, and you have that off your plate. So now you can actually focus on, you know, your podcast, the things that only you can do in your business. Like recording this right now.

Kim Sutton: My inbox saw 47 emails last week.

Sarah Noked: Hm

Kim Sutton: I love that cause I have a picture of my dream house on the background, and I want to be able to see it–

Sarah Noked: –Hm

Kim Sutton: –in Gmail. At least there’s 50 emails on the page. But I know

Sarah Noked: –Yeah

Kim Sutton: –that it’s either been forwarded to my teamwork task list, or it’s already been taken care of. And I think so many of us, especially when we don’t have an OBM working with us, and I don’t want to say for us because that was what she said before she started, I can’t wait to work for you. I was like, no, it’s not working for me as working with me.

Sarah Noked: –Right.

Kim Sutton: –Like we use teamwork in my company, and associates has just been forwarding my task because, I don’t want to be in my email. I use that as my filing system sometimes, and my task lists, and we can easily get ourselves into that trap. And then it becomes like my data, a thousand oh my gosh, I’ve seen clients with 10,000 emails in their inbox. It’s like, how do you get anything done?

Sarah Noked: –Yeah

Kim Sutton: –I know, I wasn’t getting anything done

Sarah Noked: –Trustful.

Kim Sutton: –with a thousand, yeah. I don’t want to ask you if you feel like OBM’s should give tough love.

Sarah Noked: Oh yeah, a hundred million percent. So you know, the thing that I love to tell people, and especially to teach the people in the program is that, the business is actually your client. So despite what your client thinks, it’s actually the business that you have to do what’s in the best interest of the business. And that doesn’t always match up with what the client wants. So, I’ll give you an example. I had, had a client for many years who was a seven figure business owner, online business, sold programs, had a membership, all of that. And, I had been working with her for a couple of years, and we had, we have a great relationship, we still have a great relationship. And, I had said to her one day, you know, I really feel like you need to get this funnel up and running. It was a program that she had launched a couple of years before, and it was like kind of, she felt that it wasn’t really in line with where she was at in her business and in her journey. Now, what I could see as a business owner myself, and as somebody who had seen what she was doing, and no, you know, I was her OBM for years. I knew what her people wanted. I was like, no, no. I actually think that your people need this. And, and she had a lot of personal resistance just, by virtue of where she felt was at in her business. Like she didn’t want to be. Yeah. It was like, so it was more of an entry level program that she’s kind of didn’t want to associate herself with. Like, she was like wanting to work with higher end clients. I’m like, that’s great. One on one, you work with those higher end clients but we still need something. We need a funnel at the beginning that’s gonna bring people in. That’s really, you know, low commitment, you know, all of that stuff. Not going to get into that piece. But you know, we had like, I had to be really tough with her in a loving kind of way because, she had a lot of resistance. But I ultimately knew that, that was the best decision for the business despite, you know, her preconceived notions of what she kind of coached she felt that she was, you know, it still is today a really great revenue driver, and it brings in fresh leads, and all that stuff. And it brings in people who otherwise, probably wouldn’t have an opportunity to be exposed to her because, she’s in such a specific coaching niche. So that was like my tough love and I, and I really had to kind of give it to her heart coz she had such resistance, and she was fighting with me like we were having like a love fight, you know, like we love each other, but we were like fighting–

Kim Sutton: –ehm

Sarah Noked: –and in the end she came around, I had to really stay on her about it too. So, um, I think sometimes you have to just think about what’s, you know, as a virtual support provider, you know, when the client’s confusing you because they have their own story, and they’re going through their own journey, you have to just kind of think of like, well, what’s going to be the best move financially for this business.

Kim Sutton: Okay. I’m going to pretend like you are my OBM, and I am the client. I love the example that you just gave, because, I have realized lately that I don’t necessarily my top level offering. I don’t want it to be one-on-one.–

Sarah Noked: –Right.

Kim Sutton: –I build funnels all day every day, it’s exhausting. I want to spend more time with my kids.–

Sarah Noked: –Ehm

Kim Sutton: And you know, if there’s somebody who, when, I get to this point wants to hire me one on one, it’s gonna cost. I’m going to be totally honest because I am, and I’m just going to put it how it is in my head right now. I’m damn good at what I do, and I–

Sarah Noked: –Great.

Kim Sutton: –know that they’ll get so much more value than what I’m currently charging for, for my funnels, but I don’t want it to be that way. So, I do have that entry level product because, I also on the flip side, to be able to serve the people who are, where, I was just a couple of years ago, the broken and burnt out entrepreneurs who are just so fried that, and I hate to say this especially coz it’s a Positive Productivity Podcast, but I was so fried, I was suicidal.

Sarah Noked: –Oh, wow.

Kim Sutton: –And, I know there are other entrepreneurs out there, so we had the Positive Productivity Pod. yes, it’s a push, but you know the membership community for people who can’t afford the higher up offerings yet. But if we do our job there, and if we provide the value that we should be, then we’re gonna be furthering them along the path to get the mid level product, and then the high level product.

Sarah Noked: –That’s right.

Kim Sutton: –Yeah. So, the reason I wanted to ask about the tough love, and this is again being totally transparent, I let go of my first OBM in 2015 because, she gave me really tough, tough love, and I was not prepared for it, and I didn’t think it was her place to do it. Now looking back, she was totally in line.

Sarah Noked: –Yeah.

Kim Sutton: –She did some things that were not in line,

Sarah Noked: –(laughs)

Kim Sutton: –that part was in line. The next OBM was more of a VA, and didn’t do enough. Like never, never even tried to push me to do more, and I paid a lot of money, and it did not help my business. And actually my business went down during that point.

Sarah Noked: —Wow.

Kim Sutton: –And enter Jackie who is playing her sister card, and giving me super tough love, but we have seen such transformation in three months. It’s great. And, I never really thought about that until just now on this call that, as an OBM the success of the client is your success as well–

Sarah Noked: Right–

Kim Sutton: If you don’t have that success–

Sarah Noked: –Yeah.

Kim Sutton: –If you don’t have that success then you are not going to have a client.

Sarah Noked: And you will exactly, exactly, and that’s why there is such a learning curve because, I need to understand, like, when, I start working with a client, I need to understand first and foremost where the revenue is coming from, and let’s be honest, that ain’t so clear with some of these clients (laughs). Like I’ll just be being totally transparent. Like, sometimes it’s not as straight forward as you think it would be. You know they have like funnels that are very, you know, convoluted, and all kinds of affiliate relationships that are maybe you know, not really kind of accounted for. And also too, like, I find just a lot of clients, we will get in there, and there’s just a lot of money being left on the table just because of poor payment follow up, and just making sure that there’s a good system for the client care person to manage that. So, these are the first things we do is we like to call it an OBM world is like fixing like, it’s like the leaky bucket, you know? But you’re literally leaking money (laughs) from that bucket you know–

Sarah Noked: Oh, my gosh, yeah–

Kim Sutton: I just talked about this actually, listeners, to get the show notes, and any resources that we talk about in this episode, you can go to PP590, but episode PP589, which was just released last week as of the day of this episode going out was with Laurie Conrad, and I shared on that episode that I’ve been reading profit first.–

Sarah Noked: Oh yeah.

Kim Sutton: Have you read that?

Sarah Noked: Of course. I love Michael McKellar, and I know–

Kim Sutton: Okay, thank you for saying–

Sarah Noked: clockwork. Hey, amazing book. I love this–

Kim Sutton: this is my first book of his that I’ve read. Probably–

Sarah Noked: Oh I love all of this stuff is so good.

Kim Sutton: –Okay. So, oh by the way, everybody, I’ve already reached out to him, and he said after I finished reading and see how it works for me, then invite him on the show, which is just like thrilling to me.

Sarah Noked: –That’s so cool.

Kim Sutton: –Yeah, so I did my, my numbers, I did my instant assessment, and oh my gosh, they were so alarming. I mean, this is me again. I just need to stop saying it. But just to give you a really deep inside look for the last tax year, my top line revenue is 71,000 but my expenses were 45,000.

Sarah Noked: –Wow.

Kim Sutton: That is like 60% instead of the recommended 30%–

Sarah Noked: Right.–

Kim Sutton: And by the way, I was two months late filing my taxes, and I did it myself. I realized, okay, this is the last year that I’m gonna do it myself because, I need to see where all this operating expenses are going. And, going through the numbers and having to, you know, put everything into the proper bucket. I was like, okay, this sucks. —

Sarah Noked: Yeah.

Kim Sutton: There’s another bad coaching expenditure.–

Sarah Noked: Great.

Kim Sutton: –There’s another program that I shouldn’t have purchased because, I

Sarah Noked: –Great.

Kim Sutton: –never even went through it. There’s another this, there’s another that, I mean, to the sum of an extra $24,000 was almost as much as I paid myself last year.

Sarah Noked: –Oh yeah. It’s just so, yeah.

Kim Sutton: –I mean, there’s no reason for that. I was this close. I mean, imagine me with my fingers this close together to paying my contractors more than I paid myself last year, and if, I had my whole profit for system in line, I mean, I am so excited to see what happens now, going forward because, I went through this past weekend, and I slashed a whole bunch, but I also realized I’d been slashing a whole bunch over the last year just looking at, or sense. Okay. I took care of 2018 taxes, but a whole bunch of programs, and systems that I had signed up for, I no longer have because I realized I didn’t need them, but I’m still excited to see a number much less than 45,000 for 2019, and that was something I had actually shared with Jackie, because she’s asking, why do you have the all this? I’m like, well, I actually don’t have a lot of it anymore. And she wanted to know what, what else do you need to do, what you want to do, because she was trying to get a better idea, and with that question came the magical answer of actually nothing.

Sarah Noked: –(laughs)

Kim Sutton: I have everything that I need. What I need is to stop going into my inbox, and seeing all these like, shiny objects syndrome offers.–

Sarah Noked: Right, exactly, exactly.–

Kim Sutton: So she goes in and she just deletes them before I can even see them, which is awesome–

Sarah Noked: right there. I mean she’s probably covering herself as an expense right there, you see what I mean?

Kim Sutton: Absolutely (laughs).–

Sarah Noked: That’s like the crazy part.

Kim Sutton: –But, I know I’m not alone because, I was thinking

Sarah Noked: –Oh, my god.

Kim Sutton: –about that, since this money’s in the bank, or paypal as the cases, I can spend it. Well, no, Kim, you can’t, you have to pay yourself.

Sarah Noked: You do.–

Kim Sutton: Yeah. And I will not deny that the amount of fast food that was spent like, well–

Sarah Noked: yeah, but you know you’ve got kids and–

Kim Sutton: Okay, but I didn’t want to get myself in trouble with the IRS. Hopefully. I mean, I was not, let’s just say that I was using my business card for personal expenses.

Sarah Noked: –Yeah, Well that’s ok, coz you have a good accountant. You know, it’s up to that person to kind of,

Kim Sutton: –oh, well, I took care of it.

Sarah Noked: –No need to use as a certain amount of that, a certain percentage towards an expense anyway, so if you have too many that you’ve submitted, that after a while, it just, it doesn’t get that anymore.

Kim Sutton: –That was all counted as owners pay.

Sarah Noked: –Oh, alright.

Kim Sutton: –But it was fine. But when I realized, oh my gosh, how many times did we go to McDonald’s that week?

Sarah Noked: –Right.

Kim Sutton: –It’s like

Sarah Noked: –I know.

Kim Sutton: You could have fed three families in this town, from the grocery for how much you spent in fast food, but it was —

Sarah Noked: Yeah.

Kim Sutton: –because of poor time planning, trying to do too much, not having an OBM, that you fell into this trap of having to eat out because your time was poorly spent.

Sarah Noked: Exactly. That’s true, right?

Kim Sutton: –Oh yeah. I interviewed a coach, a prospective coach for myself from the McDonald’s fast food line (laughs).

Sarah Noked: –(laughs)

Kim Sutton: –That was a big red flag to me. Like, okay, where’s

Sarah Noked: Yeah.

Kim Sutton: –the time going? What have been some of the huge Ahas that your clients have seen besides the one that you already shared?

Sarah Noked: –Ha, huge Ahas that my clients have seen. I think so, I mean one client in particular, so obviously I like to work with clients that have a lot of potential. One of the things I look for when I’m looking to work with a client is, and this, this has come over the years, and this is sort of like one of those, I mean ideal client Avatar, I’m not sure. I really believe in that because as an OBM, I always joke that I need Sean personality but I’m really not joking. I really can be interested in a lot of different types of businesses. But as an OBM I’m partnering with my client, one particular client that we worked, started working with over the years. She had this Instagram following just by virtue of her being, so she’s in the parenting space. She is a big Walter advocate, and she had this like stellar Instagram following just by virtue of her self, and how smart she is, and how she really cares about this. I’m a big funnel geek as well. I mean, Kim, I think we’re, we both are like kindred souls when it comes to that.–

Kim Sutton: Yup.

Sarah Noked: –And you know, a lot of the Ahas that I have with clients are just like structuring what they already have into funnels, or helping them create that intake product, or helping them create that higher level package that they need. So, I mean, I kind of do put my coaching hat on sometimes with clients, I’m not gonna lie, and that is a big piece of what we teach in the program too coz that’s part of leadership, right? But the Aha I’ve experienced with clients have all been around their potential to sell products to their communities. So again, most of the clients that I work with already have a community. They have, you know, something that they really believe in. So, it’s been really interesting for me to, you know, take what I’ve learned from my own business, and for my client’s business, and just kind of like apply it to clients that otherwise, like wouldn’t have a product, or they would, you know, they’d be just, maybe selling services or the one on one. So, that’s been really cool. Sort of having clients that have had a lot of success in sales, and you know, we just, we have this, that particular client who literally was not making a lot of money. And when we first started working with her, and I could see the potential, normally I wouldn’t work with someone in that phase of startup. But, she had such a huge Instagram following just cause she was so cool, and you know, really, really was authentic. It made it very easy for me to have a lot of success with her as a client because, she had so much damn potential. So, a lot of the aha ahas came from products that we could sell. Leveraging things like Facebook ads, you know, and just like these are the things that are very second nature to me. But, when you can help a client overcome a mindset issue, or maybe the, Oh, what do I need to build the list for? Or whatever, things like that. It’s like, yeah, you need to build a list cause you’re gonna turn around, you’re going to sell to those people. So, my ahas come around sales, and you know, over kind of, like going over the mark that we set for ourselves, and bringing to the table my digital marketing prowess, which I love digital marketing. I mean I’m, you know, for, for better or worse, and sometimes to my own default, or to my own kind of expense, digital marketing. But, you know, with these clients, I mean there’s just so many. And the nice thing about being a VA, or an OBM, or really any kind of service provider in today’s day and age as you get to see really complex back ends to these businesses and it’s really, really amazing. It’s a privilege for me to be exposed to that, and to be able to kind of cross pollinate other clients, since businesses with the things that I learned from those other clients too, has been really huge.

Kim Sutton: Oh my gosh, I can do all that.–

Sarah Noked: Yeah.–

Kim Sutton: I have a client right now who has a large affiliate base. So, when this client launches, you know, there’s a lot of people who come in to support, but–

Sarah Noked: Ehm.

Kim Sutton: –the affiliate thing is limited to one product, but that’s not the only product that this client has.

Sarah Noked: Hm.–

Kim Sutton: And, I just started thinking, you know what if, you offered commission on the rest of the products? Well that client wasn’t interested, but I’m like, okay, well, but I’m interested. So, I’ve been looking at that in my own community. I mean–

Sarah Noked: Hm, hm.

Kim Sutton: –My community, and this is gonna sound big headed, but I don’t mean it. They love the stuff that they’re involved in. So, why don’t I offer affiliate commission on my monthly membership program? Well, I do now like, and it’s recurring monthly. Why wouldn’t I? You send me a lead, and you get 10% commission. There’s still 90% there, and keep it going ongoingly, why wouldn’t you keep on sending leads? That’s still more, more, and more, and more money in your pocket, especially if you’re–

Sarah Noked: It’s great.

Kim Sutton: –getting value out of it.

Sarah Noked: –Totally, yeah, totally.

Kim Sutton: –So, I don’t mean to bash this person, but I, I feel like sometimes, they’re cheap as the only word that I can come up with.

Sarah Noked: (laughs)–

Kim Sutton: You don’t necessarily think about the additional income that you can make because, you’re thinking only about the additional money that’s gonna be going out, the same as the case with Facebook ads. Well, I don’t have money for Facebook ads. Well,–

Sarah Noked: Right.

Kim Sutton: –What if, and I’ve heard Jenna Kutcher, say that: “I’ve heard Pat Flynn say it.” But what if for every $5 that you put out, you got $10 back in.

Sarah Noked: –Right.

Kim Sutton: –Can you still not afford it?

Sarah Noked: Right. Hey, I know, it’s amazing.

Kim Sutton: Yeah.–

Sarah Noked: It’s amazing. And I think, you know, it’s just like, why we hire coaches, and you know, I think a lot of us always, and I know me too, I tend to spend a lot on, you know, courses and coaches, some in vain, but some, you know, I really do get a good ROI from. But yeah, Facebook ads is definitely worth that too. For sure.

Kim Sutton: Well, I want to say the same as the case for OBM services too. You–

Sarah Noked: Hm.

Kim Sutton: –put up this much, but now your clients are taken care of, because you’re not in the nitty gritty trying to do everything that you shouldn’t be doing.

Sarah Noked: Yeah, and you know, most of my clients really suck at project management and they don’t like it. And then, managing the team, it’s very frustrating for them. Like these are, you know, they, these are visionaries and I think, you know, over the years, I’ve definitely have a vision for my business too, but I really started off, really wholeheartedly wanting to be in service for other people, right. To help them grow because I’m, you know, great at, I’m a person people, i’m a person people, people person (laughs), i’m talking about–

Kim Sutton: Welcome to Positive Productivity (laughs),–

Sarah Noked: I’m talking backwards.

Kim Sutton: –You got it from me.

Sarah Noked: –Yeah (laughs). So, I think like, they’re just not great at the operations piece, and the team management piece, and like I can’t tell you, like, if I could account for the people that actually, like, monitor their metrics, my god. Like nobody has any clue what the last launch did, what this launch did theirs. Yeah, maybe there’s a strategy, but nobody’s actually following up. So, there’s a lot that can happen when a client is left in their zone of genius, doing the things that only they can do in their business. And it’s usually, those are the things that are usually the closest to the revenue, not always, but usually, and then leave the rest to, like, your capable team, which is great, you know, which is great for a lot of these people that just, otherwise would, you know, drown and, you know, or not use a project management tool, like, and I love teamwork too. I’m Kim, I’m a big teamwork user as well.

Kim Sutton: I went through three others before I went to teamwork.

Sarah Noked: –[Inaudible] good. Yeah,

Kim Sutton: –Yeah.

Sarah Noked: –Teamwork is very good.

Kim Sutton: –Yeah. I am just thinking this week, in the life of Kim, is actually what I call my CCC week, and this is new since you and I chatted last, the third week of the month is now my CCC week, which is content, catch up and cleanup.

Sarah Noked: –Hm, kay.

Kim Sutton: –Yeah. I actually, I was joking with a client last night, and I was like, it’s not to be confused with, you know, bible school or anything like that because

Sarah Noked: –(laughs)

Kim Sutton: –what it was called when I was growing up, but CCC has got to go to CCC now it’s Kim’s content, catch up and clean up. I would not have this week, where yes, I do still have podcasts scheduled, but I would not have this week to write articles. And it’s so funny, if I had the graphics created, I was about to publish my article called, Boundaries And Expectations,

Sarah Noked: Hm–

Kim Sutton: right before we got on. Like, it’s going live today, it’s already written.

Sarah Noked: –Oh, wow.

Kim Sutton: So, I was over here laughing on you, when you were talking about Boundaries And Expectations. I mean, i’m just going through a lot of learning,–

Sarah Noked: Hm.–

Kim Sutton: due to some personal circumstances about that lately. But, I have that article, i’m working on other articles. I’m catching up on client work that just got lost in a little bit of a mess. And now, next week, when I get back into a full week of appointments, all my stuff’s gonna be ready. Stuff–

Sarah Noked: Yeah.

Kim Sutton: –is the word that I was gonna use. But you know, when I was gonna say,

Sarah Noked: –Yeah, yeah (laughs).

Kim Sutton: But it’s gonna be ready, but five years ago, okay, let me just be honest. Three years ago, even two years ago, I wouldn’t have, had the bandwidth to even block myself out for a week.–

Sarah Noked: Hm.–

Kim Sutton: It just wouldn’t have, I was trying–

Sarah Noked: Hm, a profit.

Kim Sutton: –to do too much. I’d over committed myself, over promised it wasn’t there. So,

Sarah Noked: –Hm.

Kim Sutton: –for those of you who are listening, who are just feeling really fried, don’t give up, please.

Sarah Noked: –Yeah.

Kim Sutton: –And, Rachel Luna, she actually, I was just talking to my sister about this last night. She’s the one who inspired me to start reclaiming one hour a week

Sarah Noked: –Hm.

Kim Sutton: –for my own business.

Sarah Noked: –That’s powerful.

Kim Sutton: –And then, one hour turned into two, and then two turned into one whole week, a month

Sarah Noked: –Yes.

Kim Sutton: –I wouldn’t never imagined this seven years ago.

Sarah Noked: –Right.

Kim Sutton: –But if we don’t give ourselves that time, then we’re always going to be fried. We’re never going to create content, or not gonna be able to get people into our funnel. And, where’s the money gonna come from?

Sarah Noked: –Exactly, yeah. And how are we gonna help people? How are we gonna, you know, give them, are now, I find that with this certification program, like it really, it’s my way of giving back in a lot of ways. Like, I was so grateful to have founded in 2012, and to have become certified then. So, I feel like this is also an opportunity for me to pay it forward, and bring other people into, you know, this very lucrative way of working from home, and you know, being a mom like I, you know, like we are, and doing it all, right. Like we do, do it all (laughs).

Kim Sutton: Absolutely, okay. So, I just need to put this out there. So, you were waiting for your babysitter right before our call. I gave you the heads up that, most of my kids were sleeping, my husband was still sleeping. I mean, you’ve heard one of my kids in the background during–

Sarah Noked: Yes.–

Kim Sutton: the call, but that doesn’t mean that we stop.–

Sarah Noked: Nope.

Kim Sutton: –we still have everything that we need. We just need to be smart with the time that we have. I would love to segue really quickly into what you’re doing now. I know we touched upon it in the last episode, but this was such a great episode. I don’t want to lose the people who didn’t listen to part one. So, would you share what you do now, and how you can support people?

Sarah Noked: Yeah, so I’m still running my agency, so we still have, you know, if you need online business management support. I basically work with certified online business managers. I have them on my team, and I do a little bit of a matchmaking, but like that’s sort of evolving, helping people find good OBM’s to work with, and the program, you know, certifying OBM’s, and making sweet things happen for people who want to work for themselves, and do all of these wonderful things

Kim Sutton:    Somebody had posted on the last episode. Do you have to have tough skin to be an OBM?–

Sarah Noked: Yeah, I think so. You have to be confident, you have to be confident, and, you do have to have tough skin because, you know, contrary to virtual assistant, cause I know I’m always comparing it to that. I mean you can compare it to a lot of different things, but if something goes wrong in my client’s business, if an email sent out with the missing first name field, or like something doesn’t get followed up with properly, or you know, the launch does not, you know, things aren’t happening on time. Like they should be like, you know, people are gonna look at me as the OBM on the team. So, you know, there’s a lot of responsibility, and of course with a lot of responsibility comes, you know, things don’t go right. You know, the finger gets pointed at you and it’s all, and even though I don’t really, you know, it’s not necessarily the best way. Sometimes it goes down like that. So, you do have to have thick skin I would say, because you have to be confident, and you also have to learn to take criticism. I’m really great at taking criticism because, I look at everything like, okay, well it’s an opportunity to improve myself, I’m not perfect, you know, I’m confident but I’m not perfect. But, I find that sometimes, cause I hear this in the community, a lot of OBM’s that, especially the up and coming people as they’re kind of ramping into, what is the OBM role, you know, there are sometimes feel really personally threatened by their client cause their client has given them bad feedback, or negative feedback, or whatever. And for me, you know, it’s like, it is what it is, and we need, you can’t take everything to heart. You need to be confident. You know, we are getting paid a premium because, we’re taking a big responsibility in that client’s business. So, it sort of comes with the territory, so yeah. Thick skin, definitely.

Kim Sutton: Oh, I did all that, and–

Sarah Noked: Yeah.

Kim Sutton: –my skin has gotten thicker over those seven years.

Sarah Noked:    –Oh yeah, thicker over the years, totally

Kim Sutton: –But all those mistakes. All those mistakes that you just shared. I’ve made them all.

Sarah Noked: –Oh yeah, me too. And like mistakes happen, but it’s just about how you, so, I mean when I was in corporate, Ooh, scary story. But when I was in corporate, the whole sort of corporate air was that, if somebody, if a mistake happened, my boss would literally look for the person who made the mistake, point the finger, and say like: “You made this mistake and you do it up and put them up to the chopping block”. And then that would be the end of it. There wasn’t anything like the, okay , how can we better the system so that this doesn’t happen again? Cause like if something’s going wrong, clearly there’s something happening in the system that’s not working right. So, I always think of my corporate job, and I think how different things are now, cause they, yeah, you know, things happen. Let’s say that, say the email gets sent out with the wrong first name field. You know, usually it’s because somebody went in, and like they were like modifying things last minute. And again, they’re in reactive mode, and maybe, you know, and having somebody else always double check. And even after things get changed, have that second review before it gets emailed out to the list. So, it’s really about looking at the system. You can blame people all you want, but that’s not gonna really help in the long run.

Kim Sutton: Amen to that. I–

Sarah Noked: Yeah.

Kim Sutton: –have found with my clients that the ones who get upset over the little things, are the ones who are struggling with the most.

Sarah Noked: –Ehm.

Kim Sutton: –And the clients who are seeing some form of success are like, yep, that happened, now let’s move on. Let’s see how to prevent it in the future, oh my gosh, okay. I accidentally sent out an email in the middle of an event, like I had to set it up during the event that I was actually at. I was speaking yet, and I was also managing sales. I set up

Sarah Noked: –Jesus.

Kim Sutton: –email. Okay, yes, exactly, and I accidentally put my URL in. The email is the link to click, instead of the clients. It was totally unintentional, and he found it hilarious. He’s like, um, do you want affiliate community? Can I get some affiliate commission on whatever sales came through by emailing my list of that?

Sarah Noked: –(laughs)

Kim Sutton: –But, we knew it was because, I was already, I mean I was managing the livestream doing sales, you know?

Sarah Noked: –Yeah, yeah, like to care with your head cut off.

Kim Sutton: –Yep, setting up emails. Like, am I surprised that a mistake happened? Heck, no.

Sarah Noked: –Yeah, absolutely.

Kim Sutton: And that is this stuff that, you know, should’ve been thought up in advance. Well, I wanna be really just thankful for the time that you’ve given and, I really do think that we need to come back in a couple more months. Like, I would love–

Sarah Noked: Oh, I would love to, I love speaking with you Kim, so much. Um,

Kim Sutton: –Yeah, absolutely because, like I’m excited now that I’ve implemented profit first, and now that Jackie is really getting the ropes.

Sarah Noked: –Oh, you just wait until you get your hands on clockwork.

Kim Sutton: Okay, I will read that–

Sarah Noked: Oh, you’ll love it.

Kim Sutton: –before the next one.

Sarah Noked: –Make sure Jackie reads it too. You know what? Get it, get her to read it.

Kim Sutton: –Oh, I already asked her to read profit first, so I will, we’ll read both of those,

Sarah Noked: –Yeah, yes.

Kim Sutton: –But yeah, let’s schedule for a few more months out, and have a part three.

Sarah Noked: –Oh, we’d love that.

Kim Sutton: –And, where can the listeners find you online? Find out more about your certification, and just get in touch.

Sarah Noked: Yeah, if you head on over to Sarah Noked, S-A-R-A-H-N-O-K-E-D.com/Positive. I’ve got some goods there for you guys, and food for the listeners here.

Kim Sutton: That is so awesome. Thank you so much. And listeners, if you are trying not to burn dinner, oh my gosh, I made burgers last night, and I did not burn them. I was so amazing. I did burn the fries though. That’s my thing, I burned dinner (laughs). –thekimsutton.com/PP590, is where you will be able to find all the resources. And, then the previous episode. I just want to make sure that you go back, and listen to that one, which is that PP572, but, Sarah, this was amazing. Just like part one. I can’t wait for part three,

Sarah Noked: Thanks, Kim, me to.

Kim Sutton: Do you have a parting piece of advice, or a golden nugget that you can offer of this–

Sarah Noked: Oh, golden nugget, golden nugget. You know, I just feel like you’ve got to have strong boundaries with clients. You gotta stick to your guns, and you really have to do things in the best interest of the client’s business. Just remember that.