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PODCAST 9 – Three ways to move away from trading time for money

PODCAST 9 – Three ways to move away from trading time for money

I’m Victoria Tretis, and this is the podcast for ambitious and driven Virtual Assistants who want to move into the Online Business Manager role.  If you’re ready to take action today, head over to the show notes and download my free guide ‘Five steps to go from VA to OBM’.

Now for the main part of the show.

Hello, I hope that you are good and that you’re having a really, really good week. I can’t believe we’re nearly at the end of September this year is flying by.

So today I promised you an episode on three ways that you can move away from trading time for money because I am sure as a Virtual Assistant, you are probably charging by the hour. So that could be a pay as you go rate, or you might offer retainers bookings; you may even have some kind of discount scheme going on where a client might buy a block of hours and then you give them like two hours free or something. But the problem with all of that is trading time for money and hourly rates means that you are always going to be limiting your earning potential based on the number of hours that you can physically work. I want to dig into three different ways that you can price OBM services so that you can potentially earn more as well, to be honest with you.

So, let’s have a look at these. The first one is a package. This is where you’ve got a fixed project or a fixed scope, so there’s a defined outcome of you working on this project and you’ve agreed a price in advance. It doesn’t matter how long it takes you, the client is paying for the delivery and that outcome. To give you an example here, I have a content manager who works on a package basis.  We’ve agreed what the scope is, what that role actually involves, and I will pay her that amount, whether it takes two hours or 20 hours, it’s the same. But the point is she’s going to get quicker over time, and she won’t be out of pocket. Obviously, I’m very fair. If I were paying her for two hours, but she was actually doing 20, we would have a conversation about it! But I’m paying for the outcome regardless of time. There’s a specific scope, there’s a fixed price, and it means that the more efficient she gets, the more money she actually makes.

So next one I want to talk about is value-based pricing, so this is pricing based on the transformation that the client gets. You’ve probably seen all these power hours that people are doing, and this is a really good example. So, let’s say you see a seventy-nine pounds power hour, or a ninety-nine pounds power hour.  This is a tongue twister! Or even more.

Now, that amount might not be the typical hourly rate for that person, so. Ninety-nine pounds an hour might not be your usual client work rate, but the power hour is priced based on the knowledge you’re giving to the person you’re speaking with to fast track their transformation. So, for instance, I’ve paid for power hours to help me with a social media strategy so that I don’t make mistakes, I’m learning from somebody’s expertise and I’m happy to pay for that so that I don’t do something wrong. Like, I’m paying for their expertise to fast track me. I’ve also done power hours to help me with my weight because I’ve been a bit of a yo-yo-dieter in the past and I want to try and lay that to rest. So, I’ve paid for that as well. I’m paying for somebody’s expertise because I believe that they can give me the transformation that I need.

And another example would be I’m in a mastermind. The price doesn’t reflect the amount of time the group owner spends with me. The price reflects how much knowledge the group owner and other people within the group have that can help move my business forward. So that’s value-based pricing.

The last one I’d like to talk about today is incentive-based pricing. So this is where you’re working with a client on a regular basis, you’ve really dug into their systems, you really understand how everything works and they’ve got a new product that they’re launching or a new thing that they’re launching.

So what you can agree in advance is to have a base pay and then also receive a sales commission based on the number of sales that that launch sees. I’m not saying that this is a commission only. You’re already getting the base pay, but on top of your base pay, you’re getting a bit of a bonus tied into the launch and sales of this new product. So this may mean that you need to work a few extra hours, you may need to be on call on the day of the launch and if that’s the Saturday, that might mean working Saturday to iron out any last-minute niggles or details or everything or anything. But it gives you a greater earning potential and it gives you that motivational factor as well because it’s incentivising how you’re working as well. This works really well if the client is launching a say, digital product. So that’s got that scalability with it, they’re not having to physically type every digital product out, it’s a one to many style product.

To recap the three different pricing structures that you may be able to deploy in your business.

We’ve got packages or projects. We’ve got value-based pricing, and we’ve also got incentive-based pricing as well.

Now, in next week’s episode, I’m talking about whether you can offer both VA and OBM services on the same website or on the same social media profile.

So, tune in to next week’s episode to learn all about that.

Thank you so much. Have a good week.

PODCAST 8 – How your mindset is the key to your OBM success

PODCAST 8 – How your mindset is the key to your OBM success

I’m Victoria Tretis, and this is the podcast for ambitious Virtual Assistants who want to move into the Online Business Manager role.  If you’re ready to take some action today, head over to the show notes and feel free to do my free quiz, ‘Are you a VA or are you an OBM?’.

Now for the main part of the show.

Hello, hello, I hope that you’re having a really, really good week, and I want to apologise now if you can hear the rain in the background, because it’s absolutely chucking it out while I’m recording this, so I’m sorry if you can hear that on the window!  Fun! Fun!

In today’s episode, I’m talking about why your mindset is the absolute key to your OBM success. So first, I want to talk about a fixed mindset. I don’t know if this is something that you’ve come across before, but it’s when you kind of go into something thinking, I can’t do this, it’s not going to work, that’s not going to work for me. So, it’s almost like you give up too easily and don’t get me wrong, we’re all guilty of this in different parts of our lives. So, it’s almost as if you know what you know, you know what works, and in some ways, in some instances, you feel like you can’t change that.  Your abilities, your skills, your intelligence in that area are fixed.

I was on a Zoom call with somebody recently, one of the team members, and let’s call her Maria. Now, I need to explain to her how to use a new online system that she’d never used before. Her immediate response was, ‘oh, I’m not good at this. I’m not a techie person’. Now, at first glance, it might appear that kind of response is a fixed mindset because, of course, you know, I’m not a techie person.  That’s not the current reality. The current reality is that she wasn’t any good at the system yet because it was completely new to her. Of course, she was more than capable of picking it up, but that was just that niggle in the back of her mind that she couldn’t do it. Maybe that was based on a past experience where she couldn’t pick up something as quickly as she had hoped. But it wasn’t her current reality and it was almost becoming a self-limiting belief.

So in contrast to a fixed mindset, a growth mindset is when you accept that you might not be great at something right now, you might have to ask some so-called silly questions and I’m going to put it out there, there’s no such thing as a silly question if you don’t know the answer, but you might have to ask a question that makes you feel vulnerable or makes you feel silly.

But you’re asking those things and you’re doing that thing because you want to learn the new skill, and that’s taking you a step closer towards self-development, towards growing as an individual and learning that new skill.

So that’s exactly the process that the team member, we’ll call her Maria, went through. So she’s gone from facing something new and completely unknown to asking questions to solidify her understanding of it, to learning a new skill and being completely competent in the new system that I was training around. So with a growth mindset, you’re open to learning new things and new ways of working and the really great thing about that is that it also not only helps you from a self-discovery perspective, but it also helps your clients, particularly when you are doing something like mapping out, say, 90 day goals, and together you’re able to figure out, I don’t know, really creative and intelligent ways of getting things done or solving problems and presenting solutions rather than problems, because you’re really embracing this growth mindset, just like Maria did. She buried those demons. She asked the questions, like I said, to solidify that understanding and she learns a new skill. I believe that embracing the right type of mindset is absolutely crucial and the key to your success in an OBM role.

So, in next week’s episode, I’m talking about three ways that we can move you away from trading time for money. So that’s super exciting. I know a lot of people have been asking questions about this. So before you go, and I did mention this last week as well, if you’ve been listening to a few of these episodes now, I would love for you to leave me a review or a few stars so that I can give you a shout out in future episodes.

Thank you so much for tuning in and the next episode will come out next Wednesday.

Take care, bye.



PODCAST 5 – Do you need to know ALL THE THINGS to be an OBM?

PODCAST 5 – Do you need to know ALL THE THINGS to be an OBM?

I’m Victoria Tretis, and this is the podcast for ambitious Virtual Assistants who want to step into their expertise and move into the Online Business Manager role.  If you’re ready to take action today, head over to the link in the show notes and download my free guide. ‘Five steps to go from VA to OBM’.

Now for the main part of the show.

Hello, hello, welcome back. I hope that you are having a super week?

Now in today’s show, we’re talking about, ‘do you as an OBM need to know everything about everything and specialise in all the systems and all the things to do your role well?’. So, I have some good news for you, my friend. The answer is no; you don’t. Now, what you do need to understand is all of the different elements that it takes to run a business because there’s a lot of moving parts and many pieces to that puzzle that you’re going to have to have a really good understanding of to take that client’s vision and turn that into projects, tasks, goals and outcomes.

What you don’t need to do is know every intricacy when it comes to every single software that’s available or how to do coding for websites or how to, I don’t know, build a Facebook chatbot. They’re all fantastic skills to have and if you have a curiosity for those things, I absolutely encourage you to learn more about it, because they’re great strings to add to your bow, but it’s not a prerequisite to doing the OBM role, well.

What you need to do is really tap into your natural curiosity, and engage that efficiency mindset, that marketing mindset to understand where the gaps are in the current jigsaw puzzle and what you need to do to get those pieces in the right place. So, I’ve used the website building analogy before. So let’s say the client needs you to project manage a new website. The client isn’t expecting you to develop the website, do any coding side on the theme, integrate your active campaign or any of that stuff.

But what they are expecting you to do is really map out all of the tasks that need to be done from start to finish, and who you need on your team, what specialists you need on your team to see that project through to completion.

So, for instance, you might be the one who’s responsible for researching website designers. You might be the one who’s researching copywriters. You might be the one who’s getting an SEO specialist on board. You might be doing those interviews to work out who should be brought onto the team to check availability, to compare the pricing, to look at the previous pieces of work so that you can check that the qualities there, to read through previous testimonials that they have.

What they will expect from you is to present a final shortlist to the client so that they can make a decision. So you’re presenting them with a recommendation of well-rounded findings based on the conversations that you’ve had and the research that you’ve done as well. So that’s what the client is expecting from you. They’re not expecting you to build the website, but they are expecting you to put that project plan together, find all the pieces of the puzzle for the people who are actually involved, and then project manage it through to completion. So you’re sourcing the team members, you’re creating the project plan, adding deliverables and deadlines and keeping everybody accountable.

I have another example from a marketing mindset. You see that there are some blog posts that your client has done that are really well received. They’re getting a lot of Web traffic, but maybe they don’t have a freebie or an opt opt-in or a lead magnet.

So, what you could suggest is go, “Hey, I’ve noticed that these five blogs are getting lots of traffic. How about we curate them into a free ebook and we use it as lead magnet so that we’ve got an opt opt-in and we’re capturing more email addresses at the point of people visiting your website?”.

So, you don’t necessarily need to know how to plug that into your email software. I would encourage you to try and again engage that natural curiosity and learn as much as you can about email marketing because it is a massive part of this role, but what you are doing is identifying gaps in the process to help the client run a better business more closely aligned to their vision and their ultimate goals. So when it comes to email marketing, as I said, because that’s such a big part of the role, you can do courses on it, of course, you can. But one of the easiest things to do would be to sign up for a few newsletters. You’ll sign up for something using your email address normally in exchange for something free, and then you’ll be put on a series of emails to nurture you to and to sell to you ultimately. So, it would be interesting for you to observe that process.

So going back to my original question, does an OBM need to know everything about all the things to feel confident in the role? So the answer is no. But one thing I would add as well is that knowing your personality type and knowing where your natural lies may mean that some of the listeners today, maybe you, is the type of person who needs to know all the things to feel confident. So one good thing to do is a personality test. So I recommend 16 personalities for that. It’s completely free. But what that will do is just identify what your strengths are so that you can leverage them, because if you’re the type of person who needs to master a subject and be the expert in it before they feel confident, you may need to work on that a little bit to feel more confident in your OBM shoes.

Now, this is when having other team members also helps, because, for instance, I’m not great at research because I am the type that I’m a real details person and I don’t feel like I can go deep enough on a topic when it’s research for research purposes.

So, I have people on my team who help with that who can do that easily, it’s within their natural talents. So it’s all about that complementary skill set, and learning what you’re good at and you can do easily versus what you struggle with a little bit is simply a way of identifying what you can outsource yourself or where you might need to have other team members with complementary skill sets.  It’s never a weakness. It’s just an area to be aware of so that you can serve your clients better. So, yeah, that’s exciting!

Now, in next week’s show, it’s “do I need to have an agency if I become an OBM?”. 

So until next week, take care. Bye!



PODCAST 6 – Do you need an agency to build a successful OBM business?

PODCAST 6 – Do you need an agency to build a successful OBM business?

I’m Victoria Tretis, and this is the podcast for ambitious Virtual Assistants who want to move into the Online Business Manager role. If you’re ready to take action today, head over to the show notes and check out my new training program, eight weeks to OBM. The doors close in just a couple of days, so make sure you get a wriggle on.

Now for the main part of the show.

Hello, hello, I hope that you’re having a fantastic start to your Wednesday and that if you’re in the UK, you had a really nice bank holiday weekend despite the rain and the not particularly nice weather, but never mind, it is what it is.

So in this episode, we’re talking about whether you need to have an agency to become an Online Business Manager.

So I guess the first thing to say is, when you’re working on your own in silo, you’re always going to be limiting your earning potential by the amount of time and effort you put into the business. So one way to get paid more and earn more without necessarily doing more yourself is by creating a team of other freelancers with complementary skill sets who have a contract with you but support your clients. 

So, they could be web developers. copywriters. But I guess from working as a VA, you’ll probably be most familiar with having other VAs on your team, so associate VAs. So, that’s probably the most common agency style model that you’re familiar with and that’s where you’ve got Associate VAs who work with a lead VA and support the lead VA and the clients behind the scenes.

In that instance, the Associate VA subcontracts at a slightly lower rate than they would be charging normally so that the lead VA covers their time regarding like, make securing the clients and the marketing and everything and also makes a bit of a profit on the top.

That’s what an agency model looks like and it’s almost like your clients have access to a digital Rolodex of trusted freelancers who you’ve already vetted, you’ve already worked with in the past, and you trust them enough to bring them into your team to help your client. There’s a lot of benefits for the clients with this.

For one, they don’t need to source extra team members because we all know how tricky it can be finding the right person.  So if you, as the agency owner, has already done all that legwork, you’ve already checked the quality of work, you know the pricing, you know what their like personality-wise and you know that they’ve got a complementary skill set.  It takes so much effort away from the client having to do that.

Another benefit to the client would be that if these freelancers are all coming under your umbrella, then the client is just paying you. There’s just that one bill, so they’re not having to make lots and lots of different payments because everything’s being rolled up into your invoice.

And the third thing, which is the benefit for clients is that it can almost create a bit of a support coverage model because you’ve already got a team in place that you can trust. So you’ll be working cohesively as that team in order to drive the projects forward on behalf of a client. 

In the OBM role, you can choose to work with VAs in exactly the same way.  So you could have VAs on your team who you’re managing, and they’re working with the client or even working with you in your business as well. Now, the downside of having these people on your team like that is that the profit margin is relatively slim. Also, if the VA or the freelancer or whoever you’ve got on your team, if they leave when their own work ramps up, when they can get full money for doing their own work with their own clients, then that could put you in a bit of a sticky spot.

And also the third down side for you as an OBM would be if you have cash flow issues, so if your client hasn’t paid you, you’ve still got these subcontractors that you need to pay because they’re relying on you and your contract is with them.

There is another option, you could also, instead of going down the agency route, you could find and hire those team members with the complementary skill sets, but then get the client to organise, and the contracts and the client pay them. So, you still manage them from an OBM perspective and they’re still part of the wider team and you source them, maybe you even know them already, but it’s the client who has the contract with them and the client who’s going to pay them.

So there’s a couple of different options there.

Like I said, if you want to be able to scale and grow your business without working more but getting paid more, then it is a case of leveraging other people’s time or charging differently or creating passive income products. So creating an agency model is an absolutely solid way of doing that.

So that’s that! 

Now next week, what are we talking about next week? 

We are talking about ‘what qualities you need as an OBM to be successful?’.

So I look forward to you tuning in then. All right. Take care.

Have a super-duper week.


PODCAST 7 – The 10 qualities you need to have to be a great OBM

PODCAST 7 – The 10 qualities you need to have to be a great OBM

I’m Victoria Tretis, and this is the podcast for ambitious Virtual Assistants who want to move into the Online Business Manager role.  If you’re ready to take action today, head over to the show notes and download my free guide ‘Five steps to go from VA to OBM’.

Now for the main part of the show.

Hello, hello, I hope that you’re good and that there’s been a bit of normality resuming in your world, just like there has been in mine.  So, the schools have reopened, Freya has been back at school, I can work normal hours, I’m not having to do the crazy five o’clock starts to try and fit everything in between all the responsibilities and the juggling and everything. I hope your world is looking slightly more normal as well.

Now in today’s episode, we’re drilling down into the ten qualities that you need as an OBM.

So, in no particular order, let’s kick off with number one and that is, you need to be the type of person who is organised and absolutely thrives on systems and processes. So, if you thrive on chaos and disorganisation, then this might not be the career path for you, because a big part of your role is to create processes and systems so that tasks can be replicated to a high standard across projects, across team members and seeing things through to completion.  So, if you don’t have a handle on that kind of high- level organisation and all of the nitty gritty detail, then you are going to find the role really hard.

Now, the second thing that I believe is a really important quality and I’m actually going to be talking about it in more detail next week, is your mindset. So, from learning all the things about the client’s businesses like their products, their services, their content all the way through to your own personal development time.  It’s all about coming at it with the mindset that you’re there to provide more value. Having the right mindset not only helps your business grow stronger, but it also helps your clients as well.

Next thing is that you need to be able to see the big picture and translate that into the nitty gritty details. So, from getting the client’s vision and breaking it down into those tasks and projects all the way through to measuring data and metrics, it’s all important. So, you need to come at it with both lenses, seeing the big picture from the client’s view, but then also seeing that through to realisation, through the tasks and the detail.

The next one is you absolutely have to have are really good communications, so from getting everything out of the client’s brain and out of your brain into project plans, moving people away from emails and maybe going into a project management system.  Even reviewing your correspondence, emails and written, and checking that it does come across in the right way; you’ve got the right tone of voice because the thing with working remotely is that you’re very unlikely to meet the other team members in person, so building rapport on a written level is a big part of the role, unless you’re going to be doing a lot of these meetings. So, good communication is absolutely important.

And that leads me into my next point, which is speaking up. If the client goes off on a bit of a tangent, so let’s say they suddenly throw in a random project that wasn’t on your 90 days goal plan and you can’t quite see how it’s closest to the money right now, you’re going to speak up with confidence and just gently ask the client whether this is the right thing to focus on because you may need to adjust team members or resources in order to accommodate this new thing, so speaking up.

Next thing is empathy, and actually this is a massive part of the role for me because I kind of think the less self-aware you are, the more difficult it is to see things from somebody else’s perspective. So we’ve all had it, you know, you see somebody and they’ve responded really aggressively on social media and you’re like, oh, ‘I wonder what’s going on in their world’, you know, ‘what’s happened today’ or ‘what’s happening in general in their world to make them respond in such a way’, and I think just having that self-awareness and empathy helps you respond in a more rational and less emotional way.

Next one, enthusiasm. So if you think the role is boring or if it’s not interesting in any way, shape or form, then it’s going to prove pretty darn exhausting if you have to fake enthusiasm, because I kind of believe that you have to walk the talk with all of this.  You’re never going to get enthusiastic about metrics or data if you don’t see the value of having them in your own business. You are going to be needing to bring a certain level of enthusiasm because nobody wants somebody who’s bored on their team.

Next, I have integrity.  Integrity for me is doing what you say you’re going to do. It’s really simple, but it’s about managing expectations because nobody wants somebody on their team who is constantly over-promising and under-delivering. It is just a case of doing what you say you’re going to do.

Next one is to make logical decisions. When we care about the client’s success, we are emotionally invested to a certain degree, and that means that we can often make decisions or respond based on emotion and emotionally charged responses or actions aren’t necessarily the best course of action. So, to give you an example, and I’ve used this one before, so we say with my social media, so my Facebook page, I’m regularly putting content out on it, but I hardly ever get any engagement.  If I was looking at that from an emotional perspective, I’ll be like, ‘oh, my gosh, no one’s interested’. You know, ‘why am I even bothering?’ but actually to turn that into a logical decision, I can look at my metrics in Google Analytics and see that my Facebook page actually drives a hell of a lot of traffic to my website. It means I can make an intelligent decision based on data rather than an emotionally charged decision that may not actually be the right one.

And my last point is being in it for more than just the money.  You know, I’ve said about integrity and enthusiasm and empathy, these are all things that come when you are fully immersed in the role. You can’t blag any of that stuff. You have to be in it for more than just the money, I think, in order to do a really good job. So, yes, they’re my top ten qualities that you need as an OBM.

In next week’s episode, as I mentioned earlier, I’m talking about how the right mindset is the absolute key to your OBM success. II hope that you tune in next week.

Please do hit subscribe if you’ve been listening to a few of these episodes now, I would love for you to leave me some stars or an honest review so that I can give you a shout out in future episodes.

Thanks so much and I will speak with you next week.

PODCAST 4 – What kinds of businesses work with an OBM?

PODCAST 4 – What kinds of businesses work with an OBM?

I’m Victoria Tretis, and this is the podcast for ambitious Virtual Assistants who want to step into their expertise and move into an online business manager role.  If you’re ready to take action today, head over to the link in the show notes and download my free guide ‘Five steps to go from a VA to OBM’.

Now for the main part of the show.

Hello, I hope you are having a super duper day?  Now, last week, we spoke about the types of tasks that an OBM would get involved in, and today we’re going to explore the types of businesses that would need OBM support.

Here in the UK,  I feel that the OBM role doesn’t necessarily resonate; it hasn’t gained enough traction yet, and people don’t necessarily know what it actually means. So, in the traditional sense, if you can call the online world, traditional, an online business manager works with online businesses.

But here in the UK, I actually think there’s a broader scope for somebody in a managerial position who is working online, i.e. working remotely. So maybe more of a Virtual Business manager or Virtual Office Manager or Virtual Ops Officer. So, certainly here maybe it’s different in the US, it does feel as though there’s almost a slightly different slant to the role. If I go back to the more traditional sense of the online business manager, the OBM would typically support an online business like coaches or course creators or something, and you can typically break their offerings down into two different things. So, it could be that they’re offering services. It could be that they do coaching or advisory stuff, in-person training, that type of thing, or it could be that they offer products.  They could be physical products like books or something, or it could be e-books that they’ve created and they deliver electronically, it could be online training. But then there’s also the hybrid there as well, so they could be offering services on a one-on-one basis with their clients, like a VIP day or mastermind’s day, where you actually meet people in person. Maybe not right now because of Covid, but you get the gist. But then they might have an alternative revenue stream where they have a Facebook group that they charge for monthly and therefore they’re getting recurring revenue from that as well.

So, there are a few different types of clients who would benefit from that type of thing, but the thing with offering services like the coaching or the advisory is that although they’re not potentially trading time for money, they are still capping their earning potential based on how much time they spend doing the workshops or the training or the VIP days.

Also, when you are offering in-person services like that, it can take a lot of time and energy not only to both prepare for that particular event, but also deliver those events as well. So there is a limit, and for that reason, a lot of these coaches who are delivering those types of services, are also adding these passive revenue streams through memberships and online training to supplement their income.

If I think about a physical office, so that could be anybody like an accountant or somebody who meets their clients in a physical office space, they might not necessarily have physical team members sat in the office with them.  Still, they want to offer their clients that face to face support, so that comes back to what I said earlier about that almost Virtual Business manager or Virtual office support. Somebody who is liaising with the different independent team members, who are probably independent contractors themselves and dealing with things like the tenancy agreements, managing the virtual team, still managing all of the virtual projects between different team members.

I do believe that although the online business manager role is typically for online businesses, I do think there’s a strong need for bricks and mortar businesses also to have that kind of strategic support on a virtual basis, on an online basis, but the problem we have here is that sometimes that title doesn’t quite resonate.

I think the important thing is that whoever your target audience is that you’re calling yourself a name that resonates with them. So if they come from a corporate background, they may respond better to a Virtual Ops Officer with a Virtual Office Manager or words to that effect. So it’s about tailoring your marketing based on who your target audience is so that your job title really does mean something to them, so it sparks their interest.

So, next week’s episode is about answering a bit more about the OBM scope. So particularly. Oh, my gosh, you know, the OBM does so much stuff, do I seriously have to specialise in every aspect of an online business to become an OBM? So it’s a chunky question and I can’t wait to see you next week, so take care. Until then.