Check out the updated version of this blog here: Corporate 9-5 to OBM: 4 Transferable Skills You Should Leverage
Raise your hand if you looooove (or miss) your corporate hustle!?
Before I started my online business and became an Online Business Manager, the corporate hustle was my reality. Every morning, I commuted 45-minutes each way to my desk in a corporate office. I was managing client accounts, team meetings, doing constant check-ins and constant oversight.
I traveled to Europe almost monthly to keep my clients happy. Don’t get me wrong – at first this felt totally exhilarating!
But once I got pregnant with my first child, I realised it was totally unsustainable.
Not just that, but I was overworked, overtired and, well… OVER IT! I knew that hustling in the corporate world no longer fitted the lifestyle I wanted for myself and my growing family.
Back then, with a sweet little bun in the oven, I needed flexibility and freedom in my career more than EVER. That’s when I took the leap and got my ass certified!
And boy, was it worth it! Since then I’ve scaled up to build my own agency AND scored six figure revenue months in the process. Woohoo!
I hear all the time from VAs and OBMs who have abandoned the corporate slog to start building their very own online business. They’re done hustling for their boss, done busting their asses to climb one more rung up the corporate ladder and they want the freedom that comes along with being their own boss. Because there’s no more powerful feeling in the world than hustling for YOURSELF, am I right?!
However, let’s not put ALL of your corporate past in the trash. Something that often goes overlooked are the skills you gain in a corporate environment – no matter how tired of that environment you are! In fact, I would argue that some of the BEST OBMs I know come from a corporate background.
Let’s take a look at the 4 transferable corporate skills the best kickass OBMs I know (including myself once upon a time) leverage on a daily basis to ensure their success.
1. Time management & prioritization
The ability to manage your time and prioritize your tasks is essential to most jobs. In corporate, it’s a skill that ensures you remain efficient, accountable and accomplish your part so the rest of the team can proceed. Your time management and prioritization skills ensure that you’re pulling your weight and not holding anyone else back. Nobody likes a slacker!
This is corporate life 101. As an OBM with client expectations riding on your shoulders and less direct oversight, this is also the foundation for your success in business.
As a VA or OBM, you are your own boss. Your work is entirely virtual and you’re probably sat at home hustling in your pj’s (why not!) or working from abroad in your hotel suite. I’m guessing that’s part of the reason why you’re doing what you’re doing. And if you’ve worked in corporate, you’re used to juggling different client accounts and maximizing the time you have each day to keep them happy. Basically, you’re a one-woman powerhouse! Go you!
Not only do you have to manage your own time – as an OBM, you need to make sure everyone on your clients’ teams are managing their time as well. As you’re taking a big-picture, strategy-style role in your clients’ businesses, the ability to pinpoint priorities, push them forward, and communicate their strategic importance to all levels of the team is pivotal.
That good old C word. If you’ve spent any amount of time in corporate, you now how essential it is to communicate clearly.
Many of the OBMs I know with a corporate background talk about communication with a smirk on their face. And let’s be honest – working in a corporate office can often feel like communication OVERLOAD. So many meetings, so many emails, so many check-ins, so much STRUCTURE. Ugh!
However, VAs and OBMs with this background are intimately familiar with what type of communication that works and the kind that doesn’t. They know how to communicate their expectations to a team, they know how many meetings is overkill. And if they have experience with an overbearing corporate boss, they already know what kind of leader they DON’T want to be in their clients’ businesses.
Communication is fluid. When you jump into a new client’s business, over-communicating during the first couple months is important for learning their business like the back of your hand. It’s also important for learning their team’s capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses. And most importantly, setting up systems for successful delegation.
If you’ve worked in corporate for a while, it’s likely that you found yourself somewhere in the middle of the pecking order. You performed your job with more powerful decision-makers above you, and lower-level roles functioning below you. You may even have experience managing a person (or a team) that reported directly to you. Sound familiar?
Well, this management experience is unbelievably valuable when you’re just getting started as an OBM.
Making virtual teams function like a well-oiled machine is the bread and butter of any OBM worth their salt. Being able to identify what requires your personal attention, what needs higher-level specialized attention, and what can be handled by an admin is a must-have skill.
Back when I was an OBM running my clients’ teams and when I was managing my own team, delegation was the air I breathed. I’ve gotta admit, as much as I hated the structure of the corporate environment, that skill is THE reason I’ve succeeded in business and helped my clients succeed.
It’s not only about having the confidence and clarity to delegate. It’s the ability to recognize ability in fellow team members, delegate the right kinds of tasks, and delegate in a way that creates the least amount of extra work for yourself and your client.
Which is where my all time favorite topic comes in…
4. Procedures (aka SYSTEMS!)
I get it – systems aren’t sexy! Which is why they’re often lumped together with corporate structure in the minds of VAs, OBMs, and online service providers.
But your experience with documented corporate procedures and systems is a HUGE asset.
Systems are the solid foundations on which every single successful business is built. In fact, systems are what make successful time management, defined prioritization, effective communication and strategic delegation allllll POSSIBLE! And a lack of systems is the reason why your clients are struggling without your support in the first place.
In my humble opinion, the best OBMs are the ones focused on creating systems in their clients’ businesses, because you won’t be on your client’s team forever. As an OBM, it’s your job to swoop in, making operations more efficient, document procedures, streamline strategy, and leave their business and team functioning like clockwork.
And you can’t work all that magic without documented systems!
So, there you have it! Who knew your past corporate gig would come in handy so often, eh?
Now over to you: Which transferable skills from your corporate days have served you the most in your online business? I’d love to hear!