Frances J. Harvey helps private practice therapists with online business management services. Additionally, Frances is a professional certified coach who loves helping clinicians move forward in their practices and their lives.
In this video, Frances shares tips and insights to help you both understand the power of having an online business manager as well as how to hire an online business manager, or OBM, for yourself. OBMs can really help you focus on your strengths, get your time back, and grow your private practice.
- What is an online business manager and the types of tasks they can help you with.
- What the difference is between a virtual assistant and an online business manager.
- Figuring out when you are ready to hire an online business manager.
- How a therapist can find an online business manager that is a good match for them?
- One thing you can do right now to take a step towards hiring an online business manager.
Watch the video to get these tips about online business managers and more. Session notes and links can be found below the video embed.
Session Notes + Links
What is An Online Business Manager?
An online business manager is someone who comes alongside you to support you in your business. An OBM can do day-to-day tasks that are critical to your business but that aren’t critical for you to be the one spending your time doing them.
Importantly, your OBM shares in your business vision and is able to help you grow your business, so they are doing more than merely focusing on tasks.
The types of tasks that an OBM could help a you with
- Help you come up with ideas to help you move forward in various areas of your practice and systems
- Help you with training of your staff
- Manage your staff/employees online
- Help you with scheduling or calls
An OBM can consult with you, this is different than what you’d get with a virtual assistant. Which brings us to the next question:
How is an OBM similar or different to a Virtual Assistant (VA)?
VA’s are very helpful and can help you get a lot of stuff done. VAs can easily complete those tasks for you that don’t require a lot of training as VAs are very task oriented.
On the other hand, what sets an OBM apart is that they’ll have the experience and knowledge in your business. With a background in the business side of mental health, there is no need to train them for long periods of time to work them into your practice.
So where a VA might need a lot of training, an OBM can immediately jump right in.
Typically, VAs and OBMs are not trained in the mental health industry. So it’s good to keep in mind that in both cases, if you’ll want to have someone handle your scheduling or calls, you may need to train them on how to sensitively handle your clients.
There is a strategy and purpose to being able to handle things like those phone calls.
Kat adds: since clients may be in crisis when they reach out to you, it’s important to make sure all the points of contact that that client has with you is professional and kind. It can start on your website but will also likely include calling you on the phone. If you have an OBM managing that for you, make sure they have the ability to handle your clients and potential clients with care.
Three Signs You Are Ready To Hire An OBM
Do hire an OBM when you first start out? Or after a few years? Or are there certain landmarks or indications that a private practitioner is ready to take on an OBM? Frances shared these three signs you are ready to hire an OBM
- You’re ready to invest in your business. Hiring an OBM is an investment into the growth of your business. If you’re prepared to take that leap into not just spending money but actually investing for growth, it’s a sign you could be ready to hire.
- You’re trying to do too much on your own. As you grow, you’ll discover that you’re only one person and you can’t do it all. If bookeeping, scheduling, therapy, and more are on your plate and if you’ve reached the point that somethings got to give, you may be ready to hire an OBM.
- You’ve discovered that some tasks are not your strength. Working in your strength and hiring out those tasks that are not your strength can help you make the best and most happy use of your time. Outsource what you can let go of and focus on putting your psychology degree to good use.
How To Find An OBM That is A Good Match for You
There are a lot of OBMs out there that you could hire but how do you know what to look for? Frances shared these tips on finding a good match for you
- A background in mental health businesses. Knowledge of the industry is necessary for them to truly help you in your practice.
- The ability to see your vision. Your OBM can help you but it needs to be your voice and your vision being helped, afterall, it’s your practice, not theirs. Look out for OBMs that want to take over and implement their ideas instead of yours.
- Good listener. Someone who can be a sounding board for all the struggles that you’re going through being in private practice.
- A good match in terms of their character. You’ll be working with your OBM daily or at least several times a week so you need to like the person that you work with. If you don’t like them it will make it challenging to communicate. It’s worthwhile to get to know them as a person before you hire them or contract them for big projects or long periods of time.
- Flexibility. Look for an OBM that will grow with you. Ideally, an OBM will be open to taking little chunks of tasks at a time, getting the critical things done first and then going from there.
One Thing You Can Do Right Now To Take A Step Towards Hiring an OBM
Sit down and make a list of what you have on your plate. Don’t leave anything out, even include feeding the dogs.
Then go over the list and prioritize the top things that you need to get off of your plate and could be done by an OBM. Maybe you could narrow it down to the top 10, or top 5, or even the top 3.
Not everyone can do this process easily as it can be daunting but if you can create this list and discover exactly what you need to get off of your plate, it will streamline the process of finding and bringing on board an OBM.
One thing to help with the overwhelm too is to keep in mind that you won’t be needing to get everything done at once. One step in front of the other is just fine.
Making the list also may show you, clearly in black and white, that the reality is that you were ready like 6 months ago for an OBM.
Bonus step: do some research among your peers. Ask around and find other therapists that are using OBMs. What is their experience? What have they been working on? What works and doesn’t work for them?
Hiring an OBM will help you get your time back to do what you do best.
Connect with Frances on LinkedIn
Like Frances on FB