How An OBM Can Transform Your Next Launch
Jan 19, 2022
If you’ve ever wanted to hire support for your launch (and beyond) but didn’t actually know what kind of help you needed or ever got lost in all the steps of a launch, then tune in.
In this episode, we talked about...
- What is OMB and what does working with one look like
- What is the difference between an OMB and VA
- How can an OBM help transform a launch
- How to decide if hiring an OMB is right for your business
- How to make the partnership with an OBM successful
...and much, much more
Things mentioned in this episode
Learn more about Erika Macauley
Erika Macauley is known as the Get Shit Done Officer. She's an Online Business Manager, Integrator & Project Manager for 6 and 7-figure creative professionals who need someone to manage the back end of their biz so they can keep growing and focusing on CEO activities. She has over 15 years of administrative experience both in Canada and around the world and has been color coding, alphabetizing, and organizing her house since she was 3 years old. Since taking her OBM business full time in April 2020, she's worked with copywriters, course creators, online business experts, and service providers to whip their systems into shape and keep their day to day operations running smoothly. She'll fight you on the Oxford comma (it's a must), loves sushi (and has tattoos to prove it), and has done the "show up at the airport & take the cheapest flight" thing more times than she can count (10/10 recommend).
Read the full transcript so you don't miss a thing
Sara: Put up one finger if you've launched something, but never gone back and did a launch debrief afterwards to see how it went, put up another finger. If you've ever wanted to hire support for your launch and beyond, but didn't actually know what kind of help you need it, put up another finger. If you ever got lost in all the steps of your launch and you cried or felt like it, me, I've got three fingers up right now because I've been there too. And if that's you, too, you can relate. And keep listening because today I'm talking to Erika Macauley an online business manager, integrator and project manager, who I personally know to be super generous with her answers. So prepare to be pausing and taking notes.
You're listening to the launch playbook podcast, the weekly podcast for service based business owners to discover the starts, stops and tools to transformation that go into launching their online offers. I'm your host, Sara Vartanian. And if you want to launch your ideas into the world faster with more success and less burnout. Well, friend, consider this show your secret playbook to get you there.
Hey, Erika, Welcome.
Erika: I thank you so much for having me, Sara!
Sara: I am so excited to talk to you today. We've talked plenty of time off the podcast offline. So I know this is going to be a super juicy episode, we're going to get into old things about support, and what to do and what it actually means and how we can use you know that support to have an amazing launch and also extend into our business. So I cannot wait. First off Erika, like I want us I thought to first define what the heck is an OBM. And then and then I definitely want to hear from there. Like tell us a bit more about what you do and how you got started.
Erika: Sure. So that is my favorite topic, what is an OBM because a lot of people have either never heard of this, or they've seen the acronym and they don't know what it means. Or they kind of know what it means that they don't know what we really do. So an OPM is an online business manager. And if you're more familiar with the brick and mortar world, you can kind of think of an OPM is like, similar to a role of a chief operating officer or director of operations. This is a person in your business who works closely with the CEO in a management level position to basically run the back end of your business while you focus on CEO revenue generating activities. So OBM is take care of things like project management, team management, launch management, they are the point person for for HR, they talk to your your lawyer, your accountant, they are not your lawyer or accountant but they they liaise with like any professionals that you have the basically the day to day operations of your business. They handle that stuff so that you're not in the weeds of it anymore as a really general way of explaining. That's what an OPM does.
Sara: Amazing. And what's the difference between OBM and an integrator then? Because that's another word we hear a lot right in the online business world.
Erika: Yeah, I love to talk about this question, I think you will get a different answer from every different person that you ask, but I'll give my two cents on it. So the way I usually define this for people is an online business manager and an integrator, it can be basically the same thing. It sometimes the terms are used interchangeably. If there is a business with both the in the org chart, the integrator would be above the OBM. And the OEM would be reporting to the integrator, you might have one you might have the other, you might have both, you might have neither, if you have neither, you should get one. But integrators are often found in large businesses. So I'm talking like seven, eight figure businesses, they're a very, very high level C suite level position, and are usually responsible for like a lot of team members, big budgets, big projects, stuff like that. And an OBM is usually found in like high five to six figure businesses, and might have a smaller team might be having to wear a few different hats. They are basically the same thing. But if you had to pick a difference, it would probably be the size of the business or the organization. But generally they do the same type of back end business management.
Sara: Great. Oh, my gosh, thank you for the explanation. I think like we just all can be more clear on blank. What it is that it'd be an integrator is that we can actually help make decisions about whether we need.
Erika: Yeah, the thing is, is the as you know, the whole online business and remote work becomes more common and these online businesses become more structured and have more niche roles and have more support team roles. You know, a lot of these things like you know, 10 12 years ago, we just called everybody a VA and like we don't do that anymore. So it's it's a new thing for a lot of people hearing these terms and these roles and responsibilities and what who does what for the very first time, I get it, I get that this is the first time that a lot of people are hearing this.
Sara: I think you call it something I hear like, a lot of times when I'm talking to a newer business owner, they will like use the word VA, interchangeably, everything they want from, like social media to tech support to all this like, whereas there's actually like, quite different roles for those things, but someone new or coming into it may not know all those differences.
Erika: hmm. Yeah. And I would encourage anybody who is who has a business, you will get ROI on this. And it is worth your time to, to figure out what the different support team roles are, what exists, not everybody is a VA and the VA doesn't do everything. So it's definitely going to help your business for you to know what kind of roles you can get in a support team and making sure that you're hiring for the right one, because I see so often these job descriptions and people are saying, oh, yeah, I need a VA, I need an assistant. And then it will be like an integrator level role. And and I just think learning about those is really important for anybody who's running an online business to make sure you're getting the right support that you need.
Sara: Okay, I really want to go into your bio, a little bit know a little bit more about like how I got started, but I have to just add on to that question. So how like, Should we be hiring an OPM first or a VA first most the time, then, if that's the case, because you're talking about hiring and people not really being clear on what it is they're asking for the different types of roles? Like, where's generally the first hire? Would you say?
Erika: My favorite question, everybody asks me that. I said, I'm like, please let me spread this gospel. My, go for it. My answer for this, which a lot of business owners have never heard before, but I promise you, other OBMs are on board with me with this. If you as a CEO, as a business owner, has systems in place that are all set up and working great if you have SOPs, standard operating procedures written out for all the tasks that you want, your new hire to do, or you have lots of time and you're ready to train them and you have a lot of management experience, and you're good at that. Amazing, go get a VA for your business, if you don't have those things, start with an OBM start with an OBM, because where I see business owners getting in trouble a lot is they are super overwhelmed. There's 1000 plates in the air, they're trying to juggle everything in there. Like I'm so busy, I'm just gonna go like grab a brand and VA from somewhere and they hire this assistant, and then they get frustrated because the person's not like, you know, showing tons of initiative or they're not able to complete tasks or nobody's following up on deadlines or, you know, stuff like that. And they're, they're frustrated.
But the thing is, is that VA's virtual assistants, people who are in those types of roles, they are execution action item, task level hires, those are people who are super specialized in knocking stuff off your to do list and doing it really well. They are not a management or supervisory level role. And somebody who's in that management or supervisory level role is the one who needs to be doing planning strategy, supervision, follow ups, like that's the person who's got the initiative and drive and is looking forward. People who are doing the execution level roles, have their head down getting stuff done on the to do list, it's not really their job to be looking ahead. So if you need an OBM first I don't want people to panic thinking it's this like giant expensive hire like full time, all of this, you can hire an OBM just to get stuff set up for you, you can get them to set up your systems, you can get them to document your SOPs and get ready for that execution level higher. You don't have to do just a big forever OBM hire at once you can hire them to get stuff set up for you. Or if you hire them first and then you're ready to bring on a VA to start doing the execution level stuff. Then the OBM will manage your VA for you. And you can step completely back from that.
Sara: I love that you call that out and actually that's how Erika, you and I started working together was I hired you for a VIP day. Cuz I already had it Yeah, I already had a VA we work together for a while it was like going pretty well. But I thought there were things that I could do to make it better. And you definitely set us up some like because we use Trello to you know, communicate organizing definitely came in there and had amazing suggestions for how to make things flow better and over across like the multiple boards that we had. And it's made a huge difference in like the communication and getting things done like just the setup of that, like, ginormous difference and like and also like the things that you should work towards and here's what not and I know one of my biz besties saw my Trello board and she's like, oh it can be to the coffee. Like I know. So tell us have you know a bit more about what you do and how you got started?
Erika: Sure, well, I have a long and varied background, but my kind of like, administrative organizational background, I've kind of had that as a character trait my whole life. But when I finished university, I started working as a paralegal. And that gave me a lot of like office management experience. I was managing legal assistants and executive assistants in my role. So I was getting a lot of like management experience metrics, tracking and reporting experience. And just like basically a crash course in systems and organization within a business. And from there, I decided I was done with the corporate grind. I moved overseas for about 10 years worked all kinds of crazy jobs like a scuba diving instructor. And I taught English in Japan and I went all over the world doing different stuff, but always was kind of like side hustling and still doing work online. I was like a content writer, as a proofreader as an editor. And then when COVID hit, I found myself back in Canada with no job and thought, what am I going to do now? So I kind of took the culmination of everything I done, and my side hustle and my previous administrative and management experience, put it all together into an OBM package and got out there in the online world and started working as an OBM and I have been booked out ever since.
Sara: But so true, Erica, because you know, like before, before we've worked together, I've been hearing your name in like a mastermind I was part of into other business partners as part of who is this person have to know her. And then when you put your new website up, which was friggin fantastic. I think I was like, I don't know, I think was one of the first people to reach out to your contact form. I believe that you told me like, oh, it works. It's going.
Erika: Yeah, yeah, you were, that was a thank you for that. Thanks for being my guinea pig.
Sara: That's when we booked the VIP day. And so she also say that people folks listening, I worked with Erika as well for a few months with her as my OBM. And so we're going to talk a little bit about how people can make the partnership with an OPM successful. And then also, when do you need to review and readjust because I'm actually working with a different OBM right now, because you know, some things change. And Erika and I just did that. So what do you think? How can people set it up to be a success?
Erika: I think that that starts rate from crafting your job description. So it starts right from before you even make a hire, attracting the right kind of candidates. I always say it's really important. And OBM is somebody who the CEO, the business owner is going to be working with day to day, every day, you need to get questions answered, you need to explain stuff, you need to be able as an OBM to take the business owners ideas, and strategy and transform that into a project. So you need to really be able to like I hate to use this word, and I'm sorry, but you need to be able to vibe with you need to be able to get along with them. And the your OBM needs to be able to lead in your place, lead your team, lead projects, with your company, culture and values in mind. So making sure that somebody is on the same page with you from the get go with that, I think is really the start to a great relationship.
I think right at the beginning, once you've hired somebody, everybody on both sides being really clear about their expectations, their boundaries, and what your communication plan is for working together. I think that really sets people up for success. If you leave people in the dark, and they don't know when they can expect an answer from you. Or if you're like, I'd like for me, I take calls on Tuesdays, I don't do any client work on Tuesdays because zoom sucks the frigging life out of me. But my clients know that they know that I'm not going to get to anything on Tuesday, because that's the meeting day. So if I didn't tell them that and they just messaged me on a Tuesday morning, and we're waiting for a response and we're just left in the dark. Like, that wouldn't be a very good look. So I always say like communication, expectations and boundaries, super important to cover it and to stick to it. And that I think is really the foundation for setting a really good working relationship.
Sara: Amazing. And when do you know that it's time to review and readjust so we can we can talk about, you know, working together media. What we did?
Erika: Yeah, yeah, I think like so one thing that I think oh VMs and business owners should be doing regular check ins, maybe every two to three months, and just taking especially when you first start working together as well. And everyone's getting settled and settled into their roles. But I think it's important to review on a really high level how things are going not like oh, this you know, the podcast VA didn't get this thing done on time. Like no not not the details. I'm talking like big picture here. So for me, I had been tracking my hours and seeing what was getting done while we were working together. And I realized after a certain number of months that there was a pattern there. And that I needed, while the OBM role needed more hours than I had with you. And in that kind of situation, I would normally bring that up to a business owner and let them know what's going on and let them make the decision like, Do you need more hours? Do we need to change what's going on in the role? Like, let's look at this and talk about it, that I didn't have any more hours available to offer. So that's I had to come to you saying like, look, here's this pattern I'm seeing, it looks like you need more support than the hours that I have available. Like, let's, let's see what we need to do here. And maybe we need to transition this role to somebody who has more hours available.
Sara: Right. And I think like it was a really good discussion. I think at the time, you had been mentoring someone who had been doing some stuff like with you on my business as well. And so it was a really nice transition into that person.
Erika: Yeah, it worked out really well with Terry, I was mentoring her as she was like, eager to learn more about and OBM role and transition up into something like that. So I had already been working with her. And you know, when you and I had started working together, we had a plan that you are going to be moving to honey book, that's your CRM, which is the CRM that I work with. And over the course of the few months that we work together, we were able to find out that honey book was not going to work out here for what we needed it for. And we're not going to get into honey book slander right now. But we'll just say it was a very frustrating experience. And that made the decision for the business that you were going to stick with using dubsado. And for me, personally, I don't work in dubsado. So that was another flag for me that I was like, we need to take a look at this and maybe reassess because I can't give my best work in a program that I don't work in, especially because you were doing so much like set up a new stuff in it, that I was like, we have Terry who's a dubsado expert, like, I think we should have somebody in this role, who knows how to use the program that you're using.
Sara: Makes so much sense. And I think what I what I loved about our conversation was it didn't feel like a key or bad or like I didn't feel like like there was no bad feelings around it. Right? Like I was like, would have loved to keep working with you. But it totally made sense what you were saying. And I know, as a business owner, I appreciated that you were calling out, like, hey, like I want like I want the best for your business. And the best is maybe not going to be me for this because I actually don't work in that program. So like this is how you're actually surfing we're going through right and you need someone to manage that and set up the workflows. And it couldn't be you.
Erika: Yeah, I think that it's really important for people to end I've had to do this actually with a couple clients. And it's always sad for me, because I love the people who I work with my, my clients, I feel like they're my friends. I know, some people say don't do that, but I don't care, I do what I want, and my clients are my friends. And there's been a couple times that I can think of that I've had to say look like, as your OBM, it's my job to look out for what's good for the business, and not just, you know, what's good for me and me making money and me, you know, liking my job, if it's not serving the business in the best way it could be, it's my job to bring that to your attention and to let you know, my advice and what the options are.
Sara: So Erika, you're saying that you really uh, you know, your role, the OBM is to look out for what's best for the business. So even when the business means that that decision means that it might be time to find someone else for the role. So in terms of like, when we did that, for for my business, what do you think you set up and put into place that made that an easy transition? And I will say, you know, I thought it was easy transition, and a great transition. So what do you think were the things that you put in place that made that happen?
Erika: Sure. Well, I mean, we kind of had a unique situation there in that, in my network, I already had somebody who knew your business who had been working on your dubsado as a project contractor already. So she also already knew you. So that that definitely was kind of a unique situation that helped. But I think that, you know, I was able to offer to Terri your new OBM, continued mentorship and support. So if she has a question she asked me and because I already know your business, I'm able to quickly answer and give like a really good solid answer for that. And as you know, we also did 260 minute calls that I included as part of a transitioning out package where you were able to book in the month following the transition you were able to book two calls with me to you know, ask any final questions or ask anything that had popped up in the meantime. So yeah, that along with like, giving Terri an outline of what I was in the middle of what was still outstanding, what needed to be done next that I handed over. During that time, I think it made a pretty I hope it made pretty seamless transition for everyone involved and everyone still felt supported throughout it.
Sara: Oh my gosh, I know I totally did. I think it was like one of the nicest offerings I've ever experienced. I mean, hey, you're on my podcast advisor for the podcast after we ended. And we I know, we got through Instagram Dms. And I also know in the end, like, personally, I know that you're still in my corner. Like if I wanted to book a strategy call with you or something, you've left that open to me as well, which is amazing. But I just I love how you called out about reviewing, readjusting and like always looking at that. And because we want to make sure that people are in our, like, bone, both ends are being supported in a role where they're feeling right, that they're getting what they need.
Erika: Yeah, I think that it's so important that every person you bring onto your team, you view as a partnership between you and that person, it's important that people speak up. If it's not, I don't want to say if it's not going well on one of those sides, but if the business isn't being served in the best way on both of those sides.
Sara: Right? So where do you feel like OBM are sometimes underutilized?
Erika: In launches. And let's talk about having an OBM. And where they can help in a launch, because I just have seen this go sideways in too many places. So I'm just, I'm just gonna get on my soapbox here, because I like to talk about this. But if you have an OBM on your team, that is the person who should be planning your launch runway making the schedule for launch week, they should be managing all your execution team members for that time, they should be running the debrief after your launch, like that's the person who can like plan and focus on all the moving pieces and keep all the balls in the air. You as the CEO or the business owner, if you are launching something, whether it's a course, whether it's a product, whatever it is, I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that, that's what people are buying, they're buying you, your team can't make course content for you, like, they're not gonna get on here and like record a video of themselves if to go in your Kajabi, right, like, that's not what people are buying, you have to make whatever it is you're selling. And then let your team handle the rest of it during the launch. Like if you're gonna have a webinar, you got to get on the webinar and do it right that your team can be planning and making sure all the tech is set up all that kind of stuff, the OBM kind of oversees all the moving parts at a launch. And they're really, really, really key member. So that you don't have to think about that during the launch one way or during the launch time itself.
Sara: Assuming we don't have to think about the 60 tasks to do only the task signed to us to do.
Sara: Oh my gosh, like the relief of that. I'm sure anyone listening is like?
Erika: Well, it's it's really hard to think about that. So I will live and die by this analogy. I want people to think about this like a restaurant. If you are the CEO or the business owner, you are the restaurant owner, you're the person who like has to put the money up, like make the restaurant decide what the name of it was decide what you are going to serve there. Like all of that kind of stuff as the owner, the restaurant manager is like the OBM. They're in there every day. They're the ones making the schedule for the team. They're I don't like saying hiring and firing. They are hiring and doing like managing the team. They are the ones who are overseeing everything that's going on in the day to day operations. They're ordering the food inventory, they're checking the daily sales, stuff like that. The cooks, the servers, the like back of house in front of house support staff, that's your support team. They're the ones who are actually doing the thing. And this is what I want to make clear. Does the OBM or owner get in the restaurant and like be serving the dishes or cooking the food? Usually no, right? The manager might step in, if they're short staffed for a day or if you know there's an accident or something. But normally they can't manage and also serve for an entire shift or they can manage and be cooking the hamburgers. The execution team has to do the action items and the owner shouldn't be in there at all.
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Sara: Is there something that you wish folks knew about launching?
Erika: I really wish that people put as much effort into their debrief as they put into launching because I firmly believe that if you ever want to launch that thing, again, doing a proper debrief is going to give you all the steps you need to make sure that your next launch is a big success.
Sara: So you walk us through what should be in a debrief?
Erika: Yeah, yeah, I'm going to start by the first place I see people going wrong with a debrief, every person on your team who is involved in your launch, should get a say in the debrief, the the debrief is not just between the owner and the OBM. Everybody who was involved should get a say in it, and get a say in it, I mean, get to, you know, say their piece. So I love to do a debrief, starting with those, just a Google Doc. And every person on your team gets their own section to talk about what worked, what didn't, and how you want to do it differently next time, or what you want to do next time. And I think those three sections really give a good insight. And the best part about it is once that's filled out, and and a discussion has been had about it that like what we want to do differently next time, or what we're going to do next time section, that literally gives you a step by step action plan for planning your next launch. And I think that this document is really important, because I think a lot of times, the owner, CEO, for sure, and even sometimes the LVM don't realize or don't know, any kind of like issues or problems that happened behind the scenes. Sometimes it's solved at the team member level, sometimes the OEM and team members solve it before the owner ever knows about it. And we don't need to bug them with stuff like that during launch week. But after the launch happens, we definitely need to talk about like what went sideways? Or what didn't work, or what was an emergency to make sure that we don't have to do that again next time.
Sara: Oh, my gosh, yes. Are there any things that you feel crop up often as issues when you're doing these debriefs? Like any things that you see like repeated patterns?
Erika: Yes, please let me talk about this.
Sara: I can't wait.
Erika: Hopefully, business owners and CEOs, I would like to encourage all of you to consider very, very carefully about throwing in last minute changes or additions. during launch week, after everything's already been planned. And all the zaps are already made. And all the tech is already set up. If you start changing stuff around, or adding in random emails, or being like, let's all of a sudden do a discount code. I'm not saying don't do these things. I'm saying please talk with your OBM, or your team members before just like announcing it on social media, or on a webinar live, that something's going to happen. Because I really think what I see a lot is people who are not the person who's setting this stuff up in the backend. Don't understand that, like, Oh, I just want to add one more email. Okay. But sometimes that affects like 20 different things that you don't know about. So it's not really just like, a quick Oh, we do one thing, sometimes it is, but usually it's not. So I, I know, it's like, kind of easy to get shiny object syndrome. And sometimes we're looking at the launch numbers, and we don't see the revenue where we want it. But panicking and throwing that kind of stuff onto your team at the last minute is, it's not really fair to your team, first of all, when they've like worked really hard to plan and get everything done and ready. But it also might not be just like, one little easy thing that you think it is, it might require quite a lot of work on the back end. So it's super important to find out for new team first, is this doable? What does the timeline look like for this? Because it might not be just the immediate thing that you might think it is.
Sara: So if someone did want to make an adjustment, because let's say they weren't seeing the large numbers they wanted, when would you say to make it I know you said to go talk to her team at first woman just didn't make it and when would you say to just hold steady and wait and see how the plan that you and your team implemented is actually working?
Erika: This is where I would really encourage people to lean on their OBM we are able to be a little more objective on the situation. I understand from a business owner from a CEOs perspective. It's really hard to Create, like pour your blood, sweat and tears into a course or a product and like you're, you're selling you. And if you see that people are buying it, that's a very personal. And I understand that. And that's why it's so important to have an objective team member like an OBM, who can look at it as I keep sitting from like the business perspective, and be able to kind of take that personal emotional side out of it, because I see a lot of business owners making snap decisions based on emotions, and not actually based on the numbers, or based on the plan. So I encourage you in that kind of situation to lean on your OBM, they're going to know like, does the team have capacity to make an adjustment? Do we actually need an adjustment? Let's look at the numbers. Let's compare them to last time. What what would happen if we did XYZ? What kind of ROI would that look like? How long are we going to test this for, I would just encourage you to talk with your OBM about it. And remember that they've at that point, might have a bit more of an objective viewpoint than you do, and are offering it from like the good of the business perspective and not making an emotional decision.
Sara: Okay, because using OBM, we're looking at the data, right, and the actual facts of the situation.
Erika: Yeah, I'm always looking at the data, I'm looking at the metrics every day of a launch, multiple times a day, I'm comparing it to what we did last time, it's hard if you're doing a beta launch, or it's a new product that you don't really have that baseline to compare it to. But if that's the case, I recommend as much as you can to try and let your baseline be your baseline so that you have, you know, something normal to compare it to for next time, if you start winging it, and changing stuff and throwing stuff in the middle of it, that's not really going to be like an accurate baseline to base your next launch off of because you changed the plan and added a bunch of things in last minute and stuff like that. So I'm I'm always looking at the numbers. I know business owners are always looking at it too. They just have a lot more emotion in their decision. And I don't I don't have that attachment to the product. I have an attachment to the business and the good of the business. So that's how I make my decisions.
Sara: So true on set your camera when we first started working together, I was already like in launch planning mode when you came on. I'd already like been planning it for months. I think you came up just as we were like starting to launch
Erika: week the week before?
Sara: Yeah. Yeah, it was. It was right there. But it was really easy to use. Like even that time, you had set up a couple things in air table for me that made like collect information from people a lot easier and to track a launch goals. And I remember that I was feeling a little bit of like, yeah, that feeling of like, oh my god, it's not turning out how I want and there's like because it's very personal and rollable. And I'm an introvert and I know a lot of Oline Business owners are actually introverts, right? I think we feel that even like harder, in some ways, because we're like, putting our energy out there. But I remember in the end that like, the number of people who joined the program, literally from a data standpoint was like, right on, like, my audience to how many people joined was like that it was like two and a half percent. Like, yeah, it was actually more like 3%, basically, of my list. We always know. But it feels hard. Right? And you have to like ride through it to like, when are they gonna join when they going to join? But then it was so interesting afterwards for me to look at it and say like, Oh, these are the points where they joined? Like, what does that tell me for next time? Like, what do I need? What can I also do during that time? Or how can I adjust those or have more emails like these ones.
Erika: It's one of those things where the other thing that you have to remember, as a business owner CEO, you have launched your own stuff, one or more times, right? But and OBM, who has a lot of experience in launch management has not only seen your launches, but as seen a bunch of other ones. So that also gives that expanded objective viewpoint where, like I've seen all kinds of launches happen for all kinds of different businesses and all kinds of different metrics, they might know something to try that you've never thought of, or a way to track something that you haven't been doing or stuff like that. And that's why I always am really trying to drive that point home to like, lean on your OBM. And trust them, like trust their judgment, if if this is somebody you're working with in this capacity, you should be able to trust them. If you don't, that's a whole other can of worms. But especially in a launch they've got that breath of knowledge from doing this in multiple different businesses and multiple different launches. And so they might be seeing patterns that you're not as well. So I think that's it's just key it will be an is key really hyping myself up right now. But that's that's
Sara: So where have you seen some other things where you someplace where you seen some lunches go wrong. So you mentioned around one to throw things in last minute. Are there any other sort of take common scenarios you've seen happen over and over again?
Erika: Yeah, anybody who's listening right now, who thinks they're gonna plan a launch and get it all done in two weeks, I feel sorry for your team. That's not how it works like factory here right now. I'm just gonna, I don't care what kind of flack I get. I'm just gonna say that because that is an unreasonable timeline to put on a team. That's wild up. First of all, a launch runway needs to start 60 to 90 days before your launch. Like, if you're not even starting anything until two weeks before your launch date. Like, I can't imagine I wouldn't do a launch like that, to be honest, it needs to get planned. And then that stuff starts 60 to 90 days before your launch.
So I think my my like number two, where I see things go wrong as people starting way too close to the launch date. And I'm going to tell you why this is not good. Number one, your team is not going to be happy about it. I'm going to tell you that right now. And number two, when you have things that are rushed like that. And this ties back to my previous point about adding things in at the last minute, your team is not going to have the proper amount of time to think through stuff and to test it. So when things are getting added in a rush or when they're getting added in the last minute. That is where we see stuff going wrong all the time where we see zaps, breaking, where we see people not getting tagged correctly, in ConvertKit, or whatever like that. We see back end disasters when stuff is not given enough time to be built and tested. And having team members and the OBM be able to think through all possible scenarios, and make sure that everything is running really smoothly.
Sara: Oh my gosh, yes. I'm even thinking back to the launch that I did when you joined in. Even though we had been working on it for quite a while ahead of time, I remember the emails didn't end up getting scheduled until like the day before. And we ran into a big problem, which was that we actually had them automated. And I think like that was one of the lessons, right was we're actually not going to automate any emails because you had a really good point, you remember, you said to me, like, let's not automate or like, you don't want to have something where it's everything's relying on it. So if you make one change, if there was an accident, and if we make a fix that like 20, other things are gonna get affected, which is what happened. Because remember, like, my VA works, you know, run different time zone. So I was up to like, late at night, and I know you were in there too looking, like trying to adjust like where this email had gone off. Whereas we've just had it set as like a broadcast, he was wearing wearing in Birkhead and not automated, it would have been so much easier to fix it. But also if they had been scheduled like a week ahead, we would have tested unknown.
Erika: Mm hmm. Yeah, that's a really perfect example of it. And I want to be clear that like that, and things like that are happening. Every time somebody is rushing, like that happened right in the middle of the last launch, I did. CEO was like, I want to add something else, right at the last minute. And we added it and didn't have time to test it. And something broke. And the admin team ended up having to do a bunch of stuff manually, which took forever and we might have missed something. And it's, it's not a great use of anybody's time. And it doesn't, it doesn't make for a great experience for people who are buying your product.
Sara: Yeah, I think when all those things are happening, like these last minute changes, or trying to throw something in, as you're saying, that's when all those things become true about you know, like how one just like live lunches have like a bad reputation. Like, you get energy in town. It's so terrible. And I think that's when it actually like it's a self fulfilling prophecy. Like when you do all of those things, and you don't set up the time, that's when it's true, you do get burned down, it becomes a terrible experience. Whereas the more time you have it set up and tested and you lean on your team, you do that like and you follow through with your plan, you could actually come out the other side and feel like you know, this was a good experience, not something that I want to like curl up from for seven days.
Erika: Exactly. I like one of my clients that I work with are based on a previous client, our metric for if the largest going well as if I'm crying or not. And I'm very happy to report that our last lunch I did not cry once. But that's that's the thing too is I think that's important to touch on is if a CEO during a launch is totally frazzled is changing their mind, every two minutes is like frantic, that kind of energy flows down into their team. And the team is like panicky and might be making mistakes and rushing and stuff too. And then it also flows up to right like if the launch wasn't planned properly, and the team is being put under a lot of pressure. They start to get, you know, they start to get snappy or short or frustrated and that flows up to the CEO as well. So I just I think there's so much to be said for planning your launch and then watching your plan. If I can, if I give us like hatcheries, because when everybody has really good energy around it, they know what's expected of them, they know what's going to happen each day. And when all that stuff is taken care of in advance, if something does come up at the last minute, or there's a tech hiccup, or something happens, they have the capacity and the headspace to be able to quickly deal with it. If you've spent your whole day burning out your team with last minute stuff that wasn't in the launch plan, and then something goes wrong. Now they're working over time. Now they're staying up until three in the morning trying to fix it, and everybody's cranky, it's just when you get that stuff done in advance, and everything is planned and set up and ready to go, then everybody's in a good headspace to deal with anything, because there's always going to be, there's always going to be something last minute, there's always going to be something that goes wrong. But if you've planned your launch and got everything done in advance, you've got that capacity to deal with it when that comes up.
Sara: So true. And I think like your team is, I'm going to say more willing to probably step in at that point, too, right? If things have to be done late, like last minute, or quickly, because you haven't run them to the point of exhaustion, and burnout and stressed out.
Erika: 100% If you're running your team ragged at the last second, they'll probably still going to do it, but they're probably not going to do it with with a very good attitude. And some people might say, Oh, well, I'm paying them, they should just do it. But I'm here to tell you that's a gross way to run your business. And
Erika: I'm not sorry about saying that.
Sara: And then you know, the people that you're working with might want to not want to stick with you as well. I'm gonna write there.
Erika: there are there are turnovers because of stuff like that. And if you are known as the person who is always never getting the stuff done before the launch, always changing stuff last minute, always adding stuff last minute screaming at your team. They're not going to stick around. I can tell you that right now.
Sara: Yeah, I mean, honestly, I can say even as a copywriter, I have turned down copywriting work when it was like coming from some pretty big. Let's see businesses I would have loved to work with who were like we wanted this in two weeks, we decided, no, I can't do it to myself.
Erika: Exactly. And nobody would do that. Right. Like if somebody came to me, and they were like, oh, I want this, you know, huge, complicated Trello build, and I needed done in the next 15 minutes. Obviously, I'm going to say no. Like, that's not, that's not possible. So I feel the same way when somebody like I'm going to do this huge launch. And I'm going to have five webinars and a challenge. And we're going to have like 15 upsells. And I want to do it in two weeks, like no, no, we're not
Sara: Three months plus. And I really appreciate that you called out the fact that like how people feel I remember. So before I was launched copywriting I was actually like a social media manager. And also content. I was like focusing contents or like newsletters for people. And the way I got into launch copywriting is that a lot of those clients started launching their products like they started taking their one to one service and launching it. So I ended up like running their copy for them. And this all evolves is several years ago, but I had this one client and every time we live launched, she would get really sick, like, like I'm talking like sore throat like lost her voice, like strep throat in the hospital sick as we're doing webinars, like when this kept happening, and like we make a change here that's just not working for you. It is a pattern and like, and even though we had actually like we we knew when they were coming, so she was launching like every four months. So we didn't know it was coming. It was on the set plan, the fact that that came up, we figured that out, like during the debrief, like wait a minute, this has happened the last three times. And then the next time that happened, like all your electricity went off, and then like your power went out, it was like all these weird things kept happening. And like, I think we need to readdress, like the plan here, like maybe these live launches aren't working for you. And so I can, like so appreciate debriefs for that as well like, because it's not just about human like the data, the numbers, it's like, how is it feeling for you, for your team for the people? That's what I'm hearing from you.
Erika: Absolutely. And I think that if you want to continue to have successful launches, and have your team excited about them, you have to listen to that feedback and say like, Okay, this didn't work, whatever this one facet was, and now like how can we improve this for next time, and it's just such an easy way to literally at the end of that debrief, you've got a set of action items to make a plan for next time. It kind of makes OBM job even easier to be honest, but like I work with Brittany McBean, as you know, the illustrious Brittany McBean. We just did a launch for the second time for one of her courses and we when I made the plan for it, I took the action items from the leg what we want to do differently next time when I made the launch plan When we did the debrief this time, we went back to the original debrief, because I think that's important too, to go back to the previous one and say, like, did we do this or not. And we had accomplished every single thing that we wanted to do differently next time. And it was a fantastic feeling, knowing that, like, we took some things that like maybe didn't go amazing. We made a plan for them. And we did them this time. And we had a great launch like Brittany on the Friday before her launch took her her toddler for a picnic, because we had planned everything, we had it set up and on the Friday before the launch, the team was off and she was on a picnic, it was the best.
Sara: Like, that's exactly how it can be right? It can be like that.
Erika: That's what I'm here to say. It can be like that.
Sara: And I love that we're talking about that, because I just I really do think so often people hear or me to be like, led to be kind of scared or feeling like it's so terrible and burnt out. But it doesn't have to be though. Yeah. Is there ever a time when you're doing these launch debriefs where you actually don't take the feedback of a team member? Or you don't like? Because I guess what I'm what I'm wondering about here is sometimes is like, sometimes, you want to do something right to see if it works and not necessary, throw it out. So how do you decide like, kind of what to throw out? And what to change? Versus what to maybe tweak and keep going?
Erika: Yeah, that's a great question. So so one of my things is, I don't love meetings, this is like a thing that people know about me, I'm like the anti meeting OBM, I only want to get on Zoom, if we have a plan, and we're going to get stuff done. So what I like to do with this launch debrief document is have everybody fill their section out, before we ever have a meeting about it, so that everybody's coming to the meeting, their sections filled out, they read other people's sections, they're ready to discuss. Because if you just don't have a document like this, and just say, okay, like, let's get the team on a call and talk about the launch, I'm telling you that it's gonna get derailed in five seconds, like it's not, you're not gonna get anything done. So when you have a plan like that everybody's already read all the sections before they come to the meeting. And then at that meeting, that's where as a team, you can discuss, like, I hear you that like, this thing didn't go well. And we'll try to get it done earlier next time. But this is a non negotiable for the launch. So we might still have to do it like this, what else can we take off your plate, because we still need to get this done, you know, discussions like that can happen. I think that like, there's always gonna be things that we like we want to do, or that just like kind of can't be helped, I guess. But even giving your team members that opportunity to just say like, this was hard for me, and I had to work really hard on this and acknowledging it maybe wasn't fun, or maybe wasn't great, or they had to do something at the last minute and thanking them for that is is sometimes enough to move forward from.
Sara: I really appreciate he gave us a script there to like, have that conversation, and then made note of like acknowledging people's work. And they recorded earlier today. Actually, it's not yet Oh, yeah, we talked about that, like not just checking something out and moving on, but like checking off and like, acknowledging and celebrating and appreciating that things have been taken care of.
Erika: Yeah, I think that's why the debrief is such a great opportunity for the business owner, sometimes even the OBM and maybe other team members to find out what was really going on behind the scenes. And, you know, we don't want to bog down management with that, well, things are in the middle of it, and they're getting solved. So it's not an issue. But it's still important for people to know that like this happened, or this didn't work, or this caused a really big problem. And even if it's not something you can change, you can still take that opportunity to acknowledge your team's hard work and their you know, ingenuity in solving the problem and how much you appreciate it. Because if your team bust their ass for you during a launch, and, and they don't even get an acknowledgment or Thank you, they're not going to be around for your next launch.
Sara: Right, because that's what we want. We want to be seen and heard and, you know, in our work that we do, and then that allows them to feel that and have that forum, it feels like to actually like feel like they're contributing guess to the role that they're doing right. And having a say in the role that they're doing or voice.
Erika: Yeah, having that voice I think is is huge, especially with execution level team members, because they don't often get a chance to, to say stuff like that, or to have that in a in a forum where the the CEO, the business owners rate in there with them, like usually the information is flowing up and down through the OBM. So for them to get that chance for the CEO to say like I see that you stayed up really late to work on this, and I appreciate that so much. And we were able to do X, Y and Z because you did that. Thank you. That's huge. That's huge. Because a lot of time especially execution level team members are just consistently like in their day to day with their head down getting stuff done and some sometimes they don't even get it. Thank you.
Sara: Absolutely. What are your thoughts? Eric has an Obeah I'm on giving people on your launch team, like a bonus or something at the end of the launch, because we know that we know they're putting in extra work and extra time. And they're just even on call during that time, you know, I can say on call in the air quotes, but the truth is they are like, they're more, they're ready for you. So, is that something you find a lot of business owners are doing? Or that could be done? Are there other ways to appreciate them as well?
Erika: I think that's a great question. So whenever I talk about any kind of appreciation, I think it's really important for all of your team members for you to get to know what their appreciation language is, some people prefer to be, you know, rewarded or appreciated by, you know, this is like the five love languages, you know, that kind of stuff, it translates into the workplace. And some people would prefer money, some people might like a day off, some people might like a gift card to a spa, some people might like tickets to a Raptors game, you know, like, people like to be appreciated. Some people just like to be praised in front of the group. People like to be appreciated in different ways. And you can really build loyalty with your team, if you can appreciate them in their own language. So this is like the love languages thing, right? You need to love your partner in their language, not yours. So I think if you are able to find out what that is, and there's like quizzes and stuff, you could have your team take online, if you don't know what it is, you can just straight up us though, quizzes a little easier for a little less pressure from their side. Like for me, I don't care. I like to be appreciated with money. Like I feel rewarded. When somebody's like, you worked really hard. Here's a bonus. And I'm like, yes, but not everybody's like that. And not everybody is willing to say to their you know, their boss, like I like money. So, so quizzes like it's an easy kind of like, objective way to get an answer to that. But I think even if you like, even if you didn't hit your revenue goals in a launch, you should find some way even if it's not monetary, to appreciate your team if they went over and above for you, and honestly, launching or not. If you want to be a good business owner, a good boss, you should be doing that anytime your team's going over and above for you launch or not.
Sara: That's a seems like the perfect way to end our conversation for today. Like just appreciating and pay attention to your team and really hearing them out and giving a space for them to have a voice and to be appreciated. Like, like that's nicely stuff like that that relationship between, you know, someone in your team and I guess your OBM is no VM, you could help obviously facilitate that and figure out it is right,
Erika: Yeah, it's a lot easier for team members to tell their OBM how they feel about something or how they like to be appreciated than saying that rate to like, the big kahuna, you know, sometimes there's a little bit of a power dynamic at play there, people feel a bit nervous to tell like the big boss that so your OBM is a great intermediary who can take care of that for you.
Sara: And then getting to you would also be the person who would really have noticed as well, when they're going above and beyond when these and when they you know, sort of it's like the time to appreciate them.
Erika: Exactly. Yeah, that's right.
Sara: So Erica, how can we find you online and learn about working with you? You know, do you have even capacity to work with people tell us.
Erika: So, well, you can find me on my website. It's Erica mccauley.com. That's erikmacauley.com. Everything about me and my services are there. I'm also on Instagram at Erika underscore McCauley. As far as working with me, my retainers currently full for ongoing clients that I am doing strategy calls, I'm doing one off short term projects, all starting in q1 of 2022.
Sara: Amazing and we will drop all those links in the show notes. Of course, Erika, thank you so much for having this really honest conversation about how we can you know, utilize an OBM in our business, how to make it a successful relationship. And I love how you took it beyond just the OBM too. But like any staff, like you know, let's say sports for contractors who are working with our team, how do we set up a really good situation, so that it works for the business, it also works for the people that you're hiring.
Erika: So for sure, I feel like as an OBM, it's my job to advocate for the entire support team. So I always try and do that. And I know that this is like a new sometimes a new topic and new area for business owners. I am happy to provide this kind of information so that they get a little insight on what's going on behind the scenes. And it was so great talking with you. I was really happy to get to chat about this today with you. Thank you for having me.
Sara: Thanks so much. All right launchers. Until next time, happy launching.
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