418 Sarah Noked: Systems to Scale

What keeps most business owners from scaling their businesses? So many entrepreneurs become human doings – that is, doing too much of the doing … and ending up in burnout and overwhelm.


I’m Melinda Wittstock and today on Wings of Inspired Business we meet an inspiring entrepreneur who helps other entrepreneurs in the online space develop systems, lead virtual teams and automate their processes.

Sarah Noked (no-KED) is what’s known as an OBM – that is, she founded an Online Business Management Agency.

We’re going to geek out together about how to think like an “owner” rather than an employee in your own startup or business … how to get better at delegating and asking for help, plus other systems for automation and management.

Make sure you take a moment, follow Wings of Inspired Business on facebook @wingspodcast, Twitter @MelindaWings and Instagram @melindawittstock2020. And if you like what you’re hearing, please review us on iTunes so more women can find these amazing interviews and soar in business.

Now back to the inspiring Sarah Noked.

Founder of Sarah Noked OBM, an online business management agency, Sarah helps her clients systematize their businesses’ back-ends, hire and manage successful virtual teams, and prime founders for successful online launches. Her mission is simple: to empower entrepreneurs, keep everyone accountable to their goals, and increase her clients’ profits.

Sarah is one of just 3 worldwide Certified OBM® Trainers, offering a variety of training and certification courses, and resources to empower and educate highly-skilled VAs and OBMs around the world.

So are you ready for Sarah Noked? I am. Let’s fly!

Melinda Wittstock:         Sarah, welcome to Wings.

Sarah Noked:                    Thanks so much for having me.

Melinda Wittstock:         I’m excited to talk to you because there are so many people out there right now looking for ways that they can get leverage and scale in their online business. Let’s start with what some of the impediments are. When you work with clients, what’s stopping them from getting to scale? What are the major roadblocks for them?

Sarah Noked:                    I would say they are stuffing themselves.

Melinda Wittstock:         Yeah.

Sarah Noked:                    I mean, there are a few big things. When I’m working with my own clients and when I’m just starting working with a client, I find that the number one thing that keeps people in a state or getting stale, I guess in their business or unable to scale unable to take it to that next level, whether it be moving from whatever that looks like for somebody, it’s usually that they haven’t spent the time actually putting standard operating procedures in place. That means that everything basically is in their head. Things like client onboarding and off boarding, which if you’re in this online space and maybe you’re a coach or you have a business that provides services that’s something that you do hopefully very often.

I find that instead of putting it down on paper delegating the parts that you can delegate, these people are just reinventing the wheel every time they need to bring on a client or take out a client from their business. Basically setting up standard operating procedures for their business and starting to document. It could be as simple as shooting a loom even so if you don’t have any team members quite yet and you have nobody to document this stuff, nobody to delegate to, you can start by just shooting simple loom screen cast.

Loom is a screen cast tool that I love to tell my clients about which makes it really easy to just shoot your screen, talk someone through something like client onboarding and what that looks like. Then you get a little link and then you can literally save it somewhere. And at some point when you’re ready to bring on those team members, at least aren’t feeling like, “Oh my God, I’m so overwhelmed because now I need to tell them everything.” You actually have a bank of standardized ways of how you like things done, even though it might not be the most amazing way of documenting things, but it is for that first step.

Melinda Wittstock:         Absolutely. The SOP thing is huge, right? There’s a certain point where, say, in the early stage of your business, you’re doing all this stuff and you perfect a system. Then yes, I use loom as well, my EAs VAs all do this. Then everybody knows how to do it. If you’re sick or something or, or if you have a key employee and they leave it’s not going hurt your business.

Sarah Noked:                    Right. Totally. I find too that a lot of the times when people are really struggling or they’re bringing on team members and the team members are… so oftentimes I’ll get into situation where I’m dealing with a potentially new client who has had a bad track record with VAs or any online support freelancer because the team member comes in and they’re gone very quickly. Or the team member doesn’t know what to do when they’re asking the client questions all the time. I find a lot of the root of team issues and team turnover, which can be very costly, especially for small business.

It comes from the fact that nobody’s really taken the time to be like, “Well, here’s how we do things around here.” We just assume that people are going to figure it out on their own and then we get frustrated when they ask questions. It creates this bad feeling all around.

Melinda Wittstock:         You talk about the three biggest mistakes that solopreneurs make. What are those three? We can maybe break them down one at a time. What’s the first one?

Sarah Noked:                    Yeah, so I feel like the first one is really goal clarity, goal clarity. A lot of the times people don’t really spend the time getting clear about what their business goals are. To me, your business goals are tied very tightly to the team members that are currently in your business, will be in your business, have to leave your business. For example, if I’m now planning to build a membership program in my business I might need to bring on that person who’s going to be able to manage that membership ongoing.

I find that most people aren’t really clear about their goals. It’s not even about the… because I’m so sick of hearing that bright shiny object thing. It’s not so much about the bright shiny object, it’s about operating in this reactive state of mind where you’re perhaps hiring for that VA role you needed on your team a year ago. Not this VA that’s going to come in and manage the membership. But I just have one example that I just gave.

Hiring in proactive rather than reactive mode. A lot of that stems from being very clear on the goals you have in your business and where you see your business in a year from now. I always say to people, be clear on your goals, be clear about where you want to be in a year from now. What that’s going to look like. And think about the person you want to have on your team in a year from now that’s going to bring you to where you want to be rather than hiring that person that you may be needed on your team last year or something like that.

Melinda Wittstock:         Yeah, and it presupposes that your own strengths and your own weaknesses too. I think sometimes the mistake people make is they try and master the thing that they’re not good at rather than just hiring that out. I think it’s better to double down on, what you’re good at is probably the same thing that brings you joy. If you’re happy, you’re going to attract other happy people. If you don’t love fixing links or the spreadsheet or the QuickBooks or this or whatever, there’s somebody else somewhere that does.

Sarah Noked:                    Yeah, most of my clients, I find most of the people who are in the online space, if you don’t know what to outsource first, basically a good rule of thumb is that the marketing and the sales are usually the last things to come off of the entrepreneur’s plate. Everything else potentially is on the table to delegate. That’s what I found is a good rule of thumb to shake people into getting in perspective what they really need to be. Also too, what I will add to that is typically it’s those things that are closest to the revenue generating pieces in their business. Those are always the last to be delegated.

Melinda Wittstock:         Right. It’s true. The other thing is when you know your goals, attaching those goals to something that’s truly in your heart, right? That’s authentic rather than a goal, that’s a should do. Do you find that the people you work with, I mean they see on Facebook or they see other people doing something and they think, “Oh, I have to do the same thing as that person is doing or I should do this or I should do that,” but it’s actually not what they should do because they’re not doing the thing they actually want to do.

Sarah Noked:                    100% I see that. I mean, and as an online business manager that leadership quality that I have, that’s something that I’m always trying to lead the client to get back to what their goals are and not necessarily what someone else is doing or what. But that stuff, it always creeps up, because I think we’re always comparing. It’s so easy with Instagram, with social to compare ourselves to other people and especially in the entrepreneurship world and especially as women, I’m sure there’s a lot of male listeners here too, but I find that for women especially, it becomes very, can be very, very detrimental to a business’s development. The truth is, is that your business growth journey is so, so the same thing as your personal growth journey. When you’re not clear to the goals, it’s just mucks up everything.

Melinda Wittstock:         Yeah, that’s true. Okay. We talked about one of the biggest mistakes, but then we drifted off into a number of other really important states as well. What are some of the other ones on your list?

Sarah Noked:                    It’s like everything’s about that goal clarity, right? Goal clarity is definitely that first one. Then I would say that the second one for me is definitely properly communicating, right? Having that place to communicate with your team. It’s basically organizing your virtual office, having a project management tool, having standard operating procedures, having a place where you can communicate with your team members and perhaps even a coach or all the relevant players in your business, having that communal place for combos. I love Skype, not Skype. I love Slack. I actually use teamwork to chat myself.

I find that it’s about communicating, but it’s so much more than that. It’s like almost like communicating when you’re not there or delegating, right? Communication delegation, having that place where people can turn to when they need information, like a standard operating procedure or the project management tool where they’re not turning necessarily to you.

Melinda Wittstock:         Yeah. One of the things that I find interesting, I mean I help a lot of people launch podcasts for instance, and figure out how to monetize those and a number of other things besides, and one of the things I noticed though is that a lot of, and also the women entrepreneurs I work with, get very obsessed with the tactics and lead with the tactics rather than say the mission or yes. As you say, the goal or the vision and the strategy.

Do you find that too? People get all caught up in like, “Oh my goodness, what’s their tech stack? Is it Click Funnels or LeadPages or is it this or is it that, should I use Wufoo forms or should I use type form? Before they even know what their offer is, before they actually have an offer that’s converting?

Sarah Noked:                    Yeah. I mean, I can see that. As an OBM, most clients that I work with are definitely not in the startup phase, they are… so as an online business manager, my clients have a proven business model. They’re at least making six figures in revenue a year. Their tech stack is like, yeah, I mean sometimes they’ll be playing around with it a little bit, but I would say that they are over the tactics and they’ve come to grips with the fact that nothing is perfect.

Melinda Wittstock:         Yes, exactly. Nothing is perfect. I just find that if we’re just too much in the weeds as the founder, we can get more easily blown off course.

Sarah Noked:                    Oh, totally. Absolutely. I think that most people who work with an OBM are really over that tactic piece. I mean, although it does always creep up, but I hear you, I hear you on, I find that it can be very, it can really throw you off course because when I started in this industry in 2010 and even in the last three or four years, it’s like every week there’s a new project management tool out there.

I’ve been using teamwork PM for the last 10 years and yeah, I’ve thought maybe here and there to maybe change and try click up or try something new. But I’m like, you know what, the time it’s going to take me to migrate it and also knowing that nothing is perfect and it’s always evolving. I’m just like, “Well, let’s put that aside and let’s focus on the bigger pieces that we need to deal with. The new product that I want to do or whatever.”

I definitely hear that there’s a lot of… it can be very overwhelming because there’s so many different software, there’s so many different systems and truthfully nothing is getting close to perfect. Nothing is even close to like an all in one solution and a lot of it is so patchwork and then you have Zapier and all these different integrations and it can be a real hot mess, and it can be very overwhelming.

I think it’s a natural thing to compare that tech stack and see what other people are doing at least at the beginning. But there has to be a certain point where you stop it and recognize that, “Okay, now I’m just doing that paralysis procrastination thing where I’m so busy parsing around with the tech that I’ve forgotten that I actually have a business to run and that this stuff is not ever going to be perfect and there’s always going to be something else that you can do.

But I’m going to put that on the side and I’m going to get clear about my goals, and if I’m going to get that community to X amount of people or if I’m going to be on X amount of podcasts this year, I want to do X, Y, Z as my goal and I’m not going to bother with my tech stack anymore. It’s almost like a growing thing.

Melinda Wittstock:         So an online business manager is an interesting term. I honestly, a lot of people in the online space and is an online business manager, a relatively new position. I mean, tell me, first of all, I just want to make sure that everybody knows what an online business manager actually does.

Sarah Noked:                    Yeah, totally. That’s a great question. Typically an online business manager comes in to support an entrepreneur when they’re ready, almost to remove themselves from the day to day of the business happenings. An online business manager comes into a business that has a team, that has a proven business model, that’s making revenue generated consistently. They’re coming into take the entrepreneur and say, “Dear entrepreneur, I’m going to be managing the operations. I’m going to be having meetings with the teams. I’m going to take control of a funnel, metrics. I’m going to manage the operators, whatever it is.

I’m going to take over managing those critical pieces of their business so that the client or the business owner then can then go and focus on the things that they either really love doing in their business or things that really make them more money. It might be about the things that only they can do. Like for example, for you Melinda, it’s like only you can do this podcast. So if you have, for example, if you’re focused on doing just doing these podcasts, then you can have an OBM can come in to manage the team. Bringing the podcast to fruition, can manage some of your social media.

Basically it’s that person that comes in as your almost partner to make sure that things are getting done according to how it should be done. It gives the client a real peace of mind and a real sense of ease knowing that somebody has come in to help support them in that. What I will say too is I’m a certified online business manager, so it’s not as if I just woke up one day and called myself an OBM. I’ve gone through a pretty rigorous training. I’ve got an MBA. I’ve got years of corporate, not years, couple of years of corporate business development experience and such.

I was already coming at it from having a lot of transfer. I had a landscaping company back in the day, I was coming at it from having a lot of transferable skills and when I became a certified OBM, I actually joined a training that’s accredited by the international association of OBMs. What I learned in that training was this framework of leading my client, managing launches, managing team, understanding the nuts and bolts of the online space so that I can really support my clients and help their vision come to in that sense.

Melinda Wittstock:         Yeah. I mean, that’s so important. In essence then, you are the person who’s holding all the cards between say the person who is building your funnel or the person who’s doing your Facebook ads, or the person who’s doing your organic social media or managing your podcasts or doing your PR or doing any of these things that you have to do to be credible online. Or like figuring out your webinars, helping you with your offer, helping you with your copy-

Sarah Noked:                    Keeping you accountable.

Melinda Wittstock:         Yeah and coordinating between all those things because-

Sarah Noked:                    [00:26:25] And also calling you out when you are having that bright shiny object syndrome and saying like it’s great that, in a very leadership type way saying like, “Okay, I see that Amy Porterfield is doing this amazing launch and these webinar technology that she’s using is spectacular.” Like, “Yes, let’s look at moving our evergreen funnel in that direction, but let’s just put that on the to do list for after we’re done this lot.” You know what I mean? It’s about also being that confidant, right?

Melinda Wittstock:         Were you project managing people as well?

Sarah Noked:                    Exactly, yeah. Project management, team management. It’s like people, metrics, projects that kind of stuff. It’s that big picture management piece. For example, I’ll never join a client’s team if they don’t have a virtual assistant or if they don’t have somebody there to do the implementation. Because it’s very hard to be like in the weeds implementing and in the big picture with the client. That’s not to say that I would never implement something with potential client. I absolutely would, but it’s like a higher level testing the funnel or what have you.

Melinda Wittstock:         Because if you’re the founder of a business and you are the visionary, okay, so you’re flying at 30,000 feet and if you have to swoop down to ground level, all of a sudden you’re down on the ground and you’re doing all this stuff. Suddenly you can’t see anymore because at 30,000 feet you can see all the clouds, you can see the storms coming, you can see the opportunities. You can see all these things come down from there and you’re lost. I mean, really truly lost. I think that’s one of the best ways to explain this, why everybody needs boots on the ground doing day to day tasks, right?

I mean, I know this because I’ve scaled, what? Four businesses now to seven and eight figures. I’m on my fifth and so I know a thing or two about scaling technology and online stuff and media and all of those things, right? From all of those businesses. I know that really the only time I’ve ever had a problem was when I’ve gotten in my own way. Like when I’ve been tempted to swoop down and I’m just good enough as the integrator. I’m a total visionary, but I’m just good enough at the integrator that I’ll mess other people up.

Sarah Noked:                    But you’re a quick start, but you’re low on the follow through, right? I bet.

Melinda Wittstock:         Oh my God, my, strengths finder is activator, strategic, learner, right? Yeah. Absolutely. I am definitely a starter, but I’m also a visionary and I’m futurist, right? As long as I stay in my lane, everything’s great. But it presupposes that I have to hire and hire quickly and early on. One of the things I… the mistake, I see so many women founders making is not hiring early enough because they’re afraid. Like, “Oh man, what if I have to fire that person? Or what if I don’t have enough money?”

Sarah Noked:                    I find that too, and it’s bananas truly because it’s just not right. It’s like-

Melinda Wittstock:         Well, yeah, because you have that person, invariably you’re going to be making more money as a result of having that person. You think about adding obviously you’re not going to go straight into a W2, but say you have like a 1099 or you have someone that you hired on a project basis, they do a good job on the project. Well then maybe there’s another project, but you can incentivize them to make them basically pay for themselves and then some, but I find so few women think in terms of that leverage, whereas that comes more naturally men. Why do you think there’s the difference there? Is it just how we’ve been trained or what is it?

Sarah Noked:                    Yeah, I think it’s… I don’t even know what it is, but it’s something that I definitely personally struggle with in my business. I’ve scaled a wildly successful OBM agency over the last almost 10 years. I find that my biggest downfall in the agency was that I, and also my biggest strength in a lot of ways, is that I always…. my management style has evolved over the years, it comes from wanting to nurture other people, especially other women on my team, but also like wanting to be accepted. I feel like that’s what always screws us is like, a lot of us women, I have this need to please. I really do feel like-

Melinda Wittstock:         Yeah, we want to be like-

Sarah Noked:                    I mean it’s the nature or nurture, I don’t know. But I feel like most women I know have that people pleaser mentality. If someone’s incentivized on your team, and actually part of the OBM certification program is that we teach OBMs how to work on incentive. It’s something that we teach because it’s so damn beneficial to both parties, but it’s something that’s so like, for some reason, and I don’t even know really Melinda, honestly, I don’t even know why it is the way it is, but I feel like it must have something to do with a need to please or not disappoint or what’s that expectation going to look like if now I’m going to make a profit, I’m going to make my payment’s going to come from like a percentage of how well this launch goes. I don’t know. It’s really bananas too seriously [inaudible 00:31:48].

Melinda Wittstock:         Well, I see a lot of women also just, I don’t know, underpricing, over delivering, and that to me always says, “My God, we’re stuck in this proving game like prove our value because deep down maybe subconsciously we don’t entirely trust it. Of course, Sadie has told us that in many, many ways over-

Sarah Noked:                    It’s also easier, I feel like it’s just taken the easy way out to a lot of the times by being like that. I’m not like that, but because I am one of few certified OBM trainers where I actually now train people as of the last couple of years, I find that because part of the OBM certification, is an exam. I find that the women who are really those shining stars you just know that they’re going to be such a bang on OBM and they get to the exam portion of the program and they’re just so down on themselves and they’re so insecure and self-conscious and their exam is spectacular. They couldn’t have done it any better.

It’s only when they get their results back that they gain that confidence that they actually can do it. I feel like, and just to what you were saying, about hiring a coach or hiring a mentor and the benefits of having these people in your core are so critical too, when it comes to leveling up and becoming that person or finding that confidence that you actually don’t need to undercharge and over deliver. You don’t need to people please. You’re perfect just the way you are and you have so much value to give. It’s crazy to me.

Truly, that’s why I do what I do because I see that there are so many moms like me who have young kids operating by undercharging and over-delivering and they’re bringing in their corporate artillery which may be that they were managing marketing campaigns or managing people or executive assistant to the CEO and now they’re finding themselves in the online space and they’re like working for peanuts. But they have these banging skills. That’s also to me perfect candidates for the OBM certification program.

Because I can show you the framework of how to really position yourself and offer the services that these six and seven figure clients are dying to have on their team. Because just like you were saying, you don’t want to swoop in from 30,000 feet above, then swooped down to put out a fire and then it literally takes you another week to get back to where you were before. That’s time is money. If there’s one thing that I know about the online space, it’s about how fast you can take things to market, if you have that great idea, like, boom, let’s get it out, let’s not [inaudible 00:34:47] around here.

Melinda Wittstock:         Absolutely. So, so true. I think also just the fear of failure too. People want to, and women especially can fall into this trap of perfectionism, right? Where we perfect and perfect and perfect and perfect, and don’t show it to the outside world often until it’s too late, right? Because we need to co create with our customers and have the confidence to get it wrong and listen, right? And iterate as we go.

I know certainly in software development, and I’ve had software companies. You go through so many different iterations, you’re creating something new that you’re selling, something that people didn’t even know they needed before. You’re changing behavior, you’re doing all this stuff and it’s hard. The only way you can do it really reasonably is except that you’re going to fail. I put quotation marks around fail because to me that’s just learning, right? You’re going to learn because you’re trying to figure out how to drive value for your customers. Does this work? Does that work? Does this work? Does that work? Or, if we did this, would that work? Right? When we think about marketing and marketing funnels and online offers and all of that, isn’t that also the case?

Sarah Noked:                    Absolutely. 100%, 100%.

Melinda Wittstock:         Because you know what’s so funny-

Sarah Noked:                    I like to call it perfectionism, procrastinate. Like it’s almost like paralysis, not procrastinating, paralysis because-

Melinda Wittstock:         The three Ps, is paralysis, perfectionism and procrastination, right? To me those three Ps are fear. It’s just fear.

Sarah Noked:                    Totally, totally fear. And as women we’re so fearful of making mistakes and I don’t know maybe because I grew up with entrepreneurial family. Like, well that’s just to what you were saying, it’s part like failure in quotes, patients like that’s a big part of getting to your success. Like you have to absolutely… If it was so easy, then everybody would do it.

Melinda Wittstock:         Everybody would be a billionaire if it was easy, right? I mean it’s so much of it is getting out of our comfort zone. If you want therapy, just become an entrepreneur, right? Because you have to grow and you have to have the mindset to get out of your own way to get out of that fear or like yourself, even if you fail and not to take it personally.

When you work with your clients and you notice there’s some block or some fear or something that’s stopping them. I mean, because you can be in the business and the tactics, but do you find yourself getting into mindset and stuff with them?

Sarah Noked:                    Oh my God, yes. The OBM certification program, like the big module is the leadership module two. I will sometimes lovingly joke that I’m a therapist. [inaudible 00:38:01] Because such a big part of what I do is in around mindset and it’s amazing because one of the big things I love doing with clients is those personality tests like Strengths Finder, Colby A to really get a sense of how their personality is, how their brain works. Then that helps me really point them into the direction of what they should, their StrengthsFinder like, “Well this is your strength. Here’s why you are struggling with this. Here’s why you are putting that off. Let’s outsource that. Finding solutions and thinking outside the box and being a sounding board for my client, but also really being a partner in supporting them through this personal journey.

I don’t mean to sound cheesy, but it is a gift in a lot of ways. I feel really privileged and it’s funny because I’ve worked with these seven figure entrepreneurs that on some names you would probably even know and on a very outside view, they look so polished and buttoned up. But in my experience I see them on the back end and they are a complete hot mess. If it wasn’t for the right team that they surround themselves with and all the people that are lifting them up and helping them stay in their zone of genius. Oh my God, it is crazy.

Melinda Wittstock:         Yeah. We all need help and we all need to learn how to ask for help and receive it. How many times have you, yourself or seen other women in particular be complimented and then they brush it off?

Sarah Noked:                    Oh yeah.

Melinda Wittstock:         No, no, no.

Sarah Noked:                    Oh, I just bought this for $2.

Melinda Wittstock:         Yeah right. [crosstalk 00:39:46]. It’s what’s interesting it’s dissing the person…. people like to give. It’s like dissing the person who’s giving and who feels good about giving. It’s like, for God’s sake, just receive and you need to learn how to receive in business. I mean, if you want to make money, that is, you need to learn how to receive your due.

Sarah Noked:                    Thinking the sales conversation. People think sales are so sleazy. I’m like, “Sales are not… it’s like the complete opposite of being sleazy. This transaction like everything in life or this transaction. I think getting over some of these things that we have programmed in our mind, like whether it be taking a compliment or having a difficult sales conversation, or firing a team member that’s not serving you anymore or whatever that looks like.

We have to really take some ownership and take the lead on a lot of these things. I relish in those kinds of situations. I don’t know, I’m quite a confrontational person, but I don’t even think it’s about that. I think it’s about just changing some of the ways that we’re programmed to feel. Like years ago someone had said that to me about the complimenting thing. When someone compliments you, and you don’t take… you give back some crappy response that makes the person feel really bad because they’ve just tried to give you a compliment.

Actually just saying like, “Thank you for that compliment.” It’s that simple. Or when you’re having a sales conversation, give your price and then shut your mouth. Just simple cues or when I have conversations with clients, if there’s something that they’re saying that I don’t agree with or that I know is like what you were saying before, maybe feeding into like a tendency to bright shiny object or whatever, I’m going to say to them, “Dear client, I really hear you. I think it’s such a great idea.” And then instead of saying, but, I’m going to say, and, can we talk about this next week or, and let’s just put this on the back burner for a short while, instead of saying, but, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Because that immediately throws people into defense mode.

Melinda Wittstock:         Yeah, that’s really, really true. You mentioned you came from an entrepreneurial family, so were you very entrepreneurial as a kid? Did you have a lemonade stand and all of this stuff?

Sarah Noked:                    Yeah. Oh yeah, totally. I had all that stuff. Not the lemonade stand per se, but I’ve always been… they nicknamed me the ticket Chomper I used to literally go to the bank back when you’d have all those slips at the bank and I’d literally would collect all these papers. My dad was an accountant, so I would have my little… I wasn’t actually maybe selling things to people, but I definitely was in my own world for many, many years. I live in Israel now, but when I lived in Canada, like I’m originally from Canada.

Melinda Wittstock:         Oh, me too, huh?

Sarah Noked:                    Oh cool.

Melinda Wittstock:         Whereabouts in Canada are you from?

Sarah Noked:                    I’m from Toronto.

Melinda Wittstock:         So am I.

Sarah Noked:                    When I finished university, I did my undergraduate degree at York university in humanities and I’m just like, “What am I going to do with this? I’m not going to become a teacher.” I was then dating my now husband, then Israeli boyfriend, and we’re like, “Let’s start a landscaping company.” That’s what we did and we ran… It’s actually, we sold it and it’s still very, very one of the top green bloom landscaping. It’s one of the top landscaping companies in Toronto is still to this day. You’ll see their trucks everywhere.

But we grew that company and that was my first taste of automation and leveraging team and actually really having to make it work because I was trying so desperately to stay in Canada. Well I failed clearly because I’m living in Israel now, but I mean the weather is much better here.

Melinda Wittstock:         Yes, that’s true. I know. I’m thinking what coats do I have to take now? Anyway, but yeah, no, this is wonderful. What’s next for you? I mean, so you’re an OBM and you’re building this big business and where do you see it going and where do you see your [inaudible 00:44:11].

Sarah Noked:                    Yeah, in the last couple of years I approached Tina, talk about big balls. I approached Tina Forsyth who’s the head of the International Association. You had mentioned before, how long has this role been around? The association started in 2010. I feel like over the last three years it’s become increasingly more needed because online businesses are quite honestly becoming more complicated. There’s not that one unicorn that checks all the boxes anymore, right?

So about two years ago I approached Tina and I basically, lovingly convinced her to let me take over certifying OBMs, because, “There’s such a need for this. Let me take it over for you. I want to nurture and support the next generation of online business managers,” and that’s literally what I’ve been doing. I run the program and I’ve really been focused on moving away from my agency model so I work more in internship type model with fellow certified OBMs that need a little bit of a loving push, either because they lack the confidence but they’re killer OBMs and need me by their side to support them until they’re ready to stand on their own two feet. I find that that really feeds my soul.

Then of course training. I am mainly training people and I’m working less with my own clients after years and years of running a multi six figure agency. I had five full time team members here in Israel over the years. Because there’s tons of Anglos like me living here. It was like this rich employment. I could grab these great people, bring them on full time and they were master’s degrees and all that stuff and train them to be OBMs. That was what I loved doing. I ran this amazing agency. We had clients all over the world, Canada, US, Australia, UK, everywhere. It was wild for…

Well my kids were really young. It’s almost like, “Oh, now my kids are getting older and I can get back to yoga, doing the things I love doing. I don’t want to run this crazy agency anymore. It was like, I don’t know. It was bizarre. But yeah, so I’m just basically focused more on training OBMs and [inaudible 00:46:35] people helping women specifically find themselves, find their roots in the online world and find where they can really leverage and make a good living.

Melinda Wittstock:         That’s wonderful. Thank you so much, Sarah, for opening the veil on what an OBM is and all the good that you bring to the world. If people want to hire you as an OBM or become an OBM, well, what should they do?

Sarah Noked:                    Well if anyone wants to get in touch with me, they can head on over to sarahnoked.com/wings. I’ve got this gorgeous page set up just for your listeners that have some great resources, tons of stuff, tons of freebies that they can use to get started on in the online space. Whether they are an entrepreneur looking to scale their business or somebody that’s coming in, wanting to figure out what skills they have already innately, that they can leverage in the online space to support other people do their thing online.

Melinda Wittstock:         That’s wonderful. Well, I just want to thank you so much for putting on your wings and flying with us.

Sarah Noked:                    Thank you, Melinda, for having me on. It’s been awesome.


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