My client, Ashley Cheeks, is the founder of Written Success. She works with entrepreneurs looking to create comprehensive business plans to help secure funding for their ideas.
Having worked in the field for over a decade, Ashley noticed there were a great number of inconsistencies when it came to the advice given to people looking to create business plans and market their startups. Entrepreneurs were looking for answers and assistance from a neutral, unbiased source that could guide them towards meeting their business goals.
Having started this sort of work as a side hustle in 2009 while maintaining her normal 9 to 5 job, it was in 2017 that Ashley decided to open her own business and devote her time to helping entrepreneurs full time.
It was within her first year of business that Ashley realized she was getting herself into a position where she couldn’t handle the workload.
As Ashley explains, “I had figured out how to easily get more clients, and it was great. Unfortunately, this left me no time to work on anything other than serving my clients. I didn’t have the bandwidth to do any content production, email marketing, or other actions to nurture my client base.”
Knowing she needed help, she began to outsource, but things didn’t go as smoothly as she was expecting.
“I hired some people with amazing resumes, yet nobody seemed to be able to effectively do the work I needed, and it quickly became very frustrating. There was always a problem. I’m a coach and consultant — not a manager — so I felt as though I didn’t have the right skill set to manage them properly.”
Deciding to Take the Plunge
Ashley knew she needed help, but it had to be the right kind of help. With this in mind, she reached out to a business friend to see if she had any suggestions. After her friend told her about the work I had done for her team and referred to me as her “secret weapon,” Ashley made the decision to get in touch with me to see if I might be able to help.
Despite our initial conversation going well, Ashley wasn’t quite ready to move ahead with hiring me.
“I talked to Tressa, and I felt right away that she was someone I could trust. I knew I needed the help, but I was scared, and I felt like I wasn’t ready to make the commitment to hire her. I put the idea of hiring on the back burner for several months, but then I received an influx of clients, and once again, found myself completely overwhelmed.”
After getting increasingly more behind on her work and struggling to meet deadlines, Ashley finally reached her breaking point. She knew she needed someone else to step in and manage her contractors so she could focus solely on her clients.
There was only one catch. Hiring an online business manager to oversee the operations of her business meant she’d had to face her biggest fear: that her business couldn’t ever be successful the way she wanted it to be.
“I knew that if I hired Tressa, I was going to have to let her see the inner workings of my business in an intimate way. That scared me because not only could she see what I was doing right, she also might see things I was doing wrong. But then I realized, I NEEDED to know where my business could improve. I wanted someone to take things off my plate so I wouldn’t feel so burned out all the time. I had built a successful business, but I just couldn’t get it together to run things the way I wanted, and letting someone in was a scary idea.”
With her newfound understanding of what was really holding her back, Ashley decided it was finally time to take the leap of hiring me, and in late 2018, our partnership was born.
Offering Solutions, Not Roadblocks
It can be a little daunting anytime you decide to pull back the curtain and let someone come into your business. But it didn’t take Ashley too long to realize that one of my primary goals as an OBM is to provide my clients with solutions.
“What struck me right away about Tressa is her attitude that anything can be figured out. I didn’t want someone who needed me to tell them what to do; I wanted someone to help me solve problems, and that’s exactly what she does. She’s so talented in her role, but more than that, she offers full transparency. If she doesn’t know the answer, she tells me that, and then she finds someone who does. Her approach to things is what made me realize as soon as I hired her that she was going to be a partner — not just a contractor.”
While Ashley knew that hiring me would free up valuable time for her, she wasn’t expecting how much being relieved of the day-to-day tasks would open up new opportunities for her and her business.
“Having Tressa here to free me from so much of the operational work, my creativity has picked up tenfold. Not only can I do more client work, but I also was able to create a new revenue stream to help my clients in a different way because I’m not completely burned out anymore. I have the space to think about the bigger picture and how I can optimize the business. Tressa handles everything, and it’s like a weight has been lifted off me.”
With a partner to balance the workload, Ashley finally had the time to tackle some of the bigger goals she had been hoping to achieve.
“After putting it off for years, I released a book. I was finally able to focus on that because I didn’t have to worry about who was running the business. Tressa was handling it. I wanted to launch a course, so we did. I also wanted to get more exposure for myself and my business, so I’ve done some speaking engagements and hired a PR manager. I’m currently looking at doing a TED Talk in the future. I’ve got so much clarity on where I’m headed, whereas before, I didn’t even have time to think about this stuff. Tressa’s here, so I know nothing is going to fall through the cracks, and all the critical pieces of my business are taken care of.”
Great Strategy + A Trusted Partner = Triple Revenue
While everyone has their own idea of what makes for a successful partnership, one thing that is critical as an OBM is having the trust of my clients. Part of that trust is knowing that I always have their best interests in mind and that we share a common goal: the success of their business.
“There’s something so refreshing about the way Tressa approaches business. If she says she’s going to do something, it’s usually done before I can even think about it again. If she gives me a recommendation, I take it, and that’s not how I am with everyone. Her suggestions are always based on logic, reason, and the best interest of my business. The way she communicates her thoughts just reinforces my trust in what she does and how she does it. I feel so lucky to have someone like her working in my business with me.”
Every client I work with has a unique business, and when you’re hiring an OBM, one of the most important things you should look for is someone who is willing to be flexible and meet your specific needs. In Ashley’s case, my approach was an unexpected surprise.
“Tressa saw the shortest path to the destination I wanted to reach, and I wasn’t really expecting that. I thought she was going to make me fit a mold that’s convenient for her to manage, but she didn’t. She met me where I was, and she helped me tweak and optimize — not overhaul. I wasn’t expecting that at all.”
In the last year that we’ve been working together, Ashley’s business has gone from strength to strength, with her annual revenue being the biggest gain. But that doesn’t mean Ashley has plans of slowing down anytime soon.
“Tressa generates results for people in ways that I’ve never seen before. I’ve tripled my revenue from what it was last year, and it’s only gonna get bigger from here. I could not have done it without her team. What we’ve done together for my business is so impressive.”
When I asked Ashley what she would tell someone who was considering working with me, here’s what she had to say:
“If you are in any kind of an entrepreneur-type role, you need to hire Tressa. She comes with her own team, and they all know what it means to run an online business successfully in a way that allows you to grow. If you want to make more money, get more time back in your life, and be more strategic about everything that you do without hiring a ton of staff or spending a bunch of money on really expensive consultants, Tressa is the one you want.”