Dancing Leaf Solutions Andrea Elibero

Why I Purposely Lost Money In My Biz: Contracting to Expand

I had the dream Virtual Assistant job…until I didn’t

Within five months of starting my VA business, I was a fully booked out Virtual Assistant. For the first time in my life, I was working on my terms and schedule. Living the “dream life” of a remote worker–traveling and working from the beaches of Bali and the sweat lodges of Mexico (ok, not in the actual sweat lodge, but close enough). THIS was exactly what I wanted.

That is until I didn’t.

I want to be an OBM!

I was fresh out of VA school, excited, eager, and overworked. I took every client that came my way. I worked 24/7. I spent a lot of time working and trading too many hours for not enough money. The amount of work was not worth the money. Plus, I was falling behind, not serving my clients at the level they deserved.

I knew within those first five months as a VA that I wanted to transition to an Online Business Manager. I wanted to work smarter, not harder. I wanted to delegate and systemize. I wanted a handful of ideal clients I could co-create with and make their lives easier–and in turn mine.

Becoming an OBM meant a higher-end clientele. Less planning, more strategizing. Less day-to-day, more big picture. This all came with a higher price tag, and a host of:

“Can I REALLY do this?” and

“Am I REALLY the right person for this job?” and

“What if I suck?” — you know, the usual self-doubts.

Regardless of that nagging negative voice, I had high hopes of a smooth transition from VA to OBM.

Living in a scarcity state of mind

Just because I made the decision in my head doesn’t mean I made the decision in my real life.

I completed my OBM Certification and had a detailed plan to fully transition into an OBM role, but I was still living in a scarcity state of mind. I was afraid of saying “no” and turning down referred clients. So I took them ALL, even though they were VA clients and not the OBM clients I actually wanted.

Of course I got super overwhelmed. I was SO busy with my VA clients, that I didn’t have the time to seek the OBM clients I desired–or at least that’s what I was telling myself.

Stay stuck or shift?

I was on the verge of burnout. I had a choice:

  • Stay in the current model of high volume VA clients, working A LOT of hours everyday


  • Shift totally to OBM clients

For me, I knew that if I wanted to fully commit to being an OBM, I had to make a total transition. This whole “I’ll build my OBM business WHILE I’m an overworked VA” was not working for me.

BUT HOW? How was I going to afford my brand new apartment in Miami, groceries from Whole Foods, round-trip tickets to Italy, and the cute flats to roam the streets of Italy. Ok, Italy and shoes can wait, but I had to live and eat, and the fear of not making rent and an empty fridge is real my friends. So real it’ll paralyze you and keep you stuck.

You have to contract to expand

Here’s the thing I’ve come to learn as a soulpreneur:

Growth does not happen in the comfort zone. If I want to take my business to the next level, I have to believe it to see it, not the other way around. I know that those little (and sometimes monumental) leaps of faith are vital to growing my business.

So I made the scary, but thrilling choice to shift ONLY to OBM clients. Can I reiterate scary? I had to muster every ounce of courage to make the space to shift.


Making space = losing money


This isn’t ALWAYS the case, but it’s USUALLY the case. There comes a time in your business when in order to take a step forward, you have to take a step (or a few) back. You have to contract to expand.


You have to let the universe know–not just by your words, but by your actions–that you’re ready for what’s next. And the only way to do that is by literally creating space. You’ll know when it’s time. You’ll feel scared AND excited. You’ll feel pulled. You’ll JUST know when you need to contract in your business in order for it to expand.


How I contracted


You know me. I presented a detailed plan to the universe with a list of to dos (I can’t help myself):


  • I made a list of my VA clients with a plan to transition them
  • I wrote down who to transition out and in what order
  • I let go of 2 VA clients to make space for the next OBM clients (which I didn’t have, but I trusted were coming)


And then, guess what happened?


  • I applied to OBM positions (that suddenly appeared out of nowhere–or did they!?)
  • I got new OBM clients
  • I transitioned fully to OBM clients


Had I not reached out to my mentor and friends and shared my story of how overwhelmed I was, how hesitant I was to make a decision, and how terrified I was of not making rent, I would have never taken the leap. It was with their guiding and compassionate hand that I was able to jump.


On the outside looking in, one would think “And just like that, I transitioned fully to an OBM”. But we all know, it’s never “just like that.”


Behind the scenes of every successful business, there are those moments when you have to contract to expand.


Stepping into my OBM power


I feel like I’m doing work I love. I have more time–and that is priceless my friends. I’m serving fewer higher-level clients better–working smarter, not harder. Plus, I’m able to develop a coaching program and other income streams which I’m super passionate about. I actually have time to work ON my business and not just IN my business.


Overcoming a scarcity mindset is a life-long journey for some of us. But every time you make space by contracting, you step fully into your power and expand. Let my story be living proof.

Let’s be friends!


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