It’s a super common misconception in the online space that Online Business Managers are just glorified Virtual Assistants, but I’m here to break down why that is absolutely not the case! As someone who has been in the online business world for quite some time now, I can tell you that there is a lot more to the Online Business Manager role than meets the eye. In fact, it’s fairly common for business owners to hire both an OBM and a VA onto their team, because each role has their own unique responsibilities in supporting the operations of the business.
But first, what exactly is an Online Business Manager? Or a Virtual Assistant, for that matter?
An OBM, or Online Business Manager, is essentially a manager for your online business. OBMs take on the responsibility of managing and overseeing various different aspects of your business, including day-to-day operations, team management, systems operations, and more! An Online Business Manager is essentially the right-hand person for the CEO, helping them to streamline their business operations and reach their goals.
A VA, or Virtual Assistant, is someone that helps you complete tasks on a daily basis. Whether those tasks are more creative or more administrative depends on your needs and the person that you hire, but some typical tasks that a Virtual Assistant might handle include inbox management, scheduling content such as social media posts and email newsletters, and responding to customer enquiries.
However, with a Virtual Assistant, it is essential that you already know exactly what you need help with so that you’re able to delegate those tasks to your VA on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. VAs need direction. Not only does a Virtual Assistant need clear direction on their work, but it’s also imperative to have an environment (systems and operations for your VA to work within) and SOPs (standard operating procedures) in place that your VA can refer to as an instruction manual for how to complete each task. Additionally, you’ll need to ensure that your Virtual Assistant has an open line of communication with you during work hours if they have questions or need additional direction.
While some people may mistakenly think that an OBM is just a virtual assistant, that belief couldn’t be further from the truth. Virtual assistants help with day-to-day tasks, but an OBM goes faaaarrr beyond that. An OBM is a strategic thinker–someone who can see the big picture and help you map out what steps need to be taken in order to get there. They help you identify and solve problems before they become too big and can help you make informed decisions that will drive your business forward.
Let’s view these roles through a corporate lens: the Online Business Manager role would be closely parallel to an Operations Manager or Project Manager, who would typically have a entire team working under their direct supervision. Much like an Operations Manager or Project Manager, an OBM oversees the different departments within a business to ensure that operations run smoothly and efficiently throughout.
Another key difference between an Online Business Manager and a Virtual Assistant is their experience level! An OBM typically gains some years of experience working in the corporate world before pivoting to the online space to work in an online business management and consulting capacity. Online Business Managers have a deep understanding of what it takes to run a successful online business and are fully ready to support you in getting there. OBMs have a wealth of knowledge and expertise to bring to the table, which, along with their typical prior experience in the corporate space, can prove to be highly valuable in helping you make strategic decisions that will drive your business forward.
In addition to their experience, an Online Business Manager is highly skilled at managing teams–unlike Virtual Assistants! In fact, they can help you build and manage a team of VAs, contractors, or other professionals, ensuring that everyone is working together effectively and efficiently so that tasks are completed in the right way at the right time. Hiring a team is a super important necessity when running an online business. Having an OBM on your side can really help you get that team started, which will help tremendously in scaling your business!
Finally, an Online Business Manager is someone who can help hold you accountable and keep you, and the team focused on the business’s goals, vision and mission. They can also help you make sure that the goals you’re setting are realistic, along with helping you create a strategic plan of action to achieve those goals. Not to mention, if Plan A doesn’t end up working out, they can assist you in designing a strategy with a new and better Plan B. The level of accountability and focus that OBMs have is unparalleled and is essential for any online business owner that wants to grow and scale consistently.
As you can see, there are many different facets that separate Online Business Managers from Virtual Assistants. Both the OBM role and the VA role hold a valuable place within the operations of an online business; however, it’s essential to understand that each has their own unique expertise to contribute. After all, you wouldn’t hire an electrician to install your water pipes or a plumber to install an electrical outlet–right? The same goes for Online Business Managers and Virtual Assistants. Allow each of these roles to lean fully into their own proficiencies, and see how much your business will flourish as a result!
Want to learn more about the function of Online Business Managers in the online entrepreneurial space? Check out my blog here!
Convinced it’s time to hire an OBM for your online business? Ready to scale your brain-child to the moon? Then be sure to check out my OBM services here.
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