The Difference Between Online Business Manager vs. Virtual Assistant


As an online business owner, you’ll find that both virtual assistants and online business managers can be a critical part of your company’s success.  However, to make the best use of these positions, you have to understand the difference between the two.  They’re often confused, and while they are equally important, they serve very different roles.  Keep reading to learn what a virtual assistant and online business manager are and what differentiates the two. 

What is an Online Business Manager?

An online business manager, also known as OBM, does just what the name suggests.  Your OBM will manage the various parts of your online business.  They help to ensure that tasks are being completed correctly, independent contractors or employees are finishing tasks as assigned, projects are on the right track, and more so your business is running smoothly overall. This allows you to focus on other parts of your business.  On any given day, the duties can change based on your needs. 

What is a Virtual Assistant?

A virtual assistant, also known as a VA, provides various remote support services for your business. You can bring on a virtual assistant to handle any number of tasks, from general administrative support to more specialized social media management or graphic design. Since a VA can do so much, it’s essential  that you’re clear about how you want your virtual assistant to serve you in your business. 

Benefits of Hiring an Online Business Manager

As an online business owner, you are often searching for the best support to help you run your business more efficiently.  Hiring an online business manager is the perfect way to do so. Here are some of the benefits of bringing on an OBM.

Offer a Strategic Skill Set

The role of an OBM is to support you in managing your business, so they will bring a strategic skillset to the position. When you choose the right OBM, you will gain access to their knowledge and skills related to developing strategies to improve systems, standard operating procedures, onboarding, offboarding, marketing, and more. Instead of focusing on executing the tasks, like a VA, your OBM will help you develop a strategic plan for different parts of your business. 

Work Independently

Working with an OBM doesn’t require you to guide them on what to do daily or to micromanage their actions.  An online business manager will have the knowledge of your business and what you’re striving to achieve and will work to do the things that need to be done. 

Since they will be so intertwined in your business, there won’t be a need to ask your permission and approval every step of the way.  Instead, you’ll develop a trusting relationship so you can focus on your zone of expertise or even take a break without worrying about how your OBM is handling things. 

In Tune With Your Business

Your online business manager isn’t a pop in and pop out person.  They will become a steady force in your company. Therefore, the time they spend working with you, learning what you want and how you prefer to operate will allow them to get in tune with your business and better learn how to support you. The more comfortable this person becomes with your business, the better they will be able to operate without your guidance. 

Benefits of Hiring a Virtual Assistant

When you hire a virtual assistant, you will be able to have many tasks checked off of your to do list. Here are some of the benefits of hiring a virtual assistant. 

Reduced Labor Costs

Instead of hiring a part time or full time employee to complete various tasks, you can delegate tasks to a virtual assistant to get the work done, which will reduce your labor costs. VAs also come with the necessary skills, so you don’t have to spend your time training them.

Save Time

Since virtual assistants are focused on completing various tasks, you can assign work to them, and they will complete it for you to review.  It gets taken off of your plate so you can focus on managing other things in your business. 

You Can Outsource Guidance

Many virtual assistants do require some level of guidance and approval systems to ensure work is being done correctly. You can choose to take on that job yourself or outsource it to your online business manager. OBMs can manage the other independent contractors and employees in your business; essentially, your OBM is the point of contact instead of you having to stay in constant communication with everyone completing company tasks. 

Flexible Working Requirements

You can hire a VA to fit any requirement you have related to working hours, time zone, pay, speciality, experience, and more. With this flexibility, you can hire a VA with the specifications that fit your needs. You can consider various options such as:

  • Pay per hour or per project
  • Work with a US based or overseas VA
  • Hire a generalist to handle multiple tasks or a specialist to focus on one area
  • Hire for a set number of hours per month or just when you need additional work

Online Business Manager or Virtual Assistant? Both Can Help Your Business Thrive

When deciding whether you want to bring on an OBM or VA, keep in mind that both can help your business improve efficiency, profitability, and productivity as long as you make the right choice with who you bring onboard.  While you might want to start with a VA, you’ll quickly discover that an OBM can also provide a level of support that you won’t soon want to do without. 

As an online business manager, I specialize in helping my clients with everything from strategic webinar strategies, to launches to lead generation along with managing operations and automating processes. If you want to turn your online business into an internet money machine, let’s talk. 

Schedule a free consultation to discuss how an OBM can provide your business with the support you need.  

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