OBM Vs VA: Which Is Right For Your Business?

Online Business Manager or Virtual Assistant | Who is the right fit for your business?

So, you’re looking to hire some help for your online business and now you’re stuck on the question of “What do I actually need?”

Many business owners begin their hiring process wanting a unicorn of a person to come in and do everything. Well, I hate to tell ya, but that isn’t very realistic. 

So what do you need? A Virtual Assistant or an OBM? Keep reading to gain some clarity on what is best for your business.

What does an Online Business Manager do? ​

An Online Business Manager is typically your right-hand in business. They’re your go-to person for strategy and implementation. Online Business Managers take your big ideas and turn them into actionable steps to reach the end goal. 

OBM’s can specialize in a wide variety of areas however the most common are: 

  • Launch Management 
  • Project Management 
  • Team Management 
  • Systems Implementation and Management 
  • Operations Management


Once an OBM understands the mission of your business, they can handle all business operations and clients without needing your input. 

You should hire an OBM if you need: 

  • workflows designed for your business
  • Someone to oversee the operations of the day-to-day of your business
  • To outline your standard operating procedures
  • Technology solutions to be implemented, monitored and trained on
  • Assistance in the development of a well-rounded team that is empowered and supported 
  • To implement project management to ensure everything is getting done, on-time and by the right people.

What Does a Virtual Assistant Do?

A Virtual Assistant is a remote employee or independent contractor that you bring on to your team to do a specific role. Thanks to the pandemic, VA’s have expanded from typical admin work to a wide variety of offerings. There is a Virtual Assistant out there for everything, but some of the most common are: 

  • Admin work such as inbox management and calendar management 
  • Social Media Management 
  • Lead Generation
  • Customer Support 
  • Email Marketing 


Your Virtual Assistant is your hired gun. They are the implementers of everything you and your OBM will discuss. They are brought on to be given tasks to be completed. When comparing with an OBM, a VA typically is not talking strategy with you outside their zone of genius. That is not to say they won’t offer any advice/recommendations however, they are hired to get shit done.


The Difference between an OBM vs VA

An Online Business Manager’s main role in your business is to ensure that the rest of your team completes their daily tasks and has the support they need to succeed. 

An OBM is not meant to be an expert in all fields, they are an expert in management. They strategize and assign the right tasks to the right people to ensure that your business vision is being carried out and goals are being worked towards. They can fill in roles as needed, however your Virtual Assistants are going to be the experts in their respective fields.

An easy way to remember the difference is in the name.  

Online Business Manager
Virtual Assistant
One will manage. One will assist.

There is an expert for every role in your business. It is definitely best practice to hire several people who are experts at one or two aspects of business than to hire one person who is really good at some things and mediocre at everything else. 

For example, I know absolutely nothing about Pinterest Management however, as an OBM, I can help and support the expert Pinterest Manager on the team and make sure that they have everything they need to do their job.

Is an OBM the right choice for business?

The short answer is, you need both. If you are looking to offload the repetitive, non-core tasks of your business such as answering emails or phone calls, you need a VA. However, if you are running a business that you intend to grow into a large operation, you will need an OBM… eventually. 

An OBM is not the best decision for all businesses. In order for you to get the most out of your OBM you have to be ready to give up some control of your business and trust that everything is working in the business’ best interest.

If you think an OBM is right for you, it is best to hire an OBM as soon as possible. They will help you strategize and grow your business NOW, before it gets too crazy. 

Since an OBM handles to day-to-day operations, bringing one onto your team will free up an abundance of time for you to step into your CEO seat.

Definitely don’t wait until it’s too late with this one. You will save yourself time, overwhelm and money in the long run.

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Shannon Kuehl

Shannon Kuehl

Podcast Manager | Dubsado Certified Specialist

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