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What *IS* an Online Business Manager?

In short: more partnering, less helping.

Tune in to the rest of the show to learn more.

And if you’re keen to take more action today, feel free to download my guide: 5 Steps to go from VA to OBM.

Before you go, don’t forget to hit subscribe in your podcast app of choice so you never miss an episode.


I am Victoria Tretis, and this is the podcast for ambitious Virtual Assistants who want to step into their expertise and move into the online business manager role. If you’re ready to take action today, head over to the link in the show notes and download my free guide, ‘five steps to go from VA to OBM’.

Now for the main part of the show.

Hello, I am so pleased that you are joining me today, because not only is this the official launch of my new podcast show ‘from Virtual Assistant to Online Business Manager’, but it’s also my fourth business birthday today.

So, thank you for tuning in and listening. It’s a very exciting day, and I’m really pleased that the show has gone live and I’m going to be sharing all sorts of awesome information with you about how you can transition from the VA to the OBM role.

In today’s show, we’re taking it back.  We are looking at what is an online business manager, and what is it that they do? 

There’s a lot of confusion between the OBM role and the Virtual Assistant because there is some overlap; they do both work virtually. So, in short, the main difference is that there’s more partnering and less helping. 

The OBM sits alongside the client who has the strategy and helps move their business forward on a strategic level.  They’ll offer support and advice based on their own experience and all the hours that they’ve invested in training and self-development to help support the client’s existing strategy; so quite often they’re really thirsty for knowledge.  They want to know everything that’s going on in a business because they’re a details person and benefit from learning everything from the customer flow from start to finish to what kind of systems are in place and whether that’s the most efficient way to be doing things.

Because OBMs have a natural curiosity, the client directly benefits from that in combination with the personal development stuff that they’ve been doing behind the scenes. The OBM will plug into the big picture of the business because of that curiosity; they’ll have a really clear understanding of where the client wants to go, and the OBM brings their expertise to map out what pieces of the puzzle need to go where to build that client success.

OBMs are fantastic project managers and are brought in at a managerial level to help manage all of those moving pieces. That might be, hiring team members, manage existing team members. There’s a really wide remit with all of that. Because it’s such a chunky role, it requires a lot of brain space and mental capacity and a lot of proactivity, particularly when managing projects and team members and personality-wise.  Because OBMs are partnering with their clients, they do generally feel responsible for that success.  They want the client to succeed.  They are willing them on with everything that they’ve got. They’re treating their client’s businesses as though it were their own. Maybe that’s something that you recognise in yourself already if you are a VA right now because a lot of VAs do feel like that. Perhaps they’re not calling themselves a VA, but they’re calling themselves an executive VA or a wing woman or right-hand support, second brain support, any of that.

You’re holding so much information in your head about your clients because you genuinely want them to succeed. Quite often OBMs have the autonomy and the permission from the client to swoop in and solve things if there’s a problem. Quite often they will be presenting solutions rather than problems, or they may fix something, tell the client that it’s fixed and then the client doesn’t even have to worry about it or make a decision because the problem’s gone away.  The OBM swooped in and solved it.

They also keep a real keen eye on the figures, the numbers, the data and the metrics behind the scenes. So to give you an example, as part of the wider marketing strategy, the OBM might be monitoring the website traffic and Google Analytics to figure out where is the audience coming from? Is it mostly LinkedIn? Is it Facebook? You can use that data to drive the marketing strategy forward in a slightly different direction based on a logical decision-making process rather than what you feel might be the best place. 

You know the decision is driven by logic rather than just a gut feel.  OBMs may also have sight of the financials, and that’s all part of the data and analysis perspective. So by having that information, they’ll be able to determine which products or services are better selling. They may also be able to identify gaps in the sales funnel process that could mean that the client could introduce an up-sell, a down-sell a cross-sell or other things that the client could do to increase the money they make per sale as well.

As I said, it really is a chunky role that requires a lot of brain space. An OBM will charge more than a Virtual Assistant, and they could do that through block booking so it could still be trading time for money. Or they may even offer an incentive-based program where they feel so confident in the results they can achieve for their clients, that they’ve got a base pay combined with an incentive structure directly linked to actual sales, maybe at that point of launch or perhaps on a specific product.

Because of the huge amount of information an OBM does store in their head about each client, their sweet spot in terms of productivity and mental capacity means that they can only work with a select few businesses at any one time, so there’s not going to be lots and lots of bitty clients. The problem that I see more and more is that there’s somebody who’s marketing themselves as a VA, they’re charging the VA rates, and they’re doing all the day-to-day doing, but they’re also assuming all or part of the OBM role.

OBMs are adding masses of value to the client in terms of strategic planning or operational support or hiring team members and even managing projects as well, so all of that combined, but they’re only charging the VA rates.

VAs are typically task-driven and reactive, whereas the OBM role is a lot more proactive and strategically aligned to the big picture of where the client needs to go.

In the next episode of this show, I talk more about the differences between the VA and the OBM role.

Please do make sure you subscribe to ‘Never Miss Out on a future episode’ and I will see you in the next show.