Online Business Manager vs. Virtual Assistant

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Abbey Ashley

Ok, Online Business Manager vs. Virtual Assistant.

What am I talking about here?

Have you heard the term “Online Business Manager” and curious about what it is?

Or have you been a Virtual Assistant for some time and are wondering how the Online Business Manager or OBM life compares to being a Virtual Assistant?

In this post, I have invited my good friend Sarah Noked to jump in and dive into what this uplevel service can do for your business.

Let me paint a picture for you, you go from working with 5, 6, or even 10 clients juggling all the different tasks to working with just 2-3 six or even seven-figure business owners being the integrator to their visionary.

Does that sound interesting to you?

Then being an Online Business Manager may be perfect for your personality!

There is a shift in Online Business Manager vs. Virtual Assistant.

I have some pointers for you in this video and then Sarah will take it from there…



There’s an enormous buzz around the role of an OBM right now. And VAs like you are wising up to the natural advantage you have for up-leveling into the role.

Because with your experience in the online world, your tech-savvy, and your good-to-go home biz already…you’re ¾’s of the way there!  

That’s why I see this in my Confident OBM Facebook Group all the time:

So let’s dive in a little deeper to what an OBM does.


What Does An Online Business Manager Do?

You can typically find OBMs hustling across these four areas:

      • Project Management – managing a launch, setting up a new online program or membership portal, establishing a website from start to finish, etc.
      • Operations Management – making sure there are systems in place for billing, client relationships, workflow, communications, etc.
      • Metrics Management – tracking stats so that your client knows exactly what’s working in their business and what isn’t & recommending next steps.
      • People Management – outsourcing, managing, and tracking the completion of the day-to-day tasks of your client’s team.

    The low down: We run the biz!

  • In doing that, we ‘free up’ the business owner so they can concentrate on being a visionary leader, while we take care of the day-to-day operations.Does that mean that you need a business degree or management experience to be an OBM?

    Nope. Here’s why…

    First, you can learn all you need to know in a very short time (90 days in fact) by becoming a OBM.

    Second, ‘management’ is something you’re doing all the time. Whether it’s managing your family, CEOing your household, or running your business…you just need to apply those people management, time management, and organizational skills to your working life.

    Interested in learning about some of the tech online entrepreneurs use to run their businesses?  Check out this post.

    The Benefits of Becoming an OBM

    Let me tell you…VAs are AWESOME!

    I started out as a VA and now I employ a few of my own, so I know from personal experience…you are killing it.

    But if you want more (like I did when I scaled to an OBM), here’s why becoming an OBM will suit you:

      • You’ll trade up the ‘assistant’ label to MANAGER! (With a corresponding leap in the respect that you deserve).
      • You’ll earn more (OBMs usually work on a retainer basis starting out at $1,500-$2,500 a month for 20 hours).
      • You’ll work ‘with’ your clients rather than ‘for’ them, helping to strategize and even co-create.
      • Your work will be more varied with less ‘doing’ and more ‘leading’.
      • You’ll usually work with fewer clients on a deeper basis, which streamlines your admin and simplifies your life.


    Are You Ready?

    So, I promised to answer the question of: “How to know when you’re ready to become an OBM.”

    The short answer: if you’ve been working as a VA and you want this – you’re ready!!

    Because with a little training & guidance, you’ll get all the skills, mindset, and client wooing strategies that you need. Click here for more details on OBM training.

    And the longer answer…

    Here are some of the characteristics that make a great OBM. Is this you?

      • You’re great at jumping into the ‘online biz’ chaos and getting it sorted out
      • Being plugged into the big picture of a business excites you
      • When you hear a great idea, you naturally start thinking about the steps it will take to make it happen
      • You love working with systems and procedures to get things done in the most efficient and consistent way
      • You know how to “manage” clients to keep them happy while sticking to your own boundaries
      • You’re capable of delegating, communicating with, and taking responsibility for a virtual team
      • You’re savvy with online marketing systems and software

    If you recognize yourself in the characteristics above, then you’re ready to step up, become an OBM, and use your talents and experience to take responsibility for the day-to-day of an online biz. Woot woot!

    Here’s what to do next: Check out Sarah’s OBM program.

    And one last question…

    Are You Already An Undercover OBM?

    If you’ve been reading this and thinking “I do that already” ….then you may be an undercover OBM.

    If you’re doing the work of an OBM, but calling yourself a VA and charging VA rates, it’s time to step up, assume the OBM role, and start being recognized for your true contribution to your client’s business. Let me show you how.

    I love helping people reach their full potential and having been a VA myself, I have a soft spot for you.

    I’m sure becoming an OBM would help to make your dreams of freedom, flexibility, and financial stability come true.

    So if you want to use your strategy, organizational skills, and online expertise to feel valued and make an impact, I’d be honored to show you how.

    I hope you enjoyed hanging out with Sarah and I in this post!  If you are reading through and thinking that you need to tackle all things Virtual Assistant first, hop on over to this article where I share all the in’s and out’s of becoming a Virtual Assistant!


Meet Abbey

Abbey Ashley is the Founder of The Virtual Savvy. She helps aspiring virtual assistants launch and grow their own at-home business from scratch. She's since gone on to grow a multi-six figure business and retire her husband ALL from her at-home business. It's now her passion to help others start their own VA business so they can taste the freedom and flexibility of entrepreneurship as well.


This free one-hour training combines thousands of hours of research, years of experience in growing a virtual assistant business!

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  3. Roslia santamaria on January 30, 2019 at 1:28 am

    Thanks a lot for publishing this unique and informative blog.

  4. JULILA BERN VEGA HAO on June 11, 2020 at 4:22 am

    Wow, this is amazing, I never have any idea about the difference until I came across wit your blog. I am a virtual assistant, just starting my freelancing business and it is very helpful for me to know this stuff and be part of this community to help me grow my career. Keep it up be awesome!

    • Abbey Ashley on June 29, 2020 at 5:23 pm

      Thank you, Julila! Wishing you nothing but success in your VA journey!

  5. Shafique Baig on July 5, 2020 at 3:43 am

    Very informative article.

    • Abbey Ashley on July 10, 2020 at 2:01 pm

      Thank you so much! I am glad you found value in it 🙂

  6. Rebekah on September 14, 2022 at 7:53 am

    Oh my gosh after taking the va quiz twice cause I resonated with two different answer flows I came up expert organizer/tech/OBM!

    Reading what an OBM is I’m definitely working towards the OBM route. About half way through all those types of tasks right now. Love setting up businesses and helping them run them.

    The practice I’m getting with my current client is invaluable to taking on those fewer clients at the higher price point. That’s definitely what I want to be doing!

    • TVS team on September 21, 2022 at 3:39 pm

      YES! So glad you found your superpower and making progress toward that goal. Practicing on a current client is a GREAT strategy!

  7. Dana on September 12, 2023 at 3:43 pm

    I think I could cry because this is what I’ve been looking for. I set up my VA business last year and yes I do all the tasks but I love systems, and workflows, and procedures, and data and metrics! (Former kickass teacher here). Thank you! This is getting my wheels turning and I”m so excited to figure this out some more and really dive in!

    • Jaime Nickerson on September 13, 2023 at 6:27 am

      This is so exciting, Dana! OBM services are highly specialized and valuable. Rooting for you! – Team TVS

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