the difference between a virtual assistant and online business manager + why you may need one

here's what you need to know before hiring your first virtual assistant or online business manager

the difference between a virtual assistant and online business manager and why you need may need one


When you see the title Virtual Assistant & Online Business Manager, you may be thinking, “ what…? Isn’t that the same thing?” but to be honest it isn’t for a few reasons. I’ve been asked this question numerous times and I’ve also seen people posting in Facebook Groups about it unsure of who they should hire. I wanted to take a minute to dive into the difference between these two important individuals for business owners and bloggers so that when you’re in the place of needing to hire help, you know who that person should be.

The formal definition for Online Business Manager:

A virtually based support professional who manages online based businesses, including the day-to-day management of projects, operations, team members, and metrics.

An Online Business Manager is more like a operations manager for entrepreneurs and small business owners. They essentially have the qualifications and experience needed to take your business to the next level while you work on the core of your business.

The formal definition of a Virtual Assistant

A virtual assistant (typically abbreviated to VA, also called a virtual office assistant) is generally self-employed and provides professional administrative, technical, or creative (social) assistance to clients remotely from a home office.

A Virtual Assistant usually focuses on supporting business owners and bloggers with day to day tasks like content scheduling (think newsletter, social) and even some design depending on the skills of your VA. Their skills vary based on experience but they are always in a supportive role.

The Difference Between A Virtual Assistant  & Online Business Manager

The best way to differentiate between a VA and OBMs role in your business will be

  • Your goals and needs for the short and long term.
  • That person's skills and experience
  • Your budget

Here are a few scenarios to consider to determine if you need to hire a Virtual Assistant

  1. If you are currently spending more time on mindless and tedious administrative tasks than working on tasks that create more income
  2. You are overwhelmed with your workload and find yourself missing deadlines and dropping the ball on projects and tasks
  3. You are tired of busy work and want to focus on productive money making tasks to scale your business
  4. You are in need of more time to spend with family, friends, and yourself

A virtual assistant can be hired on to support you for a specific amount of hours per week or month taking care of any of the following tasks:

  • Social media scheduling
  • Content creation
  • Copywriting
  • Newsletter set up, management and scheduling
  • Customer service
  • Invoicing clients/customers
  • Social media graphic design 

The tasks that a Virtual Assistant can handle varies by person and their qualifications or specialty. It is best to create a list of items you need assistance with before hiring someone so that you are maximizing your time and theirs. 

A few scenarios to consider if you need to hire an Online Business Manager

  • Your personal life and business are fighting for time that you don’t have
  • You are turning away business opportunities
  • You are currently stretched for time as your business grows even with other team members
  • You are in need of someone who can manage your business on the backend; client/customer management, project management assistance and employee/vendor management just to name a few.
  • You need someone to hold you accountable and check- in with you to make sure you and your team are on track. 

An Online Business Manager can manage a wide range of areas in your business. Here are a few that are popular:

  • Operations
  • Staff/Employees
  • Project Management
  • Launch Assistance
  • Client Management
  • Vendor Management
  • Event Planning/Coordinating

Just like with a Virtual Assistant, the areas of management that an Online Business Manager covers varies based on their qualifications. Essentially they are a partner in your business and can be there in any capacity that you allow and need. The OBM is a very hand's on person who can also assist in areas of strategy and business development. The major difference between a virtual assistant and online business manager that has consistently stood out to me is your goals and the individual's qualifications. You always want to be sure that who you are hiring is qualified to handle whatever tasks you need plus the plans you have for the future of your business. Either way, you’ll be more at ease with one of these individuals on your team and ready to soar!

That’s it! Now you know the difference between an OBM and a VA. If you can relate to any of the above scenarios, it’s time for you to start vetting OBM’s or VA’s. Your perfect OBM or VA is out there and waiting for your unique business to hire them.  Know you’re in need, but want to make sure you’re ready to hire someone? Click here to download the Hire Your First VA Kit! Already ready? Via my services here