A common mistake business owners make is hiring the wrong people to expand their business. We always THINK we know what we need… until we get it. And the truth is, sometimes we find rockstar people on the first try, and other times it seems like all hope is lost.
Many business owners have good intentions when it comes to hiring – especially when hiring for a VA (virtual assistant). And hiring a good VA at the right time for the right reasons can make a world of difference. However, I see a lot of business owners expecting a different experience with their VA because what they need is an OBM (online business manager).
Both VA’s and OBM’s are pivotal members to bring onto a team, but their roles look very different. Here is an in-depth look at the differences between a VA and OBM. Hopefully, this will help you decide which type of hire your business needs!
First, let’s look at the key differences between a VA and an OBM.
Doing vs. Managing
The role of a virtual assistant is to be a DOER in the business. What they do will vary from person to person depending on their area of expertise – admin, customer service, tech, marketing, etc.
The role of an online business manager is to be a MANAGER in the business – to make sure the right things get done, in the right way, at the right time, and by the right person.
A VA is responsible for their OWN tasks and projects being completed and delivered in a timely fashion.
An OBM is focused on what the entire team is doing – ensuring that EVERYONE is completing their tasks on time to ensure progress toward the established business goals.
A VA needs to plan their time and workload effectively to ensure that their own work is being completed.
An OBM is planning for the business at large – always looking ahead to what is coming up and creating plans & systems to ensure the business is running smoothly and effectively (vs. functioning in a constant state of reacting to ‘last minute’ requests and overwhelm that is so common when there isn’t a plan).
Working with the Team
A VA is very focused on their own work and will engage with fellow team members as needed to complete their own tasks.
An OBM is the key point of contact for the entire team – working closely with them on a day-to-day basis to ensure that everyone is clear on their tasks & deadlines and has what they need to do their best work.
Put simply – a VA works independently with a focus on completing their own tasks and will often rely on the business owner (you!) telling them what needs to be done. Whereas an OBM is able to plug into the big picture, layout plans and work with the entire team to ensure that everyone is ‘getting the right stuff done’ and progress is being made to meet the goals of the business.
So how do you know if you need to hire a VA or an OBM? A few things to consider…
- What stage of growth is your business at? You’ve worked hard to establish your offer, find clients and get the money coming in the door… now it’s time to focus on building a foundation for growth. You are making at least a consistent $15-$20k/month, have big plans for where you want to go next, and you know you can’t get there on your own. This is where an OBM comes in, working with you to lay out the right plan, team, and structure to get you to the next level.
- Who is currently managing the team? If you are like many of the business owners I speak with, you don’t realize how much time and energy it takes to manage the day-to-day of your business. Creating plans. Making sure you have the right people and resources in place to get stuff done. Checking in with the team to ensure they are on track (and working together when things are off track.) Until you have an OBM in place, all of these things land on your shoulders and can be a huge drain of time and energy.
- Where are the bottlenecks? In the early days, your own hustle is enough to carry you through – you work hard and get it done. But when you reach the early 6-figure mark, the hustle actually starts to get in the way. There is only so much of your time and energy to go around – and if you are the ‘hub’ of everything that happens in the business… well, you become the biggest bottleneck. An OBM will work with you to get ‘all the things’ off your plate so that you can get back to growing the business and doing what you love.
There comes a time when your business becomes bigger than you working as a lone ranger. Where what you did in the early days – the hustle and the ‘do it all myself’ mentality – is no longer effective… it starts to get in the way and stall your growth.
If you’re thinking about hiring an OBM or Fractional COO, but don’t know where to start, send me an email or book a discovery call. I’d love to answer any questions you might have.