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VA vs OBM: Which Should You Hire to Help Your Biz Succeed?

Need support in your business? Hiring a VA or an OBM can make a huge impact but it’s best to know the difference between the two first.


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Your online business is doing AMAZING and now you’re ready to take things to the next level. (So exciting!) It’s crossed your mind to hire another team member to support your business growth, but where should you even begin? 

You’ve probably already heard about working with a virtual assistant or even an online business manager. You’ve heard each term and each one sounds fantastic but maybe you aren’t sure what exactly they mean (since they do seem a bit similar to each other). So, you’ve been hanging out in groups and searching online trying to figure out how to hire a VA or an OBM and trying to figure out which one you need. 

But wait! Before you get too deep into an internet black hole of research, let’s break down these terms for you. There are differences between a VA and an OBM that you need to know before taking the plunge and posting your job opp (better to know, now than later!). 

If you’re a bit confused on these differences, here is everything you need to know about the roles and functions of both a VA and a OBM.

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What is a Virtual Assistant?

Think of a VA or Virtual Assistant as an office assistant. (It’s a rather vague term but a virtual assistant can specialize in nearly anything). Many online business owners begin adding to their team by hiring a VA to help knock out some of the various tasks it takes to run their business. A VA can free up time for a business owner so they can spend more time growing their business.

Common VA Tasks

A virtual assistant’s main job is to complete a variety of support tasks that are assigned to them. VAs are “doers.” They may need some minor direction but are typically highly experienced in their ability to complete the tasks required of them. A VA will work within already established business systems to help reduce the ongoing task list of business owners. Some tasks a VA can assist you with include:

  • Designing social media graphics and posts
  • Community management & engagement
  • Organizing inboxes and responding to emails 
  • Writing & formatting email newsletters
  • Scheduling meetings and events
  • Data entry
  • Completing tasks to assist with a course launch
  • Ghostwriting blog posts
  • Editing video or audio and creating transcriptions
  • Conducting research on specific topics, SEO, or keywords
  • Developing podcast show notes

This is just a tiny portion of the HUGE list of services that a VA might offer. (Believe us, it’s not sarcasm when we say you can find a VA for literally ANYTHING.) A VA takes on a supportive role. Basically, the tasks that don’t require your immediate attention (or even the ones you just plain hate doing) can be handed off to a VA. 

What is an OBM?

An OBM or online business manager is oftentimes also called an Integrator, DBM, or digital business manager. The terms can really be used interchangeably. An OBM has one overall goal: to manage the systems and create strategies to help grow your business. The major difference between a VA and an OBM is a VA assists in general tasks related to daily business operations while an OBM helps to actually manage your team & business.

Common OBM Responsibilities

Your OBM is your right-hand, go-to person. An OBM will look at your current business strategies and suggest any improvements that could be made and implement systems and workflows to see those suggestions come to light. (And, as a result, help grow your business!) They help make sure your business flows seamlessly from day to day. When you’re ready to outsource business operations to an Integrator, here are some things you could expect of your new OBM:

  • Project management from start to finish
  • Managing your current VAs or team and delegating tasks
  • Write SOPs (standard operating procedures) 
  • Set up systems and automations
  • Manage daily business operations
  • Develop onboarding procedures for new clients
  • Create clear processes and workflows
  • Develop launch plans 
  • Review business metrics and analysis

An OBM or DBM will truly become more of a partner as your business grows. If you already have employees other than yourself, they will help you level up your business. Skilled in both team management and project management, an OBM will oversee important business operations so that your attention can stay on business growth.

Do I need a VA or an OBM?

Now that you know the differences between a virtual assistant and an online business manager, let’s figure out which one you might need to hire. 

Here’s a quick little self-assessment we created to help you determine which of these should be the next hire for your business: 

Do you spend too much time on tiny tasks that don’t move your business forward?Do you currently have a team that works with you in your business and you feel you’re spending too much time managing them?
Are you tired of keeping up with social media posts?Do you need processes in place for onboarding new clients (& offboarding clients too)?
Do you dread SEO research for optimizing your blog posts or website pages?Is your business back-end a mess and you need someone to systemize your workflows & processes?
How about writing your blog posts? Love or loathe?Are launches scattered and chaotic and you’d benefit from a strategic launch plan?
Do you spend way too much time researching podcasts to guest on and reaching out to them?Are you looking for someone to keep you accountable?
If you answered YES to most of these questions, then you might need to hire a VA to support you!If you answered YES to most of these questions, then you might need to hire a OBM to support you!

Adding a new team member is a great step in growing your business. Hiring a new team member means you understand that in order to grow your business, you can’t wear every single hat to make the business function. Of course, that means you need to make sure you set out to hire the right person (or people!). Understanding your business needs is the most important piece of this puzzle. Once you know what you need, then you can take the leap and start hiring!

Here at Taylor Monroe + Co., our team of VAs (and our account managers at the helm as your online business manager) is motivated by the big picture. We’ll make sure the right things get done by the right people at the right time. (What more could you ask for, right?). 


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