Do You Need a VA or an OBM?

You know you need help, but you aren’t sure … do you need a VA or an OBM?

Differences Between a VA and an OBM

To help you decide, let’s look at the key differences between a VA (Virtual Assistant) and an OBM (Online Business Manager).

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, at the right time, in the right way, and by the right person

I have heard some people warn businesses seeking an OBM to make sure the OBM is a doer and a manager. But let’s think about that for a minute. If the OBM is trying to both do and manage, one or both will suffer. It’s best to let the OBM do their genius work, managing. That being said, some OBMs do arrange with you the business owner for another ongoing duty (for instance, tech work), that is also in their realm of genius, so do have a conversation about that if it’s something you desire.


A VA is responsible to complete their own tasks and projects and deliver them in a timely fashion.

An OBM focuses on what the entire team is doing. Making sure everyone completes their tasks in a timely manner to ensure progress toward the established business goals is one of an OBM’s duties.


A VA needs to plan their time and workload effectively to complete their own work.

An OBM plans for the business at large. We are always looking ahead to what’s coming up and creating plans and systems to ensure the business is running smoothly and effectively (instead of constantly reacting to last-minute requests that are so common when there isn’t a plan).

Working with the Team

A VA focuses on their own work, and engages with fellow team members as needed to complete their own tasks.

An OBM is the key point of contact for the entire team. We work closely with the team on a day-to-day basis, to ensure everyone is clear on their tasks and deadlines and has what they need to do their best work.

In a Nutshell

In a nutshell, a VA works independently with a focus on completing their own tasks. They often rely on the business owner (you!) telling them what needs to be done. An OBM can plug into the big picture, layout plans, and work with the entire team to ensure everyone is getting the right stuff done and they make progress to meet the goals of the business. 

So, do you need a VA or an OBM?

A Few Things to Ask Yourself

  1. 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 $10-$15k/month, have big plans for where you want to go next, and know you can’t get there on your own. This is where an OBM comes in. We work with you to layout the right plan, team, and structure to get you to the next level. 
  1. 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 is taking 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, these all land on your shoulders, and can be a huge drain of time and energy.
  1. 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 gets 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, you become the biggest bottleneck. An OBM will work with you to get all those things off your plate. Then you can get back to growing the business and doing the genius work you love. 

Taking it to the Next Level

There comes a time when your business gets bigger than you can handle working on your own as a solopreneur. What you did in the early days – the hustle and do it all myself mentality – is no longer effective, gets in the way, and stalls your growth.

If you are ready to take things to the next level and get freed up from being mired in the weeds of your business, let’s talk. Click here or the button below for your free call with me to discuss your needs.

Scroll to Top