Virtual Assistants vs Online Business Managers: What’s the Difference?

It’s a new year and great things are happening with your business; it is reaching targets, achieving goals and has great potential for more growth. In order to keep up with your flourishing business, expanding your team is crucial, but you might be feeling uncertain of where to begin. It’s possible you’ve heard people talk about Virtual Assistants and Online Business Managers and wondered, “What’s the difference?” Don’t panic, we bring clarity to this conundrum- stay calm and keep reading.

An interesting stat; the term “virtual assistant” is google searched roughly 74 000 times a month while the term “Online Business Manager” is searched about 40 times a month. Based on this, a business owner might conclude that a virtual assistant is the way to go, but there are several distinct differences in the services offered between the two, so it is important to find the best fit for your business requirements.

Virtual Assistant Online Business Manager
Are task-oriented and will follow instructions assigned to them. Focuses on the overall business and creates instructions on how to complete tasks. They make your business their own.
Responsible for only their tasks but may offer suggestions on how to improve in other areas Responsible for their tasks and delegating tasks to others
Usually execute tasks and are hired to do administrative, technical, social media and customer support tasks but can be more specialised. They do less work for more clients (up to 12 clients at a time). Holds the back-end pieces of the business together while you manage your role as CEO. They recruit, hire and manage daily operations, projects, team, marketing and so on. Will do more work for fewer clients.
Might not have an overall understanding of your business, just on what needs to be completed. Has an in-depth understanding of your business and develops systems and procedures around it.
Tend to have a lower price point and likely to work at an hourly rate OBMs tend to work with a monthly retainer or package rate.


When trying to make a decision between the two, you should ask yourself these questions:

  • do you have a list of tasks you can delegate or are you wanting someone else to have control of this?
  • do you have the time to follow up and manage people or are you looking for someone who knows every aspect of your business and can assist with continuous growth and improvement?

These will point you in the right direction when deciding between the two.

As you can see, Virtual Assistants and Online Business Managers are both useful and valuable assets to your business, but their roles do differ quite significantly.

As a business owner, you need to decide what your business needs are and who will be best suited to accomplish these most efficiently. It’s not a case of one service being better quality than the other, but more about services that target different requirements and you understanding which satisfies your business goals best.

Now that you have clearer insight, you can find the VA or OBM that helps your business reach new levels of success.

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