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Are You an Online Business Manager?

After 6 years and hundreds of conversation with virtual support professionals about the opportunity to become an OBM, I can confidently say I know a thing or two about ‘who’ the OBM is. I say ‘WHO’ because in all actuality being an Online Business Manager is much more about how you identify yourself and your services rather than what you ‘doing’ when you provide them.

I can be sending a broadcast (doing) but it doesn’t make me any less of an OBM (being) because the reality is when I send that broadcast I am not simply copy /pasting someones content into an editor and sending it out the door. I am thinking about, testing, experimenting with and considering all the aspects of that broadcast. Is it informational or promotional, are their links that need to tracked, is there a specific outcome we need from the result of this email to ensure the next step of the funnel is being executed. I am often thinking of that single broadcast the same way the client who owns the Business would. Sometimes even more so based on my experience and expertise.

See often we think of the OBM in a way that is only categorized as the doing:

  • Project Management
  • Team Management
  • Operations Management
  • Metrics Management

Certainly these are key elements in the role of the OBM BUT the reality is there are a lot of VA’s ‘doing’ these same tasks. After all, depending on what the client needs, we tend to just jump in and do it regardless of our title (and often our pay.) Sometimes the same goes with the OBM role… there may be a tech or customer issue we have to hop in and cover or take care of, which in and of itself might look like a VA task but the reality is the ‘doing’ simply doesn’t define what it is to be the Online Business Manager.

So what defines it and Are You an Online Business Manager?

There are 5 Key areas that I feel (and have seen as the DNA of those who ARE OBM’s):

1. Ownership – this is a biggy, because it really can’t be taught it is simply a way of being. Do you take ownership of the results you are creating in partnership with your client. I don’t say this in a way to scare you the result of their success is not on your shoulder but the result of the email that just got sent might be. Is it your responsibility to ensure the editing is correct, links work, the copy fits the desired result? Do you feel responsible to ensure all the pieces are set up correctly to support the over all strategy behind that email or are you simply content to copy/paste what the client sends over, do a quick one over, test the links and send it without another thought?

If it is the first: you see the big vision and you are always looking to fit whatever task is in front of you in with the bigger picture strategy you likely are an Online Business Manager
If it is the second: you want to accomplish the current task in front of you with excellence and with as few mistakes a possible and move on to the next task you are likely a Virtual Assistant (and trust me WE LOVE YOU and all that YOU DO!)

2. Strategy – This is an area that I find most of our OBM’s tend to get the most frustrated if they are not allowed to play all out in. When you are working with a client and see a lack of a plan or strategy in place does this frustrate you? Are you always trying to get your client to plan ahead, look at the over all strategy and hold to a specific course of action. (Let’s be honest with many of our clients this is a much needed ‘learned’ navigation in and of it’s self.) But if you find yourself attempting to do this on a regular basis with your clients there is a good chance you are an Online Business Manager (in who you are being!)

3. Vision – It’s important to you, not that you need to create it but you need to see where everything is going. The big picture, you want to plug into it and make sure it is being pursued. This is a great motivator for you. Ensuring the business is working toward a vision, that the client has a vision that you can understand the vision (either the big one for the whole business or the smaller one for this initiative.) The vision, or big picture means something to you. When it’s not their you are very aware of it’s absence, when it is there you are very aware of it’s pull.

4. Project Management – if it is simply ‘the way you do things’ to breakdown all the big pieces into bite size pieces so they can easily be managed and executed, you are likely an Online Business Manager. In case no one has ever told you this, that is a strength and a gift and not everyone has it. Sometimes we can get caught in the “well this is so obvious, can’t everyone see it” after years of working online and being a PM myself I can assure that NO not every one can see what is blatantly obvious to you in the progression of workflow to see an initiative accomplished. This is by far a DNA aspect of Online Business Managers. Yes project management can be taught but it is also a natural skill some have. If that is you, there is a good chance you are an OBM :)

5. Business – truly my favorite aspect of being an OBM is I get to make a difference in the business everyday. I love business, the understanding of the development, growth, sustainability, operations, marketing, sales, etc… everything that is business is intriguing to me… and not just to me, but also to many in our community. Often my motivation is more to serve the business properly rather than just serving the client. There is a huge distinction between these two things. As an OBM we are advocates for the business. It’s health and development. As much as we would like to think our clients are too, often they are not. They are chasing one month of cash flow to the next and whatever it takes to make that happen and the health and development of the business is not always at the top of the initiative for them.

So let me ask: Are You an Online Business Manager? If you are passionate about at least 3 of the 5 above there is a good chance you are. If that is the case then the next question is are you being paid for ‘who’ you are being in your clients business. Because the result you are bringing them could be well above the ‘traditional’ result of a virtual support professional.

I would love to connect and see if I can help you determine the difference and your next steps. So be sure to check out the Online Business Manager Certification Training here: and follow through to have a conversation with me.

I look forward to connecting.

(PS: you don’t have to be executing all these areas to be an OBM, it’s really about are they are on your mind? Would you like to learn more about how to execute them more successfully and be valued for doing so)

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Are You an Online Business Manager?


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