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what's an obm?

This web page references policies, guidelines and suggestions as set by the International Association of Online Business Managers (IAOBM)

The official definition of an OBM

A virtually-based support professional who manages online-based businesses, including the day-to-day management of projects, operations, metrics and team.

The role of an OBM is to make sure the right things get done at the right time, in the right way, by the right people.

          Project Management

Laying out plans and managing projects through to completion, including launches, managing programs, creation of new revenue streams, and updating websites.

          Operations Management

Automating systems and creating processes for day-to-day activities in the business to streamline and simplify how things are run.

          Metrics Management

Tracking stats for key business activities to see what is working and what is not working so that decisions can be made for ongoing growth.

          People Management

Outsourcing, managing, and leading the efforts of the team to meet business goals.

Let me translate

An OBM is a virtually-based manager who acts as Chief Operating Officer in online-based businesses.

In accordance with IAOBM principles, I operate according to five values


We do what we say we'll do, and we do the right thing because it is the right thing, regardless of who is looking.



We raise up our clients, our colleagues, and our community; we value and incorporate all voices, and we work together for the collective benefit to achieve our goals.



We deliver on our promises, take ownership of our contribution and we follow through on results for our clients.


Problem Solving

We are results-driven and solutions-focused; we look for root causes, are forward-thinking and positive.



We put quality work and a commitment to growth at the heart of what it means to be a Certified Online Business Manager.

What's the difference between a VA and an OBM?

You know you need help, but you aren’t quite sure if need the help of a VA (virtual assistant) or an OBM (online business manager).


First, let’s take a 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, in the right time, 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 - making sure that everyone is completing their tasks in a timely manner, to ensure that progress is being made 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 - looking ahead to what is coming up and creating plans and systems to ensure the business is running smoothly and effectively. The goal is to cease 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 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. She works closely with the team on a day-to-day basis to ensure that everyone is clear on their tasks and 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 telling them what needs to be done. An OBM is able to plug into the big picture, lay out 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 in? You’ve worked hard to establish your offer, find patients 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 $20k US/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, 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 operations of your business. Creating plans. Making sure you have the right people and resources in place to get the work 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 the business owner's 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 mid-6-figure mark and higher 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 day-to-day operations off your plate so that you can get back to growing the business and focusing on your vision and your gift.


There comes a time when your business becomes bigger than you working as a lone ranger; where what you did in the early days is no longer effective. It actually starts to get in the way and stall your company's growth.


If you are ready to take things to the next level and get yourself freed up from day-to-day operations, let’s talk.  Please send us a message

An OBM makes sure the right things get done at the right time, in the right way, by the right people.

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