Check out the updated version of this blog here: What is an Online Business Manager

Every modern business needs a killer online presence. But who are the behind-the-scenes superstars managing your virtual landscapes? Welcome to the world of OBMs.

If you’ve delved into online marketing world, chances are you’ve come across an OBM or two. Maybe you’ve already experienced these hustlers in action. Or perhaps you’ve been enticed by becoming one, because you’re longing for more freedom and flexibility in your career. Either way, OBMs are game-changers when it comes to rocking the digital realm.

But what exactly is an OBM (Online Business Manager)? What do they do? And what does it take to become one?

I’m asked these questions all the damn time…

Which is not surprising – because the role is kinda new. The mega success of the internet and e-commerce platforms has spiked a huge demand for kickass OBMs.

Ultimately, our main goal as an OBM is to take over the daily operations of an online business to ‘free up’ the business owner. This means they can concentrate on being a visionary leader, rather than hustling all damn day over the small stuff.Like I said: we’re game-changers!

Here’s how we make sh*t happen…

What Does An Online Business Manager Do?

OBMs make sure that the right THINGS get done at the right TIME, by the right PEOPLE in the right WAY. We’re a business owner’s virtual BFF.

You can typically find OBMs hustling across these four areas:

  • Project Management – managing a launch, setting up a new online program or membership portal, establishing a website from start to finish, etc.
  • Operations Management – making sure there are systems in place for billing, client relationships, work flow, communications, etc.
  • Metrics Management – tracking stats so that your client knows exactly what’s working in their business and what isn’t & recommending next steps.
  • People Management – outsourcing, managing, and tracking the completion of the day-to-day tasks of your client’s team.

So OBMs are: project managers, office managers, human resources managers, and online experts – all rolled into one. Did I mention that they’re kick-ass?!

No two days are the same in OBM world. There’s always something new to learn. This makes for a varied, challenging and satisfying career that’s always evolving.

Plus, it comes with all kinds of personal perks like:

  • We get to work from home (in our PJs), from an Airbnb in Barcelona, or sipping a latte at our fave coffee shop.
  • We set our own hours (so you can pick up the kids, attend a mid-morning yoga class, or work into the dead of night if that’s your groove (what I lovingly refer to as crackalackin’)
  • And the best thing…we don’t get paid by the hour!! This HUGE benefit is what differentiates OBMs from so many other work-from-home positions (Hang tight – I’ll come back to this shortly).

What Skills Does An OBM Need?

OBMs come from all different backgrounds. Many got their start as a VA (Virtual Assistant), Personal Assistant, or Project Manager in the corporate world (like me). There are also OBMs who started out as bloggers or web designers.

But wherever and whatever your previous background is, there’s a few magic ingredients that combine to make successful OBMs.

To become a badass OBM, you’ll need to have at least a few of these characteristics :

  • When you hear a great idea, you naturally start thinking about the steps it will take to make it happen
  • Being plugged into the big picture of a business excites you
  • You love working with systems and procedures to get things done in the most efficient and consistent way
  • You’re great at jumping into the ‘online biz’ chaos and getting it sorted out
  • You know how to “manage” clients to keep them happy while sticking to your own boundaries
  • You’re capable of delegating, communicating with, and taking responsibility for a virtual team
  • You’re savvy with online marketing systems and software

Does this sound like you? Or like someone you can grow to be with a little guidance? Well, you could be an OBM in the making!

How’s an OBM Different From a VA?

If you’ve come across OBMs, then you’ll probably have also heard of VAs (Virtual Assistants). The roles of a VA and OBM are often confused, but there are KEY differences:

Virtual Assistant

    • VAs are implementers. They carry out tasks and make shit happen with the help of detailed instructions.
    • VAs work on a task basis and are responsible for completing their work on time and to a professional standard, but they have a safety net of higher level guidance to catch them when they fall.
    • VAs are team members and are usually responsible to an OBM or business owner.
    • VAs get things done without having much control over workflow or priorities.
    • VAs usually work for an hourly fee and have multiple clients in order to fill their schedule and earn a good living.

Online Business Manager

    • OBMs are project managers. They come up with the strategy for how to get things done, and then parcel out tasks to their team.
    • OBMs are responsible for the daily operations of the whole business, or for the entirety of a project – which includes the work of other team members.
    • OBMs LEAD a team, often including VAs, web designers, writers and social media experts.
    • OBMs work with the biz owner to discuss strategy and priorities.
    • OBMs work more deeply with a few select clients and are compensated on a retainer or retainer+incentive basis.

So we’re clear on what an OBM does and what kind of person becomes an OBM. But there’s one vital piece of info missing… Show me the money!

What You Can Expect to Earn as an OBM

As an OBM, you’ll be an independent contractor. This means: you set your own hours and terms. YES!

And the best part is…you don’t have to get bogged down in the limiting ‘hours for money’ trap so many other work-from-home jobs fall into. Ohhhh no!

Most OBMs work on a retainer. Or on a retainer + INCENTIVE basis. You become a key player in your client’s success – so you get paid more as the business makes more money. Awesome right?

To be specific – OBMs start at $1500 – $2500 per month with new clients for 20 hours. And it goes up from there…

As your business grows (because satisfied clients will keep coming back and spread the word about your greatness) you’ll be able to take on your own team – and start making your business work for you.

Now over to you: Are you considering becoming an OBM? What’s holding you back from taking the leap? I’d love to hear!