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NOT SURE? Hire a VA vs OBM (Outsourced Business Manager)

Updated: Dec 4, 2023

Wait, what? Your virtual assistant doesn't know how to manage your entire business? That's crazy!


Okay, if you don't get the sarcasm, just watch this video. What I'm about to say might increase your blood pressure a tad.





So, I've had a lot of discovery calls where a potential client is interested in hiring our virtual assistant, but they don't have a clear scope of what they want to assign. When I ask them, "What drove you to book this call?" their answer is usually tied to emotion.


"I'm frustrated with running my business alone."

"I'm tired of doing everything in the backend of my business."

"Honestly, I have no idea what I'm doing. I'm confused about what to do next, but I know I want to build my course already and launch it."

"I'm exhausted; I have too many tasks. I don't want to do them anymore."


They book that call with me, thinking that having a virtual assistant is the solution to all their business problems, but actually, that's not the case all of the time.


Having a Virtual Assistant Is Not Always the Best Solution to All of Your Business Problems.

This is one of the biggest outsourcing myths out there: that clients think they can just dump a misshapen task or a truckload of projects on their Virtual Assistant and run away. They're hoping that the projects will finish themselves.


Granted, there are times when our team gets lucky, and we finish a task that's exactly what the client wanted. But then there are those oddballs where we're told, "Are you for real? This isn't what I ordered!"


Ah, good times! Yes, those are really fun to deal with as a virtual assistant.

So, here I am in case you or a friend of yours falls into this trap. So before you hire a virtual assistant, let me ask...


Have you thought about hiring an OBM?


What is an OBM (Outsourced Business Manager)?

An OBM is a remote-based professional specializing in the management of online businesses. They have experience in navigating the daily operations, project management intricacies, performance metrics, and team coordination with a dash of digital sass. They work with client business owners who are too busy to organize their operations or have no time to keep a watchful eye on their own team. In short, they are the "RIGHT HAND" of the client. Sometimes, OBMs can help clients manage their existing team or help the client form the team that will run the business.


OBM is different from a Virtual Assistant.

So what makes an OBM different from a VA? And why do you need to consider hiring an OBM first before you offer that VA a job?


SIMPLE! The answer is the SCOPE OF WORK:

A Virtual Assistant is typically task-oriented. They implement tasks or carry out projects that already have a pre-laid out plan. Your VA is trained and experienced in handling specific, often repetitive tasks, such as email management and back-office support. For content writing, video editing, graphic design, or any creative work, the VA can also take on these tasks, but there's already a specific template or branding established. Your VA can also do social media scheduling, course building, email campaign scheduling, and other admin work.


On the other hand, an Online Business Manager or OBM takes on a broader role. They manage or create systems for your business operations, oversee projects, coordinate team members even, and ensure the business runs smoothly. I've come across many OBMs in my many years working with coaches and course creators. All the OBMs who are thriving in their profession have one thing in common: They are all very ORGANIZED and they LOVE being organized -- in fact, I think it's their jam. I know some of them even feel honored when they're labeled as Type A individuals. Way to own it! And I have nothing but the highest respect for the OBMs our team has worked with before and are still working with today.


OBMs are highly organized, with a strategic focus, and this is why when you hire an OBM, you also somewhat give them the authority to make high-level decisions on your behalf.


You Might Actually Need an OBM, and Not a Virtual Assistant.

So, if you're going to hire a Virtual Assistant and give them a task that has no clear direction, no goal, no standard instructions yet, you are going to have a difficult time. And you'll likely get charged for hours of virtual assistant service just for having to go back and forth with the instructions. So take my advice, you get more value from your Virtual Assistant if you give them instructions that are FINAL and COMPLETE.



But if in your business, you've only started looking at the possibility of delegating tasks, and you already know yourself enough that you don't have the time, energy, and patience to solve your problems and organize your business processes enough before taking in a new team member --- that is your cue to invite an OBM to work with you instead.


I know some OBMs work with clients on a short-term basis -- at least initially. They are invited into the client's business, they look at the processes, the active projects, the pending tasks, backlogs, metrics, team members, current resources, etc. After they do an "audit" of your business, they then come in with their strategy-building hat and create SOP or standard operating procedures for you. I am 100% sure that at least 50% of the business tasks that you are doing yourself now are repeatable or recurring. Those are the things that the OBM looks for when they start working with you because they can then turn those recurring tasks into systems, with step-by-step guides to later be turned over to your Virtual Assistant or Assistants.


So think about it... if you and your OBM could manage to solve your problems and organize at least 50% of your business operations... so that those tasks can be fulfilled by your team members with minimal supervision or input from your part --- because they ALREADY KNOW THE JOB, they can do it with their eyes closed... that's a huge weight lifted off your shoulders, right?


Imagine not having to babysit your team because you have a well-oiled system running. Oh, by the way.. quick tip! When you build a system or have an SOP in place, try your best not to keep changing the steps or procedure too often. You want your SOPs to run so smoothly that you can almost predict the exact results on a daily basis. When you make frequent changes or keep changing your mind about what to do, it can disrupt the workflow. You want your business systems to run WITHOUT YOU!


YES, I SAID IT. You want the business to run without YOU because when you, your OBM, and your team manage to accomplish that level of business scaling, you will then have gained your time-freedom back. Instead of working in your business for endless hours, waking up at dawn and going to sleep at night just to finish your business tasks, you now have the actual headspace to look at other ventures, you can talk to more clients, take on more projects, be invited to speak as a keynote speaker and you actually now have the time to attend those conferences you've been putting off because your business can run by itself while you're at the airport waiting for your flight out.

That's the dream…


What if I Don’t Need an OBM? Can I Hire a Virtual Assistant Instead?

Now, I want to make it clear -- you MIGHT not need an OBM if you are a super organized person and you only delegate tasks to your VA when you know you are final with your instructions and you can effectively communicate the results you want to achieve. However, if you have no time to actually establish the business systems or even write the instructions for your VA to follow, I highly highly highly recommend that you talk to an OBM first before you hire a VA who will likely cry in the corner when you keep changing your instructions as they're working on a task. Guilty! I cried so hard when I was a younger VA - no thick skin, a client saw me in tears during our Zoom call because I was so frustrated I couldn't get the task right. While in the middle of doing my task, she would drop new instructions that would cancel out what I already finished. No shame though! I am happy that that happened because after that, I made it a point to clarify the client's instructions before I go on implementing them.


OBM vs. Virtual Assistant Cost Efficiency

So now, let's talk numbers. How much will it cost you to hire an OBM? Typically, an OBM will charge you a retainer fee or a monthly package. But from my experience, there are really amazing OBMs you can hire who charge $70/hour to $150/hour. If you have a ton of projects and the scope of work is bigger, your OBM might quote you a higher price. It also depends on how often you want your OBM to report to you, how often you want them to attend Zoom calls, etc. So, I suggest that you have a discovery call with the OBM and ask about their pricing structure thoroughly.



As for hiring a VA, the hourly rate can range from $10/hour to $40/hour depending on the scope of work you delegate to them. When I started as a VA many years back, I charged an hourly rate of 50 cents per hour. My business coach was furious when she found out about this and berated me for not giving enough value to my skills. I was naive and I had to admit, I didn't have any experience yet so I charged that low... As I acquired more skills and built my own virtual assistant team that I'm working with today, we comfortably sit at charging $15/hour to our clients, but for specialized VIP work, strategy sessions on Zoom, or task outsourcing consulting services, we charge a bit more at $40 to $200/HOUR depending on their needs OR project scope.


So, Do I Need an OBM? Or a Virtual Assistant?

If after hearing the numbers, you're already second-guessing your decision to run an online business as a coach or course creator, I told you this video might raise your blood pressure a tad. But I'm glad you stayed all throughout and you're still here now because I'm about to inject some perspective into you.


Whenever you feel that the cost of overhead, the expense of hiring a team, the retainer fees you will hand over to your OBM, and other business costs that you're tallying up in your head right now --- think about them as a whole... think about how much in total monthly you will be spending to keep your business running.


If you have a number already, write that down on a piece of paper. That's the monthly cost of running your business. Keep that number close because I am now going to ask you... how much are you willing to pay to get your dream business off the ground? How much are you willing to part with to ensure that your business empire takes form and you can finally say to your mom, your dad, your kids, your husband, your relatives, your friends who supported you --- "Hey! I made it! I now have a 6-7-8 figure business and I'm running it with an amazing OBM and a loyal team of virtual assistants. Your support all this time was worth it!"


And on your deathbed, when you contemplate your life, you will look back at that number that you wrote on a piece of paper and you will say to yourself "Wow! Imagine if I backed out because the number felt too high? I would probably still be working my 9-5 and I wouldn't be able to afford my own funeral. Huh! Look how that turned out..."


So is building this coaching business worth it? I'll let you answer that.

I hope this helped you figure out whether you only need a VA or if you need a secret weapon combo of hiring an OBM plus your virtual assistants.


See you next time.






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