The Major Differences Between an OBM and a Virtual Assistant

The Major Differences Between an OBM and a Virtual Assistant #OBM #VA

At first, it can sometimes seem like the terms ‘OBM’ and ‘VA’ are used interchangeably and that there isn’t much of a difference between the two, if any. 

Or maybe you know that there is a difference, but you’re not quite sure what.

Well, it’s important to know and understand these differences so that you can choose the right path for you, stick with it, and set yourself up for success in whichever you choose!

Online Business Manager (OBM)

An OBM, or online business manager, is responsible for a generally larger role in an online business than a VA. They act as a manager and support operations, manage employees, and strategize. An OBM isn’t someone who completes tasks but rather delegates them.

The main purpose of an OBM is to free up time on the business owners agenda that could be better spent doing what they’re good at and what they love!

So, what are some examples of projects an OBM would be responsible for managing?

They might manage:

  • Launches from start to finish

  • Client on-boarding and relationships

  • Outsourcing and employees

  • Building and implementing strategies

  • Creating sales funnels

Overall, OBM’s have a higher stake in the business. They are more personally invested than the typical VA would be.

Virtual Assistant (VA)

A VA, or virtual assistant, is responsible for much more specific tasks in the day-to-day business. They do not have the role of delegating the tasks, but actually completing them. They might not even have a specific area of focus, such as design or marketing, but rather complete whatever is needed from them.

The main purpose of a VA is to complete the necessary routine tasks that may get in the way of actually scaling a business.

So, what are some examples of tasks a VA would be responsible for?

They might:

  • Write and/or schedule blog posts

  • Maintain website

  • Manage social media channels

  • Create social media graphics

  • Build landing pages


Okay, so now that you’re a pro on the differences between an OBM and a VA, how do you know which path is right for you?

A few questions you could ask yourself to figure that out are:

  • Do you enjoy managing people?

  • Do you like brainstorming and coming up with business strategies?

  • Do you often feel like you’re the one holding everything together?

If this is the case, the OBM path might be perfect for you!


  • Do you like assigned tasks with detailed instructions?

  • Do you have a specific area of focus and skill, such as tech or design?

  • Are you methodical and like to have someone to look up to?

If so, the VA path would probably be a better fit!

Next Steps

Now that you have a good idea about which path might be right for you, it’s time to take the next step!

A great option when starting out as either an OBM or VA is to get a certification.

This, of course, isn’t obligatory, but it can help you build a strong foundation and stand out from the rest.

Certifications can also be a great way to prove that you know your sh** and you’re ready to make an impact on their business.

For OBM’s, I suggest Sarah Noked’s OBM certification, which helps you learn everything there is to know from building systems to scaling your business.

For VA’s, I suggest Abbey Ashleys VA Bootcamp. This certification can help take you from struggling to get by on an hourly wage to booking out with high-ticket monthly retainers.

So, there it is. I hope I helped to clear up any confusion you may have had on the differences between an OBM and a VA.

Overall, both of these paths are an amazing opportunity for anyone who is driven by the idea of setting their own hours, working from home, and being their own boss!