How is a Virtual Assistant Different from an Online Business Manager (OBM)?

Find out how to choose the right support for your needs.

If you run a business, you know how quickly you can start to feel overwhelmed and overworked. It doesn’t take much to go from smiling because you got this, to panicking because the work is piling up and sliding out of control.

The good news is that you have options when it comes to delegating tasks and lightening your load.

Virtual Assistants and Online Business Managers are both excellent solutions to the problem of feeling like there are never enough hours in the day to get it all done. These two roles may seem similar at first glance, but they are actually quite different in terms of their responsibilities, skills, and the type of value they bring to a business.

In this post, we’ll explore the key differences between a Virtual Executive Assistant and an Online Business Manager to help you determine who is the right fit for your business needs. You might even realize you need both!


Executive Assistants vs. Business Managers: What’s the Difference?

An Executive Assistant is a professional who provides administrative and clerical support to business owners and executives, usually at the C-suite level. Their primary responsibilities include managing schedules, making travel arrangements, taking phone calls, drafting emails, organizing meetings, and performing a range of jobs to ensure you can focus on strategic decision-making and other high-level responsibilities.

On the other hand, a Business Manager is responsible for overseeing day-to-day operations, including managing employees, developing and implementing strategies to achieve the company’s goals, and monitoring financial performance. Business Managers generally have decades of experience in a business setting and are highly skilled to keep their finger on the pulse and ensure your company is running smoothly and efficiently.


Why Hire a Virtual Executive Assistant?

Virtual Executive Assistants exist to take the busy work off your plate so you can focus on the tasks where you supply the most value.

For example, at VEA, our Executive Assistants not only handle typical administrative jobs, but they are also happy to take on tasks of a Personal Assistant like booking dinners, vacations, ordering household basics, and even sending flowers and gifts. Think about it – when your personal life is tended to, you have more brain space to focus on the workday.

How do you know it’s time for an Executive Assistant? Here are several common signs:

    • Your inbox is overflowing.
    • You move a lot of meetings because you don’t have control over your schedule – your schedule has control over you.
    • You can’t imagine shutting off while on vacation. Too many things would slip through the cracks.
    • You’re constantly sidelined by small or distracting projects that take you away from the tasks where you shine.

An Executive Assistant can even drop work blocks into your schedule, giving you permission to simply focus rather than be pulled into last-minute meetings that sabotage the day. They can also help you strive for “inbox zero”, a productivity strategy and philosophy that seeks to declutter your mind by decluttering your inbox through methodically deleting, sorting, and clearing incoming emails.

The right Executive Assistant can transform how you structure your week and make it more productive!

“An Online Business Manager having a remote meeting via Zoom to present reporting, insights and direction”



Why Hire an Online Business Manager?

An Online Business Manager is like your “Chief of Staff” who can handle daily business functions, giving you more capacity to focus on business development. Online Business Managers bring both administrative and operational big-picture perspectives to internal operations, and they integrate strategy and leadership to streamline your business.

More than handling your administration functions or bookkeeping tasks, an Online Business Manager is your right hand and can identify vital moving parts and resources within your organization and fit them together. With an Online Business Manager overseeing the daily business functions, you can refocus on business growth, company culture, and anything else that gets you to leap out of bed in the morning.

How do you know if it’s really time for an Online Business Manager? Here are just a few signs:

    • Important tasks get pushed out due to lack of bandwidth.
    • You have that nagging feeling of never having the time to strategize on anything new.
    • Winning a new business doesn’t feel fun, it just means more work you already don’t have time to do.
    • Communication with your team is slipping.
    • Keeping up team morale is getting more difficult.
    • Recruitment and hiring are too rushed or don’t get done at all.

More specifically, an Online Business Manager can manage your staff, your finances, and take the lead on marketing initiatives. This doesn’t give you carte blanche to take a step back and let your Business Manager run the show, but rather you now can have a person who has the bandwidth to execute your vision.

While your Online Business Manager facilitates events and operations, you, as the owner, are recharged to place your company’s mission front and center and expand your company’s vision – something you might not have found time to do before. What do you think? Does this sound like the person you’ve been waiting for?


One + One = Three

Choosing between an Executive Assistant and an Online Business Manager does not have to be an either/or equation. The best solution may be to hire for both job functions. In an ideal scenario, your Business Manager prioritizes tasks and delegates them to your Executive Assistant, so you can tackle the areas where your time is best spent.

You need support, but you don’t need a full-time resource. These job functions are virtual, which means your Executive Assistant or Online Business Manager is used to working on a fractional or part-time basis, within a flexible schedule. It’s really between you and your person to come up with a schedule that works for everyone.

What do you think? Want to learn more? Reach out to VEA anytime to talk about your specific challenges and how VEA can support you and your business goals.


Tovey Blake
Operations Manager

Frequently Asked Questions about Online Business Managers (OBMs)

Q: How do I onboard an OBM?

A: The team at VEA will guide you through a step-by-step onboarding process to ensure your OBM is brought up to speed, quickly and efficiently.

Q: What if I only need help during peak seasons?

A: An OBM exists to streamline processes and encourage organizational growth – something that requires year-round attention to be done effectively.

Q: How can I be sure I will get an OBM who understands my needs?

A: VEA prides itself on HAND MATCHING every OBM to every client. We will work with you to get it right.

Q: What if I quickly realize I don’t need an OBM?

A: Our OBMs work on a fractional, contract basis. You are under no obligation to renew the contract when the term is up.

Q: Can VEA help me make sure I am getting the most value from my OBM?

A: Absolutely! Your dedicated account manager at VEA is happy to share tips on how to get the most out of your relationship with your OBM.