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The number one question that gets asked of Virtual Assistants and Online Business Managers is, what’s the difference between a Virtual Assistant and an Online Business Manager?

I don’t think I have met a person who hasn’t asked this question.

They learn the answer, then they know the answer. but prior to that, everybody asks it.

This episode shares:

 

  • Terminology: What does a Virtual Assistant mean and what does an Online Business Manager mean?
  • The journey: What it looks like to go from being a general VA to an OBM

 

Terminology

An OBM is a Virtual Assistant.

Dun, dun, dun. What does that mean?

When Virtual Assistants began, they were primarily admin assistants. They were people who had secretarial skills and when the internet became a thing, that’s when Virtual Assistants started to begin.

Over time though, the industry has grown and changed at the same speed as technology like this was founded on the internet. So as technology grows and expands, so does the industry and the people within the industry and the things that you can do within this industry.

So what a VA used to be known as is not accurate anymore.

There is the VA industry, and that is anybody who offers business services in an online manner. Remotely. Contractors.

There are lots of different specialties within that industry as a whole. An Online Business Manager is a VA who has specialised in business management and does their work online.

When we say VA, what we’re referring to is a general admin VA. Somebody who has niched down into providing general admin services across businesses.

The journey

Now that we have cleared that up and we all know what we’re talking about, I want to share a little story.

For a long time, I was a VA. At least I referred to myself as a VA.

One day, one of my clients said to me, “Leanne, you are not a Virtual Assistant.” And I was a little bit confused. If I’m not a virtual assistant, what am I?

They said to me, “you’re an Online Business Manager. The way that you see my business, the skills that you have, and the way that you run your business as well as my business, that tells me you’re not a VA. If you put what you do and what a VA does side by side, it’s very different.” And I thought, huh, this sounds interesting.

So I explored it a little bit further and what I found was amazing and then I transformed my business at that point because it made so much sense. I had been frustrated at the level of VAs that weren’t really running businesses, they just decided, I can use words, so I’m going to charge for it and getting compared to people like that, getting compared to $5 an hour cheaper services, thinking, but they can’t do what I can do. And it’s because we weren’t doing the same things. I wasn’t comparing apples with apples.

I would love to share with you what I really learnt and what the differences are between a VA and an OBM. There are 9 things we’re going to go through.

1. Focus on the end goal

A VA is primarily task-based.

They are exceptional at completing certain jobs or certain tasks in a timely or professional manner. They look at the task, they look at the extent of the task, they do it, they come back to you with a job well done.

An OBM looks at the bigger picture.

If we are looking at one task, we’re not just looking at that task, we’re looking at the whole process flow and we’re looking at the system around that task.

What’s the purpose of it? What is the way that we approach this? Is that the best way? If this task was done in a different way what would the impact be on the rest of the process? What do the pieces involved in this task and process do to achieve our end goals?

We want to see the bigger picture. We want to see everything within a business working in a system to support the business goals. So we’re looking at that entire machine rather than looking at the goal of the task.

2. Different skill sets

VAs have niched down into that general administration. So it’s across the board business admin.

An OBM has admin skills. Generally, we didn’t just start with all this knowledge and this capability. At some point, we’ve been in admin roles, we understand admin, but in a role of an OBM, that’s not our focus and it shouldn’t be our focus, because our jam is to have high attention to detail, a strategic focus, and looking at and managing operations.

We also have a really solid understanding of what it takes to run a business. A business as a whole, not just a piece of it or a niche of it.

What impact does the technology have on that? What impact does the team have on? OBMs will focus their energy on getting all of the pieces in a business established and working towards that big end goal.

Whereas VAs are exceptional to a deep level at their tasks.

3. Training and development

VAs will generally train in skills specific to their service offerings, to their niche. They’re the things they do every day, or they rely on their previous experience in terms of administration and administrative tasks. They might change a little bit, but the whole foundation of what they do and what they are don’t change at a rapid pace.

A lot of VAs will do some kind of annual training, they’ll brush up on something that tends to be the pattern in the industry.

OBMs train in skills that support all of their service offerings and they update their skills regularly. As an OBM, I want to know how to make my business run better.

When I’m learning how to make my business run better, I’m learning how to make your business run better. So it has an ecosystem of expansion and education. OBMs will generally invest in more training and they will spend more money.

In that training, we seek it, we make it a pillar in our businesses, especially when our role is to lead and guide and know, we need to have the most up to date understanding of things that are going on in business world. OBMs don’t just schedule in annual training, we don’t stop training. What I mean by that is we do formal education and enrol in courses.

If you’ve got an OBM who’s not learning every day, they probably aren’t a good one. Yes, I said it. Because when an OBM is faced with a new scenario or a problem, it’s their job to go and find a solution. It’s their job to be able to learn and adapt and make executive decisions as the business grows and changes.

Every day we’re learning all the tools and resources that will help grow your business to get us there. Put aside annual training time. We learn and we grow and we change every day. It is built in to our role. We will be learning how to run your business better and how to run our business better. So think about it. Every time I am upscaling or expanding my knowledge to make my business grow and run smoother, I’m getting all that same knowledge to do it for your business. Then when I’m doing that same thing for your business, it’s boosting my knowledge from my business and it’s this awesome little ecosystem that starts to happen.

OBMs will generally invest more financially in training because of how paramount it is to our role. If you have an OBM who isn’t consistently learning or updating their skills or interested in what’s happening and what’s working today, They probably aren’t a very good one. We need to be curious. We need to be interested. We need to be invested in growth of ourselves and of your business and because of what we do is all about making sure the business is doing everything it can in an easy way to achieve its goals, we need to be equipped with up to date knowledge.

We need to know what’s working in business land right now. We need to know if something has changed between last year and this year. We’re core team members. If there is a problem, or if we’re looking at an opportunity where we need new ways to do things, an OBM will go and find the solution.

They will go and solve the problem and if they don’t know how, they will learn. That’s the idea here. It is not a situation where we see a problem, or we have this desire to achieve something new, and then we just stop and go, sorry, I don’t know. We need to be consistently learning and OBMs learn every single day, every day in my business.

I am learning. I very much, in myself, like to keep my skills up to date. I’m an avid learner, and I enjoy it, and I’m naturally curious. I’m, I naturally want to do the things better, and I want to learn how to improve, and I want to learn how to tweak things, or explore completely new options that flips everything on its head.

That gets a better impact. That’s the aim of the game here. So when technology moves as fast as it does, when people move as fast as they do, when team members have different personalities and change, you need to be able to grow and expand with all these changes.

4. Price point

How much do VAs charge? How much do OBMs charge?

For general admin VAs in Australia, at the momentin 2024, the entry level rate is about $45-50 an hour at AUD. That’s for someone who has the skill to be an administration assistant.

Maybe they have worked in admin as an employee and now they’re going to do it in their business. So they’ve got that skill set, but might be new to the industry or new to running their own business. That’s the entry level. Anybody that is charging less than that hasn’t really invested in their business at all yet.

If they’re charging less than that, they are selling themselves short, and they’re not considering the expenses that exist running a business. But generally, someone entering this industry at the moment, $45-50 an hour, and they tend to charge in at an hourly rate. They also usually will do retainers where they’ll package up a bunch of hours and then you’ll get a little bit of a discount because you’re buying hours of their time in advance.

Some will then niche down into certain services. So they might have a particular skill. Let’s say they are in general admin, but they have a flair for design – they might then use that as an add on to their service. 

If you’re working with an OBM, it’s a little bit of a different structure. OBMs will be shifting away from charging an hourly rate because when you charge an hourly rate, you are putting all of the weight on the client. If I charge you an hourly rate, I’m saying to you how good I am at my job will impact how much you then pay for.

So if I take longer to do something because I haven’t bothered to increase my training, increase my skills, you’re paying for that. If you need a certain job done and it takes me longer and then you’ve run out of hours, well guess what? That job ain’t getting finished. Or you have to pay me more for it.

If we flip that and we look at the outcome, hey, I need someone who’s going to do this for me. I want this complete and OBM will then come back to you with that. This is how much that will cost, not a, this is how much time it will take. Therefore, this is how much it will cost. They’re factoring in if something goes wrong, if everything goes smoothly, if there’s additional costs or they’re going to have to work, different hours or whatever that might be.

They’re taking the responsibility for the outcome. Not you. So you know when you work with an OBM, you’re going to get the result that you’re wanting. You’re going to get that thing finished or things happening the way they should without the price fluctuating. The other thing that you need to think about with OBMs is that when they are packaging up their services, they’re packaging up the level of knowledge and understanding they have about businesses, operations, management, and the level of responsibility and ownership that goes into that kind of role.

They are there to make the whole business run, to achieve the end goals, and that includes consistently reviewing what’s happening and keeping their eyes. And then we tweak and we change and we address things when we need to, that’s what you’re paying for. So it is very hard to then say, Oh, you spent four hours thinking about my business. So I’m going to charge you this. That just seems silly. So this is why you’ll find OBMs packaging and doing value-based pricing versus an hourly rate. If you are really pushing for that hourly rate, I would encourage you not to do this. What you would be looking at though, is OBMs in Australia, who are entry level into being an OBM, you’re looking at $70-75 for a fresh OBM.

If you want someone who’s got some experience, you’re looking closer to the $100 mark. If you’re looking for someone who can integrate a whole business and be a strategic partner and see the gaps that you might be missing and hold a lot of the responsibility, you’re looking higher. So now you’ve got a little bit of a ballpark.

5. Level of understanding of business

VAs have a great understanding of their role. Whatever the service that they’re offering you is, they have an understanding of that task, of that process, of what looks good there and what doesn’t, but that’s where it kind of stops.

They have a general understanding from running their own business. But they’re not investing on bigger principles or learning how to make the business machine run to achieve objectives.

OBMs have the understanding of running their business, but they also fully immerse themselves in your business. They need to know how businesses run and run well and what makes them fall over, what makes them better in business land as a whole.

They’re never just looking at one little piece of the puzzle. We understand the pieces that make up a business machine. Because if you don’t fully understand all the different components that go into running a business to make it smooth, to make it easy, to have consistency in brand and delivery, to build an audience, to market, to have profitable services, to deliver exceptional customer experiences. If you don’t understand the different things that all work together in a business, to be successful, you are not going to be able to run that very well.

OBMs invest in these things. They’re the things that we’re constantly looking at and we’re looking at how each piece of the system is working with the rest and making sure that any change that’s made isn’t going to negatively impact the things that are around it.

We want everything to work cohesively in that bigger system. Then any changes, we anticipate what the impact will be and we make different decisions based on that, those things that we’re anticipating.

6. Depth of environment

If you look at how involved in your business as a whole, a VA  will be ankle-deep. So, thinking that, let’s say, your foot is the task. That’s the level. They are exceptional at staying at the foot level in their zone of genius and nailing that.

They will come back to you and they will talk to you and they will improve everything within that task. They’re looking at that aspect. They are ankle-deep and they’re communicating with you for things at that level. And so when we’re focused on one piece. If you look at a whole cake versus just a slice, they don’t need to check in with you as much about one slice as it is in comparison to if they were to be talking to you about all of the slices.

That’s the difference here. VAs will check in and have touch points and be involved in the level of their tasks, but they don’t need to consider all the pieces around them.

OBMs are in the depths of that ocean with you, and yeah, we’ve got an air tank in case something goes wrong. We’re ready for the disaster, we’re prepared for the future, and we’re exploring with you. So we’re down, down deep, head underwater, fully immersed. If you think about it, OBMs need to understand your business really, really well.

If you want to improve something at that level, you have to invest the time and the energy and have an understanding of what makes your business work. What does this look like? What are the known factors? What are the unknown factors? What are the things that make us amazing and what are the things that we need to improve?

We need to be in it and in it every day. We need to have that head underwater level of involvement. We need the frequency. We need the lots of touch points because all of that builds into our understanding of how to improve this thing and how to give you as the business owner, more time, more space, more freedom, the ability to create new revenue streams, to grow, to expand.

The ability to go on holiday if you want to without everything falling over. That can’t happen if someone isn’t fully immersed and dedicated. We need to get a full understanding of what happens, but also of the people, also of the resources, also of the audience, all the different pieces of that business, because then we can do our job better.

OBMs will have a far deeper level of involvement in your business. We are key players here. Your success is our success. We get very tied to what’s happening and things improving because we do invest a lot of our time and energy. into your business.

7. Relationships within your business

A VA will generally build a relationship with either the business owner or the person that they’re working with – whoever is managing the VA within that business, sometimes it’s not the business owner because they don’t need to really work with anybody else. If they’re performing general admin services, they don’t need to know the ins and outs of every other team role.

With an OBM, we have to build relationships with the business owner and with all the stakeholders. If we’re going to have this level of involvement in this business and get really immersed in it, then we become a known quantity. We need to know who all the team members are. We need to get to know your audience and who they are, the customers and who they are, the suppliers and who they are.

We become a sticking point in your business and we start to cultivate a different culture within your business. So instead of you as the business owner, as the CEO, having to be the touch point for everything, you’ve got somebody else who can do that and to achieve that, we get sticky with everybody and we’re good at that. People feel safe and secure when they see our face or see our name. They know who we are. They know that we’re close to you. They know that we’re as invested in this as you are. So there isn’t this, I’m getting, palmed off to some random person. We’re a known quantity.

Plus, we do build a really solid relationship with you because we have to. If we’re wanting to make sure the business is going in the right direction, in the direction that you imagine, if you’re able to achieve what you want to achieve, that relationship has to be good and it has to be tight, which brings us the level of initiative.

8. Level of initiative

A VA is proactive and has initiative within their contracted services within their specialty, and usually if they have a specialty, they already know what’s gonna play out. That’s their specialty. They’ve done this over and over again.

They’ll know if there’s gonna be sticking points that are going to come up because they’ll be similar sticking points to what happens in other situations. So they’re proactive and have initiative within their scope.

An OBM has to have hyper-proactivity across the entire business. If we are taking ownership of a business as a whole, and our role is to keep all of the wheels spinning and keep the business moving in the right direction, the level of initiative that we have is paramount. We have to be able to think about how to keep that business moving, how to be strategic in our thinking, the things that we’re doing, the opportunities that are there, and then being able to present them back.

We need to be able to make decisions on the fly. We need to be able to troubleshoot. We need to be able to proactively anticipate where some of those cogs in your system might stop working. What’s going to happen if this falls over? Is it likely to fall over? If so, what are we going to do about that? Or should we be doing this a completely different way?

An OBM should be coming to you with solutions and coming to you with, hey, we’ve had this problem. This is what we’re going to do about it. Hey, there’s this opportunity. Have you thought about doing it this way? Rather than waiting for you to lead them. It is that level of initiative and investment that really makes a rockstar OBM.

That level of commitment, understanding, being able to think strategically at that big picture level. There is value in an OBM. Someone who can partner with you to grow the business, change the business, who can look at multiple pieces moving all together and be able to get them all better to get a better result.

9. Personal Attention

Personal attention is when you look at the capacity of VAs versus OBMs, VAs will generally have more capacity. They do smaller jobs, so they need more clients. The client base is bigger, so your interaction with them is smaller because that’s all that’s needed.

As an OBM, we have to choose our clients very carefully and we have to make sure that we can align with them, that we get along, that we have the skills and the relationship with you to be able to get the business where it’s going and for it to be enjoyable for you and for me because I’m going to invest a lot of time in this.

The other thing you want to think about here too is, if I’m going to be this level of committed, I can’t do that with lots of people. I can’t run 20 different businesses, at that level of commitment on my own. I can’t do it. I would never be able to understand those businesses as well as what’s needed for you to get the value.

I have to limit the amount of people I work with and if I’m going to do that, I want it to be the right people. I want it to be the people that are going to be able to get the result, that we’re going to be able to bounce off each other, that we’re going to have complementary skills, that we’re going to have opposing skills, so where you’re incredible at something, the opposite, I’ve got covered. So that you can be you and use your inspiration, follow your vision, be the leader and the CEO. Then I can do the things that I’m fantastic at and keep everything driving towards that vision. There are times when there will be a need for different skills. There will be times where there is a need for people who operate similarly.

There will be personality factors that come into it. You do not want to work with an OBM who you can’t communicate well with or who it would do your head in if you had to talk to them every day. There’s nothing wrong with them, but the way that people communicate and the different personalities we have, these things matter to a successful business relationship with an OBM and a good OBM knows that you don’t want this constant friction that’s not based on two people being wrong or not knowing what they’re doing.

It’s just personality matches. When we’re working with our clients, we want to build happy, easy, fun relationships, people we are stoked to be aligned with, because we are going to spend a lot of time together.

When OBMs are looking at their client base, we’re really looking for people who are in that next phase. They don’t want somebody who just needs a task done and needs it done well. They want someone who is in it with them, who is capable, highly skilled, has initiative and marketing mouse, who can get fully involved in their business, in their team, who can help create strategic plans and provide objective opinions.

You do want the sounding board. All of these things are what an OBM will do and do well. But to do that, you have to have a really good relationship with them. And it can take time to build that, but it all starts with that initial, Hey, do we actually like each other? Can I actually do what you need me to do?

Do we understand each other? Does this feel good? Because otherwise it will all fall over. And then all of a sudden your key player is somebody that you can’t stand. Nobody wants that.

So how do you know what you need? And if I put it very simply, and yes, I’m simplifying, so do not hold me to this is, the ultimate rule. It’s just a quick indication. Do you want someone who is going to come in and do a job and do it well? A VA. Or do you want a fully immersed growth partner? An OBM.

 

Wrapping It Up

 

If you are looking for a highly capable experience OBM, come and check out me and my team at audaciousempires.com. I would love to talk to you. We work with six, seven, eight figure business owners who are ready to step out of the day-to-day and to take the mantle of CEO and to work on inspiration and growth and let somebody else take care of the daily operations. So that you’ve got the space, time and freedom to be who you are. I hope that this has given you some clarity on the different things that define a VA and an OBM.

There are more, but what I wanted to do was give you a solid picture with enough information so that if you need to make decisions about where you are and what you need, you have now the knowledge and if you’re grappling with this, use everything I’ve said as a quick checklist. Go through that and use it as an evaluation. Do I want this or do I want this? Do I want this or do I want that? And it’ll tell you what type of support is available to you. 

 

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Follow along with the transcript

Ep 6 What’s the difference between a Virtual Assistant and an Online Business Manager?

Hey, hey, legends. Today, I want to talk about the number one question that gets asked of virtual assistants and online business managers. And that is, what’s the difference between a virtual assistant and an online business manager? I don’t think I have met a person who hasn’t had this question. They learn the answer, then they know the answer.

But prior to that, everybody asks it. And today? I’m going to give you a really clear picture. So first things first, let’s get our terminology right. An OBM is a virtual assistant. Dun, dun, dun. What does that mean? Okay, when virtual assistants began, they were primarily admin assistants. They were people who had secretarial skills and when the internet became a thing, that’s when virtual assistants started to begin.

And that is because we were [00:02:00] admin assistants who could work remotely, hence virtual, hence assistant. Over time though, the industry has grown and changed. At the same speed as technology like this was founded on the internet. So as technology grows and expands, so does the industry and the people within the industry and the things that you can do within this industry.

So what a VA used to be known as is not accurate anymore. There is the VA industry, and that is anybody who offers business services in an online manner. Remotely. Contractors. So there are lots of different specialties within that industry as a whole. An online business manager is a VA who has specialised in business management.

And we do it online. For the purpose of this episode though, when we say [00:03:00] VA, what we’re referring to is a general admin VA. Somebody who has niched down into providing general admin services across businesses.

Now that we have cleared that up and we all know what we’re talking about, I want to share a little story. For a long time, I was a VA. At least I referred to myself as a VA. And then one day, one of my clients said to me, Leanne, you are not a virtual assistant. And I was a little bit confused. If I’m not a virtual assistant, what am I?

And they said to me, you’re an online business manager. The way that you see my business, the skills that you have, and the way that you run your business as well as my business, that tells me You’re not a VA. If you put what you do and what a VA do side by side, [00:04:00] it’s very different. And I thought, huh, this sounds interesting.

And so I explored it a little bit further and what I found was amazing. And then I transformed my business at that point because it made so much sense. I had been frustrated at the level of VAs that weren’t really running businesses, they just decided, I can use words, so I’m going to charge for it. And that’s as far as it went, and getting compared to people like that, getting compared to 5 an hour cheaper services, thinking, but they can’t do what I can do.

And it’s because we weren’t doing the same things. I wasn’t comparing apples with apples. And so today. I would love to share with you what I really learnt and what the differences are between a virtual assistant and an online business manager. There are nine things we’re going to go through, so [00:05:00] buckle up.

Number one, focus on the end goal. A VA is primarily task based. They are exceptional at completing certain jobs or certain tasks in a timely or professional manner. They look at the task, they look at the extent of the task, they do it, they come back to you with a job well done. An online business manager looks at the bigger picture.

If we are looking at one task, we’re not just looking at that task, we’re looking at the whole process flow. And we’re looking at the system around that task. What’s the purpose of it? What is the way that we approach this? Is that the best way? If this task was done in a different way What would the impact be on the rest of the process?

And what do the pieces involved in this task and process do to achieve our end goals? We want to see the bigger picture. We want to [00:06:00] see everything within a business working in a system to support that. The business goals. So we’re looking at that entire machine rather than looking at the goal of the task.

Number two, different skill sets. Virtual assistants have niched down into that general administration. So it’s across the board, business admin, super supportive, great. And OBM has admin skills. Generally, we didn’t just start as with all this knowledge and this capability at some point, we’ve been in admin roles, we understand admin, but in a role of an online business manager, that’s not our focus.

And it shouldn’t be our focus, because our jam is to have high attention to detail, a strategic focus, and looking at and managing operations, projects. We also have a [00:07:00] really solid understanding of what it takes to run a business. A business as a whole, not just a piece of it or a niche of it. It is how do we get this whole business running smoothly.

And what impact do the processes have on that? What impact does the technology have on that? What impact does the team have on? Online business managers will focus their energy on getting all of the pieces in a business established and working towards that big end goal. Whereas virtual assistants are exceptional to a deep level at their tasks.

Number three, training and development. VAs will generally train in skills specific to their service offerings, to their niche. They’re the things they do every day, or they rely on their previous experience in terms of administration and administrative [00:08:00] tasks. They might change a little bit, but the whole foundation of what they do and what they are don’t change at a rapid pace.

A lot of VAs will do some kind of annual training, they’ll brush up on something that tends to be the pattern in the industry. Online business managers train in skills that support all of their service offerings. And they update their skills regularly. As an online business manager, I want to know how to make my business run better.

When I’m learning how to make my business run better, I’m learning how to make your business run better. When I’m learning how to make your business run better, I’m learning how to make my business run better. So it has this like little ecosystem of expansion and education. Online business managers will generally invest in more training and they will spend more money.

In that training, we seek it, we make it a pillar in our [00:09:00] businesses, especially when our role is to lead and guide and know, we need to have the most up to date understanding of things that are going on in business world. OBMs don’t just schedule in annual training, we don’t stop training. And what I mean by that is we do formal education, enrolling courses, do things like that, but we learn every single day.

And if you’ve got an online business manager who’s not learning every day, they probably aren’t a good one. Yes, I said it. Because when an OBM is faced with a new scenario or a problem, it’s their job to go and find a solution. It’s their job to be able to learn and adapt and make executive decisions as the business grows and changes.

And every day we’re learning all the tools and resources [00:10:00] that will help grow your business to get us there.

Put aside annual training time. We learn and we grow and we change every day. It is built in to our role. We will be learning how to run your business better and how to run our business better. So think about it. Every time I am upscaling or expanding my knowledge to make my business grow and run smoother, I’m getting all that same knowledge to do it for your business. And then when I’m doing that same thing for your business, it’s boosting my knowledge from my business. And it’s this awesome little ecosystem that starts to happen. OBMs will generally invest more financially in training because of how paramount it is to our role. If you have an online business [00:11:00] manager who isn’t consistently learning or updating their skills or interested in what’s happening and what’s working today, They probably aren’t a very good one.

I said it. We need to be curious. We need to be interested. We need to be invested in growth of ourselves and of your business. And because of what we do is all about making sure the business is doing everything it can in an easy way to achieve its goals, we need to be equipped. With up to date knowledge.

We need to know what’s working in business land right now. We need to know if something has changed between last year and this year. We’re core team members. If there is a problem, or if we’re looking at an opportunity where we need new ways to do things, an online business manager will go [00:12:00] and find the solution.

They will go and solve the problem. And if they don’t know how, they will learn. That’s the idea here. It is not a situation where we see a problem, or we have this desire to achieve something new, and then we just stop and go, sorry, I don’t know. We need to be consistently learning. And OBMs learn every single day, every day in my business.

I am learning. I very much, in myself, like to keep my skills up to date. I’m an avid learner, and I enjoy it, and I’m naturally curious. I’m, I naturally want to do the things better, and I want to learn how to improve, and I want to learn how to tweak things, or explore completely new options that flips everything on its head.

That gets a better impact. That’s the aim of the game here. So when technology moves as fast as it does, when people move as fast as they [00:13:00] do, when team members have different personalities and change, you need to be able to grow and expand with all these changes. And so I have always Had this natural inclination to make sure I’m learning what I need to learn in line with what my clients need, as well as improving my baseline type skills.

I want the best service that will support my clients. And so it is an everyday investment in my business.

Price point. This is another favorite question. How much do virtual assistants charge? How much do online business managers charge? For general VAs, general admin VAs in Australia, at the moment, what are we 2024? The entry level rate is about 45, 50 an hour at AUD. That’s for someone who has the [00:14:00] skill to be an administration assistant.

Maybe they have worked in admin as an employee and now they’re going to do it in their business. So they’ve got that skill set, but might be new to the industry or new to running their own business. That’s the entry level. Anybody that is charging less than that hasn’t really invested in their business at all yet.

If they’re charging less than that, they are selling themselves short, and they’re not considering the expenses that exist running a business. But generally, someone entering this industry at the moment, 45, 50 an hour, and they tend to charge in at an hourly rate. They also usually will do retainers where they’ll package up a bunch of hours and then you’ll get a little bit of a discount because you’re buying hours of their time in advance.

Some will then niche down into certain services. So they might have a particular skill. Let’s say [00:15:00] they are in general admin, but they have a flair for design. And so they might then use that as an add on to their service. Hey, if you want me to do design stuff as well, this is how much it will cost.

If you’re working with an online business manager, it’s a little bit of a different structure. OBMs will be shifting away from charging an hourly rate because when you charge an hourly rate, you are putting all of the onus on the client. If I charge you an hourly rate, I’m saying to you how good I am at my job will impact how much you then pay for.

So if I take longer to do something because I haven’t bothered. To increase my training, increase my skills, you’re paying for that. If you need a certain job done and it takes me longer and then you’ve run out of [00:16:00] hours, well guess what? That job ain’t getting finished. Or you have to pay me more for it.

If we flip that and we look at the outcome, hey, I need someone who’s going to do this for me. I want this complete and OBM will then come back to you with that. This is how much that will cost, not a, this is how much time it will take. Therefore, this is how much it will cost. They’re factoring in if something goes wrong, if everything goes smoothly, if there’s additional costs or they’re going to have to work, different hours or whatever that might be.

They’re taking the responsibility for the outcome. Not you. So you know when you work with an OBM, you’re going to get the result that you’re wanting. You’re going to get that thing finished or things happening the way they should without the price fluctuating. The other thing that you need to think about with [00:17:00] OBMs is that when they are packaging up their services, they’re packaging up the level of knowledge and understanding they have about businesses, operations, management, and the level of responsibility and ownership that goes into that kind of role.

They are there to make the whole business run, to achieve the end goals, and that includes consistently reviewing what’s happening and keeping their eyes. And then we tweak and we change and we address things when we need to, that’s what you’re paying for. So it is very hard to then say, Oh, you spent four hours thinking about my business.

So I’m going to charge you this. That just seems silly. So this is why you’ll find online business [00:18:00] managers packaging and doing value based pricing versus an hourly rate. If you are really pushing for that hourly rate, and I would encourage you not to do this. What you would be looking at though, is online business managers in Australia, who are entry, that entry level into being an OBM, you’re looking at 70 to 75 for a fresh OBM.

If you want someone who’s got some experience, You’re looking closer to the 100 mark. If you’re looking for someone who can integrate a whole business and be a strategic partner and see the gaps that you might be missing and hold a lot of the responsibility, you’re looking higher. So now you’ve got a little bit of a ballpark.

Number five, the level of understanding of business. Virtual assistants have a great understanding of their role. Whatever it is [00:19:00] that their, the service that they’re offering you is, they have an understanding of that task, of that process, of what looks good there and what doesn’t, but that’s where it kind of stops.

They have a general understanding from running their own business. But they’re not investing on bigger principles or learning how to make the business machine run to achieve objectives. OBMs have the understanding of running their business, but they also fully immerse themselves in your business. They need to know how businesses run and run well and what makes them fall over, what makes them better in business land as a whole.

They’re never just looking at one little piece of the puzzle. We understand the pieces that make up a business machine. Because if you don’t fully understand all the [00:20:00] different components that go into running a business to make it smooth. To make it easy, to have consistency in brand and delivery, to build an audience, to market, to have profitable services, to deliver exceptional customer experiences.

If you don’t understand the different things that all work together in a business, to be successful, you are not going to be able to run that very well. And so as online business managers, they’re the things that we invest in. They’re the things that we’re constantly looking at. And we’re looking at how each piece of the system is working with the rest and making sure that any change that’s made isn’t going to negatively impact the things that are around it.

We want everything to work cohesively in that bigger system. And then any changes, we [00:21:00] anticipate what the impact will be. And we make different decisions based on that, those things that we’re anticipating.

Depth of involvement. If you look at how involved in your business as a whole, a virtual assistant or an online business manager is, a virtual assistant will be ankle deep. So, thinking that, let’s say, your foot is the task. That’s the level. They are exceptional at staying at the foot level in their zone of genius and nailing that.

They will come back to you and they will talk to you and they will improve everything within that task. They’re looking at that aspect. They are ankle deep and they’re communicating with you for things at that level. And so when we’re focused on one piece Or, you know, not. If you look at a whole cake versus just a slice, they don’t need to check [00:22:00] in with you as much about one slice as it in comparison to if they were to be talking to you about all of the slices.

That’s the difference here. VAs will check in and have touch points and be involved to the level of their tasks, but they don’t need to consider all the pieces around them. OBMs.

We’re in the depths of that ocean with you, and yeah, we’ve got an air tank in case something goes wrong. We’re ready for the disaster, we’re prepared for the future, and we’re exploring with you. So we’re down, down deep, head underwater, fully immersed. If you think about it. OBM needs to understand your business really, really well.

If you want to improve something at that level, you have to invest the time and the energy and have an understanding of what makes [00:23:00] your business work. What does this look like? What are the known factors? What are the unknown factors? What are the things that make us amazing and what are the things that we need to improve?

We need to be in it and in it every day. We need to have that head underwater level of involvement. We need the frequency. We need the lots of touch points because all of that builds into our understanding of how to improve this thing and how to give you as the business owner, more time, more space, more freedom, the ability to create new revenue streams, to grow, to expand.

The ability to go on holiday if you want to without everything falling over. That can’t happen if someone isn’t fully immersed and dedicated. We need to get a full understanding of what happens, but also of the people, also of the resources, also of the audience, all the different pieces of that business, [00:24:00] because then we can do our job better.

So online business managers will have a far deeper level of involvement in your business. We are key players here. Your success is our success. We get very tied to what’s happening and things improving because we do invest a lot of our time and energy. into your business. Number seven, the relationships within your business.

So a virtual assistant will generally build a relationship with either the business owner or the person that they’re working with. So whoever is managing the virtual assistant within that business, sometimes it’s not the business owner because they don’t need to really work with anybody else. If they’re performing general admin services, they don’t need to know the ins and outs of every other team role.

With an OBM, we have to build relationships with the business owner and with all the stakeholders. If we’re going to have this level of involvement in this business and [00:25:00] get really immersed in it, then we become a known quantity. We have to, we need to know who all the team members are. We need to get to know your audience and who they are, the customers and who they are, the suppliers and who they are.

The team, we become a really sticky. point in your business and we start to cultivate a different culture within your business. So instead of you as the business owner, as the CEO, having to be the touch point for everything, you’ve got somebody else who can do that. And to achieve that, we get sticky with everybody.

And we’re good at that. And then people feel safe and secure when they see our face or see our name. They know who we are. They know that we’re close to you. They know that we’re as invested in this as you are. So there isn’t this, oh, I’m getting, palmed off to some random person. [00:26:00] We’re a known quantity.

Plus, we do build a really solid relationship with you. Because we have to. If we’re wanting to make sure the business is going in the right direction, in the direction that you imagine, if you’re able to achieve what you want to achieve, that relationship has to be good and it has to be tight,

which brings us to number eight, which is the level of initiative. A virtual assistant is proactive and has initiative within they’re contracted services within their specialty, and usually if they have a specialty, they already know what’s gonna play out. That’s their specialty. They’ve done this over and over again.

And so they’ll know if there’s gonna be sticking points that are co going to come up because they’ll be similar sticking points to what happens in other situations. So they’re proactive and have initiative within their scope. An online business manager has to have [00:27:00] hyper proactivity across the entire business.

So if we are taking ownership of a business as a whole, and our role at keeping all of the wheels spinning and keeping the business moving in the right direction, the level of initiative that we have is paramount. We have to be able to think about. How to keep that business moving, how to be strategic in our thinking, the things that we’re doing, the opportunities that are there, and then being able to present them back.

We need to be able to make decisions on the fly. We need to be able to troubleshoot. We need to be able to proactively anticipate where some of those cogs in your system might stop working. What’s going to happen if this falls over? Is it likely to fall over? If so, What are we going to do about that? Or should we be doing this a completely different [00:28:00] way?

An online business manager should be coming to you with solutions and coming to you with, Hey, we’ve had this problem. This is what we’re going to do about it. Hey, there’s this opportunity. Have you thought about doing it this way? Rather than waiting for you to lead them. It is that level of initiative and investment that really makes a rockstar OBM.

That level of commitment, debt, understanding, be able to think strategically at that big picture level. There is the value in an online business manager. Someone who can partner with you to grow the business, change the business, who can look at multiple pieces moving all together and be able to get them all to gel better to get a better result.

And our final one is personal atention So when you look at the capacity of virtual assistants [00:29:00] versus online business managers, virtual assistants will generally have more capacity. They do smaller jobs, so they need more clients. The client base is bigger, so your interaction with them is smaller because that’s all that’s needed.

An online business manager, we have to choose our clients very carefully. And we have to make sure that we can align with them, that we get along, that we have the skills and the relationship with you to be able to get the business where it’s going and for it to be enjoyable for you and for me because I’m going to invest a lot of time in this.

The other thing you want to think about here too is if I’m going to be this level of committed, I can’t do that with lots of people. I can’t run 20 different [00:30:00] businesses, at that level of commitment on my own. I can’t do it. I would never be able to understand those businesses as well as what’s needed for you to get the value.

So I have to limit the amount of people I work with. And if I’m going to do that. I want it to be the right people. I want it to be the people that are going to be able to get the result, that we’re going to be able to bounce off each other, that we’re going to have complementary skills, that we’re going to have opposing skills, so where you’re incredible at something, the opposite, I’ve got covered.

So that you can be you and use your inspiration, follow your vision, be the leader and the CEO. And then I can do the things that I’m fantastic at and keep everything driving towards [00:31:00] that vision. There are times where there will be a need for different skills. There will be times where there is a need for people who operate in a similar manner.

There will be personality factors that come into it. You do not want to work with an OBM who you can’t communicate well with or who it would do your head in if you had to talk to them every day. There’s nothing wrong with them, but the way that people communicate and the different personalities we have, these things matter to a successful business relationship with an OBM and a good OBM knows that you don’t want this constant friction that’s not based on two people being wrong or not knowing what they’re doing.

It’s just personality matches. When we’re working with our clients, we want to build happy, easy, fun relationships, people we are stoked to be aligned with, because we are going [00:32:00] to spend a lot of time together.

When OBMs are looking at their client base, we’re really looking for people who are in that next phase. They don’t want somebody who just needs a task done and needs it done well. They want someone who is in it with them, who is capable, highly skilled, has initiative and marketing mouse, who can get fully involved in their business, in their team, who can help create strategic plans and provide objective opinions.

You want the sounding board. All of these things are what an OBM will do and do well. But to do that, you have to have a really good relationship with them. And it can take time to build that, but it all starts with that initial, Hey, do we actually like each other? [00:33:00] Can I actually do what you need me to do?

Do we understand each other? Does this feel good? Because otherwise it will all fall over. And then all of a sudden your key player is somebody that you can’t stand. And really. Nobody wants that.

So how do you know what you need? And if I put it very simply, and yes, I’m simplifying, so do not hold me to this is, the ultimate rule. It’s just a quick indication. Do you want someone who is going to come in and do a job and do it well? A virtual assistant. Or do you want a fully immersed growth partner?

An online business manager. One sentence, a quick easy way to differentiate a virtual assistant and an online business manager. And if you are looking for a highly capable experience OBM, come and check [00:34:00] out me and my team at audaciousempires. com. I would love to talk to you. We work with six, seven, eight figure business owners who are ready to step out of the day to day and to take the mantle of CEO and to work on inspiration and growth and let somebody else take care of the daily operations.

Thanks. So that you’ve got the space, time and freedom to be who you are. I hope that this episode has given you some clarity on the different things that define a virtual assistant and an online business manager. There are more, but what I wanted to do was give you a solid picture with enough information so that if you need to make decisions about where you are and what you need, you have now the knowledge and if you’re grappling with this, use everything I’ve said as a quick checklist. Go through that [00:35:00] and use it as an evaluation. Do I want this or do I want this? Do I want this or do I want that? And it’ll tell you what type of support is available to you. Have a great day, everyone. I’ll see you next week.

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