What does it take to become an OBM

Today, we’re answering a question from a listener: I think I have the right skills to become an Online Business Manager, but I don’t have the experience. What do I do?

It’s important to remember that experience isn’t everything. You can learn the skills you need to be a successful OBM, even if you don’t have any formal experience.

At the core of what an OBM does are operations and project management. These are two skills that can be learned, and they don’t necessarily require formal experience.

In fact, I believe that anyone can be an OBM, regardless of their background. It’s all about having the right attitude and the willingness to learn.


This episode shares:

  • Role and importance of an OBM – how OBMs function in online businesses.
  • Skills for success – a look at technical and soft skills an OBM needs.
  • Gaining the right experience – types of experiences that foster a successful OBM transition.
  • Mindset shifts – the crucial change in mindset required for an OBM.
  • First steps to becoming an OBM – Brief, practical tips for your OBM journey.


Understanding the Role of an OBM


Before you can call yourself an OBM, it’s essential to grasp the essence of the role. It’s important to remember that an Online Business Manager isn’t just a fancy name for a virtual assistant who executes tasks. Rather, an OBM is a strategic partner to entrepreneurs, a skilled professional who handles the management and growth of their online business.

As an OBM, you’re the one orchestrating the day-to-day operations, managing the team, overseeing projects, and planning the future steps of the business. Essentially, you make sure everything behind the scenes runs smoothly, leaving the entrepreneur free to do what they do best – create and innovate.

“An OBM is not a task rabbit, but a conductor, orchestrating a harmonious business symphony.”

TIP: 💡Always remember the strategic element of your role. It’s not just about managing tasks but also about foreseeing challenges and planning for success.


Key Skills for an Effective OBM


“An OBM is like a Swiss Army knife, packed with a variety of skills for any situation.”

So, what does it take to be a top-notch OBM?

Ever played around with a Swiss Army knife? It’s got a tool for just about everything, right? Well, imagine if you could be the Swiss Army knife of the online business world. That’s exactly what an OBM is all about.

So, let’s talk about the toolkit you’ll need as an OBM: 

  1. Business Management Skills: As an OBM, you’re the captain of the ship. You need to know the ins and outs of running a business, from figuring out the best strategies to keeping an eye on the cash flow. It’s your job to make sure everything’s ticking along nicely and the business is heading in the right direction.
  2. Tech-Savvy: Being an OBM means you’re all about the online world. You’ll need to get friendly with all sorts of online tools and systems, from project management software to social media platforms. You’re like the digital whizz of the business, helping everything run smoothly and efficiently.
  3. Problem-Solving Pro: If there’s a problem, you’re the one to solve it. From dealing with unexpected hiccups to sorting out team issues, you’re the go-to person for finding solutions and keeping things moving.
  4. Communication Skills: Good communication is key to your role as an OBM. You’ll be the one chatting with teams, clients, and vendors, so you need to be clear, friendly, and understanding. The better you can communicate, the smoother everything will run.

Action: 🎯Give yourself a skills check. Where are you already rocking it, and where could you brush up a little? Remember, becoming an amazing OBM is a journey.



Mindset shifts


Okay, here’s a biggie: Becoming an OBM is not just about a new job title; it’s about an entire change in your mindset. Yup, it’s a BIG shift.

Picture this: You’re not just another crew member rowing the boat anymore; you’re the captain now. You’re not just checking off tasks on a to-do list; you’re the one setting the course, navigating the waters. You’re moving from just ‘doing’ to ‘deciding’. It’s exciting, isn’t it?

“An OBM doesn’t just do the work; they define the direction of the work.”

But here’s the catch: This kind of transition doesn’t happen overnight, and it requires a sprinkle of confidence, a dash of leadership, and a huge scoop of strategic thinking.

So how do you go about this? Start small. Flex your decision-making muscles. Take baby steps. With every project you take on, try to look at the big picture. How does this task fit into the grand scheme of things? What would be the best course of action?

ACTION: 🎯 Look at every task as a chance to practise strategic thinking. Start making small decisions and gradually level up. Before you know it, you’ll be comfortable and confident in taking up bigger responsibilities.



Kicking Off Your OBM Journey


So, you’ve got a spark of interest in becoming an OBM. Awesome. But what’s next? How do you take that spark and turn it into a blazing trail?

Here’s how:

  1. Get Clued Up: Start off by getting to know exactly what an OBM does (and trust me, it’s a lot!). Look into the skills you need for this role and give yourself a mental scorecard. What skills have you got down pat? Where could you improve? Be honest with yourself here.
  2. Invest In You: Next, it’s all about leveling up those skills. There are tons of OBM-related courses, trainings, and resources out there just waiting for you. It’s like a treasure hunt, but for knowledge.
  3. Get Connected: Lastly, it’s time to mingle. Network with other OBMs. Seek out a mentor who can guide you through the process. There’s a whole community of OBMs out there who’ve been in your shoes and are ready to help.

Remember that cool quote, “Every expert was once a beginner”? That’s your mantra right now. Keep in mind that becoming an OBM isn’t a sprint; it’s more like a leisurely hike. Take one step at a time, soak in the view, learn as you go, and before you know it, you’ll be standing at the top, looking back at how far you’ve come.

Tip: 💡Dive into OBM networking groups and forums. Think of these communities as your secret weapon—they’re packed with invaluable resources, advice, and support to help you along your journey.



Wrapping It Up


Alright, let’s sum it up. The journey towards becoming an Online Business Manager is a blend of honing the right skills, gathering relevant experiences, and nurturing a forward-thinking mindset. It’s not just about ticking off boxes in a list, but about growing and evolving with each step you take.

Remember, it’s not a race. It’s a personal journey. The experiences and knowledge you gain along the way are what will truly shape you into a successful OBM. Keep an open mind, stay eager to learn, and the path will unfold itself in front of you.

And as you set foot on this path, always keep in mind: “Every expert was once a beginner.” Embrace your beginner status today, and who knows? Tomorrow, you might be the expert sharing your wisdom with the world.


So, are you ready for the adventure? Your OBM journey starts now. 

Want to dive deeper into how to become a badass OBM?

We’ve got just the resource for you.

Embark on your path to becoming a six-figure Online Business Manager with our comprehensive FREE roadmap. Gain insights into key strategies, and build the confidence needed to align your service with the value you bring. Don’t wait.

Hungry for more? Yearning to fast-track your journey to a successful, 6-figure OBM career? Our OBM Academy is here for you. Gain access to exclusive support, invaluable resources, and the tools you need to sharpen your skills and elevate your OBM career. Don’t miss this opportunity.
Follow along with the transcript
What do I need to know and what experience do I need to call myself an OBM?

Leanne Woff: [00:00:00] Hello. Welcome to today’s episode of The Audacious OBM. Today we are [00:01:00] talking about all things “What do I need to know and what experience do I need to call myself an OBM?” Today we are answering a question that has come from one of our listeners. They have written in, I think I have the right skills to become an online business manager, but I don’t have the experience.

What do I do? This is a very, very good question and it’s more common than you might think.

The most crucial part of my answer to this is it’s important not just to tack the label online business manager onto the end of your name if you don’t have the prereqs. To do the job. There are far too many people in the industry who [00:02:00] aren’t quite sure, and they don’t ask this question, and then they call themselves an online business manager, and then they find themselves shocked and getting poor feedback from clients because they don’t quite have what’s needed to do the role yet.

I’m not saying they can’t learn, I’m just saying learn first. Alright. Outside of that, what do I do to come up with a really good answer? For this, we actually need to come down to the very core. Of what an online business manager does if you are just tuning in an online business manager’s main objectives, are operations management and project management, that is the core. I’m not saying [00:03:00] that’s all we do, and I’m not saying we need to do more, but I am saying those are the core functions.

Of an online business management role, you need to be able to manage operations and coordinate. You need to be able to project manage, which takes a certain kind of person. Now, once we have ascertained that, I can tell you that experience when you’re looking at calling yourself an online business manager isn’t what you might think it is.

There is no set criteria. There’s assumed criteria, and I can definitely, definitely give you the pointers that will lead to success, but this isn’t like a college degree or a university degree, where you have to have done [00:04:00] modules one, two, and three to be able to do number four. It doesn’t work like that.

So what do we do when we’re in a situation like this? I can’t just have a checklist and tick off, yes, I’ve got this, I’ve got this. How do I know? What I want you to do is look at both work experience and life experience. Both are relevant experience. You might have been an operations manager or are an operations manager.

Or a really skilled project manager. If you have those talents, the likelihood is you’ll be successful as an online business manager because they share the same skill base and then you can adapt and grow in the role life experience. Now, I want to share with you [00:05:00] what I call the printer story. Now, I’ve actually said this so many times about Chloe.

Chloe is on my team. She’s been on my team forever. She is my mini me, my fake sister. She’s incredible. One thing I learned very quickly about Chloe is that she’d never worked in a corporate reception environment and therefore, Had never had to be the go-to person to fix the printer. Anybody who has been in that kind of role knows the woes and the tales of fixing the printer.

It’s one of the crucial parts of the job, and although you may not be mechanical in mind or an it geek, Somehow receptionists get lumped with the job of being the printer technician. [00:06:00] And it’s something that I’ve had to do before. Recently we had to do some, we had to send out gift packs to lots of clients and.

I’ve just thought, okay, I’m gonna do a mail marriage and I’m going to put envelopes and print them through the printer and then just fill the envelopes and send them off. As I started to do this process, Chloe’s eyes nearly fell out of her head and she was like, what is this witchcraft you are doing?

She had never seen anything like it. Her approach would’ve been to either get sticky labels and write those on, or hand write all the envelopes. Never in her wildest dreams did she think it was possible to merge data and print them directly onto envelopes, because she never had to be the corporate reception printer technician.[00:07:00] 

And so now when the printer breaks. I automatically make it Chloe’s job to fix the printer because it teaches you all these skills, their skills that you didn’t know could even have existed. And it’s not about fixing a printer. It’s about that every time you try and fix a printer, it’s never the, it’s never the problem you thought it was, and therefore you need to find a different answer.

And even if it’s doing the same thing it did yesterday, the problem that is causing it is an entirely different problem. And so you get really good at problem solving and at thinking outside of the box and keeping your cool when you’re frustrated and all of a sudden you are learning new tactical skills as well as new personal skills.

It is not always the experience that you think that will be [00:08:00] beneficial to being an online business manager. It’s all different kinds of experience in work and in life. It’s my opinion that if you’re an online business manager, you’re an online business manager from birth, I believe it is built in to your personality.

And you’ll be able to look back and you’ll be able to see that there are some common factors here. Whether that is you’ve always been the planner in your friendship circle, in your family, it is you people rely on to coordinate the event. And to get everybody together to work out where it is and how many people we have to feed or how we’re going to get there.

You are the person that remembers the birthdays or knows you can’t do an event on this date because it will clash with [00:09:00] something else. You have an ability to plan, to think and to execute. Those are natural abilities. Yes, you can learn them. And I’m not saying if you haven’t been that kind of person since birth, then you can’t be an online business manager.

But from my experience, the OBMs I’ve worked with have been these people, they’re naturally inclined to do these things and think this way, which then makes it really easy for them in their roles of doing that in businesses.

Another thing you need is to sharpen some of your soft skills. Now, a lot of people will focus on developing hard skills, technical skills, but in the role of online business manager, I think soft skills are more important. The things that. [00:10:00] You know, you don’t walk away with a certificate for, but will change the way you operate and businesses operate.

Are you organized? Do you have a practical approach? Are you forward thinking? All of these things are soft skills, and if you naturally operate in these manners, in this manner, then. The likelihood is you’ll be more successful as an online business manager. So I know that I’m not directly answering your question in terms of, here are the four things you need to be able to do confidently and you’ll be fine.

But I’m giving you the tools to identify the different areas that you can already go. Yep, that’s me. Or, Ooh, no, not really. And it’s either something you can work on and increase so [00:11:00] that you can step into the role, or it’s something where you go, I did not know that that’s what an online business manager did or was, and I’m so not interested.

Either way is fine, but I’m hoping it’s giving you a bigger picture. The next thing is communication skills. These are crucial. You need to be able to unite a team. As an online business manager, you are the coordinator of the team. You are interacting with people all the time. You are the keeper of the project schedules, and you need to be able to work with these people to get an incredible outcome.

So you need to be able to communicate. Clearly you need to be able to hand over tasks in simple, clear language as well as set clear expectations, but not seem like you are just controlling and commanding. [00:12:00] You need to unite the team, support the team, and as a team unit, lead them to incredible results.

And usually this comes down to communication, open, honest, clear communication. And I really do believe that that is something that you need to be an online business manager. And it’s not something you’re ever finished with. No one is ever going to say to you, that’s it. I’ve learned all of the communication skills now.

There is no more growth in communication I can ever do. I am the queen. That doesn’t exist. It’s something that we are always working on and building, and as we grow, it’ll continue to grow. So as long as it is a focus and you’re building to your communication toolkit, then you’ll be fine. Okay. The final thing is [00:13:00] hard skills.

So this one you can get your checklist out and do. Tick off as you go. I’m going to share with you what I call the operations trifecta. So there’s three core tools you need to be across, and they are more categories of tools. So number one, You need to be confident in a document suite. So whether that is Microsoft and its suite of documents, or whether that is Google and the Google suite of documents, you need to be able to navigate confidently in them.

And generally, if you know one, you’ll know the other. You’ll be able to work it out with enough confidence, but that’s crucial In running operations generally, you’re gonna need some kind of document. System and be able to help other people use that system or create processes that include aspects of those systems.[00:14:00] 

Number two, a project management system. With this one I want you to really understand one online project management tool, Asana. Click up Monday, Trello, whichever one it is. As long as you know one really, really well, you’ll understand the principles enough that you can translate across to others if needed.

Not necessarily to be the person that builds or presents or knows how to adapt to those systems, but enough for you to confidently use it and to help the team with it. So you need to have a project management system under your belt.

And a communications tool. So very rarely now do we just pick up the phone and we definitely do not wanna use email as our primary form of communication because [00:15:00] stuff gets lost. Misinterpreted, things get lost. Well, I already said that. See? Really lost. So lost that. I don’t even remember saying it. So you need another comms tool.

And you can use it in all different ways. So whether it’s a way that connects through to your project management system and you can keep notes that way, or whether it’s to have easier communication with a team or easier communication with your clients. Look at the different communication tools that are available and learn how to use one or two of them.

They’re not hard. They’re easy to set up and they will make your job as an online business manager much easier. And my bonus tool for you is Google. You cannot be an incredible online business manager [00:16:00] if you don’t know how to Google. No, it doesn’t matter which search engine you use, but seriously, the amount of times I have to say, have you Googled it?

Because the chances are if you are facing a problem, someone else has faced that problem. So why, start from scratch, leverage what someone else has done. But funnily enough, it’s not just an inherent skill. People need to learn to Google. So if you are not confident on how to Google and how to change your search terms, if you can’t find the answer straight away, practice some Googling.

Anyway, they’re the things that I think you do need to know and the experience that you do need to have to call yourself an OBM, so there is no shiny certificate. And the chances are if you are sitting there and you are thinking about [00:17:00] whether or not you can call yourself an OBM, usually the answer is you can, because generally people don’t actually think in that manner or that way unless they’re an OBM because it’s a whole way of being.

And the fact that you are thinking about it shows that you’re invested and you care enough. And that tells me you are more likely to be successful than most. I hope you enjoyed today’s episode. If you want more guidance like this, head to www.audaciousempires.com/roadmap and you can get my Nine Steps to Becoming a Six Figure OBM, it’s free. 

You’ll love it, I promise. See you next week.