How to Become an Online Business Manager

How to become an Online Business Manager

There are a number of ways to become an online business manager, so I will share the steps that I personally took along with a few key considerations.

A little about my journey:  I left corporate to follow my husband across the country for his career.  He’s active duty in the Air Force.  Because I wanted to create a portable (and sustainable) career that I didn’t have to start over every few years, I decided to pursue the path of becoming a virtual assistant, then project manager, then online business manager, and eventually Certified OBM and now I coach other VAs, PMs, and OBMs. 

Ok, so what were the steps that I took?

Step 1:  I became a virtual assistant.

I worked for two different VA agencies while also growing my own client roster.  The agency experience allowed me to have steady access to clients without having to worry so much about the sales piece.  There were a lot of downsides, however, including limited earning potential and really being expected to function much more like an employee vs. an independent contractor, but that’s a story for another day. 
Working as a VA really gave me a lot of great experience that prepared me well for the OBM role.  You might be wondering what the difference between a VA and an OBM is….essentially the VA is the implementor or task doer whereas the OBM is responsible for managing the business as a whole and often works very closely with a VA.  The OBM doesn’t do as much implementation (if any); they really focus on the management piece. 

Step 2:  I learned about the term “OBM.” 

I found the term in one of my online communities and quickly realized — hey, that’s exactly what I’ve been doing; I just didn’t know it had a fancy title.   And then I learned what other OBMs were charging!  That alone was a game changer.

Step 3:  I became a Certified Online Business Manager through the IAOBM.  

My trainer was Sarah Noked.  Check out this interview where I share the details about what my business looked like before I became a Certified Online Business Manager and how things changed, massively, once I completed the training.  Confidently positioning myself as an OBM impacted the quality of clients I attracted and significantly increased my revenue.  

This is NOT a requirement.  Despite a lot of misinformation, you do not need to be certified to call yourself an OBM.  You do not need to be certified to charge premium rates as an OBM.  However, certification is the right choice for many people, but certainly not everyone. 

Also note — you do not have to be a VA before becoming an OBM.  In my opinion, it greatly shortens the learning curve, but depending on a combination of your background, skillset, and savviness, it might not be necessary at all.

Your OBM Journey

As an OBM, you will play an integral role in your client’s business.  You are responsible for managing and overseeing most, if not all, of the day-to-day operations. It will also be part of your role to help make strategic decisions for your clients. You’ll soon be deciding which tools to implement, what strategy to utilize, and even, what direction your client might want to take his or her business in the long-term.   

The fact of the matter is, an OBM is a key part of an online business. Your role and your expertise will amplify your client’s experience in the best way possible. 


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