My name is Sarah and I'm so glad you're here!
This blog is where you'll find all my best tips and tricks to organize, simplify, and streamline your business and life.
You’ve officially reached that point in your business — you’re ready to outsource.
You’ve automated and systemized everything you can, scoured the internet for productivity hacks and tips to make the most of the limited number of hours you can spend on your precious business, but it’s just not working anymore.
You’ve officially come to the realization that the only way for your business to continue growing is to grow your team. But the question is… how?
When you start to consider outsourcing within your business, your first thought is most likely that you need an assistant — someone you can hand off those time-sucking tasks that don’t give you the ROI you need to move your business forward.
And while this may be the case, hiring an assistant is not by default the right answer.
While the right virtual assistant (VA) can be an invaluable resources and help your grow your business in enormous ways, depending on where you’re at in the business, your goals for future growth, and your approach to building your team, you may need the support of someone with a different skill set to reach your goals.
So you may need the support of an assistant, or you may need the support of an online business manager (OBM).
The question is… how do you tell which one you should hire?
Now, it’s possible you’re sitting here thinking, “Well, what’s the difference between a VA and an OBM?”
I wrote a whole post that digs into the differences in a bit more detail, but the long and short of it is this: a virtual assistant is someone you can hand tasks off to, but ultimately you will need to direct and manage yourself, whereas an online business manager is a right-hand woman who will help you manage your business and could, quite literally, run it for you if necessary.
Because both a VA and an OBM handle support-related tasks and there can be a bit of overlap in the actual tasks they handle from day-to-day, it’s often hard to tell which one would be the best fit for your business.
Sorting out the answer to that question starts with asking a few other questions first.
Ultimately, only you can know the best choice for your business in this season and in the long-term, but your answers to the above questions can help give you some insight into what type of support may be your best option.
While both an assistant and a business manager handle more organizational and administrative tasks, the specific nature of what they do and how they do it is quite different, which is why the actual things you want to outsource can have a significant impact on the type of support you should hire.
Though it does depend on the specific VA, the vast majority of them are task-oriented people. While you may hire them on an hourly basis, there is still going to be a defined set of tasks that fall within their skillset and within your agreement that they will handle.
So if your goal is to just get things off your plate by outsourcing things like email responses, creating graphics, or formatting content, then hiring an assistant to tackle those tasks as assigned may be the right choice.
If, however, you’re looking for a right-hand woman who will come alongside you, help you stay organized, systemized, and automated, and oversee all the moving parts so you’re able to focus on the things in the business only you can do, then you need an OBM.
While the overarching reason people outsource is generally the same — they’re stretched for time — the nitty gritty reasons of it are different and have a profound effect on the best ways to outsource within your business.
If your goal is truly just to get certain tasks off your plate so you’re able to spend time elsewhere in your business (or less time in your business), then you probably want to hire an assistant.
If, however, your goal is to really uplevel your business, you’ll want someone alongside you who can do more than just reply to emails or create blog graphics.
I get it — your business is your baby and handing over control of it, in any form, is a scary thing. Especially if you have even the slightest Type A bone in your body, it can be immensely difficult to let go of control and trust that the person you hired will do the job as good as you would do it.
If you’re at a point where letting go of control in your business is still difficult, then hiring an assistant is probably your best bet, because their role is simply to support you in whatever way you direct within their skillset and your agreement. While they may offer feedback and advice if you ask for it, that isn’t their primary role or function.
If you’re ready to relinquish a bit more control of your business and trust that, not only could someone else run it as well as you but possibly even better, then you may be ready to add a business manager to your team.
Another side of the control coin is how hands on or off you want to be in your business.
Are you at a point where you’re still planning and wanting to be in it every single day, managing and directing things? Or are you at a point where you want to be a bit more hands off so you have the flexibility to work less, take time off, and spend time on things other than your business?
If you’re in a hands off stage where you wants your business to run like a well-oiled machine even if you step away from it, possibly for weeks at a time, then an OBM is almost definitely the right choice for your business.
If you’re in a more hands on stage in your business, then either a VA or an OBM could be the best answer for you, so long as you have the right approach to being hands on. If you want to be hands on, but focused on the aspects of the business only you can do, then an OBM could be the right choice. Otherwise, you’re probably looking for a VA.
Hiring someone to manage your business for you and then not allowing them to do so is not only a waste of your time and their time, it’s also a waste of your money.
There are a lot of different elements to determining whether a VA or an OBM is the right choice for your business, but your goals for growth, both in the short and long-term is a pretty large factor.
Ultimately, every entrepreneur hopes for growth in their business, but growth can take on a lot of different forms. It could mean more clients, customers, and sales. Or it could mean greater efficiency in the way you serve those clients and customers so your revenue stays the same, but the time you spend in your business decreases.
If you’re pretty happy with where you business is at, but you want to take some things off your plate so you’re able to spend the time you do spend in your business elsewhere, hiring a VA is a great way to do that. If, however, your goal is to grow your business in exponential ways, that’s when it’s time to bring in the big guns and hire an OBM who has the management and organizational skills you don’t possess.
Think of it this way: you hire a VA because there’s stuff that has to get done in your business that you can do, but it’s better for you to spend your time elsewhere. You hire an OBM because they’re better than you are at streamlining, managing, and systemizing and will help you not only grow, but truly uplevel your business.
Probably the least subjective aspect of determining what kind of support you need in your business is the money side of the conversation.
If you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that outsourcing is the best option to grow your business, regardless of your answers to the other questions, your budget is going to play a big role in determining the kind of support you’re able to afford.
While there is a pretty wide range in what you might pay for an assistant or a business manager, across the board you will find that an assistant is a smaller investment while a business manager is a larger one because the work they do, the skills they bring to the table, and the growth they’ll bring to your business is different.
It will vary based on the amount of work and the type of VA, but you can generally expect to pay somewhere between $15 and $50 per hour for a VA, whereas you can expect the monthly investment for an OBM to start somewhere between $1000 and $1500.
Ultimately, only you can know the best choice for your business in this season and in the long-term, but your answers to these questions can help give you some insight into what type of support may be your best option.