Topics Discussed and Key Points:
In this episode, April speaks with certified online business manager Melissa Gamarra on the topic of systems and processes. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a solopreneur, small business owner, or an employee with a vested interest in scaling your company—having systems and processes in place is an absolute must. This is where VAs and OBMs become valuable additions to the company.
Melissa shares her experience in remote work, comparing the general virtual assistant to a “corporate front desk office person”, while the online business manager plays a role closer to a COO. This means that an OBM is expected to be a hands-on leader with a close relationship to the business owner.
The OBM is essentially a confidant that the owner turns to for operational advice. Melissa adds that, while a VA’s only role is to fulfill tasks in a specific area (ex. bookkeeping, graphic design, etc.), an OBM “sits at the head of the table” to bring clarity, make operations leaner, and help the business scale. In short, a VA is an “employee” while an OBM is a “partner”.
April and Melissa also talk about the “middle ground” role of Executive Virtual Assistants. April refers to herself as an EVA because, while she isn’t a certified OBM, she is qualified to work with clients in ways that go beyond the task-driven setup of a regular virtual assistant.
Finally, Melissa encourages aspiring business managers to not get caught up in the certification process. While becoming certified is highly advantageous—you will be listed on the official OBM directory, among other things—it is just as (if not more) important to nurture the skills and experiences you need to perform your job well. It is one thing to be certified; it is another to confidently and transparently tell your clients exactly what to expect from working with you.
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