A Virtual Assistant vs an Online Business Manager

A Virtual Assistant vs an Online Business Manager

So you have decided that you need help in your business but what sort of help do you really need?  Are you after basic administration assistance or do you need someone to assist running your whole business.

An Online Business Manager and Virtual Assistant are very similar in nature.  Although, there are a few differences and understanding these differences will help determine who will be able to most assist your business.


The big picture

Understands the big picture and works with the business owner to outline & oversee the steps necessary to get there.


Responsible for ensuring the business runs smoothly, by creating operation manuals, training assistants, managing assignments, schedules and staff.

 Achieving success

Success is achieved when the business is operating efficiently & the entire team is happy. To build long-term, trusting relationships with business owners who value the working relationship and compensate accordingly.

Overall goal

To build long-term, trusting relationships with business owners who value the working relationship and compensate accordingly.

Why hire?

OBMs are hired when business owners have grown beyond the startup phase. They simply cannot manage everything and still continue to grow; or perhaps, they’ve grown tired of managing the day-to-day operations.


The big picture

Typically aren’t concerned about the big picture; instead they focus on doing the tasks.


Responsible for completing tasks assigned to them –  i.e. formatting ebooks, conducting research, sending newsletters, working in shopping carts.

Achieving success

Success is achieved when the work is completed & delivered in a timely manner

Overall goal

To increase their work hours, thus income, for each client without having the added responsibility of managing others.

Why hire?

VAs are typically hired during the early stages of business. They help set up websites & shopping carts, create mailing lists, and so forth. Once the business is going, they continue to work on individual tasks.


So after looking at these differences, you might actually decide that you need to hire both an Online Business Manager as well as a Virtual Assistant to handle different tasks.  This is also a great way to build a virtual team.

If you would like to understand more, download our Free Guide ‘What an Online Business Manager Can do for your Business

What is a Lead Magnet?

What is a Lead Magnet?

Lead Magnets are a bit of a buzz word for online businesses at the moment.  A lead magnet is an offer or an incentive that you give someone in exchange for their email address, or other related information. Marketers often call them irresistible bribes, and they are one of the most powerful tools that you have in your marketing arsenal.

Why would you use a Lead Magnet?

The purpose of a lead magnets is to inspire the visitors on your website to sign up to your email list. After they have signed up, the next step is that you’ll want to convert these visitors into potential customers through your future marketing tactics. If you do offer a lead magnet then this will become a vital part of your content marketing strategy and it can also help you to build a more loyal customer base as well.

Very few first time website visitors actually go on to make a purchase. This is even the case if you have a perfectly crafted website. The rest will leave rather quickly. They could have been just browsing or they might not be fond of your solution at that moment in time. For this reason, if you know that an overwhelming majority of your customers aren’t ready to purchase from you just yet then the best way to look at this would be to think that they are going to purchase from you in the future.

Because they probably will!

For this reason, if you ask for their email address, you are essentially getting their permission so that you can stay in touch. This gives you the chance to earn their trust over time and you can even check in and touch base with them as well. Lead magnets remain to be a great way for you to build relationships with your customers and it can even help you to take your business to that next level.

Susan Wilkin
Director, Online Business Manager and Webinar Speaker

Collaborative Member of Profit SistersTeaching business owners how to take their profit potential to the next level!

Find out more about our Sales Funnels here

The benefits of choosing a package over an hourly rate

The benefits of choosing a package over an hourly rate

When comparing packages for Virtual Industry Professionals or Online Business Managers (OBM), it can be a little like comparing apples to oranges as each business offers different core values, strengths, performance and of course services and what is included in that service list.

The best steps for yourself as a client is to work out what you require from the OBM by writing an extensive list. Once you have your extensive list, then you can see if these services match up to the services that the OBM can complete. There may also be an opportunity to bring on a second Virtual Industry Professional or OBM if the list is quite diverse or extensive.

Have a think about what core values that you would also like in your OBM to ensure that they align with your business. You can speak to the OBM in regards to the core values to ensure that they are a good fit to your team and work well with you, your business and your current team.

Once you have your extensive list of services that you require, it is important to go back over the list and circle the items that you are comfortable in outsourcing during the first month. This is normally quite a lot shorter than your extensive list. Remember that you will be building a relationship with the OBM and you want to be able to maximise the use of the package available. If you have the list ready to go when you start, it will ease the setup and establishment with the OBM and ensure a more streamlined approach which will ultimately lead to a great working relationship.

Do you have any procedures set up?  If you have a procedure manual set up, this can ease the first initial month. Don’t forget that if you don’t, you can arrange for the OBM to set it up and update the procedure manual for your business.

When looking at a package, there are many benefits. Have a think about your extensive list and also your first month task list. What you are inclined to pay for the service and then get some quotes and speak to the OBM.  If the budget doesn’t quite meet the service package, have a chat to the OBM or look at moving some tasks to a later month. By choosing a package, you know what you will be paying each month, there are no hidden costs or expenses unless otherwise negotiated. This means that you can maintain a consistent cash flow in your business. You can even set up a direct debit to go from your account to the OBMs account each month or as agreed.

By choosing a package there are no blow outs in time or hours. What you think may take to complete a task could in fact take longer or there could be issues or extra items that are required. By purchasing an all inclusive package, there are no blowouts in time and therefore no nasty surprises when the invoice comes in.

In review, a package is normally better priced and has many more features than an hourly rate. The OBM is normally established in their business and can price a package quite effectively.  There are no hidden charges or costs, no nasty blow outs or extra time. The packages will quite often meet your budget as well and you will know what you are paying each month. By knowing what you are paying each month makes good business sense and enables you to maintain a regular cash flow.

Take a look at our packages and give us a call today!

Document Formatting Best Practice

Document Formatting Best Practice

There is not a one size fits all when it comes to document formatting. Each document comes with different challenges for formatting as well as different specifications. Different types will require specific or relevant styles of document formatting. A news article will demand a different format compared to webpage content. Likewise, marketing articles or SEO content would be different. Official documents, reports or textual presentations, can have countless types of document formatting needs. Tables and textboxes, images and their descriptions, bullet points, numbers and everything from the index to the reference or bibliography, the formatting requirements will vary.

Here are some of the best practices that you can develop for document formatting.

One of the essential requisites of document formatting is to ensure that you set up the styles including headings and use the consistent formats from the beginning. This will streamline your document. The headings and sub headings will also enable an easy set up in the table of contents. In larger documents, the content should be indexed with a Table of Contents.

Pick a font and be consistent with it. You can use bold, underline or Italics. You can colour certain texts or highlight them but ensure a consistent font and sizings throughout the document. Constantly changing fonts will not only make the document look inconsistent but it would also disturb the flow.

Stick to the style you have picked. That begins with the layout. Don’t change the layout on every page and certainly not on the same page. This will keep the presentation of the texts, tables and images consistent. If you have to change the layout or the format due to some unavoidable need, such as opting for a centre text or different alignment than the typical one, then do so in the most subtle manner so the changes don’t appear to be out of place or not consistent with your branding.

If you are using bullet points and numbering, set up the numbering and bullet points from the start. Use the styles at the top or ensure consistency with the bullet points and numbers. By setting these up at the start will make for a much more streamlined document and will make it much easier to add in further down in a larger document.

Use Headers and Footers to ensure consistency throughout the document and will make each page the same. Include a logo, copyright, page numbers, website and other relevant information that is needed. If you are using a title page you can change the Header and Footer so that it does not show on the first page.

For more hints and tricks on formatting word documents, take a look at the Microsoft Word Tutorials here.

5 Tips to Email Best Practice

5 Tips to Email Best Practice

Email Best Practice Etiquette provides many unwritten rules for sending out emails, especially for business. As a business owner or employee, you should understand the email best practices that need to be followed.  It is also a good idea to set up your own standards and templates so that you have the basics ready to go:

Basic email best practice rules

Include a greeting and a signature

Include a proper greeting and sign it off professionally.  I recommend using an email signature and you can set one up in any of the programs that you use including Gmail, Outlook, Apple Mail etc. Every email you send out should include a suitable greeting, and you should always close with your signature. It doesn’t have to be formal unless the situation calls for it – use your best judgement. I always like to be that slightly more formal though. When you see how the recipient responds you can certainly adjust your correspondence accordingly.

Check grammar and spelling

This should probably go without saying but you absolutely must make sure your grammar and spelling are impeccable if you want to be taken seriously. This is really important because if this is the first time that a client is hearing from you, then this is their first impression of you. Most email clients include a spellchecker these days – use it! If you don’t consider yourself a good writer, just keep it as simple as possible. If it’s a particularly important email ask someone to check it over before you send it.

Simple formatting and font

Try not to use hard to read fonts (scripts) or colours, backgrounds or anything that is going to take away from the message that you are trying to say. First of all, it can look quite unprofessional. Second, the recipient could come back to you saying that they can not read it as it may display differently in their email program that they are using. It’s best to stick to the basics!

Keep attachments small

Whenever you attach files to an email, make sure you’ve compressed or zipped them so they are as small as possible. Attachments should always be kept below 5 MB, as some email clients can reject them. If you include images in your email, the same rules apply, resize them to take as little space as possible, and don’t include too many of them in the same email.  The other option is to send multiple emails which can be annoying or you can direct the recipient to a file sharing folder or link such as Dropbox or Sugarsync.

Keep it brief!

Finally, understand that most emails should be kept short or as brief as possible. We all spend way too much time reading emails so getting a 5,000 word novel isn’t helpful. This is especially true when you’re making a first email contact with someone. If you make it too long, chances are the person receiving it will only skim the email and won’t read it all so they could essentially be missing some vital information.

We have discussed here 5 really simple email best practice rules to keep your emails professional and simple.  Happy emailing!