How to Work From Home as an Online Business Manager

Interview with Successful Work at Home Mom, Safa Harris.

Knowing that it’s possible to be a successful work at home mom is one thing, but it’s always better to hear real-life stories, isn’t it?

That’s why I’ve decided to start my successful work at home mom interview series.

I know working from home when you have kids is doable, but don’t just take my word for it. Get inspiration and ideas from other ladies who make this work, too.

Are you a born manager?

Do you love projects and are you detail-oriented?

If you have these skill sets and you want to work from home, you might really enjoy working as an online business manager (also referred to in industry terms as an OBM).

An online business manager is more than just a virtual assistant. As a VA, you’d be expected to perform administrative tasks, while an OBM develops and runs daily operations systems.

I had the privilege to interview Safa Harris, a successful online business manager and work at home mom. Safa has only been working as an OBM for six months, but she’s already making $5000 per month.

I’m delighted that she was able to share with us some insight as to what she does as an online business manager and how she makes it all work as a mom to a young son.

Tips From a Successful Online Business Manager

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got started as an Online Business Manager?

I worked in the corporate world for 5+ years and was always the systems, process, and efficiency go-to in all of my roles. I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit, probably because I come from a long line of entrepreneurs.

While working corporate, I was extremely unhappy with the pay your dues culture, restricted growth, income caps, and lack of time freedom to live my life with my family.

What does an Online Business Manager do?

As an Online Business Manager, I manage systems, operations, and teams for business owners virtually. Essentially, they have a vision and a plan for the business and create a plan and hire a team to implement.

This is usually for businesses that have a proven business model and are looking to grow and scale.

How long does it take to become an Online Business Manager? Is there a big learning curve?

I started off working as a virtual assistant. I was not in that role very long, maybe a couple of months when I learned about being an online business manager. It better matched my strengths, interests, and innate skills for process and efficiency.

Depending on your prior experience and skill set it could be a very quick transition if you are already familiar with tools and tech that are used in the online space.

Did you take any special courses or receive any specific training for this job?

I have been doing OBM work for about 6 months now but I am in the process of becoming a Certified OBM and I wish I had taken this certification much sooner. It honestly gives you so much information and tools to use as an OBM to really uplevel your skills.

Can you tell us why the OBM certification is important? What exactly do you learn?

You can be an OBM without the certification but the certification is trying to standardize the OBM role so when you bring one on it is very clear of exactly what you will be getting with an OBM. 

In the certification, it teaches you the best practices for leading a business to success in the 6-figure and beyond the realm. It teaches launch management, systems strategy, and leadership in the virtual space.

I had the skillset and ability to do the OBM role without the certification but the certification really helped me button up my skills and streamline my offerings. It is really the icing on the cake to be able to take everything you offer to the next level. 

Is there a specific course online that allows you to get this certification?

The Certification is regulated by the International Association of Online Business Managers. There are a couple of OBM trainers that offer the training and then once you complete the training you take the certification exam through IAOBM.

I recommend Sarah Noked as an OBM trainer to take the course through. Here is a link to her waitlist.

How do you find work/clients?

Most of my clients are from referrals and social media marketing.

How do you find time to work as a stay at home mom?

My son understands that I need to be able to work during the day and he is very independent so will come up with ways to keep himself occupied.

However, he is still only 4 so there are definitely many distractions during the day and going into the day understanding that really helps with not getting frustrated by the distractions.

With that said, I am definitely not able to do as much with my son as I would like to during the week but I don’t feel guilty about it.

Because I enjoy the work that I do and I enjoy the money that I am bringing in. I am much more present and involved with his day to day than when I was working a corporate job and he was in full-time daycare. With that said, pre-COVID he was in part-time daycare/preschool. Since COVID, he has been at home fulltime and we had to big-time adjust. Even with my son home, I still had the same time commitments for work and I was not willing to compromise on my goals and vision for my business.

I have always been big on routines and systems even at home so I set up a system and routine to make sure the house was taken care of, my son was not just watching TV all day and my work continued and my business gained momentum.

For me, and I know this is not an option for everyone, I outsourced. I outsourced work in my business and I hired a tutor and part-time nanny to help with my son. I even hired a housekeeper to help with cleaning and laundry cause it was pilling up.

The biggest piece of advice I can get to a WAHM/business owner mom is that get your house straight with routines, systems, and declutter and you will be able to do soooo much more with your time and space. It clears your mind and allows you to focus on business growth. Home always needs to come first and then it is easy to focus on work.

The tutor was to make sure my son was still moving forward academically and getting prepared for Kindergarten.

My teaching skills are subpar and the time that was dedicated time with my son did not have to be taken up with school work. And the part-time nanny was so there was someone to take him outside to play and do fun crafts and keep him active like he was accustomed prior to COVID. And with that chunk of uninterrupted work time, I am able to get much more done in a significantly shorter amount of time freeing up time for home and family.

What does your typical work week look like?

Mondays are chock full of client meetings. Tuesday and Thursdays are the days that the tutor and nanny are here so that is when I get a lot of my work-work done.

Wednesday and Fridays my son has socially distance and COVID safe Tae Kwon Do and I do mostly business maintenance and marketing work those days since I know I will be interrupted throughout the day.

And then weekends are unplugged, family and home time.

How much do you make per month? What is the earning potential for this job?

At the moment my revenue is $5000 per month. By the end of September, I plan to have a revenue of $8000.

As an OBM you have plenty of income opportunity. I know of others in the industry that have consistent 5 figure months.

How much does it cost to get started? Are there any long-term costs associated with this job?

My start-up costs were very low. I already had a computer and really just needed to pay for my website.

I did sign up with a coach that specialized in working with individuals in this field to get more exposure, learn the industry standards, and be set up in the most efficient way possible.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to be an Online Business Manager?

I would say just get started. Jump in and start learning the tools, tech, and systems that are used in the virtual business world. A good stepping stone to becoming an OBM is doing virtual assistant work. It gives you a lot of exposure and the ability to learn. I also highly recommend become a Certified OBM because that training is worth it. It gives you an amazing framework to work from.

Thanks so much to Safa for sharing her expertise! I’m inspired by how much she’s able to accomplish as a work at home mom. Check out her website if you’d like to learn more about what she offers.

Not sure if working as an online business manager is the right fit for you? Read the 25 Best Jobs for Stay at Home Moms and sign up for my list below to receive a copy of my free guide, 100 Ways to Make Money From Home.

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