There comes a time for all businesses when systems and automation no longer cut it, and the only way to take your business to the next level is to grow your team. 

And while your first thought might be hiring an assistant, depending on your company’s current situation and your own goals, there are more options to choose from. 

We are talking about Virtual Assistants, Project Managers, Online Business Managers, and Integrators. But what makes them different? What do they even do? 

As a matter of fact, a lot of our clients come to us wondering these same questions, so we figured it was time we solved these doubts once and for all and help YOU grow your company by making the right hiring decisions. 

Virtual assistants: what do they do?

A Virtual Assistant (VA) is a doer: they do the tasks that are delegated to them. They make sure everything is connected, that the automation works or they go through your email inbox, schedule social media posts, set appointments, customer service, etc. They’re the people that are doing the tasks. What a VA doesn’t do, is managing other team members. If your VA does, then that’s not the right term for them.


If they task other people then they are in more of a management role. We would consider this an Integrator or project manager (PM) role and it would require higher pay and updated roles and responsibilities description. 

There are some instances where someone in an Integrator or PM role will also be doing the tasks because there aren’t enough people hired. This happens a lot with smaller businesses.

That’s actually where the confusion begins for some entrepreneurs, because as your business grows, some people will only be task-doers and other people grow into positions with more responsibilities or into different areas of the business. They take on bigger things as the company gets bigger too.

In our last episode, we talked about how you could make your VA a PM if they naturally have the skills of being the arranger, a communicator, and being someone who has attention to detail and can put all the resources and plans together to come up with an effective plan. If they have those innate skills, you can move them into it.


The role of a project manager

Usually it’s someone in a short term project, managing the resources, the plan, the people, all the processes, but the person they report to changes depending on the business. For example, if the business has an Integrator, they would report to them and the Integrator would report to the CEO.  

Let’s say your business does launches every three months and the PM’s managing each one of those projects, then, for us, that’d be more of an Integrator because they’re in the person’s business all the time, not just there for one project.

Some of the time, they don’t have a short term role in the company, but it’s more like a highly focused role that has a definitive start point and endpoint. But if this person is staying long term, then they are an employee, so you have to pay attention to the legal side of having a PM. 

Actually, most people in the online world are doing the contractor vs. employee thing wrong, without knowing the legal side of them. We did an episode discussing the difference between the two with Emily Baker, Esq. which you can find here. And now with COVID-19, all of a sudden a mass number of people were looking for assistance for their businesses, but because they weren’t doing it right, then they didn’t qualify for the kind of assistance they needed.

Side note: Here at Systematic Excellence Consulting we hire short and long term project managers, VA’s and integrators, for companies that don’t have the time to look into the legal side of hiring. We can do that for you and you’d never have to worry about the legal side because these PMs or VAs are employees of our business.

Integrator VS. Online Business Manager, what’s the difference?

By the definitions found, they are both very similar. If we compare them, an OBM is often more common in smaller businesses, and an Integrator is for bigger ones. We say this by comparing Sarah Noked’s OBM certification program, aimed at small businesses, and the amazing business book Rocket Fuel. Rocket Fuel tasks specifically about CEOs, whereas the OBM certification program talks about business owners. 

But other than that, we think that an Integrator is the same as an OBM. Even if we drop the “online” part, they’re a business manager, managing systems, people, projects. And ultimately that’s what the Integrator does. If you have five different project managers working on five different projects, the Integrator is still managing all those projects.

All in all…

Although understanding the names and definitions of these roles is important in job portals… what if we don’t give them a title at all? 

When you’re writing out the job descriptions, maybe don’t put a title with it. Maybe just describe who it is you’re looking for. As long as you’re sure of what they will be responsible for, what strengths they need to have, and they are clear of your expectations, then it doesn’t matter what they are called.

If you have any questions or want to reach out to us, message us at and we’ll get in touch with you.


We hope this has been useful to you. You can find more information about our packages and services here:

Hire Your First Contractor Bundle

Until next time!