What is a Digital Business Manager? & How to Work Online as a DBM

Here’s a quick Pop Quiz titled: “Could a career as a Digital Business Manager be your next dream job?”

Tick all that suits you:

  • ✅ I want to work online but am feeling like I need the next level up – higher rates and less working hours, if possible.
  • ✅ I love planning and organizing.
  • ✅ I want… more out of life – freedom, time, $$$, fun, passion, but still not sure how to get that more.

Ticked at least 2 of the above 3?

Becoming a Digital Business Manager may just be that next non-corporate ladder step for you.

Let’s be honest; there are about 101 guides on how to start working online.

Whether you are a freelancer, contractor or remote employee, I’ll bet you’ve already done the initial research. 

You weighed the pros and cons; you made the tough (or maybe not that tough) decisions, you learned the skills, and now you should be sitting pretty on a beach somewhere, typing away while raking in the big bucks.

But your journey probably looks like this: 

  1. Step 1: Decide to start working online (check)
  2. Step 2-99: ??? (~tricky~)
  3. Step 100: Finally, take advantage of your new freedom, money, and fulfillment by living life on your terms. (what? where? how? help) 

And instead of living your best life in Bali, you are stuck somewhere between step 2 and step 99. 

No one told you there would be a huge gap there. 

You thought you knew what the plan was. But here you are, Googling the answers to the questions that sit in the back of your mind in your free time. 

raise hourly rate google
google work less make more
google learn more skills make more money
google how to find passion
google how to take vacation

Welcome to the Google rabbit hole called: I want more.

Whether that is…

  • “I want to make more money.”
  • “I want more freedom.”
  • “I want more control over my day-to-day.”
  • “I want more time… to watch Netflix. To spend time with my dog. To hang out with my family.”
Comic of 3 DBMs with time to do the things they love

I went down this same rabbit hole about 4 years ago when I first started thinking, “Is working online a real thing? Can I make a sustainable income from it or is it one of those… too good to be true things?

I spent the first year hustlin’ h.a.r.d. – then, the momentum I built up started to grow.

  • I started landing clients through referrals.
  • I had more and more testimonials.
  • My rate doubled, then tripled.

But then something weird happened.

I was juggling 6+ clients, working 50+ hours a week, and still… stuck at a solid $3K – $4K a month.

I tried everything to break that invisible ceiling – I raised my rates (and raised them again), I took on more responsibility with my clients, and I even cried worked weekends.

But it wasn’t until I made up discovered the term Digital Business Manager that my life changed – in the best way.

I figured out how to make more money WHILE working fewer hours, and found ‘my thing’ (ya know, passion, reason-to-get-up-in-the-morning or whateva).

And now, here we are.

Either you are here because you are stuck in your online career (whatever that may be – whether it’s virtual assistant, marketing assistant, content assistant, etc.), and you have no idea what the next step is to scale your money, time, and personal fulfillment

or you’re wanting to venture into the online work world for the first time and looking for something that revolves around planning, organizing and management (and to that, I say “Welcome home, friend.”).

Regardless, let me introduce you to your next adventure: becoming a Digital Business Manager.

What is a Digital Business Manager?

Is this your first time hearing of the term “Digital Business Manager”?

If so, you’re probably not alone because when I first came across this term, my mind kind of imploded. 

To put it in my own words:

A Digital Business Manager (DBM) is the caretaker of a digital business, and offers services such as Team Management, Project Management, and Systems Management, with a side of accountability-buddy-sideline-cheerleader-friend mixed in for their clients. 

Think of the founder or CEO of a business as Batman; their DBM is Alfred – the trusty advisor, manages the estate, keeps Batman in check, and makes sure Batman and his team are getting the right stuff done.

SMS Chat -
Batman aka Client: "Thank goodness you're in my life, Alfred." 
Alfred aka the DBM: "There's nowhere I'd rather be, Batman."
DBMs are the right-hands for CEOs, entrepreneurs, and founders of small & medium-sized businesses.

This is a real role that has been around since the beginning of digital businesses, right after dinosaurs died or something.

It’s just been incognito, and you have probably seen it in the form of an:

  • Integrator: The person who is in-between the team and the CEO, who turns those big ideas and visions into actionable steps and delegatable tasks, and is responsible for business results.
  • C.O.O. aka Chief of Operations, right hand to the founder – responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of a company. 
  • Online Business Manager (OBM): Same same! Similarly is in charge of day-to-day operations virtually, and is responsible for the projects and processes of a business. 
  • Project Manager: Responsible for any on-going and new projects a business takes on, seeing each one through beginning to end. More so focused on a project-by-project basis and less so on the overall business.

I often use these terms interchangeably!

And the beauty of being a “Digital Business Manager” is that you can choose which role(s) you want to take on and more importantly, which ones you don’t.

You can specialize or generalize to your heart’s desire.

So, what does a Digital Business Manager really do? 

The day in the life of being a DBM involves 3 key roles by my definition:

  1. Team Management,
  2. Systems Management, and
  3. Project Management. 

1. Team Management

Team Management Definition
The process of taking care of a team and supporting them to do their best work. 
Tasks include - but are not limited to  hosting weekly calls and 1:1 reviews to hiring, onboarding, training and delegating out project tasks.

Basically, you are the buffer between the team and the CEO.

Shockingly, most CEOs do not start businesses to answer their team’s questions all day, every day!

This is where your people management expertise steps in and keeps everyone calm, cool, and in communication. 

Team Management is not just hosting a virtual happy hour (but don’t be afraid to sprinkle that in). Some other tasks include: 

  • Manage the day-to-day happenings of a remote team – answering questions, directing people to the right resources of team members, etc.
  • Conduct 1:1 weekly calls with the team
  • Develop a system for payments and invoicing for the team
  • Create a hiring process, start to finish, for new team members: job descriptions, application forms, filtering, interviewing, hiring, onboarding!
  • Run and manage an internship program 
  • Plan and execute a team retreat

Yes, a key part of Team Management is communication skills. But contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be an extroverted person to be a great team manager.

You just have to have the patience to communicate clearly, firmly and empathetically in times of calm, but especially in times of stress.

Think: when the tech breaks in the middle of a big launch – you are focused on understanding the root issue, problem solving, and teamwork instead of blaming or retreating into your shell to avoid the problem.

You are the person who empowers the team to be the amazing people you know they are – give them the tools, training and guidance to do what they are best at.

Be their facilitator and defender!

2. Systems Management

Sometimes, it can feel like DBMs wave their virtual magic wands and make crazy cool stuff happen, like the organization of an entire online business’s essential files, systems, processes, customers, and payments. 

Gif of Hermione from Harry Potter waving a magic wand.

Your magic powers include continuously finding new ways to automate and optimize any task(s) in a business, so the business can operate without a hitch.

And yes – you can recruit help from the fairy godmother Zapier. But still, take some credit for seeing the opportunity and getting it to work. 

It also includes building out scalable systems and nerding out about SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures).

It’s an insanely rewarding responsibility because a business without clarity – without clear, effective, documented systems – is a business that can not operate on its own or stand on its own legs.

  • ❓ When the founder goes on vacation – everything crumbles.
  • ❓ When your VA is sick for a week – everything is destroyed.
  • ❓ When you suddenly scale from 10 customers to 1,000 customers – everything is chaos.

So do not gloss over this responsibility – you are the essential engineer of the business machine.

Here are a few tasks I get to do in the day to day of systems management: 

  • Implement a customer support ticketing and tracking system 
  • Set up a process for creating SOPs 
  • Track and deliver weekly/monthly reports
  • Audit systems and see what else we can automate and make happy magically
  • Set up a system for lead generation
  • Report on business metrics and KPIs 
  • Review existing tools and finding new ways to optimize them 

Systems Management is just flat out cool in my opinion. It is also essential for any growing business, because systems = scaling.

So, if you like to nerd out over-optimization, systems management might be your go-to specialization.

3. Project Management 

‘Projects’ in the online world refer to any planning and execution of an idea – big, small, medium, or tall. 

Image: List of things that are projects
  • Launching a new blog? Project. 
  • Creating an online course? Big project.
  • Opening an online dog training business? A project that I would personally love to manage. 

Projects are everywhere, online, and even in real life (e.g. hosting a family reunion? ~stressful~ but also, that is 100% a project that needs to be planned and managed!). 

And guess what? These projects are dying to be managed.

A project without a plan is just an idea.

I don’t think anybody ever made millions by having a bunch of ideas that never actually got put to action.

Your million dollar project management skills include: 

  • Create project plans for new blogs, podcasts, Youtube channels, online courses, and membership platforms.
  • Delegate out all tasks in the project plans to the relevant team members
  • Manage and keep track of the content calendar
  • Management of an affiliate program and affiliate relationships 
  • Manage the project budget
  • Help audit and maintain courses
  • Handling PR and JV partnerships 

As someone who is a to-do list junkie, me + project management = match made in heaven <3.

And the good news?

Most of the working world already has experience in project management, from managing your own self, to managing clients, or to real life management roles.

(Can I get a dollar for every time I’ve said manage, anyone?)

Project Management is an excellent skill to bring to any table, because life is basically one big projectAnd those that know how to get stuff done – move ahead!

Specialized vs. General – the Best Thing About Being a DBM

Venn Diagram showing three pillars of being a DBM - Project management, Team management, Systems management

My absolute favorite thing about being a DBM, is you can do all of these at the same time (call yourself a triple threat), or you can choose to specialize in just one. Or two. Or one with a sprinkle of two. Or two with a splash of one. 

When you make your own name, you name your own game. 

You are the client’s go-to, right hand, so whatever they need to move the business along, you do. 

  • If they need a project manager to plan an amazing new course?
  • Then a team manager to handle the day-to-day duties while creating the course?
  • What about a launch manager to launch it? 

No probs. You can be all of those things – because once you have the skillset, you get to specialize in whatever the heck you want.

So… are you sold? Or do you need a little more of that fairy dust to paint the picture of what life could look like as a DBM?

If yes, keep reading!

Want ALL the details on how to work online as a digital business manager?

Check out my FREE intro class which goes over what exactly a DBM does day-to-day, how much I make as a DBM, my 5-step plan to get you started and more!

4 Shiny & Top-Notch Benefits of Becoming a DBM 

1. Freedom

Let that freedom ring, baby. DBMs can work wherever, whenever – it’s one of those amazing remote-friendly, location-independent gigs.

My personal hours of choice are 10 – 4 on most days.

Secretly, I have beef with the person that came up with the 40-hour work week.

I have just one question for them: Why 40 hours? Why can’t we work 20 hours and spend the rest of our time with family, friends, our fluffy cats? Why can’t we work 30 hours and relax the other hours?

Tangent aside, say goodbye to stuffy cubicles, uncomfortable pantsuits, and fluorescent lighting.

In the past 4 years, I’ve packed up my laptop and been able to work from:

  • 🌴 An amazing treehouse co-working space in Ubud, Bali
  • ☕️ A cozy Coffee Bean in the Gangnam district in Seoul, South Korea
  • 🐱 At home – with my family surrounding me and our 3 soft cats
  • ♥️ In a cute cafe drinking chai latte in Prague in the Czech Republic
  • 🏖️ Literally on the beach in Javea on the Southern coast of Spain
deya traveling photos

Yeah – wherever truly has meant wherever. It doesn’t matter where you work, as long as you get your work done and done well.

2. Money

What else could you need, besides freedom?

Well, the earning potential of a DBM is higher, because you’re doing higher-level, strategy-level, managerial-level knowledge work.

The value that you provide as a DBM is seen in:

  • 💰the money that you help a business make,
  • 💲 the money that you help a business save,
  • ⏰ the time you get back for a client (e.g. to spend on developing new profit-generating ideas, or with her family/friends),
  • 😌 the mental energy that you help a business owner get back (so they feel sane again),
  • ❗ and more.

That value is priceless for a business owner looking to scale to 6-7 figures and beyond that.

Here’s the deal – my hourly rate is high, like 3 figures per hour high.

But I started out at $10/hour, in the newbie phase, just like everybody else when I first started working online as a Content Assistant.  

But as a DBM, you charge not based on your hours worked, but the value brought.

When you bring years of knowledge, skills, and results to the table, and it turns out that it is a CEO’s favorite meal.

You get things done, get the results they want, and handle the stuff they don’t want to. And that is why DBMs make the big bucks and can charge anywhere from $50 – $100/hr + depending on experience level and training level.

3. Time

And because of this glorious freedom and healthy cash flow, you get back your time. 

GIF - Mr Bean enjoying freedom on the beach

An important question: When was the last time you had the time to do precisely what you feel like doing?

As a DBM, you don’t have to work 40 hours if you don’t want to. You don’t have to work weekends, nights – if you don’t want to. No more only-3-weeks-paid-vacation for you!

Visit family, travel, and pursue personal projects (cue the birth of DBM Bootcamp) all you want.

Of course, you have working responsibilities and you should always aim to overdeliver, but personally,

I have never gotten as much freedom and time to live my ~best~ life as when I started working as a Digital Business Manager.

4. Passion

And last, but the most underrated, in my opinion, is passion.

Passion, career fulfillment, and other fluffy words that college counselors throw around like hot potatoes – but what does it actually mean?

To me, passion feels like:

  • ☀️ Waking up on a Monday morning and doing a little jive because you’re so excited to tackle the day,
  • ⏱ Time flying by while doing your tasks because you’re so engrossed
  • 💡The ideas never stop coming – they just flood your brain. I could do this, I could do that, too! Ooooh – what about….?
  • 😃Leaving work feeling more energized than ever instead of drained and depleted

Not only do I love working from home with my cat by my side, and being able to jet-set away at a moment’s notice (which, I would never but I cOuLD iF I wAnTed To) but…

I also have this crazy feeling that what I am doing is exactly what I have been searching for since all my grandparents started asking me: “What do you want to do when you grow up?” 

And to be honest, I didn’t know the answer when I was 16, holed up in my black-and-red-themed room (hello, angsty teenage years), enrolled in virtual high school, watching my friends go out and be ‘normal,’ and wondering what I would ever do with my life. 

I didn’t know the answer when I thought I was doing everything I was supposed to do (ya know, ~college, internship, corporate ladder life~), only to feel miserable and more stuck than the red paint on the walls in my childhood room. 

I didn’t know the answer when I was spending 14 hours straight, typing on my couch, charging $10 an hour, and consistently trying to calculate how many hours I needed to work this month to pay rent and afford Pad Thai takeout. ?

But I know the answer now – this: being a DBM.

Standing (virtually) side by side to amazing CEOs and helping them grow majorly cool digital empires.

Using every single piece of knowledge I have gained over the past 4 years to create my DBM Bootcamp and teach you how to do the same. 

I know this is the feeling of fulfillment I was always supposed to have. This is exactly what I want to do when I grow up (whenever that may be).

Now, enough sappy stuff, let’s get into how you can find that feeling and step into who you have always wanted to be, but just didn’t know it yet. 

How to Become a Digital Business Manager – Step-by-Step Guide

I have mapped out 2 routes for your journey based on my own personal experience.

You choose, no pressure. 

Computer screen with arrows showing 2 different directions

Roadmap 1: DIY Path via Figure-It-Out Island aka My Journey 

Once upon a time, I had a corporate internship I absolutely hated and started freelancing online on the side as a Content Assistant.

After my internship, I said, “this ain’t it” and jumped off the pumpkin carriage and into building my own online biz up so I could afford to feed my cats.  

And it worked… ish. 

But then, I hit a point in my online career where I felt stuck. Ya know, I hit that peak of working 50 hours a week, juggling 6 clients, and burnt out of writing blog posts on repeat. 

I felt like I wanted more. More freedom, more money, and more of that fiery passion that everyone raves about. 

I knew something had to change. But I didn’t know what it was or how to change it. (hm, seems like an issue, huh?)

So I took a boat over to ‘figure-it-out yourself island’ and set up camp. ????

I started learning as much as I humanly could. (I would like to personally thank the video speed controller chrome extension for that). 

I read a LOT of blog posts, signed up to a LOT of email lists, listened to podcasts a whoooole LOT, started doing free internships and projects to learn new areas of expertise, and said yes to literally anything and everything that came my way (except dropshipping – don’t you do it!)

Specifically, you’ll want to focus your learnings on:

  • Top digital project, team and systems management tools and systems
  • Management training specifically in projects, teams and systems for digital businesses
  • Digital strategy and marketing know-how; no need to be an expert – just enough to discuss things like sales funnels and marketing strategy with clients!
  • Basic finance knowledge so you understand the financial health of a business

That was the learning plan above I used.

Search image "How to DIY my way to working as a DBM?"

This is the step-by-step roadmap that I would suggest to you if you want to follow the DIY path to working as a DBM:

  1. Make a learning plan for yourself to grow into a DBM – how much do you want to study every day or week? What do you want to learn? How much detail do you want to learn it in?
  2. Begin learning and stay consistent to your learning plan.
  3. Choose and do projects that allow you to practice your newfound skills – e.g. manage a project for a friend, set up a small system for a family member who needs help keeping track of their customers
  4. Gather your projects into a portfolio
  5. Begin applying to internships and/or doing small projects for clients for testimonials
  6. Continuously iterate, get feedback, improve and work your way up to bigger and bigger clients

That’s transparently how I did it.

And I slowly worked my way up, inch by inch, into a management position. I started offering specialty project management packages, started managing small teams, and helped CEOs with ideas and strategies. 

And then I caught the ferry to DBM island, and after a lot and a lot of hard work, now I am sitting in my reserved chair, sipping Pina Coladas. 

You might already be working online in a junior position, feeling like you don’t know what the next move is to boost your online game, and thinking, Wow, as much as I really want to level up… I don’t want to spend three years at figure-it-out island.”

Or maybe you are still in the corporate world but have some management experience, and you are ready to make the leap online.

Nevertheless, you don’t want to start from scratch in a junior position. 

While figure-it-out island is a 24/7 good time, I’ll save you the boat fee and the 3 years of your life. ???? 

Roadmap 2: The DBM Bootcamp Ferry

Destination: To DBM Island

In my paid 8 – 12 week training program “DBM Bootcamp”, I took every single thing I learned in the past 4 years and put it into an step-by-step course format.

You will learn 4 years of material in less than 3 months. And I promise you are not skipping any steps.

In the Bootcamp, you will do in-depth dives into all 3 areas of the DBM world: Team Management, Systems Management, and Project Management.

You will learn the step-by-step on how to implement these in online businesses. 

You will also do capstone projects that can be used in your very own DBM portfolio to show off your newfound skills and experience when applying and pitching to management roles. 

After (or during) these weeks, you will sail to DBM Bootcamp island, where you will be fully prepped and prepared to take on any DBM tasks, or at least have the foundational skills to quickly figure it out.

If you are ready to take the leap and uplevel your online work journey, book your ticket on the DBM Bootcamp Ferry and check out the route here.  

Ready to become a
Digital Business Manager?

The Digital Business Manager Bootcamp is an 8-12 week step-by-step training that takes you through all of the technical skills of working as a DBM, such as project, team, and systems management.

If not, I get it.

You’re probably thinking, “Will this magic training actually work for little ol’ me?”

What Students Say about Digital Business Manager Bootcamp

I’m a little biased, so let’s hear from some of my amazing students about their journey to DBM Bootcamp island.

Meet the amazing Alison Wright, who says…

“I landed a client at $50/hr before I even finished the course. This Bootcamp is worth every penny and a thousand times more.”

“Before the DBM Bootcamp, I was a Virtual Assistant struggling to get those higher-paying jobs and was capping out at about $25/hr. I really felt like I was worth more.

And actually, before I even finished the DBM Bootcamp, I had signed 2 brand new clients – one client at 2x the rate that I was making before!

My favorite aspects of the DBM Bootcamp was the Team Management module; the capstone project that I created for that module actually landed me one of my DBM clients. I also LOVED creating SOPs that are actually usable. Most SOPs for companies that I’ve seen aren’t that great, but Deya’s SOP templates are bomb.

Would I recommend this Bootcamp to others? Heck yes, I would. It is worth every penny and a thousand times more. 

If you want to learn from the best, sign up for the Bootcamp and get ready to level up in ways you never thought possible.”

Meet the wonderful Georgia…

“I would absolutely recommend this course. It is such an incredible package of everything you need to know to become a digital business manager. I have also negotiated a pay rise directly as a result of the skills I’ve gained from the DBM Bootcamp, with another salary review in 6 months.”​

“Before taking the DBM Bootcamp, I had been working as a VA for just over a year. I was booked out and couldn’t work more hours, so my income had plateaued. 

When I found Deya’s DBM Bootcamp, I knew it was exactly what I needed. I had worked with Deya before, so I knew what an organisational genius and incredible team leader she is. I knew that I wanted to download all of her knowledge and wisdom right into my brain.

From this course, I have a much deeper understanding of project management and systems management. I have been working on higher-level work with my clients, including strategizing sales funnels and then managing these projects for them from start to finish.

The information, practical experience, resources, and feedback are priceless. There is everything you need included and at a fraction of the cost of similar courses on the market.

This is a fantastic bargain and well worth the investment.

With all the skills you learn during this course, you are set up for an exciting, well-paid career, so the investment will pay for itself many times over.”

Key takeaways listed out

Key Takeaways

  1. Yes – there is 100% a way to scale into supporting business owners and entrepreneurs in a higher-level, managerial and strategic capacity.
  2. Digital Business Managers are normally in charge of managing digital projects, remote teams and optimizing systems of a business.
  3. My personal favorite benefits from scaling to a DBM role is the freedom that it granted me – but alongside that, also time back in my day, more earning potential and of course, passion for my work and diversification of tasks.
  4. There are 2 options for becoming a DBM – 1) you can go the DIY way that I pursued for a few years, or 2) you can check out DBM Bootcamp and see if it potentially is a fit for you. (No hard feelings if it’s not!)

So yep, we can be the dream team: you and me. 

My job? Give you all the experience, resources, tools, lessons I learned over the past 4 years.

Your job? Invest in yourself. Do the training program. Step into the person you were always meant to be. 

I can’t promise you will wake up tomorrow, making six figures, traveling across the globe, and living your best life. 

This is not a get-rich-quick kind of situation.

But I can promise that you’ll be on the most thrilling adventure you’ve taken yet.

If you are ready to finally level up, and nab yourself more freedom, more money, and more passion, join me in the journey of a lifetime at DBM Bootcamp.

Ready to become a
Digital Business Manager?

The Digital Business Manager Bootcamp is an 8-12 week step-by-step training that takes you through all of the technical skills of working as a DBM, such as project, team, and systems management.

Want ALL the juicy details on how to work online as a digital business manager?

Check out my FREE intro class which goes over what exactly a digital business manager does day-to-day, how much I make as a DBM, my 5-step plan to get you started and more!

What's in this post?

Want ALL the juicy details on how to work online as a digital business manager?

Check out my FREE intro class which goes over what exactly a digital business manager does day-to-day, how much I make as a DBM, my 5-step plan to get you started and more!