The Difference Between Front-End + Back-End Services

Believe it or not, there is a difference in the type of services you offer in your VA business.

I call them Front End Services and Back End Services and I want to take you through what they are in this blog post.

If you’d rather listen to this than reading it please check out the podcast below. 

Now… this post is actually related to a post I wrote on why you want to stop calling yourself a Virtual Assistant.

The main point of that post was to point out that SO many people get hung up on what they call themselves instead of focusing on how they help their clients.

When you call yourself a Virtual Assistant people assume (right or wrong) that you’re an admin. But what if you’re not?

I wasn’t an admin and I didn’t offer any type of administrative skills.

It’s not that I couldn’t – I didn’t want to because admin skills keep you tied to your desk or computer during certain hours of the day.

I started my business because I wanted FREEDOM and admin skills would not give me that.

You see… when you offer administrative type services (aka Front End Services) you usually need to be available during specific business hours for your clients or their clients.

You’re basically like the front desk for their office – you’re just virtual.

I didn’t want that – I wanted to do the work on my schedule. I wanted flexibility and that is what Back End Services gives you. The ability to work when you want, on your own schedule. You just need to meet your deadlines.

Besides… when I started my business I wasn’t available during so-called business hours because I had a full-time job.

So… the only work I could do, needed to be deadline-driven and around my schedule.

Besides, I’m a systems junkie and techie and those are the type of services I wanted to offer – what I call Back-End Services.

Differences Between Front-End And Back-End Services:

Frond-End Services

Are administrative type services where you need to have “office hours” or availability during the workday for your clients or their clients.

  • Services such as answering phones or email, scheduling appointments, anything customer service related would be a front-end service.

Back-End Services

Are the techie and system type services where you can work when you want and just meet your deadlines.

  • Services such as WordPress, Mail Chimp, Email Marketing, Social Media Marketing or really anything under the Digital Marketing umbrella.
  • Anything technology or systems-based.

My focus is on teaching the back-end systems and skills which are different from most other VA Trainers and Coaches in the VA Industry.

I do this for a couple of reasons:

  1. It’s my passion – I love it!
  2. It’s what online business owners aka clients need.

Why You Should Consider Offering Back-End Services

I would estimate that somewhere between 75 – 80% of the people starting a VA business have an administrative background of some sort. Like a PA or EA for instance.

While those skills are valuable, clients are looking for MORE than admin skills.

  • They are looking for people that can set up the tools, technology, and systems that run and automate their business.
  • Clients can do their own admin work (answering their phone, schedule appointments, take care of their own customers) but they don’t know how to work the tools or systems that run their business.

Now, I’m not saying clients should do their own admin work – they shouldn’t – they should focus on what they do best.

But… push comes to shove and they don’t have the budget to hire help, they can do those things themselves.

What they can’t do is log into the back of their WordPress site, or send out an email using Mail Chimp or edit a video.

These are back-end skills that most clients don’t know how to do or are afraid to.

There is a much larger demand for back-end skills and they pay more!

Plus… it’s much easier to specialize in a specific skill or system which makes it easier to market your service and get clients.

One other difference between offering front-end and back-end services is how some of your clients might view you.

They may look at you as more of a consultant, someone they can brainstorm with as they grow their business.

It’s just a perception – I’m not saying that admins aren’t consultants.

But for some reason, the word “assistant” has less value than “consultant” – especially to those of us from the corporate cube farm.

Oh… one other quick thing, just to clear up any confusion.

I’m sure you’ve heard the term OBM – it stands for Online Business Manager and they are NOT the same as Virtual Assistants.

They’re more what I call an Operations Manager – they help run a client’s business, focusing on the day to day stuff.

Many of them focus on back end services and skills but they don’t usually do admin type tasks.

You can find out more about OBM’s at

I hope you now have a better understanding of front-end and back-end services and the differences between them.

Keep in mind, that these are my definitions or categories.

So… if you’re looking for skills that will give you the freedom to work when you want from where you want, then I’d recommend specializing in back-end services.

If you’re not sure what is considered a back-end service, feel free to comment and I’ll be happy to help.

Thank you for reading my story!

If you know someone who might benefit from this information, please share.

Don’t forget to leave a comment if you found this information useful – I’d love to hear from you!

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Written by Susan Mershon

Susan Mershon started The Techie Mentor™ in 2013 to teach Virtual Assistants her no-fluff approach to the systems and skills they need to build and automate a successful business.

With a strong base in project management, Susan brings her love of systems and teaching to offer in-depth training and mentoring to new and experienced Virtual Assistants.

She’s taught over 5,000 students her unique systems and strategies that focus on offering high-end skills that give you the freedom to work when and where you want.

To learn more about The Techie Mentor™ and the systems and skills she teaches without all the fluff or hype go to The Techie Mentor website.


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  1. Hitesh Sharma

    Indeed, this is a useful and helpful information. Thank you for mentoring.

    • Susan Mershon

      You’re so welcome – thanks for taking the time to comment.

  2. Sarah

    Hi Susan, this is really great info. Thank you. I would like to learn more on the backend skills. Where can I go?

    • Susan Mershon

      Hi Sarah, thank you, I’m glad you found it helpful. If you’re looking for techie type training, I’ve got that. In fact, I’m getting ready to launch my Techie VA Training Vault in the next few weeks. Let me know if you’d like more details.

  3. Debbie Neil

    Susan, thank you for this post. It helped me to get a little clearer on the services I want to offer and why. This information has never been explained as clearly as now. Thank you. This has given me inspiration to keep working toward my goals.

    • Susan Mershon

      Hi Debbie, thank you for taking the time to comment and I’m glad it was helpful. It is confusing since there is no standards in the VA Industry!

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