Virtual vs Personal Assistant Services: What’s the Difference?


Is your business growing? If so, then you probably feel like there’s a million and one things to do, and never enough time to do them all.

As a result, you often feel like your business is growing slower than it should be because you can’t handle every task that comes your way. And as a business owner who strives for perfection, it’s very tempting to try and do it all yourself.

But smart business owners know how to delegate. That’s why they invest in personal assistant services or virtual assistant services. One simple decision like this could mean the difference between success and slogging day in and day out.

But what is a personal assistant, and is it different than hiring a virtual assistant? Keep reading to find the clarity you need, so you can take the next step forward in your business.

The Main Difference Between a Personal Assistant and a Virtual One

There’s a lot of confusion surrounding the idea of hiring assistants. In the past, there was only one option; the personal assistant (PA). This was an assistant hired on-site to support the roles of executive leaders, such as the CEO of a company, or others in leadership roles.

They report only to that person, performing any and every task needed in order to save that person time to focus on higher-level activities. Personal assistant duties have included answering the phone on their behalf, managing their email inbox, scheduling meetings, and so forth.

But today, thanks to the power of the internet, there has been a huge increase in the number of virtual assistants (VA) providing service to businesses and self-employed people.

A virtual digital assistant is exactly that; someone who works on a remote basis for another individual, completing various tasks on a regular basis to save the person time.

The core difference between the two is that a personal assistant is a full-time employee, working on-site, directly alongside the person they assist. This is considered a traditional job, though working remotely is starting to become more common.

A virtual assistant, on the other hand, is an independent contractor, who works 100% remotely. There is no expectation for this assistant to ever be present onsite, nor do they need to live near the individual or company that hires them.

Oftentimes, they aren’t working full time for any single client. They may be hired by one client to perform tasks for 10 hours per week and hired by another client to work for 20 hours per week.

So the main difference is that a personal assistant works on-site, usually full-time, while a virtual assistant works remotely, usually part-time.

Similarities Between the Two

Assistants, whether an in-person personal assistant or a virtual personal assistant, can perform many of the same tasks. This can include managing an email inbox, which is one of the biggest time-wasters for company executives and managers.

Assistants can also be in charge of scheduling meetings and booking travel reservations, which can also suck a lot of time.

Reasons to Hire Personal Assistant Services

Wondering if you should hire a personal assistant? This is someone who will join your team in person unless you choose to allow them to work remotely part-time or full-time.

But having an in-person assistant can help if you need physical errands to be completed on your behalf. This might mean picking up coffee for you in the morning or picking up catering orders for important meetings.

Or it could be personal errands, such as picking up dry cleaning. Anything that saves you time is worth outsourcing to an assistant.

Plus, it’s just easier to be able to speak with your assistant in person. That way, you can share everything you are hoping to have them handle in one conversation, rather than having to type out a ton of email instructions or spend a lot of time on the phone.

Reasons to Use a Virtual Assistant

Or maybe a virtual assistant is right for you. If the tasks you need to be completed can be done virtually, such as managing email or social media accounts, or booking reservations and posting blog articles, consider a virtual assistant.

You can hire them on a per-task basis, an hourly basis, or for a set number of hours per week. And there’s tons of flexibility, as you can adjust the number of hours as needed.

Plus, hiring a virtual assistant can be more cost-effective. Since VAs typically work as independent contractors, you only need to pay them a flat rate. You won’t need to spend money on employee taxes or benefits or provide them with equipment or office space.

And you can hire people in different time zones if that would be beneficial to your business. For example, if you want someone who can complete tasks overnight, you can easily hire a VA from Europe or Asia.

You can also hire multiple VAs for specific types of tasks. For example, one VA might specialize in social media, one might specialize in research and data entry, and another might act like a traditional assistant, managing emails and meetings on your behalf.

This way, instead of hiring someone who does a lot of things on a mediocre basis, you can hire people who specialize in each type of task.

Tips for Hiring an Assistant

When it comes to hiring an assistant, there are a few tips to keep in mind, regardless of whether it’s a PA or a VA.

For one, don’t rush the process. Your assistant is going to handle lots of sensitive information, both personal and related to your business. You need to hire a trustworthy individual.

You also want to ensure they can handle the tasks you are going to present to them. Therefore, having them complete some initial tasks during their interview process will give you an understanding of their abilities and work ethic.

Lastly, meet them in person or on a video call, to get a sense of who they are. You’re going to interact with them daily, and they need to be the type of person you get along with in order to make this successful.

Newfound Freedom With an Assistant

So what separates successful business owners and managers from those who struggle every day? Successful leaders can delegate.

Hiring out personal assistant services is key to creating the time you need to complete higher-level tasks. You need to eliminate the need to complete everything on your own and learn to trust others.

It’s the only way you can truly scale your business and enjoy success.

Looking for more tips like this? Head over to our blog to keep reading.

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