Personal Assistant Vs. Virtual Assistant. Which One Is The Right Fit For You?

Life can get busy when you have a business. From managing day-to-day operations to looking for new clients and partnerships, your to-do list is never-ending. At a certain point, you might find that you need some extra help to get things done. This is where a personal assistant or virtual assistant comes in. But which one is the right fit for you and your business? Let's take a look at the key differences between personal assistants and virtual assistants to help you make the best decision for your needs.

1. What is a personal assistant and what do they do for you

A personal assistant is somebody who works in close proximity to you, carrying out tasks as requested. They might work in your office or even from home, but they will need to be able to travel to meet with you when necessary. Personal assistants are usually responsible for handling administrative tasks, such as scheduling appointments and managing correspondence. They might also be responsible for more personal tasks, such as making travel arrangements and running errands. 

2. What is a virtual assistant and what do they do for you

A virtual assistant is somebody who provides support for your business remotely. They can work from anywhere in the world, as long as they have an internet connection. Virtual assistants are usually responsible for tasks such as customer service, bookkeeping, social media management, and data entry. 

3. How to determine which type of assistant is the best fit for you

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question - it all depends on your specific needs and circumstances. If you need somebody to handle administrative tasks so that you can focus on running your business, then a virtual assistant might be the right fit for you. If you require somebody to manage more personal tasks or errands, then a personal assistant might be a better option. Let’s look at some pros and cons of both a PA and a VA for your business.

4. Pros and Cons of having a personal assistant

Pros:

  • The personal assistant is physically present in your office or home. This can be a lifesaver when you need someone to manage last-minute tasks or deals that come up unexpectedly. 
  • A personal assistant can do tasks that require a physical presence such as handling mail, running errands, or organizing your schedule. 
  • If you prefer working in-person and aren’t excited about online work, a personal assistant can be the perfect type of support your business needs.

Cons:

  • A personal assistant can be expensive. PAs are normally hired on a salary and are considered full-time or part-time employees of a company. Therefore, in addition to salary, you will also have to factor in benefits and payroll taxes. 
  • A personal assistant can have a more demanding schedule. They will likely want set hours and may not be available on nights and weekends.

5. The Pros and Cons of having a virtual assistant

  • Hiring a  virtual assistant can be more affordable compared to a personal assistant. You don’t have to worry about benefits or payroll taxes if you hire them as a freelancer. However, on average virtual assistants tend to make more hourly rates compared to personal assistants. They mostly work as independent contractors, and therefore can save you on taxes and employee benefits.
  • A virtual assistant can work from anywhere in the world. This gives you a larger pool of candidates to choose from and also means that your virtual assistant can work odd hours if necessary. Of course, that doesn't mean that you can contact your virtual assistant at any time of the day if that wasn’t discussed in the contract.
  • Virtual assistants are often highly skilled and can do tasks such as social media management, customer service, telemarketing, lead generation, and data entry. 

Cons:

  • A virtual assistant is not physically present in your office or home which means they can’t do tasks that require a physical presence such as handling mail or running errands. 
  • Communication with a virtual assistant can be more difficult since they might not be in the same time zone as you are. This means there could be miscommunications or misunderstandings from time to time. 

6. How to find and hire a personal assistant or virtual assistant

Where to find candidates?

There are a few ways to find a good PA or VA. The first is to ask around. Talk to other business owners, colleagues, and friends and see if they have any recommendations. Another option is to use an online service like Unicorn Factory or Upwork. These platforms allow you to post your job listing and receive submissions from interested candidates. 

If you choose to go the route of searching for an agency, make sure to do your research. Read reviews, compare pricing, and look at the types of services each agency offers. Once you've found an agency you're interested in working with, give them a call and ask any questions you may have. 

If you choose to post a job listing on a freelancing website, make sure to be clear about what your needs are and what type of skills you're looking for in a candidate. You should also set up interviews with potential candidates so that you can get to know them better and see if they would be a good fit for your needs. Once you've compiled a list of potential candidates, it's time to start interviewing.

How to interview potential PAs or VAs 

When you're interviewing potential PAs or VAs, there are a few key things you'll want to keep in mind. First, what are their qualifications? Do they have the relevant experience and skills that you’re looking for? Second, what are their core values? Do they align with your company's values? Third, what is their communication style? Lastly, what are their availability and rates? Do they have the time to commit to your project? Are their rates fair and within your set budget? 

Once you've found someone you'd like to work with, it's time to move on to the next step: signing a contract. 

Signing a Contract 

When you've found someone you'd like to work with, it's time to move on to the next step: signing a contract. This contract will spell out the terms of your working relationship, including things like pay rate, hours, vacation days, etc. It's important to have everything in writing so that there is no confusion later down the road. 

Conclusion

There is no easy answer when it comes to deciding between a personal assistant and virtual assistant. It really depends on your specific needs and budget. If you need someone who is physically present in your office or home and can do tasks that require them to be in the space, then a personal assistant is probably the right fit for you.