Thinking of hiring a VA?


Have you been thinking about hiring someone to help you with your day-to-day tasks? Maybe a virtual assistant (“VA”) or a digital marketing assistant (“DMA”)? If you answer with a resounding “Yes!” to that question, then you’re in the right place.

On my Instagram Stories, I recently asked this question and got a resounding “Yes!”. Additionally, I asked my followers what they wanted to know about hiring a VA. So today, I’m sharing my thoughts on whether you might want to hire a VA OR an employee as well as the answers to the questions I received. Let’s start with the easiest piece – the differences!

Differences Between a VA and an Employee

There are three (3) major pieces to be aware of when it comes to the differences between a VA and an employee:

  • Working arrangement
  • Working location
  • Working employment status
Virtual Assistant (VA) Employee
ArrangementWork at their own leisureMay or may not have set working hoursTypically work based on employer’s assigned schedule
LocationFully remote, they can work from anywhere they have a WiFi signalCan be in a different time zoneWorking in an office or working remote from their home Can travel, based on employer’s needs
Employment StatusFreelance, contract or part timeUsually self-employed or work with agencyHired full time or part time by employer

But there are other key pieces that you should think about.

Virtual Assistant (VA) Employee
FlexibilityCan be hired as neededProject-basisRetainer Hours can be adjustedStart small and increase based on workloadRelationship can be short term or long termUsually a fixed scheduleLonger commitments
Communication Styles and MethodsTypically communicate via Slack, email, telephone or Zoom callsSometimes done based on client preferenceFace-to-face chatsIn-office meetingsTelephone or Zoom calls
Scope of WorkVA can typically do a variety of tasksEmployees are usually hired to fill one specific roll and do one specific task
BenefitsInsurance covered independentlyRetirement covered independentlyNo paid Time Office (“PTO”) VA responsible for their own benefitsEmployer typically offers insuranceMedical, Dental and/or VisionSometimes a portion is paid by employerEmployer offers 401K planEmployer offers Paid Time Off
SecurityAlways jobs available Income based on how much you want to workEmployment can be terminated at any point in timeLayoffs

Both options have their own pros and cons. Which side you choose depends on your business, your needs and what type of working arrangement you desire. Based on this comparison, though, do you have an idea of which side you’re leaning towards?

Just remember, there is no right or wrong. It’s just a matter of need. But I do have a little bit of bias, though. Mainly because there are so many benefits to hiring a VA over an employee. If it isn’t obvious, let’s break it down.

Cost Effectiveness

At the end of the day, a VA costs less. You won’t have to pay for any benefits, training, office space or equipment and in many cases, the salary is lower.


It’s a perk for the VA but it’s also a perk for the client! Not only can  you hire someone to help you alleviate some of the workload, but you can do it on a part time basis! You, as the client, decide how many hours you want someone dedicated to you and your tasks. 

It also gives you the opportunity to fluctuate during slow and busy times. You can increase the number of hours they work during launch mode and decrease them when you’re not. But after that launch is over, and your workload slows down, you can decrease their hours.

Specialized Skills

If you hire a VA, there is a greater chance that they have more skills than you think. Many VAs I know can do more than simple admin tasks. They have skills in social media marketing, email marketing, graphic design, editing websites, creating systems that improve efficiency and even more! What’s even better is you won’t need to pay for any extra training. Most VAs can either learn on the fly or already have the training  under their belts.

Increased Productivity

VAs take things off your plate so you can focus on the core of your business and the strategy for growth. This is one of the best parts because your productivity ultimately goes up. You get more done in less time. This is a win-win!


With a VA on your side, you can adapt to market changes quickly and grow faster. Why? You won’t need to hire additional employees to do extras tasks. With your VA, you’ll be in good hands because they watch the market, see what changes and adapt to what they’re seeing. 

Do you see why it might be a good idea to hire a VA over an employee? Yes, having an employee can be a good thing! Sometimes you need someone with you in the trenches. But with employees, there’s a chance you’ll have more overhead costs.

Ok, Let’s Get to Those Questions…

  1. What does a VA do? – It varies, but some do just one specific task (like setting up your Customer Relations Manager (“CRM”)) while others are what we call a Unicorn (basically someone who can do a little bit of everything). Look at your list of needs and choose based on that.
  2. How does a VA differ from an employee? – Scroll up to see all the differences but as you can see, they are vastly different.
  3. How do I know if I need a VA or an employee? – The best way to figure this out is to make a list of all the things you know need to get done. Both things you can do and things you can delegate. Once you have that list, ask yourself these questions [There are a lot more questions to ask, but these are good to start with]:
    1. Can these tasks be done remotely?
    2. How much face-to-face time do I need with this hire?
    3. What’s my budget? [Make sure to factor in the cost of hiring and onboarding someone.]
    4. How much time do I want someone dedicated to my business?
    5. How long do the tasks I have take to complete?
    6. Do I need someone in my time zone?
    7. Do I need someone that’s a Jack-of-All-Trades? Or someone with a specific skill set?
    8. Do I need to hire someone long term? Or do I need them just for this project?
  4. How do I navigate disagreements? – This is a good one because they are bound to come up. With an employee, the work assigned is usually the work that’s done, no questions asked. But with a VA, they’re hired to challenge you, help you grow and scale and see things differently than you do. That being said, though, they should always have your best interest at heart. Remember this, you are an expert at your niche business and they are an expert in the field so they have insight you might not have. It’s not about losing control of your business, but rather about letting go so you can really bloom. At the end of the day, you want to (and need to) feel comfortable and confident that you (as the VA) put out the best work possible and had your client’s best interest at heart. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when having hard conversations:
    1. Always stick to the facts. Don’t allow emotions to play a role and analyze your data to help you prove points.
    2. Do your research. Even if you don’t fully understand, having some evidence from others helps to weigh both sides.
    3. Be professional. Let the other party know they’re valued and know they were hired for a reason, usually their expertise.
    4. Understand that the client holds the cards. They ultimately decide if they want to continue the working relationship so don’t burn bridges.
  5. How do I best utilize the services my VA offers? – Before you even begin working with a VA, they hold an initial call to identify your wants and needs, explain how they work and tell you what they offer. Listen to them. They’ll tell you what they do, how they do it and what they’ll need to do their best work for you. If you don’t hear something you’re looking for, ask. 
  6. What should I look for in a VA? – I won’t elaborate on this too much but go back and listen to Episode 85. In that episode, I shared many of the skills I thought a good VA should have, but here’s a few others:
    1. They need to be reliable. If they say they’ll do something, they need to hold to their end of the bargain.
    2. Being proactive should be the name of their game. If they’re always looking ahead and seeing how they can improve, they’re bound to help you grow.
    3. They can adapt to changes easily. When a VA is willing to learn on the go, they’re more likely to develop skills that can assist you in all facets of your business.
    4. When a VA is tech-savvy, it makes everything a whole lot easier because they can use software they’re not familiar with, understand algorithm changes and more.
    5. If a VA has problem solving skills, hire them! When they can play Devil’s Advocate with you and help you create pros and cons lists to see the bigger picture, it will save you time and money.
    6. Privacy is one thing, but confidentiality is a whole ‘nother ball game. If you find a VA that as a confidentiality process, you’re in good hands because they know how to keep sensitive information private.
    7. Attitude is everything! You want someone that’s positive, maybe even bubbly and loves to have fun. If they’re having fun, then nine times out of 10, they love their job.

I know this is a TON of information, but it’s all good information. If you’re thinking of hiring someone, reach out! If I’m a good fit based on your needs… Great! If not, I have a network of fellow VAs to refer you to. 

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