What’s the difference between a freelancer and a Virtual Assistant?
A freelancer is someone seeking specific work independently, on a case-by-case basis. A virtual assistant is someone employed by a company that provides remote working professionals to businesses seeking assistance.
A freelancer is someone not under the employment of a service provider, offering their skills as a solo professional. They are independent of any organization and free to find work as they see fit.
They are often not held to any specific standards of conduct because they are technically unemployed and working for themselves. Meaning outside of the agreed-upon project contract when hired, they have no oversight or responsibility.
You can find a remote working professional for a wide variety of roles if you know where to look. For example, services like Fiverr act as a network for finding freelancers advertising their skills and experience. The typical roles they fill can be completed on a case-by-case basis.
For example, administrative assistance, graphic and video editing, social media management, sales assistance, and data entry. If the task can be assigned remotely and worked on remotely, then chances are it’s something a freelancer can assist with.
The typical skills one should hope to find in a freelancer start with the ability to work autonomously, as well as self-time-management skills. Freelancers need to be able to manage their time appropriately to meet agreed deadlines, and be able to handle tasks with little to no peer support or supervision.
Other skills often include being very tech savvy, having strong attention to detail, and having good interpersonal skills.
The availability of a freelance professional is where things get iffy. Because they aren’t technically employed by any higher organization, with no manager to report to, they are essentially a wild card.
A freelancer may make promises about their availability, like guaranteeing responses during certain hours, but ultimately no one holds them accountable. The silver lining is a freelancer isn’t bound to any organization’s work hours.
Technically they can clock in and work on an assignment for you at any time of the day or night, or weekend if needed and agreed upon. But they can also vanish and be unable to reach any moment, so it’s a trade-off.
A virtual assistant is a remote working professional under the employment of a service provider. They are paid hourly by their primary employer, and complete tasks given by the 3rd party business they are assigned to.
A virtual assistant is often adept at a variety of skills. When seeking an assistant from a service provider, they typically have a pool of professionals with varying areas of expertise. The most common skills one can expect from a hired virtual assistant, are word processing proficiency, strong communication, customer service experience, attention to detail and thoroughness, self-motivated and autonomy, and typically very tech-savvy.
It usually isn’t hard to find a virtual assistant with the same experience and skillsets as any freelancer. After the initial training and onboarding, a virtual assistant can hit the ground running and provide lasting support.
The availability of a virtual assistant under a service provider is much more structured and controlled than that of a freelancer. At the time of hiring, the expected hours of availability are discussed and agreed upon to set expectations.
When utilizing a virtual assistant from a service like MyOutDesk, you’re getting a professional overseas and thus their hours of availability come with much more flexibility. They can typically work their nights for your days, or your days for their nights if you need someone after-hours. And thanks to proprietary applications like MyTimeIn, you always have transparency regarding where your assistant is and what they’re working on. MyOutDesk offers this application free for all our clients as a value-added service.
Freelancer vs. virtual assistant:
Which is best for your business?
When deciding between hiring someone freelance or going to a virtual assistant provider, never is it more true that you get what you pay for. The practice of hiring an inexpensive freelancer for a one-off task can be tempting. It’s just one flat payment, one time, and then you part ways.
But what if they don’t do the job correctly and make mistakes, or worse, disappear completely? Then you’re scrambling to track them back down, negotiate additional work, or ultimately fix it yourself.
With a virtual assistant, you are often on a contract of some kind and making regular monthly payments to utilize them. But this means you get more work done, as they are readily available to continue supporting you and your team. And they can switch to other tasks in between duties, so you get much more bang for your buck so to speak. Not to mention the assurances you get from the company providing that assistant, guaranteeing that you get exactly what you paid for with no surprises or disappointments.
This hybrid business model has proven extremely effective for businesses. Especially nowadays with the growing acceptance of work-from-home roles.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can a virtual assistant also be a freelancer?
Yes, it’s entirely possible. Some virtual assistants working under a service provider may also offer additional services on their own, as freelance professionals. When interviewing a potential assistant, it’s a good idea to clarify with them how many other responsibilities they may have, in addition to yours.
MyOutDesk Virtual Assistants are not freelancers — they work solely for the clients we work with, and will not have another client on the side.
What is the most in-demand virtual assistant role?
The most popular services provided by virtual assistants today are social media management, email marketing, project management, and customer service. These types of roles can typically be done by an autonomous, remote working professional.
Is it worth hiring a virtual assistant?
Hiring a virtual assistant has many benefits for business owners. By leveraging a VA to help with busy work you free up yourself and your local team to spend more time managing essential, dollar-generating tasks. You can increase your productivity while saving on overhead costs.
At MyOutDesk we have a large, diverse pool of experienced and proven virtual assistants, ready to be an ideal member of your business, your team, or any sized brokerage. You can start prioritizing better leads to work with, and more support to close them. And you can start doing so right now — use this link to request a free consultation and see if one of our virtual assistants is right for your real estate business needs.