Virtual Assistants vs Virtual Personal Assistants: Which Do You Need?

By Katerina Baratta | Updated: 24 Feb, 2023

As your business grows, so does your task list. But not all tasks are created equal. At a certain point, it’s time to offload the more time-consuming, repetitive tasks so you can focus on the skill-based tasks that move your business forward.

You’re reading this article because you’re ready to hire an assistant, but now the question remains: what kind of assistant do you need? 

Hiring an in-house assistant can be very costly.

Between the time spent vetting potential assistants (~$4,000 according to Glassdoor), training (~$1,252 according to the Association for Talent Development,) salary (~$70,000 according to salary.com), benefits, paid time off, and other overhead costs, hiring a new in-house assistant adds up to approximately $92,750 per year —and that’s if they stay. 

Zippia reports that the average executive assistant stays at their job only 1-2 years, which means you’ll have to continually restart the hiring and training process and lose even more time and money finding a competent replacement.

Smart business leaders like you are realizing that in-house assistants aren't always necessary to ensure tasks are covered. Hiring a virtual assistant service can give you all the benefits of having an assistant at a fraction of the cost. 

Now you’re probably wondering, “Do I need a Virtual Assistant or a Virtual Personal Assistant?” or "What is a Virtual Personal Assistant, anyway?"

Good questions! These job titles look interchangeable at first glance, so let’s discuss their similarities and differences.

What’s in this article:  

  • Similarities between a Virtual Assistant and a Virtual Personal Assistant 
  • What does a Virtual Assistant do?  
  • How are Virtual Assistants Different than Virtual Personal Assistants?  
  • Typical Virtual Assistant responsibilities 
  • Virtual Personal Assistant responsibilities 
  • How to hire your own Virtual Personal Assistant  

Similarities Between a Virtual Assistant and a Virtual Personal Assistant

The biggest difference between a Virtual Assistant (VA) and a Personal Virtual Assistant (VPA) is that a Virtual Assistant's work focuses primarily on administrative tasks within a business. In contrast, a VPA tends to tackle various tasks, including their employer’s personal needs.

That said, there are many similarities between the two roles.

Organization

If there were only one word to describe what VAs and VPAs do, it would be this. The capacity to organize is the key skill that all assistants have in common. 

Professionalism

VAs and VPAs are expected to be competent and reliable. While assistants in both roles are typically not full-time or in-house, a level of professionalism is expected. When you hire a managed virtual assistant company like Prialto, you can rest assured that these expectations will be met.

Computer Skills

Because they work remotely, all VAs and VPAs need to possess basic computer skills. At Prialto, we train our assistants to be experts at using a variety of software so they can easily jump in and utilize your preferred processes.

Related: Essential Virtual Assistant Software Tools 

Trustworthiness

Your assistant supports multiple facets of your life and business, so it’s vitally important that you find someone you can trust.

Trustworthiness is one of the biggest benefits of hiring a managed virtual assistant service like Prialto instead of an independent contractor. We conduct background checks and supervise our employees’ work within enterprise-level security, so you don’t have to worry about any breaches.

Related: What to Know About Virtual Assistant Security 

Communication Skills 

Your assistant’s role is to support you, which means they must be excellent communicators. 

At Prialto, we maintain a team structure and training dedicated to ensuring smooth and consistent communications.

Although Prialto assistants reside in different countries, they are all college-educated, fluent in English, and trained in-house, so no important messages are ever lost. 

What Does a Virtual Assistant Do?

The primary role of a VA is to help with various administrative tasks. The tasks you assign to your VA or VPA will depend on your specific needs. They may include:  

Calendar Management 

Let your VA manage your calendar and be prepared to worry less as all the moving puzzle pieces of your work and life seem to fall into place.  

Once your VA is familiar with your preferences, they can schedule meetings with multiple stakeholders and block time off so you can tend to your priorities.  

Learn more: Calendar Management with a Virtual Assistant

Expenses 

At Prialto, you can easily set up secure systems with your VA so they can keep track of all of your expenses for you. Your virtual assistant can work directly in your systems for security, convenience, and efficiency.

Email Management 

Say goodbye to inbox overwhelm. Your VA can organize your inbox so you see only priority mail and aren’t distracted by less-than-urgent messages. Everything else can easily be organized into folders so you know where to find whatever you need, whenever you need it.

Learn More: Email and Inbox Management

Travel Booking

Don't waste time on travel planning. Your VA can find the best flights, hotels, and car rentals for you, so you don’t have to spend hours of your life trying to find good deals, plans, and schedules.

Organizational Support 

VA support can transform operations for businesses of all sizes. Whether you’re a small startup that just needs one VA or a bigger team that needs extensive support, Prialto has the solution that will work for you.  

How Are Virtual Personal Assistants Different Than Virtual Assistants?  

Okay, so what does a Virtual Personal Assistant do? VPAs can also perform all of these administrative tasks, but they take it one step further by helping you balance your personal life as well.  

Personal Errands 

Need a prescription filled? Your VPA can call the pharmacy. Need dry cleaning picked up? Your VPA can arrange it. Need to schedule a parent-teacher conference? No problem, your VPA’s on it. 

The internet and services like Uber Errand allow you to have a Personal Virtual Assistant take care of almost any errand you can think of.  

Grocery Shopping 

Let your VPA handle meal planning and order groceries to be delivered when you get home. 

House and Family Organization 

Do you need to organize a house cleaner? Are you looking to hire a new nanny? Your VPA can research options, schedule interviews, and handle payroll.  

Event Planning 

Whether it’s your colleague’s retirement or your youngest child’s birthday, your VPA can help you find the best caterers, entertainment, and decorators to make any party an event to remember.  

Orange Moments 

At Prialto, we strive to go the extra mile and put a personal touch on everything we do.  

Instead of booking a weekly team lunch at your favorite restaurant, your VPA may contact the restaurant to see if they have a Frequent Diner’s Club. Instead of just booking appointments on your business trip, your VPA may research gym classes they know you’d like to attend during your downtime.

We call this level of service an “Orange Moment” because it stands out as a unique benefit you get from working with us.

Typical Virtual Assistant Responsibilities 

Prialto Virtual Assistants typically give one member 55 hours of support per month, with slight variations depending on need. In addition to all of the tasks we’ve already mentioned, many of our VAs do the following every day:  

Online Research

Whether you need to find new prospects or the right keywords for SEO, your VA can save you dozens of hours every week by doing research for you.  

Data Entry  

Many of the VAs at Prialto are experts at Excel and data entry; if they’re not, we will train them on your specific processes so all of your data entry needs are met. They can also learn and plug into your CRM or top-used software, ensuring a seamless experience.

Learn More: How VAs Can Help With data Entry and CRM Management

Document Preparation 

Preparing documents can be tedious and time-consuming. Instead of wasting your energy doing it yourself, have your VA prepare standard documents so you can focus on tasks that require your unique skill set.  

Answer Phones 

Although Prialto VAs work from other countries, they always work within your timezone's business hours, so answering phones is not a problem.  

Personal Virtual Assistant Responsibilities 

VPAs do all of that and more.  

Online Ordering 

Once your VPA is familiar with your preferences, you can rely on them to handle all of your online ordering. 

Restaurant Reservations

Want to try a new restaurant? Your VPA can research the top chefs in your area and send you recommendations. Once you’ve decided where to go, your VPA can make a reservation for you and even make special requests on your behalf (see “Orange Moments” above).  

Gifts 

Want to send your spouse a gift? At Prialto, all of your preferences are documented, so you can tell your VPA the budget and they’ll help you find the perfect gift.

How to Hire Your Own Virtual Personal Assistant 

A Virtual Personal Assistant can make your life much less stressful. Gone will be the sleepless nights and days when your mind feels cluttered.

When you hire a Prialto VPA, they will help you organize your life so that you can prioritize what’s most important to you and rest assured that everything else is being taken care of.

Want to learn more about hiring a personal Virtual Assistant? Let's chat about how a Virtual Assistant can transform your work and life!

Learn more: How to Find a Personal Virtual Assistant