Difference Between a Freelancer and Virtual Assistant

What’s it like to be a freelancer and virtual assistant in this day and age? The global pandemic has caused countries to lockdown and impose self-quarantine over its citizens. Due to this, most people are unable to go to the office. Thankfully, you don’t have to be at the office to do work. There are certain tasks that you could do completely online. Because of this, people now have the option to work or connect with clients and customers through an online platform. 

Online work is the backbone of the gig economy or freelance market. It is driven by a resourceful pool of all kinds of independent contractors, online platform workers, contract firm workers, on-call workers, and temporary workers. Freelancers and virtual assistants dominate this market. Who are these enterprising powerhouses and what’s the difference between the two?

The Freelancer

The freelancer is a kind of independent contractor who is not bound to work for a single company and can work within a predetermined time frame and payment agreement. Freelancers mainly have mid to expert level skills and market those specialised skills individually. They have the option to work onsite (during consultations or inhouse projects) or remotely and online. In terms of business ownership, freelancers own their own business selling their skills.

The Virtual Assistant

The virtual assistant is someone who may or may not be “employed” or contract bound to a  company. They also work virtually – meaning all (with special exceptions) work completely off site and remotely with the help of the internet and other technologies. They assist other people with tasks and projects, as the name suggests. Instead of having one expert skill, they offer a wider range of skill sets. In terms of business ownership, virtual assistants are employed by the companies they work for.

Should you hire a virtual assistant or a freelancer?

Freelancers are not duty bound and prefer independent contracts when selling their specialised skills while virtual assistants have the option of being employed by the companies who hire them. Someone can be both when they develop a mastery of a specific skill set, choose to work virtually, and own their own business of providing their expert service. 

Businesses who need to outsource tasks that require a certain level of skills, for example mid to high level bookkeeping or video editing, may opt to hire freelancers. Meanwhile, businesses outsourcing tasks that require a special skill set, for example digital marketing with social media management and a bit of copywriting, can opt to hire virtual assistants. Depending on your business needs, you may choose one over the other or you may have a need for both. 

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