To Hire or Not to Hire: Do You Choose a New Employee or a Virtual Assistant?

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If you’re doing your job right, you’ll eventually get to the point where your social media business has more work than you can do on your own. Rather than stifling your company’s growth by turning down clients, it’s time to scale up. 

However, not all help is created equal. Depending on your business model and the tasks that you’re looking to hand over, you need to decide whether to find a new employee or a virtual assistant. 

We’re here to explain the difference between these distinctions, and how to find the best virtual assistant or employee for your business. 

Here’s what you’ll learn:

Table of Contents

What’s the difference between a virtual assistant and an employee?

The difference between an employee and a virtual assistant mainly comes down to how the government classifies them. If you hire a virtual assistant, you can classify them as independent contractors. This affects how you will pay a virtual assistant, compared to an employee. 

In general, an independent contractor is less expensive than an employee because employers don’t have to contribute towards payroll taxes for non-employees. This can be reason enough for some companies to classify anyone who works for them as an independent contractor — sometimes illegally.  

Don’t make a purely monetary decision to hire a virtual assistant. There are benefits and challenges that come with both classifications, and you have to decide which option is the right choice for your business. 

When should you look for the best virtual assistant?

The clearest benefit of a virtual assistant is the lower cost. Not only are you off the hook for expenses related to taxes, but you can also hire a virtual assistant that lives anywhere in the world. People who reside in countries with a lower cost-of-living will be more affordable. 

However, you have to keep in mind that you frequently get what you pay for. What you save in dollars, you might lose in time spent fixing mistakes. 

On the other hand, you can find a virtual assistant with a very specific skill that they have expertise in. Sites like Fiverr will help you find someone with the video knowledge to help your clients livestream, or the graphic design skills to whip up shareable graphics with Canva

You can even find the best virtual assistant to work with the specific social media software your agency uses. 

And, as compared to an employee, a virtual assistant is much easier to sever ties with if they turn out to be a dud. But, if you do find a great virtual assistant, there’s no reason you can’t form a long-term working relationship. In some ways, hiring a virtual assistant frees you up to seek out the best person for whatever task you want to delegate. 

What are the pros of hiring a virtual assistant?

  • They are less expensive
  • They can be experts in a specific skillset
  • They are easier to let go if they are a poor fit

What are the cons of hiring a virtual assistant?

  • They usually have a more narrow skillset
  • They are not loyal to your company or brand
  • They are typically short-term employees, so you have to keep hiring
  • You have less control over how work is performed

The best virtual assistant marketplaces

Ok so you’re sold on hiring a VA — but where’s the best place to look for help?

Here are a few popular VA marketplaces to start your search:

Niche Facebook groups are another great resource for finding VA help.

When should you look for the right employee?

Employees may be a more expensive option for help, but, depending on the job you need to fill, they might be the right (and legal) choice for your company. If you need someone to perform a wide variety of tasks and you have a very specific way that you’d like them done, you should look for the right employee. 

But, how do you find a good employee?

How to find good employees

  • Create a list of the ideal candidate’s skills and experience
  • Separate must-have skills from nice-to-have skills
  • Detail the different roles and responsibilities they’ll take on
  • Vet candidates with paid test work before hiring

When you decide to hire your first employee, put together a list of all the skills and experience you need in terms of the ideal employee. If you find the right person, you will have someone to create content, do research, find new clients, and any other tasks you need help with. Look for someone with a broad set of skills that can help your business grow. 

Specifically, you might have employees help you to create content calendars, assist with social media scheduling, monitor social accounts for customer service issues, and other related tasks. Essentially, employees can do all the same tasks as a VA with the added bonus of consistently building relationships with clients month over month.

You can also hire employees to help with other aspects of your business, like administrative tasks.

Even if you’re looking for someone to perform a specific job, there are some positions that require an employee who can act as an ambassador for your brand. If you need someone to work directly with clients, it’s better to have a person who consistently works on building and maintaining those relationships. 

Additionally, if you need someone committed to your company, who can work full-time hours, you need to hire an employee. On the other hand, the commitment goes both ways. If you choose to invest time and money into hiring, training, and employing someone, it’s harder to let them go if they are a poor fit. 

Beyond that, you may not be able to terminate someone without good cause, depending on your state’s laws.

at will employment states

What are the pros of hiring an employee?

  • They have a broader skillset
  • They have a commitment to your company and brand
  • They offer continuity to clients
  • You have more control over their training

What are the cons of hiring an employee?

  • They are more expensive
  • You have to create your own hiring process
  • It’s more difficult to terminate an employee

Final Thoughts: How to find good employees or the best virtual assistant

When you’re deciding whether to hire an employee or find the best virtual assistant for your business, it all comes down to your company’s particular needs. If you have a few specific tasks that you’d like to delegate, then a virtual assistant might be the right choice. But if you want to find a person that will grow with you and your business long-term, then the effort of finding the right employee will be well worth it.

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