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Personal Assistants vs. Virtual Assistants: What’s the Difference?

Updated: Jul 12

If you’re looking to get some additional help managing your busy life, you have likely seen multiple terms floating around that seem to do very similar things. We are a personal assistant agency, but how does that differ from something like a virtual assistant? What are the pros and cons of each?

Personal assistants are primarily on location, virtual assistants are remote.

As implied in the name, a virtual assistant is someone who helps you remotely, providing administrative and executive assistance from anywhere. A personal assistant is an in-person service, who can provide many of the same services as a virtual assistant but can also do housekeeping, run errands, and arrange personal gifts. 

Virtual assistants tend to work for businesses, personal assistants tend to work for people.

A virtual assistant is a business-facing position. Normally, a corporation hires a virtual assistant to complete specific tasks. A personal assistant is exactly that—personal—so while they may do many things for their client's business (especially if they’re an entrepreneur), their focus is mainly on helping one specific person within the company. 

Personal assistants are more immediate, while virtual assistants complete tasks within a set timeframe and work more flexibly. 

Personal assistants tend to work more set hours (either part-time or full-time depending on your needs), and may even work as a classic 9-5. However, part of their job is responding to immediate needs, so they may be on call as much as you need. Virtual assistants may potentially have set hours, but most have flexible hours but need to meet certain deadlines, like finishing a project by the end of the week. If you need someone who can rapidly respond to problems as they come up, a personal assistant may be the best fit to fill your needs.

The type of person who needs a virtual assistant:

You’re a business that needs extra support from an expert you can outsource specific tasks to. You need help, but generally not enough to hire additional full-time support. A freelance, part-time virtual assistant might be exactly what you need. The only level of personal assistance you might need is some calendar management. Your desired tasks can be completed within a certain timeframe, and don’t need immediate support. 

The type of person who needs a personal assistant:

You’re a busy, high-achieving professional who needs help balancing their jam-packed work and personal life. You need more in-person, hands-on help for things like managing errands, arranging household needs, and potentially executive assistance for things like travel plans and calendar management. You have some immediate demands, and want someone to be on-call for you when needed.


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