What Are the Different Types of VAs?

There comes a time in every entrepreneur’s journey when you well and truly realize that you just can’t manage everything on your own.


It’s an amazing epiphany and that moment is a huge step forward in your success.

In the early days of your business, you kind of had to be a control freak by necessity. You’re your own secretary, assistant, salesperson, tech support, and manager. But as your business grows, you’re going to need help. And that means building an amazing support team around you who will contribute to your success.

Even if you had the money to hire a full-time (or even part-time) employee, that’s usually not the best move to make. This is when a Virtual Assistant can come to the rescue and offer you the flexibility that’s critical to a budding entrepreneur.

With a VA, you’re getting a virtual employee without the extra costs of benefits or payroll taxes and without having to give them a steady wage. Instead, you can hire them by the hour, by the project, or on a monthly retainer, resulting in huge savings for a cash-tight small business!

Once you realize that a VA is the right choice for you, you just need to be sure that you hire the right type of VA.

General Admin VAs

The average VA tends to be a generalist, offering a multitude of different skills to help you better navigate your business. On the whole, these VAs are used to covering the miscellaneous small tasks that take up so much of your precious time.

A General Admin VA can usually handle general customer service tasks, data entry and research, organize your digital files, or manage your email and calendar. If you plan on hiring a generalist, be sure that they have the experience you need to ensure success.

Online Business Manager

If you have a small team of in-person or virtual staff; it can be challenging to make sure they’re all on the same page, working towards a common goal. A manager who can coordinate their workflows and make sure that everything is going smoothly is a worthwhile investment, but also an expensive one. A great alternative is to hire an Online Business Manager.

An OBM has a much more specialized role than a general admin VA. This isn’t the best person to perform all of the minute, random tasks; they’re more of the big picture thinker with initiative who can help move your business forward. It’s their job to make sure the rest of your team accomplishes their tasks. On schedule. Moving towards a goal.

You typically have to pay a little more for an OBM, but their team building and management skills are more than worth it.

Project Manager VAs

At times, your entire team might be working on a complex project with many moving parts. It could be a new product launch, implementation of a brand-new service, a large event, or a specialized task for a client. You need all of the moving parts to work smoothly together, but it could be about more than managing people. While your OBM might be busy taking care of the day-to-day operations of your business, you might need dedicated help overseeing your projects to completion.

This is when you can bring in a Project Manager VA. They’ll take charge of your projects, coordinating all of the tasks that will contribute to the long term objective by developing concrete plans and strategies to finish the project on time—and budget. Again, these VAs offer a specialized skill set, so they might cost slightly more. But if you have a big project on the go, the focus they bring can mean the difference between success and failure.

Launch VAs

Launching a new product is one of the most stressful things you can go through in your business. As the launch date gets closer, tension and excitement can build until it’s in danger of spilling over.

A fantastic “pressure valve” can be hiring a Launch VA. This is a Virtual Assistant experienced in how to launch a new product or service. They can help create a launch strategy, including setting up webinars, emails, and funnels, to make sure that everything is 100% prepared for the big day.

Click here to learn more about Launch VAs.

Tech VAs

You don’t need to be a computer expert to be a small business owner. In fact, you can be borderline computer-illiterate and still build and manage your business like a pro! The key is to have someone tech savvy you can turn to.

Having someone with technical skills on your team is a must. That’s why hiring a Tech VA is money well spent. They can help troubleshoot all sorts of technical issues, maintain your website, and integrate new technology. Using programs like TeamViewer, they don’t even need to be in your office to take control of your computer and fix whatever is wrong.

Social Media VAs

The main reason why people hire a VA is to save time. And can you think of a bigger time sink than social media?

Unless you want to spend vast swaths of your day posting content and responding to messages and comments on a multitude of social media sites, you might want to consider hiring a Social Media VA. A VA specialized in social media can take ownership of your accounts for you, making sure that you have a constant online presence so your clients and followers can connect with you whenever they want.

A Social Media VA can also help you develop a social media plan, build your followers, and keep up-to-date with any changes happening on the platforms.

Personal VAs

When you picture the stereotypical Personal Assistant, you might think of someone like Andy from The Devil Wears Prada—SUCH a good movie! This is someone who can pretty much manage the details of your life, all from their desk outside of your office. A Personal VA works in much the same way… the only difference is their desk can be miles away from your office!

A Personal VA can help schedule personal appointments, make travel plans, respond to unimportant emails, and screen calls. Even more so than with most other VAs, you want to make sure you have great chemistry with them, as they’ll be intimately involved with your personal life.

Copywriting/Design/Web Development/Bookkeeper/Ads Manager VAs

I have an awful lot to say about these types of “VAs” and almost none of it good.

The bottom line is that a VA is a virtual ASSISTANT. They might have a multitude of skills, but they aren’t specialists. Copywriting, design, and web development require a high level of skills and talent, something rarely found in a general VA. Ad Managers and Bookkeepers need highly-specialized knowledge to do their jobs properly, knowledge that most VAs usually lack. I mean, how could they know it all and really do a great job when it’s all so specialized? If you’re looking for someone to do any of these tasks, my suggestion is to go with a specialist, not a VA.

If you’d like to hear more of my thoughts about each of these VAs and why you shouldn’t hire them, you can read more here!

Working with a Virtual Assistant can be a remarkable resource for a solopreneur, but only if you hire the right kind. I hope this list will help you narrow down what kind of VA is really the right fit for you.

And if you need any more help around finding, hiring, and training your first VA check out my mini-course.

Meet your host

Sandra Booker, Founder of Changemaker Inc. (home to Sidekick COO and The VA Studio) and creator of Scale Society and The Advisory Board, is a mentor, Fractional COO  and growth strategist. She specializes in helping overworked, overwhelmed, multi-hatted entrepreneurs become the CEOs of sustainably scalable, and powerfully profitable businesses. 

After helping local businesses thrive, and receiving accolades in her community (like the 40 Under 40 award) Sandra turned her attention to the world of online service providers, and her clients include familiar names like Chanti Zak, Tarzan Kay, and Laura Belgray.

In her (efficiently used) spare time, she teaches others how to build and grow their own 6-figure virtual assistant practices and is on a mission to create a million jobs by helping her clients and students scale their businesses.

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