Debate >> Virtual Assistants – Employee or not?

Are you a virtual business owner, or virtual team leader who uses the services of a virtual assistant?  Or are you, yourself a virtual assistant operating your own business?   The question of whether a virtual assistant is an employee or not seems to generate some passionate comments from those working in the industry – and this very topic has inspired this article!

What do you think?  Is a virtual assistant an employee or not?

Yes or No


The Commonsense Virtual Assistant: Becoming an Entrepreneur Not an Employee

The Virtual Assistant as a Business Owner

Put simply a virtual assistant that operates as their own business entity is not an employee. So why does the question arise?  Is it because of the administrative nature of the services being provided? Some virtual assistants actually find themselves being treated like an employee.   How does this happen and what can be done about it?

Virtual Assistants should act like business owners, not employees >>

  • Structure and operate the VA business professionally and act like a business owner
  • Have a business plan and establish systems to support the services being provided
  • Instead of providing potential clients with a CV, provide them with a proposal
  • Package up products and services and charge for expertise according to a price structure
  • Invest in your business, invest in the products and services you’re offering – be an expert at what you do
  • Set boundaries and be clear about your expectations as a business service provider
  • Provide excellent, superior customer service – show your clients you care about them

The Virtual Assistant that acts like an Employee

We have had experiences (and you might have had these too) where a Virtual Assistant does not treat their client as a customer, rather as an employer.  They complain if they want more work.  If they can’t provide the promised services, they’ll “call in sick”.   If a service deadline can’t be met, then there seems to be little concern as to how this might affect their own business reputation.   It has amazed me how quickly a virtual assistant can start behaving like an employee, and in turn start to be treated as one.

The Virtual Assistant Who Is an Employee

Some people opt to hire a virtual assistant as an employee.  This means the employee receives a salary/wage for worked performed.  They do not provide an invoice for worked performed.  Legally they are receiving the benefits an employee will receive like insurances and appropriate compensations.   Their job role might be that of a virtual assistant, but they don’t have multiple clients.  They exclusively work for the employee and do not operate their own business entity.

Where do you stand on this discussion?  If you’re a virtual business owner I want to know if you hire workers virtually as employees, sub-contractors or business owners.  Do they get treated as employees or business owners?  If you’re a virtual assistant (business owner or not, we’d also enjoy hearing your perspective on this debate) Are there things that can be done differently, to establish yourself as a professional expert in your industry?

Tell us what you think below or on our Facebook page.


Click here for more Virtual Assistant resources: The Commonsense Virtual Assistant: Becoming an Entrepreneur Not an Employee