The Difference Between Freelancers and Virtual Assistants

As entrepreneurs’ business ventures grow, they’ll be introduced to more and more responsibilities necessary to ensure that operations run smoothly. These business owners have the option to either hire additional in-house staff or rely on freelancers or virtual assistant services from a reputable VA company.

For several reasons, both virtual assistants and freelancers are arguably better than regular in-house staff, especially when hiring freelancers or virtual assistants from the Philippines. One big reason that business owners consider when outsourcing processes to virtual assistant companies or freelancers is cost-effectivity compared to hiring full-time workers, especially during the height of the pandemic when businesses had to cut costs.

Virtual assistants and freelancers helped many businesses during the pandemic and kept them afloat. While both professions may seem similar, they have certain differences that satisfy different needs a business might have.

The Difference Between Freelancers and Virtual Assistants

What is a Virtual Assistant?

As the name suggests, virtual assistants assist business owners with different tasks, like small and individual projects and tasks. VAs don’t usually take the lead on major projects and only handle small projects apart from assisting with different tasks.

Virtual assistants first appeared after the 1990’s technological advancements brought reliable internet connectivity to homes. The moment that businesses knew that they didn’t necessarily need to get an employee to work in the office was when the first virtual assistants appeared.

VAs are employed by virtual assistant companies and can be hired by connecting with a company. Business owners can hire reliable VAs through virtual assistant companies in the Philippines.

What is a Freelancer?

The word “freelancer” was first used to represent a mercenary soldier or a “free lance.” Such people were free or not bound to a lord and also soldiers with valuable skills ready to fight for anyone who would hire them. In Thomas N. Brown’s book in 1809, The Life and Times of Hugh Miller, Brown wrote, “But when the battle was hottest, Hugh Miller was a loyal combatant, not a free lance.” Also, in the book Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott in 1819 was written, “I offered Richard the service of my Free Lances, and he refused them—I will lead them to Hull, seize on shipping, and embark for Flanders; thanks to the bustling times, a man of action will always find employment.” These people sold their services to anyone who would want to pay for them.

In modern times, freelancers now include other people having specialized skills and knowledge that business owners might need. Some former modern-day soldiers may still freelance themselves today, but they’re more known as private military contractors today, which means that the term “freelancer” is now widely used for other self-employed people who sell their skills to businesses.

Freelancers are more specialized than virtual assistants but are largely independent of VAs. Businesses will need to work directly with a freelancer without an intermediate company.

Pros and Cons of Hiring Virtual Assistants

When people partner with a trusted VA company in the Philippines, they can get immediate access to a wide range of skills because they won’t usually work with only one person. Businesses will have access to a talent pool to help with several tasks like accounting and content creation.

Hiring a virtual assistant will have its set of pros and cons, and below is a quick rundown of them:


  • Can help with almost any task
  • Have access to a large talent pool
  • Let businesses work with vas who are best suited to their specific needs
  • Have people available around the clock


  • Don’t let clients see portfolios of individuals virtual assistants
  • Make it harder to have a regular working relationship with a VA
  • The chance that the company might not have a specific VA that meets their particular needs
  • Is usually costlier than freelancers

Pros and Cons of Hiring Freelancers

While partnering with VA companies allows businesses to have a large pool of talent to help them, it’s still possible that the virtual assistant company doesn’t have the right people for the job. Freelancers tend to consist more of specialists, while VAs are usually more versatile.

Hiring a freelancer will have its set of pros and cons, and below is a quick rundown of them:


  • Can offer very specific skillsets
  • Will communicate directly with its client/s
  • Will get used to the client’s style of work
  • Is often open to negotiation about availability
  • Is usually cheaper than virtual assistant services


  • Have more limited skillsets/Are not generally well-rounded
  • May only have specific days and hours they can work
  • Might require businesses to hire more people

Why Virtual Assistants Can Take the Lead Over Freelancers

Hiring Filipino virtual assistants and freelancers is advantageous for businesses, but hiring VAs may be better than hiring freelancers. Virtual assistants can outperform office workers and can also be better than freelancers because they’re generally all-rounders. VAs arguably have more uses than freelancers, and a virtual assistant company can better cater to its client’s needs than an individual freelancer.

Below are some of the reasons why virtual assistants are likely better:


Should a business grow and expand, freelancers might not be able to adjust to an increase in workload or the likely insufficient resources a freelancer might have. VA companies have better flexibility and scalability than individual freelancers and provide the right people for extended periods.

Because freelancers are specialists, they may not be able to cater to their client’s changing needs as they grow. On the other hand, VA companies have a large talent pool for their clients, allowing them to cater to changing needs.


If businesses are unsatisfied with a virtual assistant’s work, a VA company can replace the assistant with a better fit. If businesses aren’t satisfied with a freelancer’s work, they’ll need to look for a different freelancer altogether.

Service Packages and Add-ons

Virtual assistant companies will offer package plans with different add-ons to improve the client’s experience. Among them are the following provided by OVA Virtual:

  • Complementary onboarding program
  • Time tracking software and reports for each virtual assistant
  • Dedicated project manager for each account
  • 24/7 client support
  • Free of charge for replacement in case the virtual assistant is not the right fit

Freelancers won’t be able to offer any of the package plans above since they’re independent contractors


Virtual assistants and freelancers can help businesses, but their services won’t likely be interchangeable. Hiring both VAs and freelancers can be suitable for businesses as the freelancers focus on more time-sensitive projects. At the same time, virtual assistants help with the business’s day-to-day operations.

OVA Virtual can help provide the best virtual assistant services for different businesses and help them with their needs while also looking around for an excellent freelancer. Hire a virtual assistant today and benefit from high-quality virtual assistant services Philippines.



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