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Should You Hire a Temp or a Virtual Assistant? Choose Wisely!

This post is part of my Choose Wisely series.

Also check out: 1099 or W2?

Your trusty office assistant, Jenny, has just announced she's due with her first bundle of joy in March! You're ecstatic for her, but you have one problem: March is when business starts to pick up, and you have your annual event coming up in June. You do the math and realize Jenny will be on maternity leave during all of the planning of the event. What are you going to do?

Perhaps you called A to Z Temp Agency when your last office assistant quit suddenly five years ago, and that's how you found Jenny. Or, maybe Jenny has been with you for ten years, which was when your business was first incorporated, and all your business networking pals use A to Z Temp Agency for their business needs.

For years, temp agencies have been helping businesses find help quick, but is a temp agency the right fit this time around?

Let's go over the difference between temps and virtual assistants to help decide.

Temps: They sign up through an agency, who then matches them with possible jobs that may be a good fit. The job then must spend time training them to fit the role. Business owners often know little-to-nothing about them before they walk through their door.

Virtual Assistants: They are business owners, too. Most virtual assistants will have a website and portfolio for you to review before you ever reach out to them. This gives you more control over who you're working with, and you can get to know them before that initial call.

Let's say you use a temp to cover Jenny's position during this maternity leave, she returns in July, and then announces in October she's expecting bundle of joy number two. You enjoyed the temp you had last time, so you call back A to Z Temp Agency only to find out your preferred temp has left the agency. She's found a full-time position.

They offer to send someone new, but you're not thrilled at the idea of having to train someone new all over again on your processes. You decide to go ahead and go with the new temp anyway, but you soon realize your new temp is struggling to understand your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software.

Virtual Assistants are proven experts in their field. Had you hired a virtual assistant, you wouldn't need to worry about training them on your technology, because they've already used it (or have used something similar). They also aren't seeking full-time employment. They're more interested in helping as many businesses as possible, so there's a greater chance they'll be available next time you need their assistance.

Other benefits of hiring a virtual assistant over a temp:

  • They are business owners too, so your business success is theirs, too! They think like an owner, not an employee.

  • You don't have to come up with office space for them. Jenny can keep the photos of her dog in her space while she's away tending to her babies. Your Virtual Assistant will work remotely.

  • There are huge networks of Virtual Assistants on social media like The Virtual Assistant Savvies and websites like,,, and more. You could start communicating today rather than waiting until the temp agency sends over your employee at 8 AM on their first day. This gives you plenty of time to plan appropriately!

  • VAs only track time while they're working. Meanwhile, you'll be paying your temp during every casual office conversation, run to the bathroom, or coffee brewing session.

Consider booking a Virtual Assistant next time your employee is going to be out of the office for a set time.

Are you reading this because you're looking to hire a Virtual Assistant right now? Let's have a conversation.

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