If you think all virtual assistants are the same, you’ve got another thing coming!

Over the years, we’ve connected businesses all over Australia with virtual staff. In many of these cases, we’ve hired for highly-specialised roles including:

  • Engineering assistants
  • Paralegals
  • Architectural draftspeople
  • Developers and IT professionals

Long story short, repetitive gruntwork isn’t the only way virtual staff can help your business.

When deciding to hire virtual staff, one of the first decisions you make is what work you need done. The next is whether you need generalised or specialised virtual staff.

So, what are the differences between generalists and specialists?

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The difference in skillset and scope

Generalist virtual staff have generalist skills

Like the name suggests, generalist virtual staff offer you a little bit of everything. They’re rockstar multitaskers – administrative tasks, filling out invoices, data entry, answering emails… if there’s anything you need handed off, a generalist can help.

Another great thing about generalist virtual staff is that they’re blank slates in a manner of speaking. Since they have a nice broad skillset, they can easily be upskilled or assigned wide range of new responsibilities.

For example, it’s not entirely uncommon for admin virtual staff to find themselves in management and supervision roles!

It’s these reasons that make generalists ideal for small and medium businesses. In most cases, all these smaller businesses need is a little bit of extra manpower – something that generalist virtual staff provide


Specialist virtual staff – when do you need an expert?

By contrast, specialist virtual staff are – what else? – specialists. They’re experts in their fields, whether that’s in accounting, IT or web marketing.

This is absolutely fantastic if your business has an explicit need for these business functions. In particular, highly technical businesses can thrive with the addition of a specialist virtual assistant.

For example, let’s say you run an IT company and you need help resolving tickets. I. these cases, a virtual assistant with a background in tech support might be just what you need.

It’s not just specialised businesses either. Some retailers might decide to bring certain business process in-house. While generalists can be taught tasks like bookkeeping and accounting, generally speaking it’s more effective to go with a specialist right off the bat.


Generalists and specialists have different roles and purposes

Generalists are all about saving time

Thanks to their broad range of skills, generalist virtual staff can provide a helping hand in most business processes. This saves considerable time.

And after all, isn’t that the purpose of virtual staffing?

In our experience, businesses that hire generalists tend to do it with the aim of taking work off their hands. If you find yourself taking work home or staying late to finish up, a generalist virtual assistant might be just what you need.


Specialists are all about giving you access to new knowledge and skills

Of course, that isn’t to say that a specialist can’t save you money too – they can! – however, that isn’t their main purpose.

Owing to their unique skill sets, specialist virtual staff are primarily sought out by businesses that are looking to bring certain business functions such as accounting, graphic design and online marketing in-house.

Normally, it would be too expensive for most small businesses to have a dedicated in-house IT professional. Thanks to virtual staffing however, it’s now within reach of even the smallest of businesses!

And while we’re on the topic of expenses…

Australian money background. Coins and notes.

And of course, you can’t forget about money!

Generalist virtual staff are more affordable

This is an area where generalist staff have a clear leg-up over specialists. Generalists are much more affordable since:

  1. They focus on more routine tasks
  2. Generalist skills are so much more common

As such, wages for generalist virtual staff are more affordable overall. And haven’t even gotten started on the differences in cost of living between Australia and the Philippines, which in many cases is as much as 80% cheaper than hiring in Melbourne.

Combined with their versatility and it’s no surprise that they’re the more popular choice for smaller businesses.


Specialists demand higher wages

While specialists are more expensive to hire, they more than make up for it with the unique skills and experiences they bring to the table.

It just makes sense, really. A qualified accountant earns more than a personal assistant – a trend that’s reflected when hiring virtual staff.

Of course, that doesn’t put specialists out of reach for smaller businesses. Even specialist virtual assistants cost less – again, thanks to lower cost-of-living in the Philippines.

On top of that, you have the freedom to decide whether your virtual assistant works full-time or only part-time.  Since not all businesses will need their specialised virtual staff all the time, this can put in-house specialists within reach of smaller businesses too.


Need a virtual assistant agency in Melbourne?

Contact VirtualStaff365 today!

Regardless of whether you need a generalised or a specialised virtual assistant, VirtualStaff365 supports your business by providing you with the right outsourcing solutions.

We’re much more than just a recruiter – we’re a virtual assistant agency.

That distinction is important. On top of finding suitable candidates, we’ll also help you with:

  • Interviewing and testing
  • Vetting applicants
  • Processing and onboarding
  • Retain virtual staff
  • HR and payroll management
  • Time-tracking functions

Make the right call for your business (and your work-life balance) by contacting VirtualStaff365 today. Give me a ring at (03) 8842 4300 or fill in the form to find the perfect outsourcing solutions.