Is an Intern Really Better than a Virtual Assistant?

I recently stumbled across a tweet that read: “Interns are actually way better than virtual assistants”.   The link led to an article giving the reasons for the bold proclamation.  So of course I followed the link and read the article.

As a disclaimer, I actually do believe that there are times when an intern fits a need better than a VA, so the contents of this post are not meant to disrespect interns in any way, shape or form.  But I do have a problem with the blanket statement made in the tweets, as well as with the content of the article it references.

Let’s tackle the tweet first, shall we? Aside from the fact that it’s an opinion stated as fact, it’s also a gross generalization.  Are some interns better than some virtual assistants?  Sure.  Are some situations better suited to an intern than a virtual assistant? Absolutely.  But let’s be clear, there are also some virtual assistants with years of experience, training and expertise that an intern can’t even come close to.  And many situations are much more suited for an experienced virtual assistant than an inexperienced, although well-educated, intern.   And…well, I’m not even going to go into the use of the terms ‘way better’ or ‘speaking really good English’.

Moving on to the article, the first thing I noticed is that the author makes it sound like all virtual assistants are located offshore.  There are plenty of virtual assistants located in the United States, Canada, Australia and just about any other country or even state you may be in. This means that the language barrier that the article speaks of doesn’t have to be an issue at all.  And when it comes to internet reliability, let’s just say that a good virtual assistant not only has a reliable and fast connection, it’s also secure.  Those that really know their stuff will also have an air card or other secure backup and would never use public WiFi and risk making sensitive information available to hackers.

The truth of the matter is it depends upon your situation which is the better choice.  If your requirements don’t include professional experience, skills learned over the years to the point of expertise, than perhaps hiring an intern will work for you.  But if you’re looking for a high level of professionalism and experience, someone who knows what running a business really requires, a virtual assistant is what you really need.


Tina Marie Hilton provides online technology services to forward thinking businesses. She writes on her Tips from T.Marie business blog to share insight and information with other small businesses and entrepreneurs. It also makes her feel like that certificate in creative writing isn't going to waste completely.


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by TMarieHilton, T.Marie Hilton. T.Marie Hilton said: "Is an Intern Really Better than a Virtual Assistant?" […]

  2. Frankly Yes on September 8, 2010 at 6:51 am

    Managing overall operation of your business can be a very difficult responsibility. It consumes a lot of your time and energy which is critical to ensure the growth of your business. This is the main reason why in today’s business world, hiring virtual assistants is very popular new trend.