The 3 Types of Virtual Assistants | Follower, Doer, & Expert

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Do you know about the three types of virtual assistants and what their roles are? How can they work effectively to improve your business operations? 

Virtual assistant is a term that encompasses a broad range of tasks in multiple industries. These tasks can be creative in nature, like graphic design and content creation. They can also be more administrative and organizational, like data entry, bookkeeping, and inbox management. You can also hire VAs to manage other VAs. The list goes on. 

More than that, though, a virtual assistant has types or levels that determine their ability and proficiency in performing certain tasks. 

These levels are follower, doer, and expert. Let’s explore each one in detail.

What is a Follower Virtual Assistant (VA)?

The follower type is also known as an entry-level virtual assistant. These VAs are hired to perform basic tasks for companies. This work typically involves tedious busy work and tasks that don’t require much in-depth skill. 

Don’t get us wrong, though. While followers may have a limited skillset, they can still perform their duties very well. However, as “rookies”, they typically don’t have a lot of experience working with clients or companies. They likely haven’t worked together with many teams. As such, adapting to different work cultures may pose a challenge. 

Additionally, these types of virtual assistants likely haven’t gone through many recruitment, hiring, remote onboarding, or training processes. This means that they need a good amount of guidance and some investment. The working dynamic between followers and managers or bosses is akin to a student-teacher relationship. Whoever is in charge of training pours their knowledge and experience into the VA. The follower absorbs this information, asks questions, and clarifies anything they don’t understand. 

Some hiring teams specifically look for these entry-level candidates because they see their lack of experience as an asset. For a follower, a lot of things are very new, which means that in some ways, a follower is still very flexible. In areas such as work habits, company and team culture, and business-specific SOPs, the client has some ability to mold followers into the type of workers they need. They may be prone to a lack of initiative, but this also means they won’t be taking a lot of risks. 

types of virtual assistants

What’s the short-term value of a follower? 

If you need one-off, simple, yet time-consuming jobs done, a follower is a good choice for you. The risk to you financially is minimal. For one thing, entry-level rates won’t eat into your wallet. Also, in the worst-case scenario that a follower VA quits or does a poor job, it’s fairly easy to find another to fill in. This is especially true if you hire through freelance marketplaces that have low or no turnover guarantees, such as FreeUp

What’s the long-term value of a follower?

Because they are such a clean slate, a follower can potentially become a long-term member of your team. If your company values providing training and stability, followers have the potential of growing as valuable partners. It can be a risky investment, but the payoff could be worth it. 

Imagine having someone who:

  • Grows with your company
  • Cares about your company and its goals
  • Can train future hires and help instill the same values

What Are Some Follower VA Roles?

In this role, followers rely on the systems and processes you already have set up. 

Some virtual assistant roles and examples that follower types can fill include:

Administrative Roles

Customer and Client Communication Roles

  • Customer Service VA
  • Podcast Outreach VA
  • Influencer Outreach VA

Ecommerce-Related Roles

What Are Doer VAs?

types of virtual assistants

A doer type can be defined in a couple of ways:

1. When a follower levels up, gains some experience and exposure, and diversifies and/or hones their existing skillsets, they become a doer.

2. A doer is someone with a specialized or niche set of skills.

Regardless of which definition applies, these types of virtual assistants are very proficient in their areas of expertise. 

Doers have to navigate the supply-and-demand factor of the freelance marketplace. For one, they need to maintain a certain level of expertise to be considered an option for hire. Then, they need to gauge which areas they should specialize in. After all, specialization is one way for them to provide a unique value that sets them apart from the hundreds to thousands of other options. 

However, before picking a niche, it’s crucial for them to build a reputation by working with several clients and maintaining good client ratings. Why? If they go too niche too fast without building a good name, it’s the equivalent of having an excellent product with no marketing. No one knows about it. Few realize they need it and fewer know if they can trust in its quality. 

But that’s why doers bring such a unique value among the different types of virtual assistants. 

These individuals typically have a few years of work experience under their belts. Their work history can range from a handful of respectable projects to a portfolio of clients and companies. 

Because they have worked with several clients in the past, they likely have developed their own processes and systems. As such, companies hire them with the expectation that they can do their job well. You can leave them to their assigned task without the need to check their work constantly. 

Tips for Working with Doers

Collaboration is key when working with doers. The working dynamic of a doer with their boss is one of partnership. The hiring party must be able to set clear goals and guidelines while also clarifying any non-negotiable procedures that must be followed. 

The doer brings their experience to the table and uses their accumulated skills, knowledge, and processes to complete the tasks. Both parties must be flexible in order to make the partnership work. A company should be able to trust the doer enough to take suggestions and not micromanage. The doer should respect the wishes of a company and remember that they have the final say. Ideally, both parties come out of the working relationship having learned something from the other. 

What’s the short-term value of a doer? 

If you need something done excellently and efficiently, hire a doer. If you have a unique need but don’t have time to learn how to resolve it yourself, a doer can be the solution. At minimum, the company walks away with good output and the doer walks away with more work experience to add to the portfolio, and a good client review. 

What’s the long-term value of a doer?

If you need them for multiple projects in the future, you know who you can contact. Plus, you can skip a lot of the onboarding you’d have to go through with a new hire. Also, you may be able to retain a skilled doer for a prolonged period of time. This means you would likely be able to scale and improve in those specific areas much faster.

What Are Some Doer VA Roles?

types of virtual assistants

These doers, though they take on the role of a collaborator, can also leverage their expertise and take on leadership roles. Specialized skillsets mean specialized roles. 

Doers work under your systems and procedures but can offer suggestions to improve processes based on their experience. 

Some of these doer roles include: 

Administrative Roles

Creative Roles

  • Podcast Editor 
  • Video or Audio Editor 
  • Copywriter, Content Writer 
  • Graphic Designer
  • Web Designer 
  • Web Developer 

Managerial Roles

  • Team Leader VA 
  • Project Manager 
  • Content Manager 

Ecommerce-Related Roles

Marketing and Ads Roles

Misc. Roles

  • Translation VA 
  • Real Estate VA 

What is An Expert VA?

Expert type VAs are the highest tier of virtual assistants you can hire. They take the term “assistant” to a whole different level. These individuals are certainly incredibly skilled. Their unique value, however, comes from the years of experience working with companies of varying sizes and industries. Subsequently, they have developed an impressive portfolio and reputation. To top it all off, experts also typically have a lot of accolades, degrees, and certifications to solidify their legitimacy. All of this makes them an authority in their field. 

As such, expert VAs are typically hired on to be consultants, strategists, and developers. A company that doesn’t have certain infrastructure in place will hire them on to create processes and operating procedures. Either that or they improve upon the processes already in place in order to help a business run smoother in that area. 

The working dynamic of an expert with a company is somewhat of a mentor and apprentice. Companies look to the experts for guidance and the experts create blueprints for them to act on. These structure is then taught down the hierarchy and becomes the basis for operation. 

What’s the short-term value of an expert? 

Experts are typically hired for a short period of time until the infrastructure has been developed and people have been adequately trained. This is because they come with quite a hefty price tag. 

What’s the long-term value of an expert? 

Experts hired for long periods of time as team leaders can really make your business operate like a well-oiled machine. Their expertise and experience could mean the difference between a business that lasts for 5 years and one that lasts for 10. Their impact lasts even if you decide to part ways. 

What Are Some Expert VA Roles?

A man creating a design.

One of the duties of an expert type is to create processes that weren’t present or refine those that weren’t optimal. They can be more hands-on and take on leadership and management positions or more hands-off and simply offer consultations. 

Some duties that an expert VA can perform include: 

  • eCommerce Consulting 
  • Marketing & Strategy 
  • Conversion Rate Optimization 
  • Excel – Customized reports and in-depth analysis
  • Amazon Merch 
  • Independent Management Roles

Do I Need To Use All 3 Types of Virtual Assistants In My Business?

Now that you know more about the different types of virtual assistants, let’s talk a little more about how they interact with one another. 

Here’s a simple summary:

  • Followers – Entry-level VAs that are less autonomous. They can handle busywork you don’t have the time to do and can be trained to be doers. They can work under doers and experts. 
  • Doers – Specialists that are great at what they do and add a unique value to your company. They are more autonomous and have more comprehensive abilities. In addition, they can manage followers and work under experts.
  • Experts – Industry authorities who help create systems for businesses that need that extra help. They can manage both followers and doers or simply behave as mentors or consultants. 

Doers and followers make up the majority of a remote workforce. Experts, though valuable, are not always necessary to achieve success. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide based on the short and long-term values of these positions. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I determine which types of virtual assistant I need?

  • Determine the scope of the job you need doing
  • Ask yourself what processes you have in place
  • Assess the long and short term values of each of the types

Are there virtual assistants who specialize in specific industries?

Yes, you can virtual assistants in tech, Ecommerce, marketing, creatives, and basically any field that doesn’t require them to be physically present. 

How do I find and hire the right type of virtual assistant?

We talk all about where to find and hire a virtual assistant in a separate post that we encourage you to read after this. 

Can virtual assistants help with both short-term and long-term projects?

Absolutely! Each of the different types of virtual assistants have long-term and short-term value. They can work part time and full time. It all depends on your needs. 

What qualifications or skills should I look for in a virtual assistant?

VA skillsets vary depending on your needs. However, some necessary qualities and skills of a virtual assistant include time-management, communication, reliability, and organization. 

What Is Outsource School?

outsource school

Outsource School helps you to unlock the potential of virtual assistants and accelerate your business growth.

This is the exact system Outsource School’s founders, Nathan Hirsch and Connor Gillivan, used to go from zero to 8 figures and 40+ virtual assistants with an exit in 2019.

Since being founded in 2020, Outsource School has helped 1,000+ business owners hire 2,000+ virtual assistants for their companies.

Schedule a free sales call to learn more

Free resources you might like: 


The three types of virtual assistants all bring something valuable to the table. Whether it’s the flexibility of a follower, the skills and work ethic of a doer, or the experience and wisdom of an expert, your business can benefit from hiring a virtual assistant. 


Want help outsourcing & hiring virtual assistants? We make it easy! Learn More, Speak w/ an Expert, or Request a Callback



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