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Executive Assistant vs. Personal Assistant: Which One Is The Best Option For A Busy Executive?

While executive assistants can handle some personal tasks and personal assistants can handle some executive tasks, there can still be clear differences between the two roles. And, depending on where and how you’re hiring an assistant, you may have to choose between one or the other.

We’ll explain exactly which role does what and who could be the best option for you here.


What Is An Executive Assistant?

According to Forbes, an executive assistant is someone who aids the executive they work for with tasks like answering and returning phone calls, scheduling, reviewing, prioritizing and responding to emails, organizing documents, maintaining records, taking meeting notes and any other administrative tasks that help the executive perform their job.

An executive assistant must have excellent written and verbal communication skills, attention to detail, organization and the ability to multitask. But they should also hold the interpersonal skills it takes to interact with high-profile clients or board members.


What Does An Executive Assistant Do?

Your executive assistant should be your go-to person to collaborate with, bounce ideas off of, take the tasks you don’t want to do off your plate and ultimately set you up for success in your job.

Forbes continues to list potential responsibilities to consider when hiring an executive assistant and drafting a job description.

    • Manage scheduling for company executives(s)
    • Draft, review and send communications on behalf of company executive(s)
    • Organize and prepare for meetings, including gathering documents and attending to logistics of meetings
    • Answer and respond to phone calls, communicate messages and information to the executive
    • Prioritize emails and respond when necessary
    • Coordinate travel arrangements
    • Maintain various records and documents for company executive(s)

What is a Personal Assistant?

Now let’s make things a little more … personal.

Remember that dentist appointment you’ve been meaning to schedule? Or calling someone for an estimate about that leak at home that’s only going to get worse the longer you semi-ignore it by grimacing when you walk past?

These ad hoc tasks admittedly are easy enough to accomplish on their own, but when you become bogged down in the day-to-day they turn into an overwhelming list that becomes less and less of a priority.


What Does a Personal Assistant Do?

The options are actually endless on the things we've had our clients ask of their Virtual Assistants who take on personal projects, but here are a few examples.

    • Unsubscribe from those emails you never read
    • Locate and retrieve your phone that you may or may not have left behind in a taxi in Argentina (That really happened.)
    • Sit on the phone with customer service for hours
    • Research travel packages and book your next vacation
    • Research Amazon decorations for your one-year-old's birthday party
    • Order, package and send client gifts for you – complete with a handwritten note
    • Edit and publish your podcast episodes
    • Schedule a massage or a pedicure
    • Update your calendar with all of your kids' extracurricular activities

Should You Hire an Executive Assistant or a Personal Assistant?

With BELAY, you can hire 2-in-1.

Our Virtual Assistants thrive on working with you in your business and on your business. They aren’t just here to send an email or check a box. They are collaborative, proactive and organized — and often think about what you need before you realize you need it.

Why only have someone who can help with work tasks or personal tasks when they often blend? 

When you have someone to take over the personal tasks that are filling your brain space, you’re able to get back to doing what you can do best to scale your business.


At BELAY, we have Virtual Assistants that could be your absolute best bet for both your work and personal lives.

And we have plenty of resources to get you started on how to get the most out of these partnerships. You can also find all you need to know in our Ultimate Guide to Working With A Virtual Assistant — including specific costs, how to keep track of your VA’s time, how your VA will help you manage your time both personally and professionally, and the best ways to set yourself up for success with your VA.

Today is the day to start making your life easier. Invest in yourself and watch your business grow.