You Might Not Need a Virtual Assistant, After All

This resource is brought to you by Ashlee Berghoff

Ashlee Berghoff, MBA, is the founder of A Squared Online, which buys back time for busy entrepreneurs through process improvement and virtual assistant recruiting. As her clients take focused action and get out of the weeds, they’re able to grow while working less. Her team provides expertise on systems strategy, standard operating procedures, workflow mapping, efficiency, and software selection.


Do you actually need a virtual assistant?

A lot of people who think they need a virtual assistant, don’t.

This is because, to be effective, a good virtual assistant needs a few things:

  • Training and mentorship
  • Defined, repeatable projects to complete
  • A great system for project management and accountability


Most of the entrepreneurs I meet don’t have time for any of this.

They don’t have time to manage, train, or babysit anyone. In fact, they were looking for someone to free up their time and whisk tasks away from them. So when they hire a VA, that person waits for well-defined instructions and never receives them, so they don’t take action, and the relationship fails.

The entrepreneur might recognize that they were partially at fault here, but they conclude that hiring isn’t for them until they get everything perfectly sorted out…which of course never happens.

What if there’s another way?

Hiding inside the big ambiguous industry we call ‘the virtual assistant industry’ are people who operate differently:

  • They can take an idea and turn it into a project to complete
  • They have their own system for managing their time and projects
  • They tell you what they need instead of waiting for you to define the work properly


This level of proactiveness and confidence is a gift to any entrepreneur. You’re wearing too many hats and solving too many problems yourself to have the space for a virtual assistant, but you can actually expand your capacity with this type of person.

We call them ‘Operations Managers.’

Visualize it this way: every business has a core set of administrative projects that a good VA could execute on if the systems are right. But businesses also have large core systems, like marketing + sales, the customer experience, or project management. In addition to handling all of the VA tasks independently and quickly, a great operations manager can oversee an entire core system (or even multiple systems) for you.



If you’re out of capacity, new to leading a team, and wearing all the hats yourself, an operations manager should be a serious contender for your investment dollars this year.

Ask yourself: do you need a virtual assistant, or is an operations manager a better fit?

Deciding what role you actually need is a huge first step toward building your team in a way that works for you.


If this resonates, here’s your next step:

Take the 4-minute Are You Ready to Hire an Operations Pro? quiz to find out if NOW is the time to build your team. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to access the quiz.


Ashlee Berghoff, MBA, is the founder of A Squared Online, which designs custom systems and finds ready-to-go operations managers for entrepreneurs who are too busy to get less busy. As her clients take focused action and get out of the weeds, they’re able to grow while working less.

Ashlee is the author of Eureka Results: How Entrepreneurs Can Turn Their Best Ideas Into Reality, which was published in April of 2021 by New Degree Press. She has been featured on the Copywriter Club Podcast,, Authority Magazine, and Copy Chief Radio.

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