Six Key Considerations when hiring an Assistant
So, you are thinking about hiring an assistant. At least, I am guessing that is why you landed here on my blog. But you find yourself a bit torn. A bit unsure. You know you need some help. You know you have been spending way too long on your admin. There have been those comments from family about never seeing you. And you are always tired. The admin is starting to feel like a total chore, and it’s getting in the way of your “real” work. And yet. You still aren’t sure. It’s a surprisingly emotive thing, hiring an assistant, isn’t it?
Some common concerns are listed below, together with some ideas that may help you to decide if the time has come to invite an assistant into your business, and if so, how best to do that so that your business gains great value from your investment in an assistant.
1. Letting Go
Do you feel you should do it all yourself? Or feel you are the only person that can do it right? Yet you still have that sneaky feeling that you do need some help? If so, you are not alone. To see if you are ready to take on an assistant, try looking at the areas where you do not feel you have the high-level expertise or the inclination for the task and consider whether you could outsource these areas first. It is often easier to let go of tasks you dislike or find difficult.
For example, If you aren’t particularly organised, then managing your business documentation may well be a time-consuming chore that in the hands of an expert could take half the time.
2. How do I know I can Trust my new Assistant?
Are you concerned about letting someone into the business? Being able to let go of tasks does require trust, but you can build that trust with your assistant by being very clear about what you require of them. I won’t lie to you. Trust will take time to develop, but if you are clear about what you need to be done then your assistant will be able to provide the right result in the timescale requested. I offer a test task to any clients who request it and always suggest something routine which won’t impact on the business itself but will save you some time. Tasks such as data input of business cards to Excel, transcription, minute-taking or copy-typing are all popular starter or test tasks which can help you assess whether your potential assistant will be discreet, accurate, meet deadlines, and communicate with you effectively.
3. What tasks can I Outsource?
Well, pretty much anything that needs doing which is not illegal or immoral. One of the greatest advantages to using a freelance staff is the ability to access a wide range of specialist expertise on a per hour or per project basis. There are assistants for most tasks, from general VA’s who tackle varied tasks, through to specialist VA’s who tackle areas as diverse as Pinterest, Medical Transcription, HR, Social Media, Marketing, Events and Website Builds. Whatever you need, there is a VA for it.
4. Surely a Freelance will be awfully expensive?
If your assistant charges out at less per hour than you do, then you will make money by handing over work to them. Virtual Assistants vary in cost depending on experience and expertise but remember that your time is money, and every hour you spend on admin is an hour when you aren’t working with your clients. And of course, there are none of the overheads such as tax, National Insurance, Pension, Holiday pay and so forth to stump up for. When your VA tells you their hourly rate, that is all included. There is very little admin involved in working with a VA as well. Just an invoice at the agreed time, so no messy payroll issues to manage.
5. How do I know if my assistant will be reliable?
A good Virtual Assistant will be reliable because their business depends on it. We are business owners too, and we understand the critical importance of reliability. Nevertheless, it is prudent to ask around amongst your business contacts to find out which Virtual Assistants have proven reliable for them. In addition, most Virtual Assistants will include a testimonial section on their website which will give you an idea not only of their reliability but also of the type of work they have done in the past and their skill set.
6. How do I find an assistant I will be comfortable working with?
I won’t lie to you. It takes time for an assistant to fully integrate into your business and for the relationship to develop to the point where support is completely seamless. If you have never had an assistant before, it may take you some time to adjust too. But with clear communication between you, a good assistant will soon understand your way of working and provide the support you need. Naturally, you will meet with the potential VA’s you are considering, either in person or via Skype/Facetime and during those discussions will gain a fuller understanding of their personality and whether you feel it will complement yours and they will be someone you would be comfortable working with.
Every assistant/business owner relationship is different and both you and your assistant will, if you work at it, create a way that works for you both which supports your business in the way you need. A good assistant will adjust to how you want to work because we want to make things as easy as possible for you. After all, that’s why we do what we do.
If you feel you may be ready for an assistant, then please get in touch. You can contact me via any of the methods listed here.