How to Hire a Personal Assistant

How to Hire a Personal Assistant

Does the term Personal Assistant feel fancy-pants and out of reach? Do you think that having a House Manager is overkill to help you work in your line of genius?

If you said yes to either, I’m writing to help you realize not only can you wear department-store or athletic pants to hire assistance, but the investment can be a higher return when it comes to your health, happiness, business, and relationships. I often coach business owners on all things virtual assistant –how to hire, interview, onboard, and delegate. Sometimes that’s a struggle for people to admit they need one or to give up the tasks that they think only they can do. Personal Assistants or House Managers are an even harder sell, but having one can be life-changing.

What’s the difference between a Personal Assistant and House Manager?

Maybe nothing, depending on what they like to be called. I used to call mine my a personal assistant until she introduced me to the term house manager and it fits her much better, based on what she does for us. The job descriptions are gray, but here is what you might expect from either. note what mine does for me.

Personal Assistant

  • Runs errands – dry cleaning, shipping, grocery, etc.
  • Light housework
  • Light meal prep
  • Makes calls or sends emails
  • Schedules appointments
  • Some pet duties

Attends events where you need someone to manage logistics, i.e., when I’m speaking, I would likesomeone to set up the tech, make sure I have what I need, tear everything down, take photos, etc. This allows me to engage with the attendees before and after.

House Manager

  • Maintains schedule of when things need to be done, i.e., descaling the coffeemaker, cleaning the fridge, steaming floors, and caulking sinks and tubs.
  • Laundry – she folds like the Gap and now I don’t even bother trying.
  • Housecleaning – She cleans what needs it since not all rooms need to be tended to every week.
  • Tailors clothes – mine notices a hole and takes it home and sews it without me asking (yes, I know, she is fantastic).
  • Runs errands
  • Some pet duties
  • Meal prep – mine chops and preps my produce box that gets delivered on Wednesdays.
  • Manages other assistants, i.e., lawn care, housecleaning service (if you have a bigger house you may need a service as well).
  • Meal creation
  • Is the Doer of Things – mine just sees what needs to be done and does it. She has bought us razer holders for the shower and straws to fit in my tall water bottles.

This is not a joke. Some people really do these things and love it. Mine does this full time and works for several people. She takes great pride in how she helps people and how it allows me to be able to spend more time with clients. It took me several months to admit I hired herbut two years later and I can’t imagine my life without her. At first, I had to justify it by saying it gave me more time to work on my business, but now, I don’t feel I need justification. It’s too beneficial in other ways.

I get 4-5 hours more a week to build my business.

She’s better than me at all of the tasks she does.

It’s cheaper than marriage counseling since my husband and I have different standards and timelines for what needs to be done, when, and to what level of perfection.

How do I find these angels, gnomes, or fairies? Do they really exist?

Depending on where you live, it may be as simple as asking Sir Google for Personal Assistant companies in your area. I have had great luck with my clients through Care.com. It’s mostly known as a nanny and babysitting website, but you can also hire PAs and HMs through here. Create a profile and set up your job description based on what you want and need, not what you think fits into a perfect box. Get creative. What do you not like doing, never make time for or aren’t good at? Do you have a housecleaning service but they don’t do laundry? Do you have visions of cooking at night but don’t want to spend the time washing and chopping? Do you despise errand running like I do (my husband does this in our household) and want someone to be on hand to make trips?

Write down your specifics and give them a heads up on how big your house is, how many errands you need per week, if you have pets, if you work from home, etc. They need to know what they are getting themselves into. You will start getting several inquiries, so the more specific, the better. After you have performed interviews, do a reference check from at least 2-3 people and use the upgraded service in Care.com to do the background checks too.

Pick one or two applicants and test them out for 30 days. They can’t read your mind so be patient with them learning how you want things done.

  • What can this free you up to do?
  • Spend more time generating income.
  • Enjoy a night out by yourself or a partner.
  • Eat healthier by avoiding the fast food run.

Intrigued? What three things would you delegate right now to a Personal Assistant or House Manager and what’s keeping you from hiring one?

Five Things to do Before You Hire an Assistant

Five Things to do Before You Hire an Assistant

Are you ready to outsource some of that stress?

Are you ready to hand over the reins and stop working on $10 an hour tasks?

Are you afraid that no one, and I mean no one, can create a spreadsheet as well as you?

Give it up. Let it go.

Move in to your line of genius.

I'm all for outsourcing to keep people working within their line of genius. If you own a company the time you spend shopping for the best airfare could have been time with a client or writing a proposal.

If you bill $50, $100 or $200 an hour, why are you doing $10 an hour tasks?

At some point, it's time to try an assistant. Start with just five hours a month and see how it goes. It's part of your new system to uplevel.

Five things to do before you hire an assistant

1) Start your task list.

The month before you hire your assistant, start a running list of all the things you are doing that is a $10-50 per hour task. I'm not saying that an assistant is only going to cost $10 but if you're doing something that is such a time waster you would pay someone $10 an hour to get it off your plate than write it down. Keep this list because most of the tasks are probably recurring. This list should include personal and business tasks that you would like off your plate.

  • Cleaning – home or business
  • Cooking or meal prepping
  • Social media
  • Administrative
  • Travel Arrangements
  • Errand running

2) Track your time.

In addition to the tasks you want to outsource, consider the time you spend doing those tasks. If it takes you an hour to make travel arrangements but it could take an assistant 15 minutes, you've just saved a ton of money. Time = Money. I track all my time using www.focusboosterapp. I know how much time I spend writing posts, working with clients and posting on social. At the end of the week I see what Timesucks I've had and at the end of the month I consider what I could outsource so I don't repeat the same mistake the next month.

3) Consider which type of assistant you need.

 Do you need more help with errands, grocery shopping, pets, house cleaning or veggie chopping? Hire a Personal Assistant. Need administrative work, travel arrangements and scheduling? Hire an Administrative (in person or virtual) Assistant. Need help with social media? Hire a Digital Assistant. There's an assistant for what you need, but until you do step 1 and 2, you aren't going to know which type to start with and how many hours to hire them for.

The absolute, hands down, most creative job description for a Personal Assistant, was for Mike Bledsoe over at Barbell Shrugged. Click here -Best Job Description Ever

When I met him at the 431 Project we were talking about all his crazy travel and that his next step was a P.A. Within a couple of weeks this post went up. It's brilliant.

You know exactly the type of person he's looking for and get a taste of his personality. He's honest that it is sometimes going to be cool and sometimes going to be boring and you're going to have to be pretty freakin' dedicated to it. Plus, how could you NOT love that photo?

 

Mike Bledsoe

4) Start writing or recording instructions.

As you are doing each task, start a cheat sheet and start writing instructions or create quick videos using Jing or Screencast for your future assistant. Write down step by step what they need to do. They won't be able to read your mind, no matter how much we pay them. Trust me. I've tried and mind-reading hopefulness gets you no where.

5) Consider your worth.

There are different ways to track your worth per hour. Giving up tasks can be hard, especially if you are an entrepreneur, solopreneur or on a tight budget. Consider how much you can make if you focus on the revenue-producing tasks or how much you can exercise, play with your kids, or learn a new language if you outsource. Time isn't really money. Time is worth more than money. Once you have your basic needs met and a few fun things, don't you always wish you had more time? Ever sat through a meeting and thought I will never get that hour back. 

 

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