By Julie Wolk
Does hiring an assistant for your business feel like a totally dreamy, yet impossible fantasy to you?
Maybe you think you can’t hire an assistant yet because your business isn’t big enough or you’re not making enough money to warrant it.
Or you’re wondering how you would ever explain everything to that person and have them do it remotely as well as you do.
And yet . . . You’re DROWNING in busy work.
Things are slipping through the cracks. You’re getting lost in backend tech stuff you hate (or avoiding it completely), and your growing administrative duties are leading you toward burnout.
Plus you don’t have time for the really important stuff (marketing and sales) and the creative fun stuff in your business (designing new programs and going on visioning retreats).
Not to mention you have no idea which friggin’ scheduling app to use.
Luckily, you CAN hire an assistant, it’s really not as hard as you think, and you don’t need to be fancy, rich, or even very far along in your business to do it.
Part of growing a natural, sustainable business that feels nourishing to you is GETTING SUPPORT. You cannot do this alone. You are part of an interconnected web, just like everything in nature.
Your future assistant is part of that web.
Hiring someone to support you does take some work up front. But once you’ve done it, your new staff person can be the difference between you flourishing or burning out.
In addition to helping you keep your sh*t organized, an assistant can actually help you earn more money (even though you are paying them). They can:
- Do your marketing and sales logistics and provide better customer care
- Give you more time for marketing and sales
- Give you more time to see clients
- Open up space for you to design a new program that will leverage your time better and earn you more money
It’s also totally legit to use your newfound time to chill out and work less. Yay!
SO LET’S TALK ABOUT HOW TO DO IT IN FIVE STEPS:
DEFINE YOUR ROLE VS THE ASSISTANT’S ROLE
Your first step is to write down a list of every single thing you do in your business. I like to divide this list into buckets like Marketing & Sales, Admin & Tech, Business Development, and Program Delivery.
Then, go through the list and decide what work is most important for YOU to do, and what can be passed off to an assistant. Anything that only you can do in your business, you keep (for example, doing sales calls or teaching a workshop), but you’d be surprised at how much else you can give away!
Now, take the list of what you want your dream assistant to do and . . .
WRITE A JOB DESCRIPTION
A job description is actually a marketing document. It’s an advertisement to come and work for you, and you get to be really specific on this document about who you want to call in.
So you’ll want to include sections on what hard skills (e.g., proficient at WordPress) and qualities (e.g., attention to detail, team player) are needed for this role, as well as what the benefits are of working with you.
Keep in mind you may need more than one helper. For example, you might need a graphic designer that you pay on a project basis, and an assistant that helps you ongoing to run the admin and tech side of your business.
Now it’s to time to . . .
FIND YOUR PERSON & INTERVIEW THEM
So where do you find this elusive assistant? Here are some ideas: ask your colleagues who their assistant is and if s/he is taking on more work. This is the best way to do it, because you have a trustworthy referral.
You can also post your job description (or a short version of it) in entrepreneur groups on Facebook, list your job description on Craigslist or Facebook, or simply Google “Virtual Assistant Services” and see what you find. There are entire companies dedicated to assistant services, and there are many wonderful independent assistants available as well.
And remember that in many cases, you don’t even need your assistant to be present with you physically, so a Virtual Assistant is a great choice (not to mention they are often happy to work just a few hours a week for you).
Once you have a handful of options, interview each one to determine if they have the right skills and qualities for the job. Plus you need to make sure you resonate with them personally!
Once you’ve decided on someone and hired them . . .
TRAIN YOUR ASSISTANT
Now you’ll need to train your new assistant on how your business works so they can take on some of your former roles.
The best way to do this is by creating Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).
These are basically step-by-step how-to guides for different areas of your business that enable someone else in your business to do things the way you like them.
For example, you might have an SOP that describes how you onboard a new client or how your monthly newsletter gets published.
But guess what’s even better?! Your assistant can help you create your SOPs. In fact, it’s probably better that way. As part of your training process, have your assistant take step-by-step notes as you explain how things are done. Voila! SOPs!
REVEL IN YOUR NEWFOUND SPACE AND FOCUS
After your assistant’s trained up, you get to enjoy the feeling of time opening up in your schedule and intentionally deciding what to do with that time.
You’ll also likely experience the joy of having someone else do the things that you’re not so great at and don’t like anyways. And even better, they DO like them and ARE good at them!
And that’s the beauty of the ecological web of your business.
Everyone has her niche, so everyone’s greatest gifts can be brought to the table.
Julie Wolk: helps hard-working coaches, consultants, and healers slow down and grow rooted, blossoming, burnout-free businesses modelled after the way nature works. She’s a firm believer that if we step off the hamster wheel, and tune into nature’s rhythms, we can grow more sustainable lives, businesses and even—gasp!—a better world. A lifelong nature freak, she has over 15 years of experience turning vision into and would love to help you create a simpler, more enjoyable, nature-led life and business. She offers private business coaching online and in nature, the annual Replenish Winter Reflection & Strategy Retreat for Women Entrepreneurs, the Roots of Business home study course, and the Redwood Circle Women’s Business Community. You can find her at www.juliewolkcoaching.com.