Stress-Free Tips for Hiring Your First Assistant
Start by downloading the Before Hiring Your First Assistant Checklist. This will help you prepare everything you need to make a stress-free transition from working solo to working with a team.
You’re nervous and a bit unsure about hiring an assistant. You know you need one, but can you afford one? Can you trust someone else to manage your blog or business with the same care and competence as you?
I know exactly how you’re feeling. A few years ago I hired my very first assistant. The biggest obstacle I had was thinking I couldn’t afford one. The second was finding the right person that I can both trust to do a good job and keep my information safe.
Now, I’m an assistant and my best advice to you is not to jump into hiring someone out of desperation AND please don’t hire someone based on price alone.
I started working as an assistant in 2015 August. Previous to this I was a blogger, writer, file clerk, receptionist, and stay-at-home mom. I’ve worked with a number of different clients within a number of different industries.
The following is what I suggest all of my clients do before hiring me or anyone for that matter. Some of the reasons people are dissatisfied with outsourcing are the lack of systems, lack of communication, and lack of discipline. All three are necessary for the Business/Blogger and Assistant relationship to work.
Set a firm timeline
Assistants are self-employed which opens their availability but it doesn’t mean you are their only client. Having a firm deadline for your project helps your assistant better plan and manage everyone she is working with.
Set a budget
Setting a budget for your project helps your assistant develop your proposal. It also helps her decide which pricing plan will be more economically beneficial for you.
Assistants work in a number of ways. Some work on the project, some offer packages, others charge by the hour or offer retainers. When purchasing a retainer you secure a select number of hours for the month and can access her for various projects. Retainers are usually discounted hourly wages. ($45/hour or $35/retainer)
Create a task list with everything that needs to be done for your project
This will be a lot of work upfront, but it will make working with your assistant less stressful.
Create process sheets or videos for each task
Process sheets are needed as a guideline. For example, if your assistant posts to your Social Media for you, what type of content is acceptable? What do you want her to do about messages or comments?
Ask your colleagues for references
The best way to find a reliable assistant is from those who use them. Many of my clients come from referrals and this is true for much of the industry.
Set up interviews
You will have to set aside time to interview your prospective assistant. Using Skype, Zoom.us, or the telephone. You’re assistant may record the call for informational purposes and to write your proposal.
Ask for a current and previous client’s information and testimonials. Sometimes, an assistant won’t have these as she is just starting out. Ask about her previous job history or for teachers/trainer’s information.
You’ll need to see samples of her work whether that is writing, editing, graphics, web design, or schedule management. When you contact previous clients, you’ll get a chance to ask about the process and work ethic of your prospective assistant.
Availability and current project load
What hours does she work? Does she take holidays off? What is her current workload? Many successful assistants have fully booked calendars and have a waiting list. Be very clear about your timeline and about hers.
You’re all set. Still nervous? After you start working with an assistant that understands your business, your systems, your personality, you will wonder why you didn’t start sooner.
What other questions do you have about hiring a virtual assistant? Share them below:
Remember to download the Checklist that goes along with this post. Do you have additional concerns about hiring an assistant? Share them in the comments below. Tomorrow I’ll talk about outsourcing your blog for the first time.