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Tips to Get the Most Out of Working with an Assistant

In the beginning, we do it all ourselves. Every task that needs accomplished, the small business owner tackles as best they can with the time they have. The Everything CEO hat encompasses not just projects but also administrative tasks, marketing, accounting, and business management. Once you start bringing on clients and new assignments, this workload can become overwhelming fast. If you have been daydreaming about hiring someone to help you get more done and get some of the tactical work off your plate, here are tips to make sure you are getting the most out of hiring and working with an assistant.

Get Organized 

While any business owner dreams of having an assistant to help them get things done and become more efficient, it’s vital that you take stock of exactly what tasks you can delegate and what will need to remain on your own to-do list. This can be tough as many business owners are fearful of letting tasks go. Be honest with yourself about the reality of the work that needs to be done and what really needs your specialized skillset and what could be outsourced to an assistant.

Make a list of tasks you could easily delegate. This will be the start of the job description you will build for the hiring process. The more clarity you can get ahead of time, the more time you will save once you have hired someone.

Tip: Consider making training videos of the tasks you currently want to delegate to an assistant. Not only will you have documentation of your processes and the way you prefer tasks get accomplished, but you’ll also have these videos available any time you need to hire someone new. Your new assistant can access these videos at any time, eliminating redundancy in questions and training.

Set Goals

Once you know where you need support, set goals for your assistant. As the business owner, you are in charge of the vision of where this new position could go. In the beginning, your assistant will simply be learning the processes and procedures and getting a feel for the work. Over time, your assistant will get faster and more efficient. What is your game plan for that? In the future, once you have brought on even more clients, what sort of goals could be set to keep the entire team growing and advancing towards success?

Tip: There should be regular review periods where a discussion can be made on progress and potential. By setting goals, you create a clear vision for both you and your assistant, giving the team something specific to strive for and accomplish.

Communication is Key 

Regardless of whether your assistant is part-time or full-time, local or virtual, communication can make or break a team partnership. Some people are better communicators than others, so you will need to set the expectations early on the level of communication you need to support a successful working relationship.

If virtual communication is the route you want to take, there are plenty of online project management tools you can use to assign projects and check their status including Trello, Asana, and Slack. If your assistant is not local, a tool like Zoom can help you schedule regular check-in meetings over video.

Questions to ask yourself:

–> Are you looking for a self-starter that manages tasks with little to no supervision?

–> What will your process be if projects aren’t getting completed on time? How will you know?

–> Do you need regular check-ins to ensure things are getting completed on time and within your budget?

–> Do you prefer email communication or feel more comfortable having regular meetings to cover all the bases?

–> What processes will you put in place to make it easier to stay updated on progress (i.e. project management tools, spreadsheets, regular meetings, etc.)

Hire Slow, Fire Fast

It may seem counterintuitive, but if you want to save time and money when hiring an assistant, it’s better to take your time upfront in the hiring process. Your assistant not only needs the necessary skills to do the job, they also need to be a good fit for your communication preferences and company culture. If your assistant is ever going to interact with your clients, their personality and attitude are going to be relevant to the role. If they need regular communication and you find yourself strapped for time, you probably need a team member that requires less hands-on support. It’s easy to get excited about the possibility of bringing on an assistant, but it’s also easy to become discouraged if we hire the wrong person and it ends up not working out. Take your time in selecting the right person for the position.

If you’ve done everything you can to hire slow and pick the right person and it still doesn’t work out – don’t delay in letting them go. Many people are uncomfortable with confrontation and will waste months trying to figure out a solution instead of simply deciding that another person would be better for the role. The longer you wait to pull the plug, the longer it will take you to hire the right assistant for you.

Need even more advice before bringing on your new assistant? Check out the Ultimate Guide to Working with an Assistant and How to Make Sure Your Assistant Actually Helps You Save Time.

Armed with knowledge, it’s time to take action. Don’t let overwhelm keep you from hiring the assistant you need to become even more successful this year. If you need help getting organized and ready, give us a call.

This is just some of the value you can get when partnering with™. If you’d like more tips, advice or suggestions on how to be more productive and organized, book a 20-minute productivity assessment.

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