Throughout the journey of creating your small business, there are many little nuances that need to get done in order to make your complete vision come to light. Most of us start out as a one-woman show, hustling to balancing all tasks for the day, for the week or even for the season. Once a solid routine is beginning to develop, you will notice that there are particular areas (mostly administrative) that warrant some help.
Hiring a full-time employee or obtaining an intern for the short term or long term is a very big decision when it comes to the growth of your small business. Bringing on someone to your small team in a personal assistant or “right-hand” capacity should be a ‘give and take” situation. This means that you should want to give this person the opportunity to learn, gain skills, and broaden their network all the while having them take responsibility for the project management aspects of the business to relieve some of your time to focus on “big picture” tasks.
As a Womeneur, you have to be all about learning and growing at all times. Included in that sentiment is being a good example to those individuals who are looking up to you. Here are a few things to consider and/or think about when you find yourself knee deep in work and desperate to find the perfect right hand guy or gal:
1. What are your needs?
Early on in my business, our team of two realized that we needed help! There were many small tasks that turned in to big task because we were unable to effectively complete them because of hectic schedules and being consumed with the larger pieces of the puzzle. We ended up sitting down for a few hours and writing out what we needed help with. Many of the items on that list included things such as:
- Email follow-ups to folks we met at conferences, developing sponsorship or intent letters to between clients and/or companies/individuals we needed to connect with;
- Organizing our shared drive, folders and email traffic;
- Meeting minutes for internal status meetings and client meetings;
- Niche tasks such as copywriters, editors (video, photo or articles) or even a great research
- Administrative needs around filing, answering phones, sending “thank you” emails/letters, etc.
2. Level of Involvement/Level of Experience
Whether you are adding someone on your team full-time or bringing on an intern, it’s important to know what level of experience you expect this person to have. Often, you will be able to meet with your assistant a few times a week, define the “to dos” with deadlines and check in as needed. Other options are more time-consuming where you will have to be in a coaching mode and give your assistant a helping hand and show them how to do things properly or in the matter that is acceptable for your brand.
For me, I prefer the former because of my busy schedule it is expected that the person that I bring on would be at a level where they can work a bit more independent and know that I am open to questions and communication as needed.
3. Setting Expectations
Similar to dealing with clients you must be direct and clear when it comes to what is expected from your personal assistant. This new team member will either be seen with you at meetings, social events or business settings or representing you via email or on the phone so expectations must be set. A few things to discuss should be:
- Location of the job: remotely (from home), in your offices or at the client site;
- Status updates are crucial when check ins are need for assignments, information or work product;
- Schedule in terms of work schedule (how many hours/days are they needed) and deadlines for projects or tasks
Many local universities, temp agency and even your network of friends and families may be great resources to conduct a list of people that can potentially fit the role of an assistant. Tap into your network and keep in mind that although some people may think of an assistant as a non-essential job, it should be just as important as any other role. Make sure that you are the type of boss that gives them the space to be a value-add to the brand and you are doing all you can to assistant in their growth.