Why you need a Personal Assistant and How to Hire One

As a busy entrepreneur, one of your biggest challenges is feeling like you are doing everything on your own and not having enough time in the day. You’re bogged down in the details and busy work. Getting stuck in the minutia is not only bad for business but also stifles your creative energy, your ability to think big picture, and steals time that you could otherwise use for building your business, self-care, or spending time with your family.

Here’s the thing: you’ve probably seen a lot of chatter online about hiring a virtual assistant, and while you most likely do need virtual and specialized support, you’re most likely spending up to twenty hours per week doing tasks you could get a college student to do for you.  Translation: these activities are not worth your time!

In a world  where people have access to apps, Instacart and Amazon Prime, I’m always asked what the benefits are to having a personal assistant.

Here are just a few of the tasks your personal assistant could potentially do for you, a reasonable salary to pay them, and how many hours they should work based on your needs. I’m also including my guaranteed formula for hiring a fabulous personal assistant!

Personal Assistant Tasks:

  • Stock the refrigerator. Even if you have a delivery service, you're the one unloading and putting away everything
  • Order you lunch or do meal prep for dinner (or both).
  • Make returns to the post office. Ordering online makes purchasing convenient, but what happens when something doesn't work out?
  • Make sure your home is stocked with staples and backups. (tissues, diapers, and toilet paper!)
  • Get your car washed.
  • Walk the dog in the middle of the day.
  • Open Amazon boxes when they arrive and put items away.
  • Provide IT support around the house, such as:
    • fixing the printer
    • taking your cell phone to get repaired
    • backing up your photos
    • resetting your WIFI when it stops
  • Coordinate household appointments when someone has to be there, so you’re free to go see clients.
  • Retrieve and sort mail
  • Scan and organize bills
  • Run errands. Yes, there are tasks that can't be completed online, such as last-minute necessities for a party the next day or a special supplement you can only get at the neighborhood health food store.
  • Make your bed and put away your clothes
  • Organize your home
  • Wrap gifts
  • Help plan, decorate, and prepare for hosting events or dinner parties.
  • Maintain your calendar, which includes making, confirming and shifting appointments. Though this task could be handled by your PA or VA, I personally recommend your PA handle it. Your situation can change quickly and requires an immediate response.

Hours per week:

This is totally up to you..  Start off with five hours a week, and see how it goes! I promise you that within a few weeks you’ll be asking if they can work ten hours.  I’ve had someone between 15-20 hours a week for the last couple of years.

Going rate:

This depends on where you live, but in Los Angeles, the going rate can be anywhere between $14-$18 an hour, depending on factors such as if  they’re in school, amount of experience, and organizational / design skills. 

How to Hire:

I’ve been fortunate enough to find every one of my personal assistants on Craigslist.  My trick is creating a clear, to the-point job description of what I need.  I also ask them to jump through a few hoops to gauge if they can follow direction. For instance, I’ll ask them to put a specific phrase in the subject line such as: Fabulous personal assistant available now. If I don’t see this in the subject Line, I don’t open the email. This alone typically weeds out approximately 30% of the applicants.

I also ask them to share a few details about themselves in the body of the email, such as: 

  • what part of the city do they live, I don’t want travel time to work to be more than 20-30 minutes away.
  • how much they made in their last job, so I can immediately  disregard them if they’re too far outside of my range
  • most recent job 

If they don’t put these items in the body of the email, I save myself time from opening and reviewing their resume.

Following these steps, I typically go from having 100+ applicants to twenty to thirty for actual review.

Now that you know the basics, please let me know if you have any additional questions. Happy hiring, and I look forward to your stories about how receiving help for even three to ten hours a week was a game changer for you.

Lotsa love.

 

Heidi StevensComment