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How to Employ a Personal Assistant

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Founders of new start-up businesses often look at hiring a personal assistant as their company begins to grow. 

Admin tasks can quickly pile up, dragging your focus away from essential responsibilities, and having an assistant is a great way to ease this burden!

But, if you’re taking on your first staff member and don’t know how to employ a personal assistant, it can be confusing with so many choices:

  • Do you need an in-house hire or a remote assistant?
  • Can you commit to a permanent payroll employee or do you prefer a flexible freelancer?
  • Where do you advertise the role, and how can you pick an assistant with all the skills and experience you need?

We’ll explain our tips for finding an excellent personal assistant below, as the right one can prove invaluable in supporting your business growth.

The Different Types of Personal Assistant

Virtual assistants can do just about anything – and that’s not an exaggeration!

With that being said, you may be eager to hit the job boards or start scouting for a freelance personal assistant. But first, let’s summarize what to expect from the different types of assistants. 

General Personal Assistants

Typical general assistant tasks include things like:

  • Managing emails
  • Planning your schedule
  • Booking appointments
  • Entering data
  • Conducting research
  • Scheduling social media posts

Usually, they’ll manage your daily admin processes. With that taken care of, you can concentrate on the bigger picture.

Specialized Personal Assistants

A specialized assistant has a more refined skill set. They’ll also be able to operate at a higher responsibility level, but the average hourly pay rate will be greater. 

Examples of specialized assistants include:

  • Bookkeeping assistants
  • Video editors
  • Project managers
  • Customer service professionals

It may be the case that you’ll need an assistant to have specific knowledge in one business area. In this case, be sure to make that clear in any job posts and vet your candidates appropriately, making sure they possess the required skill set. 

Benefits of Hiring a Remote Personal Assistant

A virtual assistant (or a full virtual team) is an excellent option for businesses, especially when looking to outsource essential functions.

Here are some of the advantages:

  • Lower logistical costs – You don’t need a physical office to hire a virtual assistant, since all their work can be from a laptop – which can save you a significant amount of money by forgoing the need to rent out office space! Usually, the only costs involved are providing any software they require and covering their hourly rate.
  • Cheap pay rates – if you don’t need a full-time hire, a virtual assistant can be highly cost-effective. An independent contractor will charge based on the regularity and scope of work. They often provide additional flexibility to offer extra hours when you need them, even if it’s outside of their normal working hours.
  • Broader talent pool – You can scour the global freelance marketplace for the best assistant for you, since remote assistants can be found in almost any country. This can also help you find highly qualified talent for a better rate than what you would be able to find domestically.

Five Steps to Hiring a Personal Assistant

So, if you’re ready to get going and find a personal assistant, we’ll run through the steps to get your new hire up and running.

1. Document Your Personal Assistant Job Requirements

The first task is to make a list of every job or process that you want to delegate.

You should create in-depth guides and training documents to save time and draw up Standard Operating Procedures for your assistant to reference.

Think about the required outcomes, timescales, and any performance objectives that link into those tasks, and be sure to include them in your training materials. 

2. Create a Thorough Job Description

A detailed job description is vital whether you’re taking on a permanent employee or contracting a skilled freelance assistant.

Beyond showcasing the tasks list for the role, be sure to include:

  • A brief background about the business and industry.
  • Skill, experience, and education requirements.
  • All duties and responsibilities.
  • A list of any tools, software, or apps your assistant will use.

A well-written job description will help ensure only the best candidates apply.

3. Post Your Personal Assistant Role Online

Posting your application online opens up a world of potential since you can reach a much larger pool of applicants than through any other method.

Freelancers tend to use online marketplaces such as we offer here at Guru, as they know vacancies advertised will be suitable for remote workers.

Another benefit is that you can visit applicants’ profiles and review client feedback and ratings to get a good idea about the quality of each candidate.

4. Review Your Personal Assistant Applications

We’d suggest setting a time limit to avoid spending weeks wading through a flood of resumes!

Any late applications are often best disregarded since your assistant needs to be punctual to provide a solid level of business support.

Once you’ve shortlisted down to five or ten top applicants, you can invite them to interview, often via video call for convenience.

5. Agree on a Trial Period for Your New Personal Assistant

When you’ve completed your interviews and have selected your preferred candidate, you can set up a trial period. 

Trial periods should be run for around 30 days; after that, if you’re both happy and things are running well, you can then agree to the specific contract terms for the hours or days you require per week.

There you have it! 

Hiring a personal assistant can feel like a lot of pressure since you’ll be reliant on your freelancer for a range of business support tasks.

However, if you approach the hiring process methodically, you’ll end up with the perfect candidate and be able to get back to what you do best – running your business.

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