For this installment of the Small Biz 100, Liz Strauss shares some insights on hiring an assistant, virtual or local.
Where can a small business person find an assistant locally?
Liz suggests looking in the local university, college, or even high school and technical education. You can also work with temp agencies, or any of the tools Chel mentioned in How to work with a Virtual Assistant.
What characteristics should you look for?
“Ego strength, problem solving, and curiosity,” Liz said. “Anything else can be taught.”
Look for a person who is wanting to develop, to become what you are, Liz said. They can start out by taking just the first round of tasks, like initial research, and can develop more skills to work at a higher level.
How do you get started?
“When I first started, I asked the person to come in for two hours a week. That held me accountable to find two hours of work for that person to do. Believe me, I always found more.”
How can you justify the expense?
“The principle is that people with the highest level skills should be doing the highest level work. You, as CEO of a Fortune 100 Corp, making coffee might be nice, but you’re a VERY EXPENSIVE coffee maker. Let’s say the main work you do is worth $100/hour. If you can pay someone to write your bills $20/hour for 3 hours and you stick to what only you can do, you’re not spending money, you’re making it so that you can earn $240 more in those three hours. “
This article is part of the Small Biz 100, a series of 100 practical hands-on posts for small business people and solo entrepreneurs, whether in a small town, the big city, or in between. If you have questions you’d like us to address in this series, leave a comment or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. This is a community project!
Get the whole series by subscribing to Small Biz Survival. New to SmallBizSurvival.com? Take the Guided Tour.
- How small town businesses can market to remote workers and turn them into new customers - May 15, 2023
- Survey of Rural Challenges 2023 results - May 8, 2023
- Rural and small town ideas from the OU Placemaking Conference IQC 2023 - April 5, 2023
- Rural tourism trends say small towns are still cool - March 27, 2023
- Move Your Money and Bank Local - March 22, 2023
- Using a building as a warehouse or storage in a small town? Put up a sign - March 13, 2023
- How to get customers in the door of small town and rural retail stores - February 19, 2023
- Check your small business website for outdated pandemic changes, missing info - January 31, 2023
- Rural Tourism Trend: electric vehicle chargers can drive visitors - January 15, 2023
- 2023 trends for rural and small town businesses - December 26, 2022
As a very high end Executive Assistant I’d like to chime in here…
You do not want an assistant that has a strong ego, unless I’m reading “Ego Strength” the wrong way.
A good assistant must consume their own ego in order to perform the greater tasks at hand.
“Charles, I need to plan my wife’s 40th Birthday Party – Research a private jet to the Caribbean…”
That was an actual task, and while that wasn’t the end result, I did get quotes for all of that, the cost for a weekend (with their friends) would have been more my annual salary, you cannot do this kind of job with ego, I’ve seen it destroy other admins and put them in a bitter cycle of career destruction.
My two cent fiddy.
Becky McCray says
Charles, great experience, and I’m glad you shared it. Rather than put my interpretation on it, I’m going to ask Liz to explain more of what she meant.
I have a feeling that Liz meant what I said, she just said it in a different way, but I’ll defer to her as well.
ME Strauss says
By ego strength I mean someone who has a strong sense of who they are — a person who is not easily thrown, bruised by situations beyond their control, or weak of character. I don’t think an assistant must consume their own, but I do think that such a person must know when it makes sense to set it aside.
People with ego strength realize that most things are not about them. They can be personally invested in the work without taking things personally.
Hope this helps make more sense of what I meant.