Early in my career, I believed there was honor in doing everything myself. Don’t hire an assistant – it’s too expensive, plus, if you want it done right, you have to do it yourself. Fortunately, I learned years ago that was bunk. Hiring the right assistant can change your life. It lets you focus on the big picture issues, releases you from the day to day organizational stuff, and allows you the freedom to do what you’re really supposed to do for a living.
Even now, I meet high level people working without a good assistant and it baffles me. If you’re an executive, manager, or anyone in leadership – at almost any level – are you using your time wisely by making travel arrangements, scheduling appointments, following up on issues, filing, or organizing your life? Or would it be better to have someone else do that, while you focus on the things that bring in the money, clients, accounts, or whatever?
Maybe your big argument is the expense. People tell me all the time that an assistant costs too much. Listen to this and listen well: You don’t have to hire an experienced, big time office whiz as an assistant. You can find them right out of college, and probably find a free intern if you try hard enough. But even when paying a salary, if you’re using an assistant correctly, I really believe you’ll more than make up for their salary simply because of how much they allow you to focus on bringing in more business. If they can free up at least a third of your time from the daily, mundane tasks, you should easily be able to use that time more productively on bringing business in the door, or raising the bar on your productivity.
So do it. Go interview some people, and my first bit of advice is to not hire someone like you. I’m not detail oriented at all, so I need someone obsessed with the small stuff. Get someone that complements your skill set. Of course there are basics that every good assistant needs – organizational skills, computer literate, phone manners, juggling skills, multi-tasking, etc… but beyond that, you’re not hiring a friend, you’re hiring someone that will help take the load off your shoulders. Then get ready for your life to change!
Do you have a great story about how an assistant changed your life?