Episode 13 – The Next Position you Should Hire in Your Business
I know what you're thinking. How could I possibly know what your next hire should be? Most of you don't have this person in your organization. You either don't have any help at all, and running everything on your own, or you've hired lots of other people. But you've not hired this person yet. I know this because I have been in business this long and I am just hiring this person now. You need an executive assistant. I know you think you can't afford an executive assistant. You don't even know what an executive assistant would do. It sounds very high brow and it's not something that you need.
One of the things that I have really been struggling within our business is keeping myself organized and on task and not over-scheduling myself. I often get caught up in the minutia of the business. Lots of you are in the same position. I read a book from Michael Hyatt called Your World-Class Assistant. It's a quick read and a lot of it is procedural stuff, and why you need this person, and what they can do for you. There are lots of resources, checklists, and lots to help you actually hire the person. It's very practical. What I found from going through this book is that a lot of the things that I'm getting stuck with and dealing with, I should not be dealing with at all. I should be farming that stuff out to someone else. So, that's what I'm working on. That's what I'm doing.
Why you need an Executive Assistant
A lot of people tend to get bogged down when they start thinking about getting help in their business. They think that everything has to be full-time. I know that many of you don't realize just how many people are out there. I know a lot of people who listen to the show are service providers in various forms. Some of you are bookkeepers, virtual assistants or growing into agencies with your virtual assistant services. Some of you are accountants or lawyers. It's all over the gamut.
One of the issues we have though is that we don't realize that we have our niche of things that we do. Many of you have hired social media managers, online business managers, and other different positions for your business on a part-time basis. This is another position that you can start with on a part-time basis. The more people I'm talking to, the more excited I get about filling this position because we're really starting to look at what I can get off my plate.
One of the things that I really struggle with, and I know a lot of women struggle with this, is being very reactive. When people want time in our calendar, we want to help them. We want to give them that time. And so we need someone to be that guardian of our schedule. An EA can help you with that. An EA can be proactive and remind you of all the things that you need to remember in your business. For example, one of the first things that my executive assistant and I are going to do is put together a full calendar year master schedule. I know that sounds crazy. Why would I do that?
My year at a glance
A lot of things are very cyclical between my businesses and teaching courses at the university. The way that my year works, which is messed up this year because of the extension for tax season and everything going on with COVID, but what normally happens is the spring semester ends. I have seven weeks until my summer course starts, which always needs some revision because I'm teaching taxes and things are always changing.
Then once that course ends, the fall semester begins and some years there are no breaks in between. One class ends and the next day, the next class begins and that's a full core schedule. I normally teach four courses in the fall, then that ends, and I have about four to six weeks off, depending on the year and what my final schedule looks like. Then tax season and the spring semester start at the same time. Tax season ends, then I have the last week of courses and finals. Finals end and I have a week of meetings to wrap up the semester and then I get that six week period off again.
Now it's June and I have to get all my continuing education done. I have to get all my tax returns wrapped up because tax season got extended. We're doing launches for Bookkeeper Training School. I'm planning my fall semester. I'm planning my summer course. I need somebody to come alongside me in July, when I'm not thinking about continuing education anymore because I just finished all my continuing education for the prior year, to say “Hey Kristin, why don't you schedule four hours of continuing education this month? You can do a little bit every month and not have to pack it all in during the last three months of the year.” Something like that, somebody that comes alongside me and says, “I looked at your schedule for next week and you've got way too much going on. You've really got to pull some things back.” Or in October they start working on my engagement letters for my clients for the next tax season.
Those are the kinds of things that I'm thinking about in an executive assistant. How can they help me run things more smoothly? Yesterday, I looked at Jeff and said, “We need paper. We're almost out of paper. We have one ream of paper left.” So I went online and I figured out the best deal on paper. But I actually had to DO that. It took 10 minutes, but it's like death by a thousand paper cuts all day long. I know most small business owners are dealing with that.
We were supposed to have bulk pick up this week and the trash company didn't pick it up. That's something I could have had my executive assistant do. I could have had them order paper. I could have them make sure that all my deliveries have come in and nothing has gotten lost. Little things like that eat up chunks of your day. It's a lot.
How to find an Executive Assistant
You might be thinking, okay, this sounds great. How do you find this person? We have a couple of friends who run courses that train folks to do this. They actually train folks to be virtual assistants and a lot of the people who applied weren't just executive assistants, but they also had experience with social media. They had experience with organization and all sorts of different skills. It was really amazing. The folks that applied all have their own businesses.
You can start on a very limited basis. We're starting at about 10 hours a week. And then depending on the skillset of the person, we might actually expand that out some more right away. If there are things that they can do, that's awesome. I think that's great and it really helps make me more productive. I'm very limited in the number of hours I have in the office right now, so I really need to be strategic about what I can pull off my plate.
How we did it
One thing that we did is we did a very rigorous application. We had them do some free assessments for us that told us quite a bit when you put all three of them together. We asked a lot of questions. We asked about the software we use, and about some core competencies. That gave us a lot of information to start with. We posted it in a few groups that train virtual assistants. I also posted it on our page and I shared it to my wall. I had a couple of other people that shared it out for me. We got some phenomenal candidates, and I'm excited to get this going and move the process forward.
When I started to think about hiring an executive assistant, I didn’t know what I would have this person do. I know I need one, but as we're actually going through the process, I'm starting to think, well, if I had an executive assistant, they could do this. If I had an executive assistant, they could do that. Over the next week, I want you to think… if you hired an executive assistant, what could you have them do? As you're going through your week, you’ll start noticing all the things you could have an executive assistant do for you.
If you hired an executive assistant for your business, what would you have them take off your plate? You can put it in the comments. I can't wait to get your ideas because they might end up on my list of things that I'm going to have my executive assistant do for me.