This is the story of how I hired help for my online business. I hired an assistant that could pick up the tasks I could delegate allowing me more time for what is important.
Finding help is a common struggle in business, but it’s something that every entrepreneur needs to do to grow. Finding help that will ACTUALLY help can be daunting and overwhelming! When you set out to find the right person or people to help, it can be a huge game-changer allowing you to scale your business beyond what you can do by yourself.
I know. I have been there.
How I Hired Help
In each business endeavor, I have started by doing everything. It is good because I learn a lot and have NO overhead. But at some point, everything can’t be accomplished by one person…or it can’t be done without burn-out.
When you get to this point, it is time to hire. In fact, BEFORE you get to this point is a better time to hire!
Start with a Time Study
On his Momentum podcast, Alex Charfen talks about doing a time study by writing down what you are doing every 15 minutes for two weeks.
A very painful two weeks.
When the two weeks are up, I went through my notes, evaluating each task to see if it was something I REALLY needed to do or if it could be delegated to someone else.
At first, I felt incredibly efficient.
I mean, LOOK AT EVERYTHING I DID!
And then it dawned on me that this pace was unsustainable. I was either going to have to do less or get help.
I took a deeper look at everything and found some things I could hand off. Those were the things I needed an assistant for…
Make a Job Description
Based on the help you need, make a job description outline listing all those tasks.
I then added some other things that coordinated with the main tasks that I could take off of some of the other people on my team. This made their job less random and created a position that made more sense.
I created this assistant’s job description from the 4R outline as taught by Alex Charfen.
My Assistant’s Job Description
Here is what I came up with for my assistant’s job description:
Position: Assistant that reports to: Holly Homer
Job Type: Contract – no set hours, no set location, variable workload; can be located anywhere. Estimate a 20 hour/week task load.
Primary responsible for the front-line of communication and triage to the rest of the team specializing in email, messaging and customer service.
- Email management: deleting, forwarding & follow-up; identifying important email and getting those to HH.
- Messenger management: deleting, tagging and follow-up in ManyChat; identifying important messages and getting those to HH.
- Managing HH calendar: adding events, blocking time, reminding HH of obligations and identifying places where we can improve.
- Social media scheduling for HH: creation of images for quotes, scheduling of content on FB page, scheduling of HH created content to FB group/IG stories.
- Planning with HH for upcoming posts w/in her voice for HollyHomer.com.
- Lead magnet creation for social media posts.
- Messenger bot creation, overview and schedule.
- Blog post outline creation around videos HH shoots.
- Oversee REV transcription of video content.
- Blog post editorial calendar for HollyHomer.com.
- Video re-use (work with Greg on this).
- Check in each day with HH.
- Check in each day with GH for #s.
- Attend meetings and report data.
Assistant Task Results:
- Complete customer service within a timely manner.
- Implement complete social media strategy and blog content for HollyHomer.com.
- Assure that HH has space in calendar and knows what is upcoming.
- Increase leads for HollyHomer.com with lead magnets, content and email strategies.
- HH never to miss another important message or email.
Assistant Contract Task Requirements:
- Consistent attention to email accounts.
- Ability to learn ManyChat – HH will train.
- Technical knowledge to create and maintain digital calendar/scheduler.
- Ability to use basic text editing software.
- Brainstorm and organize content creation with HH.
- Maintain and implement an editorial calendar.
- Ability to supervise REV.
- Communication daily with HH initiated by EA.
This job description is not all-inclusive and certain activities, duties or responsibilities may be required of this position as needed.
How to Find Assistant Applicants
I posted on my personal FB page this image:
With the following description:
Hey friends, I need your help…
I need help! I am looking for an EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT.
Hours: starting at 30 hours a week
Location: can be anywhere, but would prefer DFW area
Role: Responsible for the frontline communication (prioritization of incoming messages & email to me and my team) while providing customer service and keeping me scheduled and organized during this entrepreneurial adventure.
Responsibilities to Include:
1. Email management of multiple accounts
2. Messenger management via ManyChat (can learn on job)
3. Manage Holly’s calendar & calendly
4. Light social media scheduling/simple content creation
5. Coordination of messenger bots with FB schedule (learn on job)
6. Multi-use of created content: overseeing dictation through REV, blog post creation with video, and uploading via plan
7. Manage some personal tasks
8. Attend daily team meetings via Zoom
If you know anyone who might be interested, please have them fill this out: https://goo.gl/forms/8p23T5dOHXnhy9KF3 (this Google form is still live if you want to check out what questions I asked).
Just by sharing this post on Facebook and asking my friends to share it for me, I received about 50 responses to my Google form. I had so many talented people to choose from!
Narrowing Down the Assistant Applicant Pool
Then I went through the form and eliminated people. My first eliminations were people who had payment expectations way over my budget.
I then sent out invitations for a short 10-minute Zoom call to the people that I didn’t eliminate, with the goal of talking and seeing if we would work well together.
The invitation I sent for the Zoom call had specific instructions for how to get on the call, which was really another way to weed some people out. My assistant would need to be able to follow my instructions the way that I give them, so if people weren’t able to make it on the call, that was a good sign that they probably weren’t the one for me.
While speaking face to face with those who made it on the call, I asked three questions:
- What is your background and skill set? I specifically wanted to know what they thought would be important for me to know about their background and skill set, so when I asked the question, I phrased it that way.
- What do you know about my business? The idea for this question comes from Alex Charfen, who suggested that if people are fairly visible online and are public about what they’re doing, this is a great question. It is relevant and revealing. Through asking this question, I learned some people knew a lot about me through social media, some had googled me, and some knew nothing. Those who already knew about me or who had taken the time to learn about me were clearly the ones that were more invested in wanting the position.
- I then asked them the box question, which is a crazy scenario. This is an in-depth question that paints a scenario about opening a box daily. Box #1 has one task that they have complete control over to improve and mold as they see fit. Box #2 has a new task every day. It’s not a right or wrong answer type of question but really gets to the heart of what they enjoy. For this specific task, I knew that I needed someone who wanted to do something new every day. Another task might be better suited for the other box.
After my Zoom calls, I was able to narrow my prospects down to about five people.
Choosing an Assistant Applicant
I crafted the full job description including hours, and sent it out to my remaining pool, telling them that if they were still interested in the position after reading the entire contract, I wanted to schedule an interview with them.
After reading the complete description two of my 5 people declined the interview. I then conducted longer (more traditional job interviews) with the remaining three.
These three people were incredible and I honestly didn’t even care which one I hired. Alex Charfen says to narrow it down to three people that you can’t decide between, and that’s exactly
what I did.
I couldn’t make the decision, so I went with the one that had more experience blogging, and it was a great choice.
Thoughts on Hiring an Assistant
It was a long and involved process, but when it was over I knew I had made the right choice.
I had the confidence to push forward with training and investing in someone who I knew was right for the job. A crazy by-product of posting this on my personal FB page was that I got re-connected with a few people who I had lost touch with over the years.
It was also really cool to see how many of my friends and connections tagged a friend or shared the opportunity.
If you have ever thought of hiring an intern to help out, check out my experience with Gen M.