Six considerations to take into account when hiring an assistant

It doesn’t matter how great you are at multitasking or time management, there comes a time in every entrepreneur’s life when they can’t do everything alone anymore.

Continuing to go it alone when you reach that threshold means sacrificing self-care, family time, or the potential for revenue generation. In other words, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

Hiring an assistant can help entrepreneurs delegate tasks and create bandwidth for more customers and income. If hiring an assistant is on your mind, here are six things to consider first.

1) Clarifying the role

Before you start looking for your dream assistant, it’s important to clarify the role. There’s no point in trying to hire someone until you know what you want them to do.

Sit down and reflect on your business. What areas of your business are falling behind because you’re too busy? What things need to get done that aren’t on your list of superpowers? Finally, what things make you feel like pulling your hair out when you try to do them?

This list will be your starting point for what tasks can get delegated to your assistant. Expand on these points by identifying what skills (both soft and hard) will be necessary to get the job done. Finally, use the details to craft a job description.

2) Contractor versus employee

The next consideration to keep in mind is whether you want a contractor or an employee. There are pros and cons to each approach; it will ultimately depend on your business.

An employee is a great option if you’re offering full-time work and need someone at your side. The downside is taking on an employee management role and dealing with things like payroll, insurance, workers’ compensation, and generating tax documents like the W2 form online.

The benefit of a contractor is that you can scale hours and rates according to your business and don’t have to deal with HR tasks. However, you have limited bandwidth and control over what work gets done and when, as you won’t be their only client.

3) Setting a Budget

The next consideration when hiring an assistant is the cost associated with paying another person. This consideration is often the biggest obstacle for entrepreneurs to get over. While the money might be available, there’s a mindset about paying someone else for a job you can do as a business owner.

Take some time to outline how much it will cost to pay an assistant. Then, outline the opportunity cost of managing everything yourself. If hiring an assistant means having the ability to take on more business and generate more revenue, the return on investment is likely worth it. Still, it’s essential to have a budget from a financial management perspective.

4) Creating SOPs

Before you bring an assistant into your business, it’s worth creating standard operating procedure (SOP) documents to assist in the onboarding process. This valuable resource will minimize the learning curve and make delegation easier for both of you.

Once you’ve outlined the tasks you want your assistant to cover, create step-by-step instructions outlining how those tasks are completed. If writing the steps doesn’t appeal, use a screen recording tool to create simple training videos. 

5) Specialized skills and requirements

Determine whether your assistant will require any specialized skills before starting the recruitment process. If you have a nuanced or specialized business, having an assistant with a background in your area can be incredibly beneficial. 

6) Hiring for potential

Finally, learn to look beyond the resume when hiring an assistant. Look for skills that complement your own and add value to your business rather than hiring a carbon copy of yourself. While relevant experience matters, consider the soft skills as well. An assistant who communicates well but hasn’t used Google Sheets before is better than an assistant who can’t communicate but knows your tools inside out.

Take your time when hiring an assistant and determine the best path forward for your business. Start with these guide points, then adjust based on your experience.