This blog post was originally written for Botanical Brouhaha on August 22, 2018.
Do you ever look at extremely successful peers in our industry and wonder how they do it all?
We hear people say all the time that we have the same 24 hours in a day as someone with a HUGE empire, like Oprah. Technically, yes… it’s true, but they’re missing the fact that Oprah has a massive team supporting her and executing her business every step of the way – a luxury that we, as small business owners, don’t have. However, there is a way to make it a little more manageable.
Having someone on your team to support you is the best way to go from simply surviving to fully thriving.
When I opened Modern Day all I knew was that I wanted to own a creative floral and event business, but I didn’t know the first thing about running a business or managing a staff. It has taken me many years to finally figure out what the perfect equation is for my business model.
Look Inward Before You Look Outward
The first instinct when hiring for your team is to start looking outward for someone to fill in the holes within your company. However, before this happens, I strongly encourage you to begin by looking inward at your current staff. Specifically, I encourage you to look at two major areas – your personal weaknesses and where you are wasting the most time.
Identifying your weaknesses: This is necessary to hiring the best fit for your team. If you hire someone with exactly the same strengths as you, you’re no better off than you were before hiring. The key is to find someone who has strengths where you have weaknesses. A great way to learn more about your personal strengths and weaknesses is by taking a personality test. I absolutely love the DISC and Enneagram assessments. Whichever you end up choosing, remember to keep an eye on your personality’s typical struggles, and identify the opposite type of personality to consider hiring.
Time-Tracking: Where do you waste the most time throughout your work day? If you don’t already, make the extra effort to jot down what you are doing and how long it takes you for one week. This task should lead you to big insights into your personal time management! Once you have a better idea of where you need help on a daily basis, the better you will be able to assess what to look for in a right-hand employee. This is key to a successful employer-employee relationship.
How to Know When the Time is Right to Hire an Assistant
Running a business is a marathon, not a sprint. And please do not feel like you need to go out and hire an assistant tomorrow. For this process to work well, it will take some time. However, I encourage you to start exploring to see if this might be a solid next step for you and the growth of your business.
Please let someone step into your world to help. The time and financial investment will pay over ten-fold. The process might be trial and error for you – I know it was for me. But once you find the right people for your team, you’ll know. And it will be so worth it.
Different Types of Assistants
In-House Assistant – This is the most traditional assistant to hire, and an extremely valuable asset to any business owner. Perhaps this is someone that you hire specifically for this role, or an intern that you train up to eventually become this key player. Depending on your needs, this role could end up being part-time or full-time.
Virtual Assistant – Bringing on a full-time team member can be scary, but hiring a virtual assistant is a nice way to dip your toe in the water before fully diving in. Oftentimes with virtual assistants, you can purchase tailored packages that fit
what you need at the time. They can also help with a lot more than you may realize – general admin work, calendar management, appointment setting, email detox, online marketing support, customer service… usually anything you can dream up!
Where To Find Great Team Members
When writing a job description for an assistant role, be sure to include those areas you would define as your weaknesses, and also where you need help managing your time. Meaning, I’m looking for a person who is naturally skilled at the things I often struggle with. Being open about this from the very beginning of the hiring process is crucial! So, where can you find candidates for this key player to your team?
Local Universities – Hiring people in school, or recent graduates, may be a time investment, but can be super beneficial, too. This could end up being an amazing opportunity to work with people who are young, excited, trainable, and full of fresh ideas for your business.
LinkedIn – In the past, we’ve had some luck finding candidates on LinkedIn who have specific skills and experience we’ve needed for certain positions. If you’re able to find someone with the assets you’re looking for already, this can cut down on necessary training in the long run.
Referrals on Social Media – This can be an incredible source of potential team members. With the power of social media – family and a network of friends – we can usually find a handful of great candidates with great referral sources.
Word of Mouth Referrals – Look to other prominent industry vendors around you who might have connections with people they’ve worked with in the past and feel may be a good fit for your team and business model.
How I Work With My Assistant
After quickly moving up from an intern position, Amanda’s initial role was handling my email and new client inquiries, scheduling appointments, and basic daily assistant responsibilities. Eventually, I moved her into sitting in on all client meetings. Together, we worked on building her confidence while also establishing a working relationship that would greatly serve our clients and staff in the long run. My main objective was to duplicate myself as much as possible through Amanda.
Fast forward to today (6+ years later), and Amanda is now taking on full events with little to no guidance from me, and we are currently training up another assistant to work under her. Trust, time, and mutual respect is what has gotten us to this point. We have invested in one another and she knows I have her back every.step.of.the.way, and vice versa!
Amanda is the right combination of moxie meets brains, and is thick-skinned and energetic enough to keep up with me. I trust her 100%. Aside from Amanda just being an amazing person, our personality traits are perfectly compatible. Looking at our DISC test scores side-by-side, you can get a sense for why we make a perfect match. I am an extremely high DI personality, while Amanda is much more even across the board with her scores. This is what professional compatibility looks like, my friends!