How To Get An Assistant
The Inventive Journey Podcast for Entrepreneurs
How To Get An Assistant
The Inventive Journey
Starting and growing a business is a journey. On The Inventive Journey, your host, Devin Miller walks with startups along their different journeys startups take to success (or failure). You also get to hear from featured guests, such as venture firms and angel investors, that provide insight on the paths to a successful inventive journey.
Get New Episodes
Get 2 brand-new podcast episodes sent to you every week!
ai generated transcription
talk to maybe another business owner or talk to someone um just because you talk to a virtual assistant doesn't necessarily mean you have to hire them if you know someone wanted to contact me you know i have these questions that would be fine i wouldn't mind talking to them you know so you know just ask ask around ask people you know um or if you have emails for a virtual assistant you know shoot them an email or you know online shoot them an email ask them questions if if they're good enough and if they're if they're classy enough they will answer any questions that that person has without expecting them to automatically become a client hey everyone this is devin miller here with another episode of the inventive journey i'm your host devin miller the serial entrepreneur that's grown several startups into seven and eight figure businesses as well as the founder and ceo of miller ip law where we help startups and small businesses with their patents and trademarks if you ever need help with yours just go to strategymeeting.com and we're always here to help now today we have another great guest and this is an expert episode um and it's trish and i'm going to mispronounce your last name lou well in louelle all right i made my way through it so um but uh trish we're gonna talk a lot about um administrative assistants or administrative people how to get an assistant hiring one how to find one um what you might consider when you're looking for one determining if you need one whether you need an administrative assistant a virtual assistant kind of knowing what to look for and what kind of expertise how you know maybe a bit of remote working with cove and whatnot how that's affected things a little bit difference between doing an employee versus independent contractor lots of things we could talk about we'll see how much we get through on the list but lots of fun things to talk about so with that much as an introduction welcome on the podcast trish thank you very much devon i'm looking forward to it so before we dive into the area of expertise maybe just give a bit of a background you know for a couple minutes two or three minutes and tell us everybody a little bit about your background your experience and why you're an expert on this uh this area well expert you say i'm an expert i'm working at it um i've been an administ assistant for oh well over 20 years most of the time working in an office just like everyone else worked for many ceos vice presidents entrepreneurs but i got tired of working 50 60 hours a week and then still bringing work home with me and many years ago someone mentioned to me this was long before it was even known that well about working virtually so i had someone who gave me some names to start with and i did it just kind of part time to see if i could do it and what have you well what it came down to i was doing so well and i was getting so tired of working all those hours and not having any kind of life that i quit my job in the office i started doing this full-time and i've been doing it ever since then it's been over 12 years now that i've been a virtual assistant i can work as many or as few hours as i want i still have a life i can stop and do things during the day i have a lot of animals if i need to take them to the vet i can i don't have to worry about asking someone's permission or permission to go to the doctor or have my eyes checked or just to go shopping i can do it as long as i meet deadlines i can do what i want so that's why in a nutshell i switched from in office to virtual no it definitely makes sense and so then appreciate that that bit of that background so now maybe uh kind of jumping into a bit of the topic at hand so to speak um you know i guess the first question i would have is you know especially if you're talking in a lot of our audiences startups and small businesses is you know what uh and they've kind of heard hey you know i'm getting overloaded have a lot of things to get done never have enough hours in the day so they kind of say hey it'd be nice to have an assistant or someone that could i could offer some of that or free up some of my time and be able to focus on it so as you're kind of thinking about whether it's a virtual assistant or administrative assistant which i think is similar or synonymous other than one maybe in the office versus remotely what are some of the tasks that you can start to look at to offload or if you're saying hey should i bring one on or what that kind of what are a lot of the roles that oftentimes that administrative assistant or virtual assistant would fail well just um a quick um fyi a lot of people especially now are going with virtual assistants because a they don't have to have an office um virtual assistants use their own equipment so companies don't have to to you know put money into that um virtual assistants independent contractors are liable for their own taxes their own insurance so that's another thing off the plate of an owner or someone just getting started one thing um i've learned over the years um with um any kind of a new business or anybody who's starting a business and want to grow their business if they're spending more time on the paperwork or invoicing or what have you and not being able to grow their business then they need help and a virtual assistant doesn't have to be full-time i have many clients that i only work five hours a week for you know so it doesn't have to be 10 hours it doesn't have to be 20 hours and it certainly doesn't have to be 40 hours two or three or five generally with most virtual assistants um there's no minimum at least there isn't with me if you just help two or three hours a week that's fine if you need help five hours that's fine too but if you find you're at the point where you're not being able to grow your business you're so bogged down in the paperwork that you can't move forward then you need help even if it's just a few hours a week so now one question and i think that's a great answer and one question may be pigging back on that and there's a whole bunch of fun questions we could ask but so let's say i said okay i am bogged down i need and it could be everything from i need a couple hours assistance a week all the way up i need 40 hours or i need even more than that whatever that range is okay i need to find a virtual assistant how do you go about doing that in the sense that you know let's say if i if i don't already know someone to reach out to or i don't do it do you go through an employment firm do you go through a google search do you ask around and ask for referrals you go to linkedin or kind of if you're saying okay i made a realization i need to i i think i need to hire a virtual assistant how do you even go about tackling or finding one actually it's yes to all of those because i've gotten clients from all of those i've had people contact me through linkedin there's all kinds of various sources out there indeed you'll find a lot of people um putting job applications um for help wanted and indeed or even the zip recruiter there's all kinds of um resources now popping up for um for companies that just specialize in hiring out virtual assistants a few years ago there were none now they're they're popping up all over the place and you can find some very good reputable ones so and of course word of mouth is everything in any kind of business so um i've gotten them always so those are just a few of the ones but you can just go on indeed and and um put in a a job source where you know i need a virtual assistant or if you want to be more specialized you can do that um but those are those are any number of the ways that you can find help so now one question i'll follow up and it's a hard maybe it's not a hard question i think it's a hard question which is so you know if you're doing a virtual a lot of times you say i know i need someone because i don't have enough time in the day but i really don't know what the position is or i don't know exactly what i'm going to offload or it's going to be kind of figuring it out as i go along so to speak of hey i know i have a lot of paperwork i have odd jobs i have things i need to take care of do you need or how well defined do you need to have that position when you're starting to look for someone to say do you say hey i need a whole bunch of assistance in these areas and i don't know exactly how much time because i think a lot of you know if you're a startup or you know if you're just getting into it this first time you've done it you don't know how much you can offload or how much time it will save or how much needs to do until you actually get going so any thoughts or ideas as to how you kind of start to figure that out or you just hire someone and figure it out along the way does that make sense yes it does actually um especially if it's a company that's just starting out you know they can just place a general ad or just talk to someone and say i possibly need help in these areas but i don't know for sure and then when you get on the phone for an interview with someone then you too especially if the virtual assistant is experienced you can talk through um what your needs may be where you find yourself or what job tasks that you find the owner doing that you absolutely hate because if the job owner is doing those then he's he's putting it off he's he's not really liking to do it so he puts it off he's only doing it halfway so that's a good way to judge of um because most people hate doing the stuff that i love to do i love sitting in front of a computer doing the mundane stuff the boring stuff that most people think of doing they hate that i love it so if i can take those off their plate then they find that they're freed up for a lot more important things to do say like if someone hates invoicing okay you hate it i love it i'll do it you know it's be as simple as that it can be as simple or as complicated as you want to make it it's like most things in life so is that almost no kind of is i like that answer is that almost a way that you can in some degree filter out who would be a good virtual assistant in other words you know if you're saying hey i have a lot that they can help me say hey here are some of the things that i can do i'm experiencing i've helped other people it kind of shows that they know what they're doing and they've already done this so they can help you along the way seems like that's kind of a good way to almost figure out who is experience or who would be a good match correct correct and um some of that should show up on your resume but again sometimes resumes are just talk but um yeah if you get to talking with someone um you can say well i've done the owner could say you know i have a lot of invoicing that i need to do and i really hate to do it and it takes up so much of my time usually an experienced virtual assistant will say hey i've done this for many many years i've done this for so and so different businesses so that way you can kind of gauge what their background is how they're liking it or same way with calendar management there's a lot of that nowadays calendar email management well i think that that's you know and i always i always and especially on calendar management i and i i still tend to like to i'm that's one aspect i don't know if i love it but it's one that i i've two eight over 10 over two i want to make sure that my calendar is right so i would have a hard time but i get that one we're getting overloaded with emails and two you're getting overloaded with calendars and i look at my calendar and it's chock full every day and i barely have time to breathe so to speak and i have to intentionally set time aside for but i think that those are definitely areas that you know would be helpful that people could say hey if you don't like these things i like that you know a lot of times it's starting with what are the things that you don't like to do that you put off because a lot of times those are holding your business back because they're not getting done and find someone else that does love them and i think that that's a great idea find someone else that does you know have that passion release that drive and that wants to do that so you can offload it yeah because so often owners whether they be owners entrepreneurs or ceos they get stuck doing those things day after day after day that they hate doing and they can't concentrate on growing their business so if they put those things on someone else that they hate doing they'll find that they cannot actually concentrate on other things and maybe even have a life you know because that's that's part of it too you want them not only to grow their business but you want them to have time to themselves or time for their families and you want them to be able to enjoy the perks of the business they're trying to grow so it makes sense to don't be so caught up in the day-to-day that you forget delegation is so important sometimes that if you try to do everything yourself you'll just find yourself just floundering no i definitely agree on that so now kind of shifting here slightly but still on the same topic you know one of the things that's been a large shift in a lot of companies and it will be interesting to see how it continues to play out is a move towards more remote working or more you know people working from home or different locations and i have different opinion you know everybody has a different opinion as to whether or not it's going to last which industries is going to last in how that will evolve will be a hybrid model and everything else you know one of the giving it or putting or my personal bias a bit a bit to it is you know some people work well with working with people remotely in the sense that they can manage it and if you're and you know they can deal with it they can have a good relationship and there are other people and probably more of me i'm in the same boat that you know i have a difficult time out of sight out of mind that you know if they don't see them in the office i can't stop by their office i can't check in with them not that they don't do a good job but i just never see them and i don't remember to follow up so as far as when you're looking at should you do it in the office should you not do in the office is a good virtual assistant you know how do you how do you start to balance that or you know how do you figure out which one's right for you well you have to know your own personality for me working virtually there's just nothing like it i love it i'm not one that i have to be in the office i have to spend time commiserating with everybody else in the office i don't need that um i'm one i'd rather be by myself do my work get it done and then have the rest of the time for myself um just not one that i need to be there and chatting with everybody and finding out you know what their life is doing and what my life is doing and you know you have to know your own personality i know some people who are very close to me who could never do it because they just don't have the motivation or the perseverance or the persistence to sit at home and do the work they need to be around other people i don't you know that that is yeah so let me ask you a follow-up question too that though but if you're looking and you're saying i don't know which i need you know i don't know if i need some in the office i don't need you know or or i can do a virtual assistant and they're doing it for the first time you know i guess a couple questions how do you know whether or not someone is good at man you know a virtual assistant is good at managing themselves from home or to getting the work done and you know kind of how do you decide which one you need because there's a difference you know if i'm in that one is knowing if the individual that is a virtual assistant in the administrative systems knowing what their person lines up with but there are some people that you know as a person you know as a person that would be doing the hiring they don't know which they need so how do you kind of is it how do you go about is it experimentation trying it out or doing that you know i don't know does that make sense oh well it does um if you're talking about the owner wondering if they need somebody in the office or they can use someone virtually sometimes it might come down to money that that's always an important thing um if they don't have the money for a big office if they don't have the money for a lot of um administrative equipment copy machines computers then definitely virtual assistant is the way to go because they supply all their own things um they don't need to go to the office so you know if you're fine the owner is fine working from home well then that's the way to go that way they don't have to to put rent in an office and all kinds of equipment but um and to again you know um some people um they don't necessarily want to just come into the office for maybe three or four hours a week virtual assistant wouldn't matter to them if it's just a couple hours a week so there's many factors it depends on what your needs are how your bottom line is because if you don't have to pay for a big office if you don't have to pay for all the equipment well then you know go with the virtual assistant no it definitely makes sense now one question kind of and all these kind of piggyback off of each other but you know now if you're looking for so let's say you've got the virtual assistant or you or the administrative the question that i would i guess and it would be one of my fears if i did you know if i were to speak for kind of the startup or that as you one where you might have is that okay i find someone that does it for three or four hours a day or three or four hours a week whatever i get them trained up i get them integrated into all that we're doing and then they're going to find another position or they're going to go you know find someone else's hire them or anything else and they're saying okay i just put in all this time and effort to train them and especially if they're virtual assistants and so they're not even you know quite as much tight in the office then it's even more worried that they're you're going to put all this time and effort and then a few months they're going to do is that a case is that a valid fear is it or is it they're pretty a lot of stability as far as once you find someone they're generally set up to continue to assist you for a long period of time or is there a lot of turnover or how does that work with virtual assistants um most virtual assistants are looking whether it's three hours a week or 20 or 40 hours a week they're looking for the long term because they don't want to keep switching where i think with the at least from my experience in the past because i used to do a lot of hiring and firing too um people would come and go a lot working in an office but with the virtual they tend to because a lot of times like myself i have clients that are 20 hours a week i have clients that are five hours a week i have clients that are 10 hours a week so you know i have different variations so i can handle them differently and i prefer and most virtual assistants will tell you this that they prefer someone they can be with on the long run they prefer someone they can grow with rather than changing up because if they're working five hours a week from someone if they need more hours they can just they can get a client that has you know well they need me for five hours so that fits in perfectly and still keep the old one rather than going from place to place to place no that definitely makes no i definitely make sense and i think at least you know almost you're almost you're making the argument which should definitely make sense that virtual assistants and people doing remotely gives them better flexibility because now they are able to slot different people with different times they're looking for long-term stability but even if you can't hire someone full time they can still have that long term because they're now saying hey i don't want to work with one client for 40 hours a week i like to have a bit of my own flexibility so i can have five hours here 10 hours here and allows them to also maintain that long-term relationship actually i prefer that i prefer different clients um with different hours um it might be just my thing i don't know but it just seems like i don't have all my eggs in one basket so to speak it should go wrong with one i still have others to fall back on you know so i guess i've been in the business world away from that too long so um i know what happens when you put all your eggs in one basket you've never done that well i've peppered you with a few other questions any other things that people are kind of looking into this kind of getting going on or thinking about it that they should consider other things that they should be weighing as they look to maybe hire one or find one or whether or not they should get going other things they should consider we'll just um when they're speaking to them whether it's a formal or informal formal interview you can get a feel for their experience not necessarily by their um resume but ask them how long they've been at it you know like with me i've been a virtual assistant for over 12. and in the administrative world for over 20. so they'll know i've been around for a while and i and nobody's an expert on anything i'm sorry devin but nobody's an expert on everything but because there's always always always something new to learn and i think that's what's great about getting a new client no matter how much experience you have someone always brings something new to the plate and i'm a firm believer and never stop learning the moment you stop learning not only in business but in life you've had it you're just done you know and and i just because everybody does things differently and no matter how many programs or software whatever you think you know there's always one out there you've never heard before so it doesn't matter how much your experience but at the same time that gives you a little feel for how long they've been around you know they're not someone new just coming in and saying they know this and that but they don't really so that's another thing to kind of kind of gauge what you're getting no and i definitely think that that's that's great advice now i'm going to flip it the other way is if you are looking for a virtual assistant or administrative assistant um are there any red flags things you're saying okay that's something i should definitely be watching out for or if i see this come along i probably shouldn't hire them is there anything that is a a a likely red flag um if you see on their resume that they tend to go again from place to place to place quickly say within a month or two of being hired then there might be a problem i mean if this happens once or twice it could be personalities but if it keeps happening then there's a bigger problem going on so that's one thing you would want to learn learn about and always um ask for references even if you don't get them if people are kind of hesitant about giving you references again there could be a problem even if you don't get them even if you don't really ask for them but when you ask for in the interview can you give me references and they kind of him and all around uh well maybe well i'll think about it then there's a problem because there should be no problem giving anybody three or four or two or three whatever references if you've been around long enough and you're proud enough of your work so there shouldn't be any problem giving references no and i i think that hey if they're you know if they're saying hey i'm just getting started then be honest and say i haven't been in a virtual assistant or an administrative citizen so i'm here to learn but then they so they may say i don't have references but if they're at least either way they should be honest if i don't have any references then then they should have a good reason and i think to your point if they don't then they're if they're hesitant they're they're they're it feels like they're hiding and that certainly seems like there's some something underlying that it would be a red flag because i mean if you're just starting out and we all start out at some point um just be honest about saying i'm starting out but i think you could be a good fit for you know for me you know if you're willing to give me a chance you know here's what i can do for you but i don't really have the references as of yet you know be honest about it and that would be fine but i've known too many people who have portrayed themselves in one way and it turns out that they weren't so you just after you've been around a while even with somebody in business you kind of get a feel for what's going on so you know kind of your your sixth sense your instinct kind of kicks in no definitely makes sense so one more question then we'll start to wrap up but uh on that on that note so if i were to look for hiring i and i and i personally don't know so i'd love to hear the answer you know what kind of price ranges or how do you even determine what to pay an administrative essential or a virtual assistant because on the one hand you want to obviously be fair to them you want to hire or pay what they're worth and the other hand is with all business you don't want to pay you don't want to overpay any more than you have to so how do you kind of determine what is the pay and whether or not it's in office and it's administrative or virtual assistant and wonder how much they're working and what their experience how do you start to figure all that out as far as what's a a fair pay scale or any thoughts or ideas to answer your one question um it wasn't kind of aster but it was kind of implied how do you know if they're actually working for you most virtual assistants will use clocking software so you'll know the number of hours that they're working and what have you um virtual assistants especially ones in the country and you you can get ones offshore overseas very very cheap but you have to be very very wary so even though those are cheap some 5-10 bucks an hour just be careful of those and i'm not just saying it because i charge a lot more i'm just saying because they are offshore they're not trained or they're not experience wise like those in the us or even other major countries um because i've had i've had clients all over the world so i know what people can and can't do but um a good virtual assistant and i'm talking about a general virtual assistant those who specialize will charge even more um you can go anywhere from 25 to 75 bucks an hour depends on naturally those who are in like new york los angeles they will probably charge you more than someone like me who's from ohio oh i mean i generally charge 35 to 40 and sometimes i i give discounts depending on the situation but i mean it can be anywhere from 25 to 75 and and those who specialize those who are just graphic designers or those who build websites they charge even more but just a general and i just consider myself a general virtual assistant who does a little bit of everything um i like doing documents and calendars and email and all that but um i don't really consider myself specialized so um those again would probably go anywhere from 25 to 75 an hour and of course as an independent contractor they're they're responsible for their own taxes their own equipment you know all that stuff you don't pay vacations or time off or anything like that so that's one of the perks for the business owner they don't have to pay all that stuff makes definitely makes sense so awesome well we've we've covered a lot of great ground and a lot of fun there but it's been a fun conversation as we wrap up the podcast yeah you know i always ask one question the interviews expert episode which would be if you if you're talking to somebody that's in a startup or small business and they're just looking to get started with virtual assistants or an administrative assistant and they're just wanting to get started figuring out trying to figure out if they need it or who to hire with that what would be one step that they could take to get started um talk to maybe another business owner or talk to someone um just because you talk to a virtual assistant doesn't necessarily mean you have to hire them if you know someone wanted to contact me you know i have these questions that would be fine i wouldn't mind talking to them you know so you know just ask ask around ask people you know um or if you have emails for a virtual assistant you know shoot them an email or you know online shoot them an email ask them questions if if they're good enough and if they're if they're classy enough they will answer any questions that that person has without expecting them to automatically become a client and i like that i think that's a simple answer but it's a great one in the sense that go talk to some a business owner that has done one or a virtual assistant you know even like that you know hey doesn't always have to be the expectation you're gonna hire them and you just want to get a little bit filled for but asking those questions and talking with someone i think is one of the best ways to get started so i think that's a great answer yeah well as peop as we wrap up the podcast if people want to reach out to you they want to ask ask you questions or they want to hire you they want you to be your their virtual assistant they want to be your next best friend any or all of the above what's the best way to reach out or find out more probably at my email which would be trish llewellyn which is my name i try to make it difficult 77 gmail.com awesome well i definitely encourage people to to reach out find out more um if uh if they're they're in the in the in looking for a new uh assistant definitely uh tech or check trish out assuming she has availability as well as to uh answer any questions often if if that person doesn't they might know someone who does so you know don't never hesitate to ask asking never hurts i think that's great advice well thank you again tris for coming on the podcast it's been a fun it's been a pleasure now for all of you that are listeners if you have your own expertise to share or your own journey to share feel free to go to inventiveguest.com and apply to be on the show um also a couple more these listeners one make sure to click subscribe in your podcast players so you know when all of our awesome episodes come out and two leave us a review so new people can find out about the podcast as well last but not least if you ever need help with patents trademarks or anything else their business reach out to us at miller i p law just go to strategymeeting.com thank you again trish and i wish the next leg of your journey even better than the last thank you very much i fully enjoyed it you