You can be an employee and hire an assistant

by Productivity

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Company leadership may not like knowing you have an assistant, but that would be closed-minded. You can be a W-2 employee and hire an assistant. I'm not advocating for you to have an assistant that reads your email or has access to confidential documents. 

But what about assisting with: 

  • creating or editing a presentation
  • image searches
  • industry research
  • LinkedIn scouting
  • competitor research
  • graphic design
  • data entry
  • lead generation
  • formatting spreadsheets
  • creating and sending appreciation cards
  • creating forms or surveys
  • editing audio or video
  •  transcribing audio or video

The Math

As an independent contractor, you could take on a job for $75 an hour, pay someone in Kenya $9 an hour, which is a respectable wage and give them a few tasks. It's not sleazy. You're hired for a result. It shouldn't matter how you get there as long as you aren't giving away trade secrets or handing anything over confidential. AndYou're giving someone else a job. The client is getting the work they're hiring you for, and you're basically managing a project. 

I know a supervisor who's been using someone from Columbia for two years to create all of his slide presentations up until the final edits. They edit all the audio and video that he sends out to his clients and format spreadsheets. They're organizing his content and making it look stellar. He makes about $110,000 per year. He pays his assistant $10 an hour. He figures it saves him about three hours a week, which is way more than the $30 he spends. He uses those extra three hours to make more client calls, which equals more money for the company, or he closes down early on Fridays. 

An assistant for your company.

I'm also coaching the CEO of a 23-person company. He is very humble and feels weird about having an assistant, and isn't sure how he would use them. I've encouraged him to hire someone for the company leadership instead. He's to ask each leader to list three to five tasks that they don't like doing, feel are beneath their pay grade or are not in their line of genius. And by the way, beneath paygrade doesn't mean you think you're too good to transcribe or format or do research. 

Think about it. Do you want to be paying your director $70,000 or $170,000 a year to be doing work you could be paying someone $10, $20, or $30 an hour for? Take a list of all the tasks from leadership, find a common theme and hire someone to take on the top three tasks among your leaders. If you don't need someone regularly, use a platform like Fiverr* or Upwork for one-off projects where your team can hire them as needed. Create a virtual professional budget where people are given $100 a month to employ an assistant through one of these channels.

My favorite virtual assistant services

Virtual Latinos* are all professionals from Spanish-speaking countries. Their vetting process for assistants is impressive, and only about 3% of applicants are chosen. They have the best onboarding process I've seen. If you have never worked offshore and are unsure what to do, go with Virtual Latinos.

iWorker* uses virtual professionals in politically disadvantaged countries like Kenya and Venezuela. I had someone with a master's degree in marketing work with me for several months before she got a job as an account manager full time. 

Next Steps

If you're still unsure how to hire, onboard, or work with a VA, check out our un-webinar – Secrets to Hiring a Virtual Assistant: Busting the Myths to Hiring a Virtual Professional. I interview the CEOs of Iworker and Virtual Latinos. It's free to watch and comes with a downloadable Work Well with a Virtual Assistant handbook. Want or need one-on-one coaching? Book a coaching package or an intensive. I'll personally help you figure out how to go through hiring, onboarding, and working with them. Set up a Discovery Call here.

Unburden yourself. Work in your line of genius. You can be an employee and hire an assistant.

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Your Weekender Snapshot and Tim Ferriss’s Five Bullet Friday are my favorite emails I receive.
jim west

Principal and Managing Director, GFF Architects