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Quick answer: A personal assistant is someone you hire to help with everyday menial tasks to make your life more efficient and give you space and time to focus on high level work. An assistant’s duties can include doing your laundry, scheduling meetings, taking phone calls, managing social media, organizing and processing email and basically whatever else you give them to work on. Their core function is to ensure all your needs are taken care of and to set you up for success.
Now for the longer answer…
Why Would I Want a Personal Assistant?
As a new entrepreneur, you’re probably handling everything in your business, from product development and sales & marketing to accounting and email.
Although there is value in learning all the ins and outs of a business, most people don’t start businesses just to make another job for themselves.
They want something that runs all on its own.
And, to get to that point, you’re going to need to systemize.
This involves creating frameworks (I’m a creative and I prefer the term frameworks to anything else you can name, whether it’s SOPs, flowcharts, processes, procedures, policies or otherwise) and hiring people to handle these tasks on your behalf.
Having other people work in your business gives you time to work on your business.
Doing so gives you the opportunity to focus on high level activity, whether it’s creating the mission or vision of the company, developing the company culture, focusing on sales & marketing and so forth.
But not all businesses are necessarily big or require a large team to run smoothly.
This is where a personal assistant can prove incredibly valuable.
You can have them handle all the menial tasks you don’t want to do (and, let’s be honest, it’s not the best use of your time), while you engage in revenue-generating activity.
Late author and speaker Dr. Wayne W. Dyer accomplished most of what he did with the help of one assistant.
Strategic advisor, consultant, business coach and editor Dan S. Kennedy says he runs his lucrative copywriting business with the help of just one personal assistant and some freelancers when needed.
How do I Train My Personal Assistant?
The same way you train yourself as an entrepreneur.
When you want to learn something, you likely read articles, buy a book, take a course or watch online videos.
When you come across a great course on a specific topic, you can pass it on to your assistant and have them go through it on their own time.
If the material speaks to your values and the culture you want to create with your business, all the better – your assistant will come to understand you and your needs faster.
When you hire an assistant, they will likely have some skills and experience in different verticals already.
Depending on what you need them to do, you may need to train them on additional skills.
Founder of SuperFastBusiness James Schramko suggests using the “I do, we do, you do” method when training team members.
First, you show your employee how to do the task.
Second, you do the task together.
Finally, you have your assistant perform the task as you watch, just to confirm they know what needs to be done and how to do it.
I believe this method cuts right to the core of what needs to be accomplished in the training process, leaving you free to focus on high level tasks, while your assistant handles the tasks you’ve delegated.
Is There Such Thing as a Super Assistant?
It’s nice to know that some business owners and author-speakers can delegate so much responsibility to a single assistant.
But many online experts argue against the idea of a super assistant (meaning someone who can do it all).
If you hire an overseas assistant who isn’t a native English speaker, then I would certainly expect there to be challenges.
So, I think it depends on where you hire as well as who you hire.
When hiring a personal assistant, I wouldn’t suggest hiring a freelancer through a site like Upwork.
Hire My Mom is a much better source to tap and there are others out there.
In theory, anything you can create a framework for, you can delegate.
Ultimately, because this is a contentious issue, you should be aware of both sides of the argument.
But yes, there is such a thing as a super assistant, especially when you consider what Dyer or Kennedy have been able to accomplish.
Additional Resources on Personal Assistants
I would check out Tim Francis of Profit Factory, as I believe him to the be utmost authority in this field.
He has a super assistant that handles a variety of tasks, from creating systems, hiring and onboarding to editing podcasts and YouTube videos, invoicing and more.