In the past several months, many professionals have found themselves working remotely full time. While some states are lifting their lockdown, others remain closed. Offices have begun warning workers that they will be working from home until at least Labor Day, or even until 2021.
You may find yourself struggling to maintain that work-life balance you achieved before COVID-19 hit, especially if you have children at home. With so much on your plate, perhaps now is the time to look for extra help. The idea of spending money to manage your duties may seem unnecessary. However, a little support can go a long way.
In a recent episode of the Making Bank podcast, cofounders Bryan and Shannon Miles spoke about BELAY, their virtual assistant staffing company. Started in 2010, the married couple cashed in their 401ks and became an all-virtual business that now has over 1100 employees. They match clients with virtual assistants who complete tasks at a more efficient rate than traditional in-person assistants. As Bryan said, “Somebody that’s working onsite 30-35 hours a week, we replaced them with about a 15 hour a week virtual assistant. You’re paying a lot to have somebody sitting in the office – that is what we’ve discovered over time.”
Over the years, the Miles have learned the obvious and unspoken perks to delegating a portion of your workload. Keep reading to find out what those perks are!
One of the more common reasons why someone feels the urge to hire an assistant is due to stress. You’ve learned ways to organize—but sometimes it feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day! No matter how much you plan ahead, you may still find yourself sweating as a deadline approaches. You may be able to squeeze everything in, but then find yourself completely drained afterwards. In other words, you just aren’t enjoying your day to day anymore.
When you feel overwhelmed, you may find yourself unable to think clearly. Stress causes the brain to not always perform the way it normally could. Maybe you don’t know where you need help; you just know that what you’re doing now has become too stressful. In the Making Bank interview, Shannon says, “One of the most common things that our sales team hears is, ‘I know I need help’”…but with what in particular? That confusion perhaps signifies a stressed brain.
An assistant can not only manage your stress but also help organize your days. Perhaps you keep forgetting personal tasks such as making a dentist appointment, and that overhanging chore adds to your stress. Perhaps you need someone to review emails and call clients. Tasks such as these need to get done, but they can take up a lot of time. Maybe it’s time to hire someone else to do them.
Bryan and Shannon point out that you don’t need to hire a full-time assistant if it’s not feasible for you. Bryan began with an assistant who worked 5 hours a week. Just that extra help doubled his own productivity.
Having someone organize your day also brings up the idea of prioritization. When an assistant focuses on scheduling or responding on your behalf, these smaller tasks are taken off your plate. Once they are off your radar, it allows you to focus elsewhere.
You can now pay more time and attention to what you have been hired to do, or important jobs you need to complete. As your assistant develops in the role, he or she can start to take on more responsibility. When your assistant accomplishes more, so can you. As you hand over more jobs, you yourself can take on more. Now, you can maybe expand into an area you always wanted and take on additional work. together, you and your assistant will develop a methodical system that allows both of you to thrive. Josh Felber, the host of Making Bank, says that offloading some of the smaller work to an assistant allows you to focus on the one or two things that help you generate revenue and grow the business. In other words, as the role of your assistant grows, so will you.
While some of us may need a personal assistant to complete tasks such as scheduling appointments, others may need more professional support. Having an assistant can be a good way to invest in the future of the company, as well as build your own mentorship skills. Shannon puts forth that if you “view working with an assistant as a means to replace [yourself] and take the lid off of [your] own leadership, that assistant probably has way more potential than you would normally think of.”
As previously mentioned, the assistant role has room to grow. First, however, you must respect that position itself. If you treat your assistant as someone with the professional chops to eventually assume your job, you can focus on your next steps as well. You can help ease the transition into new responsibilities. By investing in your assistant, you are investing in yourself and the company.
This idea of mentorship also speaks to building a professional legacy. After spending years at a company, many of us want to feel like those years were meaningful. By imparting your knowledge and ideas onto your assistant, you can help equip him or her in the future. While you will not have complete control, you may find that systems you create with the aid of your assistant may remain in place once the two of you are promoted.
When speaking about Bryan’s assistant who worked five hours a week for him, Shannon said that by seeing her as “a partner in the business that would grow as we grew—she’s who our CEO is now.” This move to CEO has allowed Bryan and Shannon to step into a cofounder, cochairmen position for their next stage of life.