Business Advice, Virtual Assistant

How To Know When It’s Time To Hire An Assistant

Like most entrepreneurs, do you find yourself spending far too much time on making a list of things to do instead of actually doing them? Are you struggling to make time for your family, friends or yourself? Then it sounds like you need an assistant. Someone who will help you free up some much needed time in your life so you can grab a coffee with a friend, play with your kids, or work on more strategic tasks. You can achieve that work-life balance you’ve been dreaming of.

Okay, we know that you need an assistant, but do you know if you need a full time personal assistant? or someone on a more ad-hoc basis, such as a virtual assistant?

Let’s start by looking at that never ending to-do list. Check what type of things you have on there and break them down in to physical and computer based tasks. Doing this will help you figure out if you need someone on site or someone remote. If you need someone to rearrange your office or make you a cup of tea, you will probably be looking at an onsite PA.

pen calendar to do checklist

If you need someone onsite, work out how much you are willing to pay them. Paying peanuts will only give you a monkey. So think hard about this before contacting recruitment agencies or advertising the job yourself. In the UK, an average PA will cost you around £21,000 per annum. A really good one will cost anything between £25,000 to £32,000, depending on the amount of work you have to offer and the experience you would like them to have. Be frank and open about your requirements, this is the number one rule to build an exceptional relationship with your assistant.

On the other hand, if you find that you’re mostly out of the office and would prefer an assistant that’s on hand as and when you need them, a virtual personal assistant would suit the bill. Work out how many hours a week or month you would need them for. If unsure, go for an hourly rate that you’re comfortable with. Depending on the flexibility of the assistant you choose, you can always increase or decrease the hours at a later stage. You won’t get this flexibility with an onsite PA. For example, one of my clients started on an hourly basis for the first few weeks. Later, they realised that they needed more work done than originally planned. We discussed the requirements and worked out they needed 10 hours of support per week. Which is when I moved them on to a retainer as it was not only cost effective for their business, it worked out better for me as well.

To sum things up, every successful business owner needs an assistant at some point in their journey.  The busier you get, the less time you will have on your hands. Try not to leave things too late, the sooner you act the better chance you have of continuing your success without a hitch.



Business Advice, Virtual Assistant

Is Your Business Ready For Winter?

The upcoming winter months can be a cause for concern to many business owners. When severely bad weather strikes, it leads to travel disruptions and childcare issues. This means individuals may struggle to get into the office. Whether you and your staff take the public transport or drive to work, snow laden roads can make travel quite dangerous. Individuals with children may struggle to find childcare due to school or nursery closures. If staff are unable to get to work, how will you continue to operate your business?

As a nation with unpredictable winter months, we really should be prepared for anything.

bare tree covered with snow

Which brings me to a very important question. Do you have a Winter Risk Management Plan in place? A back up plan to keep your business moving no matter what the weather is outside? If you’ve said no, it really is a good idea to have one in place. It doesn’t have to be a hundred pages long. A short and simple plan should suffice for most businesses.

Here are a few things to consider when creating your plan:

  • Prepare for snow and ice removal – we don’t want anyone getting hurt because they slipped on some ice. Safety first!
  • Backup generator – if there’s a blackout, a back up generator should keep things going for a while.
  • Prepare your staff – communicate potential weather emergencies with your staff. If they know it’s going to snow heavily for the next couple of days, they can plan ahead.
  • Have emergency contacts in place – an Office or HR Manager usually make a good emergency contact to report staff absence.
  • Offer the option to work from home – if staff can access their computers remotely, that’s great! If not, at least make sure they have access to emails.
  • Create an online meeting room for your team – Skype, and Zoom are great ways to hold online meetings without breaking the bank.
  • Telephone redirection – set up a divert on your office line. Most telecom companies now offer this as an option. You should be able to contact them and set up a manual divert or do it online, depending on your provider.
  • Most importantly, have emergency support in place, such as a virtual assistant or casual workers through a recruitment agency.

Winter is coming… so be prepared!