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6 Simple Steps To Hiring An Administrative Assistant (For Consultants)

By Michael Zipursky
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Hiring an administrative assistant is one of the best moves you can make for your consulting business.

Many years ago (almost 23 years ago to be exact!) when I started my first consulting business, I was convinced I could do everything myself.

Client calls. Invoicing. Scheduling meetings. Writing. Editing. Creating PowerPoints. Following up. Bookkeeping.

You name it, I did it.

I was convinced that as the business owner, I knew how to do everything right.

Therefore, I had to do it myself.

But after working with many mentors and coaches, I learned that I was dead wrong.

Not all tasks are created equal.

For example, running a sales call that wins a $10K project is a high-value task.

Do more of those calls, and you’ll earn more revenue in your business.

But you can’t do more sales calls if you’re tied up doing lower-value tasks.

For example, preparing and sending invoices is a lower-value task.

Sure, invoices help you get paid. But you can easily train someone to send them for you.

If you’re serious about growing your consulting business, you need to do more high-value tasks (sales, marketing, offer creation, partnerships) and less low-value tasks (email, bookkeeping, scheduling, organizing).

And one of the best ways you can focus on higher-level work is by hiring an administrative assistant.

By the end of this article, you’ll learn how to hire your first administrative assistant using the exact process we’ve used ourselves.

Hiring an administrative assistant has saved me dozens of hours per week.

Let’s dive in.

Step 1. Assess Your Task Values

The first step to hiring an administrative assistant is to assess your task values.

Again: not all tasks are created equal.

You need to take inventory of the tasks you’re doing.

That way, you’ll have a list of tasks you’ll delegate to your administrative assistant.

Here’s how you can think about the different levels of value in the tasks you’re doing:

  • $10/HOUR WORK. Tasks you dislike and where you encounter failure, frustration, conflict, and stress.
  • $100/HOUR WORK. Tasks where you meet the minimum standard, but feel are repetitive and you don’t enjoy the most.
  • $1000/HOUR WORK. Tasks that create the highest level of value, where you work at your genius level, and where you show superior skill, energy, passion, and desire for never-ending improvement.

Inside of our Clarity Coaching Program, we include the following worksheet to help consultants organize these tasks (with credit to Perry Marshall who I first learned this concept from):

hiring an administrative assistant worksheet

By filling out this worksheet, you’ll get clear on where you create the most value so you can delegate anything that’s not a high-value task.

Once you’ve finished this assessment, you’re ready to create your brief.

Step 2. Create Your Brief

Here’s what you include in your brief when hiring an administrative assistant:

  • Background about your company
  • Your mission
  • Your core values
  • The responsibilities of the role (the $10h or lower-value tasks you want to delegate)
  • The traits of your ideal candidate
  • The nature of the role (employee or contactor, full-time or part-time, etc)
  • Next steps: what the candidate should do to apply

Here’s the brief/job posting we used at Consulting Success® to hire an administrative assistant:

Consulting Success® is quickly becoming the number one coaching, training and online educational company and brand for highly motivated, entrepreneurial consultants worldwide that want to take their business and lifestyle to the next level of success.

Our mission is to help consultants from around the world build profitable, scalable and strategic consulting businesses so they achieve greater success for themselves, their families, and their communities.

The Values We Live and Breathe By at Consulting Success…

We Are La Familia:

We’re a family-owned business and we treat our team, clients, and community like one big family with respect, honesty, genuine care, and trust. We go the extra mile for our clients and team members. We truly want to help the people we come in contact with. We love to serve people beyond what is typically expected in a business relationship.

We Are Entrepreneurial:

We believe growth and improvement makes life and business exciting and challenging. We’re always learning, growing, taking action, surrounding ourselves with smart, ambitious and inspiring people. Reaching new levels of personal and business success is what we’re all about!

We Believe Health is Wealth:

We prioritize health. Mental health, daily physical exercise, and having a flexible schedule that allows us to recharge and create amazing life experiences inside and outside of work are key to how we operate and run our business.

We Are Worldwide!

The people, the languages, the cultures, the food, and the geography, make this place we call earth, a truly spectacular and unique gift to us all. We celebrate this through travel, deep exploration, and by happily working with and supporting people of all backgrounds, religions, and ethnicities.

We love what we do and we’re now growing our team! We’re looking to hire a fun, creative, and hardworking Business & Creative Admin Manager to help support our business internally and with client communications.

This exciting work from home position will include things like:

  • Developing, organizing, and managing systems and processes to run a smooth business
  • Management and coordination of scheduling with our coaches and clients
  • Reviewing, organizing, and responding to emails
  • Creating and managing a system that tracks our client’s progress, activity, communications, etc
  • Track and update our business key performance indicators (KPIs)
  • Outreach to publications, associations, and blogs to get our founder on podcasts and find article writing opportunities for him (we will provide you the scripts and templates on what to send, etc)
  • Be good at writing creative and fun emails to clients, media and for other communications
  • Lots of follow up emails and communications will be required – and you should be comfortable recording short video messages (as they work great for follow up)
  • Experience or ability to quickly learn project management software like Asana, ClickUp, Hubspot CRM, etc.
  • Research, organize, and coordinate events we run (online during covid)
  • Order new and ongoing client gifts

You must be extremely detail-oriented. An excellent communicator that always responds quickly and does what you say you will do.

We are ONLY looking for someone who is thinking long-term. We value honesty, loyalty, commitment, and dedication for the long-term and want someone who is excited about growing into a role that ultimately has you leading the management of many aspects of the business.

You should love systems and organization. You’re the kind of person that knows everyone’s birthdays and never fails to send them well wishes.

You should be very comfortable with Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Google Apps, Gmail, Project Management, CRM tools, etc.

This is a contract role. You can work from home but will be required to come to our office every week or two or as needed for group work and creative brainstorming sessions (our office is near XXX). In-person meetings will depend on the covid situation of course.

Position: Contract

Lots of opportunities to increase compensation and continue growing with the position and company over time.

IMPORTANT

If you believe you’re a fit for this role and are interested in learning more reply with:

  1. An email explaining why you feel you’d be a great fit for this role?
  2. What appeals most to you about this role?
  3. What most interests you about Consulting Success®?
  4. Your resume and past work experience (references will be required).
  5. Be sure to use the subject line “Business & Creative Admin Manager (Work From Home)”, and send it to XXX.

Take our example, tweak it, and make it fit your company and what you’re looking for.

The more detailed and specific your brief, the better candidates you’ll get.

However, avoid the mistake of trying to cram too many responsibilities into this role.

You want to hire A players, not C players. Trying to put too many jobs into one will make it much harder for your candidate to succeed in their role.

Once you’ve written a compelling brief using the outline above, you’re ready to send it out to your network and start gathering applications.

Step 3. Blast It Out To Your Network

Now that you’ve written your job description, blast it out to your network.

Start by creating a post on LinkedIn to promote your job posting.

Ideally, you’ll be referred to a candidate by someone in your network. Your best applications will often come from referrals.

After you’ve posted it on your social channels, send an email out to your list.

Tell them that you’re hiring an administrative assistant. Ask them to send the application to someone who they think would be a good fit.

If you’re still looking for applicants after the above 2 methods, post your application on Indeed.

Indeed is one of the largest job marketplaces, and you’ll get plenty of applications from it.

They might not be as high-quality as referrals, but you’ll still find solid candidates.

After distributing your posting, you’ll start to get applications.

In the next step, you’ll review the applications and narrow down your choices to the best candidates.

Step 4. Review The Applications

Once you’ve gathered the applications, review them.

Pay particular attention to each candidate’s…

  • Communication skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Experience doing similar type of work
  • Enthusiasm about your company and the position

Eliminate all of the candidates who are lacking any of the above skills so you can focus on the best candidates.

But remember: just because a candidate looks good on paper doesn’t mean they’ll perform well in the role.

That’s why at the bottom of your brief, you asked them for a specific response.

If they failed to follow the exact instructions you wrote in your brief, they aren’t a good candidate.

After you cut all of the non-fit candidates, ask the good potential candidates to send you a video.

For example, ask them to use video to answer a few questions about their career background, what value they can add to your company, and what they like to do for fun.

Look for candidates who can follow simple, straightforward instructions — and respond promptly.

You’d be surprised at how many candidates who look good on paper struggle to follow simple instructions.

Asking them to follow specific instructions is a good filtering mechanism to help you narrow down to the best candidates.

Communication skills, attention to detail, promptness, and enthusiasm are essential to being an executive assistant. Ensure that anyone who makes it to the final round has these qualities.

Once you’ve selected the top 2-3 candidates, you’ll send them a test project.

Step 5. Offer A Test Project

To find the best administrative assistant, assign them a paid test project.

Pick a real task in your business.

Record a video of yourself doing the task, and send it to the candidate.

Then, ask the candidate to follow the video and perform the task.

Again, some candidates won’t complete it. Cut those ones.

The type of candidate you want to hire can complete the task successfully.

Judge the final candidates based on how quickly and easily they were able to complete the test project.

Did they follow instructions?

Did they respond quickly?

Did they complete the task to your standard?

Remember: your communication skills are important here. Ultimately, you’ll be the one training and delegating tasks to your administrative assistant.

But you should have the confidence that if you create instructions, your administrative assistant can follow them and complete tasks with minimal back-and-forth.

Step 6. Make The Hire

The paid test project will help you get a feel for the best candidate.

After reviewing those, hire the person who you think is the best fit.

Now, what should be your next steps once you make the hire?

Give them a small thing to do first.

Like the test project, create a video of yourself doing another $10/h task.

Assign it to your administrative assistant and see how well they perform it.

Help them iron out any kinks and ensure it’s a smooth process — so they can do it well every time.

Once they’ve done that, assign them another task.

Use the same systemization and delegation process.

A big mistake consultants make with their first administrative assistant hir is giving them too much too soon.

You’ve been doing these tasks for a long time. But your new hire has to learn all of it from scratch.

By assigning them tasks one by one, you can help them perfect each one before you give them more.

This way takes a bit longer, but it will prevent future headaches and mistakes.

The more you record yourself doing tasks and creating systems, the easier it will be to delegate said systems.

Remember the end goal: to delegate your $10/h tasks to your administrative assistant so you can focus on $1000/h tasks.

That way, you can stay within your “zone of genius” — and grow your consulting firm to greater heights.

Imperfect Action: Hire Your Administrative Assistant

You’ll never feel 100% ready to make your first hire.

But by following these 6 steps, you’ll hire an administrative assistant who is guaranteed to add massive value to your business.

Nothing will create more time for you to work on higher-value tasks than hiring someone to take on your lower-value tasks.

It will take some time to get them up to speed.

However, once they are caught up and take those tasks off your plate, you’ll understand why building a team is so crucial to take your consulting business to new heights.

If you need help hiring an administrative assistant (and building a consulting team) so you can grow and scale your consulting business to high-six or seven figures, our Clarity Coaching Program is for you.

We’ll work hands-on with you to develop a strategic plan and then dive deep and work through your ideal client clarity, strategic messaging, consulting offers, fees, and pricing, business model optimization, and help you to set up your marketing engine and lead generation system to consistently attract ideal clients.

Schedule a FREE growth session today to apply for our limited capacity Clarity Coaching Program by clicking here.

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