How (And Why) to Hire a Virtual Assistant

UPDATED: February 1, 2024
PUBLISHED: May 18, 2021
How (And Why) to Hire a Virtual Assistant

On this week’s episode of SUCCESS Line, we dive into a process that is seemingly simple—hiring an assistant—but carries implications that go much deeper.

I talk to Devin, a successful real-estate practitioner who has been in the business for more than 30 years and whose local and national team includes hundreds. Recently, his executive assistant relocated due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and he is looking to hire someone new to become his “Chief Time Ninja.” I help him identify what he needs from an assistant (Remote or in-person? personal or executive?), how to best go about the hiring process, and why he should consider bringing in more help in all aspects of his life. 

Hiring an assistant is a step that all entrepreneurs likely come to at some point, and your mindset surrounding the process is far more important than you might think. Keep reading to learn not only how to hire an assistant but also why doing so can be such a game-changer.

1. Multiply your time.

Raise your hand if you’ve ever found yourself saying, “I am overwhelmed, overworked, and falling behind, but… I can’t afford an assistant.” Sound familiar?

The thing is, you are already affording it. You can either pay someone else at their rate or you can pay yourself at your rate of pay. Anything taking your time—big or small—is costing you your rate of pay; you are charging yourself with opportunity costs. 

So yes, you can afford to hire an assistant because you are already paying for it. Once you hire someone, you will find that you have exponentially more time to go out and work toward the results you are actually paid to achieve.

This is how you multiply time, a concept I coined in my second book, Procrastinate on Purpose, and spoke about in my TED Talk. There is nothing you can do to add more hours into a day; you multiply your time by spending time on things today that create more time tomorrow. 

For Devin (and I suspect many of you) hiring an assistant today is an investment in his time going forward. Every day in the future that his new assistant completes a task for him is a return on that investment. 

If you still think you can’t afford an assistant, I’ll say this: You don’t need another car; you need more time. You don’t need a bigger house; you need less stress. You don’t need a bigger bank account; you need more peace. What can you invest in today to create more time and less stress in the future? 

2. Start with your sphere of influence. 

Whether you are searching for an executive assistant like Devin or another member of your team, the best, fastest, and most affordable way to find a great candidate is to start with your sphere of influence. Reach out to your friends, family members and colleagues to let them know what you are looking for. By starting with your sphere, you accelerate trust with your potential new hire. 

Plus, the No. 1 way to recruit new team members is by asking those already on your team. These are the people who support your mission, and they are likely to know people with similar values and passions that you can bring on board. 

When hiring or recruiting for any position, start with your sphere of influence first and reach out to strangers second. 

3. Grant yourself permission to be imperfect.  

This is one of the hardest and most important lessons all entrepreneurs must learn, and one that has taken me years to learn. It finally clicked for me while interviewing successful entrepreneurs during my research for Procrastinate on Purpose. I wanted to know: how do the most successful 1% think differently about time? I’ll never forget what one entrepreneur said in response: “Rory, you have to remember that 80% done right by someone else is always better than 100% done right by you.”

In order to advance from achiever to leader you have to give yourself the permission to be imperfect; you have to break free from the constraints of perfectionism. 

This advice may feel counterintuitive for entrepreneurs. You’ve likely just spent your entire career aiming for 100% perfection, and that perfection is how you’ve achieved your current level of success. But what got you here as a performer won’t get you there as a leader. 

Andy Stanley, an author, speaker and pastor says “Leadership is not always about getting things done ‘right.’ Leadership is about getting things done through other people.” Focus on where you excel and delegate the rest.

If you want to break into the next level in your career and become a true leader, you have to release control and give yourself permission to be imperfect. 

The SUCCESS Line is no longer releasing new episodes on the SUCCESS Podcast Network, but you can still listen to the full conversation below.

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