Sometimes Finding the Perfect Assistant Takes Some Assistance!

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Background:

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My friend Carla is a hair and makeup stylist who makes people look and feel their most confident and beautiful inside and out. She specializes in getting people camera-ready for all sorts of special events, from weddings to professional headshots to press conferences to televised high-couture runway show. Unlike most stylists, Carla doesn’t have a salon or studio space of her own: she travels wherever her clients need her services, bringing all her equipment and supplies with her.

The Challenge:

Carla’s artistic talents and impeccable reputation for making clients feel both comfortable and special have resulted in a thriving business. As she’s become more established as a top stylist in the DC and the mid-Atlantic region, the administrative and operational aspects of in her business have become more burdensome and demanding.

Carla could no longer manage the scheduling and logistics, marketing and social media, and communications functions of her business – on top of her client services – all alone. She knew that it was time for her to start working with a virtual assistant, but was less clear on:

  • What are the specific functions she needed help with?
  • How would working with a VA affect her routine and role in her business?
  • How can she find a VA with a workstyle, communications approach, and personality    that complemented her own?
  • What would the transition of vital business responsibilities from Carla to a VA look like?

Although these concerns are extremely common, addressing them is still daunting, and for small business owners with precious little time to take on new problems, sometimes it just seems easier to put it off.

The Solution:

I worked with Carla to think through her responses to the questions above and find the perfect VA to meet her specific needs.

First, we listed out all the operational and administrative tasks required to run and grow Carla’s business, including how long each task took to complete and how frequently it needed to happen.

Next, we discussed which of these tasks Carla wanted to or needed to complete herself, and which she wanted to delegate. We also created a vision for Carla’s role in operations and administration once the VA was on board. For the responsibilities to be delegated, we talked about what level of involvement she would still want to have to feel in control of her business (but without venturing into micromanagement territory).

Then I put together a draft position description for the VA, which included desired skills and personality traits to best compliment Carla’s and fill business needs.

Finally I interviewed a number of VA candidates and presented the finalists to Carla for final interviews.

This whole process took a few weeks, and only included 1 in-person meeting and a handful of follow-up phone calls between Carla and me.

Results:

Let’s hear it from Carla!

 “I was worried about hiring the wrong person and (having to) starting all over again wasting time and money. (But now) my business has its first employee whom I trust with everything…. The true beauty in my experience with Alex was just understanding more of what I needed to do to be happy in my business and figuring out what I needed to pass off.”