The birds are chirping and my energy level is the highest it’s been all week. Why? Because I recently hired an assistant to help me with tasks specifically related to the growth and development and outreach of my business. What an incredible relief!
We had our first introductory meeting this morning, and it was so energizing and inspiring to imagine all of the tasks she could begin doing to take my business to the next level. While I will be asking her to perform some tasks that are relatively simple (i.e. organizing receipts, looking back at hours worked by project), I also have some higher level, innovative work in mind (i.e. researching other blogs in technical communication and healthcare writing, informing me about new research in public health). I’m excited that my assistant is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Global Challenges, which involves one year of intensive study on global health. So my hope is that she will be inspired to tell me about interesting new lines of research!
If you are a small business owner, especially of a writing-based consultancy, looking to clear your mind from some of the business-related tasks in front of you, I highly recommend bringing on an assistant. Obviously, I am still handling the most serious parts of my business. For example, I’m currently looking at how to offer health insurance to my employees. But the fact I have an assistant to do the work I previously haven’t had time for not only means I have less of a workload but the quality of the work will be better. Here are some of the first tasks I will be asking my assistant to accomplish:
1. Create standard work for business outreach. She’ll be helping me design email templates that introduce prospective clients to my business and give them a sense of what I can provide.
2. Review my work performance from the past year. One of my core values is to be a learning organization, continuously improving. All of my writing and thinking on Lean methods helps orient me toward process improvement, and inspires me to test and change habits whenever possible. One of the first tasks my assistant will do is look back at all of my project logs and present me with information on how much time I am spending on each project and task. The short-term deliverable from this work will be a year end summary that I can analyze and send to my clients. Longer term, this data will help me generate accurate and realistic pricing information for future clients based on my previous efforts. I will be able to confidently estimate how much time is needed to complete various deliverables, from white paper reports to case studies to full books.
3. Develop plans for blog posts! My blog is a centralized hub where I can share best practices, advice, and stories from the trenches. By taking time to outline some clear tasks that she can help me with (i.e. researching similar blogs, developing a blog-writing calendar and plan), I am already inspired to continue remaining a relevant voice in my field of technical writing and healthcare communications.
After our first short conversation, it’s clear to me that one of the major values of having a business assistant is that it encourages you to maintain and reflect upon your vision and direction as a business owner. Having someone there to help with smaller tasks frees me up to focus on my consulting work and build direction for my business.
What about you? How have you used business assistants? What’s been keeping you from giving it a try? What changes have you noticed in your reflective practices as a business owner?