May 18, 2016

The real reason your assistant didn't work out

If you've tried outsourcing or hiring an assistant before and it just didn't really work out the way you expected it to, I’ve got good news and bad news.

Good news:

It's totally fixable

Bad news:

It was probably you, the CEO, not them. (ouch!)

Here's the thing, of course it's possible that the person you hired just wasn't the right fit or you didn't hire the right person or they're not really good at what they do. However in my experience, 9 out of 10 times it’s not as simple as that.

The much more likely scenario is that we just haven't learned how to be a great manager, a great delegator, a great CEO and let people do their thing.

YouTube video

Here’s what we can do to make sure this doesn’t happen again:

1- Hire the right person for the job

If you need someone with design skills, make sure you see some of the work before you hire them.  If you need someone to write for you, you probably want a native English speaker and want to see some of their previous writing experience as well.  Want someone to take over your social media?  Unless you’re planning to teach them all about social media, you’ll want to look for someone that has experience in this field and can show you examples of this work with previous clients.

2- Set clear expectations and give clear instructions

In all my years of hiring, both for celebrities with unlimited budgets and for my own startups I have yet to find any mind readers. 😉

When you first hire someone, you have to spend a little time on the training and onboarding process.  For each task, explain exactly what you mean (spell it out, even if it seems like you’re over explaining).  You can never be too clear.  Encourage them to ask questions if something is unclear.

Far too often what we think is common sense is actually just our individual preferences or what we’ve been doing a certain way for so long it’s become routine, which brings me to my next point.

3- Have clear systems and procedures in place

Even if you're not ready to hire someone right now, this is something that you can, and should, start working on each day. Just start getting things out of your head and onto your computer.  That way, when you bring someone in to help, they don't need special mind reading skills because the expectations and clear, easy to follow step by step instructions are right there for them, exactly how you like each task done.

4- Let it go, mostly

A huge area of resistance around hiring an assistant or outsourcing is relinquishing control.  I’m a recovering control freak myself, so I totally get that, but if we’re ready to not work 16 hours a day, and we understand that in order to do that we need help, we’re gonna have to loosen the grip a bit, dude. 🙂

Delegating is like a muscle.  Flex it and it’ll get stronger (you’ll get better at it).  Of course when you’re first training and onboarding someone you’ll want to keep a close eye to make sure things are going well, nothing is slipping through the cracks and that you’re both communicating expectations, struggles and feedback.  That said, you won’t truly achieve CEO freedom if you’re micromanaging each team member all day every day.   At some point, you’ve got to let (most of) it go, which should be easier now that you’ve followed all of the previous steps I’ve outlined above.

If you've:

  1. hired someone that's good at what they do,
  2. given them clear expectations of what you want
  3. have systems and processes in place

… then let them do their thing. You can always give feedback and refine the process along the way.

Now I’d love to hear from you!

What are your best tips for making the assistant process work out for you? Leave a comment below!


The Real Reason Your Assistant Didn't Work Out


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