About 5 or 6 years ago we came to the point where we were so busy working IN our business that we didn’t have enough time to focus on things that would make our business grow or allow us to the spend the time we wanted with our family. We decided that we either needed to hire a nanny or an assistant and since our goal was to spend more time with our family, we decided an assistant would be a better choice for us. That decision helped our business skyrocket!
A photographer that had worked with us often seemed like the perfect choice, but we knew she had another day job. Fingers crossed, we asked her if she’d be interested in doing assistant work and it so happens she was really wanting to quit her day job, but she needed another way to make a small consistent income while running her own photography business. We were ecstatic! We passed on all of the tasks that were taking up our time like culling, album design, client contracts, questionnaires, timelines etc.
She did an amazing job! One thing that we found though was that she gravitated and excelled especially at the “photography related” jobs that involved a creative touch and was less passionate about the administration portion. This made complete sense as usually people who are more creative types are not as administrative and vice versa. This sounds a little extreme, but we decided to keep that assistant as Matt’s assistant and she would help with all of the creative/photography tasks: culling, album design, and blog preparation, while we hired a second part-time assistant to help with the administrative tasks. This made a HUGE difference in our business, having people gifted in the areas they were working in.
If you are finding that you are too busy working IN your business and need to start working ON your business, here are some things to think about when choosing the right person to work for you:
1) Write out the roles/tasks in your business that are not your strengths or that are keeping you from growing your business. What doesn’t need YOUR personal touch?
You may think, “I can do my own editing” or “I’m creative, I can design a decent website for my business”…..but, does your client SEE you doing this? Is there something else you could be doing that will build your connections with your clients or future clients? Could someone else actually be better than you at this?
- Examples that DON’T need your touch: culling images, editing, uploading photos into galleries, preparing the blog with images and credits, some social media posts, some emails, bookkeeping, client gifts, sending contracts and questionnaires, working with the timeline, prepping gear, website updating…
- Examples that likely need YOUR touch: client meetings, client emails, marketing, networking opportunities, shooting, reviewing images
2) For the tasks that don’t need YOU, mark down which ones are creative tasks or administrative tasks.
Where do you see you are needing most help?
What tasks do you dread doing?
If you are not ready to hand over everything quite yet and you tend to be more on the creative side, maybe you find someone that is more administratively inclined to do those tasks.
3) Find the RIGHT person for those types of tasks.
Maybe you are lucky and find someone that excels in both areas, or maybe you realize that most of the tasks you need help with are administrative. It is helpful to focus on finding someone with those skills. The other important things to look for when hiring is finding someone that takes their own initiative, has a go-getter attitude, is friendly, and ideally someone with experience in the type of role you are wanting them in. Choosing someone who just needs a job is not usually a good way to find someone great!
Finding an assistant that complements you in your business can lead to significant growth. Take the time to really figure out WHAT you need help with so you have a defined role of what you are looking for.