Hiring an assistant is sometimes scary yet an important strategy for growing your interior design business.
And once you do, it’s absolutely amazing!
Hiring an Assistant
Start by creating a list of work that doesn’t require you, your skillset, or as an expensive hourly professional.
What kind of tasks does that include?
- Pricing product
- Creating purchase orders
- Tracking purchase orders
- Fixing freight problems
- Managing email
- Customer service
- And all the other details you really wish to never ever do yourself again.
With these tasks off your plate, you’ll immediately have more billable hours and it only takes a couple of paid billable hours to pay for that person!
Plus, you’ll get some freedom from the drudgery of administrative work.
Selecting an Assistant
First, make sure you hire somebody who’s happy about doing the actual job.
If you advertise for a design assistant and then put her in charge of pricing, freight problems, and all that yucky stuff, they’re not going to be very happy.
People who are not happy with what they’re doing (or are not good at it) ultimately cause unnecessary mistakes which costs you time and money.
The trick is you don’t need a design assistant.
Why? Because you like to design.
What you really are looking for is an administrative assistant.
Someone who loves tracking stuff down, fixing problems, talking to people and providing a little customer service – that’s the person you’re after.
The next piece is to make sure they work every day of the week.
That doesn’t mean they have to be full-time at 40-hours. Instead, it means they need to be there at least two hours a day to consistently know what’s going on in your business.
There’s no continuity when an assistant is helping only two afternoons a week because all they can do is what you tell them to do – which is just more work for you.
You want someone who can manage the administrative tasks themselves and keep you informed of what they’re doing and what’s going on.
Start With Emails
The first task your new admin should tackle is email. You want to teach them how to identify emails that are junk vs. important emails that need attention right away.
Show them the kind of emails they can answer on your behalf by writing a few example responses, and which kind of emails you need to respond to yourself. Next, have those important emails moved over to a private email account that you check daily.
This process will save you an hour or more each day and will give you a better idea of what’s going on with clients, vendors, and more.
All About Your Phone
The next step is to get your phone on to Google Voice or another type of phone service.
Find a service that provides a very professional greeting with your business name, caller ID, voicemail transcription, and an employee directory if necessary.
No more of this “You’ve reached two four seven five six two…” style of messages. That’s not what a professional business uses, so you shouldn’t either!
Have your assistant check voicemails and send it to you if important, or send you a text saying you need to listen to it.
Knowing who’s calling you and deciding if you want to answer it right then or not will reduce your daily interruptions.
With these pieces in place – it’s time to go a little deeper.
If you don’t have some design software in place yet, you need to do it. There are a lot of options to choose from, each is a little different, but they’re all good as long as they’re cloud-based.
Cloud-based means you can work on it from anywhere and not just on your computer only!
This kind of software makes it possible to turn over duties like pricing, purchasing, PO tracking, and more to your assistant and keep it all organized.
Delegate vs. Abdicate
Finally, once you integrate them into your business, you need to learn how to delegate and then check-in to ensure it’s done right.
Delegating is different from abdicating, which is when you just give it away without checking-in, and it comes back to bite you.
If you’re ready for an assistant and growing to the next level, but aren’t sure how to delegate and support your business in a really amazing way – let’s chat!
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Getting an assistant can free up 10+ hours a week in your schedule to do more of what you love!
Until we talk again, design something beautiful and get paid what you’re worth!