If you’re an entrepreneur, you’re familiar with the struggle of never having enough time in the day. It may seem like your task list is never-ending, the unfinished work of yesterday always getting pushed off to tomorrow, or long hours spent at the office and restless sleep as you think of all that you have left to do.
While the life of an entrepreneur certainly comes with a great deal of responsibility, many of us take tasks which can be delegated overloading our workdays either because we don’t realize there’s another option or because we feel a need for control. The reality is, it’s potentially doing more harm than good. There are plenty of tasks we take on that could be handled by an executive or virtual assistant, freeing up time to spend on more productive endeavors, or essential time to rest.
Stop for a moment and take stock of your day. What do you spend the majority of your time doing? Answering emails? Taking meetings? Putting out fires and solving crises in your business? If what’s taking up the majority of your time isn’t what you’re best at and what you care about most, then you’re not using your time effectively or efficiently. Ultimately, it’s hurting your business. One of the best resources a CEO can have is a professional and valuable executive assistant.
Chances are, as the CEO, you’re the highest-paid individual within your company. That means the time required of you for critical tasks becomes essential. Your vision for the big picture and the responsibility you have for the success of the company is your primary role. The more time you’re able to spend working on things that require your expertise and authority, the more profitable your company will be, allowing your team members to thrive too. When you handle tasks that someone else could take care of, it costs a much higher rate to get those tasks done than it would cost for someone else to do the same task. Furthermore, you’re taking away time that you could spend on more profitable tasks that expand your business. In other words, if you don’t have an executive assistant, you are the executive assistant.
If you don’t have an executive assistant, it’s time to consider one. A well-trained executive assistant can handle many of the tasks that take up so much of your time. Here are just a few examples of things they can take off your plate:
- Managing emails so you only have to read and respond to the most important messages.
- Keeping your calendar, scheduling appointments, and helping you protect your valuable productive time.
- Taking phone calls, answering questions, and communicating messages that need to get through to key clients and team members.
- Handle any research you need and summarize results so you don’t have to wade through information.
In addition to these general skill sets, it’s also possible to hire specialized assistants who are skilled in social media marketing, accounting, data entry, transcription, project management, editing, copyrighting, and more. Depending on your business, having someone who can write social media posts for you, edit your writing, or keep track of your accounts could significantly reduce your workload.
An executive assistant can make you more productive and ultimately raise your profits by freeing up your time to spend working on your business rather than in your business. When you’re not occupied with tasks that someone else could handle, you have more time and mental space for creativity and to do the work that is most profitable for your company.
Some entrepreneurs are hesitant to hire an executive assistant because of the cost of another employee for what they see as something they can handle themselves. And while you may be able to handle it yourself, remember that the cost of an assistant is less than the cost of your own time. If your company is small or even if you’re a solopreneur, don’t feel limited by the cost. Hiring an assistant doesn’t have to be expensive. You can hire someone part-time to start. You might find that once you see their value, you’ll want to hire them full-time. Or hire a virtual assistant. Virtual assistants can perform most of the same tasks as an executive assistant, but they tend to cost less because you only pay for the time they work directly for you. You can even hire multiple virtual assistants with a variety of skill sets to help fill in talent gaps in your company, and they don’t come with the costs associated with a full-time employee.
By letting go of as many tasks as possible that could be completed by someone else, you gain more freedom and are in a better position to craft the life you want for yourself. It’s important to prioritize your tasks and evaluate which really require your expertise in order to avoid burnout. When you’re working long hours day after day, you risk burning out, which can affect you emotionally, mentally, and physically. You won’t be able to do your best work, and your business will suffer for it. That’s why I believe it’s so important for every CEO to have an executive assistant, even if it’s just a part-time team member or a virtual assistant.
Executive assistants are top-performing CEO’s secret weapons. They can make the difference between a stressed, inefficient entrepreneur and one who’s happy, inspired, and performing at their top level. Make a list of your tasks today and determine which ones are most important, the ones that really require your expertise and the ones that bring the most profit to your company. Follow that list exercise with the idea to train an assistant to handle everything else. When you look at the list of everything you won’t have to handle anymore, how free do you feel?