The first time I hired an assistant, it was a complete disaster.
And it was 100% my fault.
There was a lot I didn’t know about making my first hire, so I made every mistake possible.
50 Real Estate Listings and Zero Hiring Skills
At the time of my first hire, I had almost 50 real estate listings, all single-family homes.
I knew I needed an assistant because I could barely remember all of my sellers’ names. I was burning myself out, working 12 to 14 hours daily, accumulating listings.
Keep in mind, this was 2012 when the market was at the bottom, and it was easy to accumulate listings. But it was tough to keep track of all the conversations about showings, open houses, price reductions and general updates.
So I knew I needed some help.
All the things I knew I needed to do—send emails, organize my CRM, record notes—circled in my head as I drove from listing appointment to listing appointment.
But the day my new hire walked into the office for the first time, I didn’t know what tasks I would give her. All these issues were swirling around me, but I had no idea how to transfer them to someone else.
At the same time, my phone was pinging with text messages, people were calling, and emails were coming in. I had no idea how to step away from my business, create systems, and train her on those systems. I didn’t even know how to set up a W2 and pay her properly.
Like I said, it was a disaster.
3 Things to Do Before Your First Hire
Fortunately, I learned a lot from that experience. And I’ve made a lot of hires since 2012.
I’m sharing the top three things you need to do before you make your first hire, so you don’t make the same mistakes I did.
#1: Create a List of Responsibilities
The first thing you need to do when hiring an assistant is create a list of what you will have them do.
Write down all the tasks that you are willing to delegate immediately. Consider everything slowing you down and could be handed off to someone else.
You may include organizing communication with clients, uploading notes to your CRM, posting to social media, sending emails and filling out transaction paperwork. One by one, create a list of the tasks you currently do that are not money-making activities.
#2 Narrow Down Your Search
Now that you have a list, read through it and notice any trends. Does it include a lot of social media tasks? Emailing? Transaction paperwork?
Determine the biggest tasks so you can narrow down what type of assistant you need. Do you need an executive assistant? Social media assistant? Transaction coordinator? (By the way, I recommend a transaction coordinator as your first hire).
Based on your list, find out what is taking your attention away from the things that will build your business. If you are not focused on money-making activities, you will see a dip in sales in the current market. You have to get some of these additional tasks off your plate.
By noticing trends on your list, figure out what type of hire makes the most sense and move on to step three.
#3: Build a Specific Job Description
At this point, you have a list of tasks you are willing to delegate, and you’ve narrowed down the type of assistant you will hire.
The next step is to build a specific job description. Yes, some hiring companies will create job descriptions for you, but I recommend making your own.
What’s important about building out a sophisticated job description is that it becomes an SOP —your standard operating procedure. A job description is your blueprint for your SOP, and in turn, training your new hire.
This way, when your assistant starts their first day, you have something to hand over and train them on.
Hiring Virtual Assistants
If I could go back to 2012, something else I would have done differently is hire a virtual assistant. If it’s your first assistant or employee, you don’t need to go out and hire somebody to be in your office physically. A virtual assistant takes the responsibility of payroll off of you as you learn to delegate and create SOPs.
Currently, my team has six VAs, and we’re interviewing for our seventh. Companies like VirtuDesk, which I use for all my VAs, make the hiring and interviewing process easy, taking some of the pressure off of you.
Making your first hire is all about creating more time for you to go after those money-making activities. Following these three steps will help you do it right.
For more information on how to identify tasks to delegate and create a job description, check out the first volume in BAM’s ebook series: How do I Hire a Virtual Assistant?