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How to Hire a Personal Assistant & Increase Your Productivity

Set your daily tasks on autopilot with the help of a personal assistant. Now the work will continue even while you are sleeping.
In 127 steps you will:
Add 8 more hours to your day
Increase your productivity and get more free time
Find a personal assistant who will become your clone
Start delegating your work and learn how to get it done
Learn how to sign legal documents
Find out how to keep your passwords and credit cards safe
steps inside
143
ESTIMATED TIME
8h

What you will do

After reading this guide, your workday will never stay the same. Every morning you will be waking up with a smile and find your tasks done. You will forget that nagging feeling of shame of once again putting off tasks you do not want to engage into. This guide will help you find an affordable and good assistant, one who will become a reliable helper and a guardian of your free time. By purchasing this information, you are making the best investment into yourself and the future of your business.

You will learn all the details of choosing and hiring an assistant: from creating right test assignments and signing NDA contract to the subtleties of setting tasks and keeping the passwords safe.

About author

Vladimir started his career as a designer and developer working in small firms and companies. Nevertheless, he quickly achieved success as a renowned designer. After years of working full-time jobs, he decided to build a company and has successfully started to sell several digital products. Over the past few years, he has tested many business ideas and found ones that have brought him a stable passive income.
"For the two years already, I have been thanking my personal assistant every day for the work done. I learned to delegate tasks so that my business continues to earn more money without my participation. In this guide, I'm going to share all the accumulated experience to make your every day as productive as possible."
Vladimir Kudinov
Co-founder at FocFoc, Entrepreneur, Designer

Perfect Fit for

Entrepreneurs, Freelancers, Dropshippers who want to delegate parts of their businesses and set it on autopilot
Everyone who wants to clone himself in order to achieve more
Marketers who want to find more business clients

Read Full guide (15)

143 steps
Why you should try an assistant
16 steps
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Free time to do business

Delegating tasks is what distinguishes an entrepreneur from a worker. Staying free of tasks that can be done by others gives you time to think globally and develop your business.

Triple your productivity

One can double his productivity by working 24 hours a day. The only way to multiply yourself more than 2 times is to teach others to take on some of your work.

Free time for yourself, your family, and friends

Working with a virtual assistant saves you great deal of time; time that you can otherwise spend on yourself and your loved ones.

Get time for experiment

You no longer need to stay up late trying to think through another idea for business development. You can delegate both small and big business experiments to your virtual assistant.

While you are sleeping, someone does work for you, implements your ideas, gives life to your projects, and contacts people.

Save money by working with an assistant

The average pay rate of an assistant is $6 per hour. What is your hourly rate? I am sure it is much bigger. By performing routine tasks yourself everyday, you waste not only your time but also money.

On the opposite, by delegating tasks to an assistant and using his work, you save both your time and money. Leave your 'less important' tasks to less expensive employees.

Delegate your routine tasks

Tired doesn’t mean rich. Stop doing things that get you upset or you're not good at; double down on what you do best. How? Just hire somebody, okay?

Delegate your social media management

You can train the assistant to generate content for your social media: create posts, make discount promotions, communicate with the audience of your channels, and answer questions.

Delegate research

If you need to search for information on the Internet, enter data to Google Sheets, check data, find email addresses - all these you can delegate to your assistant.

Delegate travel planning

It takes a lot of time to search for air tickets or good hotels. By delegating these tasks, you are saving your time and sparing your nerves.

Delegate communication

When you need to make an appointment, write an email, or answer support, instead of doing it yourself, it's better to delegate.

Delegate bookkeeping

It's easier to find a tutorial on youtube on how to use bookkeeping software and teach the assistant to do it, than to waste time yourself.

Assistant can do bookkeeping, send and keep invoices, collect and categorize receipts.

Delegate lead generation and processing

Running a business often includes search for people who could buy your product. We search on linkedin, on facebook groups; we write cold emails to different groups of people. If you train an assistant to do all this, he will bring you money, while you’ll be busy generating ideas on how to improve your business.

Delegate content management

You can delegate the search for content authors for the site, filling the site with new information, creating email send-outs, working with WordPress or any other CMS.

Stop clinging to the notion that no one does your work better than you

These excuses usually reveal your fears: you fear that your task will be done wrong, at the wrong time, and by a wrong person. But the one who does his business with the hands of other people is more likely to succeed than those who do everything themselves.

Remember the 80/20 rule: It is better to do 80% of the work spending 20% ​​of effort than vice versa.

Don’t say ‘It’s expensive’

The average pay rate of an assistant is $6. Your time is obviously more expensive. Working with an assistant means, not wasting your money, but saving it.

Ship your ideas faster

To perform your idea with rate 4 out of 5 and launch it faster is much better than to be stuck in mire of endless improvements with nothing being achieved. The assistant will help you get the speed. Implement your ideas as quickly as you come up with them.

Test your assistant candidates
6 steps
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Test for contact outreach

You can check your candidate for the ability to work on LinkedIn and search for the right people there.

  • Open LinkedIn and search for 20 people who live in San Francisco. They have to work as marketers in the companies with max. 20 employees.
  • Collect all the data in Google Sheets: “Name”, “Company”, “Company website link”, “Email”. To find their emails, you should use any tools available.
Test research

Additionally, you can test the freelancer’s ability to search for information and sort out the results. It is better if you can check these results. For example, if you know the best restaurant in Los angeles which serves khinkali, you can ask the candidate to search for it.

  • Please find the best dim sum restaurant in Los Angeles.
Test writing skills and his knowledge of English

If you need an assistant with good English, you can test him by asking to write a letter.

  • We need to compose a letter (2-3 paragraphs) which we will send to founders of small startups. In this letter, you need to tell about the Intercom service - it enables startuppers to communicate with site visitors via built-in chat. You should study the site, understand the benefits for startuppers, and create a letter where you offer them a free month of service.
Evaluate writing for social media

If you need personal assistant who knows how to write short texts for Facebook on your business page, you can check this skill using a quick test.

  • Please visit my website foculty.com and write 3 small posts for our Facebook page to attract more audience to our website. Each post must be one or two paragraphs long.
Test specific skills

What other skills would you like to test? Think out the last trial. Make sure that your trial assignments do not take much of the freelancer’s time. Still, they should give you enough evidence to make your decision about the candidate

If the types of your daily tasks differ, you can create your own test assignments
Find 5 best candidates
17 steps
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We need to find 5 candidates to choose the best one

It is better to choose the best assistant out of 5 candidates than to rush into cooperation with the first you come to. Any personal assistant has qualities that you may like or dislike. Some work fast but make many mistakes. Others write well but do it slowly.

When choosing out of 5 candidates, consider who of them has the qualities you favor.

Here is a plan. Now we are going to find 5 good candidates, send them paid test tasks, and see which of them will perform better. We will pay each candidate $25, total $125. But in the end, we will really have the best one.

Register an account on Upwork

Go to Upwork and create an account there.

Click “Post a New Job”
Click “Create a new job post” and then “Next”
In “Type of work” field choose “Personal Assistant”
Type in a name of your post. Click “Next”

For example, you can write “Looking for an experienced Personal Assistant”

Describe your tasks and the type of person you are looking for

List the approximate tasks the assistant should perform. Explain what kind of person you need and what talents he should have. Be brief, but at the same time, let people understand who you are really looking for.

It is worth noting that most people on Upwork do not read the text of the vacancy and just apply for every job post, hoping to find any work. So I often use the trick: "Please start you reply with a word Cheesecake". People who start their letter with this phrase are really interested in your vacancy, or at least read it.

Example:I’m looking for a virtual assistant who could do for me 5 things:

  • Find 20 people with specified parameters on LinkedIn, and their emails
  • Do small research and find the best restaurant that serves khinkali in Los Angeles
  • Write 3 small posts for Facebook Page
  • Write a letter offering my services
Select “One-time project” and enter skills if needed

If you have preferences about the skills of a freelancer, you can indicate them here. For example, if you know that the assistant will work a lot with WordPress, you can specify it here.

Set price

"Pay a fixed price" means that the freelancer must perform all the test tasks for the indicated price. In this case, you will not consider the amount of time he spends on it.

Choose a budget for 5 tasks. I believe that the reasonable price for the 5 stated above tasks is $25. Your situation may vary depending on the selected tasks and the country you are hiring a freelancer from.

Select preferred rating, level of English, and location

Set “Job Success Score” to 90%. This means that the system will offer you only people with good rating and feedbacks.

If you have preferences regarding the country the assistant must be from, indicate it too. If you want to cut down expenses, do not choose ‘rich and developed countries’ option.

Determine the level of English your assistants must have. I always indicate ‘Fluent’.

Put “Screening Questions”

This is the most important point of the project. Screening questions can tell you about freelancer’s skills much better than anything else. What questions would you like to ask a freelancer to check his qualification?

For you to have an idea of what to ask, here are the questions that I usually put. Ask only what you are really concerned about and what can give you a perception of the assistant’s skills.

  • I am aiming to find personal assistant for 4 hours a day. Are you ready to work 4 hours a day for $400 a month?
  • Have you ever worked with WordPress? Can you give an example of your work?
  • Have you ever written texts? Can I see some of them?
  • Do you know how to do research on LinkedIn? Which tools do you use to find people’s emails?
Click “Post Job”
Click “Filters” button while inviting people to participate in your job
Choose the right filters

If you need an assistant with good English, set “English Level” > “Fluent”. Additionally, put “Job Success” > “90% & up” + “Rising Talent”. Choose the right hourly rate and preferable location.

I prefer working with people from Ukraine; there are many young and educated specialists in there. Considering value for money, Ukrainians usually are the best option.

As a second-best option, I would recommend any East European country, such as Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, the Czech Republic.

Also, since the second official language of the Philippines is English, candidates from there may be considered too.

Consider filters applied when inviting the people
Wait until people respond to your vacancy

After you posted the job, people will start sending in their proposals.

If you failed to find the right people, repost the job offer again and again until you find good candidates

Most probably, you won’t be able to find 5 good candidates on the first try. Assume that you are a gold seeker trying to find grains of gold in the river sand.

You can repost a job with just one click on "Repost Job" button. Do this every 1-2 days after posting, and start selecting new candidates.

Choose the best candidate
12 steps
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Choose candidates with good answers for the screening questions

It’s essential for the candidate to give correct answers and to have good communication skills.

Choose candidates with 95% & up “job success” rate
Choose candidates with sufficient English level
Choose candidates who agree to work for the money you offer

Discuss in advance the pay per month of the assistant and how many hours per day he will work. Choose only those people whose monetary expectations meet your desires.

Choose candidates with good feedback from former employers
Make a list of 5 candidates who meet the stated above qualifications
Create another job post and invite chosen candidates there
Set money rate for job completion and due date

If you believe all the work can be done in 2 days and $20, set these parameters in your job post.

Review the results after the candidates completed the work

Analyze the way the candidates completed the assignment. The time of the completion is an important factor to be considered.

Choose a candidate who performed well and fits you best
If all the candidates performed badly, start the process of selecting candidates again
Pay the candidates and close your job post
Interview your personal assistant
10 steps
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Start a correspondence with the chosen candidate
Define work conditions

Agree about the money and amount of hours per day the assistant will work.

Choose a messenger you will use for quick communication

Based on extensive experience, we recommend using instant messengers, since it is the fastest way to communicate with an assistant. Also, you can use Slack or similar. Email is too long!

If you want, you can make a video-acquaintance with the assistant

For some people, it is important to get acquainted with the assistant personally. It may be of help in order to establish mutual trust.

Define the hours when you will discuss the results of the work and give new assignments

You must establish a time when both of you can communicate on current and future assignments.

Create new job post on Upwork and invite your assistant there
Set a monthly pay you both agreed on
Start working with your assistant on your tasks
If you don’t like using Upwork, you can pay Opt-out fee and start working with the assistant directly
You can use local HR platforms to find an assistant too
Prepare and sign the contract
14 steps
DO THESE STEPS
Decide whether you need additional contracts with an assistant, or you can do with what Upwork provides

Upwork provides a very basic protection for confidential information and IP transfer agreement. The Client owns any information they provide to a Freelancer to do the work, but grants the Freelancer the right to use that material as necessary to create the Work Product. Clients retain all Intellectual Property rights for these materials, and—to protect Confidential Information—the materials must be returned or destroyed when the job wraps up.

Once a Freelancer has received full payment from the Client, any intellectual property generated by the project becomes the full property of the Client. A Freelancer retains no rights to use it. (However, if a Client makes only a partial payment, they own only the portion of the Work Product that’s already been paid for.)

Further we'll discuss situation where you still may need other documents, or when you don’t use Upwork.

If you are planning to share confidential information with the assistant, you should consider signing NDA (Non Disclosure agreement).

Standard NDA form you can find on RocketLawyer or LegalShield.

Download the NDA template and put in there all the necessary data of the parties, including the name, address, contact email / phone number, ID number, if necessary (of yourself or your company as confidential information Owner, and assistant’s as Recipient).
Think about the terms of the agreement and indicate it in there
Define what constitutes ‘confidential information’ in the corresponding field

For example: Owner's passwords and access to information resources, contact details of the company's customers, current business processes, information products of the company, materials related to the development of new products, services or business processes of the company, financial data.

Download independent contractor agreement template

Standard form of the agreement can be found on RocketLawyer or LegalShield.

Indicate all the necessary data of the parties, including the name, address, contact email / phone number, ID number if needed (of yourself or your company as a Recipient, and an assistant’ as a Contractor).
Indicate the term of the agreement, how long it will be in effect, whether it can be prolonged. Specify the time limits for notification in case the contract terminates (usually 1-2 weeks).
Describe the method and schedule of payments (for example, monthly payment).
Describe services provided by the assistant

If there are no specific requirements, put Beginning on [DATE]; the Contractor will provide the following services (collectively the "Services"): Virtual Assistant services.

Applicable Law

Indicate the country (and state) to the laws of which this agreement will operate.

IP ownership

Usually, the contract states that the results of all the work performed by the contractor belong to Recipient - that is, you or your company - provided that proper timely payments were made. Check if this is indicated in your contract.

Confirm with the candidate that he is ready to sign these agreement forms

If you have any questions about the contracts, you can always consult the lawyers from the website you downloaded agreement templates from. Usually, if candidates have questions, you can indicate which site the forms were downloaded from in order to raise their confidence in it.

Sign the agreements

It is sufficient to sign an electronic copy of the document, if your computer has such a function. You can also print out the document, sign it, scan all pages, and send it to the other side as one document (use SmallPDF to collect separate scans into one document). Be sure to exchange a complete document with all pages (even if the signature is only on the last)!

In case it is not possible to do the above stated, you can use online services like DocuSign.

And now, you’re all set and ready to start the work!

Set up your work environment
17 steps
DO THESE STEPS
Ask the assistant to create separate email account on Gmail

Having separate account, he will be able to write emails in your name. When required, you will have access to this account.

It's better if the assistant uses a new email to work on your tasks: in this case his working correspondence will not mix with assistant’s personal emails.

Create a Trello Account

Trello is a simple and convenient task manager; there, your assistant will be able to store the tasks you give him. You can always go to Trello and check the status of the tasks.

Keeping the Tasks on Trello is a good practice. It allows the assistant to remember about the tasks, and gives you the opportunity to monitor the progress on their implementation.

Organize boards in Trello

Ask the assistant to create 4 boards: Backlog, Today, Week, Done.

Backlog: In this board, the assistant will put all the tasks not prioritized in time.

Today: Tasks to be done immediately.

Week: Tasks to be done this week.

Done: In this board, the assistant will place completed tasks.

Invite your assistant to Trello

Click “Show Menu”, then invite. Type in your assistant’s email and invite him to\in this board.

Create new folder on Google Drive

If you don’t have an account on Google Drive yet, it’s time to do it. You’ll be using Google Drive and keeping there shared Google Docs and Sheet files.

Invite your assistant to the newly created folder

Now, we will make the assistant see the files you create for him in this folder; his files will be visible to you too. In this case, you will not waste your time providing access to certain files each time you need it.

Create all Google Docs and Google Sheets documents if you want the assistant have automatic access to them.

Create free account on LastPass

LastPass is a program that allows you to store and synchronize passwords between devices. With it, you can safely share passwords with your assistant without him being able to see your passwords.

Instruct the assistant to create his account on LastPass

Your assistant needs to create an account on LastPass too. It will allow you to share passwords when needed.

Create Dropbox account if you don’t have one

Dropbox stores big files, such as archives, large documents, and all you might need working with an assistant. If you already have an account, you can use it

Ask the assistant to create an account on Dropbox

After the assistant creates his account, you can give him access to shared folder.

Create a separate folder where you will store shared files
Share the access to this folder with the assistant

Type in the assistant's email, and he will receive an invitation. Once you created files in this folder, they will be synchronized with your assistant.

Create an account on Cloud App and install the program

Cloud App is a program that allows you to share with others your screenshots and short 15-second videos. It is convenient to explain your assistant tasks while, at the same time, he is able to see your screen.

Ask the assistant to create an account on Cloud App and install the program

When the assistant installs the program, he will be able to share his screenshots with you too. This program will allow you to understand each other quickly.

Install Monosnap programm on your computer

Monosnap is a free program for Mac and Windows, which allows you to record big screencasts. If you need to explain your task by demonstrating something on the screen for a long time, Monosnap is just what you need.

Tell the assistant to install Monosnap

Sometimes it is much easier for the assistant to record a video response in order to demonstrate something than to explain it for a long time.

Your work environment is ready for smooth cooperation

You will use all the installed programs during your work. This set of programs is a foundation for effective work with your assistant.

Delegate tasks
12 steps
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If the explanation of the task takes less time than its actual implementation, delegate the task

Every time a new task comes to your mind, consider the time needed for explanation and actual implementation. If the explanation takes less time, delegate the task to your assistant.

Be thorough and clear while describing the task to the assistant

The better you explain the task, the more are the chances that the assistant will understand it right and perform the task the way you want it.

If the task includes several actions, split it into parts

When you give a complex task, break it into fragments to help the assistant to comment on each part of the task and to create separate subtasks in Trello.

Example:

1. Go to LinkedIn

2. Find 20 people with marketing position

3. Put the info about these people on Google Sheets; it should include: First Name, Email, Company, Website

If you need to show the assistant part of your screen, you can use screenshots created by Cloud App
For multi action tasks, create video screencasts using Monosnap

Save both yours and your assistant’s time. Video screencast will explain the task much better than hundreds of messages. Learn to explain complex tasks using Monosnap, and this will increase the speed and quality of your tasks.

Use webcam video and voice to explain the task in details and to establish personal connection with the assistant
If the task is urgent, inform the assistant about it

The assistant must hold on the current tasks and start working on higher priority task. If the assistant has several priority tasks in line, you should help him re-prioritize the tasks.

Only you can know the correct sequence of tasks; so help your assistant understand the priority of their implementation.

After receiving a new assignment, the assistant must create it in Trello too

As soon as an assistant got the task, he must create it in the corresponding board in Trello.

The assistant should make a detailed description of the task

In the description, the assistant should explain in detail the core of the task and the sequence of actions needed to implement it.

The assistant should set due date
If the task includes many actions, the assistant should use checklist to describe the task

It is better to split complex tasks into small subtasks.

It’s better to control in the beginning how the assistant puts tasks in Trello

Trello is the heart of your work with the assistant. The more correct the assistant will work with this system, the less errors in work there will be and the faster the tasks will be performed.

Solve problems with the assistant
3 steps
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If the assistant failed to complete the task on time, find out the reasons for the delay

When this problem arises, correct not only the situation given, but the system of setting and accepting tasks. Calmly explain your viewpoint to the assistant.

If the assistant performed the task wrongly, find out how to explain the task more clearly

When the task was not done the way you wanted, re-read how you set the task. Is everything clear? Are there any vage parts? Did you put enough efforts to make the task understandable from the first time?

If you described the task poorly, try and do it again. Do this so that the assistant has no questions about it. Remember that a wrongly done task often is a mistake, not only of the assistant, but of the manager as well. Attach screenshots where necessary. One picture is better than 100 words.

If the assistant does not understand your description on how to complete the task, record a video screencast

It’s not difficult to record a video. When an assistant has video instruction on how to solve certain problem, he can easily repeat the process of solution.

Record screencasts
12 steps
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If the task is formidable, record video screencast

All your records you can store on Youtube in a private playlist. If in the future you decide to split apart with an assistant, you will easily hand over all video screencasts to your new assistant. Thus, the assistant will quickly understand how to manage your tasks.

Find Monosnap on a task bar and click on “record video”
Choose screen area you are going to record
If you are going to use a webcam, make sure you turned it on in Settings
If you are going to record voice explanation, make sure you put “On” in your microphone settings
Click on “record” and start recording the task
Save the recorded screencast into a file
Create an account on Youtube
Upload your video on Youtube

Here you can upload your video.

Set privacy to “unlisted”

In this way, all the uploaded in privacy mode videos will be accessible only by a link. You will share this link with your assistant.

Give the Title and Description to the video, so that the assistant could easily locate it at any time later

Make it a habit to always name your videos. If you ever need to hire a new assistant, he will quickly figure out the purpose of each screencast video.

Wait until Youtube processes your video, and then share it with your assistant as a part of your task
Share screenshots
4 steps
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To make a screenshot, use Cloud App
Press Cmd+Shift+5 and highlight the screen area
You will get a link to the picture which you can insert into the job description using CMD+V

After the image is uploaded to the Cloud App server, you will hear a sound. It means that the program has generated a link to your screenshot and it's now in your clipboard.

Annotate the screenshot with the arrows if needed

If you want to use arrows to highlight certain elements on the screenshot, open generated by Cloud App link in the browser and click "annotate" on the top panel.

Work with the documents
2 steps
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Use shared folders to keep your documents synchronized

Thus, you do not need to share it with an assistant all the time.

Use Dropbox or Google Drive to share big files with an assistant
Secure your passwords
7 steps
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Use LastPass to keep your passwords safe
Do not give the assistant passwords in plain text
To share a password, create it in LastPass by clicking on “Add Site”
Enter data and click “Save”
Clicks on “Share” icon
Enter the assistant’s email. Make sure that checkbox “Allow recipient to view password” is unchecked.

For security reasons, uncheck the checkbox; thus, you will prevent an assistant from seeing your passwords. At the same time, he’ll be able to use it to autofill password on the website you gave him access to.

Click “Share”

After that, the assistant will receive a notification on his email.

Share credit cards
7 steps
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When you need your assistant to pay for some services, register a virtual credit card

A virtual card is a convenient and safe way to transfer money to your assistant, without revealing your credit card details.

Create an account on Privacy.com

Privacy is a service that allows you to create a virtual credit card and put there any amount of money, so that the assistant could use it to pay for your services.

Enter your email and password
Enter your data
Enter your phone number and verify it
After the registration is completed, tie up the bank account which the virtual card will be replenished from
Create a virtual card and share it with the assistant when needed
Pay to the assistant
4 steps
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From time to time, raise the salary of your assistant

If you like your assistant’s work, you can reward him with bonuses and monthly salary increases. Regular salary increase makes it clear that you appreciate the work of the assistant. This is a good argument in favor of long cooperation.

If you work through Upwork, use this system to pay your assistant for the work
If you work out of Upwork, you can use TransferWise to transfer the money

TransferWise is a system through which you can quickly transfer money with a minimum commission.

If you can’t register TransferWise, you can use Western Union or Wire transfer

In this case, you will pay a higher commission.