Pros and Cons of Hiring a Virtual Assistant, Part-time Assistant, or Shared Assistant
Does this sound like you? You need help growing your business, but you are not ready to take the leap and hire a full-time assistant. You're in that in-between stage. If this sounds like you, keep reading.
Today, we're talking about what to do between having no assistant and a full-time assistant. And trust me, I get it. In the past four years, Pro REA Staffing grew from one part-time assistant to five full-time employees. And yes, it's a little scary every time you add someone to your payroll. And you want to do it with thought and care. If you're not ready to commit to hiring someone full time, you have three options.
1. You can hire a virtual assistant,
2. A part-time on-site assistant or
3. You can share an assistant with someone else.
At Pro R.E.A Staffing, we mostly place full time, direct hire placements, but we are also asked to find virtual, part-time, and shared assistants. We see first hand what works and what doesn't with these various options. Let's start by talking about virtual assistants.
A virtual assistant is simply an assistant who is not physically in your office. They might be down the street or on the other side of the world. When you are just starting out, and you need just a little bit of help, finding a skilled Marketing Coordinator or Transaction Coordinator to work for you virtually is a great place to start. If you don't know one within your sphere of influence, Upwork.com is a great resource for these types of roles. If you can hire a skilled marketing professional to handle your marketing tasks for you, you can create a great deal of leverage from a rather small investment.
At some point, you might need to take on more of a generalist virtual assistant, and that's also an option. Again, Upwork.com might be a resource, but when you're ready to hire a part-time virtual assistant, the traditional advertising sources work well. We like WizeHire.com. Use this link for $100 off your first job ad.
Now, let's talk about who should hire a virtual assistant and who shouldn't. If you don't have the physical space and you need help, obviously a virtual assistant might be your best option. If you are organized, and you have sound systems in place, and all of your resources are online already, you can work well with a virtual assistant. Things start to fall apart when the agent is not an effective communicator, is not a good delegator, and they have challenges staying organized. For people like that, it is tough to work successfully with a virtual assistant.
The following scenario comes up often. Somebody calls, and they say, "I need help, but I don't need full-time help. Can you find me a part-time assistant who will grow into a full-time assistant on my team?"
The sad reality is that the answer is probably no. If a job seeker is looking for part-time work, he or she always has something else going on in their life that is more important. They might be in school; they might have another job, they might be a parent. Whatever "it" is, that thing is going to bump up against your needs at some point. The other thing to keep in mind is that because there are just so many fewer candidates looking for part-time work, you will probably have to make some compromises when it comes to their skills and experience. Therefore, the person who is a good fit for you on a part-time basis probably isn't the best fit for you when you're ready for a full time, full charge real estate assistant.
Our last option is a shared assistant. This is a full-time employee who splits their time between two different employers. This scenario can work, but it is also wrought with potential pitfalls. The biggest is if one agent gets along well with the assistant, and it turns out that the other agent doesn't work as well with the assistant, the one who is succeeding with the assistant is going to end up losing an assistant that they like. Both employers need to have comparable management styles, similar needs, and they have to have excellent communication and trust for this dynamic to work.
Keep in mind that it can be tough for an assistant to split their allegiance between two agents. Especially if both of those agents are very demanding. Typically, these shared assistant situations are short-term solutions. It's rare that it lasts more than a year. However, that might be all you need if you can get a great person for 20 hours a week, and in nine months you're ready for full time, then you can find a new solution for your staffing needs.
After listening to the pros and cons, which of these options do you think is going to be the best for you? Let me know in the comments below. I'd love to hear your thoughts.
If you are ready to hire your assistant, I have an excellent resource for you. We have a free guide called How to Hire a World Class Assistant. This is our ten-step process to hiring assistants, and we're giving it to you for free. Click here to download your free report.