Hiring an assistant can be a tricky task for health professionals. Unlike product-based businesses where you can teach employees how to make something, service-based businesses are harder to onboard employees into. The sensitive nature of the work health professionals do makes it even more complicated.
We chatted with a few health professionals who were interested in hiring help but didn’t know where to start. Their questions were the same. They all knew they needed help but weren’t sure what they needed help with or how to find someone who could figure it out with them.
We did some digging and today we are answering all your questions about hiring an assistant for your nutrition practice.
1. "How do I know when I’m ready to hire an assistant?"
If you think you might be ready, you were probably ready six months ago. The busier you get, the harder it is to onboard help and set up new processes.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed but unsure about what exactly an assistant could take off your plate, you should still look at hiring. Most entrepreneurs learn to wear many hats when they start their businesses. Before you are generating much income, you do things like bookkeeping yourself. As you grow, it’s natural to offload these things and pay money to get them done. Just because you can do something yourself doesn’t always mean that you should.
2. “What tasks should I delegate to an assistant?”
Surprisingly, the most common hesitation health professionals had about hiring an assistant was not knowing what to ask them to do. Even if you feel busy and overwhelmed in your business, you might not have a clear vision of what tasks an assistant could take off your plate. It’s very important to know what you need and be able to clearly communicate that before you hire anyone.
Nutritionist, Ashley Sorkosz, has a great suggestion for how to decide which tasks to delegate to your assistant first:
"I started a Google Doc and started writing down tasks that, when I went to do them, made me go 'ugh' to myself. Things like bookkeeping, updating my monthly social media tracking numbers and creating images for Pinterest from a template. I added tasks to that list for months before I actively started the hiring process.”
Keep note of any repetitive tasks that don’t require special training, things that anyone with an internet connection could log in and do.
We’ve heard from several professionals who hire assistants that have a background in nutrition so they can help with meal planning. Having a tool like That Clean Life makes it even easier to share this task with your assistant so they can take care of adding recipes to your recipe box, organizing meal plans, or even creating lead magnets to help you grow your email list.
Nutritionist, Ashleigh Norris, uses her assistant to keep herself organized and working efficiently:
"She took on inbox organization, my inbound project tracking and organization and would provide a weekly email/commitment round up to keep me on track and ensure nothing was missed. Since then she has supported me on other projects related to my business and found ways to build efficiency into my daily routines and practice."
Once you have a list of those tasks, you can start writing up the job description.
3. “What is the process for finding and hiring an assistant?"
Hiring an assistant is more expensive than actually paying an assistant month after month, so it’s important to go through the hiring process carefully so you don’t have to repeat it.
Every health professional we spoke with who has an assistant that they love found that person on referral from a colleague who also runs a single-practitioner business. These businesses usually have part-time needs for employees, so you will likely not be your assistant’s only client. This is great because you can ask around and find someone your trusted colleagues recommend.
Unless you specifically need your assistant to be on-site, it’s likely they can complete most or all of their work remotely and you can likely go through the entire hiring process remotely as well.
Here is a checklist of what to cover as you find and hire an assistant:
- Your needs and expectations of them and their’s of you
- Expected hours per month
- References or testimonials from their past/existing clients
- At least one live in-person or video chat interview
- An employment agreement
4. “How much should I pay them?”
The question of what to pay an assistant came up a lot and we think it’s really important to address.
First of all, you always get what you pay for. Higher pay usually means more experienced professionals who will be worth the extra investment. Unless you are bringing an assistant on full-time, you will be hiring someone who also has their own service-based business. You are not going to find a qualified professional if you’re hoping to pay minimum wage.
The health professionals we spoke with are paying their assistants $25 to $35 per hour for an average of 3 to 10 hours per week. The amount of time they spend working for you will vary depending on the tasks you assign them.
5. “How much time do I need to spend communicating with them?”
Most professionals have a weekly or bi-weekly call to sync-up with their assistants and otherwise communicate online. Your assistant may already have a communication system set-up that works for them to keep all their tasks organized.
Some popular tools for staying organized and communicating are:
- Trello for project management.
- Slack for messaging.
- Voxer for voice messaging.
- LastPass for securely sharing passwords.
- Zoom for screen-sharing and recording tutorial videos.
- Google Drive for file creation and sharing.
The first few months of onboarding will require more of your time as you teach your assistant how to do certain tasks. Communicate a lot during this time. Yes, you will probably have to invest more time into training someone than you would have spent doing the task yourself. But it will pay off in the long run when you can leave them alone with it and get all of your time back.
Have you hired an assistant? Leave a comment letting us know what the first task you delegated to them was!
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