Many remote executive assistants become the right-hand of those they support, trusted fully to carry out both personal and professional tasks. Like nutrition to the body, they are the silent powerhouse in the background propelling growth and ensuring things run smoothly for both the executive and the business.
Today, because of the ebbs and flows of administrative workload, many executives are looking to hire remote executive assistants who can be available more flexibly and fractionally to better match the demand of their business.
But how do you find an experienced rockstar remote executive assistant who will easily earn your trust and begin to give you back your time?
The process becomes easier once you know exactly what to look for.
In this article, we’ll outline what a remote executive assistant can do, what traits make a remote executive assistant most effective, how to find them and how to best work with them.
What Can a Remote Executive Assistant Do For You?
For most of today’s successful business owners and entrepreneurs, having an executive assistant is more of a necessity than a luxury. The demands on executives are continually increasing, and if they don’t have a strong team behind them, they can often get buried in the day to day administrative tasks required to run a business in our modern world, leaving little time to focus on growing the business.
Below are just a few of the tasks a remote executive assistant can handle to give business owners and executives back precious time to focus on strategic decisions and tasks only they can do.
This list is by no means exhaustive, what you hand-off to an executive assistant can vary to meet your own unique needs:
- Travel Coordination
- Event Coordination
- Email filtering
- Call Screening
- Personal tasks
- Appointment setting
What Traits Make a Remote Executive Assistant Successful?
All great remote executive assistants share common personality traits that help them succeed in their role. These soft skills — either natural or cultivated, truly set a remote executive assistant apart.
Over the course of the past eight years in working with some of the greatest remote executive assistants around, we’ve come to identify several that are apparent in every successful remote executive assistant:
- Creative problem solving
- Social and emotional intelligence
- Anticipation of needs
- The drive to see others succeed
- Attention to detail
- The ability to prioritize
When interviewing or speaking with potential candidates for your role, ask specific questions that help you identify whether or not the candidate possesses these important skills.
For example, you could ask “What is your greatest accomplishment?” If the answer is more focused on the individual and something that brought them personal benefit, and not something they did that greatly helped their client or a collective effort, perhaps they don’t naturally possess the drive to help others succeed.
Ask for examples, references, and look to past work for confirmation.
How Can You Effectively Work with a Remote Executive Assistant?
When it comes to working with a remote executive assistant, their talent and skill is only half of the equation. In order to have an effective relationship, it’s also up to the business owner to be able to do the following:
- Delegate – If you hire a remote executive assistant to take tasks off your plate that will (hopefully) lead to saving you time, you need to know exactly what those tasks are.
In order to do this, first, keep a running list of each and every task you’re doing on a daily basis. Then, ask yourself, “Is this a strategic task that only I can do or could someone else be doing this for me?”
Don’t be afraid to add personal tasks to this list. Remote executive assistants can handle tasks such as sending gifts to family members or friends, making anniversary dinner reservations and ordering the delivery of your dry cleaning.
2. Let go of control – One of the hardest parts of delegation is relinquishing control. If you’ve been handling administrative tasks for yourself long enough, you might believe that only you are capable of doing it the way you prefer. But any process can be replicated, and hiring a dedicated remote executive assistant is a great way to be able to communicate your unique preferences to someone who will be able to quickly learn and apply them to your tasks.
A great remote executive assistant will even be able to help you with process documentation. It’s a good idea to document each and every small step to each task as you begin working with your remote executive assistant. It will take some time in the beginning, of course, but it will lead to flawless execution and incredible time-savings down the road. It will also help you feel more in control as you hand over tasks you’ve customized to your own needs.
3. Trust – Of course, delegation and letting go of control are both really difficult feats if you haven’t found someone fully and completely competent that you feel fully comfortable handing the wheel to. In the next section, we’ll discuss exactly how to find an incredible remote executive assistant who will quickly earn your trust, and keep it for the long term:
How To Find a Rockstar Remote Executive Assistant
There are a few ways to go about hiring a remote executive assistant. You can hire them directly as an employee of your company, but you’ll need the bandwidth and capital to recruit them (advertising, paying other employees to work on recruiting, managing responses, interviews, etc) and you’ll also need to go through the process of becoming compliant for hiring remotely.
Then, once the employee is hired, you begin the process of training.
Work with a 1099 Freelancer
You could also bring on a freelancer if you don’t feel the need to have someone full or even part-time, and don’t wish to hire. However, be aware that hiring freelancers for long-term projects is actually not compliant, and could get you into some hot water. Misclassification of workers is a serious issue to the IRS, and if you’re caught in an audit doing so, even accidentally, the financial repercussions are immense.
You’ll also still need to dedicate some time to recruiting, as finding a high-quality remote EA that you jive with whom is available for the hours you need them can be a feat.
Subscribe to Your Next Remote Executive Assistant Using Subscription Staffing
A relatively new option in the remote staffing arena, subscription staffing allows business owners and executives to subscribe to experienced remote executive assistants compliantly and flexibly, and for much less cost.
This movement, pioneered by Boldly, is a game-changer for business owners and executives looking for remote executive assistants who are incredibly skilled and experienced (most of Boldy’s remote executive assistants have 10-15+ years of experience, many with Fortune 500 companies). Because these remote executive assistants are available on a fractional basis, it makes their talent available to small business owners and others who may not have been able to access it independently.
Subscription staffing also saves on the cost of finding and hiring someone on your own, especially when referencing the complexities of compliance for remote hiring.
Here’s how it works:
- Executives and business owners (subscribers) get fast matching to talented, guaranteed remote executive assistants without recruitment (The process is normally 2-3 weeks)
- Subscribers pay a single monthly payment without the burden of payroll, contracts, and other legal issues
- Subscribers gain flexibility and scalability to work with someone or multiple people on a fractional basis for the exact amount of time you need each month
Subscription staffing affords businesses access to incredible talent because the remote executive assistants who work on this model are able to achieve the best of both worlds: the flexibility of a freelance position (greater flexibility, the opportunity to work remotely, and the opportunity to work with a variety of interesting companies) while also receiving the security of a W2 position with a great company culture and benefits.
When is the best time to bring on a remote executive assistant?
Now that you know what a remote executive assistant can do for you and your business, what makes a great remote executive assistant and how to find and hire them, you might be wondering when is the right time to bring someone on.
Really, that depends on your needs and circumstances. Right now, many businesses are facing a difficult or uncertain road ahead. For some, this means that now is not the right time to bring someone on. But for others, it might mean now is the perfect time to begin looking for ways to streamline and create more efficiencies in their business, save themselves time and give themselves the ability to focus on strategic priorities only they can do.
Want to learn more about subscription staffing as a way to find your ideal rockstar remote executive assistant? Visit boldly.com