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Tue 28 Jul 2015 08:52 AM

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Should I hire a PA?

We look at whether the time is right to bring in some extra help.

Should I hire a PA?

What does a PA do?

In a nutshell, a PA – or personal assistant – supports the work of a manager or executive by undertaking a variety of different tasks, both professional and personal.

With executives becoming more on-the-go people, their PAs have also been forced to adjust their business offering. As a result, we now hear more and more about a VA – or virtual assistant – who often does the same things, but only online-enabled work.

How could they help me?

The main idea is to give them the tasks you are not good at, don’t enjoy doing, or the ones that are simply too repetitive. Thus, you’ll be able to focus on what you like, know best, and what keeps you interested.

The variety of their tasks ranges from basic clerical tasks, scheduling and handling your appointments or making travel arrangements, to doing some market research or even becoming an important part in increasing your sales figures.

However, we also hear about them writing holiday cards or sending ‘thank you’ notes on behalf of their employers, picking up their laundry or driving their kids to school, and many other similar assignments a very busy person doesn’t have the time to, or doesn’t want to do him or herself.

What kind of person needs one?

No general rule will answer this question, but a person who needs more free time to fulfil many of his or her roles would easily fit the description. It can be an entrepreneur just starting a business, an entrepreneur coping with the demands of the start-up’s growth stage, a high net worth individual, or simply a very busy working mum. All of them need to have more time on their hands.

Isn’t it a bit of a luxury?

It is often perceived in that manner. The prestige factor has been highlighted by many stories revealing PAs staying in the finest suites in the world’s best hotels, flying in luxurious private jets, eating and drinking the most expensive food and drinks.

But, that is just one side of the coin. In reality, PAs offer a hands-on approach to organising the smallest details of your business or overall lifestyle. From your clients’ perspective, a PA will appear as another level of professionalism and help in promoting your brand.

When is a good time to hire one?

‘Whenever your life becomes too complicated,’ is a common answer, and one that makes a lot of sense. When the day-to-day tasks get too time-consuming for you, it’s probably time to bring in some help.

An important note is that in order to save time, you’ll first need to invest some time in getting to know your PA, explaining the details of your requests, and also allowing them to do their job.

The latter often proves to be a struggle due to the mixture of professional and private duties that people don’t always feel comfortable entrusting to others.

What should I consider before hiring?

First and foremost, your PA or VA will represent you. A professional, friendly, and intelligent person will add value to your business’s image.

However, the special nature of this business arrangement also requires hiring a discreet, dependable, resourceful and proactive person.

Hard to find, but could be worth every penny.