Need a personal assistant for a day? Here’s how.

personal assistant for a day

How many people have you hired to help you simply survive in your business? To stop you from being swallowed during a busy period or under a day that just won’t quit?

Truth is, when it’s ALL-SYSTEMS-GO, it can seem easier to hire bodies on seats than it is to find other ways.

And there are many.

Pay-as-you-go PAs, people you can hire for a few minutes, or an hour, who have just as much experience as someone you could spend months recruiting. Who take over tasks as easily as if they’ve always known you and your business.

This is what life looks like for some of the most successful CEOs, Founders and Hedge Fund Managers. Why? Because they’ve found themselves a one-day only PA.

What is a pay-as-you-go PA?

Here’s an example of a classic PA situation and why you get someone amazing, even when you’re only hiring for a day:

Sarah is a 35 y/o Mum of two. She used to work as a PA for Deutsche Bank earning £55K per year with bonus, but after her second son was born, she wanted to be at home more. Swapping her commute for a chunk of salary seemed like a fair deal. Now Sarah works from home, doing around six hours a day helping COOs of technology companies to get stuff done. It’s fast-paced enough that it keeps Sarah interested but she can do it from home and be finished in time for nursery pick ups.

Sarah isn’t the only type of pay-as-you-go PA either. Some go out to events, travel and do everyday errands like dry-cleaning and shopping. Whether deskbound or out-of-office proud, their only similarity is that they’re sh*t-hot at getting stuff done, fast.

If you think about it, we’re already using this model in a ton of other business scenarios. Rather than hiring an office, you take an area in a coworking space. Instead of filling a filing cabinet, you put everything on Dropbox.

In almost every other business sense, you only pay for what you need. But when it comes to people, we’re stuck paying for every minute that’s spent commuting, making a cup of tea or taking time off. It doesn’t work for anyone: when PAs are chained to their desks they can’t get on with the other things they want to do or that life throws at them. When Founders are forced into hiring weekly contractors they only need for a day, they’re wasting money.

Which leads us on to:

Can you hire a personal assistant for a day?

The answer is yes. Many sites, including ibLE let you hire personal assistants for small time periods. With ibLE, we bill in five-minute increments to be exact. There’s a surprising amount our PAs can get done in that time and it just seems fairer that you only pay for what you use.

This type of hire also works if you need a personal assistant for a specific trip, event or business activity. Maybe you just need someone to field emails for a day while you’re otherwise engaged, or to help with time-management for appointments at a tradeshow.

Most PAs are so experienced that they can jump in with little guidance. Truth be told, they just want to get on and get the job done. Pleasantries are great but they’re not for those working to five-minute time clocks and our PAs are nothing if not time conscious.

Is it worth hiring a PA for a day?

That niggly feeling you’ve got? The one that whispers “this seems too good to be true?” It’s the biggest barrier to getting from overworked and overwhelmed to into control. It’s time to trust the system.

Every mentor you’ll ever have, every entrepreneur success-story you’ll read, they’re all talking about the benefit of having a good PA. And yes, when you hire a PA for a day there’s an element of risk. You don’t know how good they are or what they’re going to be able to get done. If they mess up, the day’s over and there’s no second chance.

But what if they don’t? What if you’re free to just turn up at the conference. Without worrying if your suit’s clean or if you’ve got the right meeting appointment times?

Those tasks you’re thinking about getting someone to do? They seem overwhelming to you right now because you have a million and one other things to think about. But they aren’t overwhelming to an experienced, conscientious PA. To them, those tasks are a breeze.

It’s an investment in yourself, but also in your business. The more small tasks you can delegate, the more headway you can make into the actual journey.

Think of it like this: you can’t drive the train if you’re tending the drinks cart, cleaning the toilets and filling up the petrol. They’re all essential parts to getting the train there and in good shape, but they aren’t a one-person job. So let other people (i.e., your personal assistant) do the bits you can’t do while you’re looking out the front window.

Sure you might only need them for a day, or half a day. But the amount of headspace it’ll clear (and over time it WILL add up), the more headway you’ll be able to make.

Until the journey isn’t only faster, it’s more enjoyable too.

Looking to hire a PA for a day? We ready and waiting to get you matched to a PA who can start now. Sign-up at ible-it.com.

3 Reasons your Startup Needs a Virtual Assistant

startup personal assistant

Most startup founders and CEOs start out without an assistant. If money’s tight, why hire someone to do what you can already do yourself right? It’s a great point. But what happens when you’re further down the rabbit hole and you’re still doing those admin tasks? There’s a ton of value in admin done right, but wasted value in a CEO or COO doing it. Here, we look at three compelling cases for making your next hire a virtual assistant.

1. You’ll get to prioritise performance

Just because you can do your own admin, doesn’t necessarily mean you should. If your ability to make money was based solely on how much you could make in an hour, would you make more doing admin or doing something else? A Founder or CEO’s most valuable asset is their time and if it’s being used badly, you’re losing leverage. Just because you’ve always done the booking of train tickets and organisation of HR, doesn’t mean you should. Pay to prioritise performance. If that means hiring a virtual PA who can take over an hour or two of admin per day, then that’s an investment you’ll get back in your own time.

Take Neil Patel as an example. Neil is arguably the most successful content writer of all time. When someone on Quora asked how he manages to get such a volume of good content out, do you know what he said?

“I’ve found that it’s quicker to write a post in Google docs or Microsoft Word and have someone else correct it, post it to WordPress, and even add pictures.

Your time is valuable. You should stick with creating content in the most streamlined process. I used to post to WordPress and add pictures to each of my posts myself, but that process would take me twenty to thirty minutes. By hiring someone, you’ll save time.”

In other words, he pays someone else to do the admin so he can prioritise the bit he’s best at: writing the content.

2. You’ll get a professional

When you think of having a virtual assistant who do you picture? Someone young? An “offshore” employee working on a different timezone? Let us give you an idea of the type of virtual assistants we have (and use) at ibLE.

Most are between the ages of 30 and 50, often female, with a family. Their background will be working as a PA in the city, supporting entrepreneurs and UHNWI at some of the world’s leading companies. They would have earned around £60K in the city. You know what this really means? That they’re incredibly qualified to do your admin and take specific tasks off of your hands. Coming from challenging environments, where they were at the top of their game, means you aren’t getting someone young, junior or inexperienced. And that’s what makes all of the difference.

When you have someone professional managing your day-to-day activities, you can go and explore your limits, safe in the knowledge that everything else is under control.

Your virtual assistant doesn’t have to be capped by current norms. They’re a professional and often an expert in their field, just like you.

3. You’ll avoid burning out

Career burnout is commonplace in startups. It looks like this: you begin to find distaste in your everyday work. You get frustrated over the smallest fissures. You can even experience physical manifestations like an inability to eat or sleep.

It may be a common phenomenon but it doesn’t have to be. How can you avoid burnout? By delegating. Which starts with your virtual assistant.

No time for a holiday? Delegate the tasks that are keeping you busy.

Aaron Levie, Co Founder and CEO of Box, sums this up nicely:

“I am constantly tracking the things I’m doing that I don’t think I am good at. I try to delegate those things as frequently as possible, and get better people to solve those problems.”

Other Founders says it’s about getting out of the bubble in order to see the bigger picture. The more support you have in your company, the more you can get out of it.

If you aren’t sure what tasks a virtual assistant could take on, here are a few to get you started:

  • Presentation creation
  • Proofreading
  • Form-filling
  • Research
  • Social media marketing
  • Call fielding
  • Interviews

….the list goes on!

The other great thing about a virtual assistant is that they aren’t limited by traditional “office” hours. If you need support across the weekend, they can help. If you need something late or early, often they set their own hours and can be there to support you around their other commitments.

When it comes to taking a weight off of your shoulders and avoiding burnout, a virtual assistant is the fastest way there.

Ready to try a virtual PA for your business? Get started here.

9 Influencers Championing Flexible Working

Anna, flexible working champion

Ever tried talking about “flexible working” at dinner? It usually elicits one of two reactions: blank stares or the old “Ohhh that’s where you work from home in your pajamas right?” According to UK law, everyone now has the right to request flexible working but unless your employer is ibLE, it can be pretty difficult to get your request approved.

Luckily, change is coming and the influencers below are at the forefront of making it happen; whether in their own companies, inside the House of Commons or online.

1.Anna Whitehouse, Influencer at Mother Pukka

Anna, flexible working champion

Image source.

There’s a reason why Anna’s top of our list and why she was also the first in the phone-tree when we wanted to talk about flexible working. Anna has been a huge campaigner for what she calls “#FlexAppeal”, helping more employers to understand what flexible working is and helping more employees to request and get it. She’s not just an Instagram-campaigner either. As much as Anna might be writing the most eloquent Insta captions about how and we we need more flexible working policies (“having a family here has become more about survival than living due to an archaic, inflexible system born in the Industrial Revolution”), she’s also out there doing stuff. Campaigning about maternity discrimination at the Welsh Assembly, checking out Coutts banks’ working policies and debating at Stylist Live to name but a few. Oh and she also wrote a book called “Parenting the sh** out of life”.

Mother Pukka? More like Mother Ship.

Find Anna: on Instagram, online and on Amazon.

2.Kathryn Tyler, Co Founder at Digital Mums

Kathryn Tyler Digital Mums

Image source.

Kathryn Tyler is one of the women behind Digital Mums, an online training initiative to help get mums back behind the wheel and driving their own careers from a flexible working angle. When Kathryn was running her own social media agency in Hackney, she soon realised that Mums were a great and untapped pool of talent. With co-founder Nikki Cochrane, they setup Digital Mums with the aim to teach mums looking to get back into work, social media and digital marketing skills. The two have since been named Red Women of the Year and Kathryn, a Marie Claire #futureshaper.

Find Kathryn: on Twitter and Instagram as Digital Mums.

3.David Hart, COO at ScreenCloud

David Hart ScreenCloud

As well as bloggers and influencers who are out championing flexible working you also have those working within their own spaces and industries to get people to recognize flexi as the future. First of those is David Hart, COO at ScreenCloud, a startup that helps companies to put great content on screens. David has been instrumental in ensuring that ScreenCloud is a “flexible working” company as standard. This means employees can work from home, organise work around their fitness schedules (David’s Co-founder Mark often teaches Body Pump classes throughout the day) and they have an unlimited holiday policy. To David and his team, flexible working isn’t “flexible”, it’s just normal.

Find David: on Twitter, Medium and on the ScreenCloud Podcast talking a lot about work/life balance.

4. Laura Mott, owner at Flex and the City

Laura Flex & the city

Image source.

If you want to know firsthand what it feels like to try and transition from traditional working to flexible, read this truth-bomb site by Laura Mott. Laura knows firsthand what it’s like to try and be hired flexibly (i.e., fit full time work into part time hours) and as a result, uses her blog and social media channels to champion the power of flexible working. Through her

#Flexnoregrets  campaign where she interviews those who have gone flexible and never looked back, she highlights the everyday pros and cons of a flexible future. Having worked full time, part time and on a remote basis, Laura is a great voice in a world of those who know best because they’ve been there.

Find Laura: on Twitter, Instagram and on Medium.

5.Georgina Bale & Emma Hatto, Co Founders of ibLE

Founders of ibLE

Of course we couldn’t enter the world of flexible working without thinking about ibLE’s very own Co Founders Georgina Bale and Emma Hatto. As a mum herself, Georgina knows firsthand what it’s like to juggle not just one but three companies whilst raising a family and is an absolute champion of the wonders flexible working can bring to the workforce. Together with Emma, they help companies understand that flexible working benefits everyone – not just the person working flexibly. Through ibLE, and recruitment agency Bower Talent, they help to talent test and match candidates who come from high-profile PA careers, with the companies looking for all the skills and none of the office space.

Find them: On Instagram, here on the ibLE blog and being interviewed by Business Insider.

6. Joeli Brearley, Founder of Pregnant Then Screwed

Joeli Brearley, Founder of Pregnant Then Screwed

Image source.

Joeli Brearley has been on our dream dinner-party guest list for a long time. One of the first to give a voice to the discrimination surrounding maternity leave and pregnancy discrimination she developed Pregnant Then Screwed, a place for people to share stories about how parenthood affects careers. Since its launch, she has actively campaigned around issues surrounding the gender pay gap and flexible working including the most recent “Dear Employer” campaign asking people to expose the culture hidden beneath the maternity or paternity policies of the companies they have worked within.

Find Joeli: on Twitter, Instagram and marching here.

7. Heejung Chung, Reader in Sociology & Social Policy at the University of Kent

Heejung Chung

Image source.

If we are to reach a flexible working peak, we need not just voices but also hard data with which to back it up. Luckily, we have people like Heejung Chung making it happen. In her research project Work Autonomy, Flexibility and Work-Life Balance (WAF Project), Heejung is examining how work autonomy and working-time flexibility (flexitime) is being used and (most importantly) how it can benefit workers rather than lead to increased intensification of work. We feel that this is a key area that needs development if we are to ensure flexible working benefits everyone and already, the research is being used by the Women and Equalities Select Committee to campaign for better flexible workplace policies for fathers within the House of Commons. #Winning

Find Heejung: on Twitter, YouTube and keeping us up to date here.

8. Joel Gascoigne, Co Founder & CEO at Buffer

Joel Gascoigne Buffer

Image source: Getty Images

A lot of the discussion around flexible working is centred on employees but you know who else needs flexibility? CEOs. Someone championing this firsthand is Joel Gascoigne, social media scheduling tool Buffer’s CEO. Buffer is widely known for being a fully distributed workforce (that means no offices and a 100% remote team) who are living and breathing the “flexible” approach. Alongside this, Joel also uses his voice and blog to speak out about how investors can better support startup founders in having the flexibility to enjoy milestones like having a child or moving home.  

Find Joel: on Twitter and explaining his approach here.

9. Tushar Agarwal, CEO and Co Founder at Hubble

Tushar Hubble

Image source.

Tushar Agarwal, a first-time Founder at workspace startup Hubble, is talking about flexible working and implementing it. At Hubble, flexible working is core to culture with 25% of its staff working part-time, remotely or nomadically so as to have better relationships with family and friends, or work on side projects. As well as a flexible company culture, Hubble is a startup born from and for a flexible workforce. As a kind of Airbnb for office space, it lets companies find flexible office space with landlords or within hubs like WeWork, without the commitment of overheads and permanent space. Verdict? We like it.

Find Tushar: on Twitter and Instagram.

Know someone else creating waves in flexible working? Hit us up: @ible_it

Why I use an ibLE PA for my personal life

Why I use an ibLE PA for my personal life

Wanted: someone to help with life admin, appointment booking and all of the stuff that I don’t have time to do.

Sound familiar? Then you may want to consider hiring a PA for your personal life. Far from it being a luxury, having a virtual PA or a part-time assistant to help with “life admin” is considered by many business owners and entrepreneurs as a necessity. Here, we speak to ibLE Co Founder Georgina Bale about why she uses a personal PA and the difference it’s made to her as a busy startup boss and working Mum.

How long have you used a PA for?

I’ve used a personal PA since we founded ibLE two years ago. Before that I used to do everything myself. Most people with a personal PA will have one that they’ll have used for a while but because I like to test out the new PAs joining ibLE, I tend to work with one for a few months at a time and then change. This allows me to see firsthand what our PAs can do and to sense check their quality. For example, the PA I have at the moment has a little girl so she works when she can and when she wants to around her and she’s amazing at smart working and is really “on it”.

What type of tasks does your PA do for you?

It will be anything from booking hair appointments, doctor appointments, sourcing gifts, doing research on trips, booking travel and even just looking through the diary to make sure everything makes sense. My PA will do a lot of school and nursery admin for Teddy (Georgina’s two-year old son) and will often organise builders or workmen doing jobs at home, that kind of thing.

How does the scheduling work – will your PA work outside of usual “office” hours?

The PAs I work with are often really flexible and will turn tasks around in as quick a time as possible. With ibLE generally, the PAs set their own hours – I won’t necessarily ask them to do anything at the weekend but they can work when they want to and occasionally this might be at the weekend; how and when they want to work is very much led by them.

Your PA doesn’t work in the office next to you so how do you manage communication and tasks?

We set up an email address and access to calendar and then we’ll usually speak on Whatsapp or email, although I know some clients prefer phone calls – it’s entirely personal choice. I’ll also sometimes use an app like Wunderlist which is an amazing tool for organising your task list. You can create a task list for things you need to do or remember and share it, then you can both see when tasks are added or ticked off. A great PA is one that initiates and keeps communication flowing to provide seamless, intuitive support.

How has having a PA for your personal life made a difference?

It’s genuinely changed my life, I know I would say that but when I first started using a personal PA, Emma and I (Georgina’s co-founder) were setting up and effectively running three businesses. We were trying to build ibLE, grow our recruitment business and I had my son Teddy who was a bit sick as a baby and I had to try and work at the same time. Even when he was getting better there was still so much logistical admin at home for Teddy, childcare and so on that I knew I needed help in order to stay in control. I now have a much better balance of work and life. When I’m at work I can focus on work without distraction, knowing that I have admin back up in my personal life. I’m not worrying about organising childcare or swimming lessons constantly whilst I’m at work, I can just get my PA involved. It’s like being in two places at once! At the same time, I feel like I’m doing the best for Teddy which is everybody’s dream, to get that balance.

How easy is it to build trust with a virtual PA?

For me, it’s been easy as I’ve been a PA and I know what that mindset looks like. Obviously it takes different people different time to build that up and feel comfortable but I have faith in the way we test our PAs before they begin working with a client so it’s not a problem for me to trust people quickly.

Also the quicker you can trust someone the more quickly they can be effective and actually, it’s very much a case of if you trust someone with something confidential and private you get that trust back and you quickly develop a good rapport. It works both ways.

Most people think of having a PA as a “luxury” – what do you think about that?

When you think that I can spend an hour at work developing our business or spend an hour figuring out which toddler classes I can book for Teddy for the next couple of weeks it’s so easy to see where my time is best being spent. You spend money on a PA to make money, because you can focus more on your business. Having a personal PA do my life admin doesn’t mean I spend less time with my son, it just means I spend less time at work distracted by other things.

I don’t think it is a luxury, in my case it’s a necessity.. If you think of people who are entrepreneurs or leading businesses, they really need to understand that the time they’re spending on certain things is important. Time is money and if they’re spending more time on their business rather than booking their next holiday that’s money well spent and it’s highly likely that a professional PA will do a better job anyway!

Do you also think that more men than women are likely to hire a PA to help with personal tasks?

I think this is a wider topic with all PAs not just virtual ones.  Most senior executives are unfortunately still men and therefore are more used to outsourcing admin than women are. Women are more likely to try to do everything and take on everything themselves. But I believe that is changing. We actually have a 50/50 male-to-female client split at ibLE, that’s possibly because our network is female-strong but we are very proud of this regardless

There’s often a stigma around getting PAs to complete personal tasks, perhaps fueled by films like The Devil Wears Prada and The Proposal, how do you set boundaries?

Obviously you don’t want to ask a PA to do something inappropriate and if a company is paying for a PA they may have their own boundaries within the business on what you can and can’t ask them to do and whether you can use them for personal tasks. But I don’t think it’s difficult to know what is and isn’t an appropriate task for a PA.

The only boundaries with ibLE is that some virtual PAs may not be local so if you’re asking them to run errands it might not work, but that differs client to client. Most PAs we have will have meetings with their clients fairly regularly so that their relationship is strong.  ibLE HQ is there to provide support to both the client and the PA – this includes offering protection to PAs against clients who don’t understand where the boundaries are or who have unreasonable demands.

What would you say to someone who thinks they need a personal or virtual PA but is still on the fence?

I’d say give it a try! That’s why ibLE is so special and works so well. There’s no retainer or obligation. You can give it a go, then stop, then pick it up at another time. That’s the beauty and the point of it, to fit in with flexible, changeable lives, seasonable business and unpredictable situations. Personally I think it’s addictive; once you realise the high value for money you get, it stops being a luxury and becomes a necessity. Like Uber! If you need more convincing, write down what you spend your time on each day and work out what you could achieve if you focused on the most important things and outsourced the admin. It’s a no-brainer!

Secondly, people often associate a “virtual” PA with outsourced, call-centre type services with junior staff members but that’s not the case with ibLE. These are experience, professional staff. The stuff I give to my PA is task-driven but I can also say I’m really swamped with work could you sort this client presentation out for me and it’s great to know that they’re skilled enough to do that. They can be personal or business support, they are flexible and unique.

To give ibLE a go and set up your first personal-life PA register now.