Hiring a PA can be a great way to scale your business. As Daniel Hayes once said to me ‘If you wanna grow, you gotta let go.’ This means that having a team member that can assist you with your non-dollar productive tasks is a godsend.
However, getting a PA is something that most people get wrong, and I would like to highlight some of the reasons I’ve observed:
- The Timing
Some agents form the decision to hire a PA after they have had a particularly busy period, while others do it because they have been advised to do so by someone. The truth is; if you are too busy to train your PA, you are going to be setting off on the wrong foot right from the start.
- The Type of PA
There are very few individuals that can be awesome in all the areas you’ll need assistance and sometimes trying to get an ‘all rounder’ will leave you with less than perfect results. Usually, there are two main types of PA – admin PA and prospecting PA. Most of the time an admin PA will have a strong background in administration, and he/she will keep you highly organised and efficient. However, they will not be looking for or have any experience in sales, prospecting or cold calling – in fact, the idea will likely terrify them. A prospecting PA, on the other hand, is often in the form of a rookie or new salesperson who is looking to break into the industry. They will be enthusiastic and not afraid of sales but will lack the ability to assist with some of the day to day activities. They are also more likely to need progression into a full sales role than an admin PA.
As mentioned in point 1, if you don’t have the time to train your PA, you are likely to feel frustrated in paying someone who has not shown any results, and they will also feel undervalued by the lack of support. I have seen agents, who through pure luck have found the right PA who can literally fall into the flow and start making progress. But generally speaking, PAs work at their best when they are given clear tasks to work on.
Even if you feel like they are your best mate at times, a PA is still your employee. Thus, having the discipline and structure in place to deal with them is paramount in establishing a long term working relationship. With a sales PA, you need to be able to motivate them, give them KPIs and enliven them up when they’re having a bad day. With an admin PA, you need to spend more time explaining their role, have regular meetings and make them feel part of your activities.
- Not having sufficient work
Again linked to point 1 – If you bring on a PA without thoroughly thinking through on what you need him/her to do, you will either start creating irrelevant tasks or end up feeling that hiring the PA was not a cost effective method.
With the clients we have worked with over the years, we’ve found that by assigning most of the tasks to a PA, most agents have been able to build up their business, without the associated issues of having an employee report to them. However, other clients have found it an excellent way to build up their businesses up to the point where they have sufficient work (and time) to effectively bring on an in house PA.
Another important consideration is; if you do hire a PA that has a specific skillset, outsourcing the other things you want done will be a great way to have happy and committed employees since they will be working on the things they love and will make you money!