Vaporize Your Chores by Hiring a Personal Assistant
Do you enjoy booking your own dentist appointments, waiting on hold to talk to your cable company, or researching the DMV procedures for getting a driver’s license in your state?
Me neither. So I hired someone to make all that go away.
I first experimented with personal assistants in 2010 after coming across Tim Ferris’s account of using virtual assistants to increase his productivity.
I had pretty weak results at the time though. Yes, the virtual personal assistant services Tim talked about were cheap. But there was a language barrier, I couldn’t choose who I worked with, and the virtual assistants didn’t know my local area well enough to make informed decisions.
So this time around, I interviewed and hired a real live human from my local area.
With someone local, there’s no misunderstandings when I say Harris Teeter, Capital Boulevard, Brier Creek, or Ravenscroft (all references to the Raleigh area).
Local assistants are also much better at visiting physical businesses than the virtual assistants were.
So back to the distractions. I don’t want them.
What I do want, however, is the ability to focus my time on the things that are most important to me. Family, business, traveling, and hobbies fall into this category.
Outside of focusing my time on the activities I enjoy, personal assistants are also much better for my own financial bottom line.
Here’s what I mean by that.
- Earn $100 by spending 1 hour building a new business venture or doing some consulting work.
- Pay $15.00 to have someone else spend 1 hour managing my travel arrangements, selling my old car, or picking up dry cleaning.
- Enjoy net gain of $85.00.
- Spend 1 hour managing my own chores.
- Earn no revenue.
- Lose $85.00 in opportunity cost.
Once I had mentally run through this cost-benefit analysis, I decided to try hiring an assistant as an experiment for one month.
Here’s the ad I posted on Craigslist:
Looking for a personal and business assistant
One of my goals for 2013 is to be more productive.
I’m looking to hire a personal assistant for 15-20 hours per week to help me start achieving that goal.
A qualified candidate would be able to handle tasks like the following:
- Schedule a dentist appointment
- Register for a NC Quick Pass
- Schedule carpet cleaning
- Help research the purchase of a new vehicle
- Research 3D printers
- Research NC duck hunting guides
- Researching hotels and restaurants
- Research good accounting firms in the area
- Purchase and install a Nest thermostat
- Research house refinancing
- Research trips to Yosemite
- Pick up and deliver groceries or dry cleaning
- Organize and clean a home office
- Send headphones to factory for repair
A qualified candidate also:
- Loves organization, being on time, and smiling!
- Responds clearly and in a timely manner to inbound email
- Has traveled a good bit and has helped plan trips for others (bonus points if you’ve attained an elite status on an airline in the past)
- Has or is working towards a 4-year college degree or equivalent experience
- Has a valid driver’s license, clean driving record, and access to a vehicle for running errands
When replying, please answer the following questions:
- Why do you think you’d make a good assistant?
- What experience do you have that you think is relevant to this job?
- What’s the worst job you have ever had?
- Who are 3 real human references than can vouch for how awesome you are?
Please also include a link to your public LinkedIn profile or equivalent.
Compensation: $15.00/hour contract for minimum one month
Feel free to download this job description and use it as a template.
After finding someone I liked, we used GitHub Issues to communicate about and manage the tasks. Things have gone well this month.
So far, I’ve gotten help with the following tasks:
- Find an elephant preserve near Phuket, Thailand (mission accomplished)
- Get carpet cleaning quotes from local Raleigh vendors
- Research different fun Valentine’s gift ideas
- Schedule a dentist appointment
- Research and negotiate the purchase of a new automobile
- Conduct travel research on the country of Belize
- Search for cool AirBnB listings in cities I’m traveling to
This week is the last week of my one-month experiment. It looks like I’ll definitely be opting in for another month.
If you enjoyed reading this, or have your own set of tips for personal assistants, you should follow me on Twitter.