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  • Evan Ryan

Assistants Are a Requirement, Not a Reward

Seconds and Cents Episode 12 seconds, Episode 12 today's July 20 2020. Today we're going to talk about a topic that's near and dear to my heart. We're going to talk about assistants about how my first hire should have been an assistant. And really, it's been at the forefront of my mind for the last two days, I was helping my aunt as she looks to hire an assistant yesterday, I was talking with my assistant today about what what makes a good assistant. And I'm really excited to talk about this because looking back to when I was a company of one, it was really important for me to understand, and I didn't understand this at the time, that I was the most important person in my business. I was the only person in my business but I was the most important person in my business. I was the chief investor into the business. I was the person who had the vision for the business, I was the person who is executing everything inside of the business. And ultimately what I didn't realize at the time, but I realize now is that anything that I could have done when I was just starting out and to free myself up to be able to do the things that I'm really good at. And to be able to do a lot of things that move the needle would have allowed me to move faster, farther and farther faster. And so I should have hired an assistant first and as I talked about assistance, I'm going to primarily be talking about my experience with Tamra. Tamra has been my assistant for the last nine months and so I will be referring to my assistant because I'm picturing Tamra in my mind. But it can be anybody out there. And really, I think that's the first and most important key point is that the assistant is an extension of you with a complimentary skill set. What's that mean? Well, first of all, my assistant Tamra does everything in her power to limit the number of things that I do in a day. That way I can do the things that I do really, really well. So if I have three or four or five things that I have to get done in a day, or I have a couple of meetings that are very Important, like this morning, I had a very, very important meeting. And then I had a couple of tasks that were really important. And now I'm recording a podcast. Tamra right now is running intercept on my email. She's the person who's scheduling meetings for the next couple of weeks for me, she's the person who handles my podcast. And so once I record a podcast episode, she gets a transcription. She takes that transcription, she makes that a blog post then she posts the video to Facebook and now Instagram. And so Tamra is the person who kind of deals with a lot of the details in my life that I just simply should not be doing and I don't have time for and then that begs the question, why should I not be doing it? Well, because those details don't move the business forward in the way that I should be moving the business forward. And Tamra skillset is to be very detail oriented. She's very process oriented. She is a great extension of me because I am not detail oriented and I'm not process oriented. And we're going to talk about kind of why she joined me. I asked her earlier today Why did you join my business? Why did you decide to work for me? I actually asked her that, because she was talking about what you should look for in an assistant, I didn't look for any of those things. I didn't do any of the work that I should have done in order to hire great assistant. The universe just blessed me with an amazing assistant who helps me manage my life. But kind of circling back to Well, why should Why should I have hired an assistant first and why should entrepreneurs in my opinion, make their first hire an assistant, it's because while you're a one person business, as the chief investor, as the chief doer of all things in your business, you are the most important person. Therefore, if you can amplify yourself, if you can amplify your skillset, if you can elevate tasks to your assistant, that you know for a fact that you cannot continue to do because it's just not a good use of your time, or you know, that you're not going to be able to stick with, then all of a sudden you allow yourself to move farther, faster and easier. Right now I have a team of five. And my company is still dependent on me as the founder for the vision of the company to get the new clients to be able to deliver project plans and execute my company is not self managing yet, I couldn't take 90 days off and my company ends up and ends the 90 days in a better place than we started, although I'm working towards it. Ultimately, when I was a one person company, and I probably still am now the most important person in my company. And so really, as the chief investor, as the entrepreneur, as the founder, it's incredibly important to understand that the most important person is you. And so you really need to do the best job that you can, creating extensions of yourself and complimentary skillsets. Like I said, I'm very vision focused. I'm very product focused. I am not detail focused whatsoever. And so Tamra does a wonderful job being detail oriented, keeping me on task, making sure that the processes that need to be Follow through, like the process that I outlined with how we handle my podcasts are happening every single day day in and day out. And I was in a conversation last night we were talking about Jeff Bezos and I asked the question, do you think Jeff Bezos likes his life? I don't know that answer for sure. Right. But he's worth now something like 172 billion. He can't walk down the street without being swarmed. But where the conversation led was it led to us talking about, Well, Jeff Bezos can't leave Amazon. He's the most important person at Amazon. And if Jeff Bezos did leave Amazon, not only would Amazon stock crash through the floor, and it would recover, of course, but Amazon stock would fall for sure. But also the United States economy because so many people look to Jeff Bezos, his success, to like as kind of a feeling that, well, America is getting stronger. The stock market is getting stronger. My financial future is getting stronger. And if Amazon one of the companies that's really doing really well on a stock market doesn't have Jeff Bezos, well then investor fears are going to take over. And so Amazon stock is going to fall, the s&p 500 is going to fall, the stock market is going to fall. And so it's just a very interesting point that even with over half a million employees, Jeff Bezos is by far still the most important person in Amazon, even if he only works at Amazon half the time, because he has teams that are doing everything else. I think it's really important to when I made my first couple of hires, I hired a social media person, the social media person was working primarily on a client account at the time. And I hired a developer to help me with developing the Lede AI product, once we got it to a point where it worked. And once we got it to a point where now we needed reliability, we needed scale. And I hired those two positions because I thought, well, well, the social media person, I had no social media capabilities at the time whatsoever. And she was primarily doing content creation. So I didn't want to do content creation. And so talking about the developer Well, I got to a point where we had reached the limits of my skill sets and my development capabilities, we'd built a really compelling product that works sometimes and it didn't work others. And what we needed was we needed a technical background to really make this thing, make this thing scale make this thing be built to last. Well, at the time, I thought, if a developer leaves and I can't hire another developer, I could probably take over and figure it out. And I would work a lot of hours, I could probably figure it out. And I thought, well, second of all, I can handle the my new show. So now I can spend more time doing things that are important like setting up client meetings over email and handling my email in general. And really what I discovered was while both of those hires were at the time, excellent hires, and I'm still working with the developer. Ultimately, I should not be handling the minutia and had I given away that minutia had I elevated the minutia like my email inbox and scheduling scheduling meetings, I might have been able to build the product line longer and focus more on the details because my mind was more free. And that leads me to my second point that's about assets. And I think the most important thing for entrepreneurs to realize, as they are going from a one person company to a two person company, or from whatever it is, is that your second greatest asset in the company, as an entrepreneur as your time. Your first greatest is, of course, your health. But ultimately, the greatest asset your company has is the founder, it's the entrepreneur. And so my time as an asset is really, really, really important. I spend a whole lot of time making sure that I am freed up and giving Tamra the tools to succeed to free me up to be able to focus on only the highest of high impact activities. And so, if Tamra is handling needless things, in my opinion, needless things like email and meeting meeting, invites calendar invitations. I don't really like doing email. I've never understood why people like doing email. I've never really been excited about the idea that I've three hours worth of email to do. If I can spend less time doing email and more time creating value for my customers, I'm going to do that. Right. And so now I spend about 20 minutes per day on email, I can spend more time for focused time, I can spend more time creating value for my customers generating leads through Pinterest for my customers generating new content for Lede AI doing whatever we need to do in order to be able to make our customers even more successful. And here's where that pays off. The more success that our customers see, the more success that we see. Right? If we can make our customers more successful, and we can allow our customers we can build our customers bigger future, then it's highly likely that our customers will include us in their bigger future, right. And so I spend a whole bunch of time focused on activities like how can I create more value through Pinterest for my customers? How can I use my knowledge, attitudes, skills and habits to create value for our customers through Pinterest. How Can I use my knowledge, attitudes, skills and habits to create value for our Lede AI customers create value for the newspaper industry as a whole through automated content. And so ultimately, instead of spending that time answering emails and saying, Well, I'm available on Tuesday from three to five, and on Wednesday from 10 to noon, but then I don't have any availability, until next Monday, I'm spending time really moving the needle. And that needle movement that I'm able to do is what generates the new cash that's able to grow our business and scale our business. And I think Lastly, in terms of time as an asset that allows me to take more time off, which is one of the most important things. When I went to Strategic Coach the first time, they recommended that we take 180 days off a year as founders as entrepreneurs, and I Scott, and everybody else in the room scoffed at it and pretty sure I had like the chills, right? And they said, No, you need to take 180 days off per year, and it's because y