At this point, my consulting clients and Next Level Mastermind folks often ask very similar questions, and have similar concerns, and fears:
- If I grow, won’t I have a huge team to manage? That’s going to take a ton of time!
- I’m not big on supervising people, I like doing my own thing, how do I manage that?
- How do I keep track of what assistants are doing?
- What about HIPAA?
- I don’t want to pay someone to just sit in my lobby!
Let’s discuss a few key items around these concerns. Yes, it takes time to find, train, and give feedback to an assistant, but next, I’m going to tell you how to do that. If you’re not big on supervising people, that’s fine, let’s get them trained, give feedback, and teach them to be as autonomous as possible.
Don’t hire people that bring drama, crisis, and ‘pain-in-neckness’ to your practice. From the beginning, say things like, “We really value that this is a ‘drama-free’ practice. Our clients go through enough stress, we don’t want that as part of our team”.
Regarding keeping track of assistants, and not paying them to sit around, GOOD! When you pay someone the time they work, not just for existing, it saves a ton of money. My virtual assistant that runs my practice gets paid when she’s on the phone, scheduling, blogging, and doing other practice-related things. She doesn’t get an “on-call” payment. She just keeps track of the minutes worked per month, then I round up, knowing she works more than that.
I don’t think I’ve ever paid more than $400 in a month for my entire group practice! Of course, a service will cost more and can be worth it, but we’re not covering that right now.
It Comes Down To ABC
So, how do you find, train, and give feedback to an assistant? Remember this ABC:
- ACTIVITY: First look for someone around a specific task and activity. What do you want done? “I want to outsource everything!” just doesn’t work. Finding people with specific talents is important. Post the job description on Facebook, Upwork.com, or reach out to friends. For an Intake Coordinator, a personal referral is usually better. Interview them and look for people that want to build skills and grow within your business. Make sure they want to train beyond the specific activity they are hired for.
- BASICS: What are the basics of the job? Start by training on those. When you do that, you can see how well the person does and let them go if they’re not getting it. For example, capture how you do intake calls and scheduling, train them on those, have them report their conversion stats, and then provide feedback.
- COLLABORATION: We could say “circle back” or “give feedback”, but the on-boarding process of an assistant is all about collaborating with them. Usually, if the ball is dropped, it’s partially because you were not super clear on what they should do. Own your side of miscommunication.
Here are some tools I use:
- Trello: Free project management software
- Upwork: For more design projects I want to outsource
- 99Designs: Other design and logo work I want
- Skype: For phone calls with non-local assistants
- Weekly meetings: When someone is new, we meet weekly to check in on the Trello board and make sure we’re clicking along. If not, we meet more frequently.
ACTION: Make a list with three sections: Things only I can do, Things I like but others could do, Things I hate/shouldn’t be doing. Ready to discover even more tips on working with a virtual assistant? Here’s an article I wrote, including an infographic, with seven clear tips for working with a virtual assistant.
Next, we’ll be covering why adding clinicians to your practice is one of the biggest next level decisions and how to do it right.
Joseph R. Sanok, MA, LLP, LPC, NCC
Joe Sanok is an ambitious results expert. He is a private practice business consultant and counselor that helps small businesses and counselors in private practice to increase revenue and have more fun! He helps owners with website design, vision, growth, and using their time to create income through being a private practice consultant. Joe was frustrated with his lack of business and marketing skills when he left graduate school. He loved helping people through counseling, but felt that often people couldn’t find him. Over the past few years he has grown his skills, income, and ability to lead others, while still maintaining an active private practice in Traverse City, MI. To link to Joe’s Google+ .