This week, I have a special treat for all of you. I’m introducing you to my amazing assistant, Emily Claver.
I’m often asked how I found her, so today we’re sharing the secrets to our magical partnership.
Many of you are running successful businesses on your own, without an assistant. Some of you say it’s too hard to find someone like Emily or it’s easier to just do things yourself. I want to seriously challenge you to reconsider. If you’re willing to communicate clearly, pay well, and take the time to build trust, an assistant can be your best hire ever.
Listen in as Emily and I talk about our work together and how Emily ended up being my right-hand woman. Having her help gives me back time each week so I can work on my business or spend time with my family that I wouldn’t have otherwise. We pull back the curtain on what it takes to create a beautiful working relationship with your assistant and transform your life forever.
If you haven’t hired an assistant yet or can’t seem to find the right person, this episode is for YOU. While Emily is extraordinary, she’s not a unicorn. Don’t miss this episode if you want to find out how to find a personal assistant just like Emily.
Also, don’t forget to check out the Entrepreneurial Management course inside Self Coaching Scholars to learn everything you need to know to create a solid foundation for your business and scale it to thrive right alongside you.
What you will discover
- Emily’s journey to becoming my most important hire.
- The two steps to follow when training a new assistant.
- Why you need vulnerability to get our kind of partnership.
- The many ways you will absolutely benefit from an assistant.
- Emily’s advice for people sorting through candidates to find someone like her.
- What to do if you think you don’t have enough work to give an assistant.
Featured on the show
You are listening to The Life Coach School Podcast with Brooke Castillo, episode number 328.
Welcome to The Life Coach School Podcast, where it’s all about real clients, real problems and real coaching. And now your host, Master Coach Instructor, Brooke Castillo.
Brooke: Well hello, my friends. Welcome to the podcast. We have a very special treat today. We have my very own assistant, Emily Claver on the podcast today. And I haven’t told her anything about what we’re going to talk about. I just want her to tell you all of her secrets.
And the reason why I wanted to have her on today was because everybody always asks me how I found her, as if I discovered her in a unicorn land far, far away and that she’s the only one of her kind in the world, which she may be. But I also want to talk about what we can to do to help other people that want to hire and get great assistants and what our secrets are.
So, welcome to the podcast. Will you start by just introducing yourself and telling us a little bit about you?
Emily: Sure, Emily Claver, Brooke’s assistant. I have about 30 years of administrative background experience and I fell in love with Brooke on the podcast, like most people, and came up the trail – I was kind of the – probably a quick sale for you, I don’t know. What’s our normal…
Brooke: You came up the funnel…
Emily: I came up your funnels, ended up your assistant. Every job you posted or talked about on the podcast, I applied for. I sent you emails, I harassed you. I was in Scholars and you coached me on my mindset about how I couldn’t make any money as an executive assistant. And I wondered if you remembered that.
Emily: I recorded it. I’ll send it to you. You’ll get a kick out of it. You aid, “Why do you got to go think that, Emily?” But anyway, it was great. So, no, I’m not a unique unicorn. There are tons of me out there.
Brooke: Tell us a little bit about your work history though. Like, where did you start and then who were you assistants for before you came to me?
Emily: Okay, well prior to you, I was in the NFL for eight seasons…
Brooke: Because you were what, quarterback? Running back?
Emily: Exactly, yeah. I was an executive assistant in the football operations side, and then also on the business operations side, so like supporting a general manager and a CEO in the NFL at a team, at the Kansas City Chiefs.
Brooke: How was that?
Emily: It was amazing. And in a lot of ways, I would say, and did say during my time there, that I really got an MBA in business, in the experience I was provided there, you know, given the opportunities, the things that I was exposed to there. So, I also worked in advertising for four years supporting two C-level guys who run a medium-sized agency. And that gave me some great experience as well.
They were kind of the first people who really treated me to have a seat at the table, you know, treated me as an equal partner and let me literally have a seat at the table, which was great experience. I was at Sprint corporate for eight years, on the C-suite, chief PR officer support.
Brooke: You’re making it sound like you’re 100 years old.
Emily: I know. I’m 50. And it’s kind of all I’ve ever done my whole career, pretty much my whole career. But I’ve been there – you know, I was at jobs a long time. It’s what I’ve always done.
Brooke: Love it, so good. Okay, so you’ve had lots of corporate experience, coming into working with me, and then came in as my personal assistant, which is still a pretty big adjustment, right, those two jobs are pretty different?
Emily: Yeah, actually in between, so I decided to launch my own fulltime coaching practice. So, I got certified December 2017 with our school and I launched my own business. And so, I left fulltime employment and did my own thing for about nine, 10 months maybe before you and I started talking. So, I’d already bridged the gap a little to working from home, working on my own, being in charge of my schedule and my time a little bit more. But there is a big transition, for sure, corporate to supporting in the way that I do for you know. It’s very different.
Brooke: Right, so my story, a little bit – I’ve talked about it a little bit on the podcast and a little bit in my course Entrepreneurial Management, but I had such a hard time finding an assistant. And for so many women, people in my position, we have such a hard time finding someone that can fill that role. And it’s 100% our faults because what we want is someone to read our mind. And one of the things that I’ve said a lot and that I’ve learned is that people can read your mind if you write it down.
Emily: Exactly, because you’ll forget your own mind too.
Brooke: If you write down what’s in your mind, someone else can read it. And so, for me, I think I feel sorry for anyone who tried to be my assistant before I really figured that out because I just wanted them to figure out what I needed, anticipate what I would need, and handle it ahead of time. And I’m very particular, very demanding. I have really specific wants and desires.
And so, I was ending up being frustrated. They were ending up being so frustrated. And so, I got to the point so many times where I just thought, there’s nobody that I’m going to be compatible with in this job. And so, I had Lauren Cash, who was working for me at the time, I had her be my assistant for a while and she just said, “Yeah, this is a mess. This is why people can’t be your assistant, because you haven’t been clear in your expectations. You haven’t written everything down. People don’t know what you want.”
And so, I spent a lot of time preparing, like for before I was going to hire another assistant, I sat down and wrote everything down that I wanted done. I started getting really specific in exactly the things that I needed. And then I found you. So, it was, like, perfect.
Emily: The timing was so perfect.
Brooke: But I do think that a lot of people who are struggling right now, or they feel like, “Oh, I just can’t find an assistant,” or a lot of my girlfriends are like, “Oh, Emily is amazing…” because they’ll talk to you because you’ll be helping them do something or coordinating an event or something.
And I’ll say, “Yeah, but I also feel like I was ready and prepared for the caliber that was you.” So, for someone like you, with your experience and your experience, to come and work for me, there needs to be a job description. There needs to be good pay…
Emily: There needed to be structure. And even, I could tell, by reading your job description, that there were buckets of work that you literally wanted someone to own, which is super-appealing to someone like me. And then when I came in and saw you had the structure in place for those things and you were super-detailed, it was great.
The challenge then really was I had to follow your specific directions step by step. And as someone like me comes in, never having had a boss that they had to do that for before.
Brooke: Interesting. So, that was challenging.
Emily: And I think anyone trying to find an Emily – and I’ve heard that before in my career too. This is not the first job I’ve heard that. So, anyone trying to find a support like how I offer you can kind of expect – it isn’t that we’ve not had any bumps…
Brooke: Of course.
Emily: But absolutely, the structure that you set up made it clear. And you knew in your mind what you were giving me and why and how you wanted it done.
Brooke: Yeah, and so I want to offer this as a really, like, structured podcast that someone can take and apply. And so, one of the things that is really important is that when you first hire someone, the first phase of all of your work that you do with them needs to be tactical.
And what I mean by that is I’m going to tell you exactly what I want done and then you’re going to do it exactly. And that’s how – so, here’s my expectation. Here’s the steps. This is what I want done. And then the person will do it exactly.
Now, what we call that in entrepreneurial management is hiring a tactician, someone that can follow orders, follow steps and directs and details and steps exactly. And then, once that is established – so, I’m giving you assignments, you’re following through, I’m giving you assignments, you’re following though. Then we start developing trust and rapport with each other.
And then, at that point, you can start being strategic. And so, what we mean by that is, in the beginning, I create all the processes. I create all the steps and you follow them. And then step two is, instead of me delegating the steps, I delegate the process, meaning I need you to tell me what the process will be for this thing.
And then, that becomes its own kind of learning process that you and I went through where I would say, “Okay, we need a process for this thing, for travel, or we need a process for using points for travel. Or, we need a process for the kids’ dentist appointments or me going out to dinner or how you’re going to put an entry in the calendar.
And then you’d come back to me with a process and then I would give you critique on the process and then – so, basically, one of the things that you had said to me from the very beginning was, it’s going to take us about a year to, like, really figure this out. And that was about exactly what it took.
So, in the beginning, I created all the processes, and then you started – we started cocreating processes, and now I feel really confident in just being able to delegate the highest level thing and you’re going to come up with a process, present it to me, and then deliver on that process. And now, our relationship is magic to me because my life is so dialed in. But I think most people aren’t willing to go through that process. They want to start where we’re ending, you know.
Emily: Right, they want someone to come in and solve all their problems for them. It’s just like any other hire. And you’ve spoken to this quite a bit when you talk with entrepreneurs building their business. What you get out of this relationship is a direct correlation to what you put into it.
And it’s a marriage. And especially the way – the type of support – you want, which is quite a bit on the personal side. You know, there are a lot of sensitivities there and you trust me. So, that also requires a different level than just someone who answers your phones, your emails, your – you know, there’s another level of trust that takes time and takes being willing to fail.
Like, you have to be willing, even with this job, give someone all your account numbers and then still risk that she may screw it all up and you might have to fire her. Or someone might steal from you. I mean, what is the worst-case scenario? We’ve seen them. You have to be willing to be that vulnerable to be able to have this type of partnership. You and I are – you have been willing to be that because you value what this role can do for you.
Brooke: Yeah, I want to speak to that because I think a lot of people don’t have that intimate of a relationship with their assistant because they haven’t established that trust. And I think that it’s such a big mistake. When people say, “I’ve tried too many assistants and so I just do it all myself,” you have to remember, for me, my most valuable asset in my life is my time.
That is the one thing that I can’t make more of. I can make more money. I can make more value. I can create more customers, you know, all of it. But I can’t create more time. So, it is challenging in the beginning to explain to someone exactly what you want done in terms of your house being clean and how much food you want stocked and the travel that you want to do, and every single detail that will save you time setting that up is really challenging.
But now that we have it set up and it’s so dialed in – and it’s dialed in and still constantly giving specific feedback, “This wasn’t done right. Make sure you talk to this vendor about this. Make sure this is handled,” taking the time to do that in real time has made my life exponentially better. And anyone who’s around me recognizes the ease that I’m able to go through my day. And that’s why they’re like, “I want an Emily, where do I pick one of those up?” And it’s like, no, it’s really a relationship that you commit to establishing.
So, I want to talk a little bit about some of those things that you take care of for me, because I think that people will find it interesting. And I think that people; think that it’s easier to take care of things themselves because they’ve never had anyone taking care of it for them properly.
So, let’s start with I’ll kind of do an overview and then you can speak to it. Like, for travel for me. So, I’ll send you information on these are the dates that I’m traveling to this place and, you know, this is who is traveling with me. And my expectation off of that instruction, at this point, is that you will go through a very detailed process so the day that I’m traveling, I simply look at my calendar and it says, “This is what time you leave your house. This is where you get your car. This is where the flight will be. This is the hotel you’re staying in.”
And every single thing in my calendar, when I press on it, has every single detail of anything that I could possibly need. So, for example, this is the hotel you’re staying at and here are the details of the hotel and it’s kind of tricky to get there so here are specific directions and here’s the phone number in case you need to call them and here’s your reservation number. It’s all right there.
So, I never see any of that until the day of travel, and then it’s all perfectly dialed in. So, I’m not in the phone. I’m not trying to figure out GPS. I simply click on it, it loads my GPS, and it’s just done. Now, that’s a lot of work for you on the backend. But for me, it saves me literally hours of time. We’re not checking in on anything. So, we want to talk a little bit about how we developed that process?
Emily: Sure, well you had spelled out, in the beginning when you brought me on, the job description was for calendar and travel maven. And I think you knew that that was one area that you did not want to have anything to do with. And you were super-clear about what you want and what you don’t want, which makes it a perfect candidate for a big thing to train someone as an assistant in and owning.
And you did have, to begin with, kind of an itinerary that you wanted followed and you’d already established with Lauren, before I came, how you wanted things put in your calendar, which helped. And then, I came having done that level of support for two road warriors who lived off of their iPhones. So, all detail was already – I was very accustomed to providing that.
Brooke: And it’s like, to every single detail, I want to explain to you, like, to the detail, the kind of car. And this is something that when you have an assistant, it allows you to become aware of things that make you comfortable. So, for example, one of the details that I like, if I’m going to be in the back seat of a car traveling from the airport to the hotel, I like that car back seat to recline.
I know it sounds like such a little thing, but when I’m sitting in the back seat of a car, I sometimes get car sick. And so, if I have to sit up too upright, I feel a little – so it just makes such a huge difference to how I feel, to am I going to get car sick in the car? Making sure the car picks me up at the right place and on time and is reconfirmed so you’re not, like, landing at the airport wondering what the heck is happening and that you have really professional vendors that have been background checked, you don’t have to worry about, like, any of those specific details.
And then, if I want to know, like for example, the driver’s name and what kind of car he’s going to be driving and what the name of the company is, it’s all right there in my calendar. And I never look at it until I land on the plane and I’m at baggage claim and I get to click on there and then it’s all just right there.
Now, half of the time, I’ll never even need to access any of that. But when I do, the other thing that’s like super-specific is, like, everything is linked. And it’s a hot link too. So, when I’m on my phone, I’m not having to type. I’m not having to copy and paste. Those little tiny details remove so much frustration and so much aggravation and so much extra time from my life. Now, it took a lot of time for us to work through it, but now…
Emily: Yeah, because the structure wasn’t all in place for that. I had to learn which types of vehicles exactly and why. I didn’t, you know, when you said, “Not that car but what about this one?” I had to be like, “Oh well she does, sometimes, she gets a little car sick or a little sick on a flight and coming off the flight, what’s her experience going to be like?”
And so, I’ve always made sure, when I do the travel planning, I imagine it’s me. I’m you. What do I want? I literally double check things on my phone, how’s it going to look when Brooke is actually on her phone doing it, versus how does it look in my computer. And then the multiple checking with vendors, I’ve gotten better at that. I was kind of sloppy at that in the beginning because I didn’t realize your expectations of the right before you’re going to land, make sure everybody’s really lined up. And I learned from you, from the feedback from you. When I hear from you, I know it means it’s my opportunity to improve on something, right?
Brooke: And that’s key. I think, a lot of times, people will say, “It’s fine, it’s not that big of a deal that they were late.” And it’s not because I’m a princess. I am a princess, but this is not because of that. It’s because if in real time I give really clear feedback, I’m like, “Oh, this isn’t a good vendor, here’s why, here’s why I don’t want to use them again.” If I take the time at that moment to give you that feedback, then the next time I travel, it’s not a constant thing. Because so many of my friends are dealing with the same headaches over and over and over again…
Emily: Yeah, and it’s on them. And it takes two seconds for you to contact me or type me a quick text, “Not these people again, please. Here’s why.”
Brooke: Okay, let me give you an example of something. She owns a company, the same revenue size as mine, lots of employees. She has an assistant. A couple of things that happened, she came over to my house and I always have fresh flowers, beautiful fresh flowers always at the house. And she’s like, “Oh my gosh, where’d you get the fresh flowers? What’s going on with the flowers?” And I always just say, “Emily. I don’t know, Emily handles everything.
Emily: I like that answer.
Brooke: And then she was asking – she goes, “Well, I’m going to get fresh flowers.” And then she asked about a chef, because I had all this food in the fridge from the chef. And she’s like, “How did you find a chef and how did they know what to make and why do you have all this food in here?” And I said, “Emily.”
And she said, “Okay, well I’m going to go to my assistant. I’m going to do both of these things. I’m going to go do flower and I’m going to go and find a chef.” So, she went home and she called her assistant and said, “I want fresh flowers every week delivered to the house.” That’s all she said.
Which seems reasonable when you think about it, right? But obviously, in her mind, she had seen my flowers. She knew what they looked like. She wanted flowers just like those. And one of the things that she hadn’t really thought about is, if you’re getting flowers every week, you’re going to end up with 500 vases. You’ve got to figure out the vase exchange. It’s like all these little details.
Anyway, she had gone home to her assistant and her assistant had ordered her, like, carnations, like a little small thing of carnations. She was so upset with her assistant because her assistant didn’t have the vision, right? And so, I didn’t say anything about that. And then she told me about the chef. She’s like, “Then I asked the assistant to find a chef.”
And the assistant came back and gave her three names of three chefs in the area. Now, she hadn’t called the chefs. She hadn’t seen if the chefs were still in business. She hadn’t seen if the chefs were available. She didn’t understand from my friend what exactly the food was going to be for, what the chef was going to be for.
And so, she’s just left with – it was a complete waste of time for the assistant and for my friend because they hadn’t had that communication. And so, one of the things that I talked to her about, and this is what made me want to do a podcast on it, is I said to her, “What you do is you assign it to your assistant and your assistant will have lots of questions about it. And your assistant will send back all those questions.”
But if you have to answer all the questions from the assistant, it’s going to take you a long time. So, what you do is you have your assistant write down all the questions and then have her answer all the questions what she thinks the answers are. And we call it a question filter.
And what’s so beautiful about that is that you can see how your assistant is thinking. Because I remember you and I did one early on and you were like, “Well I picked this one because it was the least expensive.”
Emily: Yeah, that was the wrong answer.
Brooke: I was like, oh no. That’s not how we make decisions, right? In this particular instance, we want the best. And so, what that allows us to do in our relationship is I get to understand how you think, not just having you pound questions at me so you know how I think. When I understand how you think, then I can correct not just the answers to the questions, but the way we think about things.
Emily: Yeah, and I love that you do look at it like you’re investing in us so that you have more bandwidth later. So, I don’t ever feel like I’ve let you down by me asking you and answering. As long as the answer also. Which is a very tough skillset for people to learn, but that is really magic.
Brooke: Well, it’s harder, right, because you have to think a lot more…
Emily: Or I have to guess and be willing to be wrong.
Brooke: That’s what I mean, but you have to think about what do I think she would want. Now, most of the time, you’re right. So, most of the time now, you’re like, “Here’s what I think you’ll want to do,” and it’s thumbs up, thumbs up, yes, yes, yes. And sometimes I’m like, “Whoa, wait, no, what? This is not what I want.” But it makes my life so much easier because you’re doing all the thinking.
And sometimes, what I think is really fascinating is sometimes you’ll send me a question and you’ll say, “This is what I think you’ll want to do.” And it’s a way better answer than the one I would have come up with. You’ve been more thoughtful about it. you’ve taken the time. You’ve anticipated something that is coming up for me and so you’re like, “Here’s how I think we should handle this.” And that’s when you know the magic is happening.
Emily: Yeah, what a relief for you, right?
Brooke: Yeah, but when you give your assistant terrible direction, you just say, “I just want flowers and a chef,” and then they come back with 100 questions, or they just go do something based on their assumptions, it’s faster, but you don’t end up getting the result you want. And then you’re so disappointed with the expectations.
So, what I had told her was “Listen, give her the assignment with as much detail as you can. Have her send you any questions back with the answers to the questions, and it will take much longer the first time. But then, she’ll know ow to make decisions in the future.”
Emily: Yeah, it trains her. The other thing I would say that’s unique about, or perhaps unique, about our relationship is that it’s almost 99% typed, written Slacks.
Brooke: Slacks and texts, yeah.
Emily: Which is different. It does make it so I don’t just randomly ask you questions. You’re not just walking by while I’m solving a problem and I don’t just grab you to ask you things. And it’s been a challenge for me from my background because I can’t read your mood. I don’t know when the right time to talk to you about or right time to propose something or I don’t know when to interrupt you or not.
But the way that you have structured the whole company, where it’s all in Slack and everyone is completely accountable to manage themselves, not just me, is also, I think, a huge reason why what we do together is so successful.
Brooke: Yeah, I agree. Now, I want to say this. If you hire an assistant and do it this way, and you can get a lot more details in Entrepreneurial Management, which is in Scholars, so you get it for free in Scholars, go in there. But one of the things that you do, you really get to create this relationship where you have someone that is literally managing your life, your time for you, in a way that – because one of the things that Emily and I talk about is I’m like, “Your job is to protect my time.”
So, if somebody wants an appointment with me, you’ve got to go through Emily first and you’ve got to be prepared. You’ve got to know what the meeting’s about. You’ve got to have thought it through. You have this much time. And then, Emily makes sure you’re going to have Zoom hooked up and that you’re going to be on time and that your audio is going to work.
It’s ridiculous, it just saves a lot of time for me. Now, what is that worth, is what I think so many of you need to think about. So many of you don’t have an assistant. And I’m talking about if it’s just you running your business, you absolutely could use a part-time assistant because the quality of your thinking about your own life and your own time will go up dramatically.
But you have to be willing to pay well too. That’s another thing is people, so many of the people I talk to, don’t want to hire someone at a high-level position. And my whole philosophy about this is I think you’re the most important employee I have because you’re the one – and all my employees save me time. But you’re the one that is most guarding my time. You’re the one that is most creating the space that I need in order to create value for my customers.
And when people say, “I’m just going to take care of this phone call or set up this meeting or go buy my own flowers or go do my own grocery shopping,” and they’re making millions of dollars in their businesses and they’re spending their time doing that, I think they’re really robbing themselves and their customers of the higher value thinking.
And also, having someone in your life that you’re paying a great salary to and that becomes their career that they can become really good at, it just exponentially, for both of us, has, I think, catapulted our careers, right? Because we’re in such sequence. But it’s not easy.
Emily: It’s not easy. But I think we spoke too, to begin with, the importance of – and it’s going to be different for every boss – what are those things that you want to identify that matter to you greatly that you can be very specific about and detailed about and train that person? Because it is an investment of your time in the beginning before it reaps the rewards. And then, to hire the right person, like you’re saying, you don’t want someone who’s going to be content, long-term, being a tactician.
You want someone who wants to grow and lead and take bandwidth off you, not just once you’re done with the initial onboarding, what will that person grow into? And to keep them long-term, you’re going to need to pay them.
Brooke: Right, I do think that’s something that’s unique about you. And maybe you could speak to this for anyone who’s wanting to be an assistant. One of the things that was really reassuring when we first started working together is you’re like, “I don’t want to be promoted. I want to be your assistant. I want this to be my job long-term.”
And I think a lot of mistakes are made when somebody is hired as an assistant as kind of an entry-level job, “This is where we start, and then if you’re really good at your job, you get promoted.” That’s a shame because yes, you get promoted in terms of how much money I’m paying you and that sort of thing, but not in that you then leave this rapport that we’ve now developed. So, what are your thoughts about that?
Emily: Partly I think, you know, I went through those rounds earlier in my career, of I would hit where they didn’t want to pay me any more money. And they would try to come up with creative ways to incent me or I would create proposals to them, “Hey, change my job title, make me project manager, make me a project coordinator, pay me five-grand more.”
And so much time gets wasted, so much of my energy early in my career was wasted on that, thinking I had to become something other than what I knew I was deeply gifted to do and very motivated to do.
Brooke: It’s like a cap on that, right? Like, assistants can only get paid this…
Emily: Yeah, and there was sort of – I had grown up where it’s kind of a servant position and there’s a demeaning thing about being a secretary. And for sure, in the circles, the billionaires I have supported, there were a lot of elite jackasses who treated me not well, you know. And in those times, I would go look around and go, “Okay, what else could I be doing?”
But ultimately, I kept coming back to I know the value that I bring. I know, when we are in sync, what it provides. And the same for my past bosses. When we were really gelling and I was doing projects for them that they did not want to do, it let them be in their zone of genius, right? And that’s the goal.
And then the challenges always came back to money. And I think that’s an issue as a profession globally, for sure, that assistants aren’t paid, and there are 500 titles for assistants, which makes things very confusing.
Brooke: I think it’s a problem because I think if you limit what you’re willing to pay the most important job to you and you put out a job description that’s limiting that amount of pay because of what reason I don’t know, like, just because the skillset isn’t required. But here’s one of the things that I want to recommend too is one of the things that is super-important for me is that you’re able to manage your mind and get your own coaching because you’re my first line.
So, when something goes wrong, I’m like, “Argh.” And I don’t want you to be – like, I feel like you’re a buffer between me and the vendor or me and the person, right?
Emily: I consider that I’m holding space for you.
Brooke: Exactly, so you hold space, like if I get frustrated or whatever, I don’t feel like I have to, like, repress anything. I can be like, “Okay, this is really pissing me off,” and I can tell you how mad I am at the person or whatever and just let off some steam. And you’re always so calm and I know that you’re going to go talk to the vendor in a very lovely voice and you’re going to be wonderful, right?
And so, I feel like that right there, that holding space and just me being able to be where I’m at, it just preserves all the relationships, you know, around us and all the people that we work with continuously that don’t have coaches and don’t understand the intensity of the work that we’re doing. So, I think that’s another piece. If you can hire and assistant who has also been trained in life coaching, I think that’s…
Emily: It’s magic. Well, the model, I mean, yeah. And having my own coach. So, I do have a safe space that I can go and…
Brooke: Complain about me.
Emily: Well, I try not to do that. I’ve usually gotten past complaining by the time I talk to her. I can go dump out my thinking that doesn’t empower me, you know, because that’s part of my work, and anyone who wants to do my job is to show up and be a leader, which takes reprograming because most of the world is telling us we should just be executing the specific task that your boss just told you to do, which frustrates the crap out of me to see assistants do that and not take ownership, you know.
Brooke: Absolutely, that’s the other thing I think you do so beautifully is, like, you see it as our work that we’re doing together. It’s not like, “Oh, I’m doing this for you.” It’s kind of like this is our project that we’re working on together. And so, I think there’s a lot more collaboration that can happen there.
Because I’ll be like, “Why did we do it this way? Why did we do it that way?” And you’re able to go, like, “Here’s what I was thinking.” And then I’m like, “Oh, that totally makes sense.” Instead of, “I want it done this way. What’s wrong with you?” Like, having the teamwork.
We both want it to be the most efficient, the most professional, and I think that’s something that’s really unique about how we approach all of this work. We take it really seriously. And so, sometimes when we bring in a vendor, they’ll be like, “Oh, it’s fine.” They’ll do something a little sloppy. They won’t show up. They won’t be blue collar, something like that.
And we’re like, “No, that’s not the standard that we’re willing to work at.” And I think that’s increased my relationship with myself too because of the space that I have, not to have to be thinking about every little detail that’s going on in my life.
Emily: Well, and that’s – I mean, you’ve put a huge investment into being able to accomplish that. So, kudos to you for making that investment. I mean, that is what it takes.
Brooke: And that’s what it takes if you want an Emily, you know. You’ve got to be willing to see that as your most important hire for most people, that’s their first hire. If you treat your assistant like someone that’s helping you out, you miss the opportunity. You have to consider, I think, as a partner, a full-fledged partner in your life. And someone that’s willing to make the commitment for the long-term. And then you need to make the investment in all of the communication upfront. So, what would be your advice to someone who’s looking for someone like you?
Emily: Just keep trying them out. I would say, like we’ve talked about, the important part to begin with is becoming really clear on what those buckets are that you are going to give that person. So that when you go to interview or, you know, if you have someone else helping you screen, it becomes really clear, does that person have experience in that or not? Because you don’t need to be training them how to do it. You might need to train them a little bit about why you want it done a certain way.
Brooke: Yes, that’s really a good point, yeah.
Emily: But you need to hire someone who already can come with – or you’ve got another project. Do you want another project, or do you want to develop a real partnership?
Brooke: And hire someone with some experience. Be willing to pay them. Be willing to give them very clear and detailed instructions. And the last thing I want to leave you all with is, I think it’s important – one of my girlfriends just told me, she’s like, “I don’t know. I just hired an assistant, but I don’t know if I have enough for her to do.” And I said, “That is the self-growth that you as the hiring person can do is, like, thinking about what do you spend your time thinking about and doing that is not a good use of your brain, that someone else can take care of for you. And what I recommend is you just go through your day and just notice how exactly you’re spending your time.
Emily: Yeah, from the time you wake up, to the time you fall asleep, what’s keeping your mind busy that isn’t about making you money? Because if it isn’t about making you money, it’s something you can delegate.
Brooke: Yeah, or creating value or thinking at a high level, like, I’ll give you this one example. When things in your house don’t work or things in your house, you’re just tolerating, that burns up brain energy. Our example, when I look and the windows are dirty…
Emily: Yeah, drives you crazy.
Brooke: Right, I look at the windows and they’re dirty and I’m like, “Oh, I should get those cleaned.” And then I look at them again the next day, and again, my brain is taking up time. I’m looking at the window, getting it cleaned. And then I’m thinking, day five, I should really take care of that. And then somebody else points out, usually my son, “Did you notice that the windows are dirty?”
Whereas now, the windows are dirty, I immediately send you a Slack and I know that it’s done. And not only is it done, but then it’s reoccurring. And that kind of nagging in the back of your mind, people think, “I can’t afford to hire someone to help me with all of those things,” but if you really think about what you could be doing with that time, it’s worth it to just, I think, make the list, “If I had an Emily, what would I have her do?”
Emily: Or him…
Brooke: Or him, yes, exactly, if I had someone, what could I have them do that would free my mind up to be more creative? And you think you get someone doing this job that wants to do the job, that wants to take care of all of those things for you. And it’s not just the things that you take care of. It’s the things that you’re not taking care of, that will free your brain up to be able to do so much more important work in the world.
So, I feel like, this is to all my girlfriends who tell me that they don’t want to hire an assistant, even though they have plenty of money and large businesses, because they can’t find a good one or they think it’s too much of a hassle. It’s so worth it.
I spent a couple of years trying to find my right assistant. And I remember Kris Plachy said to me that she had a really good friend that has an assistant and she was a C-suite person and every time she went to a new company, she negotiated bringing her assistant with her. And that’s when I was like, okay. Because isn’t that true, even if I went into a brand-new industry…
Emily: Yeah, I’m coming with you.
Brooke: And so, when I thought about that, I’m like, that really is a partnership. That really is you believing that you’re ready to take it to that next level. So, we just wanted to share some of our secrets with you. And if you want more, you can check out entrepreneurial management, which is now in Scholars, where I talk a lot about the job description and the details that we all go through.
Emily: Yeah, I encourage people who are interested in the executive assistant field to check out Entrepreneurial Management too because I approach my position, and part of my success as this type of employee, is that I consider myself an entrepreneur.
Brooke: Right, that’s interesting. You consider yourself an entrepreneur and I’m your product?
Emily: Yeah. You’re my best client. You’re my only client.
Brooke: Let’s always keep it that way, okay, promise.
Emily: I love you.
Brooke: I love you too. Alright, you guys, I’m so happy to have introduced you to Emily. You cannot have her. Do not email her. Do not try and hire her. She’s mine forever. But if you don’t have an assistant, I want you to seriously consider getting some help and going through these processes that we talked about today. Have a wonderful week, everybody. Talk to you soon. Bye.
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