When a Part-Time Personal Assistant Isn't Just a Luxury

As a freelance journalist, I am my own small business. I used one of Lambent Services part-time personal assistants and mapped out
September 24, 2009

As a freelance journalist, I am my own small business. I used one of
Lambent Services part-time personal assistants and mapped out three goals with her. They were to:

  • Transform a makeshift at-home office into a working office.
  • Create an efficient invoicing system for contracts I work with.
  • Sort through boxes of paperwork and business cards accumulated over the years; figure out a purging and filing system.

There’s a three-part process to getting started with Lambent Services.  Owner Jill Glist first interviews potential clients for what skills they need in a personal assistant, what kind of personality they like to work with and then discusses the preferred schedule for working with a part-time personal assistant. Shifts are typically 3 hours and can be a one-off session or continual. 

After speaking with potential clients, Glist sends over three “dossiers” of potential part time personal assistants.  This gives clients an opportunity to see what person works best for them.

I chose a Harvard graduate with expertise in organization, handiwork and personal finance. I decided to use her for three sessions over the course of two weeks.

“Especially with small business owners, the home and work tasks often overlap,” says Glist. “The advantage of having a part-time personal assistant is you can pick and choose which of those overlapping tasks are for your assistant to handle.”

During the first session my assistant sorted through a mountain of paper work and organized it. She advised me on what office accoutrement to purchase. I got a Fellowes personal shredder specifically designed to be quiet (out of respect for my neighbors) and an office organizer that had compartments for financial records and invoices, as well as drawers for stocked supplies. For me, this was a much-needed installation.

During the second session she updated all of my billing, changed all of my billing to occur around the same day of the month, and transferred everything to online, auto-pay billing. She created an Excel document for monthly billing incorporating all my contracts into the spreadsheet with a simple yet efficient checks and balances process.

Session three is this week and the plan is to set up my printer and scanner to be working (an ongoing and painfully expensive issue I have been outsourcing to Kinko’s) and filing everything away. From there I will decide if I will continue with her, using her for services that previously made my To Do list, but rarely were checked off.