Getting Help - Writing your First Position Description

There comes a point in every entrepreneur's life where they get a bit disillusioned with the routine day-to-day administrative tasks. At this point many may think they don't have the money to hire staff. Keep in mind that (1) hours can be minimal to fit your budget and (2) trading services for administrative help can reap enormous rewards. (Just imagine: an hour doing something that feeds your soul instead of +3 hours fighting with a computer!) The second most common barrier is figuring out where to get this help. In this post we're going to look at how to find the help you need. 

Finding help has two parts:

  1. being super clear on what you want them to do and what the terms of the arrangement would be, i.e. a position description
  2. putting the description from (1) out there so the right people will find it. 

Developing Your Position Description

The first step is identifying what precisely it is that you want them to do for you. Here are a couple strategies for starting that train of thought:

  • Imagine you're the President of the United States of Your Business and you bill at $1,000 per hour. What items that frequently pop up on your to do list could be done by someone else? Which items are really worth your valuable attention?
  • Write down all the things you really dislike doing.
  • Write down everything you consider "not what your business is about."

Ok, whatever your write down from the above is going to be a great start. Let's get those ideas formatted into a position description. A position description has a few key areas:

  • Responsibilities or Tasks
  • Skills & Training
  • Characteristics
  • Hours, Compensation, and any other logistics

Responsibilities or Tasks

Break down that list of things you came up with from before into as specific of tasks and responsibilities as possible. Break down broad things into specifics. For example, did you write down that you're overwhelmed by email? Your admin could do a first read, then clean out all the spam, or "triage incoming emails and cull spam." Consider asking your admin to "ghost-write" (i.e. write as if they are you) simple email correspondence, such as scheduling clients. 

Remember to be as descriptive as possible with your tasks. If you want someone to help update your website or e-newsletter, what do they need to know to do the updates? Wordpress? Wix? Squarespace? Mail Chimp? Constant Contact? Include those specifics so people can self-select if they're a good fit for your position, and if you'll be asking them to do things they like/don't mind doing. 

Skills & Training

What skills are necessary to complete the tasks you've listed? What software do they need to be able to use when doing basic tasks? Do they need any special training or a degree? It can be helpful to keep your applicant pool a little larger by listing some skills as "preferred" rather than "required" especially if you're open to training them on some specialized systems. 


What type of person do you work well with? What do you know doesn't work well for you? What working style is necessary for the tasks you're looking for? Do they need to be independent, or do you prefer close communication? 

Hours, Compensation and any other logistics

Make sure you include how many hours you'll be able to provide / they should expect to be responsible for. And how much do you plan to pay them for those hours? Or will it be in trade? if so, what exchange rate would you set? 

It's also great to specify any other logistic details. Will the work be performed at an office or remotely? Where is the office? Do they need to provide their own computer? If they are working remotely, then how will they meet with you? How often?

Getting your Description Out There

Your last step is getting your position description out there where people can see it. Post it to your website. Include it in your newsletter. Post to facebook, twitter, etc. Brave some odd-balls and post to Craigslist. Don't forget to mention it to your friends and follow it up with an emailed copy of your description. A friend of a friend could be a great assistant for you! 


If you want more one-on-one support for your Position Description, don't hesitate to contact me!