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Hiring Help: Two Entrepreneurs Find the Right Assistant

For a woman business owner, hiring an assistant can create the perfect balance: the entrepreneur gets the help she needs without the stress and cost of hiring an entire team. Running a business with the support team model can be very beneficial for the business owner in the future and a great assistant can make it even better. The relationship between an entrepreneur and her assistant will be truly beneficial immediately and in the future if she selects someone whose skills and personality traits match her company’s needs and her own entrepreneurial style.  

When a woman business owner makes the decision to hire help, hiring an assistant is an excellent first step in building a team. Even if an entrepreneur doesn’t feel ready to create a team immediately, the right assistant eventually can serve as the link between the business owner and the team in the future. Selecting an assistant who meets an entrepreneur’s specific needs (both immediate and future needs) is absolutely essential in forming a relationship that will set the foundation for a strong team later one.

A recent study from Jane Out of the Box, an authority on female entrepreneurs, reveals there are five distinct types of women in business. Based on professional market research of more than 3,500 women in business, this study shows that each type of business owner has a unique approach to running a business and therefore each one has a unique combination of needs. This article outlines two of the five types and provides tips for each one to consider when hiring an assistant.

Jane Dough is an entrepreneur who enjoys running her business and generally, she makes a nice living. She is comfortable and determined in buying and selling, which may be why she's five times more likely than the average female business owner to hit the million dollar mark. Jane Dough is clear in her priorities and may be intentionally and actively growing an asset-based or legacy business. It is estimated that 18% of women entrepreneurs fall in the category of Jane Dough.

Because Jane Dough often delegates almost too much and then moves quickly on to her next strategizing session, she needs an assistant who will ask questions when necessary and who will be able to command Jane Dough’s attention and then communicate quickly and efficiently once she has it. Jane Dough business owners tend to be so focused on growth and strategy that they don’t communicate their vision. Therefore, team members often feel disconnected. An assistant can act as the liaison between Jane Dough and the rest of the team.

Professional skills and experience Jane Dough should look for: managerial skills, effective communication skills, multi-tasking, organization.

Personality traits Jane Dough should look for: confidence, an outgoing nature, a can-do attitude, a thick skin, autonomy, flexibility.

Go Jane Go is passionate about her work and provides excellent service, so she has plenty of clients – so much so, she's struggling to keep up with demand. She may be a classic overachiever, taking on volunteer opportunities as well, because she's eager to make an impact on the world and she often struggles to say no. Because she wants to say yes to so many people, she may even be in denial about how many hours she actually works during the course of a week. As a result, she may be running herself ragged and feeling guilty about neglecting herself and others who are important to her.

Go Jane Go business owners often find delegating difficult because they worry that no one else will live up to their own high standards. Therefore, they must hire helpers who are detail-oriented and who strive for perfection like she does, and who will find creative ways to encourage Go Jane Go to delegate to him or her. Also, Go Jane Go values her relationships with customers so much that she sometimes goes above and beyond what is reasonable, stretching her personal and business resources. Therefore, while an assistant Go Jane Go hires must be customer-friendly, he or she also must be able to provide Go Jane Go with a reality check when a client’s demands exceed practicality. Finally, an assistant to Go Jane Go must have excellent communication and organization skills so he or she can effectively handle running a team while providing Go Jane Go with the information she needs to feel confident that her team is performing at the high caliber she demands.

Professional skills and experience Go Jane Go should look for: attention to detail, managerial skills, previous experience as an assistant, customer service skills, excellent communication skills.  

Personality traits Go Jane Go should look for: perfectionism, confidence, a take-charge attitude.

Although working with a team may provide excellent benefits and results, an entrepreneur may not be ready for the costs and challenges of managing a team right away. Hiring an assistant is a great starting point in creating a teamFeature Articles, as it encourages a woman business owner to learn to delegate effectively and provides a future link between the business owner and a team.

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Michele DeKinder-Smith is the founder of Jane out of the Box, an online resource dedicated to the women entrepreneur community. Discover more incredibly useful information for running a small business by taking the FREE Jane Types Assessment at Jane out of the Box. Offering networking and marketing opportunities, key resources and mentorship from successful women in business, Jane Out of the Box is online at

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