Tell us if this sounds familiar…
…There’s just not enough time to get everything done. When you cross one thing off your to-do list, you usually have to add another.
…Some days you feel like tedious work has overtaken your creative work.
…You hit the pillow after a busy day and realize you didn’t do anything you really wanted to.
You want a workflow that feels sustainable. One that allows you to get things done while also allowing time for creativity, experimentation (and a social life!) too.
But right now it feels as though you’re manning a sailboat alone — always running from one end to another, trying to stay afloat, and not able to enjoy the view.
What if your life could run more like a fine yacht — where you’re steering the ship but the mechanics take care of themselves? Where you can spend time creating and innovating, and the day-to-day details would still be handled.
Sound like a pipe dream?
It’s not. But the way to get there might surprise you.
In fact, many musicians dismiss this option right away, which can hold back their careers for years.
Read on to learn how you can move your career ahead faster — while working less.
Knowing When It’s Time to Ask for Help
If you feel like it’s up to you — and only you — to bring your dream to life, you’re not alone. In fact, it’s common for creative, intelligent, entrepreneurial artists to get stuck in that trap.
And it IS a trap.
We’ve watched many artists and administrators dig themselves into a deep hole by thinking that just because they can do it all, they should.
And it’s understandable!
You can probably think of at least one person who appears to be able to perform all the time and launch exciting side projects — all while being a social media expert and a PR mogul.
“If they can do it,” you think yourself, “I should be able to.”
Maybe you feel guilty asking for help.
Or maybe you don’t realize that your career doesn’t have to be such a struggle. (Trust us, it doesn’t!)
And YOU have that same support available to you.
So, why is it that so many musicians continue to try to do it all on their own?
The “Assistant” Myth
One of our favorite mantras is “Just because I have the ability to do each thing, doesn’t mean I have the capacity to.”
Take it from Chad Smith, the COO of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, who says that there is some work that only YOU can do and some work that you can delegate to others.
In our experience working with musicians and administrators, those who delegate tasks not only feel less stressed, they also find that their “creativity pool” expands almost instantly because their mind is no longer bogged down by a long list of to-dos.
So if delegation is key to efficiency and well-being — who should you delegate to?
A personal assistant.
Now, before you roll your eyes and tell us that you can’t afford one, or you’re not ready for one, or you don’t need one — hear us out.
Typically, when you hear the word “assistant,” a few things might come to mind:
- You picture the Hollywood executive assistant with a Bluetooth in their ear and their boss’s dry cleaning in hand
- You imagine shelling out more than you can afford on tasks you tell yourself you should be able to handle on your own
- You create a disaster scenario where whoever you hire actually makes your life harder
- You consider yourself a perfectionist and can’t imagine anyone else doing tasks that meet your standards
Although these are intriguing stories — they’re just that: stories.
Having an assistant looks different for every musician, and you can create an arrangement that is designed specifically around your needs.
You can hire an assistant for 5 hours a week or 50.
You can give them a specific list of tasks or you can ask them to help you with projects as they come up.
You can work with someone remotely or in your neighborhood.
There is no ONE way to have an assistant. The only requirement is that there is something in your life or career that you could use assistance with. (We bet you can think of a few things right now!)
And if you’re still on the fence, think about how much your time is worth to you and ask yourself: Am I valuing my own time?
Should You Hire an Assistant?
So now that we’ve squashed the preconceived notions of what it means to have an assistant, here’s a quick exercise to determine if hiring a personal assistant is the right move for you to make now.
- Write down your to-do list.
- Circle all the items that only you can do
- Put a checkmark next to all the items someone else could accomplish
If you regularly find that most items could be accomplished by someone else, you may be ready for an assistant.
Another sign that it might be time to hire an assistant is if you need some help planning the next steps of your career. An assistant or coach can help you organize a plan, give you resources, and keep you accountable as you move forward.
And lastly, if you tend to wake up feeling weighed down (rather than energized) by the work than needs to get done, you may be ready for an assistant.
Finding the Right Fit
When the time comes to hiring your assistant, finding the right fit is crucial.
Here’s how to ensure you choose someone who will mesh well with your personality and needs:
- Be honest with yourself about what you need done (Hint: we often underestimate how much help we could use!)
- Describe exactly the type of person you want/need. For instance, do you want to invest a lot of time training someone so that you can mold them to your expectations? Or would you prefer someone to come in and take charge even if their style doesn’t 100% match yours? Do you need the person to be in the same physical location as you, or would you prefer a remote setup?
- Create a job description. A great job description fosters great applicants. When writing the description, rather than asking yourself what you need done, envision that you are your ideal assistant. What qualities do you have? What are you accomplishing on a daily basis? What drives you and what unique talents are you bringing to the table? Write those things down.
- Engage your community. Your personal network is the most valuable tool you have. Engage your peers, friends, and mentors to help you with the search. When they recommend someone, you already have one reference checked off the list!
Give Yourself Room to Grow
Many musicians hesitate to hire help because they worry about permanency. Meaning, they’re not sure how many hours they want someone to work, or if a remote assistant would be best, or a million other factors that could play out in different ways.
You only learn by taking action. So start with the least amount of hours that you think you need. Hire someone remotely for one small project to see how it goes.
Don’t stop now because you’re afraid that things might have to change later. If you feel like you need help right now, take the leap and hire an assistant.
You might be amazed by how quickly your life and career changes when you commit to hiring someone to help support your dream.
We’re Here to Help
We’ve supported numerous clients in crafting job descriptions, creating a scope of work, scouting and hiring, and managing an assistant.
If this is a direction that interests you and you’d like some guidance or support, learn how to work with us.