Would you like to assist busy, wealthy, or famous people with the things they need to get done? Personal assistants are the behind-the-scenes lifesavers who know how to get things done in a pinch, quickly making themselves indispensable to their employers.
What They Do
Personal assistants function as organizers, coordinators, shoppers, errand-runners, and just about anything else you can imagine. Many personal assistants work for only one person, and may even be available to them 24 hours a day.
While there is some overlap between the work of a personal assistant and an executive assistant, the main difference is that personal assistant work is… well, personal. In addition to or instead of typing business correspondence and sending packages, you may help your employer choose a color of dress to wear to an important event, for example.
Assistants are usually hired by people whose jobs are particularly demanding of their energy or time, such as movie stars, professional athletes, big-name speakers, famous authors, popular musicians, business executives, and politicians. In fact, anyone who is sufficiently wealthy may hire personal assistants.
What will you be doing as a personal assistant? Although this will differ from employer to employer (and even from day to day), your daily duties may include:
- Screening incoming phone calls.
- Booking appointments and meetings.
- Solving mini-emergencies with resourcefulness.
- Shopping and buying gifts.
- Planning parties or other events.
- Responding to snail mail and email.
- Managing household staff.
- Minding kids and pets in a pinch.
- Making travel arrangements.
Who Is Likely to Succeed
As a personal assistant you have to be a good communicator, a “get things done” kind of person, and cool under pressure. Ask yourself how you handle challenges and crises in your own life. Do you fly off the handle, or do you normally take a step back and think before you react?
The best personal assistants have an ability to move comfortably in the world of wealth and fame. Your appearance, etiquette skills and even your fashion sense may factor in here. You should be persuasive, a good negotiator, and your listening skills should be above average. You should also be extremely organized, a skilled problem-solver, and understand instinctively what types of information need to be kept in confidence. How to Learn It
You can start today learning the skills of a personal assistant and building knowledge that will help you do this job. You should read up on or take courses in skills that will make you more attractive to a wealthy or famous employer, such as event planning, etiquette or international protocol, household management, and child care or pet care.
Make sure you are familiar with communication technology. From electronic organizers to cell phones to MP3 players, your employer will expect you to be able to make it work. Check online at the products’ websites to view free tech-tutorials, or get some hands-on training from the helpful sales associates down at the electronics store.
You can get paid to train as a personal assistant if you find temporary work as an executive assistant, nanny/butler, or concierge. As an added bonus, doing this type of work will put you into contact with the types of people who hire personal assistants, and you might just land your first gig just by doing an exceptional job for someone.
Can you keep a secret? If so, working with celebrities may be your thing. The FabJob Guide to Become a Celebrity Personal Assistant by John Havens has great information for anyone looking to land a personal assistant job, and specifically for those who are keen on working for a celebrity. It explains how to contact celebrities about working for them, and what to say (or not to say) in the interview to land the job.
What It Pays
Personal assistants to celebrities and other employers who need them to be available “as needed” generally earn an average of between $850 and $2,000 per week. Beginning assistants may earn as little as $450 a week, and some assistants can earn $100,000 a year or more. Many personal assistants report that they frequently receive jewelry or other expensive gifts as a bonus from their wealthy employers.
Assistants who charge by the hour are likely to keep their fees in a range with personal concierge services: anywhere from $20 to $50 an hour, depending on the type of task they are asked to assist with.