At the start of a new school year, my workload really starts to increase. I am so grateful that I spent some time at the end of last year thinking about how to expand my business. While I have another behavioral analyst working for me now, I have not been able to find another behavioral analyst who has special education training to take. But I wanted to continue to expand my business. At the end of the last school year, I wanted to understand how to add more billable hours of the customer within my current working hours in order to try to maintain a healthy family and work balance.
To increase my billable hours to customers, I had to evaluate what I could reduce. It became clear to me that I was spending too much time on paperwork! Who could help me with all the cards? An administrative assistant!
When I was trying to determine if I needed to hire an administrative assistant, I listened to Practice of the Practice Podcast 54: How to hire a virtual assistant and I realized that I could expand my client's access to me if I had someone else to help me with all the paperwork. But was it really time to hire someone for administrative work?
I decided to make a decision based on the data by following these steps:
- Define what I could do to someone else. I called this "office / administrative work" and I defined how to save, print or archive documents. Entering billable hours in spreadsheets. Sending e-mails / calls to customers on contracts, issuing information forms, recruitment forms or other documents.
- Keep track of all the administrative / administrative work I have done over the course of two weeks.
- Determine if I can afford the cost of an administrative assistant based on an approximate rate of $ 20 / hour.
What I found:
- I spent almost 7 hours a week in administrative activities. This was stuff that someone else could easily have done without gaining any experience in behavioral analysis! This is losing too many billable hours each week.
- During the execution of each activity, I noted exactly where I saved the documents and how to store them in the client's file. There! This was my first training manual! I also realized that I would have to create HIPAA safe ways to communicate with a new assistant.
- I had enough work from the client to fill the weekly hours that were no longer for administrative tasks. In turn, I was able to afford to hire an administrative assistant.
I used to 7 steps to work effectively with virtual assistants to help outline my expectations for the administrative assistant who would come to the office. Many steps are similar between the virtual assistant and in-person. While I was looking at what I needed, I decided to hire an assistant who could work 5-10 hours a week. The assistant should enter the office because much of what needs to be done is to create binders with the client's documents, so that they can bring those documents to the school meetings.
The next would be to write a good job description, publish the job in the right place, interview and hire a wonderful, flexible, independent and empathetic person (with families). It should not be too difficult, right?
Annie McLaughlin is a behavioral analyst consultant who helps families navigate the world of special education. Help parents understand the special education process, write IEP, behavioral intervention plans, and conduct observations in schools, homes, and communities. Annie also works with other behavioral analysts who wish to add educational advice to their skills repertoire.