How to Write a Want Ad That Attracts the Perfect Assistant

Elisha Dasenbrock portrait of eyes

You thought …

It sure would be great to have someone help me with my art business. Any old warm body will be better than nothing.

Boy! I am going to have all of this extra time to work on my art and I won’t have to do anything else. (Scene setup: I think you were smoking somethin’.)

So you hired an assistant to work in your studio or office. Either would be fine with you.

Hooray! Your first hire.

Fast forward to the inevitable:

Yikes! What was I thinking? This person can’t do anything right and I’m spending too much time teaching him.

Wait just one minute.

It’s not the employee’s fault if he’s not a good fit. It’s your fault because you didn’t hire correctly in the first place.

Assistants can’t do a good job if they don’t know what’s expected of them.

The onus is on you, the employer, to get super clear on the person you want and need to help your art career grow.

You won’t get the right person until you’re certain what you want from them.

So stop deluding yourself that any warm body will do. The any-warm-body mentality usually results in wasted time and money.

Use this outline to write an ad that helps you attract the perfect assistant.

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Who Could Help You in Your Business? (Curious Monday)

Painting of Grizzly Bear by Rosemary Conroy

Artists tell me there is too much work to be the creative director, CEO, chief marketer, and social media manager of their businesses.

Soooooo …

If you could wave a magic wand and have help in your art business, who would you hire?

What would their responsibilities be?

Would they help you in the office or in your studio?

Is it a single person? Or multiple people?

Do they need to work in your space or can they work virtually?

Since you’ll never get help until you define the parameters of the job, let’s start with those questions.

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Someone Else Could … (What To Delegate in Your Art Business)

Indigo Winds - Victoria Pendragon

There’s a certain point in your business when you can’t grow without hiring someone.

Your work is in demand, and you sell the work as fast as you make it. This is a good problem to have, but it’s still a problem because you can’t keep up by yourself.

You’re creator, packer, shipper, marketer, janitor, and warrior rolled into one. You spend as much time in the studio as you can and perform ninja maneuvers to get all of the business stuff taken care of.

You don’t watch television, your family barely sees you, and you’re not getting enough sleep.

You’re maxed out! But you don’t feel like you can afford to hire help.

Here’s the thing: You can’t afford not to hire someone.

Your art business will never grow if you continue doing everything yourself.

It’s not just you who hesitates to get help. Very rarely does an entrepreneur feel like it’s the right time to hire new people because there’s never “extra” cash lying around. It’s a catch 22: you don’t have surplus funds, but you’ve reached your limit on what you can accomplish alone.

If you believe in your work, it’s time to take risks.

When my clients reach this point of frustration, I encourage them to start keeping a list of everything they do in their businesses that someone else could do.

It’s even better if you start this list before you reach this point. You don’t have to go out and find someone right away. Just start the list. I’ll help.

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Let It Go: Delegating Responsibility

©Tara Pappas, The Release. Mixed media, 12 x 6 inches. Used with permission.

©Tara Pappas, The Release. Mixed media, 12 x 6 inches. Used with permission.

The biggest lesson from last week’s Art Biz Makeover: Let go of control.

After several discussions with my guests, it was clear that few people were willing to bring others into their art businesses.

When someone asked me if I ever slept, I happily responded that I got 8 hours sleep the night before. Really. And I did it because I hired people that I trust to stuff the goodie bags, get the name badges together, staff the registration table, select the music, order the food, and put out fires.

Delegate Responsibility

I learned a long time ago that if I was going to build my business to be more profitable, I was going to have to trust others.

I have read plenty of books over

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How to Hire Someone to Help with Your Art Business

Info-How-to-Hire

st hired my first employee, other than myself, at Art Biz Coach. Yes, I have other assistants who work with me on a contract basis, but Maeve Eichelberger is a full-fledged employee. I’m not encouraging you to hire an employee. But I do think that most artists can benefit from an assistant. Here are some steps you can take to help move that process along.

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The Second Step to Getting an Assistant

Andrea Hupke de Palacio, Eiffel Tower, View from Trocadero on a Misty Day. Watercolor

You think you can do everything yourself. You maintain this mindset because you either can’t imagine what tasks you’d be willing to turn over to someone else, or you don’t want to spend the money on hiring someone.

You might need an assistant if any of the following apply:

You don’t feel like you can leave the office or studio for vacation. You can’t make enough work to keep up with the demand. You’re avoiding the work you don’t like to do. You make a good deal more money per hour than you’d pay an assistant. You’re spending more than 50% of your time doing tasks other than making art.

In honor of the start of the Tour de France . . . Andrea Hupke de Palacio, Eiffel Tower, View from Trocadero on a Misty Day. Watercolor. ©The Artist

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